Wednesday, March 31, 2010

come and drink.

"The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers - the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.

For thousands of people still ignore Christ's warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.

The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called 'nominal Christianity'.

In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity.
They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved; enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit the convenience.

no wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism."

john stott, from basic christianity

this is exactly the world we are living in. living as though we thought Christ came to make us make us look smooth around the edges. we have been fooled into thinking that getting involved and making appearances is enough to truly satisfy the one who died for us all. as c.s. lewis said, we are far too easily pleased. too pleased with ourselves. too pleased with the happiness around. too pleased and content to pick ourselves up from the low place we find ourselves in and actually look at the life of Christ and return to him the raw and honest love he daily showers on us.

i think that we've all together lost the meaning of what a true disciple looks like.
i know that often times my life is void of the qualities of a true and steadfast disciple.

you know the cliche but incredibly true saying...the Lords ways are better than ours
this is a hard truth to live out when "our" ways aren't bad ways. in my selfish heart i find that it's hard to be denied doing the 'good things' josh and i want to do when in return we get less 'exciting' plans placed before us. i don't want to deny Christ his authority in my life but i wrestle hardcore with the flesh. it's not an easy fight but it's not one i will give up. we don't want to succumb to the lie that if we do my own thing, it'll be more fun than His.

"but at the same time I keep having visions about Jesus coming back and heaven and it makes me scared to face him having not done as he asks."

i received those words in an email a couple of weeks ago. i couldn't agree more. we will face Jesus and we will be responsible for what we did/did not do. the cost of following Christ is great. i fear that the Christianity i see all around doesn't truly please the Lord...doesn't take His words as seriously as He meant them. there is a great and glorious weight in those Words. Jesus, come. Help your people. Help us to remember that you are returning. Help us live with eternal mindsets.

"'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"
matthew 25.35-40

friends and brothers and sisters, we are responsible!
and what a responsibility it is. what a HONOR.

"Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses,
just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
Hebrews 3.3

Thursday, March 18, 2010

it's that one thing.

"yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous."
romans 5 : 18 & 19

no way am i putting myself on the level of Adam and definitely not of Christ but this convicted my heart and God seemed to allow my heart to understand the significance of our actions. my words and actions, all of them, have so much power in them, for the good and for the bad.

we seem to belittle certain situations by playing them off as unimportant but we all too easily forget that to someone, that ONE thing could make the world of a difference.

it wasn't my life that introduced sin and it isn't my life that will make many righteous but...
my one action could cause someone to fall into sin
my one action could spur them on to gaze upon the Beauty of their creator.

i pray the latter would become truer in my life.
what a road we walk, huh?

"they are like trees planted along the riverbank..."
[training my heart to soak up that which is good and refuse that which is not.]

Friday, March 12, 2010

sunrise to sunset.

" He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence.

God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we're made of mud.
Men and women don't live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.
God's love, though, is ever and always,
eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
as they follow his Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever he said.

God has set his throne in heaven;
he rules over us all. He's the King!
So bless God, you angels,
ready and able to fly at his bidding,
quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless God, all you armies of angels,
alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
everything and everyone made by God.

And you, O my soul, bless God!"

these verses have been going through my head and heart over and over again. just today a friend blogged about them and i just took that as another gentle reminder that God is wanting to really use these passages in my heart because world: i need transformation. i feel as though i have lost so much of who i was...communing, truly and deeply communing, with the Lord has been such a lost art in my life in the past months. it's been a pretty deep valley in this heart but somehow, i didn't completely dive off. somehow my heart knew that there is always a light. even if i can't see it, even if i don't "feel" it, the Light is always present. i couldn't give up. and ohhh there were days where i wanted to throw the towel in. completely surrender to the ease of life and forget the TRUTHS my heart knew weren't changed.

