Sunday, February 28, 2010

Prayer Problems


When I first became a Christian, one of the most difficult areas of faith for me to understand was prayer. It may sound juvenile being that the core of our spiritual welfare rests on the shoulders of prayer but, for me, it was dreadfully difficult. Sure, I felt better about my relationship with God after speaking to Him, but my pride could not penetrate the blanket of awkwardness I felt. Even when no one was around, the idea of pouring my heart out to an invisible Lord was challenging. Was He actually listening? Were the words coming out of my mouth of any importance to Him? Could prayer really change anything?

In Joshua 10:14, there is a passage that turned my prayer life around.
“There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man.” – NIV

Could it be? Could prayer really change something? Even when I was still unsure, what was the harm? I decided that I would rather talk all day long to a God who might hear one word than not talk at all. Then, it hit me…What was I expecting? Was I expecting the Almighty to come speak in my ear? Maybe, my expectations of God were all wrong.

Lately, my opinions of prayer have all turned around. Now, I simply share. I share with Him my praises. I share with Him my petitions. I share with Him just for the opportunity to be in His presence, not for what He will do with what I have said. This openness, this purity, has made all the difference.

Odd how much more we hear Him when we stop demanding His voice.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Action Packed


My best friend, and roommate, was Raven Buckley. We grew up together and lived together since college. Both were raised as Christians, but only in later years had I begun to change my life for God. I wanted to continue my education in Seminary, but did not decide to accept God’s calling until April 25, 2008. I made my decision to follow Christ at Liberty and sent in my application at 1:32pm. 120 minutes later, Raven was shot in the head and killed at 26.

The days that ensued after her death, secrets emerged and her undisclosed life was exposed. She was hurting and had been for months. She had been struggling and searching for a deeper relationship with God. I do know that prior to her death, even if only days, she recommitted her life to Christ. Do I know this because as best friends we discussed our spiritual beliefs and welfare? Do I know this because I walked the 10 feet to her door to tell her about the blessings I was receiving in life? No. I know this because her mother told me the day of her funeral while she lay in a casket and I shed tears of repentance.

Romans 12:6
“Speak out when you know that God is speaking through you”.

When I think back, I do remember acting in a manner that reflected Christ. I was making faithful decisions. I was, openly, spending time in the Word. I had changed the way I represented myself. I had displaced actions and lifestyle choices that I was no longer going to surround myself with. Yes, I did all of this…but said nothing.

Even now, I have to wonder: Why was I silent? What did I stand to lose that I did not lose in the end? My friendship with her? My roommate? My pride?

I trust that God is never not in control of our lives. He has helped me stay strong so that, moving forward, I can help the weak. I trust God that He has taught me the lesson of being an ambassador for Him and not just “acting”, but also speaking.

It is said that actions speak louder than words – yes – but, sometimes, even a small voice makes all the difference.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Patient Gardner


There is a plant in our house that was given to us as a housewarming present. It sits right next to our television, so eyes are constantly on it. At first, it was easily thriving and growing into something beautiful. Recently, however, only half of the plant appears to be in good health. Next to each leafy and green branch is a brown, crispy dead one. To be perfectly honest, it is starting to give me a complex about my gardening capabilities.

I have no idea what happened to it. My first instinct is to remove all of the wilted leaves, but fear of an empty hole keeps me from doing so. I can’t shake the notion that, perhaps, with a little more time, the wilted leaves will renew themselves and find life again. I could end up with a beautiful plant if I am just a little patient. For me, the possibility is worth the wait.

Matthew 13:30
“Let both grow together until the harvest” – NIV

In Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of the weeds in chapter 13. Jesus was speaking of pulling weeds and harvesting wheat crops. Nascent wheat and nascent weeds look awfully similar at first glance. It is often quite difficult to tell the two apart. Jesus instructed the gardeners to let the weeds and wheat grow together until it is time for the harvest. The good and bad crops will be separated out later.

As Christians, do we have this mentality? For me, I find it almost second nature to want to separate out the good people from the bad. As my husband would say, if we can have something be perfect right now, why not do it now? For Jesus, however, there is something to the waiting process. Jesus knows the value of time. He wants every possible child to be a part of the harvest. If He separated us out now, which side would you be on?

