Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Lord, my portion

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
~Lamentations 3:21-26~

Some good friends of ours are going through a rough time with their 10 month old son, who recently went through a surgery and is having some complications.  The father wrote in his blog,

"The feeling of powerlessness is foreign soil, but it’s a fertile place for growth. These days and nights in the hospital feel deeply unsettling, but being unsettled is not always a bad thing. Furrows come before seed. Remembering this allows us to see these grooves in our plans (holy disruptions, if you will) not as an excuse for bitterness but as an occasion for gratitude."

When I feel down in the depths of misunderstanding and doubt, I will remember to say to myself that the "Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him."  Waiting is so hard, but as I look back on my life I am beginning to see that in the waiting God is working, and that he does answer our prayers, just not always the way we want them to be answered, or in our time.

There is much in the word about waiting.  If we had it all right now, we wouldn't be able to handle it, so it is good to wait on the Lord, to wait on things to come to pass that we want to see happen.  May the Lord strengthen me during this time of waiting on him.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Sin of the World, Placed on a Baby

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised and we did not esteem Him.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53: 3 & 6

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who's in your genealogy?

Tamar, a widow who bribed her father in law to sleep with her...Rahab, a prostitute...Bathsheba, the object of David's misguided affections...what do all of these women have in common?  They were all in the line of Jesus.  God is so amazing to use weak, imperfect people as his vessels for greatness.

I have family members who came to the United States on the Mayflower.  I bet those pilgrims never imagined that one day they would have a great, great, great, great...granddaughter who was part of a mission traveling to Mexico to bring the gospel and message of Jesus to people there.

I've been thinking this morning about who might come after me in my family and the impact they will have on this earth for Christ.  All I have to do is have babies, and by doing so, I am affecting the world for Christ.  That's an exciting purpose to have, even if I never accomplish anything else on this earth.

I may never completely comprehend the impact that those who came before me who were faithful followers of Christ have on my life.  My mother and father, my grandparents, my great grandparents, my great great grandparents.  They weren't perfect people.  God used them to bring more people into the world who would make a difference for Him.  Their heritage of faith is an important part of who I am today.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Christmas was...

...setting up the Christmas tree with my mom...hanging my "My First Christmas" ornament from 1982.
...trying hard not to touch the gifts Mom had already wrapped for us that were under the tree.
...opening up gifts at Grandma Russell's on Christmas Eve and Grandma Bachman's on Christmas Day.
...going to church on Christmas Eve and then opening gifts afterwards until late into the night with my Mom, Dad, brother, and sister.
...wishing that Santa were real even if I knew he wasn't.
...nights spent giggling with my sister.
...staring at the Christmas tree and enjoying the warm feeling it produced in my soul.
...waiting snuggled in the car, trying not to let the cold get me while Dad loaded up the gifts from Grandma's house.
...lots of eating.

Christmas is...

...lots of eating.
...time spent in the word reflecting on the Christmas story.
...reviewing the story of the birth of Jesus with Adah.
...singing "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger" to Adah to go to sleep.
...getting gifts ready for the people that I most treasure.
...working to keep myself at peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
...still having the joy of gathering with both of my Grandmothers.
...realizing that life is precious and that we only get so many turns around the sun...and that each breath is a gift.
...home group Christmas party.
...trying to savor each and every moment that I have to spend with family.
...being thankful that Jesus came for me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fear in Following angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."...When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  ~Matthew 1:20-21 and 24

Isn't it hard when you know you're called to something bigger and better than yourself?  Sometimes I wish that an angel would come to me and tell me exactly what it is that I'm supposed to be doing!  However, after looking at these verses, I think it might be a little more scary to have a heavenly being come and tell me what to do!  That's a big day...and a big calling.  The angel told Joseph not to be afraid because "what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."  If it were only that it was conceived of the Holy Spirit...fear is gone!

There is so much difficulty surrounding a calling.  I'm sure it wasn't easy for Mary and Joseph to consider the fact that they were going to have GOD for a Son.  Wouldn't you be so afraid that you would mess it up?  It's hard enough raising a little one without knowing that they're God's Son that's been entrusted to you.  I know that Mary and Joseph had to have a lot of fear in following the call that the Lord had placed in front of them.  There were so many unknowns for them.

Linn and I know that we have been called to follow God's purposes in this world with our whole beings.  But what does that mean in day to day life?  A fear and doubt sundae, smothered in a hot fudge of faith and grace.  We will continue to rest in the knowledge that the dreams that God has conceived in us are of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Google Maps: Nazareth to Bethlehem

For nothing is impossible with God. 
~The angel Gabriel; Luke 1:37

What a journey it must have been for Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem! Too bad they couldn't google the directions, hop on the freeway, and be there in less than two hours.  I can't imagine the hardship they must have gone through.  Not only the physical hardship, but what about the mental and spiritual anguish of having to make a journey like this.  I can only imagine Mary's thoughts at the prospect of having to travel 90 miles while being pregnant...

