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Showing posts from 2010

Focus.

Why do I esteem so high the opinions of others?
Why must their eyes be the ultimate judge?
What is it that draws me to notability?
Why must I have all credit?
For these feelings of bewilderment and loneliness—
Overwhelming as they may be,
Are not credible, but false representations
Of what is important.
Can I never be satisfied in knowing that You care?
Day after day, year after year,
Wishing I was other than myself—
Clouded eyes, plastic smile.
Where is my true and genuine self?
No false fronts and no apprehension.
I want my true and real compassion—
Not for the satisfaction of others
But for the fulfillment of Your call.
Let me see the low and downtrodden
Instead of rising to the top as a goal.
Give me Your clear, unfading eyes
To see the beauty of a fainting soul.
Let me see Your visions and plans.
May I never miss what You want to do
By my being oblivious to Your greatness.
All I need is You—Your approval.
And everything will fall into place.

His Presence.

Your presence—an enveloping love soothing
Me away from the struggles of this life.
Your truth speaks softly into my ear to continue on,
And your peace is a beaming light, a place to withstand my fears.
Your face is a treasure to my heart—
Even though I’ve never seen Your tender eyes and warm smile,
I know that they are sweeter than the greatest joys on this earth.
When I call Your name in the midst of a turbulent storm,
It is You who responds to my need.
Even when I look back at the troubles of life,
I witness Your outstretched arms that cradled me.
Though the many winding paths may perplex my wandering mind,
I trust that You will show me the course.
And even when I am not trusting, and I struggle to complete Your will,
Your voice speaks words of reassurance and comfort
That allow me to gaze at Your purpose once again.
This world can be blinding with its flashy invitations and show-stopping routines;
But even in the core of the world and its desires,
Your ways are drawing me close.
May I never stray fro…

God's Way.

Galatians 1:10

"Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant."

The more and more I grow up and see more of this world, the more I realize that God's ways and the world's ways are completely different. The world operates in a self-centered "me" existence, where the main goal in life is to accumulate the most awards and notability. However, God's way is just the opposite. God wants us to stay humble; instead of becoming noteworthy, we should minister to the poor and the oppressed. And in our humility, the Lord will eternally honor us.

If our goal is to live our lives in order to please people, we will not find ourselves totally pleasing God. On the flipside, if we live our lives in order to please God, we will not always please others. But God's way is perfect. Even though this world and the people in it may not agree with the way we live our lives, in the end, we…

Childlike.

This world is full of distractions. Whether we realize it or not, we are being plagued by the television, computer, and other electronics.

As I step back and look at my life the past couple years, I realize that this technology has taken a big place in my life. First, I joined it all to connect to other people; but then I just found myself using this technology exorbitantly. Though not necessarily bad, this lifestyle has left me a lot less productive.

When I was a kid, I had no distractions; I had no hidden motives. Everything was simple. Pure. Exciting. What has changed as I've gotten older? It has to be the distractions. The only way to pursue those aspirations and goals that I haven't had time for before is to get away from those things that pull me away from what God wants me to do. I need to be like a child, giving all my attention to one thing at a time and enjoying the moment.

From now on, I'm going to try harder to be more childlike. To have undivided f…

A New Kind of Glory.

2 Corinthians 3:7-11

"7 The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!"

I read this passage this morning and I was like "Wow! I never thought of it like this before!" Moses had an amazing and overwhelming glow when he came down from Mt. Sinai, one that the people noticed markedly. But this was under the old law and the old w…
Psalm 37:7a

"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act."

How profound this little part of a verse is. If we are STILL in God's presence, we not only diminish worry and fear, but we also grow closer to God KNOWING that He will act.

Later in the chapter (verse 18), "Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever."
When we have a blameless heart before God, He's promised us that He will take care of us day by day. It's that simple. Just BE STILL and KNOW that He is GOD.
Who could imagine the depths of Your heart
Where mercy flows like a mighty ocean
And envelops the sins and struggles of a fainting soul?

Who could feel the soft caress of Your hands--
The ones that formed the universe
And the ones that hold my heart?

Who could peer into the eyes so precious
That they preplanned every detail in my life--
To have a purpose for every joy, every trial?

Who could bask in the endless glory of Your grace
That washes over all the pain and grief
And renews the bruised and battered?

Who could receive Your promises--
That Your love never fails
And that Your hand will forever provide?

Your love is unimaginable.
Your grace inconceivable.
Your truth so beautiful.

And You offer this all to me?
Incredible.

Such an Amazing Week.

