Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Life in Germany, Part 1

I’ve been meaning for some time to sit down and and write about my time here, but… Well, it’s hard to find the time to dedicate to this purpose, but it’s also hard to know what to say.  It’s been just over 6 weeks since I left home, and so much has happened!  I guess I find myself slightly overwhelmed by the task of updating you on all of the details of my life in these last 6 weeks, on the one hand, and on the other I find myself wanting to go all melancholy on you and tell you all of my little joys, struggles, and the lessons I’ve been learning.  It’s only been 6 weeks, yes; but a lot can happen in that time.  

…Whatever, I’m just going to wing it.  We’ll see how I do.  :-D

First, I’ll tell you about life here.  I live in a little town called Fischbach, just outside of Friedrichshafen, Germany.  My school is located in a large building connected to a dorm building, where I currently make my residence… I just realized today that I’ve been living in my room in “Suitcase” mode (my closet being the suitcase), kind of living there like I’m about to leave at any moment.  That needs to change; I generally like my “House” to feel like a home, and it can’t really when you don’t… you know… decorate.  Or something.  :-P  Anyway, I’d like to work on that.  

Regardless, the school building has a large common room used for lectures, church services, and a dining room, all in one.  The one half of the room is set up for lectures throughout the week, and the other half is set up for meals every day.  As the room is needed for other events or services, we move things around as needed to make it work for other purposes.

Also at the school, we have “The Honeycomb,” a little cafe type room, where we can buy coffee and snacks when they are open, play board games, or just go sit in there to read.  There is also a beautiful wooden patio off of the Honeycomb overlooking the orchard in the back, which is quite lovely, and I very much enjoy sitting out there when it is not too cold.

We also have a book shop/internet room, a computer room, a games room, a library, workout room, sauna, prayer room, laundry room etc… There’s always lots to do!  We can also borrow bikes, canoes, and kayaks anytime we want; which is pretty sweet.

Currently, I am sitting in one of the many little cafes in the area to write about this; I wanted to go for coffee with Jesus, so I did.  He paid, and it’s lovely.  :)  We also have, in addition to lots of cafes, lots of shops to visit in Friedrichshafen (including H&M, which is extremely tempting when you didn’t bring that many clothes, btw…), and there is a large Superstore-esq. grocery store about a 20-30 minute walk from here as well.

Other than all of that, there are lots of beautiful buildings, orchards, and the lake nearby which all make for lovely walks.  I have a favourite walking spot, even - which I will post pictures of…. soon.  Later.  Eh he. :)

My daily schedule looks something like this:
 - Around 7am, I get up and get ready for breakfast, which starts at 7:30 and is mandatory that we attend (not that I wouldn’t anyway, but yeah).  
 - After breakfast, most of the students scatter to do their daily duties (my previous duty was supper dishes, so I couldn’t do it in the morning, obviously).  My current duty is table setting, so I am responsible to help about 5 other students wipe tables and chairs, and the set the tables for the next meal at the end of each meal every day.
 - Once your duty is done in the morning, you have until 9:20 to do whatever you like - At which point we have our first lecture of the day for about an hour.  
 - After that, we have a 15 minute coffee break together, and then back to lectures for 2 more hours with a 5 minute break in between.
 - Then, lunch!  (And setting tables…)
 - After lunch, we have free time until supper.  During this time, you can go into town, study, take a walk, or go to a cafe, which is what I decided to do today.
 - Supper is at 6, so we all meet there, and then we have free time again (unless we have duties) until 7:30, when we have 2 evening lectures.  
 - The evening is then free, usually, to do whatever you like - there is a sauna offered for either guys or girls almost every night, and lockup is at 10:30pm, at which point you have to be out of the main building and in the dorm, headed for bed preferably.  

That is my day-by-day.  We often have other events planned in the evenings instead of lectures, or special outreaches to attend instead of lectures, in which case we get the audio given to us so that we are able to catch up.  We have had one test on lectures so far, and there is one more tonight - So we’ll see how that goes!  We have also had one book report to hand in already, 2 memory verses every week, and now we have 2 more large writing projects and one more book report due before Christmas at various times.  

