Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grace Unmeasured by Bob Kauflin

Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear Your righteous name

Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace

Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Into the Blue by Sara Jackson-Holman

Which Grieves You More: Bad Theology or Division?

Ask Pastor John question and answer:

Q: Are you more grieved by theology you disagree with or by division within the body of believers?

A: Here's the way I answer questions like that (and I ask them to myself all the time): It depends on the degree and nature of the division compared with the degree of seriousness to the theology mistaken.

I'm sad that we're not all on the same page eschatologically. I wish Sam Storms and I were on the same page. I wish Doug Wilson and I were on the same page. And we're not, and that's sad.

It doesn't cause me too many tears at that level. But when I see somebody I love going to a hurtful view of God, then I can be really grieved, and that hurts.

So that's the theology side. There are some theological moves that are so destructive and so dishonoring to God and so close to the center that we should be deeply grieved and angered by them.

On the other hand, there are all kinds of divisions. If two of my elders hated each other—I mean, if they were saying ugly things about each other and doing wicked things, that would emotionally probably take me down deeper than most of these theological things.

I love our elder fellowship. I was meeting with the elders last night until 11 o'clock, and I came home just saying, "I love these guys!" Thirty guys sitting around a table, one heart, one mind, pulling together for the good of the church is the joy of my life. It has been for 30 years. If that broke at Bethlehem and the thing became war and anger and hurtful speech, probably emotionally I would be way more undone than by theological issues.

So what can you say? There are some kinds of disunity that are small and don't move me. Other kinds that are deep, immediate, personal, and heart-wrenching. So in any given case I would have to ask, "What is the theological issue? and What is the kind of division? And then I'll tell you which bothers or hurts or grieves me more."

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Oahu, Hawaii: 1998

After visiting a couple blogs this morning I find myself in a nostalgic state of mind. I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Oahu, Hawaii in September of 1998. The trip did not play out as I had expected or hoped...(I was very young and naive in 1998 and when I left Hawaii it was with a broken heart)...but I savor the memory of Oahu which was amazing!

(I took a lot of video while there but not many pictures (which are in storage anyway) so I had to depend on the internet for great photos to illustrate that about which I am writing. Click on each picture for information about the photographer and copyright.)

When I think of Hawaii, I believe it to be one of the most romantic places in the United States. Where light, spontaneous showers of rain fall as if straight from heaven (without a visible cloud in the sky) and last only a bless, not to drench. (Rainbows too are evidently just as random...appearing at a moment's notice.)

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13. ESV.)

As I stood on the beach (near the city of Honolulu), with the sand between my toes and the setting sun painting the sky, I gazed at “Diamond Head” in the distance. My heart was full of love and a dream for the future. It’s no wonder people love Hawaii as a honeymoon destination. It certainly does not disappoint! With the view, environment, luau, and overall splendor it is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Nestled within the Punchbowl crater sits the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The wind whipped through my hair as I drove my small, blue, rental jeep along the road that wound around the outskirts of the Punchbowl before reaching the National Memorial Cemetery at its heart.

Emotions ran deep at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Standing on the structure over the sunken U.S.S. Arizona, which is the final resting place for so many brave sailors, was as though all the oxygen had been sucked out of the air. The ship lingers like a ghost seemingly right below the surface. And trying to grasp the weight of that day in 1941 was, for me, beyond reach.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5. ESV.)

Whatever the reason for visiting (or living) on the island of Oahu, whether it is scuba diving, surfing, studying history, being stationed at Schofield Barracks, or consummating a marriage, it is my opinion a person can count on being absolutely captivated.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20. ESV.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Moishe Rosen Memorial Service Broadcast Live on the Internet

"Jews for Jesus" has announced the memorial services (and live feed) for founder and first Executive Director, Moishe Rosen. For more information please visit the Rosen tribute site at The live feed will be available at on June 1, 2010.

