Saturday, May 30, 2015

Testimonies

"But I don't have a story to share. I don't have a testimony."

Do you know Jesus? Has he changed your life? Why are you ashamed? Do not disgrace your creator by whining "I don't have a story."

Why do we no longer have testimonies?
Or why are we so afraid to share them?=
When we talk so openly about bodily functions, medical procedures, embarrassing moments, failures, and gains why are we afraid to share how Jesus changed our lives?

Psalm 71:15-18 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those who come.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Friend Zoned

I was thinking earlier today about a question many girls ask that almost all guys hate Can we just be friends?

Even though I've asked it enough times, I have to admit it's a lose-lose kinda question.  Like what's the guy supposed to say, no way, we can't be friends because I totally hate you and want to avoid you for the rest of my life. Normally, he will agree to just be friends and realize that he can't express to her how much he cares or how he would like to see the relationship progress.

 In most situations, the girl asks this question right as she notices the guy really does like her and she is afraid he will want something more than she is ready to give in the relationship.

Why does she hold back and ask to just be friends? Maybe she is afraid, maybe she is insecure, maybe she doesn't think he is good enough or capable. No matter what the reason, she wants to put some limits on the relationship. She likes him.. but not enough.. Her love for him does not overcome the fear, questions, or insecurities. Her love for Him is not enough.

So let's switch around the situation now to us and God. God is the guy who is totally crazy about us and who is asking us to take our relationship to a new level. He is calling us to surrender everything to Him. He may be asking us to trust him and end a relationship, to move to a new place, to change our career, to stop with an addictive sin.

Yet for some reason, we ask God to wait. We say God I need a time out. We tell him we're not ready. We try to make excuses. We plead with him "Can we go back to just being friends?"We tell God we are content with a church relationship with Him.We ask God why our  good Christian friends,  abstinence commitment, and community service credits aren't good enough for Him.

We are scared, we are insecure, we don't trust Him enough- whatever the reason- the deeper problem lies. Do we love Him enough to give Him our entire lives? Do we trust Him enough to surrender everything?

You may be afraid to let God use you in any way He wants. You may not feel capable of the position he is asking you to fill. But I encourage you to follow God despite your fears, despite your insecurities, despite your weak faith. Show God how much you love Him by trusting Him with your plans.

Many times I have been afraid of what God was calling me. I was afraid to play baseball on a guys team, afraid to go to switch careers, afraid to be a missionary, afraid to teach a lifegroup-- every time I said to God "I'm ready to take the next step in this relationship by following you", He blessed me. I'm terrified this summer to be spiritual director- I don't feel adequate enough- yet I know that because God has called me, he will provide for me. I trust Him and will follow Him because I love Him.

What is God calling you to do? What is the next step He is asking you to make in the most important relationship ever? Do not procrastinate, do not make excuses, do not think of your own weaknesses and insecurities. Get on your knees, talk to God, and do what He is asking you to do.

Matthew 14:31- Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, "You of little faith" he said "why did you doubt?"

Monday, May 18, 2015

Make me broken

Make me broken
So I can be healed
'Cause I'm so calloused
And now I can't feel
I want to run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken

Make me empty
So I can be filled
'Cause I'm still holding
Onto my will
And I'm completed
When you are with me
Make me empty

[Chorus:]
'Til You are my one desire
'Til You are my one true love
'Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me

Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
'Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
'Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely
-- Sidewalk Prophets

Will you continue to let Jesus break you and remake you for His glory?

Job 5:17-18 Blessed is the man whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up, he injures, but his hands alo heal.

2 years ago, when I went to Peru I felt that my spiritual life was complacent. I went to Peru praying that God would break my heart for what breaks is and show me a real Him. In Peru I was challenged by a faith I never knew and by pain and suffering I never realized. I can't say that my life has gotten any easier, but I can praise God because my walk is not complacent. I know that I'm not ok with God and I'm not on the fence. Instead I'm crying out loud, living on Christ's bread, and being filled by God's glory and grace. Truly surrendering everything is a sacrifice but it's something you will never ever regret. Have the courage to ask God again to keep making you- to keep breaking you- and to keep recreating you for His glory. He will give you a new heart; He will take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (and feeling) (Ezekiel 36:26)

Lord have mercy upon me for I sin against you every single day. I praise you for your love that never changes. I ask that you take my heart and break it for whatever breaks yours. Make me caring and gentle for your glory. I surrender everything to you.


Fear vs Faith

My biggest fear is the people I love getting hurt. I can replay the moments, the times, when they have been injured: when my dad broke his arm and leg while I was at Disney Land and had to get pins, when my brother had a motorcycle accident in supercross and had to get stitches, when my daddy got stung by a sting ray, when my brother tore his acl and broke his arm and needed surgery, when my mommy broke her leg at summer camp. I HATE it when my family gets hurt. I would rather me get hurt. I would do anything not to see them in the pain. The fear cripples me to a certain extent because I don't want my family to try anything crazy ( no wakeboarding backflips- is that really too much to ask?) but for my dad and brother, RISK is life.

