Saturday, August 23, 2008

Spurgeon Quote

"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned or unprayed for." Charles Spurgeon

May we be a people who is ever warning and ever praying.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Remember Why You Sold Everything

The last few weeks/months have been intense on all sides. The article below (from Desiring God) pretty much sums up the summer--learning what it means to truly be a disciple of Christ, and understanding the true cost of discipleship. Discipleship is costly--it will cost you everything. But friends, the treasure of knowing Christ FAR outweighs the cost.

Praying that you would know the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ as Lord, and count ALL else as rubbish.

(From Desiring God November 2007)

"One of Jesus’ most powerful parables is also one of his shortest:

'The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.' (Matthew 13:44)

Fifteen minutes before this man’s discovery in the field, the thought of selling all that he owned to buy it probably wouldn’t have crossed his mind. If it had, it would have seemed foolish, even excruciating. But fifteen minutes afterward he was off to do it with joy. What made the difference?

The treasure. This man suddenly found something that transformed his whole outlook on life. It restructured his priorities. It altered his goals. His values changed. The treasure revolutionized the man.

Now, there was a cost to obtaining the treasure. Viewing it one way, it was a high cost. Imagine being his neighbor. You would have been bewildered as you watched him liquidate his assets. You might have questioned him. You might have warned him of the dangers of imperiling his family. You might have talked to other neighbors, wondering if the man was going bonkers. You would have been puzzled at his joy.

But viewing it another way, the cost was very small. The man was shrewd. Standing there in the field he did a quick cost-benefit analysis. It didn’t take much time to realize that selling all his possessions was going to make him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. What he did might have appeared foolish at first. But in reality the benefits so far outweighed the costs that he would have been foolish not to sell everything.

What this parable doesn’t tell us is how difficult it was for the man between the time he sold everything and the time he had full, complete access to and experience of the treasure. It doesn’t describe the moments he wondered if the treasure had been an illusion, the fears that might lose it, the temptation to buy back what he had sold, the hardship of not knowing if he could make ends meet while he waited.

As Christians, that’s where we are living right now—in the treasure-is-already-ours-but-we-don’t-have-it-in-full-yet world. Much of the rest of the New Testament was written to fill in this gap for us, and teach us how to keep the treasure in view during the long wait.

Paul is a great example of how to do this. Sitting in prison writing to his dear friends in Philippi, he was reflecting on the treasure’s cost when he wrote, “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7).

And what a cost. He had sold all that Saul the Pharisee once valued: an admired vocation, a stellar reputation, influential friends, his home. He lost any dreams he may have had for a wife and children. He lost financial security—all earthly security for that matter. Now in prison he had lost his freedom. And he knew the loss of his life for Christ’s sake was only a matter of time.

Imagine a friend from Paul’s old Pharisee days visiting him in prison after all those years. What might he say? “Saul, what have you done? You abandoned a promising life to buy the precious treasure that your rabbi taught about, and what do you have to show for it? A scarred back, a broken body, poverty, constant danger, constant stress, and now prison. Oh, and a few small groups of adherents to your creed sprinkled here and there who, like lambs among wolves, will be wiped out when you’re no longer around to guard them. Some treasure, Saul.”

I imagine Paul responding, “Some treasure, indeed. In fact, ‘I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.’” (Philippians 3:7-8).

Having lost all things, what had Paul gained? Jesus Christ. Paul’s treasure wasn’t his possessions, achievements, or legacy. His gain was the forgiveness of all of his sins through Jesus’ substitutionary, atoning death on the cross. And through that he had also gained Jesus’ perfect righteousness, which meant that Paul now had continual access to the Father for any request and enjoyed the Father’s pleasure resting on him—the pleasure that the Father has in his Son. And Paul was now an heir to all that Jesus was inheriting from the Father. He had gained the promise that God would work all things together for good for Paul and that none of his labors, as feeble as they might appear, would be in vain. He gained the promise of the resurrection from the dead, eternal life without any indwelling sin. And, above all, he gained the promise of the perfect fellowship with the triune God, the Heart of Paul’s own heart whatever befall, the High King of Heaven, his Treasure.

Yes, the treasure is real. But there is a cost to obtaining the treasure. We must be realistic about it. It will cost us everything. But if we’ve really discovered the treasure, the most realistic conclusion is that we would be foolish not to go and in our joy sell all that we have to get it."