Parental blind spots

(by World Magazine: Amy Henry)

My two favorite sources for worldly news from a Christ follower's perspective are:

1. Albert Mohler
2. World Magazine

Today, World Magazine posted a thought provoking, convicting, encouraging article regarding "Parental Blind Spots". Click here to be whisked away to the World Magazine website to get a taste of some food for thought.

Something Far Greater Than Ourselves

In my opinion, there are some things about being a follower of Christ that outweigh other areas of the least in my life (i.e. God's grace, Christ's sacrifice, salvation, sanctification (Romans 6:20-22), justification (Romans 3:27-31), prayer, God's word, and the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-3)).

Thankfully, my King has provided for me so many amazing people who encourage me on a daily basis! Praise God! Last night, I received a thoughtful text from my sister in law (and in Christ), Sarah, regarding Romans 4:5 and today, I opened my email to find a lovely note from another sister in Christ, Karen, about being "Part of Something Bigger". Both were EXACTLY what I needed to hear, of course.

John Piper wrote in his book RUTH,
"God’s purposes for his people is to connect us to something far greater than ourselves. God wants us to know that when we follow him, our lives always mean more than we think they do. Naomi had no idea in the land of Moab that God was making her the ancestor of the Messiah. For the Christian there is always a connection between ordinary events of life and the stupendous work of God in history.

Everything we do in obedience to God, no matter how small, is significant. It is part of a cosmic mosaic that God is painting to display the greatness of his powers and kingdom to the world and to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10). A deep satisfaction of the Christian life is that we are not given over to trifles. Serving a widowed mother in law, gleaning in a field, falling in love, having a baby—for the Christian these things are connected to eternity. They are part of something so much bigger than they seem" (p. 121).

I wish I could write my story, in its entirety, here. But God's work is not finished yet and the piece of the mosaic that is my life is incomplete. I try to document what God is doing during various seasons however the whole picture, the painting of many brush strokes, is in progress and still appears to me as a big mess. What a comfort to know and be reminded all of it is for eternity and His glory!

Legalism Verses Grace

Sunday I heard a message (largely) about legalism and today, I dropped by the "Pyromaniacs" blog and what caught my attention? Yep, you guessed it...legalism. Phil Johnson writes,
"Let me say this plainly: It is a sin to impose on others any 'spiritual' standard that has no biblical basis. When God gave the law to Israel, He told them, 'You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you' (Deuteronomy 4:2). And, 'Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it' (Deuteronomy 12:32)."
Click here to hop over to the "Pyromaniacs" blog to read the rest.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


You are such a blessing to me and I am extra thankful this day when you were born. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14). And I praise God for you, each day we have together, and that we are His. I love you, Mom! Happy Birthday!

Day of Good News

When we are thankful for what we have, we want to share it with others. (Our Daily Bread)

"Our Daily Bread" gives the reminder that today is a day of good news! Don't remain silent. Click here to visit "Our Daily Bread".

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Never be Wise in Your Own Sight: Part Four

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21. ESV.)

My youngest child loves to play Monopoly. This past week I was reminded of this game when I experienced a disappointment that sent me back to square one…without passing go and devoid of collecting $200 (for old school Monopoly players) or $200,000 (Monopoly Here and Now World Edition).

The number one question I’ve been getting, “What are you going to do now?” My answer, “Wait for the next door to open.” And become unlocked it will. If I have learned nothing else over the past seven months it’s that God is faithful. Not to mention 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds me to “give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. Yep, every situation! Even (or perhaps, ESPECIALLY) the events I do not understand.

As a friend (and dear sister in Christ) said to me, “It’s okay to ask Him ‘why’.” And I know all will be revealed in His perfect timing!

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8. ESV.)

Ecclesiastes 8:6: For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.

Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Matthew 10:39: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Proverbs 11:24: One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

Luke 14:33: So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Let My Love Open the Door by The Who / Pete Townshend

(This is my favorite version of the song though the video just shows a picture of the CD cover the entire song.)