"What????  How am I supposed to travel to Bethlehem? Do you know how far away that is?  What if the baby comes while we're on the road?  My mother was supposed to be there to help deliver the baby!  I have had such a hard time with one understands the pain that I'm going through.  No one understands how I even became pregnant when I'm not even married.  They all hate me.  Now I have to travel to some town I've never been to?  Where will we stay?  Where will we put the baby?  Where will Joseph work?  Will we even survive?  I just don't know how this is going to work.  God!  What is going on?  Wait...the angel said that nothing is impossible with God, but it's so hard to believe that right now.  I can't see it.  Lord, help me."

So many times when God asks us to do something, at first we can say, "Alright God, whatever you say.  I trust you."  Then we actually have to live it out, and it becomes something entirely different.  So many doubts, frustrations, anger, and annoyances plague our thoughts.  

It has to be a moment by moment decision to remain in the presence of God and choose to believe that nothing is impossible with God, and to say as Mary replied to the angel, "May it be to me as you have said."

Monday, December 5, 2011


Today, the plan will be to abide in Christ.

From John 15:

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do NOTHING.

At times in my life, abiding seems to come so easily to me, and at other times, it seems out of reach.  Why do I spend so much time struggling and striving to find my way on my own, apart from the power of God?  I feel so discombobulated, so strung out when I'm out there trying to do anything apart from Christ.   Even going to the grocery store can be a challenge done apart from Christ.  I need his power in all things. Either I believe this or I don't believe it.

What I say I believe is not what I believe...what I believe is what I do.

Lord, let what I do to abide in you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Inside Outside Upside Down Kingdom

Dar's thoughts on...

Philippians 2

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, (is this even possible for us as humans, to really have the same mindset as Christ Jesus in our relationships? even in those relationships that get on our nerves? what would that look like if we did? if we truly understood what that really meant? Lord, come in your power and give us the power to have peace in our relationships on earth as it is in heaven.)

Who, being in very nature GOD (what?? He was God but he laid it all down so that he could come and know me? So that we could know him and the freedom that comes in a relationship with him? So that he could know our sufferings?)
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather he made himself nothing (and was born in a barn among stinking animals in a little known town called Bethlehem! There was no place for him to lay his head even as a baby.)
by taking the very nature of a servant, (we say that we want to follow in Christ's footsteps and become a servant, until we are really treated like one...then we don't like it!)
being made in human likeness. (with all of our weaknesses and imperfections and strivings)
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself 
by becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross! (and death on a tree was the lowest form of death there could be for a Jew. My mind cannot even fathom where Jesus went for us.  I can't even imagine an earthly king doing something like this, much less GOD, the God of the universe stepping down to be with us.)

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name
that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the Glory of God the Father.

...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.


Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me the place in life where I can be a true servant.  Even though, honestly, it's really annoying to be treated like a servant.  I want to be where you are Jesus.  If my God could give up his throne to come to the earth and be a servant, how much more do I need to do the same?  Unfortunately, I don't have the strength to be able to do that!  I just want to be in charge, to run things, to make my goals and vision be made known.  Lord let me be a servant as you were a servant.  If even just for a moment, let me catch a glimpse of what that looks like.  It's not going to be a fun day at Disneyland as I learn what this means, and I accept that.  Refine me God, take me through the fire.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Excerpts from Ephesians 4:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

INSTEAD, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head--CHRIST.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

I am longing for the day when we as a body of Christ can truly work together out of the bond of peace.  I am so tired of being tossed here and there by every wave that comes in life.  I want to know the fullness of Christ.  I want to be strongly rooted in him and in his mighty power.  I want more.  It's so hard to want more, because through wanting more, we are asking for some rough and challenging times.  I feel like it's only in the depths of challenge and heartache where we truly learn to live this life.  Where we truly learn to discover who God has made us to be.  In the midst of heartache and struggle we learn to know who God really is and who we really are.

I often think that our view of God is too small.  When we pray for something, and he doesn't answer, what does that really mean?  Do we really think that God is going to work how we want him to work?  What does it say about God when something horrible happens...or we find out that something horrible happened to someone we love dearly.  Where was God in that?

Through this whole support raising process I am learning that God is giving us the exact amount of money that we need each month to learn to truly cling to him and his provision for us.  We have exactly what he wants us to have so that we can grow in our faith and in our understanding of who he is in our lives.

Just because we give it all for God doesn't mean that we automatically get some kind of orb of protection put around us.  I often think, "God, we put it all in for you...why did this happen??"  I guess God says in those moments that there is even more that we need to put in for him.  More of ourselves that need to be shaved off, more refining that needs to happen in our spirits, so that we can be mature and complete, lacking nothing.