Monday, December 25, 2006

A Lot of Love

Well, another Christmas is almost gone. I can't believe I celebrated my 26th Christmas, and I never grow tired of all the festivities. It is cold here in Dallas, so thankfully it felt like Christmas this year! I saw on the news tonight in 1983 when I was three years old it was a record low of 3 degrees! Now that's cold! My mom says she remembers that Christmas and that our whole family, including the dog slept in the same bed to stay warm.

We had a good time opening gifts, eating, and visiting with family. I watched my two young cousins play with their toys and it became a very nostalgic moment for me. I remember being young and being so excited about all the toys--those were the days! How fleeting they are...

I don't get toys anymore for Christmas. These days I'm just about as excited to get practical gifts as I was about the toys back in the day: socks, PJ's, make-up, lotions, etc. I asked my dear friend what he got for Christmas, and he said, "A lot of love!"

That is what Christmas is about--a lot of love!

In fact, with the birth of Jesus love came down...

What is sad to me is that many people today have celebrated this day without knowing the true meaning of did not just come down for me or for you, but for the world! The power of God's love through the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas should move us to sharing the gospel message with the lost.

My personal prayer and challenge is to pray earnestly for ONE person I know who does not know Christ to entrust Him as their Lord & Savior in hopes that they may know by Christmas 2007 that they have been given a lot of love.

Monday, December 11, 2006

O Christmas Tree, Poor Christmas Tree...

Ok, enough already with the Christmas/holiday bickering. This society has gone way too far with what to call this season. The latest on the news regarding a Jewish Rabbi complaining in an airport about some Christmas trees just about makes me want to scream! First, let's get it straight America, the Christmas tree does not hold any biblical reference! Nor does it have anything to do with Christ's birth. There were no Christmas trees present in the Nativity! The Christmas tree, though it may have some Christian symbolism probably sits in the homes of more nonbelievers. Therefore, what is the BIG deal? Seriously, some people need to stop being so sensitive!

Check out this site about the history of the Christmas tree.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tender Warrior

I can hear it in the sound of your voice
the silence in your eyes
It is in the expression on your face
the exhale of your lungs

I can hear it with your every word
the heaviness of your heart
It is in the tears you do not hide
the frustrations of life

I can hear it in your prayers to God
the desire to be close
It is in the quiet of night
the thoughts of those you love

Stand strong tender warrior
your strength is from above
The Lord believes in you
and so do I.

Stand strong tender warrior
your humble heart is worth more than gold
The Lord cares deeply
and your joy shall return.

Stand strong tender warrior
your God is a Mighty Fortress
The Lord won't let you go
and your'e in good Hands.

Stand strong tender warrior...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Let us Break Bread...

There is just something about good food and good conversation that go together nicely! I had a great weekend doing both a lot of talking and a lot of eating. I truly believe there is something special about gathering around a dinner table that lends itself to good conversation--no television, no ringing cell phones, no interuptions, just good ole fashion conversing! As a poor seminarian, it is also a blessing when people invite me to dinner. I not only see that as an opportunity to fellowship, but as God's provision for a meal! Amen!

I started thinking about the Biblical and spiritual implications of eating and fellowship and immediately I see images of Christ and the Last Supper and the Great Wedding Banquet that will take place in the eschaton. Just think, when Christ comes back for His Bride (the Church), we are going to have one large pot-luck (Isaiah 25:6-7)!

The first century Christians in the book of Acts left us a great example. These Christians were devoted to fellowship, the breaking of bread, and one other important element: prayer. Take a look at this account of the Christians in the book of Acts:

They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer...Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people.
Acts 2:42, 46-47

How often do we 21st century Christians experience all three of these: fellowship, food, and prayer? I think probably not too often, but we sure do need it. This weekend when I experienced this, it truly warmed my heart and ministered to my soul because I experienced all three. Before leaving my friends Chawn and Julie's house after a great meal and fellowship, they offered to pray before we concluded our night together. What a blessing!

This just reminded me that the next time I get together to break bread with friends or family to remember fellowship and prayer as a part of that time. As we all eagerly approach Thanksgiving next month, let us consider how we can minister to others even before that day by fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Silent Prayer

Remember images like these from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005? Seems just like yesterday the catastrophe hit New Orleans. However, if I were one of these people in the picture, I imagine it would feel like one of the longest years of my life.

I remember watching the news for weeks after the hurricane hit and having a deep desire to want to go and do something to help. I wanted so badly to do my part as an American, as a human being, and as a Christian for the victims of Katrina.

Well, I had no idea one year later that silent prayer would be answered. I leave for a mini-mission trip to New Orleans tomorrow! I'm so excited, and so humbled to be a part of the reorganization and clean-up of New Orleans. We're going to be working with Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization, and going down the the French Quarters District to do some street evangelism!

Should be a weekend of fun, serving, and good fellowship. Please pray for God to be glorified, safe travels, and for lives to be touched by the outpouring of people who desire to minister as Christ's hands and feet in New Orleans.

I promise to update on Monday when I return!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ladies, lament!

This weekend I had an opportunity to team-teach a ladies only class with my friend/DTS professor Sandra Glahn at the annual Breaking Free Singles' Conference at OCBF. Our topic was a real discussion regarding one thing we all have in common whether single or married: the problem of pain and uncontentment.

Although Sandi has been married for over 27 years, she too has experienced her share of pain. I like how she put it,

"We're not running a suffering olympics here...we all have real pain."

The crux of our message consisted of encouraging the women in the audience to lament their pain as an offering of sacrificial praise, which is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. However, as Sandi taught us in the class: before worship comes an acknowledgement of pain.

How many of us have been taught that principle?

Unfortunately in the church we sometimes feel as if it is 'ungodly' to complain or be real with God, when in fact, there are numerous accounts throughout scripture showing just the opposite. For example, some of the most popular psalms are the ones of lament. A lament is a cry, a complaint, a groan. In the Psalms of Lament, it begins with an acknowledgement of pain, but ends with a confession of trust in the Lord--returning to what is true of God's character.

Earlier this year I wrote a personal Psalm of Lament. You can read it here. I encourage you too to write your own personal lament to the Lord. I found it to be healing for me and it truly ministered to my heart the head knowledge I had of the goodness of God.

Anytime we in the Body of Christ receive an opportunity to minster to others, share our sufferings, our triumphs, and perhaps even our current battles, it is an honor. After the class a young woman came up to me with tears in her eyes grateful for the invitation to lament to the Lord. Praise God!

I believe that young woman, and I pray others present in that room heard the message:

"Ladies, lament!"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Calling all Singles!

My home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship is hosting their annual conference for singles entiltled Breaking Free: Putting the Pieces Back Together.

The conference will take place this Friday & Saturday, September 15th and 16th. There are a plethora of workshops to attend and suit all singles. If you would like more information click here.

We are planning on serving over 2,000 singles in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex area this weekend. Please be praying for a smooth conference and for singles to experience freedom in the season God has called them to right now!

I'll keep you posted on how the event turns out!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quote of the Day!

"One of Christianity's greatest gifts to all who follow Jesus is the opportunity to experience genuine community with other believers. We're united by our acceptance into God's family, our common purpose in loving Christ and others, and our mission to build Christ's Kingdom for His glory. In the community of the Body of Christ, we find acceptance in spite of our imperfections and encouragement in spite of our failures. And we also extend that acceptance and encouragement to other believers in practical ways. This is God's plan for His Body, the Church, that we cultivate redemptive relationships with others who are following Jesus with us. When we do, our joy becomes more full, our lives more blessed, and our corporate witness more effective."

