Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Truths of the Gospel

So it's been, what, four months since I last posted? Wow!

I can tell you without hesitation that the last year, and the last four months in particular, have proved the most challenging, transitional, and interesting months I have ever experienced! Throughout these last few months, I have learned so much: about God, about His Word, and about His people.

One of the truths I have been realizing anew is that of the Gospel.

And yes, I understood and believed the Gospel before my last post...

However, I am starting to see the Gospel's truths more clearly, and I can only attribute this to God and His mercy! Here are just a few of the truths about the Gospel that He has either taught me or reminded me of afresh:

~The Gospel is completely and utterly incomprehensible! The fact that God the Father would allow His Son to dwell with filthy, contaminated, sin-infested humans, and then to die a cruel and painful death for those humans, makes absolutely no sense!
Romans 5:8--"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~The excruciating physical pain that Christ experienced on our behalf is not the only or even the primary point that should bring us to our knees. The most awe-inspiring truth is that every individual sin of every human being who ever lived, lives, or will live, was placed on a pure and perfect God. He bore all of my sins in that one moment on the cross, and God the Father turned His face away from His Son. All for me and you.
1 Peter 2:24--"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."
~Christ's resurrection completely and permanently dissolved sin's power over me. There is no condemnation, no restricted access to His throne, no fear in my relationship with Him.
Hebrew 4:16--"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Colossians 2:13-14--"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."
~The Gospel affects every aspect of my life. My worldview, my every decision, my every action, should be driven by my awareness of God's mercy and by the fact that the Gospel grants me "everything [I] need for life and godliness."
2 Peter 1:3--"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."
~When I become discouraged or overwhelmed by some challenge or trial, I only need to remember that Christ already took care of my biggest problem, that of sin and separation from Him, and that I can confidently place my trust in His control.
Hebrews 2:14-18--"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
How awesome is His mercy, and how AMAZING is His grace!

I want to encourage you: keep praying that God would increase your appreciation for and understanding of the Gospel! He is answering my prayer, and in doing so, He is giving me joy and a renewed love for our incredible God!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

That's MY King!

Friday, January 9, 2009

What Are You Learning?

My mom started a weekly series called "What Are You Learning?" so that we can share with each other what God is teaching us, and so I decided to participate. If you'd like to share what God is teaching you, click on the link at the end of this post.

"Jesus is...asking for an internal sacrifice and yielding." (Oswald Chambers)

Complete surrender is so difficult! Lately I've been thinking about surrender and what it means, and honestly, I've had difficulty accepting the fact that God desires, well, total surrender, not just little bits and pieces of my life.

Total surrender means stepping out of my comfort zone! It means allowing Him to point me in a direction that I may not want to go! It means letting Him get all the glory and possibly not getting any for myself!

When I look at total surrender through my limited human perspective, it sounds miserable. Yet when I look at it through the lens of God's Word and realize that He's had my life planned out to the smallest, minutest detail since before the beginning of time; and when I remember that total surrender equals true joy (if not happiness), I'm filled with a sense of peace and gratefulness. God--the Creator of a universe so complex and enormous that the most brilliant scientific minds could not possibly understand it completely--that same God stoops down and carries me through this life. He works each detail of my life into His perfect plan!

Certainly, a God like that deserves my total surrender to His will! He deserves every ounce of my life!

I recently read this excerpt from "My Utmost for His Highest" (can you tell I enjoy this book??):

It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a "living sacrifice"--to let Him have all your strengths that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus (Romans 12:1). This is what is acceptable to God.

God wants all of me. He wants the gifts He has given me to be used for His glory. He wants my very existence to direct glory to Him.

I fall so pitifully short of total surrender, but God is always patient! Thank You Father!

If you want to participate in "What Are You Learning?" just visit my mom's blog and link your post to

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No matter what changes God has performed in you, never rely on them. Build only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives. All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to accomplish them. When we come to the end of ourselves, not just mentally but completely, we are able to "receive the Holy Spirit." "Receive the Holy Spirit"--the idea is that of invasion. There is now only One who directs the course of your life, the Lord Jesus Christ.

~Oswald Chambers, from My Utmost For His Highest

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

But I WANT It!!

Sometimes I feel dumb when people ask me, "So, what do you want to be when you get older?" I feel dumb because I'm really not sure what I want to far as a professional career goes. I enjoy music, and that's what I'm majoring in right now, but I don't have a "passion" for it.

Quite honestly, the only "career" that I know I want is that of a wife and mother. Ever since I was a kid, that's been my one strong desire. And now that I'm 18, that desire is stronger than ever, especially since, technically, I'm old enough to be in a serious relationship (although at this point, I know for a fact I'm not ready for one! :-)

I often talk with my mom about my desire for romance and marriage, and about the struggles I face as a college freshman surrounded, not only by guys my age, but also by other girls who have their own boyfriends.

It's not just romance, though. I'm developing other desires as I grow and mature. Desires for more independence. I want to "do things on my own," like get a job, go out with friends, etc. However, my parents (and God) repeatedly remind me to trust in His timing and plan, and to not rush into things based on emotion and impulse.

