A question I’ve asked myself lately…

Luke 24 – They had just witnessed Jesus’s crucifixion and had spent their time preparing spices and ointments for his body in the tomb. Heartbroken, the women went to Jesus’s tomb to care for his dead body and I can only imagine the emotions they were feeling as they mourned and questioned what had happened. Confusion. Despair. Seeking to find some kind of hope or solace, they drew near to the tomb with their spices. When they reached the burial place, they found the stone door rolled away and no body inside. I’m sure their heartache deepened. Then, they were met by dazzling men. Crazy?! Frightened, they heard the men say “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”

Jesus had risen?! Had he not spoken of this before his death? Did He really rise? Again, I can only imagine the thoughts and feelings running through these women’s hearts and minds… “Do we believe? We want to believe!” So they ran to share the good news with the apostles.

After reading this small part of the story, I realized I seek for life among the dead.

Much like the women on their way to Jesus’s empty tomb, I find myself searching for answers and hope in empty tombs. I see the hopeless pursuit in people all around me too.  In our brokenness, we work hard to prepare, make ourselves “better,” and create meaning. We forget what God has already told us in His Word.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

We want to be pretty, smart, put together, rich, popular, athletic, accepted, perfect, so we search for meaning and answers in fashion trends, jobs, education, houses, children, relationship statuses, possessions, and even ministry positions… In pursuing all these things to find life, we find dissatisfaction and self glorification.  Eventually, they will lead to despair and destruction.  (Death)

God has given us ETERNAL LIFE and this life is in His Son. Why do we go seeking for fulfillment in anything less?  All this world has to offer is dead in comparison to Jesus Christ.

I recently learned a simple, yet beautiful song that reminded me of this truth. Life has no meaning apart from Jesus Christ. We can’t truly live without Him. May we find life in the risen King.

I Will Exalt by Bethel Music

“Your Presence is all I need
It’s all I want, all I seek
Without it, without it there’s no meaning
Your Presence is the air I breathe
The song I sing, the love I need
Without it, without it I’m not living

Sometimes (aka most of the time) life is hard.  Whether it’s good or bad, it’s still hard.  We live in a sinful world and should expect nothing less.  Thankfully we have a great Rescuer who has saved us, not because of something we have done but because of His sweet mercy.  This is something I have to continually be reminded of and fight to rest in.

Lately, the Lord has been working on me, chiseling away at my selfishness and earthly treasures. I continually fight this “work” but the good news is – His grace always wins.  ALWAYS.  In His kindness, God is using His Word, the Puritan prayers, music and His people to remind me of what He is doing.  Sooo, I have to share some with you.  I pray you’re encouraged.

Read and rest.

“Resting on God”

(from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan prayers)

O GOD MOST HIGH, MOST GLORIOUS,
The thought of thine infinite serenity cheers me,
For I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed,
but thou art for ever at perfect peace.
Thy designs cause thee no fear or care of unfulfilment,
they stand fast as the eternal hills.
Thy power knows no bond,
thy goodness no stint.
Thou bringest order out of confusion,
and my defeats are thy victories:
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
I come to thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows,
to leave every concern entirely to thee,
every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood;
Revive deep spirituality in my heart;
Let me live near to the great shepherd,
hear his voice, know its tones, follow its calls.
Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth,
from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit.
Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities,
burning into me by experience the things I know;
Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel,
that I may bear its reproach,
vindicate it,
see Jesus as its essence,
know in it the power of the Spirit.
Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill;
unbelief mars my confidence,
sin makes me forget thee.
Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots;
Grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to thee,
that all else is trifling.
Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy.
Abide in me, gracious God.

Listen and be still.

 

 

 

What is stirring your affections for Jesus?  How are you actively seeking to know and love Him?  

These are questions I’ve been trying to honestly answer.  The Word of God is ever faithful to draw me to adore the Savior.  Thinking on the Gospel, really dwelling on its magnificence, should stir our affections.  One helpful tool I’ve been using this year is The Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers.  Yesterday, I read the prayer below and I just had to share.  Couldn’t shake its richness!  I hope you can delight in Jesus our Savior, both the Messenger and message of the GOSPEL.       