Andy McQuitty, Pastor of Irving Bible Fellowship

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Testing Time

In the day to day intricacies of life, I am finding the Lord sanctifying me. Whether it is sitting in rush hour traffic, standing in long lines, bumping my 'funny bone,' or through relationships. These are all tests, some come in the form of pop-quizzes (like bumping my 'funny bone'), but neveretheless, one thing God is after is the revelation of my character and His work of sanctification in me. Sometimes I pass the tests, and other times I don't.

Now, just what is progressive sanctification?

Progressive sanctification involves human responsiveness to God's Word and the work of the Holy Spirit.

You see, we have a choice to either ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit or to submit ourselves to it. I believe we serve a God who is in constant pursuit of our hearts in order to grow us toward Christ-likeness. Therefore, He continues to bring along tests or pop-quizzes to reveal to us the areas in which we have not been responsive to God's Word or work of the Holy Spirit.

All day God has been speaking to me in regards to an area where He is desiring to sanctify me. I finally just looked up and said, "Yes, Lord. I will allow you room to do your work." I am encouraged because I realize that God's work of sanctification is ultimately for my eternal glorification. He is preparing me in everything for eternity...even my character! Praise God!

I pray that you too would be encouraged as you experience those testing times from God.

"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Plan B Not A Good One

I do not pretend to know all of the scientific details of the highly controversial drug Plan B, aka "the morning after pill," but I think the FDA has made a mistake today by making this drug available over-the-counter to girls as young as 18. I mean think about...if an 18 year old girl is not responsible enough to legally drink an alcoholic beverage, why is she responsible enough to take Plan B?

I teach high school and I am exposed to young girls and boys. I've had many conversations with youth regarding sex and unwanted pregnancies. And for the most part, sex is viewed as casual to them. I believe the approval of making this drug will send the wrong message not only to youth, but to everyone. I believe we are perpetuating the problem here. Check out this press release from the organization Concerned Women for America.

The problem does not lie solely in taking the emergency contraception, but why one is needing emergency contraception in the first place?

My fear is that women will begin to abuse this drug and use it as a form of abortion due to making a poor decision. Again, I'm not so much concerned with the actual taking of the drug as I am the reasons why people get themselves into "emergency contraception" scenarios. In saying that I do not want to appear judgmental or demeaning. We all have made poor decisions in life, and much of life consists of learning from our poor choices. All I am saying is that the debate is a much deeper one. There are enormous implications for a society which sells "the morning after pill" over-the-counter. And there are enormous implications for the Church and how to do ministry within this context. We must search answers to this debate through God's Word.

I type this with a humble prayer that I am never in a situation where I feel as if I need to resort to a "Plan B." Of course, we know as Christians there are no plan B's with God. His Providence and Sovereignty are always at work-even in a situation with someone who thinks they need a "plan B".

It is a complicated issue, but one we as Christians need to engage ourselves in, striving to see it in a spiritual perspective.

Friday, August 04, 2006

God's Curriculum on Faith

This summer I took an Old Testament History class and my professor would repeat a saying to us in helping us understand the faithfulness of God tothe Israelites throughout history:

"What God has done in the past is a picture of what He will do in the future."

Dozens of times God proved to be all His children needed, and that He would fight their battles for them. All they had to do was look back and remember His faithfulness of yesterday in order to trust Him for tomorrow.

It was only a week ago I laid in my bed worrying and wondering,

"How will I pay for fall tuition?"

I became anxious at the thought of my outstanding balance. However, the Holy Spirit prompted me to remember how God provided in the past and to trust Him for the future. His mercies never fail...they are new every morning--Great is Thy Faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:23)

Only two days ago I found a posting on the DTS job board for a part-time Spanish teaching position. It fit my schedule perfectly, is close to my house, and would be great experience for me considering I'm studying Christian Education. I immediately inquired, filled out an application, and scheduled an interview for today.

Giving all praises and glory to God from whom all blessings flow...He provided-again!! This was an answer to my prayers! I will be teaching at Plano Christian Academy! I am very excited about this opportunity to teach within a Christian context. I am an experienced teacher, but now I will have to polish and refine my philosophy of teaching Spanish beginning and ending with God...and to the glory of God!

Maybe you can help me out?

How do you suppose one should teach Spanish within a Christian context?

What things should I include in my instruction that will bring God glory?

How do Christ and the Bible stay in the center of a philosophy of teaching Spanish?

Post some comments & help me out!! I would love to hear from you. Also, I would like to encourage and repeat to you what I heard repeated numerous times in class this summer:

"What God has done in the past is a picture of what He will do in the future."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Viva el South Padre!

I'm back from South Padre Island, Texas! My friend Natasha and I had a wonderful time getting away from the busyness of day to day life here in Dallas. The weather the first day was incredible: 84 degrees! We immediately put our bags down, put our bathing suits on, and headed for the beach. There was a persistent breeze off the ocean and for a while we just laid there amazed by the breeze. Living in Dallas we have not felt the wind blowing in a while! It was a great treat...thank you, Lord!

Natasha and I made a quick observation upon arriving on the island: Se habla mucho espanol en Padre!
Translation: Spanish is spoken a lot in Padre!

South Padre lies at the southernmost tip of Texas about 10-15 miles from Mexico, so many of the Mexican nationals go to Padre to vacation. Good thing God has given me the gift of speaking in Spanish, because there were many times where it came in handy!

Everything there had a Spanish flare. Natasha and I caught the Latin fever! In fact, the first night we went to a popular spot called Louie's Backyard where we danced (gasp!!!) the night away to Salsay y Merengue, and the latest Latin music called Regaton (a mixture of salsa and reggae). Latinos sure do know how to throw a party! It was great fun and offered us an opportunity to be emmursed into a different culture than our own.

Another fun highlight of our trip was dolphin watching. We got on a double-decker boat and went out in the ocean to watch the dolphins. The water was a beautiful sea-green color and we were fortunate to see several dolphins and some baby dolphins too! However, I started to feel quesy from the boat ride so I had to sit down and concentrate on NOT throwing up! I don't think a cruise would be my cup of tea either.

We spent our last day entirely on the beach. We ate lunch, slept, talked, slept, and ate. It was nice to take a nap. I do not take naps often, so it was a beautiful thing! Although I got sun burned...I should have fallen asleep under the umbrella instead of the sun! Now my sunburn has turned to a nice golden tan...I look 100% Latina now! (I think that was my goal! Remember I have Latin fever right now!)

Natasha and I were sad to leave, but as they say, "All good things must come to an end." Of course, the trip would not be as memorable without Continental Airlines losing my suitcase! Yep, that's right! I got to Dallas and no maleta! Big ups to Continental though because they were able to trace my suitcase (it was in H-town) and deliver it to my doorstep at 4 a.m.! As one friend reminded me, "Better late than never!" Thank you, Jesus!

So, now it's back to reality. No more ocean, no more cool breeze, no more dolphins, and no more naps (well, on the beach anyway)! That's ok, I suppose.

Hay mucho trabajo aqui en Dallas!! (There is much work to do here in Dallas!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Do you not know...?

This weekend was our annual women's conference at my church. The name of the conference every year is Desperate for Jesus. I like that title a lot. It is a reminder of where I want my desperation to lie--in Christ alone. You see, many are desperate, but for the wrong things: money, a Friday night date, clothes, the perfect job, etc.