josh and i are on the edge of something big. we have been a bit lost over the past 7 months but transformation and clarity are coming to us. something...big may be on the horizon for us. we are praying and seeking and desiring direction. marrying a citizen of a different country [i'm american, he's canadian] has surely spun us in a different direction than most couples. things i never imagined having to do/wait for are having to be done and waited for. general scoop? josh and i care deeply about the orphans of this world. before we were even engaged we felt the pull towards adoption. adoption can't happen without both parents being citizens/residents of the same country. so, as i told josh last night, one of us is going to have to become the "other". this is a long and complicated process. we aren't sure which way its going to go but it'll happen.

we really believe that this "same residency" thing is worthy of our time and effort. God knew us and it's no mistake that we're married but citizens of different countries. he created our hearts and has put within us a deep deep desire to serve. we both feel as if our feet are to tread elsewhere at some point. and how we would LOVE for that "at some point" to be NOW, this waiting game for residency for the sake of adoption really is important to the Lord...therefore, important to us. but don't fooled. just because it's important doesn't mean it's always 'easy' (:

here is to the process to come...

the immigration waiting game to come...

the LOVE to come...

"men and women don't live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, but a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here."

keeping this in mind,
we seek out all that He would have for us in the glimpse of a life.

what a complex and beautiful life.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

small things.

here's a newflash that's not new to many:

marriage is hard.
marriage takes more effort than the typical human WANTS to put forward.
marriage is a blessing that God has GOOD intentions for.
marriage breaks me down EVERY day.
marriage takes you to the lowest low and highest mountain.
marriage is a teacher who REFUSES to let you settle.
marriage must have its CENTER in the life of Christ...or it will fail.
marriage is being loved when NOTHING you do or say is loveable.
marriage is walking through life with your BEST FRIEND beside you.
marriage is a picture of Christ.

i really want Christ to be more and me to be less.
teach me Jesus.

[[bronze summer loving in uganda 2008]]

Friday, March 5, 2010

i know where i'm found.

"none of us brings the same fears into relationships; but whenever there is conflict and distance between two people, it’s always worth opening yourself up to what might be revealed about you that can bring freedom to the one you love."

oh sweet Jesus of revelation, thank you for bringing these words to me this morning.

these are the thoughts that accompanied that thought. a marriage is to look strikingly similar to the relationship between Christ and His church, yes? matthew 20.28 says that 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."

ransom - the release of property or a person in return for payment of a demanded price.
when someone gives a ransom, they, in one way or another, are paying for your freedom, yes?

Jesus came to serve us...and His biggest act of service was that He gave His life...He gave us freedom. freedom from ourselves. freedom from the world. freedom. freedom. freedom. under the freedom He gave us falls so many fruits.

if our marriages are to mirror that of Jesus Christ, wouldn't it only make sense that we do things [within our ability] to bring the other a certain freedom? and in this case freedom takes on the face of humility.

it comes in opening myself up to the ugly and the nasty and fear in my own heart and asking Jesus to replace it with the fruits of the Spirit in order to set Josh free from my own face what most darkens my heart and replace it with light so that I can serve and love Josh better...that he may feel even more freedom within our relationship.

it's about realizing where i fall short and asking God to come and complete and fill me instead of settling comfortably into where i'm currently at.

friends, let me be a bit transparent and brutally honest: these things i'm saying are so much easier to write than they are to live. day in and day out i struggle with the place i'm in and the actions and words that come out of me. constantly feeling as though i am falling way short of mark of a good wife but knowing, all in the same breath, that where i am at is RIGHT and the path i'm walking with josh right now is RIGHT. the journey we're on holds more lessons than we could ever grasp. it's things like this that keep my heart alive in the dark times...because i know this isn't the end of line. it's only the beginning. how much JOY comes in that!

i love sharing this crazy life with josh. i love walking with him through the ups and downs. and with the Lord? i choose Him. i fail over and over and over again but my heart wants Him...desires HIM. though i feel so far at times, i am found in Him.

[snowboarding for the first time EVER for me this week!]