Saturday, November 20, 2010


Good evening! I can hardly believe that it is so early...when it feels so late! I know so many people have been saying this, but really. The sun setting at 6 pm messes with how my body feels about bedtime. I can hardly keep my eyes open! Must. have. chocolate. cherry. kiss. coffee!
I am in Knoxville, TN right now. Zane and I headed up here yesterday afternoon when I finished working. The Vol vs. Vandy game is playing in the background, my dad is dressing the turkey, I'm obviously blogging, my little bro and his girlfriend are enjoying the game, my mom is telling my dad how to dress the turkey, and Zane is helping with the Turkey's inner parts. And my beautiful dogs are in the kitchen hoping some of that turkey falls on the floor:)
We will be having Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow instead of on Thursday due to me and Zane only being in K-town through Tuesday. We will head to Chattanooga after Knoxville to spend several days with his family. Friends, I am so blessed to have this much time to spend with mine and Zane's family. Living in Athens, we rarely have the opportunity to come to TN and be with our family, unless it is around the holidays. And having lived in TN my whole life, when hubby and I moved to GA, it was a hard lesson in leaving and cleaving! Nevertheless, we have adjusted, and are learning to love different things about Athens. But being here for the holidays is like the cream cheese in Cheesecake. You have to have it!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember to thank God for all the blessings He has given you, whether that is through handing you something new, or taking something away. I love you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Then Sings My Soul--Mighty

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." -Psalm 46:1

Good evening, friends! I cannot stop thinking about my brothers and sisters around the globe that are risking their lives for God's glory. I really feel convicted to pray more for the church. In Matthew 9, when Jesus is with His disciples, he sees the crowds and has compassion on them. But instead of saying 'Peter do this, Simon go there, Andrew bring me this person,' He tells them to pray that laborers would go, because the field is ripe for harvest. And that is what we have today--brothers and sisters going and risking their lives, and people coming to know Christ at rapid rates, yet in so many countries, persecution persists and members of His body, the church, are being killed.
Do you pray for them? Do you lift them up in prayer and ask God for their safety, for a place for them to worship together without fear of losing their families, for them not to lose their lives, for their captors to see Christ in them and be captivated...wanting what they have?
I am convinced that we, the church, do not lift each other up enough. And before we go and 'do' anything, we must pray.
When I was deciding on a song for this evening, this one popped off the pages. How mighty our God is! I want my Father to increase my faith to proclaim Him as my refuge, as my strength, as my present help in trouble.
We think of Martin Luther as a reformer, Bible translator, political leader, fiery preacher, and theologian. But he was a hymn writer as well, and one of his songs has become one of the most well-known hymns in the world! He understood music the way I a gift, a treasure, one that can cause any emotion, stir any tear, and a blessing that must be given back to God by being lifted up as praise to our God while dropping us to our knees in worship. In the forward of a book, Luther once wrote:
"Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the
world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits...a person
who...does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God...does not deserve to
be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying
of asses and the grunting of hogs."
Our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries understand that the greatest treasure in this world is the salvation given to us through Jesus Christ. That, dear friends, should and will cause any range of emotion, stir multiple tears, and drops us to our knees, leaving us weak enough to lift praise to God. Our God is a mighty fortress. He takes care of the hungry, the broken, the persecuted--His beloved.
A mighty fortress is our God. A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe--His craft and power are great;
And armed with cruel hate; on earth is not His equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.
Were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He-Lord Sabaoth His name
From age to age the same! And He must win the battle.
And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us.
We will not fear, for God hath willed, His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him-his rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure! One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also-the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still! His Kingdom is forever!

Please, let me say that again. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill. God's truth abideth still. His Kingdom is forever! O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?! (1 Cor. 15:55)

Friday, November 12, 2010


"Although we need to be saved from eternal separation only once, Christ continues His saving work in us the rest of our lives" (Beth Moore).