How grateful are we that our Heavenly Father is a patient gardener?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today vs Tomorrow


Almost all of my adult life has been spent waiting for the next best thing. High school seemed like it was never going to end and the idea of college life was so close I could taste it. In college, I couldn’t wait to graduate and start making money for myself. After that, my husband and I were engaged for nine months! I can’t even begin to explain how slow the days passed in anticipation of our wedding. Now that I am married, I can’t wait for us to start our family. I live my life in a constant state of eagerness. Always wishing. Always waiting. Always looking forward.

Ecclesiastes 4:8
“There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.” - NIV

Ecclesiastes speaks of someone never satisfied, could that be us? How much of our lives do we waste in anticipation of something bigger and better? A bigger house. A bigger family. A bigger career.

It is incredibly ironic that, when we look back, we find ourselves longing for the past as well. Our present lives are but procrastinated periods of future achievements or previous victories. Can’t we just “get on with it?”

How fortunate we are. Most of us, almost all of us, have present lives that reek of God’s providence. He has, and continues to; bless us beyond our wildest expectations...yet we do not see what is right in front of us. It is quite unsettling when you realize you have sandwiched yourself between what used to be and what might be.

I have to ask: Are we overshadowing today with an imaginary tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Golden Silence


My husband and I go to small group once a week. At the end of each meeting, naturally, we all voice prayer concerns and/or praises. It has almost become somewhat funny that neither he, nor I, ever have any concerns. Our life together feels blessed and – for the most part – trouble free. Lately, though, I have been wondering: Is our silence a good thing?

Psalm 150:6
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” – NIV

When we are broken in despair or feeling the crushing need for a Savior, our time with God is an essential step in our day. We would not miss a chance to petition the Lord for anything. After all, He is the Healer. He is the Sovereign God who controls our circumstances and sustains us in seasons of stress.

When we need Him, we seek Him.

How easily this urgency seems to slip away when we are basking in the glory of our blessings. Our need to praise Him falls much lower on our emergency scale than our need to petition Him.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Secret Weapons


1 Peter 5:8
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” - NIV

Recently, in church and during my mentoring dinners, the topic of spiritual warfare has been popular. If you are anything like me, when you envision spiritual warfare, your mind wanders to cosmic forces that are almost too big to even think about. The elements of good and evil waging battle for our souls…um…not something that fills my thought process. Yes, the war rages on. Yes, the war is eternal. Yes, the war is big. Nevertheless, let us not forget, the weapons of evil could be quite small.

In my case, Satan’s weapon of choice was a dingy, frayed, raggedy old chair. Prior to starting this blog, my quite time with God used to be over my 1-hour lunch break. I would ride to the Barnes & Noble next to my office, find a chair, and just read His Word and pray. As hard as it has always been for me to remain consistent in my reading/journaling, this time had been different. I had found a system that worked for me. My reading was great, journaling was steady and my relationship with God was becoming more intimate.

One day, upon arriving at the bookstore, I looked around and noticed there was nowhere for me to sit. All of the chairs were taken. The next day, the same. The day after that, still no room. I didn’t understand it. I had been coming here for weeks with no hint of disturbance, and now, there was no room for me. And what was the result of this interruption: I lapsed on my time with God and read People magazines instead. Slowly, one day became seven. A week became weeks. Weeks became months.

Satan had been victorious. He had messed with my “system” until I just gave up. I quit reading. I quit praying. I quit going to Barnes & Noble. I forfeited my time with God because of a chair. Looking back, it becomes clear: The devil knew my weakness. He knew that I was a planner, and when things don’t go as planned, I cannot adjust.

The weapon against me was not violent. The weapon against me was not scary. The weapon against me, was me.

Monday, February 22, 2010



For college graduation in 2004, my parents bought me a Chihuahua. I had been obsessed with the breed for years. I ended up with a longhaired white puppy, and named him Nemo. He was my heart! He was always loving, comforting, obedient and loyal. Then, it happened: I moved to my parent’s house and Nemo met my dad.

For some reason that little bugger was mesmerized with my dad. The loyalty that once thrilled me now frustrated me, because it was towards another person. Everywhere my dad went, Nemo followed. Every time my dad called, Nemo came running.

I’m not to big to admit it: J-E-A-L-O-U-S-Y!!! What the heck was going on here? I brought him into this family only for him to give his love and obedience to someone else? It was quite difficult to watch the thing that I loved, love someone else more.