Monday, July 7, 2008

still here.... I realize I'm pretty terrible at this whole blog updating thing. Summer is here--well, summer is almost half over!!--and it's crazy!
I just spent an AMAZING weekend with THE SPRUILL'S! I am so blessed to have such a FUN adopt-a-family!! We had fun watching live fireworks in the backyard (that's right--fireworks are LEGAL in Kentucky--I may live in the city, but it's still got some "hick" in it!),  eating at Lynn's Paradise Cafe (ask Sharon about the Bourbon Ball French Toast!), learning about the history and making of baseball bats at the Louisville Slugger Museum, and exploring Bass Pro Shop in Indiana. If you've never been to a Bass Pro Shop, it's actually a lot of fun (there's an aquarium, a Starbucks, and full restaurant inside!) 
It was so good to spend the weekend with them, but it sure makes me miss the First State!
Bellarmine classes are going well--we're about halfway through t
he semester, and the workload is certainly picking up! Two more Saturday classes to go!!
I find out next week whether or not I passed the PRAXIS exam I took last month to pursue teacher certification. Prayers are SO welcomed!
*Bellarmine class is halfway over!! 
*Good visits from good friends! (Carolyn Larrivee was also out here last month and we had a BLAST!)
*God is so gracious to plant me in a community where I feel SO loved. He is SO good. 
*Teaching at Prospect Latin School is going well. I've been assisting in a classroom on Tues/Thurs, and I will have my own class in the Fall!
*I'm still with the girls I've been nannying for since I moved here--we are having so much fun hanging out this summer, and they were SO incredibly gracious when I told them about the career move for the Fall! I'm going to miss those girls!
*SALVATION!! We are more blessed than we will EVER know. 

*I'm still homeless as of August 1st. God is the Provider and He is Sovereign. My needs will be provided for, but it's a bit nerve-wracking, as August 1st is only 3 weeks away!!!
*There is LOTS to do to finish up my semester at Bellarmine...I need perseverance to finish the semester well!
*My future roommate, Lindsay, is ministerin
g in India this summer. Pray for boldness, protection, and perseverance--she comes back the 21st of July!
*Bekah (my current roommate) is taking the CPT test tomorrow to become a certified personal trainer. PRAY for her to do well tomorrow!!
*God is in the sanctifying process, and as beautiful a process as that is, it's also pretty painful...pray for grace and faith to sustain the pruning!

Life is crazy busy, but GOD IS GOOD! If you're looking for some refreshment from the Word, I suggest checking out Isaiah 43-61. I know that's almost 20 chapters, but they're all SO good. The Lord is God, and He is ONE! There are NO OTHER GODS BESIDES HIM! 
(Here's a taste of Isaiah 43:
"But now, this is what the Lord says-He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you O, Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life...'You are my witnesses', declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed--I,  and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am He. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?" (Isaiah 43: 1-4; 10-13). Go read the rest of it--you'll be so glad you did!

Two other notes of encouragement from my pastor this week.... the midst of pain or trial we have two options--we can either choose bitterness and resentment or we can choose real, authentic praise to the sovereign Lord of the universe. There is no in between--we're either bitter or praising. You can't live in the middle.  CHOOSE PRAISE!
...In heaven, we will no longer have to "believe" anything--we will SEE it. We will stand FACE TO FACE with our Maker. We will SEE the wounds in His han
ds and His pierced side. We won't have FAITH, we'll have SIGHT....cling to that today!
And finally...a book recommendation. I am on my second time through this book. Our Women's Ministry chose this as our Summer Bible Study, and it has rocked my
 life. She begins the book by asking "in your pursuit of godliness, have you left Jesus behind?"

LOVING YOU!!!!! and praying that the gospel is transforming your life TODAY!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Valley of Vision Prayer

God is good. Life is crazy, but God is soooo good. Here's a prayer from the book Valley of Vision (it's a puritan prayer book). I read this prayer this morning in my quiet time and was moved to share.

Update on life coming soon...


O God of the highest heaven,

occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine forever.
Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul,
served with my every act of life.
Thou hast loved me, espoused me, received me,
purchased, washed, favored, clothed,
adorned me,
when I was a worthless, vile soiled, polluted.
I was dead in iniquities,
having no eyes to see thee,
no ears to hear thee,
no taste to relish thy joys,
no intelligence to know thee;
But thy Spirit has quickened me,
has brought me into a new world as a
new creature,
has given me spiritual perception,
has opened to me thy Word as light, guide,
solace, joy.
Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part me form thy sympathy,
for thou hast drawn me with cords of love,
and dost forgive me daily, hourly.
O help me then to walk worthy of thy love,
of my hopes, and my vocation.
Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;
Protect me that no evil befall me;
Let me lay aside every sin admired of many;
Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm,
hold converse with thee,
That I may be salt of the earth
and a blessing to all.

