Saturday, July 28, 2012

leave the pieces.

You're not sure that you love me
But you're not sure enough to let me go
Baby it ain't fair you know
To just keep me hangin' 'round

You say you don't wanna hurt me
Don't want to see my tears
So why are you still standing here
Just watching me drown

And it's alright, yeah I'll be fine
Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine
Just take your love and hit the road
There's nothing you can do or say
You're gonna break my heart anyway
So just leave the pieces when you go

You can drag out the heartache
Baby you can make it quick
Really get it over with
And just let me move on

Don't concern yourself
With this mess you've left for me
I can clean it up, you see
Just as long as you're gone


You not making up your mind
Is killing me and wasting time
I need so much more than that
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah


Leave the pieces when you go
Oh, yeah
Leave the pieces when you go
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Leave the pieces when you go

Friday, July 27, 2012

How do you decide who to marry? And other important questions. (Written by kids.)

"You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Life, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming." 
-Alan, age 10
"No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you're stuck with."
-Kristen, age 10

What is the right age to get married?

"Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then."
-Camille, age 10.
"No age is a good age to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married."
-Freddie, age 6. this kid got it right.(:

How can a stranger tell if two people are married?

"You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids."
-Derrick, age 8.

What do most people do on a date?

"Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough."
-Lynette, age 8.
"On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date."
-Martin, age 10.

What would you do on a first date that was turning sour?

"I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns."
-Craig, age 9.

When is it okay to kiss someone?

"When they're rich."
-Pam, age 7.
"The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that."
-Curt, age 7.
"The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do."
Howard, age 8.

Is it better to be single or married?

"I don't know which is better, but I'll tell you one thing. I'm never going to have sex with my wife. I don't want to be all grossed out."
-Theodore, age 8.
"It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them."
-Anita, age 9.

How would the world be different if people didn't get married?

"There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?"
-Kelvin, age 8.

How would you make a marriage work?

"Tell your wife she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck."
-Ricky, age 10.

what to do when your favorite book hurls itself off your nightstand.

How do I say this?

Okay, it's like this:

You really, really like a book. You love it. This book is practically your other Bible. You know every sentence in it by heart. You'd rather read it all day every day than go outside and do something else. This book takes you to magical places and makes you become something better than you ever imagined. It makes you happy.

And then your book burns. Or gets thrown out the window. Or decides "You know what? This reader isn't worthwhile anymore." and then stops letting you turn its pages. It jumps from its spot on your bedside table and commits a sort of book suicide.

But you've got the book memorized. You don't even need to read it to still know every word. Your love prevails because there has seriously been nothing good as this book.

Then you go to the bookstore and you see all the brand new, beautiful books. And you think "I don't want them." You know you should want them, but you don't. For Pete's sake, your book LEFT you. Of course it won't ever show up at your door and be like "Jokes! Love me again!" Nope! So just love the other books already!

But you don't love them.

And it has been eight months since your book left you two weeks before Christmas. You should stop reciting your favorite passages. Your friends no longer want to hear them.

You keep reading the backs of all the other books but you keep on looking for the same storyline: Summer Romance, penguins, carnivals, family, brown hair and kisses in the rain. You become so ashamed that you can't move on after eight whole months that you box up everything that reminds you of your book. This, you think, is the end.

You find that you don't have the book as memorized as you thought. Instead of quoting a scene word for word, you can only recall vague images. The book has become an idea and an ideal.

So what do you do when your life is like this?

1) Remind yourself (yet again) to stop saying the title of the book out loud or in your head.

2) Smile. Your life is beautiful.

3) Be patient. Because you're 17. You're stupid. Really, you are. Get over yourself. Also, realize how pathetic you are. This is a big step.

4) Don't go to the bookstore anytime soon. You're not ready, obviously. (Okay, go to the actual in-real-life bookstore. That's okay to go to.)

5) Think of hideous similes for how you feel. Like this one. Then you can laugh at yourself. That's the best advice: Laugh at yourself.


And pray. Actually, that's step number 1: Pray.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Renewing Your Strength

Isaiah 40:27-31, "Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

There are always those times when it seems that Satan is getting the best of us. Sometimes it's a little hard to maintain your faith and trust in God when everything is going against us and we are in the middle of one of the greatest battles of our life. It is in those times that we need the Lord more than ever. It is in those times that our faith and trust in God is really put to the test. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, in our walk with the Lord.

It is easy to live for God and trust in Him when all is going well. It is not so easy to do so when the weight of the whole world is upon our shoulders. Too many Christians bail out on God as soon as the storms get rough.