Exodus 34:14
“Do not worship any other God, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” – NIV

How much more vivid do our actions become when they are turned on ourselves? Our Heavenly Father created us to be intimate with Him. Our sole purpose in life is to love our King and find joy in Him.

How often do we replace our love for God with a love for our spouses? Children? Job? Or, even, money? Slowly, we become obedient to our objects of desire and loyal to their sheer presence. All the while, God watches. If I feel rejected from a 7 pound Chihuahua, how much more does our Father feel the rejection of a daughter.

God calls himself a jealous God. The definition of jealous is: apprehensive of losing affection, wary, fearful of being replaced, vigilant in guarding something and intolerant of disloyalty.

Jealousy is a horrible feeling. Is this what we wish on our God?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Relationship Rights


In one of my old apartments, Mormon witnesses frequently visited me. They would attempt to convert me to the Mormon Church with the use of flyers and prayer. I couldn’t help but think that even if I wasn’t a Christian, this method of evangelism would never work with me. There was no heart in it. There was no concern, care or relationship of any kind. These witnesses cared more about my conversion than my name.

With our cynical society today, more often then not, the right to share the gospel must be earned. A rapport must be established, and maintained, for the lost individual to open their heart to the truth. In the world that we live in, regrettably, most are perceived as frauds until proven otherwise.

While relationships could be said to be the building block of personal evangelism, the community is where, most often, conversions are manifested. It is my belief that God did not intend for individual relationships to stand on their own. Even the fundamental nature of God is three fold: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Jesus also exemplified when commissioning the twelve, communal living is the style of relationships God planned for us, it is where we thrive. Beliefs are shared, council is given and fellowship with other believers flourishes.

Proverbs 27:6
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted”.

Paul only had the best of intentions when he reprimanded the church of Corinth. This is how accountability is established. The same idea is present with regards to sharing the gospel. The beliefs of a stranger will not weigh more than a bag of feathers in the long run. What example has there been for the unbeliever?

Lead by example and, when the moment is right, be prepared to give a reason for the joy inside of you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

VeggieTale Values


When I woke up this morning, I was just craving some Veggie Tales. (It’s awesome, don’t hate.) Anyway, the video I chose was titled, Abe and the Amazing Promise. As I sat there listening to the story of Abraham and Sarai, they did something I never expected: they taught from the perspective of Sarai.

Never before had I considered the kind of woman Sarai was. Her husband comes home with a message from God and her first response was one of action. Surely, her heart felt the maternal instinct magnify at just the thought of a child.

The journey to Hebron took nearly eleven years…and no baby.

Genesis 16:2 - “The Lord has kept me from…” – NIV

Eleven years? In our culture of immediate gratification, can we even fathom such a term? When waiting on God, how easy it becomes to ignore current blessings in lieu of future wants. If what we desire is not right now, it may as well be not at all. The idea of waiting eats at our souls with extreme annoyance, and you don’t have to be a clinical scholar to predict what emotion comes next: Resentment.

Abraham and Sarai eventually strayed from the path of trust to produce a misfortune, have we done the same? Have we taken matters into our own hands only to realize the burden was too heavy? Has what we want shined in comparison with what we believe?

How simple it becomes to blame God for inaction. Inevitably, our love for Him becomes conditional.

At some point, we must ask ourselves: Are we more in love with the promise or the One who makes it?

Friday, February 19, 2010



Sometimes, life is just difficult. When your day starts out being a huge challenge, it is a natural assumption that the rest of it will follow suit.

Maybe you took some Benadryl to help you go to sleep and it still affected you the next morning.
Maybe you drove to Panera Bread at 6:30am to write your blog, but your stupid old computer couldn’t find a wireless connection.
Maybe your car is suddenly releasing a burnt rubber smell every time you drive it.
Maybe you attempted to get gas from three pumps before finding one that would accept your debit card.
Maybe you were a complete idiot and wore a dress on a day that was windy and freezing.
Maybe, to top off your glorious day, your forgot your daily apple for lunch!