Hm, what else can I tell you about daily life… It is interesting living with 105 other people every day, that’s for sure.  And the food here is fantastic.  :)

Other than that, you might be interested to know… 
 - We hiked in the Swiss Alps (BEAUTIFUL - And hard.)
 - We went to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle at Disney World.  :)
 - We have had an “International Night” (each country represented by the student body prepares and shows a presentation of their country), a pumpkin carving contest, a “Film Festival Night” (we divided into groups and made videos for a movie night - so fun!), and “K-Group Olympics,” which was all of the school small groups (Or K-Groups, “K” standing for Koinonia) working together to compete in a series of games… This was a lot of fun as well, and I enjoyed it very much.

Annnd… I’m sure that doesn’t even begin to cover it.  But that’s all I’m going to say for now.  If you have questions, feel free to post them in the comments, or send me an email.  Short emails get answers faster, FYI.  ;)

Thanks to all who take an interest, and especially for your prayers.  I appreciate it so much.  I am a little sad about how quickly the time is slipping through my fingers, but I’m excited to feel that I am exactly where God would have me be… it is so good to walk with him.

He is good!

Love you all and bye for now,


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spread Your Wings, Little Bird

On September 10, 2014, Mom, Becky, Deborah, and Micaiah dropped me off at the Windsor airport, where I met up with Grace Bauer, my travel companion and now, good friend.  Sitting there, it kind of felt like standing on the edge of a proverbial cliff, arms spread wide, taking a deep breath.  Time to fly.  I’ve never left home like this before, and though I’d been planning this flight for about 2 years, I could hardly believe it was here.  6 months on my own.  Wow.

Grace and I arrived in Munich in the morning of September 11, 2014, where our luggage took a very long time to find us, and then we were picked up by Achim’s friend Thomas, who flagged us down with the Canadian flag that my family had given him when he came for Leah and Achim’s wedding last summer. It was pretty great.  :)

From the airport, we went to Dinzler (an AMMMMAAAAZING coffee shop), which if you’ve ever talked to me before, you’ve probably heard me mention… with a lot of exclamation points. I love that place!  I took a couple of pictures, but not enough.

Then, on to Austria.  Thomas dropped us off at Nike and Manfred’s house, where we spent the next 8 days; 8 of the most magical days of my life.  Seriously, we were so spoiled, and I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the time, money, and love that those people poured into us.  Every minute of it will be a treasured memory to me.  

To go into all of the details, well, you’ll have to ask me in person when I come home.  In the meantime, however, here are some pictures from Austria!

(Note: I was going to post most of my pictures on here, but I have decided, Facebook is faster and easier.  And in the interest of staying away from my computer as much as possible, Facebook wins.)

Love and bye for now,


Monday, September 15, 2014

Step 1 - Austria!

This post is mostly a test to see how my pictures look on the blog.  Here's one I took today, sitting on the top of the mountain, from a hike we took in the alps!

My first stop on this trip, as I mentioned before, is visiting Austria.  So - Beautiful.  And the people are so wonderful; I'm being treated like gold, and I hardly know what to do with myself.  Every day is like Christmas, except that it's sunny (or raining... which is also beautiful) and you can go outside in a sweater... and also, everything is gorgeous and green, and and and... there aren't words to describe how wonderful it is to be here.

God is good - and GREAT.  This place is so majestic - and to think it's just a part of his creativity (a small part) playing out in his creation.  Not to mention all of the wonderful individuals we are meeting and spending time with.

Ahh!  :D  Happy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Germany, Here I Come

You may have heard, I am going to Germany.  Leaving in 2 days, headed to Austria for a week, and then off to school at Bodenseehof, a Bible school Friedrichshafen Germany.

Wow.  This is happening.

I don't have time to write a whole lot right now, but I did want to say a couple of things.

First, thank you.  Thank you to all who have supported me financially, and in prayer.  I so appreciate it, and your prayers are so needed especially!

Second, I wanted to make an "Announcement" (if you will) to say, I am not going to be online a whole lot while I'm away.  I'm taking some time to distance myself from that... I need to focus.  I am going away to "Sit at the feet of Jesus," to listen to him.

I will be updating on here occasionally (at least that is the plan), and I do want to put some pictures on the blog as well... So you can keep an eye out for that.