If your life is in the middle of turmoil and the waves of temptation are about to swamp you, look up and put your trust in God for that is the moment that He is really putting your faith to the test to see if you will pass or fail. That is the moment when your trust is built. That is the moment that your relationship with God will really show its true depth.

Have you heard about the "gator aid" that was given to enlisted men in a Florida training camp during World War II? The daily training for those GIs included a run through an obstacle course. On the final stretch of the endurance test, they had to grab a rope and swing across a broad, shallow pool.
Under the blazing southern sun the water looked so inviting to the men that most of them soon developed a habit of making it only halfway across the pond--that is, until an enterprising lieutenant made it the new home for a large alligator. From that day on, the recruits left the ground 15 feet from the water's edge and fell sprawling in the dust on the other side.
Likewise, our behavior as Christians must sometimes be shaped by the "encouragement" of the danger of unfavorable circumstances. Without God's loving correction and faithful discipline we would never develop spiritual strength and endurance. If the Lord didn't permit threatening conditions to come into our lives, we'd soon succumb to feelings of self-sufficiency and overconfidence.

We must not forget that God has promised us that we would never be tempted above what we are able to bear, but with every temptation, every trial, every test, every trouble, He will make a way for us to escape and win the victory. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God never promised that we wouldn't have hard times. He never promised that we would sail through life without troubles. What He did promise is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He promised that He would supply our every need. He promised in Psalms 55:22, "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

In the passage above, Israel had become discouraged so God had to remind them of just Who He Is. God is still in control and those who would place their trust in Him would be renewed in their strength.

I don't know about you, but there are times when my strength fails. I know that many of you do too because you are always asking in prayer for strength to stand for the Lord. There is nothing wrong with praying for strength. In fact, that's the best thing you can do. But, if you really want to have more strength, God has already laid down the pattern for you to get stronger in these verses.

The first thing is that you must realize who God is and what He is doing for you right now.

To you, the trial you are facing is very personal and it seems that no one else can relate or understand but you have to realize that multitudes of people have faced and are facing the same situations that you are. Your circumstances are no surprise to God. Your troubles don't move God. He knew what was coming and He already has an answer for every one of them. We will only see victory if we do it God's way.

God is God and He is all-powerful. There is no limit to His ability to meet your need. There is no limit to His deliverance and provision for whatever you need. God never gets tired, never grows weary, and is always listening for the prayers of His children to rush to their aid.

What will we do with the trials that face us?

Will we turn to our own devices and make decisions that will cause us to have less time for God, for the church, or even for our families?
Will we forget the Word of God and become depressed because we don't have the faith that everything will really do as Paul said that it would do in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Will we abandon our promises made in the moments of triumph?
Will we forget our commitments to Christ that were made when all was going well?
Will we forget the times in the past that God has brought us through some rough times? Will we forget the blessings, the healings, the miracles and every good thing that God has done?
Will we overlook the fact that God has always been and will always be faithful to His promises in the Word of God? What will we do now that things are not perfect any more?

It is time we stopped our pity party, quit looking like it is the end of the world, and lift up our eyes to Hills of Glory where our help comes from. God is far above our petty troubles no matter how bad they might seem to us.

God will not allow us to fail if we will keep our trust and faith in Him.

So now the test is on - the question is not one of survival but whether you will pass or fail? If you pass, your faith and trust will grow stronger. If you fail, you will abandon the ways of righteousness, turn your back on God and put everything in your life in jeopardy, or, you will face similar trials again down the road until you learn the lesson of faith and trust. The choice to fail or pass is ours alone. God will not force our decision one way or another because He wants us to learn and to grow in Him. God will deal with our decision as a loving Father and not as a tyrannical Dictator.

...there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

I wish I could say that I understand why God allows some things to happen. I wish I could but I can't. His ways are far above my understanding ability. I can only put my trust in Him with faith and know that somehow God will take care of everything.

God knows how to give you the power to overcome. He will take your weaknesses, your failures, your doubts and fears, and He will turn them into miracles of deliverance. In fact, God often does not move until we have given it over to Him completely because He will not share the glory of your deliverance with you. It is all of Him or none of Him. God is our source of strength. God is our source of provision. God is our source of power. God is our source for everything we need! We can't do anything within ourselves.

Even the young shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

We may pride ourselves in our ability to take care of ourselves. We in America have such a pride in our freedom and independence that we hate having to admit that we need help from anyone, including God.

But these scriptures tell us that no matter how strong or independent we may be, we cannot do it alone. God often has to bring us to the place where we have to stop trying, turn to Him and say, "God, that's all I can do, now it's up to you." God is waiting for those words but they often aren't said until we have exhausted our own ideas with no results.

