Monday, August 5, 2013


“One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live... surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place...Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.” - Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

whatever is 
if there is any 
if there is anything 
worthy of praise

think about these things

Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Song

My Potter's Hands

^ me and some amateur garageband recording

satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love
that we may sing for joy
be glad all our days

Psalm 90:14

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Isaiah 58 : 6-12

"Is not this the fast that I choose:
   to loose the bonds of wickedness,
   to undo the straps of the yoke,
   to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

   Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house;
   when you see the naked to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

   Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing shall spring up speedily;
   your righteousness shall go before you;
   the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

   Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
   you shall cry and he will say, 'Here I AM'.
   If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness;
   if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise          
   in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall rise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Works vs. Fruits

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control"
Galatians 5:19-23

Reading verses 19-21 makes me highly uncomfortable. Seeing those sins in print like that reminds me of my sin and who I am without Jesus and I cringe. Whenever I read this passage I casually skip all the bad stuff and move straight to the fruits of the Spirit; but as I glance back at the descriptions of the works of the flesh, I pause and reluctantly re-read.

The term works of the flesh lends, to me, a visual of myself actively working, in my own effort (whether I realize it or not), to create in myself certain characteristics. Jealousy, envy, idolatry, anger. I am able to do so, to cultivate these works of the flesh, because I'm trying to. I'm getting the flesh-workings because I'm seeking the flesh-workings.

I read verses 22-23 and I'm still uncomfortable. What great things to aspire to - now how many am I lacking? Do I need to have all of these fruits? How do I make myself more patient? Or gentle? Or good? And how is "self-control" defined? Cue the deep breaths.

It's in these moments of "are-you-asking-me-to-be-perfect-God-because-I-can't" that He gently pats me on the head and reminds me that if I have the faith, I have salvation. Hallelujah
And as we seek His word and truth, He shows us beautiful things that we may have missed before.

Like that the fruits of the Spirit are called fruits of the Spirit. We are not actively seeking the thing, the characteristic, the well-rounded Christian; we're actively seeking the Spirit. And as we do, He fills us with Himself and grows things within us. He grows fruit that is good and of Him. It's a natural creation of beauty that is inevitable, like oranges growing from an orange tree.

My child, He says. You can't be loving and joyful and peaceful without me. I've given you the Spirit to do that for you. He will make you patient and gentle and faithful and good and kind. I will make you new - you need only to have faith in that. Abandon your expectations of who you should or shouldn't be and turn your face to Me.

God knows us fully and He provides a harvest. Praise Him

Thursday, June 6, 2013

For this is the will

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

The will of God is something that is on my mind probably always. When I make some decision I'm still left wondering if I'm doing what He would have me do. The different opportunities in front of me can be crippling because I don't choose any of them because I'm afraid I'm not doing what is "right" because I sometimes believe I can do what is right on my own.
But we are told that the will of God isn't just about the circumstances of our life. Our circumstances and decisions can be within or out of the context of His will, but they aren't the point.


"Rejoice always": okay but like always? How does that even make sense, I pray. I need to cry out sometimes. Let's be realistic. But this isn't an emotional rejoicing, He answers. This is a rejoicing in your soul - one that says, 'it is well' because Jesus is alive and I am alive and I always will be because He is madly in love with me so I will rejoice even when I'm overcome with despair in this broken world. I will rejoice because God has made me His child again. I will rejoice because God is God.

"Pray without ceasing": okay but without ceasing? How do I pray when I'm having a conversation with someone else, or when I'm sleeping, I pray. You can pray without ceasing, He answers, by realizing your need without ceasing. By realizing your weakness and my strength and letting me strengthen you. Pray without ceasing, He says, by coming to me in humility without ceasing, by keeping me in conversation, by telling me about your worries and hopes and expectations. Pray without ceasing by recognizing and calling upon my presence always. My presence is without ceasing, He says - so should your prayer be to me. And when you don't think you have anything else to pray, pray for me to help you pray more. He wants to teach me to pray without ceasing because He will listen without ceasing because He is without ceasing.

"Give thanks in all circumstances": okay but in all circumstances? Sometimes I'm not thankful for my circumstances. Sometimes mine or someone else's circumstances make me feel anything but thankful, I pray. They actually sometimes really piss me off. Yes, I understand, that's what it means to live in this world, He answers. But giving thanks in all circumstances is giving thanks for Me. It is remembering my Sacrifice in all circumstances and being thankful for it because even when your circumstances are less-than-great, I still died so you could live and I want you to be thankful for that, He says. Give thanks in all circumstances because I am Who I say I am in all circumstances, He says.

We can rejoice, we can pray and we can give thanks - not because we are feeling extra holy today but because we are creature and God is Creator. We can do this always, without ceasing and in all circumstances, not because we are stable and in control and consistently obedient, but because we are a mess without the God who controls and convicts us.

I will do this only by His grace, which pulls me out of myself and allows me to do things like rejoice and pray and give thanks that my human nature cannot naturally do without His Spirit which lives in me and makes me less of me and more of Him.

At the core of my being i am full of joy and prayer and thanks because i am full of the Spirit. At the core of my being i am fulfilling the will of God because i have accepted Jesus and allowed the Spirit to fill me. That is it. It is finished. He lives. He has done it and He is satisfied and i live, too.

Thank God

Thursday, May 30, 2013

On forgetting Self

So I'm sitting on my white down bedspread this morning, balancing a full cup of coffee in between my palms and I can't help but get a bit anxious about the possibility of a coffee stain on my pretty bed. The color white is just so new and clean and neat and bright. You know? I place my coffee down on a table beside me and breathe again.
I self-reflect. Why the anxiety? About coffee? And a stain? Am I really that ridiculous? Yes, the answer is yes. But why?

I'm trying again, to do something right. To make something about me better because I want to fix all my flaws. I have it in my head that I can do that. That I can make my stains white on my own with some sort of self-righteous bleach.

I can tell that I'm not motivated by Christ and His example in this moment, in these times of trying. I'm motivated by an image of the Christian I think I should be. I'm motivated by my friends who seem more-righteous/more-God-fearing/more-peaceful/more-joyful/more-gentle than I am.
Am I letting Christ set me free, or am I letting an idea of the "perfect Christian" tie me down?

The pressure is undeniable; the comparisons are endless. It's in these moments that happen more often than I would like to admit that I must ask, "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10, NIV) I sit in the stillness of God and I feel Him move me, as He never seems to tire of doing.

I pick up my coffee again, and I forget about how full it is because I'm holding God's Word in my other hand and it tells me that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Corinthians 3:17, NIV)

I let myself forget about myself because God is Healer, Redeemer, Satisfier, Forgiver and He is near and He makes me clean and I don't have to try anymore. Because He is Who He is, He lets me forget about those self-expectations - I can't take my eyes off of Jesus long enough to remember them.

Knowing that I'm found in His grace, I can allow myself to be lost in His love.