This year's key note speaker was author, Beth Moore. Wow...she was phenomenal! I found it to be very refreshing to hear the Word of God being preached and proclaimed by a woman! It truly did my soul well! The Word of God states in Titus 2 women should teach women. Unfortunately, it does not happen often. There is something about another woman publicly confessing to other women the foils and follies of her life, and how God has transformed them!

Through three different messages, Beth Moore reminded the women present (4,000 by the way) of many of God's truths we tend to so easily forget. I found them to be encouraging and want to share them with you. Read them as if for the first time!

Do you not know...?

1. Your body is the temple of God? (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
2. You are not stuck with the weaknesses of your personality? (2 Peter 1:3,4)
3. God reverenced your conception? (Psalm 139:13,14)
4. The Word of God is living and active? (Hebrews 4:12)
5. God is good and His lovingkindness is everlasting? (2 Chronicles 7:3)
6. When one unites with God, they become one with Him in Spirit? (I Corinthians 6:17)

What beautiful truths I had forgotten. God desires to illuminate Himself to us and reveal who we are in Him...if only we would open His Word and dive in. After this weekend, I realized how much I'm really not desperate for Jesus. Unfortunately, I allow other things to become a priority for me, or I just become complacent in my walk. However, I came to see just how dry I was because I had not been steadfast in spending quality time with the Lord.

What a gracious God we serve...this weekend God sent me some reminders and gave me a fire to want to know Him more. The 6 things I listed above are things that I knew...but I had forgotten.

What do you not know...?

What truths has God revealed to you or reminded you of?

I pray we would all be desperate for Jesus, seeking Him with our whole hearts, and allowing Christ to answer all of our questions to, "Do you not know?"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lost and Found

It never ceases to amaze me. I am always losing something. The most recent article I "lost" was my wallet. I couldn't find it on Monday morning and went into panic mode because I rembered having it, yet I couldn't seem to retrace my steps back and find it. I looked under the bed, in my bed, in my car, my purses, the trash can...and no wallet.

I was afraid that someone might have picked it up. They would have been disappointed though because I had about $.50 in change in there, but my social security card was in my wallet, along with my American Express card. So, I called to check if there had been any charges made to my account, and there had not been...thank you, Lord! As I was telling my friend Kanika about my "missing wallet" and my social security card MIA as well, she gently reminded me,

"Now, you know you aren't supposed to carry your social security card, right?"

Of course I knew that, "But where am I supposed to put it?"

Now, Kanika is smart, but this was a genious piece of advice I had never considered: "Put your social security card with your passport."

"Oh." I was speechless. I really had never considered that option. I just put it in my wallet because I didn't know where to put it. I'm a little slow, I know...

Another piece of advice given by a friend who worked in the banking industry: to avoid consumer ID fraud, you can put a "fraud alert" on your credit. This way anytime credit is attempted, you will be notified. This alert can be placed for 90 days, 1 year, or 7 years.

Tuesday morning as I was rushing out of the house (as usual), I went to put something in my bag, and lo and behold: my wallet. So, I did not have to put a fraud alert on my credit, nor did I cancel any of my credit cards. Thank you, Lord!

What was lost became found...

When things like this happen, I just look up and say, "Ok, Lord...what does this mean? What is the spiritual application here?" Everytime I ask that question, the Holy Spirit is faithful to teach me something about the character of God.

Consider with me Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, all of "you know what" broke lose and paradise was lost. Pure fellowship with God was broken, and has been since sin's advent into the world. Yet, we serve a God who did not leave us to be lost forever.

In Luke 19:10 we see Jesus' mission defined: to seek the lost in order that they may be found. However, in order to be found, one must know they are lost. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned, and it is our sin that makes us lost and in desperate need to be found.

Are you lost?

Do you need to be found?

Here are a couple of verses to lead you to be found by God:

John 3:16
Romans 6:23
Romans 10:9

Posting this with a prayer for the lost to be found...

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday I went to Six Flags over Texas amuesment park. It was a last minute, spontaneous decision to go. The temp here was 105 and for some insane reason I decided to brave the heat and just go!

I must say, I did have fun on the rides, but this morning my body paid for it. I woke up feeling like I had run a marathon...two times in a row! Wow...and I had a killer headache. It really felt like a hangover! What a horrible feeling many subject themselves to every weekend! So, I decided today I am just way too old for Six Flags!

Despite the extreme heat and a Six Flags hangover, it was the company of good friends which made the trip worth while.

Friends, indeed are a blessing we should not take for granted. It is when we can look outside of the discomfort of our circumstances we can find joy there. Believe me, the heat was miserable yesterday, but at least I was there with friends who love me and care for me. Even in the midst of the heat, we had a good time and were able to laugh our heads off!

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'd Rather... in South Padre Island, Texas where this picture was taken.

On July 28th I will be! I'm going to South Padre with my friend Natasha, but until then, I have to be here. The problem is, I see how good it looks to be in Padre and want to be there, but I can't skip the next 18 days to get there.

I think much of life is the same way. We don't understand why we're here instead of there. We compile our lists of what we'd rather be...instead of what is!

For example:

1. I'd rather be a size __ than a size ___...
2. I'd rather live in that house instead of this house...
3. I'd rather eat this tonight instead of that...
4. I'd rather work in that job than this job...
5. I'd rather be married than single...
6. I'd rather have a new pair of shoes than wear some old ones...

And the list goes on...

When is enough? Much of life, I've discovered in my 26 years consists of learning how to be content with what you have been portioned and learning how to wait patiently. So while I'd rather be in South Padre, I have to wait until it comes. I must learn how to be content right here, right now. I can drive myslef crazy in the wait or I can rest in it. Either way, surely there is something the Lord will teach me or show me between now and July 28? I will have to wait for that too!

In the meantime, I truly want to be able to say:

"I'd rather, because here is all I am promised."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Still Thirsty?

I have a confession to make—I am addicted to Diet Coke. My addiction started three years ago, and I haven’t been able to shake the habit since. It’s gotten so bad that if I do not have one by noon, I will get a headache. So, everyday I go and get a fountain Diet Coke to get my fix.

Although I enjoy my Diet Coke, one thing I have noticed when I get to the end of the drink is this—I’m still thirsty! Though pleasurable at the moment, the Diet Coke does not quench my thirst.

So why is it whenever I know water will quench my thirst I turn to Diet Coke instead?

I think the spiritual life for the Christian can be similar. We know nothing is able to quench our thirst like Christ, yet repeatedly we run in search of something else to fulfill our needs. We must honestly examine what fountain we are drinking from. What are you looking to or waiting on to quench your thirst?

Look at the conversation between the Samaritan woman and Jesus at the well:

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst…The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 4:14-15 (NIV)

Isn’t that they way you feel sometimes too? Are you like me and tired of having to keep drawing from a fountain which leaves you parched? Christ offers Himself as the Living Water, a Fountain which never runs dry. Other people or things may offer momentary relief, but it will never satisfy that which we truly thirst for, which is only found when we come to the Fountain.

My prayer for you and for me is that we would drink deeply from Christ with the promise He gives us to never be thirsty again.

But in the meantime, does this mean I have to give up Diet Coke?

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Bark of the Enemy

Every time I go walking in my neighborhood I take the same route. Whenever I walk by the house on the corner of my street, two dogs bark ferociously at me. The first several times it would startle me and I would jump in my skin! I cannot remember one time walking by there and the dogs not barking wildly at me. It does not startle me anymore though. In fact, I expect it. If they did not bark at me, I would think something was wrong with them. Afterall, they are dogs--and dogs bark!