For no particularly profound reason, I recently decided to start reading through 1 Kings. Chapters 1-2 tell the story of Adonijah, David's oldest surviving son, and of his desire to be "independent." He wanted his father David's throne, despite the fact that God had given that throne to his younger brother, Solomon. So, behind his father's back, he crowned himself king. With lots of friends cheering him on, he held his own coronation ceremony! He even performed the appropriate religious rituals and sacrifices.

When David found out, he held his own coronation ceremony for Solomon. Adonijah, realizing the trouble he was in, got scared and decided to submit to his brother's authority. However, he eventually resumed his quest for power, and as a result, Solomon had him executed.

What a lesson! Adonijah desired to be king. He desired to be independent. Yet his rebellion and persistence in resisting God's will cost him his life.

This story challenged me, and it reinforced what I've been taught for a long time: God's timing and will are best. If I push for what I want now (romance, independence, my own way, etc.), I will certainly regret it! It doesn't matter how many friends I get on my side; Adonijah had plenty of outside support. It doesn't matter what religious motions I go through to justify my rebellion; Adonijah made the required sacrifices to God. Getting my way in opposition to God's way is always sinful.

What if I decided to push for romance...and got my way? I would probably end up in a stressful relationship that would divert my focus from my present callings of being a student and a daughter. I could place myself in a dangerous situation that caused me to compromise my purity and end up married to the completely wrong guy!

What if I decided to force my independence...and got my way? I could end up holding a job with a horrible atmosphere and many potentially dangerous influences that could pull me down spiritually.

It's scary, but it's true! I'm so thankful that God is using His Word and my parents to warn me and to impress these truths into my mind and heart.

help me to pursue Your plan and purpose for my life.
Help me to focus on Your will for me,
and not to pursue my will for me.
Thank You for Your promises to meet all of my needs,
and thank you for the truth that if marriage
is a part of Your plan for me,
and if gaining a little more Independence
is in Your will,
You will provide all that is necessary!
I love You!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day Fun...

We had a very relaxing Christmas Day, just hangin' at home! Here are some pics we took while out on a Christmas evening walk...

Dad (being goofy) and Mom.

Mom and my somewhat normal brother :-)

Me and Dad

Being out the trash! :-)

Caleb showing off his trash-tossing skills...

Too true!! :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Undeserved Forgiveness

"Forgiven" by Thomas Blackshear
May I always keep this image before me, Father.
You have chosen to love me,
the one whose sin helped nail Your Son to the cross.
You chose to send Him to earth,
sacrifice Him in my stead,
and place on Him the horrible and unfathomable punishment
that should be mine:
seperation from You.
This sacrifice should cause me to cringe with horror
at the very thought of damaging my relationship with You.
Keep the Gospel before my eyes.
May it control everything I
and think.
Forgive me for treating Your sacrifice so carelessly.
Thank You for Your undeserved mercy
and incomprehensible love.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What a Head-ful!!!


What a semester! The whole 4 months has been nothing but one big learning experience (that's why I've had trouble keeping up with you guys...)!

So...what has God taught me during these last few months?

1) College takes DISCIPLINE! Thankfully, I have some natural organizational skills. However, I don't know what I would do without Mom to help me lay out a schedule, focus on completing homework, and distract me when I need to be distracted! :-) My Dad is there to proof-read papers and to cheer me up when I am stressed (which is all too often!).

My brother...well...he provides the comic relief!

2) Staying in tune with God is vital. Keeping up with my devotions has proved especially difficult lately, especially with the never-ending homework, time-consuming piano practice, early morning volleyball workouts, church twice a week, precious family time, late study-nights (no all-nighters yet!)...I am ashamed to say that I was not as consistent in the Word as I should have been, especially during the first few weeks of school.

I realized early on what a difference it makes when I miss my quiet time. I began to see myself giving into temptations more easily. I saw how much harder it was to stand alone in a crowd.

Over and over again, God reminded me that a busy schedule is not an excuse to stop spending time in His Word! In fact, it is the very reason why I must stay in His Word!

Thanks to God, I have grown in this area. Yet, I still have a long ways to go. Praise God for His never-ending patience!

3) I must rely on God, not people. As I started the school year, I had high hopes of developing at least one tight, godly friendship. I am realizing that those expectations are not always realistic. I have made some new friends, but for various reasons, my schedule included, it's been difficult to develop close and godly friendships.

My mom and I have had many long talks on this subject, and I am slowly realizing that I need to trust in God's plans and timing. I need to draw close to Him and not place my hope in human companionship, not even that of other Christians.

4) I am so thankful for my family! I am meeting so many different kids with so many types of backgrounds; sometimes their stories amaze me! I praise God for how He has blessed me with a safe home, godly parents, and a wonderful church.

5) I am so thankful for church family. I especially want to praise God for my friend Courtney. We met when I was only 7 years old, when her family started attending our church. We've been friends ever since! Over this semester, I've grown to appreciate her more and more. She is a godly, talented young women who is striving to honor God and is always there for me when I need to talk about "stuff."

I am seeing more and more how difficult it is to find solid, godly friends. God has blessed me so much through Courtney!


There is a boatload more to learn, and I am somewhat excited--somewhat apprehensive--about what God's going to teach me next semester!

Right now...I'm just enjoying my BREAK!!

Cookie baking, Christmas shopping, room-organizing...
and lots and lots of SLEEPING!! :-)