Psalm 69:14, 32
Pull me out of the mud; Let all who seek God’s help live in joy

Maybe you realized how blessed you were to wake up this morning at all.
Maybe you took compassion on Panera Bread in light of the customer complaints they were fielding due to the internet blunder.
Maybe you recognized the burning smell in your car as a warning to get assistance before something terrible happened.
Maybe you were thankful that the gas you were able to get wasn’t $5.00.
Maybe you felt pretty in your miscalculated wardrobe choice and decided it was worth the cold.
Maybe, to top off your glorious day, someone gave you a bag of gummy bears to alleviate the frustration of forgetting your apple.

Maybe, if you let Him, God will turn your trouble to triumph.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Perfect Timing


I had a great friend that made a huge mistake. She was driven, courteous, responsible, and a great pleasure to be around. Then, it happened. She met a guy that possessed none of the same qualities as she did. He was immature, had no manners, drank all the time, and did not know the meaning of boundaries. As the relationship developed (over a few months), they became engaged.

I was troubled for her almost immediately. I saw the kind of man that she had chosen, and even more so, the kind of woman that she had become in his presence. Her drive was gone. Her ambitions changed to wedding preparations. Her focus became him instead of herself and no one in her life seemed to hold any significance anymore. Someone had to say something…didn’t they?

Ecclesiastes 3:1,7
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” - NIV

I have never been a fan of confrontation. I would just assume avoid all arguments, at the expense of suffering the consequences. While, at first glance, it seems like this approach is intended to keep the peace, it is more aimed at evasion. In the case of my friend, however, I spoke up. I made it clear how I felt about her choices and her life path. As a result, I was removed from the wedding party and, ultimately, her life. We no longer speak.

Every day I wonder if I made the right decision. Was this the time to speak up or was this the time to be silent? Maybe I overstated my bounds; maybe I should have just trusted her judgment. Since that day, I continuously pray for wisdom in my timing. Perhaps part of being wise, is knowing what to overlook.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On my Knees


Until recently, my understanding of prayer has been quite misdirected. Unsure of where I adopted this philosophy, for me, prayer has always been quite a formal affair. I would go to a place filled with silence, gather my thoughts, begin with praise and pray to my Heavenly Father. My prayer would be well spoken, equal in the praise/request ratio and, at times, almost automated. Emotion never got the best of me during my encounters with Christ. I was composed. I was articulate. I did not ramble.

Fast forward to fall of 2009 when everything I knew about prayer went out the window. My younger brother was living in New York City and had decided that he was ready to relocate. With an adventurous personality, he took out for California…on foot! He found himself sleeping beside railroad tracks, hitching rides from strangers and freezing in the cold Virginia fall.

Naturally, I was a disaster. The fear and worry were almost too much to bear. With the recent death of my friend still lingering in my head, his demise was all I could fathom. I had no power. I had no say. There was absolutely nothing that I could do for him, with him or to him. God had placed me in a position where prayer was the only answer.

Ephesians 6:18
”And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” – NIV

Never before had I experienced such passion during prayer. I was expressive in my words, emotional in my petitions. Truly, I cried out with laments. I was begging others to pray on his behalf. I was – finally – praying without ceasing.

The season of his adventure was short. God brought him home on my birthday of last year. As hard as it was to admit my needs, God heard me. Instead of regulated and “appropriate” prayers, God responded to a suffering heart that fell before His feet. God moves most when faith outweighs formality.

I read once that there are times in life, that no matter what posture the body is in, the soul is on its knees.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



All my adult life, I have been afraid. I don’t talk about it much because, frankly, it is embarrassing. In fact, the very thing that terrifies me, I wholeheartedly promote to others. Here I am: a seminary graduate, a walking Christian, a child of the Father…and terribly anxious about God’s plans for us.

The word “us” is not a typo. God’s plan for my loved ones is just as scary to me as my own. Recently, I saw His plan for my best friend and it was to take her. When God acted, my world stood still for months. Now, the need to avoid that familiar feeling only fuels my apprehension of God’s intentions for the rest of my family. Are His plans to take them also? Everyday I live in fear over the potential loss of my mother, father, brother and husband. Could my faith survive another one of God’s plans?

In our hearts, we truly know Jeremiah 29:11 –
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – NIV

How difficult it becomes to recognize the “prosperity” in suffering. Did Jeremiah see Christ on the cross? Often our minds cannot balance the harm of loss, with the supremacy of God’s plan. Time and again, the miracle of salvation veils itself in hurt. We must accept the cross as the pathway to peace, even when they are ours to bear.

