Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I have entitiled this poem "Jehovah-shammah" which means "The Lord is There." In Ezekial 48:35 it says, "It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there." In biblical times a name usually described the character of the one who bore it. So when God named the city Jehovah-shammah, He was giving the people assurance that He, Jehovah, would be there. For these were His people who had been in captivity, what life it was meant to bring, such hope, such encouragement! He gave them a vision for the future. He gave them a city that bore His name! Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish." He sustains His people. He is there.

Also, when noting they were captive, He brought them OUT of the captivity of the pagan culture they were immersed in, and instead, brought them to their city, the city He named after Himself, because He was there.


He sees the tears that fall,

He's sovereign amid it all.

He's good in all His ways,

He's deserving of my praise!

No words will catch His essence,

You must be still within His presence.

He's glory and He's grace,

On earth it's but a taste;

Til I meet Him face to face

With diligence I run the race.

His tender love will hold me,

For while hanging on a tree

His blood atoned on calvary

The darkest sin in me.

Death He did triumph and defeat,

Through His righteousness, I am complete.

So when I cannot ascertain

Why life is filled with pain,

I lift my eyes above,

For Jehovah-shammah holds me in his love.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

January 2010

I wrote this in January 2010:

"I want to be where the Lord wants me. If that means giving up plans then I'll gladly release all I have for His glory; where ever and whatever place I can draw near and grow closest to Him is exactly where I want to be. Period."

I can't begin to tell you how the weight of those words have been so true, I have relinquished so much in order to gain His truth which is far better! Oh how I have changed since writing those words... and I pray in one year I am so changed from where I am now. A continual drawing near my wonderful Creator as each year passes is what I truly long for.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Lord Jesus,

I sin-Grant that I may
never cease grieving because of it,
never be content with myself,
never think I can reach a point of perfection.
Kill my envy, command my tongue,
trample down self.
Give me grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, peaceable,
to live for Thee and not for self,
to copy Thy words, acts, spirit,
to be transformed into Thy likeness,
to be consecrated wholly to Thee,
to live entirely to Thy glory.
Deliver me from attachment to things unclean,
from wrong associations,
from the predominance of evil passions,
from the sugar of sin as well as its gall.,
that with self-loathing, deep contrition,
earnest heart searching
I may come to Thee, cast myself on Thee,
trust in Thee, cry to Thee,
be delivered by Thee.
O God, the eternal All, help me to know what
all things are shadows, but Thou art substance,
all things are quicksands, but Thou art mountain,
all things are shifting, but Thou art anchor,
all things are ignorance, but Thou art wisdom.
If my life is to be a crucible amid burning heart,
so be it,
but do Thou sit at the furnace mouth
to watch the ore that nothing be lost.
If I sin wilfully, grievously, tormentedly,
in grace take away my mourning
and give me music;
remove my sackcloth
and clothe me with beauty;
still my sighs
and fill my mouth with song,
then give me summer weather as a Christian.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Dreaded "D" and "T" words.. Doctrine and Theology


"a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief"

and Theology.

"the study of religious faith, practice, and experience;especially : the study of God and of God's relation to the world"

Why is it so important to adhere closely to these two concepts?

Luke 4:32 "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power."

John 7:16 "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."

Romans 16:17 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."

Ephesians 4:14 "That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

1 Timothy 1:3 "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,"

1 Timothy 4:6, 13, 16 "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained." and 13 "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." and 16 "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"

2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."

Because the word of God takes doctrine so seriously, we believers must as well. That is, if we presume to live a life according to the scriptures! If we do not adhere to sound doctrine... we will follow after own lusts and have "teachers" who tell us only what we want to hear. Easy believism, health & wealth prosperity messages, license to live in ignorance due to "liberty," splintered families, shallow church, and people who do right according to what the "feel" rather than what the word of God says, blatant disregard for scripture, twisting of scripture, lives not surrendered to Christ but rather to our own selfish whims, etc etc etc.

Without sound Doctrine we will be tossed about and so turned around, we create our own theologies according to what seems right. But what is right? If our Doctrine is questionable, our theology will be flimsy and weak.

But, still, is Doctrine just a "legalistic" terminology that we shouldn't be too wrapped up in... and should best be left to those theologian types who are content to keep their nose in their books? May it never be so! There are some brilliant men, past and present, who are extremely educated in [correct] doctrine that should be esteemed highly. But that doesn't mean we are not to be concerned about it as well!!