When people keep repeating
That you'll never fall in love
When everybody keeps retreating
But you can't seem to get enough
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
To your heart
When everything feels all over
When everybody seems unkind
I'll give you a four-leaf clover
Take all the worry out of your mind
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
To your heart I have the only key to your heart
I can stop you falling apart
Try today, you'll find this way
Come on and give me a chance to say
Let my love open the door
It's all I'm living for
Release yourself from misery
Only one thing's gonna set you free
That's my love
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
To your heart
When tragedy befalls you
Don't let them bring you down
Love can cure your problem
You're so lucky I'm around
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
To your heart

Mothers: FYI: Dangerous Bottle Bombs

There have been many times I have stopped to pick up trash off the ground (or asked my children to throw something away that was left by someone else) in an effort to keep our neighborhood and/or park clean. Sadly, I (and my kiddos) have to be mindful as individuals are leaving bottle bombs which cause serious harm.

Snopes confirms the informative message that was sent to me via email and describes bottle bombs which have been responsible for children losing their fingers and sustaining face injuries. A Youtube video is also available to demonstrate the force of the explosion.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Bitter Taste of Failure

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28. ESV.)

I do not know about anyone else but I have to preach this to myself consistently whenever I am blindsided and taken off guard…especially if it is negative. I have a difficult time understanding an event in my life when I think things are going one way only to find I was seriously mistaken…when I have given my best effort (even to the point of double checking my actions and asking feedback from others) only to find things were not as they seemed and my personal best was not good enough.

Blindsides do happen…whether they are intentional or accidental. I hold firm to the belief all things happen for a reason…whether they are seemingly pleasant or unpleasant.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21. ESV.)

I echo Job in praising the Lord even though this is a time of confusion. I sit and wonder, "Lord, what in the world are you doing?" but I also know whatever it is, is going to be more beautiful and awesome than I can imagine in my limited thoughts.

In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. (Psalm 86:7.)

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

I know that "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17). Even this...even that from last season. I say without hesitation, resentment, or doubt, "I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I hope." (Psalm 130:5. ESV.). Though my flesh stings as if I have failed, I find peace in God's sovereignty each and every season however long or short.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, actually today is Thursday but here's my "Wordless Wednesday" post. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More About Safe Families

I previously posted a video about Safe Families (by Katie Couric) but a new one can be viewed now at Below is a promotional video about "Safe Families".

Safe Families for Children from John Norton on Vimeo.

9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11. ESV.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Never be Wise in Your Own Sight: Part Three

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:14-18.)

In 2003 I became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). My passion for wanting to help abused and neglected children began in middle school when I read the book DEATH FROM CHILD ABUSE AND NO ONE HEARD by Eve Krupinski and Dana Weikel. This disturbing, haunting story of the last days of precious, five year old Ursula Sunshine Assaid left a lasting impression on me. I remember as I was reading the account I wanted to reach into the paperback and pull the little girl out. “Come with me,” I imagined saying, “I’ll help you.” And, assisting children has been a desire of mine ever since…whether it’s advocating for them, offering them a safe place to hang out, or adoption.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27. ESV.)

I met a lovely lady recently who was telling me how she used to volunteer at a women and children’s shelter. Visiting their world gave her a better understanding of their hardship. Being a CASA volunteer helped me empathize with children in the foster care and dependency court system. Missionaries who have gone to other countries and got a taste of their suffering are more compassionate to their burdens.

In my opinion, stepping outside the safety of our own comfort zones helps us to be better followers of Christ. I feel it is extremely difficult to understand another person’s tribulation unless we have walked through it (or a portion of it) ourselves.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:8-11. ESV.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Never be Wise in Your Own Sight: Part Two

7"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11. ESV.)

(I would like to begin by saying how thankful I am for each and EVERY person God has placed in my life! Each one has been such a blessing to me! I love you all, dearly!)