There are many lovers of the King, few bearers of His cross.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Taste Test


My best friend and I were roommates for years. After living with someone for a certain amount of time, you begin to notice their interests. In our case, however, there was no time to detect her most important interest because she never shut up about it: Diet Dr. Pepper. You would have thought this beverage was the end-all-be-all in carbonated goodness. She had it for breakfast, she had emergency stashes in her trunk, and she single-handedly organized the introduction of this drink into her company’s fountain drink station.

I, myself, am a regular Dr. Pepper fan. I do not touch anything diet out of simple support for the original. This being said, after years and years of her praises, curiosity got the best of me. Eventually, we made a deal that I would try her choice for one week. At the end of the week, while I was not fully convinced of Diet Dr. Pepper’s supremacy, I didn’t dislike it as much as I had originally suspected.

Psalm 34:8
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him”. – AKJV

When we have those in our lives who are not walking with Christ, it is tough to remember that our job is never to convert them. What power have we to change someone’s mind? No, no. The responsibility given to us by Jesus Christ is simply to show the way. We are to point to Him with our lives, with our words and with our praise.

If you think about it, a “taste” is not that big of an amount. A taste is actually a very small thing that leads to something bigger. God does not say, “Try me for a year and then decide.” God knows, and we must know, that He has enough power in a single taste to change everything.

What is the use in bearing fruit, when there is no one to taste it?

Sunday, February 14, 2010



I used to play competitive tennis. I entered tournaments, played for my high school and grew in my state ranking. Of course, all of this coincided with drills three times a week. As I grew into adolescence, my priorities expanded accordingly. Tennis became a distant fourth to friends, clothes, relationships and pagers.

After some time, my mom noticed my lack of exertion on the tennis court and was not pleased. Her frustration was not at my lack of interest, but at my lack of effort. She explained to me the difference between playing with your heart and just showing up.

This memory mirrors my walk with Jesus Christ. Up until this point, I have expected God to give His all for me while I just “showed up”. I went to church. I prayed at church. I would tithe on Sunday and expect Him to bless me on Monday.

John 5:17
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” – NIV

It is so easy to fall into comfort when you feel you have already won. Why continue with the effort of completion when your story is already sealed? God saves us the minute we accept Him into our hearts, is that the end? Once we get what we want, why bother anymore?

The call of a Christian is to mirror our lives after Jesus Christ. John 5 says that He is always at work, always. Jesus had followers. His message was out. Once the 12 apostles made the decision to follow, technically, He had what He wanted. Did He not continue to pour into their lives with nothing but care, love and effort?

If He had not put effort into His mission every day, would we be sitting here as Christians?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Office Space


Lately, I have found myself struggling to deal with the influences of my company. When I first came to them, more than three years ago, I was young. I was inexperienced in the career field and basically in awe of the corporate lifestyle. The company itself was in growth stages and my peers were welcoming and enjoyable.

Fast forward three years and I do not even recognize that company anymore. Aside from the name, nothing is the same. New building, new leadership, new dress code and – regrettably - new attitudes. Employees are being laid off at rapid rates – with zero notice. Socialization is frowned upon as much as Capri pants and, to spread a little icing on the cake, management encourages the use of instant messaging over face-to-face communication. I have personally witnessed more than one occasion of self-indulgence and egocentricity. With environments like this, it is safer for the American worker remain anonymous than acknowledged.

In this surrounding, how in the world do I remain true to my beliefs? I cannot consider others more important than myself without becoming disposable. I cannot anticipate fairness, allegiance or even tolerance. Most of all, I cannot speak out – even when I know that God is speaking through me.

Hebrews 6:10
“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him…”

When we cannot see God in our work, we must rely on the knowledge that we can see Him. All of those desires that work fails meet, God will exceed our expectations. In Him we can anticipate fairness, allegiance and, even tolerance. He will not forget the work we have done for His Kingdom. Trust me that work doesn’t seem so bad when you are working for the right leader.

Interesting that God doesn’t say that we shouldn’t serve two masters, he says that we can’t.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Slow Lane


Driving down the interstate this morning, I found myself trapped behind a huge truck. It might as well have been a death trap for my little Honda; the thing was shooting out little pebbles of destruction! As each pebble clinked against my windshield, I realized how foolish I was. There I sat, fully aware of the damage I was permitting, but refusing to move. I was in a rush. I was running behind. I needed the fastest lane possible to reach my end destination. While the right lane would have been less destructive, it would have been slower as well.