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About a week ago I got back from my first time at Royal Family Kids Camp. I was support staff to help with the kids there that have been in foster care and/or abused sometime in their lives. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when all of the kids arrived at church for registration and we boarded the bus to camp. I was overwhelmed to say the least. I felt like I was to be responsible to help give these kids a beyond perfect week at camp, and beyond perfect is usually a pretty tall order. :)

But when we arrived, I sort of let my worries go. And I also threw out any expectations I had for myself and just wanted to help the kids as much as I could. Day by day, I realized something funny. It was as if the kids were giving to me just by me having fun with them.

I'd never experienced such a love from kids who had supposedly been so broken. It just left me speechless. In turn, that week at RFKC was one of the most unique experiences, one of the most rewarding times, and also one of …
Hebrews 12:12

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees."


I love this passage because it tells us who are aching and beaten down to regain our strength in God even when we feel like we have no strength at all.

Wrap Me In Your Arms (Acoustic) - Michael Gungor

I love to listen to this song, close my eyes, and feel God's presence. Why don't you try it today? :)
Hebrews 6:11,12

"Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance."


This is just what I needed to hear today.

God Said 'No' to Jesus

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This post was a little bit delayed seeing as God showed me this around Easter time. But I had to share it no matter how late it was!

On Good Friday this past year, I read the account of Jesus's death in God's Word, and I truly thanked Him for what He had done for me on the cross. That day symbolized so much--the power of sin in the earth, the pain of life, but most importantly, the Savior who conquered them both.

I started watching the Passion of the Christ with my brother, and even though I've seen the movie before and read numerous times what happened at Gethsemane, this time new meaning came to my heart and my thoughts. As Jesus knelt, stricken with pain, He asked one thing of God--for this cup to pass from Him if it was God's will. In other words, He was asking if there was any other way for Him to atone for the sins of the world than by a scarring death on a cross. It wasn't that Jesus didn't want to die for our sins--He loved us even through that prayer--bu…

Don't Forget What He's Done

Psalm 77:4-12 "4 You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
 6 I said, "Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart."
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 "Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?"
Selah
10 Then I said, "I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High."
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds."

This past week I've been had a hard time seeing God in life and in school. I don't know exactly what it is that makes me feel this way. I think I'm just realizing more and more the separation between God and the world. The more I try to seek God, t…

God is Faithful

A little over a week ago, I celebrated my 16th birthday. It was so exciting, and I had a great time. After I went to school, I came home and my family and I watched the video that my dad took after I was born with my immediate family and my grandparents holding me for the first time. And although I don't remember those times when I was just a few hours old, seeing that video means a whole lot to me. It's meaningful to see me then because it truly shows how faithful God has been to me since that age that I can't even remember. Turning another year older made me reflect on all the memories of my life--the joys, the sadnesses, the heartaches, and the triumphs that have accompanied each year of my life. It's so cool to see what God has done in my life in retrospect...even if I didn't notice how much of a role that He played in my life at the time.

In the end, God's ways are the best. I can see that through the past, and I can only hope and pray that as I keep…
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Guess what? I was walking out from my house to the car this morning before school, and you know what I heard? Little birdies chirping. It totally made my day. I am so happy and thankful that there's always a spring. Think about it...at the time, winter can be so frustrating (you can apply this to life too), and we may get so discouraged because it's so cold and dark or because a time in our lives is rocky or barren. However, when we hear a little bird chirp, it's a sign that winter's almost over! Although spring might not be here yet, we are certain that it's going to come.

And sooner than we expect sometimes, flowers and new life will be with us once again.

God's Wisdom

James 3:13-17

"If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere."

It's pretty awesome...this passage of James is kind of like the 1 Corinthians 13 for love, but instead for wisdom. When we are jealous and selfish, we aren't showing God's kind of wisdom. Jealousy and selfishness don't come from God. In fact, they are just a product o…
Hebrews 13:8

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

It's good to know that there's some constancy in life! My life has been all over the place the past few years/months/weeks, and how awesome it is that when everything around us is shaken, God stands firm and is always there to understand.

Being Absolutely Genuine.

Romans 12:9

"Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good."

Just this one verse from Romans is enough to help us through the human struggle of truly being genuine. As a sinful culture, we are naturally born selfish. To truly follow Christ and model His example is going against what our culture does, and in this case, to truly love others.

So much is fake these days--fake faces, fake attitudes, fake bodies, fake love. And it's the latter that is truly detrimental to society. Without love, our world is full of hate and destruction. But because God is love, we must be grounded in Him to emit the real thing. We must keep our eyes fixed on what true love is, because the love of the world says that the deepest and most coveted love is a lust relationship between a man and woman; however, to those who follow Christ, the deepest love we know is a Savior who died a painful death for the whole world and rescued us from e…

Shining Brightly.

"But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars."

I love this quote spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr., during his last speech before his death. My English class was reading the speech last night for homework, and this was one line that especially stuck out at me.