If you need to reach me while I am away, you can send me an email - I will be checking that occasionally, though again, I may take a while to respond... If you have to reach me quickly, please send me word through my family.

And finally, goodbye (for now).  6 months really isn't that long, so maybe by the time you notice my absence, I'll be coming home - But if I didn't get to say goodbye to you, this is my opportunity, and I'm taking it!  I am so thankful for all of the people who pour so much into me.  And truly, if you're reading this, I consider you one of them - I feel special that you're taking the time to keep up with me and read this.

Love and bye for now, Canada.  Lord willing, I will be home soon!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Still Loved [Poem]

Sometimes when I'm struggling, I write poems... they aren't great poetry, perhaps, but for some reason I almost find it easier to express my thoughts when I write them in verses, like this.  

This one was written a few weeks ago, when I was struggling... comparing myself to other people, feeling like I'm falling short, like God was disappointed in me, irritated with me, not loving me as much as some other people around me...  This struggle continues, to a point... I'd be lying to say I've come through completely. But God is faithful, and I will cling to his Truth.

I know that regardless of what I say, do, or accomplish, I am still loved.  My Lord knew every thought, word, and action before they ever took place, and he still died for me.  

I am his.

Psalm 139:1-6
"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it."

Romans 8:38-39
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Still Loved
By Naomi Thomson

Confusion, selfishness, pride, envy
whirling through my mind…
Playing a game of comparisons, 
of every shape and kind.

Thoughts that tell me honestly,
or so I seem to link,
that what makes a person valuable 
is what other people think.

What gives me that idea,
I really am not sure.
I know my Saviour loves me,
with a love alive and pure.

Yet I tell myself I don’t deserve
a good man to love me someday…
When Christ the Lord died for me,
and “You are loved,” I hear him say.

I measure myself strictly
against what others might see of me.
And then I measure other people
against what I think I can see.

All this while, Jesus looks at our hearts,
he knows what is inside;
and “You are loved” he says to us,
though our hearts are filled with pride.

Why do I think I am not loved,
when Jesus Christ can see
all the things I’ve said and done
which nailed him to a tree?

Why do I think that I won’t get
that love I don’t deserve?
When I know that I have it already;
Jesus came to love and serve.

Forgive me Lord, please change me;
make me new from the inside out.
I don’t want to believe these lies anymore,
I want to be free, without a doubt.

Make my heart to know and feel
the Truth that sets me free.
Make my life to mirror you Jesus,
let “You are loved,” be seen in me.

May the comparison I make no longer be 
about my effort to arrive;
but let it be about Jesus; 
how I was dead, and now I’m alive.

There was death, now there is life,
and this life is available to me.
There was confusion, there was selfishness,
but now Jesus has set us all free.

Joy, O my soul!  Delight in your God,
he loves to hear your voice.
Though you don’t deserve his love,
you can receive it, it’s your choice.

Follow Jesus, loved one!  
He wants you to be free.
Let go of the thoughts inside you,
that ask, “What do they think of me?”

It doesn’t matter what they think,
the Truth will always stand;
Jesus loves and lives for you,
and he offers you his hand.

It’s not about what you deserve,
or what your efforts can achieve.
It’s all about what he’s done for you,
what he gives you to receive.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Faith Comes By Hearing

Sometimes I feel like I need to see something.  Yes, I ask the Lord to speak to me and teach me… But sometimes, I feel like I need to see a miracle, see Jesus walking among us, see a revival in order for my faith to grow.  Like, seeing is the source of faith - And that’s how it ought to grow… And so, I pray for sight.  “Lord, let me see you!"  "Lord, will you please heal and cause my faith to grow?"  "Lord, will you please give me _____?"  "Lord, please bring revival, and grow our faith!"  "Lord, help me to believe - please give me the thing I’m asking for.”

Yet, the Bible says that faith doesn’t come by sight; it comes by hearing the Word of God.

Romans 10:17
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Thomas wanted to see.  And Jesus said to him in John 20:29,

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7,

“For we walk by faith, not by sight”.

I suppose I write all of this to say, I think I’m learning that my prayers need to be more directed toward, “Lord, let me hear you!” than “Lord let me see you.”  And from a heart that longs to hear, may my prayers be, “Lord, let me believe you.”

