Friday, June 29, 2012

Four Things that Excite Me

1. Going home to see my family tomorrow. Such a refreshing blessing to go home.

2. The OLYMPICS!!! I love them so much...swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field...everything. I cannot wait! Currently enjoying the trials right now.

3. Summer produce. I've been eating peaches and berries and corn and avocados like they're going out of style. So good.

4. This. "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." - Hebrews 10:19-22

Weekend Links 6/30

The Idea of Evangelism Makes Me Uncomfortable - Excellent piece from Trevin Wax. "The New Testament picture of evangelism is not that we share Jesus with gritted teeth. It’s a picture of lips and hearts overflowing with worship. Whenever you are completely taken with something or someone, you can’t help but talk about it. Love can’t stop talking about the beloved. Fix the worship problem, and evangelism starts coming naturally."

He Knows Me - Wonderful beautiful words. From J.I. Packer on Desiring God.

Pleading with God in Prayer - From Tim Challies. "Take heart and to see that the Lord is accomplishing something through your prayers, something greater than if he were to give you what you desire apart from fervent, tear-filled prayers."

If Christ is True, Boredom is Sin - "When we are bored, it can only be because we have stopped looking at Jesus. He can’t be boring. If we find him boring, it’s because we are boring. The deficiency is ours, not his."

And finally, one of my favorite flash mobs...I love this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Look to the cross!

I love this quote from John Newton...Free pardon to all who come, no exceptions, and no reserves. Praise God. 

"When the brazen serpent was erected in the wilderness, to cure those who must otherwise have died, the benefit was not restrained to those who had been bitten by the fiery serpent but once or a few times. The worst case amongst the people was relieved as soon and as certainly as the very slightest. The remedy was universally proposed to every person. The application was easy; it was only, look and live. But if a man had spent all his time in measuring or counting his wounds, instead of looking to the ordinance of God, he might have died, though the means of life were within his view. The sense of the evil of sin is given to quicken application to Christ, and not to discourage our approach. The Scripture has concluded all under sin, and as such we are all condemned already. But the Gospel proclaims a free pardon to everyone who, with the eye of his mind, looks for life to him who hung upon the cross." - John Newton

Monday, June 25, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:9
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. - Philippians 1:6 
Sometimes I feel very discouraged with how much, or rather how little, sanctification is evident in my life. I feel like I have known Jesus for over a decade by now, and so there are some things that I should have mastered by now. But I haven't. I have had to work through trusting and resting in the Lord in every circumstance many times, and even though I see God's faithfulness so clearly each time, I still struggle to trust Him. I still struggle to love and forgive like Jesus has loved and forgiven me. And that is discouraging. Somehow, I feel like sanctification should just, you know, happen. But it doesn't.

Rather, Paul exhorts us in Philippians 4 to practice these things. When I was first beginning to learn to play piano, it would have been wonderful to just wake up and be able to play Beethoven and Chopin. But instead, it took countless hours of scales, exercises, studying theory and practicing simpler songs. It took intentional repetition and practice. It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't always fun, but it worked. I saw the fruit of my practice.

What if I approached my walk with the Lord in the same way? What if I read the command to love my neighbor like I loved myself, and rather than becoming discouraged that I don't know how to do that like I would like to, I just began to intentionally practice loving? What if I began to intentionally practice patience and prayer and memorization and serving and so many other things that I struggle with? I think that here as well I would see the fruit of practice.

But more than that, I am thankful for Paul's assurance in Philippians 1 that the Lord will, without a doubt, bring to completion the work that He began. Though I have the privilege of participating, even that participation is by His grace and it is He who finishes the work. So as I feel discouraged with where I am, I'm reminded to practice, and when I fail, to try again. But most of all, I'm reminded to rest in the completed work of Jesus that guarantees my completed sanctification. How I long for that day!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekend Links 6/23

Are You Entitled to Your Opinion? - Out of the mouthes of babes. Short and convicting.

Just Let Me Get Cleaned Up First - "God’s table is not for the respectable. God’s table is for the broken, the poor, and the shamed. That’s us. We are the beggars. The good news is that God invites us to dinner, and we don’t have to get cleaned up first."

Bible Memorization Tips - One of the most helpful pieces I've read on the subject.

The Value of a Place to Pray - Like David Murray said, this made me want to pray more, and so it must have been good. Definitely worth your time.

And finally, Francis Chan on aging Biblically. Beautiful picture of what life ought to be focused on.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Saved Two Thousand Years Ago

So thankful that our assurance rests in Jesus alone. From "Gospel Wakefulness" by Jared Wilson:

"My decisions are a shallow hope indeed. These days when the Devil comes to accuse, I show him what is carved on my Savior's hand (Isa. 46:19). I rebuke him not with some sentimental tree memorializing my own spiritual movements but the tree upon which the Son of God was sacrificed for me.