The longer I live, the more I realize that everything is in God's hands. When I was younger, I was more inclined to solve everything with my own ability. Now, after many years of trials, tests and troubles, I am just beginning to get a real glimpse of what living by faith really means.

Faith says that everything will work out when it seems that everything is crumbling around me.
Faith says that my bills will be paid when I can't see how they will in the natural sense. 
Faith says that God will take care of me and that I must force myself to stop being overly concerned with the future.
Faith says that I know, somehow, God will work it all out and that when He does, I will be so greatly blessed for having faced all that is happening right now.

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

This is a scripture that has been preached on so many times that I cannot count them. We quote it, we read it, we preach it, but do we really believe it?

Waiting upon the Lord requires true faith.
Waiting upon the Lord requires going through the fire sometimes and still trusting God to bring us through.
Waiting upon the Lord requires that we believe in the impossible, look for the unseen answers, hope in the times of hopelessness and know, without knowing why or how, that God will take care of us.

Baby eaglets, in their nest, can do nothing but wait until the mother eagle returns to her nest to bring the necessary food, drink or whatever else is needed to keep her eaglets alive. We must stay in the "nest" of God's house, trust in the fact that He will bring us what we need, and then accept and digest what comes because we know its for our own good.

Those baby eaglets will cry, scream, flap around a lot, and generally make a real scene while they are being cared for. Does that sound like some Christians you know? When the trials come they will cry and moan and scream and let the whole world know just how bad things really are. It as though they are drowning in tears, dying in sorrow, and God has abandoned them. Where is faith in that kind of reaction? How can we say that we trust in our Almighty God to meet every need and then act as though we have no hope?

The reason so many Christians fail the fiery tests of their faith is that too many are bankrupt spiritually when the trials come and so we have no faith and trust in God in our spiritual account to draw strength from.

We haven't spent time preparing and "saving up" our blessings for the "rainy day" of trials to come.

We haven't spent time studying.
We haven't spent time praying.
We have not fasted at all.
We have gone about our daily lives as though there would never come a time of trouble when we have to know that they are surely around the corner.

God won't let you stay on the mountaintop for long because it's down in the valley that your faith and strength will grow.

There is a song that I listen to every now and then that says this:

The God on the Mountain
Is still God in the valley
When things go wrong
He'll make them right
The God of the Good Times
Is still God in the Bad Times
The God of the Day
Is still God in the Night

That's the God that we serve.

Isaiah 59:1, "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"

Some of us, if not all of us, are facing some great battles and trials. It's testing time and we are taking our final exams. God has blessed and now it's time to see if we will trust Him or not.

Though many of us have seen pictures of a huge eagle's nest high in the branches of a tree or in the crag of a cliff, few of us have gotten a glimpse inside. When a mother eagle builds her nest she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the project. But then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs. By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals make them quite reluctant to leave. That's when the mother eagle begins "stirring up the nest." With her strong talons she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface. As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles. Eventually, this and other urgings prompt the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to more mature behavior. 

Just as that mother eagle never forgets to come back to her nest, Jesus will not forget you either. As that mother eagle is always out gathering and preparing a way for her little eaglets, so is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gathering, preparing and protecting his sheep. Just as the mother eagle stirs her nest to force her eaglets to grow up, Jesus has to stir us up, mess up our little playhouse, if you will, and make us uncomfortable enough to mature and be more like Him.

If you are facing great trials and tests right now, then lift up your head. Look to Jesus because your answer is already on the way. Don't allow Satan do destroy your victory. Don't allow him to convince you that all is lost. Don't listen to his deceiving, lying voice. Listen to voice of the Lord and the Word of God and lift up your head for your redemption is closer than you think.

It won't be long until this world and all of it's troubles will be left behind. We shall see the King in all His glory. We shall be like Him and be with Him in Heaven. What a wonderful day that will be when my Jesus I shall see; when I look upon His face and behold His grace. But until then my heart will go on singing. Until then with grace I'll carry on. Until the day that my eyes behold the Savior, I will put my faith and trust in Him and He will not fail.

Wait upon the Lord. Put your faith and trust in Him and He will let your spirit soar above this world. He will lift your spirit upon eagle's wings and you will be strengthened for the journey ahead. Only by patient waiting, placing your whole-hearted faith in Jesus and trusting in Him totally will you have your strength renewed.