Today was different though. As I walked by the house, they went to town barking their heads off at me as usual, but today I made a spiritual connection with the familiar barks.

I believe Satan is much like those barking dogs.

Satan, like those dogs does the same thing repeatedly to tempt us. Think about what is a temptation for you? Satan knows yours and my weaknesses, and these are the areas where he barks and growls at us. The first time he tempts you and he barks, it may startle you. The next time, you may jump, but eventually, you and I must come to a point in our spiritual lives where we can recognize the bark of the enemy. Better yet, we must come to an understanding of ourselves! The addage goes, "Every man should know his limitations." This is true, however, I believe:

Every man should know his temptations.

Having this knowledge allows one to be on guard for the schemes of the enemy. As I walk closer to the house on the corner, I prepare my mind and heart for the barking dogs. I know they may bark and growl at me behind the fence, but one thing now brings me comfort--they cannot touch me!

My friend, that is great news! Satan will bark and he will growl. However, being a child of God automatically guarantees you and I protection from the enemy. We must remember everything belongs to our God-even Satan. So, get ready for the barking, but do not be surprised when it comes. Satan is cunning, but he does not operate outside of the sovereign will of our Lord.

I would like to encourage you to prepare your hearts and minds in order to discern the bark of the enemy.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." Psalm 23:4

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Keep A Quiet Heart

Psalm 131

131:1 O Lord, my heart is not proud,
nor do I have a haughty look.
I do not have great aspirations,
or concern myself with things that are beyond me.
131:2 Indeed I am composed and quiet,
like a young child carried by its mother;
I am content like the young child I carry.
131:3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
now and forevermore!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Symphony

Tonight I am doing something new and different. I am going to the Meyerson Symphony in Dallas. I have not considered myself a fan of classical music, nor of the symphony, but I think it will be fun to do something different and experience a change of scenary.

My friend, Denashia, won 2 tickets on the radio and invited me to go with her. Isn't that sweet? So, we will get to go on this new adventure together to the symphony. I have secretly envied people who can play a musical instrument. If you think about it, truly music is amazing. How do all of those sounds come together and blend so beautifully?

At the wedding last Saturday, the liturgical praise dancers danced to a song by Fred Hammond called, "You are My Symphony." It was a beautiful testimony of how God is the Orchestrator of our lives, blending everything in harmony, making a beautiful song.

Like a conductor, God's invisible hand is moving, instructing things to go in a way which blend together in perfect harmony. Our job is to be seated and to follow His lead, trusting His guidance.

Tonight when I'm at the symphony, I'll be thinking of God in that way. I'm glad to be going, but I'm even more excited to have an excuse to get dressed up!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Bigger Picture

Well, the wedding bells have stopped ringing, the cake has been eaten, vows exchanged, the bouqet has been tossed (which, by the way I caught ), and I am happy to report there were no wardrobe malfunctions! This is a picture here of me in the dress that almost had me breaking out into hives. My friend with me is Natasha who sang a beautiful trio in the wedding.

It's hard to believe the wedding is over. Where does the time go? It just seems like yesterday my two friends Jonathan and Kanika were engaged, and now they are husband and wife forever. It truly was a beautiful, meaningful wedding. Now they are on their way to their honeymoon destination!

We got a chance on Friday after the dinner rehearsal to reflect upon the biblical meaning of marriage. I must say, that is some deep stuff there. Just think about it: marriage was the first institution created by God, and it is the longest lasting institution! Adam and Eve were the first family of creation, and God has been uniting men and women together ever since! Wow!

In the New Testament believers are shown as the Bride of Christ, whom Christ will return to receive for Himself. So, if you are single you are already a bride! A marriage between a man and a woman is a physical representation of Christ's love for believers. So that means the world should be able to look at Christian marriage and see how God loves us!

I wonder if that is what the world sees when it looks at Christian marriage?

This weekend I was brought to tears as I was reminded of what GREAT love the Father has for His Bride--the Body of Christ. It truly is amazing love; a love no one can comprehend. However, I desire to better understand it, and to better give it, and exemplify it for others. I cannot say I have ever been to a wedding that left me pondering about God's love for me and gave me a desire to know Him even more. It truly was a worshipful experience because when I think about the great love the Lord has for me, it produces a grateful heart, and in return leads me to want to worship!

So, despite all of the drama leading up to the wedding in regard to the dress, God blessed my heart tremendously by showing me the bigger picture. It's not about the dress, the flowers, or the reception. Christian weddings are a commencement of two lives joining together as one, to manifest the beauty of Christ's love.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Zipped Off!

Q: Have you ever heard of a bridesmaid who got more stressed out than the bride?

A: Me

Yep, that's right. I am a bridesmaid in a wedding on Saturday, and I have been a wreck! I have found myself stressed out over everything, most of which has been mundane, but last night something happened that put the icing on the well--wedding cake! (sorry I couldn't resist)

I'm trying on my beautiful, red satin dress last night and for some ungodly reason, the zipper got stuck and would not unzip. It was horrible. My mom and I were pulling on that zipper like we were in tug of war contest. Finally, after we broke a sweat, I decided we couldn't play that game all night and to just cut me out of the dress. So, my mom took a pair of scissors to the zipper and with one snip I was out, and with one snip my dress was officially ruined!

It's just a zipper. No big deal, right? Just put another one in there and it will be all good. I took my dress over to David's Bridal and they agreed to put one in for $80. I'm sorry, but that is just ridiculous! Perhaps what is even more ridiculous is that I started crying in the store. The tears hit me right as I was swipping my credit card and I realized I was paying almost as much to have a zipper put in as I paid for the entire dress!

Needless to say, I'm zipped off!

I know there are other things in this world that are much more crucial, for example, the situation in Darfur, world poverty, and the threat of terrorism. But $80 to replace a zipper? Come on, now! They know that's not right!

Yet & still it amazes me how God knew this was going to happen. He knew I would be in this situation. It's not an accident, it was a part of His plan, and He says He works ALL things together for good. Even a zipper gone bad.

I told the story to a friend, and she e-mailed me back a great verse I had so easily forgotten in my time of being zipped off:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Friday, June 09, 2006

I got published!

Everyone worships something or someone. Whether it is a career, possessions or one's body, no one can escape it. I discovered one Sunday at church that I had begun to worship the music. You see, I attend a mega-church where the music is phenomenal every Sunday without miss, until one Sunday when the music director introduced a new song, and I became irritated. I thought to myself, “What is he thinking? We don’t sing this song!” I’m afraid within all of the debates concerning "praise and worship" music styles that we have forgotten to answer one important question: What is worship?

My worship of the Father had become confined to one location (church), to one day (Sunday) and to one function (music). While music and singing are acceptable to God, this is only one facet of worship God desires from His children. Through study in the Scriptures, I believe God is looking for two kinds of worship: that which is expressed by our lips, and that which is expressed by our lives.

Numerous Psalms command us to sing praises unto God, to bless His name and to speak well of the Father. This is our lip service. We worship the Father by declaring with our lips His goodness and faithfulness, because He truly is an awesome God. Our worship does not stop here though. Because He is good and faithful, how do these translate into our everyday lives? Consider Luke 4:8:

“Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (TNIV).In this verse the verbs "worship" and "serve" cannot be excluded from each other. Therefore, our lip service to God should reflect our life service to God. He not only deserves our adoration, but our very lives as an offering of service to be used by Him and for Him. Read the plea Paul gives believers in Romans 12:1:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (TNIV).