We read time and time again, Jesus healed people in the New Testament with the saying, “Your faith has made you well.” I think I have sometimes felt, my faith is not strong enough because I can pray for healing and sometimes, nothing happens.  I’ve typically either chalked that up to being rooted in the fact that my faith isn’t strong enough, or that perhaps my request was outside of the will of God.  Perhaps one, or both, of these things are true.  

Yet, when I pray, do I pray out in faith?  In a sense, yes.  Asking at all is believing that it could happen - that is faith.  Yet, do I believe it will happen?  Not usually… I don’t know the will of God all the time.  How could I have that kind of faith, a faith that knows his will and can ask for it accordingly?

I suppose I’ve been realizing, there are opportunities for me to exercise faith in the Lord every day.  Not just by listening and asking him to speak directly to me individually, but through what he’s already said to all of us in his Word.  He’s already said it, and he is truth.  

John 14:6
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Faith isn’t something we have because of what we have seen… We believe that God is true, and when he says something, faith is taking what he says as just that - Truth.

He says he will supply your needs. (Phil. 4:19)

Do we believe it all the time?  Do our hearts rest in that?  When we can’t see how he will provide, do we still believe that he will?

That’s one example of many - God tells us a lot of things about how he will work in us and through us.  Do we believe him?  When we ask him for something, even though we can’t see how or why or where or when or whatever, if he said it, it is true.  Do we believe it when we can’t see it?

Hebrews 11:1
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

When God promised Abraham a son at 75 years of age, and it didn’t happen for 25 more years (longer than the span of my entire life so far), Abraham kept trusting God all through those 25 years of nothing happening… Him getting older… His wife getting older… He kept trusting God as being true.  And he was right to do so.  God is true, and God keeps, and kept, his promises. 

And so I ask myself:  The LORD has promised good to me.  Will I believe him, though I may endure seasons, even LONG seasons of not seeing what he has spoken?  Will I hold fast to what is true?

Proverbs 3:5 says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Perhaps in the New Testament, the faith that made people well was not so much a trust in Jesus’ ability to heal them, but in the absolute truth of his Word.  His Word is powerful, and when he said, “Get up and walk,” perhaps rather than feeling a sensation of healing and responding to that physical sign, people heard the WORD OF GOD and responded to his spiritual authority.  “He said walk, so I can walk.”  “He told me I am well, so I am well.”  When he said it, they believed it - and believing it, they received it.

Mark 11:24
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." [Emphasis mine]

He tells us a lot of things about ourselves, about himself, and about how we you ought to live in His Word, the Bible.  He has SPOKEN.  Do we believe what he has said?  Do we live in the fear of what he says, the joy of what he proclaims, and the hope of what he promises?  

Do you hear the Word of the Lord?  Or are you even listening?

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thinking, Singing, Thinking, Praying...

So I've been asked to be a guest author on a young lady's ministry blog, Uniquely Yours.  Sweet.  :)

Time to start pondering and praying about what to share.  Any thoughts?

In the meantime, whilst I think and pray, I'm listening to this song, again.  I love it.

Favorite part is the opening:  "You've come to seek and to save those who lost their way.  So seek me or I won't be found!  You've come to keep and sustain those who you have named.  So keep me, oh keep me now!"

Sunday, May 4, 2014

He Anoints My Head With Oil

(Scripture quotes are taken from memory and may not be exact.)

Had a cool thought this evening at prayer meeting.  On Sunday nights at our church, we anoint people who are sick with oil (as we are instructed in James 5) and pray for them.  Anointing with oil was the thing that they did when God chose who would be king - "The Lord's anointed."  We are chosen by God.  Psalm 23 says, "He anoints my head with oil, my cup runs over."  To me, I read that and think, "I am his chosen one (anointed with oil), and he causes many blessings, much FRUIT to come of my life, to the point where I am overflowing with it - overflowing with gladness (my cup runs over)."

Then, in John 15 Jesus says he is the vine, and we the branches, and that fruit in our lives is a result of his work.  Olives are a fruit of the vine (or tree, as the kingdom of heaven is also metaphorically described), and olives produce oil.  When we pray over people, we (the branches) lay our hands on them, anoint them with oil (the fruit), and pray in the name of Jesus (the vine).