They are almost fearless. My brother and dad both ride motorcycles. My dad used to race and my brother has been racing since he was three. They jump and ride, they go off all the obstacles at the wakeboard park, they river raft the scariest river- my brother and dad are not afraid to get hurt. They are not afraid to take risks. In fact, they are not afraid of much at all. They have so much faith in their abilities and I guess for them they don't see the use in worrying about the "what ifs".

How does fear relate to our spiritual life? I believe that fear is the opposite of faith. That fear is saying "I don't trust you" and that faith is saying "I trust you fully". Fear is what killed Jesus: the people were afraid of his power they couldn't control. Faith is what gave the blind man sight and raised Lazarus back to life.

1 John 5:4 says For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Faith is our power to overcome: to overcome our fears, to overcome sin, to overcome Satan's lies and temptations. If we do not have faith, we are slaves to free. But Christ came to set us free so let us live freely indeed.


Jesus help me not be afraid- but to have complete faith in your plans for my life.
I know you call me to "fear no evil" when I choose to follow you.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mary the adulterer

I know you’ve heard about me. I’m the wild girl. The girl that takes things too far. The girl that always is with a different guy. I hear you calling me slut behind my back. You think I’m dirty. You think I’m so dirty that I deserve to die. And you are ready to cast the first stone just like my accusers wanted to do so long ago. You want to judge me- even now- I know, you say look at her dress. It’s way too short. Look at her tattoos. She has a history. Look at her makeup- she wears way too much. She can’t be like us- she won’t ever be a follower of Christ- she won’t ever be good enough.

You see these cuts on my arms? You see these bruises? You don’t know the nightmares I have gone through and the men that have hurt me. You don’t know the loneliness I feel. Sometimes I want to kill myself because I feel so ashamed. You judge me but you only see one side of my story. You just don’t understand.

I am a girl that has been hurt and wounded. I am broken inside but I want to tell you about the man who healed me- who touched my scars, who wasn’t afraid of my dirtiness. I want to tell you that there is a Savior that loved me. Because He loved me I know He loves you too. Because He changed my life, I know He can change yours.

This man was there when all my friends had left me, when my boyfriend had left me, my parents had given up on me, when I had no one there at all. He was there when people began to hate on me, calling me names they hurt me again. They threw me to the ground and shouted out my sins to everyone- the guys I had done far too many things with- they read my faults like poetry.

Shudder* I remember how afraid I was, all alone, but most importantly I remember thinking that Yes I deserved to die. I was dirty. I was sinful and nobody would ever love me. I felt the people around me’s hartred and I heard them grabbing stones- and my heart stopped…

All of a sudden I heard a voice of a man, not yelling like many of my past husbands nor the persecutors, not whispering or whimpering like a child. I heard a firm voice…

Before I knew it I sat before Jesus- the man many had talked about- the famous one everyone had wanted to go see. I looked at the ground my eyes dark and full of tears. I couldn’t bear to look into His eyes. I felt so ashamed.

He tilted my head upwards and dried my tears. He began to take his finger and stroke my cuts. He saw my wounds. He saw every part about me many had tried to ignore. I felt that he knew everything and yet He spoke to me in gentle loving words “….Go and sin no more”.

Jesus set me free.

After that it wasn’t easy. No people still didn’t like me. I was still a dirty outcast to many of them. I still had wounds but I didn’t feel so lonely anymore. I felt something new, something pure, something beautiful, and something captivating.

Freedom- from my guilt, from my shame, from the judging eyes, from everyone else in this world. I am covered by the blood of my Savior.

*Sorry- not striving for Biblical accuracy.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Franciscan Benediction- Philip Yancey

"May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation; so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war; so that you may reach out to comfort them and to turn their path to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others will surely say cannot be done"

- Philip Yancey


Sunday, May 10, 2015

What can I give to Jesus?

"All about that base, bout that base- no trouble.
This is my fight song- take back my life song
Lately I've been, dreaming about the things that we could be.."

"What can you give to Jesus?" the pastor questioned? What small things have you let creep in to your life that are not God's? Things that may seem like no big deal- can slowly but surely pry us away from our Lord? So will you give God your all? Will you give Him the only thing you have control of- your small decisions.. so that God can have control of your life and help you to make the bigger decisions later on?

"Just a little bit", "everyone else is doing it", "I have the right intentions"-- these are lies of the devil.
Everyone has different small things that tempt them. Music, sugar, movies, Facebook, mirrors, makeup, video games, infatuation.. small things that often don't seem to make a big difference. But in the end I believe we will realize that it's small acts that add up to transform our lives.

For me, among a few other things, God is calling me to give up non-Christian music. I never thought music could become a problem for me because I have always been a big Christian music lover and I've never wanted to listen to secular music-- That is until I went to Peru, where many of my fellow missionaries frequently had dance parties. The music was catchy and fun and I found myself being sucked in to dancing and "chilling out" with my friends. As we rode in our Gringo van together we would blast the music all over town singing, dancing, and laughing our heads off.-- Inside I felt that secular music was bad and knew I probably shouldn't listen to too much of that music. Yet I didn't really feel as if listening to a little bit was a sin and I thought that as long as I limited the secular music to with my friends and still just listened to Christian music on my own, I would be fine.