The word Doctrine can make certain types of "Christians" feel squeamish. Doctrine might as well be equated with death! Fear shines in their eyes as they are quite convinced that too much "head knowledge" will be the undoing of their faith in their relationship with God, or even their understanding of the Holy Spirit. In complete honesty, I remember feeling similar, though not to that extent... but certainly apprehensive years ago that I would lose feeling and love and "Spirit-leadness" if I studied too much... but how absurd that thinking was! By prayer and studying of the scriptures, I seek the face of God and am in completely awe and tremble before my Lord... in light of Him I could never lose any of the precious elements of my faith and relationship with Him! To keep His commandments is to better know His heart. To pray, is to be stripped of all my own pride and false self-glorifying means. To open myself up to studying of His word, to know the doctrine of His word, I am inadvertently going to learn MORE about His Spirit and learn more about wisdom... and only GAIN.

I walked into a pseudo-Christian bookstore today and was absolutely overwhelmed. There was a spiritual fog and oppressing darkness that seemed to seep in. I wanted to weep when I saw the people in there... I wanted to talk to all of them and warn them of some of the teachings being sold in there! My heart seemed to shatter a little more with each beat... the shallowness of the widespread "church" and what people believe was too much, it was dimly lit upon their faces. I spoke only to one man, and it wasn't even about Doctrine, or Theology, or even teachings in general. Just about translations. It was shocking that people know so little about the translations they read. Oh, the frustration and wrenching of my heart were so dominant...

Without sound doctrine we need to reinvent ways to lure people into the "church." They need to be entertained with music, video games, and relevant watered down "sermonettes" in order to be engaged. Who needs the Holy Spirit of God to move when you can spoon feed an entertainment junky and keep him coming back for more? Who needs Christ's blood when we can give you quick fixes, or certain steps on how to correct the negative in your life or even give you a better life now! Why would we sing about a Sovereign God who demands and deserves all Glory, Honor, and Praise... when we sing about how great it is that he blesses us and does things for us? "WHO NEEDS THAT PESKY TRIUNE GOD, WE HAVE ALL WE NEED TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL QUASI CHURCH BUSINESS WITHOUT GETTING INTO THAT HEAVY DOCTRINAL TEACHING... OR WHATEVER."

I digress.

Can I not be absolutely shocked at my own lack of God and His holiness in my life... and the abundance selfishness and sin... to be devastated in such a way that every fiber of my being is being sanctified and renewed and CHANGED to be diametrically opposed (new favorite words) to the culture around me?!-or do I need to be relevant and blend in like a chameleon so others won't feel so intimidated by me?-or worse, think I am legalistic...

I read the scriptures so I know God and His truth. I learn about Him and His truth, to see His design, law, and how I ought to live. I learn those things, so I may be more like Him. I want to be more like Him (by His grace, blood, resurrection, redemption, and sanctifying work within me), so that I can love others like Him. I want to love others like Him, so that I am genuine in my loving. I want to be genuine, so they know it's real. I want them to know it's real, so they might behold the light within me. I want them to behold the light within me, so that their hearts might finally arrive to that point of God opening their eyes, softening their heart, and calling them to His love. I want to love them... so they might be saved as well!

With all my heart, I wish to guard the sound Doctrine of God's truth closely, as well as let it permeate my life in such a way it is a daily consistent walk, not just knowledge I hold to, but knowledge I live by and that brings me to more ardent worship of my Heavenly Father.

But with all my heart... I am so far from where I ought to be, so far from where I wish to be, and so far from where He is taking me. I am not perfect, but God loves me and extends His grace to me in such a compelling way... I will walk the straight and narrow and seek His face that I might come closer and closer through out the course of my life to be where I ought to be.

His love is unfathomable... and the effects of it have left me stricken of my former man, and created me something new. So in Him, this life is possible.
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Story of the Seashells

A little while ago I went to the beach with a friend, who thankfully is on board with modesty and covering up. I shared part of the beauty of my time with my mom and she has been asking me to blog about it for a while now! Without further ado:

Story of the Seashells

I sit and savor the salty air. As the air moves the curves of my smile are gently caressed and it twirls my hair in it's movement. In this, I am absolutely drawn to the love of the Creator. His love is like an ocean, never ceasing to crash wave upon wave over me. His love is so vast, so deep, so wide, stretching beyond what I am capable of perceiving. He created such wondrous beauties!