The Bible also says that "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous man runs into it and is safe."

Jesus is the vine, the source of power, life, healing.  Jesus is our strong tower, and when we trust in his name, we are safe.  Jesus produces fruit.  And we, as we draw our life from him and anoint each other with a sign of being HIS, we ask the Lord to produce fruit through our prayers, through the branches that are our lives, in each other.  For, if there will be fruit, it will come from the life that is in the vine.  It will come from Jesus.

Standing around people laying our hands on them and praying this evening, I had a strong visual of this tree of life...  We are all depending on Jesus for life.  We are all connected to each other by him.  And, as many arms were stretched out to lay hands on the person on whose head we put this oil (the fruit), the picture I was getting was that of living, breathing BRANCHES, reaching out, connecting ourselves to another branch of the tree, asking our STRONG tower, trunk, vine, LORD, to send his power through us and produce fruit in the life of the individual we were praying over.

Cool.  :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Note To Self:

I would like to make a habit of spending the first part of my day in prayer, committing my day and my ways to the Lord.  I would like to make a habit of acknowledging him in all my ways, and at the end of every day, rather than focusing on my setbacks and “Failures,” or the lies that tell me I’ve been a failure, I want to thank the Lord for being with me and being faithful.  Even when I can’t see very well, and when I am discouraged.  He IS still there, and He IS still my provider, my leader, my teacher, and protector.  I need to trust in him.  I need to develop an attitude of gratitude that replaces my fears completely.  

HE is in me.  And HE is not a failure; I am his, and he is mine.  And I am HIS success.  He has saved me.  And there is NOTHING I have to do to make that any more valid.  It is truth.  It stands.  

Time to claim some truth over my life.  Time to pray with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, which tells me that I am His and that He is my leader who loves and protects and defends me.  

The TRUTH will set me free!

I will trust in the LORD!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Living Selfless in a Selfish World

I was out with a friend the other day, telling her...

If you think about it, if everyone in the world were completely selfless, we'd all have all of our needs met all the time because everyone else would always be looking out for us, and we'd be looking out for them.  Yet no one does live like that, so we can't depend on each other.  We live in self-defence mode.  Carrying our own struggles because no one else is free enough of their own burdens to carry them for us.

Then, last night, I was thinking about this again.  It is so easy to become self-focused and self-absorbed in our minds... because we are the only ones that live inside of our own heads, so we are the only ones who know what's going on in there.  When we're hurt, we know it.  No one else does, unless we tell them... and even then, they can't feel what we feel.  When we're happy, we feel it.  When we're sad, we feel it.  Whatever we're going through, other people are limited in their understanding of where we're at based on how we can communicate it to them, and then how they can relate based on their own experience.  You are the only one who *really* knows what it's like to be you.  And the same is true of everyone else you know; they are the only ones who *really* know what it's like to be them.

Often, when we're hurting, or feeling particularly selfish, it's because we feel the weight of our own emotions and struggles, and we can't seem to get out of them.  You are you, and you're the only one who knows what it is to be you.

So, this selfish condition of ours... it seems a little helpless... You're stuck being you forever, and as much as you would love to think about other people, and feel for THEM even more than you feel for yourself, you just don't know what it's like to be them, because you're not them.  And you are limited in your understanding of their hearts based on how much they are able to communicate it to you, and then based on your own level of experience and ability to relate.  Your greatest depth of understanding of anyone's heart would be your understanding of your own.

...It makes sense that you would think about yourself a lot then, doesn't it?

Yet... There is One who also knows your heart.  In fact, he knows it better than you do, and he cares about you more than you care about yourself.  He cares about you more than anyone ever has, could, or would.  He knows and loves you like this, AND... he knows and loves everyone else the same way.

He is our God.  And he inspired the Bible to be written in order to adjust your focus.  To take your eyes off of you, and put them on him. It teaches us that his heart... is full...  Of you.  Of others.  Full of people he loves, who break his heart on a consistent basis.

So... If you can't know other people's hearts like you know your own, why not stop focusing on yours, and start focusing on the One that made and knows both yours and everyone else's?

