Monday, April 25, 2005

Purity and Modesty

Hi, everyone! I've actually been reading everybody's comments on other one28 blogs. Is that too weird? I know that may sound sound overboard, but what can I say? I'm really lovin' the blog thing, and it's really interesting and encouraging.

Anyway, orangelugster, what you said on Tony's blog really got me thinking about modesty. I want to let everybody know, guys and girls, that if you see someone--especially me--being immodest or impure, to go to that person and talk to them about it. I definitely want to know how to help brothers to stay pure, but sometimes I have no clue what triggers struggles in guys' minds. So just to let you know, don't hesitate to address those issues, even though it may seem a bit awkward. You never know how other girls would react. I would suspect--and hope--that they would be receptive and thankful for the heads up. I promise, here and now, to have a happy heart when/if confronted. :)

Mom says I need to wear a burka, but that I can have a breathing hole. Ha! The sarcasm. I hope it's sarcasm, anyway! :O/

Friday, April 22, 2005

Verses on God's Grace

Going along with my previous post, here are some verses that Chapman put at the top of those "Speechless" lyrics that I thought I'd share:

Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Psalm 66:1-5 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. " All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name." Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men.

Habakkuk 2:20 But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.


I've been reminded a lot lately of the truths that come with a global Church.

I have a tendency to want to be anchored someplace, to have a headquarters, if you will. But really, heaven is our only true home. Yes, we build places to stay here. And it feels so wonderful to come back home after you've been away for a long time. But think about what coming home will mean. "Coming home" is not something we'll ever really know until we get to heaven. It will be so much more than the times we've known that we call "coming home." That's amazing to me.

I also attempt to grasp ahold of family here on this earth--people who may share some genes, but who are not my family. It really hit home hard when I saw a lot of them last summer. And, yes, I do desire to share the gospel with them so they'll have that sweet opportunity to join the family, but I find myself almost frantic to see them take that opportunity. Yet, God is sovereign and has the perfect family for me--much more incredible than I can imagine on this earth. That family reunion will be awesome, in the truest sense of the word.

And I was hit right between the eyes at Snow Retreat, as I've shared before, by the amazing grace that flows from our God. And we'll see the light of His glory and grace. That is the best part of heaven. I am blown away by that concept. To quote a few lines from Steven Curtis Chapman:

My words are stolen away
With this breathtaking view of Your grace...
And I am speechless, I'm astonished and amazed
I am silenced by Your wondrous grace

You have saved me
You have raised me from the grave
And I am speechless in Your presence now
I'm astounded as I consider how
You have shown us
A love that leaves us speechless...

So what kind of love could this be
That would trade heaven's throne for a cross
And to think You still celebrate
Over finding just one who was lost

And to know You rejoice over us
The God of this whole universe
Is a story that's too great for words

Oh how great is the love
The Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called
The sons and the daughters of God!

Since the Snow Retreat, I've thought over, and talked over, the things that were impressed upon my heart. But I haven't really been able to verbalize it. And the song "Speechless" has become ever so real to me. God's grace has impacted my heart. I can only hope that it continues to be a truly "amazing grace" to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I Will Go

There's a new song in our choir books, and it is terrific, so I thought I'd share it with you. Sort of a sneak-preview. :) Maybe you've heard it before--Pastor Williams said that Steve Green used to sing it. It's new to me, though, and I think it's hugely challenging. So hopefully it'll be useful to you, unless you've mastered this attitude. :) Reading the words, it becomes obvious, though, that I'm nowhere near what it says. I notice new stuff everytime I read the lyrics. Let's pray that God will work His grace in our lives to become more like this. Enjoy!

I Will Go

Give me ears to hear Your Spirit,
Give me feet to follow You.
Give me hands to touch the hurting,
And the faith to follow You.

Give me grace to be a servant,
Give me mercy for the lost.
Give me passion for your glory,
Give me passion for the cross.

And I will go where there are no easy roads,
Leave the comforts that I know.
I will go and let this journey be my home.
I will go, I will go.