(And now the song by Sovereign Grace based on this prayer...we sing it at church--it's powerful!)
O Great God

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

...May the words of this prayer be true in our lives!! Glorify Your Name through us!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quick Update

Ok, so I realize I haven't been too faithful about keeping this thing updated this month...but more posts will be coming soon! In the meantime....

*I finished my semester at Southern two weeks ago and have been enjoying the time off!
*However, I started my first semester at Bellarmine, and am enjoying getting to know some new people, study some new material, and learn a new campus.
*I will be moving this weekend! It's such a transient time, and while I will miss living with my dear roommate Anna, the move is really for the best. I'll be sending out a change of address email soon, but this is a temporary move, and I will only be on Christy Ave until the end of July. Then, we'll be packing up and moving again (to an unknown location--but here in Louisville--trying to figure that out this week...ha). Lots of moving--Praise God for strong guy friends willing to carry lots of boxes! :)
*I also GOT A JOB at Prospect Latin School. Lord willing, I will start teaching full time in the Fall in the Three Year Old classroom! :) HOORAY! Again, this is bittersweet, as I love the girls I nanny, but I know this change is also for the best!

I think that's it in terms of changes and big life news. Pictures will be coming soon (ps..I got my haircut---chin length!! AH! love it.)


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Officially a Knight

A Bellarmine Knight, that is. I just got my official acceptance into the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Bellarmine for Early Elementary (K-5) Teacher Certification. Classes begin May 13, and, Lord willing, I'll be a certified teacher by December 2009! :) Praise God!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

13.1, 2:51, 7388

13.1 miles, in 2 hours and 51 minutes, finishing 7388 out of 12,000 participants. Not too shabby for my first half marathon! :) (This is the actual picture from the starting line this morning!!)

This morning was the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and Mini-Marathon. My friend Stephanie and I did the mini--13.1 miles through downtown Louisville.

One of the most encouraging things about the race was seeing so many different people wearing shirts with Scripture written across the back. I must have read at least 4 or 5 different verses throughout the run (and of course I saw some of the same ones on a bunch of different shirts). God was all around me the entire race--it was like one big 3 hour long quiet time that I just happened to be running on. How sweet!

While the race itself was hard, I found the Lord really challenging me to think about how a marathon (or half marathon in this case) is such a great metaphor for the Christian life. The discipline of training, grace for the days that training doesn't happen, perseverance to continue training even when it's cold and wet and rainy outside, more grace for when you curl up in blankets on those days instead of training, grace to continue on in obedience, etc.

The Christian life is not a sprint. It's not something that you just decide to do one day, never train for, and then try to run the short distance as hard as you can. It's a marathon. It's lots of little runs that help you finish the long run. It's small steps of discipline and obedience that lead to big steps of discipline and obedience. It's about persevering even when the hills come and your legs feel like they're going to fall out under you. It's about continuing to put one foot in front of the other even when you aren't sure where the course is taking you. It's about hitting "the wall" in mile 11 and deciding in your heart, and in your legs, that you aren't going to let anything get in your way of crossing the finish line--and you press on. And then, at mile 13 when the finish line is so close, you realize that you're actually going to finish--that you haven't been running in vain, but that you've been running the race marked out for you--and now you're almost there--about to capture the prize (in this case, a commemorative finishers medal!), and you press on.

The Christian life is about pressing on. and on. and on. In the face of adversity. In the uphills and downhills of life. In the missed "training sessions" and poor "training decisions". In the "mile 11 walls" when everything in you screams disbelief that you can actually stay the course and finish the race. You keep pressing on--one foot in front of the other--one act of obedience in front of the other. And pretty soon you're at mile 13, and the finish line is right in front you. But the prize for finishing well in the Christian life is far better than a commemorative finishers medal--it's eternity with Christ! Oh that we would run the race with endurance! :)

Here are some pictures from the day--I'm definitely ready to find another half marathon to run--who's in??

Here I am, at 5:00AM, getting ready to head out to the starting line...I was a little excited :)

This is me and Steph AFTER the race.. Stephanie walked/ran it in 3 hours and 32 minutes! I'm so proud of her!! :) Her sister Jackie (a dear friend) was sweet to bring us sunflowers at the finish line!

Here are my smelly shoes. They have been officially retired due to too many miles!! :) (Never thought I'd have to retire sneakers for that!)

And of course...after a long race, a pedicure is DEFINITELY in order!! (Too bad I lost a toenail (it's a hazard of running!) Can anyone tell which toe?? Bonus points if you get it right the first time!!) :)

We sent our medals off to be engraved (we're nerds!!), so I'll post a picture of mine when I get it next week! :) seriously...who's in for the next one?! Let me know. It will change your life. :)