If you were to ask me today when I was saved, I would answer, not entirely humorously, 'about two thousand years ago.' Indeed, because I have been predestined for salvation by the One who foreknew me before I was born or had done anything good or bad, and because the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, I don't need the security of the date of my new birth. I only need the security of knowing He whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to safeguard my life for all eternity."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Longing for Home

More and more I've been realizing that though I live with dear friends in San Diego and my family is in Orange County,  and though I love both places very much, they are not home. I love visiting my family; it's refreshing, fun and encouraging. But I'm just that: a visitor. It is no longer home. And here in San Diego, though I love the girls that I live with, they aren't family. This isn't permanent. There is a sense that any of us could move on at any time. A blessed season? Yes. Home? No.

But the more I see my lack of a home, the more I realize my deep longing for a one. I desire to come back to a family who I can love daily and to grow old with, a family that causes me to love and seek after Christ more deeply. I long for a place that feel safe and permanent, a place where I feel like I belong.

And that's when the Lord gently reminds me that my true home is not and never will be here on this earth. These longings that I feel are good and right, because He has created me to long for the true home that is found only in heaven. Though our earthly home can be a beautiful picture of what is to come, it is only that: a picture. These desires that I feel are ultimately are satisfied in the Lord alone. 

So regardless of my feelings, Jesus is better, so much better, than any home that I might ever have. And if I never feel like I have a home, then Jesus is still better. His plans and His purposes - they are what matter. My home is with Him, wherever He is, wherever He leads. That's where I want to be and Who I want to go with.
For we know that if kthe tent that is lour earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, ma house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent nwe groan, longing to oput on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on1 we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal pmay be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, qwho has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always of good courage. We know that rwhile we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for swe walk by faith, not tby sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we uwould rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to vplease him. - 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Bucket List

- Try paddle boarding
- Go camping
- Spend a day in Balboa park
- Run while the sun is setting
- Go hiking!
- Nap in the hammock
- Enjoy ice cream on the beach
- Go to the farmers market!
- Eat gelato
- Read some of the books that have been sitting on my shelf for months...
- Watch fireworks on 4th of July
- See my brother juggle at the OC Fair
- Tour the Olympic Training Facility in Chula Vista
- Have a picnic
- Find a good used bookstore in East County
- Many, many frozen yogurt dates

and more...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekend Links 6/16

The Arms of Divine Grace - Tim Challies with a wonderful quote from Matthew Henry. "He never intended this world for our rest, and therefore never appointed us to take our ease in it. This travail is given to us to make us weary of the world and desirous of the remaining rest."

Not Just a Sinner Saved by Grace - "'Just a sinner saved by grace' is only half the gospel. It’s true that in Christ, God has wiped the slate clean and has forgiven us our sins. But let’s make sure we don’t leave out the flip side – that not only does He forgive our sins, but He also regenerates us through the power of His Spirit. God is restoring our relationship to Him. He is living within us."

Raising Gospel-Centered Children - "If we stop to consider the motivations of our hearts—what is driving us as parents—we can gain important insight into the discipleship of our children. The driver behind gospel-centered discipleship is the glory of Christ. The driver behind child-centered discipleship is the glory of our children, and by extension, our own glory."

"Just as Long as It's Healthy" - A beautiful post on disabilities from Desiring God. "And it should fuel our hope that when God creates a child who will live, and maybe die because of his disabilities, God will help us love that child and welcome that child and let that child express his gifts, for God’s glory and for our good."

Temptation is an Invitation - Excellent thoughts from The Resurgence. "Temptation is an invitation to worship. You will either worship the enemy and do what he is tempting you to do, or you will worship Jesus and resist the temptation and obey. Either way you are worshiping."

The Abuse of Full-Time Christian Service - All of Christian life is "full time."  If it isn't, then we are all pretty sad Christians.  If I am excused from living the Christian life because I'm part-time, does that mean I can pick and choose when I am "on duty?"  I'll be good when I'm on duty, really I will, but after that, can I do what I want?"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Testimony of His Grace

I just listened to this excellent sermon on marriage by Denny Burk. He gives such a vision for the glory of God displayed through the marriage relationship, and the absolute wonder that it is that we have been given the privilege of displaying the glory of God in that way. But he closes the sermon with a poem that he wrote for his wife, his vision and prayer for what he wants their marriage to be: a testimony to the grace of God. It's beautiful, and so I thought I would share it here. It begins with a story and ends with a prayer.