This is an image of a lifestyle of worship lived out daily in the life of the believer. Because we live and move and have our being in God (Acts 17:28), we can offer everything in our lives as a form of worship unto the Lord, whether it is taking care of an elderly relative, ministering out on the mission field or working in a job that is not all that exciting! So, the next time you are at church singing your favorite song (or not), worship the Father with your lips because He is worthy to be praised, but when you leave, make sure you are worshipping the Father with your life.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blank Pages

Last night I went to Barnes & Noble to buy a new journal. I have always kept a journal since I was a little girl. Although back in the day I called it my diary. I still have my Dear Old Diaries too. It's funny to go back and read them and see my horrible handwriting when I was just learning cursive! I've grown much over the years.

I usually pick a journal that has some pretty design on the front. This time, however, I picked a simple journal with nothing on the front except for the word: Journal. I like it a lot and I think it is a refletion of my character and how I strive to live my life these days in simplicity.

I haven't started writing in it, but last night I was looking through it, and I wondered what words will fill these blank pages?

What will life bring?
What joys, what sorrows will these pages describe?
Will there be tears from my face that drop to the pages as I write?
Will there be tradgedy, triumph, and trials I will write about?
What will those blank pages reveal about the days to come?

I don't have any of the answers to those questions. I will have to wait and see what will fill the blank pages of my journal. I take comfort in these words from the Lord:

"Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34

What about you? Do you keep a journal? If so, what do you wonder about the blank pages of your journal?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Beyond Words

Yesterday I got an e-mail from a friend in distress. She wanted me to be aware of something going on in her life. She also mentioned that she would love to hear back from me regarding the situation, but after she had had an opportunity to spend some quiet time with the Lord herself.

I really appreciate her honesty and desire to hear God speak first into her situation.

For me, it was a display of who is her Source in her life. Sure, we all say, "God," but really, who do you and I go to first when we need some adivce, or when we need to talk?

It's so easy to pick up the phone and call a friend when life hurts or things for us are bad. It takes obedience and trust to go the Lord first. Maybe things wouldn't seem so bad if we would talk to the Lord first?

As women, we sometimes like to offer up advice so quickly when sometimes people just need for us to listen. I know I have often been convicted of doing that. One of my favorite quotes by Elisabeth Elliot is,

"Not everything has to be said, and not everything has to be said by me."

Boy, we sure feel like we need to say it all and that it needs to be said by us or people just won't "get it." How silly! We cannot play "Holy Spirit, Jr." for folk! I have learned I need to let the Holy Spirit do what He was designed to do, which was to minister and comfort believers. Sure, we are called to do that as well, but I want to be sure to allow the Holy Spirit room to do His thing first!

I'm studying Job right now and man, is it painful...and I'm only on chapter 2! At this point, he has already lost all of his possessions, his children, and has been struck with an illness from head to toe. His 3 friends come to console him, and upon approaching him, they did not even recognize him from the scars of his illness. Can you imagine? What would you say to your friend if that happened to him or her? Guess what his 3 friends said? Nothing.

"Then they sat down with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, yet no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great."
Job 2:13

What a sad, but beautiful picture of freindship. Sometimes our silence is what we should offer our friends and loved ones in their time of pain, while the Holy Spirit ministers peace and comfort beyond words.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Hot Mess

I believe summer is officially here in Texas! It has been almost 100 degrees everyday this week, and you can see the heat coming off the pavement! The bad thing about Texas heat is that there isn't even a slight cool breeze...the air is just thick with heat!

It's a hot mess...

As I was driving to work today, I noticed some people's yards are already starting to die from the heat. It's not even June yet! What makes matters worse is that we are on a water conservation plan, and can only water our yards 2 or 3 times a week.

As the temperature begins to rise, so do people's attitudes...including mine! It is a well known fact that crime in Dallas increases in the summer, which is believed to be a result of the heat.

Isn't that a hot mess?

What is it that makes people get short-tempered when it is hot? I mean, what about people in they just stay mad because it's always hot over there? Surely not.

Considering that it stays hot in Texas until about October, I think I better resolve to just accept that it is hot, and not subject others to the wrath of my hottness!! I was thinking about what makes me or others get ugly when the temperature rises, and honestly, there is a deeper issue there...

I think it's called lack of self-control.

I do believe that the Lord wants me, you, and every other believer to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5 says the fruit of the Spirit is: self-control. If I cannot control my attitude, regardless if it is 110 degrees outside, that is an area in my character where the fruit of self-control is a little...sour. We serve a God who will use anything to pull out, and showcase where you are not walking in the Spirit...even the Texas heat.

Now, that's a hot mess.

In the other 3 seasons of the year...I'm fine. It's jus something about the summer that does something to me. My friend Julie always says to me, "God is more concerned about your holiness than your happiness."

In relating that to life, God does not always allow the circumstances of our life to feel like a cool, spring day. Sometimes He turns up the heat in our lives to see how we will respond. For example, how do you respond when:

1. You get a flat tire
2. You lose your job.
3. You get stuck in traffic.
4. Your checking account is overdrawn.
5. You look at your life and things aren't where you thought they would be.

Well, I know how I respond to all of those things...I'm a hot mess! Hopefully, I will mature in this area. I've got the whole summer to work on it! In the meantime, I'm going to try to stay cool.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

My friend Beth has a son, Trevor, who is four years old. He was running around one day and fell and hurt his hand, or as he likes to call it, he got a "boo boo." Taking the opportunity to make the ocassion a "teachable moment," Beth was consoling her son,

"Your'e ok, Jesus will take care of you, and make it feel better, and He will heal your hand."

Trevor looked up at her with his adorable brown eyes,

"Yeah, and He's gonna have a wooden spoon in His hand?"

Isn't it interesting that a four year old boy pictures Jesus with a wooden spoon in His hand? Of all the images, why that one? Sure, he's four years old, and we usually don't equate them being very theological, but after I thought about is an interesting statement.

You see, I don't think we as adults are much different than Trevor. I am not sure if we have a correct image of who Jesus is either. Whenever things are not going the way we want them to, sometimes we think, "God is punishing me." Or we may even have jacked up motives for serving God because we fear God will punish us if we don't perform up to His standard.

I think our image of God can be correlated with our experienc of God. Experience is great, and God invites us to "taste and see that the Lord is good." But there also must be some caution in this area, because God's character is not limited to our circumstances; it supercedes it.

Consider Job. In Job 1:1, he is described as "blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil." Yet, Job experienced tremendous suffering, all brought upon him from God. Yes, that is correct, God brought about Job's suffering...for His name sake.

I have come to a decision that either God is a liar or He's telling the truth. We get so used to hearing Romans 8:28 quoted, that sometimes it becomes a little mundane. But read it again, as if for the first time,

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Praise God! God works all things together for our good, not for our punishment! Let's stop imagining our Heavenly Father as a punisher with a wooden spoon in His hand, ready to beat us! He is the Lamb, who was sacrifced in our place, so that we would not experience eternal punishment, but eternal life. I want to enjoy Jesus, not dread Him.

Don't you?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Highway of Rememberance

I am officially finished with my first year of seminary, and I am so glad I have the summer to look forward to. It was a great year and I learned so much, but I must say I am ready to relax for a little while. This time last year, I didn't know if I would make it through the whole year. I had no idea what this year would be like, nor did I have any idea how I would make it financially through the school year without a full time job.