I was just commenting last week at how I desire a companion on my walk with the Lord (like in John Bunyan’s THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS). My King knows my heart, listens to my prayers, and last night I received what I sought (and what the Lord knew I needed). But, to show you the full beauty of God’s orchestration and how He does all things for the good of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), I have to backtrack a little bit.

In 2008 my King introduced me to a lovely sister in Christ. We served together and fellowshipped together for two years but I had no idea God was setting up something that was going to mean so much more to me. Though I was clueless, He had it all figured out (of course). My walk with this special lady was going to bless me in a HUGE way!

In January 2010 my sister in Christ contacted me to catch up. I kept putting off phoning her back. She called and messaged me again in March 2010. The Lord prodded my heart to ask her about her walk with Him leading up to the year I had met her. “I don’t want to,” I found myself thinking…though I had no idea what she would say if I asked. But the Lord created me to be curious…and I did ask…though reluctantly. My hesitation had nothing to do with her but rather my sin of pride.

This previous week was a tough one for me because I felt alone…without someone who has faced the EXACT same adversity I am battling (and the feelings associated with it). As I mentioned before, I communed with my King and asked for a compassionate ear to listen, empathetic heart to understand, and gentle tongue to speak wisdom from experience. The Lord encouraged my heart, “Call her.” And I did.

When she called me back she was the answer to my prayer. It was as though she could read my mind. As she spoke, her story was a reflection of my own. There were slight differences (as we each came from a different place and needed unique things from the Lord) but the heart of it was identical. We spoke for at least two hours, sharing and fellowshipping. My cup runneth over! (Psalm 23:5. KJV.)

My dear sister in Christ,

You have no idea what a true blessing you are to me. God's timing is perfect! Though you were right there in front of me for years He knew when I would need you the most. Thank you for sharing your heart, and what God has taught you, with me. You have reminded me not to lose hope (in God) and that this "desert" will only last a season. What lies beyond will be more beautiful than I can imagine. I am so happy to have you walking with me during this pilgrimage.

Great is the Lord!

16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16. ESV.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Never be Wise in Your Own Sight: Part One

And I will put this third into the fire,
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, 'They are my people';
and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'" (Zechariah 13:9. ESV.)

Do you ever find yourself wishing for a companion on your walk with the Lord? (It sounds a little silly when I put it that way.) But like in the book THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS by John Bunyan, Christian had other pilgrims along the way with whom to on the same path facing identical challenges. They were able to compare notes, work as a team, encourage one another, etc. That is what I catch myself desiring. Further, I get so excited and hopeful when I believe I have come across a fellow traveler on the route my King has assigned to me...only to realize that is not the case.

I have had to consistently preach Psalm 118:8 to myself over the course of the past, I don't know, four (plus) years I guess.
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man,"
has become my regular encouragement I suppose you could say.

God has been very faithful to provide provisions, protection, and sisters in Christ on various levels. For example, when I was seeking an AWANA program the Lord introduced me to a group of homeschooling ladies who told me about the AWANA program their children attend. It was a blessing on two planes: 1. Homeschool and 2. AWANA for which I am truly thankful. When I was struggling with prayer and being disciplined the Lord sent my aunt to teach me what she has learned about prayer. In the area of hospitality my King gave me yet another sister in Christ while my children and I had to travel. Not to mention, numerous family members and dear friends who form a support system in the arena of the day to day (i.e. food, clothing, shelter, work, commuting, child care, etc.) Because of all these people I am richly blessed and incredibly grateful!

Please do not misunderstand my sin here. It is not of unthankfulness....I am indescribably appreciative (to the point of my flesh barely being able to contain it). My sin rather is that of discontentment.