Sadly, I recognized this feeling; I have rushed down many paths in my life. I have chosen the express-lane-to-ruin on more than one occasion.

Is this what life has become? Are we more interested in speed than methodology? If we know the destruction that lies ahead, do we concede because the path is faster? Are we really choosing pebbles over patience?

Ecclesiastes 7:8
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

As Christians, we often discover that through our development process, God grows us the most. What would we learn about Him, or ourselves, if we simply received all that we desired - without learning to appreciate the rewards? Would the result be so great? Would we even be ready for it? When God presents us with a period of growth, and we refuse, does that not keep us…small?

I can’t help but wonder how smooth the road would be if we cared more about our destination than how fast we got there.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Hinges


I used to pray and pray for something big to happen to me; an event so large that it could become the highlight of my testimony. I would hope for a spiritual test that not only demonstrated God’s presence in my life, but would also stand to speak for my own spiritual maturity as well. I wanted something tangible. I wanted something significant. I wanted something big.

Now, each morning, I drive to the coffee shop to write this blog. Every single time that I enter through the double doors, I have no idea what I am going to write about. My mind is entirely blank, to the point of uneasiness. Is today the day that I will have nothing to say?

Time and time again, 45 minutes later, I leave that place a little bit bigger. The things that come out of my mind - so suddenly – have God written all over them. I am not experiencing large events. I am not making a name for myself. I am not even seen behind the words I write. What I’m doing here is just. ..Small. But, in these small encounters, my faith grows bigger. These small moments in God’s presence are more than enough to count for something big.

Isaiah 60:22
“The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation.” - NIV

I read once that nothing in His kingdom is too small to count, or even too small to grow into something huge. The massive doors of God’s kingdom swing on tiny hinges of faith and obedience. Focus on the hinges and you will see the doors open wide.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



I had dinner with some friends a few nights ago. While these are still very important people in my life, our friendship originally formed when I was someone else. They do not know me as a woman of God, quite the opposite actually. They know me as someone who lived for the minute and sacrificed only for fun.

Our dinner went well. There were laughs, stories and memories shared…but no Gospel. I went with the intention of being a great witness, but at the risk of dampening the mood, settled for not being a “bad witness” instead.

Matthew 12:34
“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” – NIV

The words of our mouth positively echo the thoughts in our heart. While we do want to present the Gospel to those in the dark, we desperately crave acceptance more. As long as nothing is done to hinder the faith, have we really done anything wrong?

I got home from dinner and my husband asked a simple question: “Were you a good witness?” It was as if God was calling me out on my idleness. My head was saying, “I didn’t do anything!” My heart was saying, “I did nothing.”

When we arrive in Heaven, what if Jesus remains idle? Would we count ourselves lucky if Christ says nothing? Yes, this would mean that He does not present regrettable facts about us, but it also means that He does not speak for us either. Would His nothing be enough to save us?

Let us not forget that choosing to do nothing, it still making a decision.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010



Doubt has the ability to frustrate me quicker than anything else. Nothing tests my tolerance like doubt in my personal abilities or, worse yet, my words. A coworker of mine, notorious for this, always has the nerve to question my documents and launch unwarranted hesitation into my initiatives. This constant state of suspicion has ruined a once pleasant relationship and turned it into a battle of accuracy.

As this has been playing more and more of a role in my daily life, I have found myself wondering: Do I doubt anyone the way that she doubts me?

Judges 6: 17, 39
Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.”…Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more test…”

Already this morning I have requested God to show me that I am hearing Him correctly. I have cast a large net of doubt into His calling for me simply because it has not happened as fast as I thought. Suddenly, my heart was screaming: “Why do you ask when you refuse to hear the answer?”

Do we take God at His word? Do we answer our King of Power with assurance, or, do we find ourselves asking for just one more test?

The very nature of a test is that you will pass or fail. In testing God at all, are we not assuming that He has the ability to fail?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Worry Wart


After months of waiting, I received my teaching certification in the mail yesterday. Almost immediately, after the initial satisfaction of receiving what can only be called the most-expensive-piece-of-paper-ever, feelings of concern set in. There is so much pressure attached to this one piece of endorsement. Pressure to make my education count. Pressure to follow through on what I have openly claimed to be the will of God for my life. Pressure to be successful.