If you could really stop looking inward, and start looking upward, you might learn that there is a heart that overflows with love for you and meets your every need, and that this heart is full of love for other people, just like it is for you.  So if you focus on THAT... You find yourself, and others, in the centre of his heart.  You find yourself loved and cared for in a way that the people around you cannot do.  And you learn to see others as loved and cared for in the same way.

You learn that to live selflessly in a selfish world, you have to take your eyes off of yourself... To find that you are fully loved in the heart of someone else. And that this powerful, gracious, kind love also exists for everyone around you.

Gives you a bit of new perspective, does it not?  You don't need to learn to stop thinking about yourself to be a selfless person; you need to start thinking about yourself through the heart of the One who made you, in which place you are not the only one present.

The dictionary defines "Selfless" as "Having no concern for self."  You don't need to be concerned about yourself.  You have to learn to know the heart of the Father, who knows the depths of all of our hearts equally, and is, in and of himself, fully sufficient to satisfy ALL of our needs.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, self.  Your cares are not overlooked or misunderstood in his presence.  Cast them on him.  He cares for you.

Look at others with the heart of Jesus, self.  Their cares are not overlooked or misunderstood in his presence.  Carry their burdens to him with them.  He cares for them.

Focus your thoughts on the heart of Jesus, self.  He'll teach you how to dwell on it.  And through it, will teach you how to live and love like he does.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Believe in Fairy Tales

I was thinking the other day... I don't think I believe in fairy tales.  Looking forward to love, romance,  and marriage... One tends to think about fairy tales, and imagines that life might be that magical, that special.  But then there's a "Real-life-reality-check" that kicks in at the same time and tells me, "It's not true. Don't believe in fairy tales."

Yet still, somewhere deep inside of me, underneath all of that "I don't think they are real," lies a little princess who desperately hopes that she's wrong.  She wants life to surprise her; to show her that fairy tales are real after all.  She wants them to be so badly.

That was me.  I didn't believe in fairy tales.  I hoped I was wrong, that life would surprise me and show me that fairy tales happen after all, but honestly I didn't think it could ever be true...

...Until yesterday, when I realized something.  It is true.

This is my story:
 - I am a princess.  My father is the King of kings.
 - I am sought out by a Prince.  His name is Jesus.
 - My Prince pursued me to the death - He fought the treasure-hoarding dragon, the serpent, my enemy captor, to save me.
 - He values me like a precious gem.  He fights for me, leads me, defends me, blesses me, and wins my heart and my love.  He is my Lord, my Saviour, my King.
 - I am a blessing to Him because He has loved me, because He has blessed me, because He has won my heart and my passion.  I didn't do anything to make Him want me.  But because He wanted me, I adore Him... and that love will bless Him as long as I continue to allow His pursuit of me to draw my heart to His own.

I do believe in fairy tales.  I live one every day.  "Happily Ever After" is the end of my story; and when He comes to carry me off to His kingdom, what a beautiful day that will be!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prayer and Fasting

Our church just went through a week of prayer and fasting.  And this is what I have learned.  So far...

First, I had a picture.  A vision, I suppose.

I was thinking about my burdens, and what it means to cast them on the Lord... and then after that, about taking his yoke upon me.

1 Peter 5:7
"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." 

Matthew 11:29-30
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

And then this image came to my mind:

I imagined myself, or a person whose pain I could feel, standing there.  They were cringing, awaiting the slap of a heavy burden, about to fall on their back.  It was one of those pre-pain crying moments.... ready for the weight that would fall.  I was ready to receive what was my own.  It was coming to me.  Yet, just before the burden hits my back, Jesus steps in, spreads his arms over me, and catches my burden on his own back - A heavy wooden cross.  

I find this image so powerful.  That burden, that cross, was meant for me.  I earned that.  It was my cross to bear.  Yet, he took it.  And his banner over me is love.

Psalm 91:1
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the AlmightyI will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”"

Then, the next thing I got this week was this passage... 

Colossians 1:9-12
"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."

I have been praying this now for myself, and for others.  That he would teach us all the knowledge of his will through the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.  This passage is so much what I want... To know his will, to walk in a manner worthy of him, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.  I want to be strengthened with his power, by his glorious might, so that I may have endurance and patience with joy, giving him thanks all the while.  He has qualified me to share in the inheritance of his saints... in light.  His light. 