When Christian (in THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS) entered the city of Vanity Fair he was in the company of a companion named Faithful. Christian and Faithful were inflicted with the same adversity and had each other...someone who knew the struggles and feelings associated with them. A friend who listened and gave compassionate advice. In a word: Empathy. quietness and in trust shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15. ESV.)

and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. (Psalm 50:15. ESV/)

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.Never be conceited. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:14-18.)

I was reading (in my opinion) an excellent sermon by John Piper which touched on empathy. In part he said,
"Let me say this even more radically and more universally. Without faith in Christ, there is not humility among men, but only pride. For this reason: If I cease be self-preoccupied and self-infatuated and self-exalting and become other-person-occupied and other-person-infatuated and other-person-exalting but don’t bring Christ into the picture, I am still locked in the prison of pride. Why? Because I am looking to other humans, beings like myself, for my joy, and not looking to Christ, my Maker and my God, and the one through whom and for whom all things exist (Colossians 1:16). There is only one word for humans who attempt to act humbly with no dependence upon their Creator and Redeemer and no desire that he get the glory. And that word is pride, no matter how other-oriented they appear....

"Rather Paul says, 'Be carried away with the simple, the lowly, the ordinary, the tedious things, and with those who do them.' Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself and was carried away with the lowly and the simple role of a servant even to the point of death (cf. Philippians 2:5-8). To be a Christian is to become lowly in dependence on Christ, and in imitation of Christ....

"This transformation—this wonderful, freeing, Christ-dependent and Christ-exalting humility in verse 16—leads us to think not mainly about ourselves but about what is beautiful and honorable. And that brings us to verse 17. (I will come back in the coming weeks to the part of verse 16 that we passed over.)

"But notice the second part of verse 17. After saying, 'Repay no one evil for evil,' he says, 'But give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.' This is what the Christian does who is freed from self-preoccupation. He gives thought to honorable things. The word means morally beautiful, and therefore honorable. The Christian mind breaks free from the lowlands and smog and disease-ridden mists of self, and rises—sometimes even soars—into the bright, clear sky of beautiful things, and honorable things. 'Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things' (Philippians 4:8). That’s what the humble, free, Christ-dependent mind does....

"In other words, the Lord is first. What he thinks matters most. But we hope and plan and pray that, as Jesus says, “men will see out beautiful works [same word as honorable here in Romans 5:17], and give glory to our father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The humble mind doesn’t delight to offend. It delights to win over. And so it gives thought to how both God and man might see something as beautiful and honorable....

"And now you can see that we have arrived at the sober, cautious, measured, realistic word in verse 18 about making peace. 'If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.' Christ-dependent, Christ-exalting humility does its best. It thinks about what is honorable in the sight of all. It rejoices with those who rejoice. It weeps with those who weep. It doesn’t repay evil for evil. It blesses those who persecute. It loves peace. But in the end, we can’t guarantee that there will be peace. 'If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.' It may not be possible." By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

To be continued....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hope Again

After numerous times of placing hope in someone (or something) only to be let down (each and every time) poses an immense problem. How does one continue to hold to hope? Now, in my opinion, hope and trust work very closely together. (And perhaps it is safe to say, one encourages the other.)

To give a demonstration of this I am going to use the example of pregnancy. It is not uncommon to hear of couples that have tried for years to conceive yet to no avail. They go various routes and attempt numerous things yet nothing seems to work. Each month is filled with anticipation and then disappointment. Perhaps the question, "Why bother?" creeps into the mind of one party or the other (or even both).

I feel being disappointed comes in many shapes and sizes…whether it is while trying to have children, get or keep a job, get out of debt, recovery (from an illness or injury), trusting a boss or loved one who is abusive, believing a loved one who struggles with alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc…. and so forth.

So, when meditating on this question about hope I looked to Psalm 42 which says,
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation 6and my God."

There it is, the answer, right there! HOPE IN GOD! For it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man (Psalm 118:8).