I'll let go of my ambition,
Cut the roots that run too deep.
I will learn to give away
What I cannot really keep,
What I cannot really keep.

Help me see with eyes of faith,
Give me strength to run this race.
And I will go where there are no easy roads,
Leave the comforts that I know.
I will go and let this journey be my home.
I will go, I will go.

I will go, Lord, where Your glory is unknown.
I will live for You alone.
I will go because my life is not my own.
I will go, I will go!

The Sweetest Things

I've been thinking a little bit on the things that make me happiest. Which, I know is kind of silly, but it is interesting sometimes to think about what things really thrill you.

I'd have to say that one of the sweetest things--actually, probably the sweetest thing--to think on is God's grace. It is amazing lately how much I see that. I credit that to Him showing me at Snow Retreat. It just seems to be evident everywhere. He is so gracious to us. In His Word, it's written boldly. In the rain our area so desperately needs, it comes pouring down. In a conversation with a friend, it radiates from their words. His grace is so encouraging to my soul. If only I paid attention to it more.

Another thing that delights me no end is to hear that someone has trusted Christ to save them. That always makes me so excited, I want to jump around. In fact, once I did and hurt myself. But that's another story. :) It is so amazing to see God work in their lives afterward, too. That is so cool.

One thing that thrills me is to hear that a couple is going to have a baby. There's been a lot of baby news going around, so I've been pretty happy, pretty often! I know of four women just in Germany alone, who are pregnant. Now if that's not a sign of a baby boom, I don't know what is. And when the baby is born, just hook me up to a heart monitor! I don't know about you, but is Ellie Joy not the cutest thing you ever saw? Okay, maybe not the cutest, my brother may have taken that. But the cutest thing this year? :)

A third thing that overjoys me is to just think for a moment about heaven. I really can't fathom how cool that will be, but the little things that I know I can expect are so infinitely amazing. We will be in the very presence of God. We will be with believers from all around the world, from all history past, praising Him! There will be no more tears, no more sickness, none of it. What more can we ask for than this amazing hope? It should make us very content.

Come to think of it, all of these things are definite signs of God's grace. Whether a spiritual new life, a physical new life, or eternal life, they are miracles-absolute miracles--of God's grace. And that just makes me happy again.

Monday, April 11, 2005

More than Gold

It was interesting to read the other day in Psalm 19. I hear a lot of people talk about the beginning of that chapter, but I don't hear a lot of people expound so much on the end of it--vv. 7-14. Anyway, all of a sudden--even though I've read and heard this Psalm many times before--something popped out at me. And I just started writing, sort of a note or reminder to myself, on the importance of the Word of God. I'm posting my reminder, hoping it's helpful. I really hope this doesn't go under the category of preaching. If it does, let me know, and I'll unpost this blog entry, okay?

So I'll post the actual scripture, and below it I'll post what I've written. Sorry if this is a long post.

The Passage (Psalm 19: 7-14):
"(7) The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
(8) The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
(9) The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
(10) They are more desirable than gold, yes than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
(11) Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
(12) Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
(13) Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I will be acquitted of great transgression.
(14) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

My thoughts:
You want to be restored? To be wise? To be enlightened? To have reason to rejoice? Want something pure? Something perfect? Something sure, right, and clean? Something true, enduring forever? Do you wonder what in this world could be righteous?

HEED HIS WORD! It is sweeter than honey. More desirable than gold. King David knew that God's truth has a purifying power (vv. 11-14). God's Word is so vital to our Spiritual lives. How little I drink it in. It is so lovely and amazing. It's no wonder I get disgusted by the gross stuff I see and hear. No wonder I get dragged down, discouraged and exhausted. No wonder I'm impatient, selfish and sinful. Yet when I have my focus on things above and not on the earth, everything is much better with that view. Those aren't rose-colored glasses. They are vision-correcting glasses! These verses remind me a lot of some other verses that I bet you all are familiar with.

Philippians 4:8:
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

God's Word is so definitely worthy of "dwelling on."