Then, the last thing I learned was this:

I was teaching Sunday school this week, and the lesson was about Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33).  And wow... talk about powerful.  I was convicted... because I was able to enter into this story in a way I hadn't before.  It was like I was there.  

No, I'll say that again: It is like I am there.  Only my story looks more like this...

The wind the waves are swirling around me in the form of fears and lies.  I am terrified.  Yet, there, in the midst of my storm, I see Jesus - And he is walking on the water, untouched, unafraid, unaffected by fear.  It does not swallow him; it cannot hurt him; it cannot touch him.  And I say to him, "Is that you Lord?"  And he says, "It is I.  Do not be afraid."  I respond, "If it is really you, tell me to come to you."  He says, "Come." I step out - reaching toward him - yet I still see and feel the wind and the waves around me, and they still frighten me.  In that moment, rather than focus on Jesus and his command of "Do not be afraid," I begin to look at the wind and waves, and I begin to sink in my fears.  

Yet, he is gracious to catch me.  He is gracious to save me.  And he says to me, "Why did you doubt, oh you of little faith?" His strong arms lift me up out of my fears, and then he steps into my boat, my heart (the very thing these fears are surrounding)... And all of a sudden, my fears are gone.  The storm ceases.  The wind stops.  Perfect love casts out fear. 

Forgive me, Father.  I have been afraid.  I have been sinking.  Thank you for saving me.  But thank you that it is not too late to learn to walk on the water with you.  Teach me to trust in your voice above the sound of my fear crying, howling, raging around me.  YOU are strong enough to save me.  You and you alone.  And even the wind, even my fears, must obey you.  Truly, Jesus, you are the Son of God.


Proverbs 18:10
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."


1 Peter 5:6-11
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Monday, April 14, 2014


Feeling small today.  But good.  God is good.  And he is with me.

I am so thankful.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

He is Enough

Here is a thought.  Perhaps this is a little out of context, perhaps not...

Philippians 4:19 - "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

My God... will supply your needs.  He doesn't say, "God will give you water to quench your thirst, he will give you money to pay your bills, he will give you food to satisfy your hunger, he will give you STUFF to meet your needs..."

Rather, he says, God will meet your needs.  Just, HIM.  He is enough.  Yes, he meets our needs in tangible, practical ways; but yes too, he is more than enough.  Our needs are met in his presence, and there is nothing we need besides him.

"According to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus..."  

Riches in glory... How is he glorified?

John 15:8 - "By this my Father is glorifiedthat you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples."

How do we bear fruit?

John 15:5 - "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

So basically, to have our needs met...

All we can do is abide with him.  God meets our needs because he comes to us, and he invites us to come to him. We need him, and he is available to us.  He is rich in glory through Christ Jesus, and as we dwell in him and he in us, we produce fruit because he is there (and only because he is there), and the Father is glorified in that.  

So, to summarize, he'll meet our needs because he IS OUR NEED MET.  He meets our needs by his riches in his own work and glory.  He is great.  And he is our greatest need.

Pretty amazing, I say.

Matthew 6:31-33 - "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Just got back from a few days away.  Happy to be home.  Happy to see the world with fresh eyes in a way... God is good.  I feel that I have been learning the obvious.  Things that were right in front of me, things that I "Knew"- Are suddenly clear.  It's like I've seen things all my life that I can finally SEE.  I've heard things all my life the I can finally HEAR.  

...There are many more things that I have to learn, but God is loving, kind, and patient.  I am thankful.

I'll write more later, likely, about my recent lessons.  They're things maybe you've heard too.  But wow, when the Lord applies a learned lesson to your heart, it speaks volumes of truth into your life... and it is transforming.  

The truth will set us free!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Holy Fire [Part 2]

Just thinking, a little more on the same topic as the other day.  I wrote a couple of days ago in a post titled, "Holy Fire," as I was thinking about how the Bible tells us that "Our God is a consuming fire," in so many places, and uses language to describe him as our refiner, etc.  It was pretty mind blowing and amazing.

Then, yesterday I believe it was, I was thinking on this again.  

Jesus said, 

John 15:1-6 - "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." 

Many times in Scripture, the Lord refers to us as being a part of a plant, like this vine, or a great tree.  