I am humbled. The Sovereign Lord and Creator of everything in existence loves me. Me? How do I begin to wrap my mind around such an impossibility, such a charity, such an incomprehensible decision? But He does, He loves me. He created me. He chose me. He redeemed me. In my brokenness He reached down and made me whole, then filled me with His unfailing love.

I am in awe. His handiwork is magnificent. The power of the waves, the wind whipping all around, the sea salt air filling my lungs, the countless grains of sand sticking between my toes, the heat of the sunshine, the song of the gulls, the sound of the surf... He MADE all of this! And He allows me to enjoy it. Gratitude fills my inner being.

I am teachable. He uses moments of relaxation to fill my wearied soul with more of Him. As I leisurely collect seashells, I am struck by the numerous sizes and shapes, some broken, some seemingly whole, and some simply rocks battered by the waves. I tend to struggle with the remnant body of believers. We are so broken, so tossed by the winds of this world, thrown about and pulled apart. But He and His truth are constant. He made and redeemed us. The simple fact is some are more broken than others and it's plain to see... some are protected and the brokenness is less apparent. But there is beauty amid the broken and whole alike, all are unique with stories to tell. We are like the seashells, some are fragile and were battered so much you can hardly make out the original form, but the design is still in tact. Some are whole, some are rough, others smooth, and some are rock solid. Then there are those who have been pummeled by things unseen... all bear marks of the sea and its shore. All were crafted with intentional care by the Creator. All display His glory.

I pray to have my eyes continually upon the Maker and to see others not as how perfect or imperfect they seem to be, but rather see them as an object of God's handiwork-ones created for a purpose, to glorify Him. I want to see His beauty in what He made and is making more like His Son. I want to see them as I see the seashells: beautiful amid diversities.


There are some days I need that gentle reminder.

But through everything, His truth remains. Love is essential, but it is not always in the form we presume. His grace was manifest in that beach trip. What a state I would be in if it were not for His grace, mercy, and love!

I would like to make a disclaimer as well. I did not mean that the seashells are "all people" but rather God's elect children. There is a staunch difference. But in that, everyone is still made for a purpose-to glorify Him. Saved and unsaved, we bring glory to the God of heaven.

But when I am caught up in comparison, the story of the seashells is a sweet reminder.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Paradox of Love

I know I don't blog often, but often times I am so inundated with thoughts I have no idea where to start!

I am faced with a challenge. The task of reevaluating many things in my life. Some I'm sure will be easy to face the sifting, but others I'm quite sure will end in the death of my flesh. The question is, is my life, actions, words, and heart defined by God and His truth, or is it defined by my culture?

To think over the years and the constant change and growth that has undergone inside me... it hurts to have to continue the process. It seems as if I'm an inch tall and I'm trying so hard to stretch to loftier heights... but it is impossible when I've allowed so many things to box me in: sin, pride, selfishness, cultural expectations, fear, etc. These parameters can only be let go, weeded out, and completely changed by the grace of God.

I just want to weep when I think of all that is holding me back! But He forgives, He sanctifies... He is known to make saints out of sinners. God's mercies are new every morning. I half expect to wake up and to finally "arrive." But I know that is not the case. Two verses are very much embedded on my heart and mind:

Philippians 3:7,8 "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." and 2 Timothy 4:6,7 "In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;"

I read these words and I must sit to savor and be saturated by it. It brings me to tears because I KNOW the Holy Spirit is doing a work in me. I was reading and praying the other day and it struck me just how much I've grown. If I had no other proof of the veracity of God's word... the transformation within me would be overwhelmingly more than enough. Yet in that I am eternally indebted and grateful that God chose me and redeemed me... that He loves me!-and I want to spend the rest of my days loving Him, serving Him, obeying Him, and glorifying Him with my life. I am anticipating the days to come, for I know they are going to be filled with losing things that might have once been "gain" for His sake... I know that I must discipline myself for the purpose of godliness. I have much to learn, and I cannot despair over my lack, but instead let it be a reason to throw myself into deeper devotion, more intentional studying and reading of His word, and be more zealous for good deeds.

It never ceases to amaze me how He faithfully answers my prayers. I pray for selfishness to be rooted out, He does!-still does. I pray for humility, He shows me how little I am and how big He is, and how much I need to learn. The more I seek Him, the more I find my prayers are less about "gain" but more about Him.

I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that my hunger and thirst for Him/His word is seemingly insatiable, yet I am so enraptured with God and so satisfied in Him. As Tozer so eloquently wrote: "To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul's paradox of love."