I just try to think...when I'm on my back porch at home at night with all the street lights around me, I look up to the sky and see stars--although they are very faint. Sure, I can still appreciate the beauty of the heavens by seeing dimly lit stars; but when I go somewhere isolated like this past weekend at Winter Retreat at Camp Awana, WI, I don't even have to look for the stars. They just jump out at me.

Applying this quote deeper into life...when we are always in comfortable situations, we won't shine as brightly because we'll be around other light. However, when we are in the uncomfortable situations of being around those who don't have Christ in their lives, …

Don't Belong to the World

Romans 12:1,2

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

I've heard/read this passage too many times to count probably. I know that we aren't supposed to live like the "world" does, filling our desires with lust, pride, and sin. I know that we're supposed to surrender to God daily, laying our lives at His feet for Him to use at His will. I know that God wants me to worship Him with all that's within me and to love Him unconditionally. Yes, I've heard the explanation of these verses thoroughly and clearly so as to not destroy or dement the meaning. However…

No Greater Love.

This passage never ever gets old.

Romans 3:21-24

"21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins."

How I delight in the fact that God loves me no matter what I have done against Him. I was born a sinner, yet God had so much compassion that He sent His Son to die for me anyways.

Romans 5:7-9 says this so perfectly.

"7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love f…

One More Thought...

So I finished John this past Thursday, and I happen to love the book of Romans. I figured it'd be a good follow-up. Well, it's so cool that even after reading the book of Romans before, new perceptions have come to my mind even in the first two chapters. I love how wherever we are in life, the Bible is chock-full of stories and passages that can relate to us.

One such passage I read today is in Romans 2:29: "And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God's Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people."

I suppose this verse relates to my life right now. Especially being in high school, it's so easy to solely seek the approval of my peers and those around me. But a truly changed heart seeks God's approval rather than man's. I know that this is definitely something that I need to keep reminding myself, for in the end, God is all that is going to matter. …

After a Month of John...

So usually when I read the Bible, I stick with the letters to the church written by Paul and such. But after going through all those, I figured that it was time to read about Jesus' life. Even though I've learned so much about Jesus during my childhood and in Sunday school, I still think it's so great to be able to go back to the source and truly see the way God worked through Jesus when He was on earth.

Below are some verses I found really insightful and interesting:

John 1:10-13 "10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God."

John 3:19-21 "19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light,…

My Prayer...

These lyrics come from Jeremy Riddle's song "Full Attention." Every time I hear this song or sing it, it refocuses my life on the One who truly matters.


May Your voice be louder
May Your voice be clearer
Than all the others, than all the others

May Your face be dearer
May Your words be sweeter
Than all the others
Than all the others in my life

Please keep my eyes fixed on You
Please root my heart so deep in You
Keep me abiding, keep me abiding
Keep me abiding that I
Oh, that I might bear fruit

May Your presence be truer
May Your presence be nearer
Than all the others, than all the others

May Your light burn brighter
May Your love go deeper
Than all the others
Than all the others in my life

Amen!

Major Change and Amazing Growth.

Lately, everything around me has been changing--my friendships, my church, my pastors, my inner circle, my classes, my interests...the list could go on and on.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, change isn't exactly the funnest thing for me. I'd probably rather pick up roadkill off the side of the road than have Major Change stalk me and transform the way I live everyday life. (I capitalize Major Change, because he might as well have a name. He seems to order around people's lives as it is, so why not give him the proper title?)

Thankfully, though, while Change might have the title of a Major, God is the General. He orders everything around, and it is truly His doing that Major Change does his work. Change is God's way of rearranging our lives so that He'll be glorified with our uncomfortability.

So here I am, a tiny little private (no offense to all you privates out there). I basically have no control over the way my life is, but I must follow the commands I …

"Time Goes on but Love Remains"

Sometimes I miss you beyond words,
Other times I simply cry.
But most days now are like the rest—
They miraculously go by.

That’s not to say I don’t care anymore,
For my being aches with love.
But somehow joy has come to stay—
Grief I know less of.

Your hugs impressed upon my shoulders—
The feeling of your hands
Your angelic smile and your ocean blue eyes,
Those soft and curly brown hair strands.

The lovely sound of your voice
That calmed me on the darkest of nights.
The truth that poured out from your lips
Has brought my understanding to new heights.

Memories are quiet and stillborn.
They are encapsulated within,
Yet when I think of my past with you,
I can’t help but laugh and grin.

For these memories are different—
Although they are gone and done.
Life springs from my mind with these;
I hear laughs, feel joy, remember fun.

I taste chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
I feel the concrete curb underneath.
I peer into the amusing thoughts in your head—
Another smile forms with your t…