What a reminder! I've told you about the Biblestudy that some girlfriends and I started doing via email (do to the great distance between us all). We are in our second week now and are really being open, honest, and vulnerable to each other. I'm blessed beyond words to see how God is teaching us with each other's stories, how He is opening up the door to flood each other with our deepest prayer requests, and how He will draw us closer to Him that we may better share His joy with the world.
That being said, during our first week (which also served as an introduction) a common theme was the young age we were each saved. But many of us, though asking Jesus into our lives early in life, 'rededicated' our lives, so to speak, to Christ at a later date, mainly in college. One of the girls explained her experience this way:
"One thing I have thought about recently especially as I
get older and more of my friends have been saved at a much later age (in college
or even later) and not in Sunday school at six like me, is that (at the risk of
sounding too compare-y) other people who may have been saved at a later age have this much more dramatic conversion experience and have a much more mature
understanding of God before being saved. They really recognize the horror of
their sin and their desperate need for a Savior. I think I knew those things at
six, but it was only at a six year old level."
Oh my, how much I agree with that statement! The last several months, I've really struggled with the date of when I was saved. Was it when I was six? Or was it when I was in Romania, July 15th, 2004, and during my testimony, realizing how desperate I am for Christ, and feeling His marvelous mercy and grace rain down on me. Knowing that He loves me so much! I spent so much time growing up doing the right things, behaving the right way, and was wondering if it were just for my parents? But I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that I loved Jesus and believed in Him, and He was my Saviour then. He is my Saviour now. When I read those words this morning, that Christ is continuing His saving work every day of our lives, I felt this amazing peace. Maybe that is not something you see as important. But for me, I want to celebrate the day God called me to Himself. It is more important than the day of my birth. Salvation is the greatest gift one can ever receive, and I praise God that this 'wishy-washyness' in my mind was put to rest through the words He spoke to me this morning.
"Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them" Hosea 11:3-4. May God help me to acknowledge Him daily and never forget that He teaches me, every moment, how to walk.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2:8. What a precious gift, and how marvelous, how wonderful, that after receiving that gift, if we mess up (which we will), our Saviour is right there with us guiding us back to the path of righteousness.
Praise God that He never leaves us or forsakes us!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Then Sings My Soul--Rejoice!

"...the whole multitude of His disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen." -Luke 19:37b
Can you testify to that? Do you praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works you have seen in your life? What an amazing day it is when we see God moving, answering prayers that we have been on our knees over, drawing people to Himself, seeing Christians acting as the church. Just knowing God and being able to have a relationship with Him compels me to rejoice with a loud voice. God is so good, so perfect, so loving. And you know what? He is not finished in this city, in this state, in this nation, or in this world yet. He is still drawing people to Himself, advancing His Kingdom....and how great and merciful that He allows us, His children, to be used as instruments for His glory.
When we accept Jesus into our lives, we are changed for eternity. Jesus begins transforming us and breaking the bondage of sin we once lived in. When Charles Wesley came to know Jesus as His Saviour, He couldn't help but spread the news. He preached God's saving grace to everyone within hearing distance. "He found a fruitful arena for ministry at the infamous Newgate Prison and allowed himself to be locked up with condemned men on nights before their executions, that he might comfort and witness to them during their final hours" (R. Morgan).
On his first anniversary of being a Christian, Charles wrote an eighteen-stanza hymn describing his praise to the Lord. He titled it, "For the Anniversary Day of One's Conversion." Verse seven began, "O for a thousand tongues to sing," inspired by a statement Charles had heard once before: "Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Him with them all."
Amen to that! If only I had a thousand tongues to lift praises to my Father! In 1780, John Wesley compiled his Collection of Hymns, choosing this hymn as the first in the book.
Read the words, sing them in your heart, and praise God with the one tongue you have, letting your soul sing as if you had one thousand tongues.
O for a thousand tongues to sing My Great Redeemer's praise
The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!
Jesus! The name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease
'Tis music in the sinner's ears; 'Tis life, and health, and peace.
He breaks the pow'r of canceled sin; He sets the prisoner free (I just have to say Hallelujah!!!)
His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me.
Hear Him, ye deaf, His praise ye dumb, Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold Your Saviour come, and leap ye lame for joy.
My gracious Master and my God assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad, the honors of Thy Name!

Have a wonderful night, and praise God for making this foul woman clean so that I can spread through all the earth abroad the honors of His Name!