I don't know why I am amazed at how God made repeated provisions for me through the year. I mean, He owns everything, yet I stand amazed at how my financial needs were met! I found myself once again on bended knee asking of the Lord to provide a summer job for me so that I can save up for fall tuition. For a minute there, I was starting to get worried.

I kept getting online, sending my resume out, e-mailing people, calling people, yet no one would call me back! I was really getting discouraged and fear was beginning to set in, until I stopped myself and began to pray. This is how my prayer went,

"Lord, I'm not going to worry about finding a job. I know you will provide for me. But, Lord, I am asking boldly that I find a job that I can begin on May 22nd, and that is not south of 6-35 (a highway in Dallas)."

After I prayed, I decided I was not going to worry. Well, later that day I received a phone call from a company I had inquired about in early April. They asked me to come in the next day to discuss the job.

I made my way over to the job site the next day, and as I drove up, I just had to chuckle at the Lord! From the office window I can see 6-35! The office is located north of the highway...10 yards from the highway!

So, not only did the Lord answer my prayer by providing for me a job, but each day when I drive up I will be able to say I don't work south of 6-35! That highway will serve as a rememberance for me that God listens to my prayers and cares for me! Isn't that funny?

Throughout the Old Testament the Israelites had many physical memorials to remember God's faithfulness and provision. Whether it be the Red Sea, the site of the Exodus, or Mt. Sinai, where God spoke to His people by the giving of the Ten Commandments, these sites and others were to call back to the attention of the Israelites the faithfulness of a God who was among them and cared deeply for them.

And for me, He gave 6-35. If that huge slab of concrete highway could speak for the voice of God, I believe it would say,

"Trust me."

What things has God given you to recall of His faithfulness? Think about those things and let them speak to you peace and rest of a Father who longs for His children to trust Him.

You may be saying, I don't have any physical thing I can recall God's faithfulness for. Yes, my friend, you do. An often quoted verse is John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son..."

If the Lord never gave me or you another thing on this earth, it would be enough because He gave His Son! Jesus Christ's life and His death on the Cross serve as a symbol of God's love for the world. Surely, the Cross cries out as well,

"Trust me."

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Downside of Seminary

Well, I cannot believe my first year of seminary is about to end. I have a final Tuesday and one on Wednesday and I will officially be finished...for four days until I begin a mini-mester course that will last for one week! I know, I am crazy!

Seminary has been amazing, and honestly, I never imagined I would enjoy it as much as I have. I have fallen in love with God's Word and I leave amazed after every class, as the Scriptures have come alive for me in a new way. I have learned that the Bible is not boring, it is not impossible to understand, but it does require dedication and thoughtful study. More importantly, the Holy Spirit's job of illuminating the Scriptures is does come to light for the believer.

However, there has been a downside to seminary. I want to be sure to say that I am not complaining, but there have been some things that have been bummers this year. The first downside has been the amount of time I have had to spend away from friends and family due to studying. There have been COUNTLESS times I have had to sacrifice away from friends in order to study.

Just this weekend I missed my friend's daughter's first birthday party. I was very disappointed to miss it, but I had to study for finals. I also had another friend who sang a solo at church on Sunday. I missed it, and I wanted so badly to be there to support her. I know everyone understands, but it has been hard to say "no" to so many things.

As a result, I have realized how lonely seminary can be. I think this is because it is so demanding, and requires a lot of solemn study, that it can become lonely. I have a deeper appreciation for community, and now I understand more why the Lord desires us to be in community with fellow believers.

We were created for companionship and for fellowship.

Consider Adam in the garden before Eve was created by God. Imagine how lonely he was as he walked through the garden with the animals, noticing that there was nothing similar to him. God said, "It is not good for man to be alone," and thankfully created a companion for him.

In the midst of it all though, God has met my need and been a companion, a friend to me. I have had some sweet fellowship with the Lord in my time of solace, which has been beneficial for me.

I realize now there are downsides to all aspects of life; in all and every season. Like my friend Priscilla says to me:

"The grass is not greener on the other side, just another shade."

How true! One season is not better than the other, each brings with it its ups and downs. I know this is where the Lord has appointed me to be in this season. So, I have been trying to seek His face and hear His voice even in the silence of my study room!

I sure am glad we serve a God who is able to work all things together for good...(Rmns 8:28); taking the downside of seminary and sweetening it with His presence and companionship.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Grateful for the Small Stuff...

During my morning walk in the neighborhood I discovered a new sound that brought a smile to my face and peace to my soul. It was the sound of the wind blowing through the huge oak trees in my neighborhood. As I listened, I noticed that it almost sounded identical to ocean waves brushing up on the shore.

How many times have I walked down the same street and heard the same sound but never noticed it; never appreciated it?

I think today was different because last night I was in a car accident that could have potentially been fatal. I was driving down the street and as I came to a major intersection, a truck, attempting to turn left on a yield hit me. The bumper came completely off and was on the other side of the road. Thankfully, no one was hurt...I only suffered a couple of cuts and welps on my arm from the air bag.

It's times like those that make you really appreciate life. From loved ones, to having mobility of your body, to the sound of the wind through the trees...
How easily we forget the small things of life that are a blessing. How quickly it can all be taken away.

What are the small things in life you enjoy?

What are the small things in life you take for granted?

I encourage you to find those things, enjoy them, thank God for them!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Spring Pruning

Are you a pack-rat? You know, the ones who keep everything-whether it be a receipt from 1992 or shopping bags from Wal-Mart and Bath & Body Works.

Come on...tell the truth, shame the devil!

A year ago, I moved back home, and every since then, I have been driving my mom crazy by throwing things out little by little. We even had some heated arguments about wheter or not to throw out some items, but I didn't back down...she really did need to throw out some stuff! Though it almost started World War III, my mom finally admitted that throwing things away and clearing some room gave her a sense of freedom.

Why do we hang on to stuff that has no purpose in our lives? I mean, really...a receipt from 1992? Perhaps there are many reasons why we don't prune things out of our homes or cars:laziness, apathy, busyness. Whatever the reasons may be I think we can draw some spiritual applications from it.

When someone comes to Christ they become a new creature. In the process of sanctification, or spiritual growth, God begins to prune us from those things that are not like His Son, Jesus Christ. Take a look...

"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:2

Jesus' job is to prune those things of our character which are of no use that we may go on to bear fruit. One observation that can be made here is that this pruning process may be painful...but it reaps a reward!

I believe we serve a God who is interested in cutting away all of the unuseful areas of our lives...whether it be things of our character or the junk in our trunks!!!

What are the things you need to prune in your character or in your home this spring?

Is it a spirit of bitterness?

Is it a shelf full of books you have never read?

One man's trash is another man's treasure! Go through your home and honestly ask God to show you if you have use of different items or if someone else could be blessed by you passing them along. Now, don't go passing on dirty socks or anything...for example, maybe you have a set of stationary you no longer use-give it to someone else!

Christ came that we may be free! This includes all areas of life. Free yourself from the clutter in your home and the clutter in your character. This spring do some pruning, whether it be freeing up some extra space in your closet, or freeing someone else from the forgiveness you need to extend to them.

Here are some spring pruning ideas:

1. Clean the trunk of your car
2. Clean out the junk drawer in your bathroom or kitchen
3. Get rid of old boxes in the garage
4. Clean underneath your bed
5. Clear off your office desk
6. Give away old movies you don't watch anymore
7. Clean out files
8. Clear out clothes you no longer wear...pass them along!
9. Go through your food pantry
10. Throw out old magazines in your magazine rack

Here are some character pruning ideas:

1. Pray & ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas in you which need to be pruned
2. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's voice to #1
3. Read Scriture accounts of Jesus, noting His perfect character. Ask God to develop those in you.
4. Ask your close friends or family members the areas in your life where you are weak...tell them to be gentle!
5. Ask God for obedience to do that which He reveals to you!