I think what's God taught me recently is He doesn't want to live our lives constantly pushing the lines and worrying about what is a sin and what is not. He wants us to serve Him, to think of Him, and to destroy anything that doesn't glorify Him because of how much we love Him. So often people make a bunch of rules about what we have to do to follow Jesus but the truth is we should do everything we do because we want to glorify God and we want to give Him our best. The little things we spend time doing: listening to music, watching movies, playing games, how we eat, how we act with our friends- these little things matter to God.

I know for me I've recently realized that I can listen to Christian music most of the day and hear one secular song and have the beat of that one secular song stuck in my head all day long. And while I'm humming the song to myself, I do not feel closer to Jesus- in fact I feel like I belong closer to this world. It's just one little thing Satan tries to use to distract our minds from Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:12 says "Everything is permissible for me- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

May we ask Jesus what gift we may give Him. What can we surrender to Him that we are holding onto? May He transform our hearts and minds to think pure and undefiled thoughts that we may bring glory to His name wherever we may walk.










Wednesday, May 6, 2015

So Many Miracles

I remember 8 months ago not being able to focus, always at the verge of tears- thinking that I was uncapable of concentrating in school and making good grades, not knowing what career to do and feeling total distress. I remember thinking it's gonna take a miracle to get me through this year.

I remember 18 months ago, lying in my bed that had a mosquito net covering it and sobbing through the night because my hands hurt so bad. I couldn't move them. It was like they were paralyzed and they itched and had two huge blisters on them and I remember praying God get me through the night, I need a miracle. I needed healing.

I remember 21 months ago, sitting in a medical clinic in Peru and being told I had to learn to give shots and practice them on my friends. I remember being terrified and hating the idea and I knew that it was gonna take a miracle to get me through that medical-focused year.

28 months ago, I remember wanting to go serve God as a missionary and I remember my parents saying no and my friends telling me I was too young and uncapable. I remember wanting to go serve but knowing that it was gonna take me a miracle for my parents to say yes and for me to get accepted to AMOR since I had no medical experience.

All of these situations- God provided! God helped me in school. He healed me when I had a weird jungle disease. He helped me overcome some of my biggest fears in the medical field completely changing my career. He used me in Peru and helped me fall in missions.Today, I finished my last test of the year and got good grades. I got my blood results back from the clinic- and I'm healthy!

I never thought I would be where I am today- becoming a nurse (the last thing I everrr wanted) and getting a masters degree in global community development- and going back to camp to be spiritual director. I'm so excited. God is changing me and my character and my passions. He is so good and has done so many miracles. I'm just so grateful.

I know that I will continue to need miracles from God... and that He will continue to prove faithful for all of my needs =)



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Happiness or Holiness

The secret is that the treasure we are searching for is different..
The goal is no longer happiness which fades and tarries through disease and pain. Instead the goal is holiness which Christ is faithful to fulfill until His coming

So often we are fooled into thinking that we deserve or can earn a happy, joyful life and that this happiness can be achieved by accomplishing certain means (getting a good degree, better friends, a fine salary, a wonderful marriage, a disciplined walk with God). Yet statistically this happiness thing just isn't working for us. Today millions of Americans struggle with depression and anxiety as root causes for many other temptations and battles with drugs, eating disorders, pornography, crimes ect.

To get real, I have fell into this trap of "the quest for happiness" after returning from the mission field. And for so long, I questioned Why, why am I no longer happy anymore? Why does nothing make me smile and laugh and make my spirit feel full? And I tried counselors, and advice from friends, and books.. but nothing really helped. The more I tried to climb out of this seemingly pit of sadness, the further I felt myself sliding in the mud, wondering if I ever again would feel true joy.

But then something finally hit me- God spoke, and I realized something beautiful and powerful.
When I was in Peru, I was the happiest I had ever been but life was the hardest and most painful it had ever been. Yet that pain did not affect my happiness because I wasn't in Peru to be happy. I was in Peru to be holy and to represent Christ.

As I think about my life this past year, and how much I have struggled with depression, it all makes sense- that as my eyes shifted from Christ and His perfect holiness to myself and things of this world- how could I not be disappointed?

If we are striving for happiness, we are always going to be let down. Because this world is not our home. It's a sad dreary place- even more so when we focus on ourselves. But if our goal is holiness, our eyes are constantly searching upward, looking at our fearless leader Jesus. And as we see His face we experience the most wonderful, breathtaking transformation of our lives as we run and walk with Jesus.

There's a song we sing at camp that goes "Holiness holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need. Holiness is what you want from me. Take my life transform it; take my will conform it-take my heart and form it- to yours, to yours Oh Lord."- I pray that this is your prayer as is mine as we endeavor in following the Lord each and every day.

1 Peter 1:15-16 says But just as he who calls you is holy, so be holy in all you do for it is written: "Be holy because I am holy."

May we choose to sacrifice whatever it takes- maybe even our happiness- and strive for the higher treasure of being one of Jesus' most faithful disciples.