So, for now, I worry. I worry for the possible failure that searching for a new career could bring. I worry for the possible success that searching for a new career could bring. I worry for my personal feelings of achievement and what another “closed-door” would mean to my calling. I worry that I misunderstood God’s intentions for my vocational life. Most of all, I worry about the additional time of waiting that any denial will inevitably mean.

Matthew 6:34
“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” – NIV

It is so easy to be instructed not to worry, a little less simple when one actually attempts to block this emotion. We know that God is faithful. We know that God is in control. More often than not, in our worry, it is not about God’s ability: Worry is about His time. How long do we have to wait on something that we thought was coming yesterday? How long do we have to wait to be ready? If this period of waiting is just God’s way of training us for His glory, how long does this last?

I suppose, in our worry, we should just remember: God would not spend so much time training those He did not plan to use in amazing ways.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Christ Divided


In college, I was part of the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry. We were not the only Protestant organization on campus; however, to look at us, you would never know that. The Wesleyan ministry was minutes away, as was the Presbyterian student center and Baptist collegiate ministry. There was never any animosity between the ministries, or anything like that, but there may as well have been. I suppose that to have friction with a group, you must first meet them.

Why is this always the way? More often than not, unity among ministries falls a distant third to outreach and conversions. One student says, “I attend Wesleyan” while another commits to Campus Crusade. One student prays for his ministry, but forgets the rest. This division, this dissection, is nothing new.

1 Corinthians 1:13
Is Christ divided?

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

The church, as a whole, is the body of Christ. Why must we try so hard to break Him apart?

Saturday, February 6, 2010



When I first became a Christian, I was filled with nothing but urgency. I felt such a pressing need to know everything about Him, right away. In my innocence, I began to seek out those who could “educate me” on pleasing my Lord.

Out of this haste, I came to be part of a certain mega-church. Somehow, I managed to entangle myself with the spiritual leaders of the church staff. Foolishly, I began to take them at only their words.

Eight weeks later, I did not recognize the life I was living. Door-to-door evangelism had become a Wednesday night event. Movies that I loved, songs that had meaning to me and things that made me smile – if they were not 100% “Christian” – they were, literally, thrown out of my life as trash. I was trained to tithe at every attended service, therefore, at times, I found myself financially unable to be present. Worst of all, the people in my life who were not believers, became expendable and dejected.

Since this time, I have spent much of my life placing blame on this church for providing me with such a negative experience of Christianity. I have taken no responsibility in the matter and forfeited all the guilt outside of my personal control.

Ezekiel 33:4
“Then, if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die.” - NASB

I suppose that in my Bible studying, I overlooked the parts on accountability. I knew that I was uncomfortable with the direction my spiritual life was taking. I knew that the drastic steps at outward decontamination were not bringing me any closer to my Savior. I heard the alarms of apprehension. I knew many things…but did nothing.

Faith never means unawareness. God tells us to test the prophets, test what they say! Make sure that their words are in line with the teaching of Christ.

When I believed everything, I was just as far from the Lord as when I believed nothing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Small Stuff


Man, was it hard to get here. This morning I awoke to freezing cold temperatures laced with the amount of wind that always ruins the hair efforts of the day. The traffic was worse, the rain was depressing, I did not really want to go to work in the first place and, to top it all off, there was a hole in my shoe. In summation, this day had “Paid Time Off” written all over it. Then, I opened the Word:

Luke 16:10
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…”

Twenty-two days ago, I made a commitment to God in regards to this blog. I committed to spending each morning with Him, in His Word, and allowing Him the prominent place in my days. Is that promise nullified on the account of rain and leaky shoes?

Thus far, on my 365-day journey, I cannot help but feel that God has blessed it. My heart has been full. My blessings made obvious. What would happen if I suddenly considered the weather influential on my relationship with God? Would I really sweat the small stuff like rain and wind?

God is always in control of our circumstances. Dare we forget that He is the one responsible for this rain in the first place? He is the one who set the temperature. Could He have been testing my commitment?

While, yes, there are bigger and better things in this world besides my blog, this is what He has entrusted to me for the duration of the year. If I were not faithful in this small task, why would He believe me to be faithful in bigger ones?