When I place my faith and expectations upon things of this world (i.e. man, the flesh, etc.) I am going to get discouraged. Man is not my Holy Spirit nor am I his/hers. (Not to mention all things are [God's] servants (Psalm 119:91).) I must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16) when dealing with the things of this world. As far as God goes,
"We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28. ESV.)
In that, I have hope.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When God Places a Desire in the Heart

(Photo by Dimitri Castrique)

I just recently heard the story of a 15 year old boy who despite all kinds of obstacles, followed a desire God had put in his heart. Though I do not know the home country of this young man I can tell you he is an international student. As the account goes, this teenager heard of an opportunity to come to the United States (U.S.) for schooling and sports. He knew he did not stand a chance because there were other boys older and more experienced than him. However, his mother encouraged him to trust God and follow the desire of his heart.

The child could not understand why God would place such a strong longing in his heart though it was impossible. His odds of being approved for a passport were slim to none and even if he were it would never get processed in time. As the barriers seemed to be mounting against him, God addressed them one by one. He was approved for a passport and received it in record time! But a mountain still loomed blocking his way.

A requirement for the U.S. school was that all students had to speak, understand, and write English. This boy could barely comprehend a single word of it. "Trust in the Lord," his mother reminded him. As he sat on the plane routed for the U.S. he said God spoke [to his heart] and told him to "open his mouth and speak English". He doubted yet when he met his teacher for the first time and was asked if he was familiar with English he replied, "No ma'am, I am not." The words tumbled out of his mouth though he had no foreknowledge of them.

He failed his first test in the class however consistently made passing grades of "A's" and "B's" following. All this from an adolescent who thought it was unattainable yet heeded his mother's teaching that with God (and Christ) all things are possible (Mark 10:27).

This student's testimony is a blessing to my heart and inspires me to follow the passions God has positioned in me. I have already seen what He does for those who follow His instruction…not only in the life of this 15 year old but in my own vapor of a life as well. He leads and paves the way.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:8. ESV.)

Brokenhearted Love: Give It, Live It.

As I was doing a little reading this reading that is... I hopped over to Molly Piper's site to see what is on her heart. She has written a very touching and thought provoking post about "Brokenhearted Love". When a loved one, friend, sister in Chirst, or stranger is brokenhearted what is the best response? Molly answers this with a focus on the loss of a child but I feel this advice can be applied to the many different faces of heartache. If you know someone who is currently (or was previously) carrying around a heart that is broken, I recommend Molly's post!

Safe Families

A dear sister in Christ was just telling me about this program and how our church family is looking into being a Safe Family Church.

Katie Couric on Safe Families for Children from John Norton on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

God is good all the time…even when I look at something and only see a mess! I am not going to understand things this side of heaven…that's just the way it is. I cannot even begin to grasp the complexity and enormity that is my King! Certainly NOT while I am battling with the flesh (but that is a post for another time: "The Flesh Verses the Holy Spirit").

The other day my child did not comprehend something that was very important to him. Despite my best efforts no answer I could give comforted him. Finally, I had to say, "You're just going to have to trust me." It was then I realized God had just put things into perspective for me…"Brook," He said to my heart, "You're just going to have to trust Me!"

Recently we went on a couple trips. The first was a gift from loved ones. It was a relaxing weekend at the beach. The other was not so tranquil but God kept me (and my loved ones) covered the entire time. So, without further ado, I present our God ordained and orchestrated trips.

(Please excuse the not so fabulous camera phone photos.)

God's beautiful creation.

The kiddos really enjoyed this thing.

I loved the umbrellas all lined up at the beginning of the morning.

Relaxing. (He honestly was not pink like he appears in this picture. We were wearing tons of sun screen.)

Heading back to the airport after a "business" trip and short visit with loved ones. It was good to see those we were able to meet up with and I'm bummed we did not get to catch up with a few we love dearly. Also, thank you so much Ms. Susan for your most generous hospitality!!!

Denver Airport.

Back again safely.

The airport train.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. (Proverbs 22:5. ESV.)


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