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Am Bound

Good afternoon! I hope you had a great weekend...and that the cold didn't numb your toes too badly:) I had a wonderful weekend in Chattanooga, TN attending the Global Mission's Conference for Mission to the World. What a wonderful time filled with encouragement, sermons, God's love, learning, and the promise that the best is yet to come! The Conference was a time to learn where God is working and how He is working. It was also a time to understand the great need for prayer, the urgency to go and tell, and a wake up call that if we are not going or sending, we are disobeying.
I just wanted to share a little about the Global Mission's Conference with you. It was absolutely wonderful and such a blessing to be a part of! We had a Palestinian Christian and a Israelite Christian share on the same amazing it is to see enemies become brothers in Christ, and love each other regardless of politics. We heard the testimony of a Korean whose parents suffered through the World War II genocide by the Japanese come to obey God's calling on His life to go to Japan and serve the country who did such evil to his people...all for the Kingdom of God. In a seminar we also heard of a meeting that took place 3 weeks ago in Capetown for Asian Pastors--a time set aside for several pastors to come together and share what God is doing in their area of the world, receive encouragement, spend time in prayer together, and feel 'safe' while worshipping openly. 29 pastors from China were invited to that meeting. Those 29 pastors were met by 1,000 police at the Chinese airport and never made it to that meeting.
Saturday afternoon someone asked me what my favorite part of the conference had been up to that point. I knew immediately. That morning, all 2200 of us (+/- a few) at the conference gathered to worship together, and when we sang Holy, Holy, Holy, tears came to my eyes...I knew the angels were worshipping along with us right there with Jesus. Just a few hours later, my new favorite moment happened. After learning about the Muslim growth in London combined with the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the 1060 window (the large, very large portion of this world considered 'unreached'), it became so much more clear of how urgent and desperate our Calling is. This world needs Jesus. So badly. For our evening service, we finished off our music singing "On Jordan's Stormy Banks." Within the 2200 people at the conference, many were missionaries and nationals serving in, what MTW calls, 'restricted access countries.' When we got to the chorus it was unbelievably powerful the words that were lifted to God. "I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land." Those words have been resonating since. Those words are a reminder that this is not our home. Our home is with Jesus in heaven, and as God's children, we are bound for the Promised Land!
On Jordan's stormy banks I stand and cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land where my possessions lie
All o'er those wide extended plains shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns and scatters night away
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land.
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land.
No chilling wind nor poisonous breath can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death are felt and feared no more
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land.
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land.
When shall I see that happy place and be forever blessed?
When shall I see my Father's face and in His bosom rest?
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land.
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land.

Praise God that we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as co-heirs to the throne, are bound for the promised land! Praise God for His grace to allow a sinner like me to be washed clean--and look ahead to the day when I see my Father's face and in His bosom rest!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Then Sings My Soul--Peace