If I am not faithful in the small things, how can I expect Him to be faithful in the big ones?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spiritual Starvation


World hunger: No doubt a topic of concern that has been made visibly principle in the mainstream media of the United States. Drew Barrymore’s $1 million dollar donation and position as Ambassador Against Hunger, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Madonna becoming parents of impoverished African children and Oprah requesting that each viewer of her show donate $50 to the cause for starvation are just a few examples of the star power behind this growing enterprise. It is almost as if, to be considered an A-List celebrity, some form of external support for world hunger is a pre-requisite.

From a Christian perspective, however - while impoverished nations are to be a noteworthy area of prayer and action for believers - one thought penetrates the rest: is Spiritual Hunger not even a blip on the radar of Hollywood?

As believers, are we actively moving the Gospel outward or are we satisfied in our current circle of comfort? Are we finding ourselves giving to the physical nutrition of impoverished nations while their spiritual welfare goes ignored?

The fact is, Jesus Christ was a missionary without borders. As we are called to be like Him, we are called into action. The Bible awards us with a sense of responsibility to those who do not yet know Him; nonetheless, there is a sense of out-of-sight-out-of-mind that fills our concern compartment.

Joshua 4:24
He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mere Minutes


I recently got married. You would not believe the amount of time, money and planning that went into our wedding. The engagement was almost 9 months, and at the time, it seemed like forever! I would wake up every day and be consumed with ideas and expectations. During this period, there was little else that really mattered. I was not spending time with God; I was not reading His Word and my prayer life morphed into silent thoughts of wedding planning. My life was revolving around this one thing.

Now, only seven months later, our wedding was amazing, but I barely remember much of what we planned. The things that once seemed so big ended up being the very things that got so blurred. The night didn’t seem to last more than mere-minutes and, when it was over, I realized that my existence had surrounded something so momentary.

2 Corinthians 4:18 reads:
“For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” - NIV

When we find ourselves absorbed into the things of this world, are we using our time wisely? Even if the particular thing capturing our attention is one of excitement, joy or happiness, is God not all of those things?

No matter what the source of our focus is, if it is not Jesus Christ, it is temporary at best.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trophies in Heaven


I used to be on a traveling softball team. When you are 13, and in a competitive sport, winning actually was the most important thing. It was not the pride that accompanied the win, no; it was the ever-glamorous trophy! Tournaments were not worth your time if you did not return home with that symbol of triumph. I placed them around my room like success shrines and fished in the compliments.

Contemporary culture is nowhere-near the start of athletic games. The bible records many traditional events that surrounded the idea of competition and victory. The Isthmian games, for example, were held in Corinth and famous for awarding the "crown of celery” in honor of athletic achievement.

As a more visible example, consider the numerous instances where the bible speaks of athletic victory:

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. – NASB

2 Timothy 4:8
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Revelation 2:10
Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

God’s Word speaks of eternal life in comparison with athletic success. The people of this culture understood the illustrations much in the same way as we do. The ultimate victory - trophy or crown – that we can win is eternal salvation. This victory, like all others, must be earned.

Winners are called to run the same race as losers, but the path of the winner is straight.

Monday, February 1, 2010

18 Inches


When I was first learning about Christianity, a church leader of mine told me of the 18-inch rule: Our heads are 18 inches from our hearts. Over the years, I have thought about this seemingly small space, and what must lie in there.

If I am being completely honest with myself, how have I been “knowing God” these last couple of years?

I know that Romans 8 mentions the Holy Spirit 20 times in that chapter alone. I know that Revelation 17 is intended to represent Babylon and the rampant run of false religion. I know that external evidence strongly suggests that Mark 9-20 were not originally part of his gospel, and that extreme caution should be used when formulating spiritual doctrine from these verses. Yes, I know tons of biblical facts and scriptural theories, but, do I really know my Lord and Savior?

Isaiah 29:13
The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

Have we been so caught up in obtaining biblical knowledge that Christ, inadvertently, became secondary? What do we desire more: being able to spout out biblical facts in front of those who would think us wise, or, being able to sit face-to-face with our Heavenly Father?

Why do we constantly pursue earthly intelligence and forget what really counts? God is not impressed with factual knowledge about Himself. Instead of concentrating on filling our heads with comprehension, let us fill that small space from our heads to our hearts.

I have to ask: How many will miss heaven by 18 inches?