Blessed Lord Jesus,

No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.

Acting in eternal grace, You are both its Messenger and its message, lived out on earth through infinite compassion, applying Your life to insult, injury, death, that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.

Blessed by You, O Father, for contriving this way, eternal thanks to You, O Lamb of God, for opening the way, praise everlasting to You, O Holy spirit, for applying this way to my heart.

Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul, until its virtue diffuses every faculty; let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.

Teach me to secure this mighty blessing; help me to give up every darling lust, to submit heart and life to its command, to have it in my will, controlling my affections, moulding my understanding; to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion, not departing from them in any instance, nor for any advantage in order to escape evil, inconvenience or danger.

Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy; strip me of every pleasing pretense of righteousness by my own doings.

O gracious Redeemer, I have neglected You too long, often crucified You, crucified You afresh by my impenitence, put You to open shame.

I thank You for the patience that has borne with me so long, and for the grace that now makes me willing to be Yours.

O unite me to Thyself with inseparable bonds, that nothing may ever draw me back from You, my Lord, my Savior.

So… I never finished my “thankful” days in November and yes, I also recognize that I haven’t posted a blog since 2012.  What can I say?  I failed.  It has nothing to do with lack of thankfulness, just lack of faithfulness.  This really isn’t shocking because I fail often.  I think I’ve learned more about failure (and feeling failures) in the past year and a half than I’d like to admit but I’ve also learned more than I could have ever imagined about God’s glorious grace.  And oh, is it glorious and lavished upon us.  He just keeps on teaching and keeps on blessing.

This weekend will mark a new beginning.  As I reflect on the past year, I’m amazed.  Amazed at how the Father loved me, provided for me, pushed me and kept me.  He proved His faithfulness again and this, my friends, is no surprise.  He remains faithful because that is who He is… faithful.  Always has been, always will be.

As for the new year, 27 seems like a lovely number.  In fact, it is the chapter of one of my favorite Psalms.  As I look ahead to this new year, I’m curious to see what He has set forth and as I wonder, I hope and pray that I grow in the fear of the Lord and nothing less.  

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27

Day 11:

On Sunday, the text we studied together at Imago Dei Church was Ephesians 4:1-16.  As I reflected on the text, I couldn’t help but be thankful for the gifts God has given His people and Sunday was a perfect day to observe and praise God.  I arrived early to service to help with the info table and got to watch everyone in action.  We have greeters, coffee makers, bulletin distributors, prayer warriors, child care workers, pastors, singers, encouragers, and the list could go on.  There are so many gifted people in our church family and this is true of the whole body of Christ.  As the day continued, I was blessed by my growth group’s giftings and we were able to say – all praise is to God for the gifts we each have!  I’m thankful the Lord chooses to gift us and use us to build up His body in love. He is a great Giver!

Day 12:

This Monday  I am thankful for a bed to sleep on, legs to run on, and a window that allows me the view of the sunrise.  Today I found it hard, yet so sweet, to wake up in the quiet of the morning to meet the Lord and the sun.  I wish I always found it sweet but I must confess, there are many mornings where I miss the sweet and only get the sour.  I have struggled the past couple weeks to be disciplined in my early mornings, especially in exercise and quality time in the Word.  I’m thankful the Lord allowed me a good sleep in a comfortable bed and that He woke me up and allowed me the opportunity to sit with Him and rest in His Word.

Thank you Lord.  Let’s do it again. 🙂

A few days ago I posted my thanks for Imago Dei Church, who has become my family in one short year.  Blessings upon blessing they are.  Today, as I sit reading an exciting book about Baptist history (no, you don’t sense sarcasm there;)), I find myself thinking of FITP.  I would be remissed to not give thanks for my family known as Fellowship In The Pass Church.  They have a special place in my heart and I will always hold them near.  You may be thinking “Why does baptist history make you think of FITP?”  Well let me explain…

Fellowship in the Pass Church is the family I joined when I came to know the Lord.  They knew me, loved me, and shared the gospel with me long before I was a Christian but once I came to know the Lord, I truly became a part of them.  The teaching I received from our pastors and elders, as well as the truth in love I received from so many was pivotal in my personal growth as a Christian.  I learned about baptism, the Lord’s supper, church discipline and so much more from this church family and I believe what I learned was extremely Biblical. They do their best to live in a way that pleases the Lord and to be a Biblical model of the church.  As I continue in this seminary season, I realize more and more how the leadership of the pastors and elders at FITP was a gift.  To have Godly men seeking to do the Lord’s will no matter what the circumstance is not always the norm.  I pray this NEVER changes.  May they always stand on the Word of God and have men who will lead them in the Way.

