Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Good things."

A few weeks ago, a good friend and I were talking about how much God has taught us about joy through sorrow and loss. Neither of us has really suffered--not compared to so many others in the world. But some of the greatest lessons we've each learned about God's faithfulness has come in our emptiest times of life.

But she said something else to me. She said she felt like God wanted her to share with me that "He wants to give you good things."

God wants to give you good things. I've been thinking about that, letting the phrase run through my mind, wondering how it could possibly relate to my current concerns and struggles. It didn't even hit me when she first said it. I didn't think, "Wow, I needed to hear that." But here I am, still processing it three weeks later.

I often wonder if God leaves me empty so that I will know fully that true satisfaction only comes through Him. "Let me not be so satisfied that I seek not the Bread of Life." Oh, I know that so well. I don't have to deliberately sacrifice anything in order for Him to show me my how deficient I am and how much I need Him. I am so aware of it every single day.

But I also know that God loves me. I know it and I agree: He does want to give me good things. I walk the path He has laid out before me and I know I will encounter blessings that He has placed along the way.

The problem comes when I begin to seek after those good things. Nothing is good out of its proper, God-placed context. It seems like a paradox: I begin to look for the good things and they disappear; I keep my eyes on Him and the good things come in abundance.

And the funny thing is that those "good things" are probably not what I expected at all. Not at all. I discovered that last summer...and then so much in the past six months. But His goodness is so much better than what I think I could get for myself. He will strip me of all that I love and want and think I need and still, He will use me for His purposes. Oh, and in that I find the truest satisfaction.

Is everything a lesson in faith then? An exercise of trust and reliance upon Him to satisfy? NO. It's nothing like that. It's not about wanting Him to satisfy me, but learning that His purposes go beyond my wants and needs. He does not merely want to "give me good things." He wants me to walk according to the path that is His holy and perfect will and to discover His goodness, His beauty and mercy and constancy.

No expectations, but so much hope. I don't need to be reminded of the good things coming. I will keep my focus on letting Him use me for His glory and in that I find my true Great and Endless Need is satisfied.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I love blogs. SO much.

I love words, I love what Caroline and I call "word vomit" (usually the best way to describe the content of this blog), and I love reading other people's random thoughts. I read a lot of blogs: some by friends, some by friends of friends, some by family of friends, some by people I have absolutely no connection to whatsoever. (Yeah, that's actually kind of embarrassing. I'm definitely not going to reveal that I read my friend's dad's brother's blog, much as I may enjoy it.)

The whole idea of a blog as a "web log" is kind of inaccurate. I definitely don't log my life in this cyber non-journal notepad. There's nothing consistent here. (As I said, "word vomit".)

But when I read blogs and stumble across something marvelous and fantastic and unexpected that brings a bit of color into my day, I am thankful for blogs. B[urst of color]logs.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dear Family, I miss you.

I get to go home tomorrow. I get to go home tomorrow. I get to see two of my four favorite sisters. I get to hang out with my mom. The four of us plus my dad are going to go out for Thai food on Saturday night.

Favorite Caroline quote of the day: "I'm so glad we ended up related so I couldn't just drop you when you got annoying."

Thank God for blood relations and how they hold out through the dry spells.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A God Like This

I have a God who calls people to live lives of purpose. He gives them great passions, talents, abilities, and asks that we give them to something much greater than ourselves. It's bigger than the world, bigger than my mind, bigger than philosophy and learning and study...

Glory. His glory. That His name would be known among all peoples and nations and cultures and families.

But sometimes, glory means that His name is glorified in the lives of individuals. One individual. One friend who has been so scared to commit herself to His love, afraid of abandonment, afraid of taking that risk on God. He has been chasing and running her down and I have watched it. Oh, how He has fought for her.

Oh, great Lord. What glory You claimed on Sunday night when she finally let You overcome her! My heart cried and laughed and sang in the overwhelming joy of it all as she told me her story.

I have a God who tells people that He loves them, even when they're so unbelieving and so fearful. He says, "I won't leave you. Do you know what I've done for you? What I will do for you forever? Oh, child, sweet child. Your love will be safe with me."