The old man took her tired hand
to hold for one last time.
The years had fin’lly pressed her to
her final breaths of life.
Their wrinkled hands in warm embrace
brought back the long-gone years,
The memories of their happy times,
and those dissolved in tears.
The old man saw in her ill frame
the girl that stole his heart.
He saw in her that gracious gaze
that filled their home with warmth.
His mind turned back to lighter days
when she did make her mark,
The children her love reared for them,
Her single heart for God.
He also felt the weight of grace
that marked her many years,
How she had borne him patiently
when he did cause the tears.
The old man said, “My love, the time
was cruelly short to me.
I cannot say goodbye to you
and let your passing be.”
“How can I ever say farewell
or ever let you part?
You are my only precious thing,
the joy of my old heart.”
And as his eyes began to well,
she reached to touch his face.
And then her quivering voice began
to give one final grace.
“This is the day the Lord has made,
The one He’s brought to pass.
This day was written in His book
before my first was past.”
“The Lord has granted us to spend
together all these years.
He’s also granted all the joy
and even all our tears.”
“And though this is a bitter day,
we owe Him so much thanks.
Dear, we made it! By Him we did!
Yes, we made it! By grace!”
Oh Father, grant that we may see
our days as at their end.
Oh let us know the weight of grace
in every year we spend.
We make this prayer unto You,
for there is no one higher.
This testimony of Your grace
we desperately desire!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Weekend Links 6/9

Jesus: Lord of Feast and Famine - "So when you’re at your highest, turn to Jesus in gratitude and for the strength to take the next step. And when you’re at your lowest, turn to Jesus in faith that he’ll provide for you the strength to keep going."

Rural Ministry is Not Second Rate - Jared Wilson condenses Tim Keller's thoughts about pastoring in a rural area. "The day I begin thinking of ministry as a career is the day my ministry career begins to be a big fat pile of FAIL. By God’s grace, I am what I am and do what I do, and this means going where I’m called and hoping he increases, not me. We’re supposed to decrease, you know?"

How a Child with Down Syndrome Can Teach You About Life - "Megan reminds me of the value of remaining childlike in my approach to life. Not childish, but childlike, and for a Christian, childlike faith is one of the best kinds of faith. A child’s faith does not question everything, like the cynical adult, a child’s faith trusts, and believes."

Sovereignty and Prayer - "In God's wisdom, our prayers and His sovereignty work well together. Our job is to pray, and to trust that He will accomplish all of his purposes. So pray."

Work as Worship -"Work is not opposed to worship, but rather (when performed in line with God’s creation design), it is a central avenue for worship and mission in God’s world."
This song is beautiful. I've been listening to it on repeat all week.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


"Theology proceeds from God, teaches us about God, and leads us to God." - Sinclair Ferguson

Monday, June 4, 2012

In His Hands

This weekend my car broke down about an hour away from home at 9:30 pm. It was incredibly scary for me because all I could think about was what would have happened if I had been alone, an hour away from home and stranded in the dark. By the grace of God it happened when I was with people who knew what they were doing and were able to help me, but it terrified me And it's all I can do to remind myself that my safety and security isn't found in any feelings that I have but rather in the hands of my gracious loving Father. In His hands I am safe, regardless of circumstances, for nothing is outside of His control.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Weekend Links 6/2

It's been a prolific week in the world of blogging, so I have a lot of links to share. Enjoy!

100 Names of Jesus - Wonderful names indeed. May He bring us to our knees.

Summers Are for Seeking Christ - From John Piper. "Don't let summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute."

When Someone Says, 'The Bible Has Errors' - Excellent article from The Resurgence about the reliability of Scripture.

Kids, We Eat Food - As a preschool teacher, this definitely resonated. "Next time I catch one of my kids with a non-food item headed toward their mouth then I want to remember this. By God’s grace, I want to be aware of when I’m mindlessly filling my soul with things that don’t satisfy. Then I want to purposefully engage my heart, mind, soul, and strength in feasting on God’s love revealed in his word."

Marriage Puts the Glory of God on Display - Aaron Armstrong and John Piper on how marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. It is a beautiful thing, this covenant that God has given us.

Challies, Voskamp and All Us Girls - Excellent thoughts on having a discerning heart. "What are we women doing for our own serious, ongoing theological education? Is our passion for Christ flowing from biblical grounding expressed in ways that accord with our Reformed heritage?"

7 Evils of a Grumbling Spirit - Ouch. This one is convicting. Thoughts from Jeremiah Burroughs.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Of Weddings and Friends

Tomorrow, two very dear friends are getting married. I. cannot. wait.

This is Tim (on the right), my debate partner for three years in high school with our coach Eric. This guy...well, he loves and obeys the Lord like few people that I know. I am so excited to see him marry Eden and what God has in store for them.

And this is my dear, dear roommate Whit whose heart runs after Jesus above all else. I could not be more honored to know this precious girl and to watch her marry Colby tomorrow.

It will be a bittersweet day, with all of the changes in their lives, but certainly more sweet than bitter. So amazed by the works of our Lord.