So as I sit here and learn about history of the church, ministry, and ordinances I am giving thanks for Fellowship in the Pass Church.  They are evidence of God’s grace in mine and my family’s life.  I sure do miss them.  

I love you FITP!

Tis the season to be an Aunt and I am thankful for this season! I have two very new and extremely beautiful nieces.

Meet Myla Jaymes…

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And Mercy Rea.

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They are precious and I am thankful for them. I’m also thankful for their parents. I love them all and love this new season we’ve entered.

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  It began with a quiet morning and a coffee shop date with a sweet friend and ended in worship with my church family.  As I reflected on what I wanted to “be thankful for” I had a hard time choosing.  I was and am thankful for so many things but I couldn’t help but think back on Wednesday night. 

I have the privilege of co-leading a small group of college students with my friend Manny and our group has been such a blessing.  Beyond our small group, there is a larger group of college students and leaders who bless me tremendously.  Wednesday night, the Satterwhite family hosted our entire group for dinner.  This alone was a blessing.  It was so kind of Ashley’s parents to feed our huge group.  It was a fun time for all and I’m sure they stayed late enjoying themselves (I left a little early since I wasn’t feeling well that day).  As I was leaving, I witnessed the sweetest thing.  Rachel, one of our girls, has been providing transportation twice a week for a new friend who has been joining us in small group and on Sunday mornings.  Rachel is a college student who is working multiple jobs to pay her bills so the extra mileage is not always easy for her to cover.  She hasn’t complained or even mentioned finances but   I know it’s a sacrifice for her to drive the extra miles.  Rachel and I had just returned from talking and praying with our new friend outside when one of our girls walked up to Rachel and handed her money.  She whispered to Rachel that while we were outside the group gathered some money together to help pay for the extra gas she has and is using.  Rachel was surprised and so blessed.  I almost cried.  I sat back and watched as our students modeled what living life together in the body of Christ really looks like… It’s knowing another’s need and meeting it without even being told or asked.  It’s simple and I know it was a simple gesture but it spoke volumes to me.  Our students are a blessing and they challenge to me be real and love Jesus more than anything in this life.  They are a blessing and I am thankful for each one of them.

I’m thankful for rest.

I woke up Wednesday not feeling well.  The nauseous, I-feel-dizzy kind of not well.  The last time I woke up feeling that way, I ended up face-down on the ground with my roommates hovering over me because I had passed out.  Apparently I had come down with the flu and, according to the doctor in urgent care later that day, I was the first to experience influenza that season.  Needless to say… this Wednesday I was nervous of something similar happening so I decided to get back into bed and rest for the day.  

For some reason, rest is extremely hard for me.  I do not rest well.  I know it’s as much a heart and mind issue for me as it is physical.  I always have to “do, do, do” and “try, try, try” when the Lord is simply saying “Be still.”  So that’s what I did Wednesday.  After going back to bed, I woke up at 12:45pm and got out of bed only to move to the couch.  I sat on the couch until the evening.  It was a much needed day of rest and for that, I am thankful.

I’m thankful for the gift of music.

Earlier, I was able to sit and play the piano for a short time and oh, was it good for my soul!

Songs like You Revive Me, Rescue, O Come O Come Immanuel, Amazing Grace, You Are Good, How Deep The Father’s Love, Come To Me… are just a few that ministered to my heart this evening.

The rest found in Christ alone is sweet and when worshipping Him in song, I find Him so near. His Word says He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22). Amazing. To be honest, I don’t understand fully but I am amazed at the opportunity to sing to a Holy God. Thank you Lord for music.

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