That's my great God. I'm reveling in it.

Hahaha!!! Oh, my God, my God. I'm SO reveling in it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Stand On Their Shoulders and the View is Astounding

I've been short on profundity lately. That's okay. I like not being eloquent sometimes.

So here's something raw and unedited:

In the moments when I'm empty of emotion and feeling and I'm just simply numb to the worship songs and the public prayers...I sometimes wonder what it is that I'm holding on to in my faith. What is this religion that I let dictate my life? How do I know this is real?

But in this life of mine the answer comes so clearly and magnificently and I realize how our relational, three-in-one God has satisfied these questions and doubts: I see the answer to my questions when I think of how obviously my great God works in the lives of those around me. I think of Kari and I revel in the work that God is doing through her in India. I think of Albi and how she worships Him through her art and how He gives meaning to what would otherwise be nothing more than paint on a canvas. I think of Caroline and how He has transformed her from the fearful little girl into the warrior woman who will in turn transform her campus and the city and the world. I think of Caleb and Ryan and Philip and how those men inspire me and encourage me that God is still revealing Himself to those who seek Him wholeheartedly.

A cloud of witnesses. The greatest testimony to the truth of the Gospel.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Syllogistic Logic

1. I hate days when I don't get work done.
2. Monday are days when I have an ocean of things to do and no time to do them.
3. (from 2) I get no work done on Mondays.
.: I hate Mondays.

Oh, Hillary

BBC News Headline shows how out-of-touch Americans can be sometimes--even in the White House:

Obviously not much of a story there. HELLO, UNITED STATES!! Iran has been a military dictatorship since Ayatolla Khomeini took power in 1979 and Ahmadinejad has not improved anything in the past five years.

PLEASE pray for Iran. There are people there who live in abject poverty yet their government does nothing to help. Instead, the regime there is in fact a threat to its own people.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"The Victory of God in man, not the man in himself..."

In a couple of my philosophy classes lately, we've been talking about what is necessary for salvation. Through works? Through faith? Through works as the product of faith? Is there a creed that clarifies all the beliefs necessary to be deemed "saved" by God? Can people of non-Christian belief come to salvation without ever knowing Christ? Does God generally make exceptions? Is there even a specific rule by which He works?

I don't think we can make many assumptions about who will or won't be in heaven. God is the only one who can see the hearts of men. But I have one friend whose heart is pretty plain to see. He gets songs like this stuck in his head and, even more, stuck in his heart: "Lord, I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you." What is this but the work of God in him?

I think it's safe to say that salvation isn't about whether you have theological concepts neatly sorted in your mental library. God brings about salvation without any help from my beliefs or my deeds and certainly not from my intellectual grasp of the philosophy of religion. I'm pretty sure that it's the songs you sing to God in your heart that indicate your salvation. When I hear my friend whistling that song across campus, I remember this: "Glory be to God who allows such miraculous things to occur in the hearts of men." and this: "He who searches hearts and minds knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This is Very False:

The conquerors are the passionate ones.
They go in hard and give all for the win.
No one ever accused Napoleon of not giving a damn.

But we can't all be victorious, can we?
And I, in all self-consciousness and fear of defeat,
I put on apathy and with head held high,
I and my heart will survive.

"Interestingly, 'growing up' is largely a matter of learning to hide our spirit behind our face, eyes, and language so that we can evade and manage others to achieve what we want and avoid what we fear."

Here is truth:

True love always wants to be known.

Fear and love cannot coexist.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


1. "Burns Us Up" - Shane & Shane
2. "You Are My Desire" - Scatteredtrees
3. "Words Remain" - Josh Garrels
4. "Yearn" - Shane & Shane
5. "Worthy of Affection" - Shane & Shane
6. "Reign On Your Throne" - Scatteredtrees
7. "Vision of You" - Shane & Shane
8. "Psalm 62" - Scatteredtrees
9. "Creation Song" - Josh Garrels
10. "To the Only God" - David Crowder & Shane & Shane

You are light and you are love
You are flesh and you are blood
Peace will come to those who love