God has it all under control. If you are a Child of the Most High God, then look up for your Father sees your need and your answer is already on the way.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


here are some highlights, and lowlights, of the past few days.
-hugging lori and elias for the first time in 7 months. 
-being completely honest with a friend.
-getting my Tim Tebow jersey in the mail.(:
-finally going back to blonde.
-getting all my classes finalized.
-working on my presentation.
-finding out approximately 3 dead bodies can fit in a normal sized refrigerator.
-oh! and i'm getting married due to our mutual love for the pittsburgh steelers.(:
-the girl screwing up my hair. :(
-my cousin is super injured.
-i lost my bestfriend.

all in all, a pretty good, but stressful week.(:

seeing the good in everything is hard, but worth it.(:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

back then i swore i was gonna marry him someday but i realized some bigger dreams of mine.

oh how time changes everything.

Wait on Me, My princess.

My timing is always perfect. I know you're anxious about many things, and I see your passion for all the plan I have put in your heart. I know that you long to fly, and I see your enthusiasm. However, just as a vinedresser nurtures the vine and waits patiently for the right moment to harvest the grapes, so too am I working tirelessly to prepare to bear much fruit. Don't run ahead of Me or try to fly before My plans are complete. Your strength will fail you, and your dreams will wither away. Trust Me that My dreams for you are far greater than you can dream on your own. You will run farther and soar higher if you will patiently wait for the season of my blessing. Draw close to Me now, and I promise that this season of waiting will bring you the sweetest of rewards.

Your King and Lord of perfect timings

 But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength;
 they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 KJV

Monday, July 16, 2012

3:16 The Numbers of Hope

In Max Lucado's book titled simply 3:16, the entire book focuses in on just one single verse from the Bible--John 3:16. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy, sent to Family Christian Stores employees by Thomas Nelson, and I'm so thankful that I did because 3:16, the book, drew me back to what I believe is the single most significant sentence in all of Scripture--3:16 the verse.

Preschoolers can recite it. Football fans paint boldly across cardboard signs. It's brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in moment, yet solid enough to withstand 2000 years of storms and questions. It begins with God, ends with life, and urges us to do the same! Listen to the impact this verse has had on people's lives:

"I love John 3:16 because it is the gospel in a nutshell. It shares God's great love for us, and our great need for him." Mac Powell, Third Day

"John 3:16 is the foundation of my faith. A picture of undeserved, unconditional, and unwavering love from a Father to his kids." Ernie Johnson, TNT Sportscaster

"John 3:16 is the North Star of the Bible. If you align your life with it, you can find The Way home." Anne Graham Lotz

"This is the promise that bears hope for the hopeless. When we finally realize 'I can't do this on my own' this is the Father responding, 'I know, so I've done it for you.'" Jeff Foxworthy

If you know nothing of the Bible, begin here. If you know everything of the Bible, return here. This is the Hope diamond of Scripture!

But before we can get to 3:16, we have to set the stage. It all begins with a silent figure moving stealthily through the darkened streets of Jerusalem. Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees, the religious elite who militantly rejected Jesus. So when he decided to seek Christ out and learn from him, he had to do so in secret. Slipping through alleyways and dimly lit streets, Nicodemus finds his way to a simple house where Jesus and his followers are staying.

"Rabbi," he said, "we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. " (John 3:2 KJV).

Without hesitation, Jesus replies, " Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. " (John 3:3 KJV). I'm not sure what was on Nicodemus' mind that night, but it's clear what was on Jesus' mind. Christ's exposition on salvation reaches it's climax in the sixteenth verse.

John 3:16 (KJV)

"  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. "

In this one verse, we see the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ how it relates to us. I want you look at some of the beautiful intricacies of this verse, starting with two simple words...


"For God so loved the world..." If those words are true, it changes everything, doesn't it? Imagine what the world would be like without God's love... A dark planet hurtling through space unguided, undirected. No hope. No future. Nothing to live for. No greater purpose to our existence. Every death would be an end. Every grave a place of despair.

But God does love the world! We see it in every sunrise... every blade of grass... every fountain of water... every birth... every child's face. God so loved the world!

My little cousins watch these cartoons--Veggie Tales. In case you've been living under a rock somewhere and haven't heard of Veggie Tales, it's this show with computer animated vegetables that tell bible stories. You know, Sunday morning values, Saturday morning fun. Well, at the end of every episode Bob (he's a tomato) says, "Remember kids, God made you special, and he loves you very much!"

Isn't that the message of John 3:16? Isn't that the message the world needs to hear? God made you special and he loves very much. That's the message George Matheson needed to hear. He was only fifteen when he was told that he was losing what little eyesight he had. Not to be denied, Matheson continued with his plans to enroll in the University of Glasgow, and his determination lead to his graduation in 1861 at age nineteen. By the time he finish his graduate studies he was completely blind.