Happy spring pruning to you and I!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

An Easter Story

In the Christian faith, Easter should be a joyful celebration, even more so, in my opinion than Christmas because it signifies that our Messiah is risen, and behold, He lives! I must admit there were a series of events that happened today which allowed me to take my focus off my risen Savior.

It all began with me waking up a little earlier than usual this Sunday because I knew it would be packed at church. So, I rushed out of the house with my breakfast in hand, and I remember thinking to myself,

"I didn't even take the time to greet Jesus this morning."

As I drove into the packed parking lot, I sat in my car waiting for the first service attendees to leave. I watched patiently with my blinker on as an adorable interracial family put their two little ones in their car seats and drive off. As I was swinging my car around to park, I noticed a woman standing in the parking space motioning to me that she was saving the parking space.

I rolled down my window and said, "Excuse me, ma'am?"

"We're parking here, " she said, without looking me in the eye, while no other vehicle was in site.

"Ma'am I've been waiting here for about 10 minutes for this parking space," I said in the nicest way I knew how.

"Fine can have it!" As she stomped off.

Wow...Happy Easter! Is that what we're concerned about? A parking space? I've seen people do that kind of nonsense at the mall during the Christmas season, but never at church. Are our mega-churches of America beginning to take on the worldly characteristics of the parking lots of Wal-Mart and shopping malls?

I tried to not let that bother me for too long, I went inside and found my seat while visiting with fellow church members. Then lo and behold...another distraction would be brought my way on this Easter morning. My ex-boyfriend and his family, who lives out of town, came to worship at my church this morning, and in a sanctuary that seats 5,000 comfortably where do they sit? Yep, you guessed it-directly behind me! Now, there are no hard feelings, but I just prefer for them not to sit right up on me...ya know? So now all I could think of was, "Wow...are you really going to let the people sitting behind you distract you from praising God for His Son?" Well, the answer to that, my friends unfortunately was, "yes." I just could not focus on Christ.

Later that afternoon my mom asked me a simple question which would lead to a debate, and me feeling rotten because I over-reacted, which was probably a reaction to the events earlier in the day. We're fine now, but it just sucks to get upset with the ones you love...Especially on a day with an emphasis on forgiveness!

Isn't it peculiar what Satan will use to distract us from giving God our best?
Satan already knows he can't mess with my salvation, but he sure did do a good job at trying to steal my joy on the of occasion the resurrection of Our Lord!

I am grateful to God though that despite the crazy events of today, I can wake up tomorrow and celebrate His resurrection just as if it were Easter Sunday! In fact, we should celebrate every day that the tomb was empty, and Jesus currently sits at the right hand of the Father interceding on behalf of me and you.

He is alive, he's not dead, he's not asleep!

So, while my Easter story was a rotten one, praise God that His Easter story is a glorious be celebrated every day!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Waiting on Uncle Sam...

If you are like me, once your W2 form came in, you got right on to turbo tax to file your taxes. I put in all of my information, and anxiously waited for my calculations for my tax return. My worst nightmare would be to owe the IRS money...thankfully, Uncle Sam owes me this year. However, my money still has not come in, and Uncle Sam is taking his sweet time, however, I have some bills that are desperately waiting to be paid, and won't be until Uncle Sam has made his delivery to my chekcing account!

Matter of fact, I need to pay the rest of my Spring tuition by April 1 with that money. I felt like breaking out into hives earlier today because that is in a couple of days! But then I remembered something...I am not waiting on Uncle Sam,

I am waiting on the Lord...

You see, everything is spiritual. We should strive to look at all things from a spiritual perspective rather than an earthly one. I believe this is an opportunity for the Lord to teach me many spiritual lessons regarding His character...and maybe even a couple of things about my own character too! (Like how I can be impatient.)

Throughout all of Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, God's lessons to the Israelites were centered around one thing: trust. God repeatedly proved His trustworthiness to them, providing for their every need, even when they did not trust Him. We serve the same God today who is begging for us to do one thing: trust.

So, I'm not waiting on Uncle Sam to deliver my tax refund...

I'm not waiting on some man to declare his undying
love for me and want me to be his wife...

I'm not waiting on someone to hire me and give me the career of my dreams...

I am waiting on the Lord, while He is waiting on me to trust Him.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's my Birthday!

March 7, 1980 at 3p.m. my mom gave birth to me in Albequerque, New Mexico. So, today that makes me 26 years old! I can hardly believe it, I am now officially in my late 20s. Time sure does fly by, and it seems just like yesterday I was celebrating my sweet 16. Much has happened, and much has changed in my life, but through it all, I look back on this day and see how God's right hand has kept me...for such a time as this. I am truly excited to see what God has in store for me, and I humbly am ready for the work He has set before me this 26th year of my life.

The other day driving home I saw a bumper sticker on the car in front of me that read,

"Don't need to be born first birth was good enough."

I couldn't believe how cynical and mean-spirited that message was. In reality though, we live in a society that is very hardened against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many today do not recognize the depravity of their souls and desperate need for a Savior.

So while I am thankful for this day, March 7th, I am even more thankful for January 18, 1994. That was the day God wooed me into His presence and welcomed me into His family by giving me eternal life. I praise God for being born again because now He not only calls me His own, but He has a purpose and a plan for my life that will be used all for His glory!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Psalm of Lament

On Monday I was having a horrible day! I was just down, sad, and not understanding some things in my life. That night I was doing an assignment for school. Of all things, our professor asked us to write an original psalm of lament. Initially I thought to myself, "Ok, I'm not can I write a psalm?" Well, I after studying a few of the lament psalms before writing my own, a common theme I found in the lament psalms were: honesty, transperancy with God, and ultimately a cofession of trust in the Lord. I have such a greater appreciation for the lament psalms now, and I am so grateful that our Lord invites us to be honest with Him just like David! I hope you will enjoy my original Psalm of Lament and that God would minister to you through it!

A Psalm of Lament

O God, how long must I wait?
Lord, how long until I see a change?

Be gracious Father, my heart aches;
Come near me for I am lonely;
But You, O Lord, You are silent.

Hear me, O Lord, hear my silent cries.
Comfort me in my longing, for Your name’s sake.
Restore me, I need Your mercy.

My hope fades even in the day light;
I am blinded by my circumstances;
I cry out for You to move;
But You, O Lord, You are silent.

Be lifted up, O God!
For You have already crushed the enemy.
The Lord is Sovereign in all His ways.
My tears have not escaped You;
Your loyal love is a banner over me.