...Yet... He's a consuming fire?  Plants and fire... together... usually produces ash, does it not?  Kinda like the unfruitful branches that are gathered and thrown into the fire, as Jesus says in that analogy.

Well look at this:

Exodus 3:2-4 - "And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, 'I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.' When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'"

I dunno... Does that strike anyone else as AMAZING?  That our holy God, a consuming fire, appears to Moses in a burning bush, and the bush is not consumed.  This plant does not turn to ash.  

Makes me think, if we're abiding in HIM, as the branches abide in the bush, we're safe.  He is a consuming fire; yet his flame does not consume his live-giving and life-preserving self, or those who belong to him.      

Pretty cool stuff, this.  :)  I love how God uses creation to explain himself to us.  And how he appears to us in ways that we can understand "Fire is powerful.  Our God is like that."  "The vine gives life to the branches.  Our God is like that."  

He shows himself in creation... in so many different ways.  He truly is above, in, and through all things. (Romans 11:36)

The Truth Will Set You Free

John 8:31-32 - "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 14:6 - "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

I'm learning:  Jesus is the truth.  And he, exposing lies by the light of his truth, has been setting me free from so much bondage in my life.  Bondage like insecurity.  Pride.  Envy.  Chains that have bound me, he has broken.  PRAISE THE LORD!

I am still a work in progress; I always will be.  This freedom I have been granted is in Christ alone, and in the light of the presence of the Lord my tendency to fall back into these traps is exposed, and by his grace, I am able to continually surrender them to him and allow him to remove them from my life.  It is a cycle of grace.  It is beautiful.  In it, there is freedom and joy.  I am so thankful!

Yet, there are still areas that come up that need to be exposed, still chains that need to be broken.  Through prayer, this one came to my attention the other day, when I was at a near-breaking point, crying out to the Lord for help:

The stronghold of lies.

I have been lied to much of my life.  Lies that come at me in the form of statements, or sometimes, questions.  Much like the serpent with Eve in the garden... There are questions in my mind that begin with, "Did God really say...?"

Jesus described the devil this way...

John 8:44 - "...He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in himWhen he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Some of the lies that I've been hearing and believing much of my life sound much like this:

"You're failing.  You're a failure."

"You are a problem."

"This is your fault."

"You can't do anything very well."

"What is wrong with you?"

"You are unstable."

"You're not amounting to much of anything, nor can you."

"You have no self-control; you need get a grip and learn to control yourself."

Etc, etc, etc...

Sound familiar?  Perhaps you've heard similar things.

Yet, I am learning some stuff.  God wouldn't say anything like that to me.  In fact, he says the opposite.  He tells me I'm loved and valued.  He tells me that he does everything well, and I am the result of his good work.  He tells me that there is nothing wrong with me that he hasn't been able to fix.  He tells me that he is my stability, my rock.  He tells me that I'm his child, and that I don't have to earn that place.  He tells me that self-control is not a reflection of my effort but a result of his Spirit living and working inside of me.

And he... Is truth.  

He also tells me that he is my righteousness, and that I can be strong in his might.  He tells me there is a battle, and it's spiritual... But all I need to do to win is STAND... with HIM.  Armed with his presence, his words, his life.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Ephesians 6:10-17 - "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand thereforehaving fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

John 15:7 -  "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 - "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete."

By God's grace, I am experiencing the joy of his presence and the power of his might.  I am learning remind myself of truth in my life.  When lies come into my head, I'm learning to pick up "The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."  God's words speak LIFE and over me.  God's words cover me with truth... with Christ.  And this truth can destroy strongholds and set me free.

Galations 5:1 - "For freedom Christ has set us freestand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

Proverbs 18:10 - "The name of the Lord is a strong towerthe righteous man runs into it and is safe."

I will not submit to these lies, this yoke of slavery.  I will run into the name of the Lord, my rock and my strong tower.  I will run into the name of Jesus, who is truth and whose true words defeat the enemy and his lies, lifting me up from the pit of destruction. 

Psalm 40:1-5

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry. 
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure. 
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord. 
Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie! 
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told."

John 8:36 - "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

I am free indeed!  GOD IS GOOD!

[Bold emphasis throughout this post is mine.]