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Psalm 34:19
Anyone who has spent anytime in a church service is probably familiar with this hymn. It is one of my favorites, for many reasons, but more so than just a song, "It is Well with my Soul" is a hymn filled with the prayer of my heart--a prayer that God will give me the strength to say 'it is well' no matter what lot He gives me.
Earlier this afternoon, I heard a faint sound in one of our conference rooms as I was setting coffee out for a meeting. As I listened closer I was able to make out the words, the melody, and the beautiful message within. Several missionaries, who serve in countries where persecution and death is common to the follower of Jesus Christ, were singing, "whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say 'it is well, it is well with my soul'." Since I am a crier, I had to hold back the tears and focus intently on the coffee pots before me instead of the words the missionaries were offering up to our God. For months I have been asking God to give me more faith. The kind of faith that someone who risks their life possesses. Here in America, we often forget our need for Christ by replacing that void with material things, a tangible person, or the busy-ness of our Western lives. I want the faith that people in impoverished lands have. They have nothing, but to those who know Jesus, they know they have everything.
We are studying the book Radical, by David Platt, in our church. The very first week had a story that refuses to leave the forefront of my mind. It is true, it is desperate, and it is as real as can be. Here is that story from people seeking peace like a river:
"Imagine all the blinds closed on the windows of a dimly lit room. Twenty leaders from different churches in the area sat in a circle on the floor with their Bibles open. Some of them had sweat on their foreheads after walking for miles to get there. Others were dirty from the dust in the villages from which they had set out on bikes early that morning. They had gathered in secret. They had intentionally come to this place at different times throughout the morning so as not to draw attention to the meeting that was occurring. They lived in a country in Asia where it is illegal for them to gather like this. If caught, they could lose their land, their jobs, their families, or their lives.
"I listened as they began sharing stories of what God was doing in their churches. One man sat in the corner. He had a strong frame, and he served as the head of security, so to speak. Whenever a knock was heard at the door or a noise was made outside the window, everyone in the room would freeze in tension as this brother would go to make sure everything was okay. As he spoke, his tough appearance soon revealed a tender heart. 'Some of the people in my church have been pulled away by a cult,' he said. This particular cult is known for kidnapping believers, taking them to isolated locations, and torturing them. Brothers and sisters having their tongues cut out of their mouths is not uncommon. As he shared about the dangers his church members were facing, tears welled up in his eyes. 'I am hurting,' he said, 'and I need God's grace to lead my church through these attacks.'
"A woman on the other side of the room spoke up next. 'Some of the members in my church were recently confronted by government officials.' She continued, 'they threatened their families, saying that if they did not stop gathering to study the Bible, they were going to lose everything they had.'
"As I looked around the room, I saw that everyone was now in tears. The struggles expressed by this brother and sister were not isolated. They all looked at one another and said, 'we need to pray.' Immediately they went to their knees, and with their faces on the ground, they began to cry out to God. Their prayers were marked less by grandiose theological language and more by heartfelt praise and pleading. "O God, thank You for loving us...O God, we need You...Jesus, we give our lives to You and for You...Jesus, we trust You.
"They audibly wept before God as one leader after another prayed. After about an hour, the room drew to a silence, and they rose from the floor. Humbled by what I had just been a part of, I saw puddles of tears in a circle around the room."

I believe their soul, along with the missionaries I heard today, is in a constant state of needing peace like a river. But through the storm we are held. God has won, Christ prevailed. This hymn was written by a man, Horatio G. Spafford, who in the span of 3 years, lost his land and all he had invested in, his only son, and his four daughters. When he was at the part of the ocean where his daughters had been killed, he cried, "It is well. The will of God be done." Later, he wrote the hymn we know today. Let this be a prayer offered to God. Whatever we face in life, pain or joy, we need to thank God, knowing that His good and perfect will is never, ever, to harm us, but to give us hope and a future. Hope that is in Him. A Future that is with Him for eternity.
When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'
My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more; Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight. The clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend. Even so, it is well with my soul!
It is well. It is well. It is well! It is well with my soul!
It is well. It is well. It. Is. Well! It is well with my soul!

Have a beautiful night.
--Inspired by missionaries risking it all for the sake of Christ, Horatio G. Spafford, and 'Radical' by David Platt.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Do you know Him?

Good evening! I hope you have had a great Monday. I am exhausted, still, from a very busy weekend. Friday night was date night with my husband. We had some delicious authentic Mexican food...I guess I miss Mexico a wee bit. Saturday we cleaned the whole house and then went to a corn maze. It took us 1 1/2 hours to make it through! Needless to say, my legs were terribly sore the next day. I never thought I'd need to stretch before finding my way through corn...well, now I know. Then yesterday, my husband through a Murder Mystery party. I was Claudia Helsing and enjoyed playing a character I would never be...I mean, do you really think that if I saw a vampire I would slay him/her? haha...of course I wouldn't!
So tonight was the first night of a biblestudy I'm leading. My closest girlfriends live far away from me. I miss them and wish we were able to communicate more. Mostly, I wish we could draw closer to each other as we draw closer to Him. So, I'm starting a new chapter in this life I've been given. And it is somewhat, no, it is way modern. I am leading a biblestudy via email!
Every Monday I will email my girlfriends my thoughts and questions from the chapters that we read, and they will respond at their convenience. Since it is through email, they do not have to worry about meeting at a certain place to participate or risk missing the fellowship. We may disagree at times, we may cry together at times, but we are seeking the One who satisfies, the One who loves, the One who is King, the One who is preparing a place for those who love Him, and the One who is coming back for His children!
We are studying 'The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but living as if He doesn't exist' and I look forward to sharing this journey with you. Please be praying over it, that God will wash each of us of the 'atheism' in our lives so that we can live only for Him.