“There are times when our hope despairs;
those are times when our despair must learn to hope.”
Martin Luther

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Women in Ministry

For centuries many women have faced challenges, discrimination, and even death all in pursuit to minister in the name of Jesus Christ. Through the testimonies of trailblazers who have gone before us, I am encouraged and reminded that it is Jesus Christ Himself who has personally called all women to ministry, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Nevertheless, women today will not be immune from some of the same challenges women faced in the past. Perhaps one of the most pressing challenges women in ministry face today is linked to the role of women in ministry. Unfortunately, many Christian men and women are still unclear on what women can or cannot do in ministry. This one issue has enormous implications for the Body of Christ as it relates to bringing the lost into the kingdom of God, not allowing women to use their spiritual gifts, and thwarting the call and commandment given equally to women by Jesus Christ.
To gain an understanding of the role of women in ministry, one must first look into the Word of God. As I began studying women of the Bible, I was encouraged and excited to learn how God has used many women in different ministry roles throughout scripture. From examples of women of the Old to the New Testament, we today in ministry have a responsibility not to allow their legacies to become lost. For it is by their examples, that we first have been able to understand our calling by the same Lord who called them.
I love the story in John 4 of the Samaritan woman at the well. It was to this woman Christ first revealed that He was the Messiah. In doing this, Jesus not only transcended racial and ethnic lines, but gender lines as well. Upon hearing the news, verse 28 says she went into the city and “testified to the men” about the Messiah, and in verse 39, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified.” Christ revealed Himself to this woman at the well first, and He has continued to reveal Himself to women to this present age. Surely we have a role in ministry, which includes women ministering to men. Like the woman at the well, women today must testify and tell others about the Christ revealed to them.
Despite Christ’s affirmation for the role of women in ministry, there are still skeptics, and the question still remains, “How can we overcome this challenge?” May I suggest another question we all should be asking, which is, “How then shall we as women minister?” I believe we should be asking this question because the unfortunate truth is that there will always be challenges in ministry, regardless of gender. Women do not need anyone else to affirm them for ministry; God has already given us His high mark of approval! Therefore, we need to be asking the Lord, “How would you have me to minister? How can I be used as your vessel? How may I serve in your kingdom agenda?” I sincerely believe it will be through humility that Christ will raise up women to be used by Him in ministry. In Matthew 20:26-28 we learn from Christ that whoever wants to be become great must be a servant…and “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Christ is the standard, and Christ is the answer to overcome this challenge and the many other challenges women in ministry will face in the future. The goal in overcoming the challenge of the role of women in ministry should be to avoid divisiveness within the Body by taking on humility.
In Acts 1:8, Christ says that it will be by power of the Holy Spirit that we will be His witnesses…to the “remotest part of the earth.” We shall overcome…but not by any works of ourselves, but by the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is my prayer that together, women and men in ministry would press forward under the one banner of Christ’s love and enablement of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Heart of Solemn Assembly

Here's a devotional that I wrote for the e-devotional for the singles' ministry at my church. You will read about "solemn assembly" in the article, which is a week-long, church-wide fast we participate in yearly. I hope you will enjoy it and be blessed!

The Heart of Solemn Assembly

Technology today has allowed doctors to see the internal condition of the body in a 3-D image through a procedure called an MRI. The images given to the doctor can precisely pin point any issues inside of the body. When having an MRI image taken, one has to lie down flat, being completely still, and completely quiet. Then the patient enters into the machine, where light is shined on their body in order to accurately see what is inside of them.

This week during Solemn Assembly 2006, have you allowed God to take an MRI image of you? Have you been quiet, not moving a muscle in order to hear His voice? Have you allowed light to be shined upon your heart in order to see what’s on the inside?

God commands of us in Joel 2:13, “Rend your heart and not your garments.”

We serve a God who is in constant pursuit after our hearts and will not relent until it is His. Rendering a few missed television programs and delicious meals is not the “heart” of the fast He has called us to. The fast the Lord has called us to this week is one not only to perform an MRI, but to give us the results of the MRI! The Lord is concerned about the condition of your heart, and that you release the grip you have on your heart, entrusting it to Him.

So as we draw closer to Friday and to the end of Solomon Assembly 2006, do not let today pass by without spending some quiet time with the Lord and asking Him to give you an MRI. However, remember you must be still, be quiet and let His light be shined upon your heart.

Pray as David did in Psalm 139:23-24:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.”

May you have a blessed day in the Lord as you get to the heart of Solemn Assembly…

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Celebrate Today

I have made a choice that this year will be a year of celebration! Psalm 149:1 says,

"Sing to the Lord a new song..."

After reading that, I thought to myself, "What new song of praise am I singing to the Lord?"

So, in an effort to be more grateful to the Lord for the new things He is doing in my life, I have made a choice to find one new thing everyday to praise God for whether it be small or big. Satan steals our joy from day to day by getting us to focus on what we don't But if we were to look closer, I believe we could find treasures to celebrate today!

Some verses in the Bible we have all read or heard recited so many times that we allow them to lose their effect upon our hearts. I realized this today as I was reading Psalm 118:24:

"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

I decided not to roll by that verse that I memorized years ago in my youth group, but to stop and meditate on what that verse means for me today. First, God has blessed me with this I must thank Him for it. I am exactly where I am, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing because this is the day He has made for me. He is Sovereign. The sooner you and I realize that, the better off we'll be!

We are commanded to rejoice! Rejoicing is a verb--it's something you do. Therefore, you and I have to make the choice not to complain, which is the opposite of rejoicing! Then we are commanded to be glad in it. What is the "it" we are to be glad about? The "it" refers to this day--but not just any day, but the day that the Lord has made. We can rejoice and be glad in today knowing that God is in control!

Now, in saying this, I know there are things about today that we are all unhappy about. God did not tell us to rejoice in that...He said to rejoice in the day He has made. Notice the rejoicing has nothing to do with us...but with Him. He is our joy! With the rising of each new day, we can be glad because it reassures us that He is still in control, He is still on the throne!

So, what about you? What are you rejoicing for today? What are you glad about today? How will you celebrate today?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

There is Something about that Name

What do you think about when you hear the name cancer? Unfortunately, it is a name many of us have been aquainted with. Me personally, my grandfather died when I was in the eight grade of lung cancer, and I will be honest with you, cancer scares me. Just the name itself...CANCER, sends chills up my body and a pain in my heart for those who battle cancer daily. To think that cancer can form in one tiny cell in your body and have the power to overtake your body is unbelievable...

I know two people currently who are battling some form of cancer, and my heart goes out to them and their family. Cancer is a name that none of us want to hear when it comes to ourselves or our family members and loved ones. As we have already begun a new year, I wonder how many lives and families will get an unwelcomed visitor of cancer knocking on their doors in 2006?

As I was praying for the two people I know with cancer today, the Lord whispered a sweet truth to me:

"My Name is above every name..."

Wow...JESUS' name is above every name, even cancer! A friend reminded me earlier this week of something I had forgotten:

"There is power in the NAME!"

How often we forget about that when we hear of a friend diagonsed with cancer, or when we face many of life's obstacles. We immediately look horizontally to our circumstances on earth instead of looking up to heaven and saying the name, "Jesus!"

Remember the hymn:

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
there is something about that Name...
Blessed, Savior, Jesus, let all heaven and earth proclaim
that kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
but there's something about that Name."

What a beautiful truth in that old hymn...that all things, even cancer, will one day pass away, but the name of Jesus is the Name above every name that will never cease! Praise God!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dreams I Dream for You

Someday, I hope to completely let go of the reigns of my so-called destiny and allow God the opportunity to blow my mind.
~Jeremiah 29:11

You taste the tears
You're lost in sorrow
You see your yesterdays
I see tomorrow

You see the darkness
I see the spark
You know your failures
But I know your heart

You see your shame
But I see your glory
You read one page
I know the story

I hold a vision
That you'll become
As you grow into the truth
As you learn to walk in love

The dreams I dream for you
Are deper than the ones you're clinging to
More precious than the treasures you pursue

Let the old dreams die
Like stars that fade from view
Then take the cup I offer
And drink deeply of
The dreams I dream for you...

Song by Avalon