But his spirit didn't collapsed until his fiancée returned his engagement ring. She said she couldn't see herself spending her life bound by the chains of marriage to a blind man. He adapted to life without sight, but never recovered from his broken heart.

Years later, as a well-loved pastor in Scotland, George's sister came to him announcing her engagement. He was happy for her, but his mind went back to his own heartache. He consoled himself in thinking of God's love which is never limited. Never conditional. Never withdrawn. Never uncertain. Out of this experience he penned these words:

O love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths it flow may richer, fuller be.

The Bible says, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39 KJV).

In another of Max Lucado's books, he writes, "If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart..."

He loves. And because he loves...


Jesus said, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son..." Just to say, "I love you," doesn't really mean a whole lot. Love--agape love--is a verb. It has to be tangibly demonstrated. It has to be proven. God's love included. The Bible says, " But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. " (Romans 5:8 KJV).

That sounds strange to some people. So many people in the world respect the teachings of Jesus. They admire his example. But no matter how they turn it around, they can't see any significance in his death. One man even said, "That's the craziest thing I've ever heard. I don't need God to give anyone for me," he claimed. "I've led a good life. Held a good job. People respect me. My wife loves me. I don't need God to give me his son." Maybe you agree. But are we really as good as we think we are? Let's see how well we score against God's basic laws--the Ten Commandments:

1. "You shall not steal." have you ever stolen anything? A paper clip, a peanut? That makes you a thief.

2. "You must not lie." Those who claim they never have, just did.

3. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." Ever let God's name slip passed your lips in anger or frustration? The Bible calls that blasphemy.

4. "You shall not commit adultery." Before you excuse yourself from this one, Jesus said that if you so much as look at a woman with lust, you've committed adultery in your heart.

And that's just four out of ten. We could keep going, but I don't think we'd fair any better. Most sincere people, when we're honest (when we're alone at night with just our thoughts), we know that we're really not all that good. We all have regrets. We've all made mistakes. The Bible calls that sin. And we do it all the time.

The Bible tells us, " For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; " (Romans 3:23 KJV). Our sin separates us from God. So if any of us are ever going to have a real relationship with our Creator, then it's up to him to find a way to reconcile us. That's where Jesus comes in. He determined to build that bridge with an old rugged cross. He gave himself. He gave Jesus to bring salvation to the world through his death.

In verse fourteen, Jesus alludes to an event in the Old Testament. It's a story told in Numbers 21:4-9. It was a story of sin. The children of Israel--God's special people--had rebelled against God, so God sent poisonous snakes that bit the people so that many died. But this was also a story of grace. Moses interceded for the people and God provided a remedy. He told Moses to make a brass serpent and lift it up on a pole for everyone to see. Anyone who had been bitten who then looked at the serpent would immediately be healed.

We're in a similar situation. The whole world has been bitten by sin, and the "wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23 KJV). Just as the serpent was lifted on that pole for the people to look to for healing, Jesus would be lifted on a cross for us to look to for our healing. God sent his Son to die, not only for Israel, but for the whole world.

Although God's remedy was sufficient for all of Israel, it was only effective for those who "looked upon the serpent." And although God loves and Jesus sacrifice was sufficient for the whole world, it is only efficient if...


Jesus said that God, "gave his one and only Son so that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish..." This concept runs contrary to our instincts. And it's so simple. We expect a more complicated cure, a more sophisticated salvation. And what about that Bible verse that says, "God helps those who help themselves"? Well, that's not really in the Bible.

No other religion offers what Jesus promises. Judaism sees salvation as a Judgment Day decision based on morality. Buddhism grades your life according to the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Muslim earn their way to Allah by performing the duties of the Five Pillars of Faith.

But not Christianity. Jesus calls us to do one thing: believe! Listen to what the Bible says:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  (John 1:12 KJV)

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3:18 KJV)

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  (John 3:36 KJV)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47 KJV)

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (John 7:38 KJV)

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30-31 KJV)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

Maybe you're thinking what about baptism, repentance and a changed life? Are you saying those things aren't necessary? No, of course not. Those things are absolutely essential. But baptism, repentance, a changed life, and things like that are not in addition to faith. They are expressions of it. They are acts of faith that work together with our faith to make our faith real.

But what Jesus wants us to see is that it's not because of what I've done, but because of who he is. It's not because of who I am, but because of what he has already done! And all he asks is for us to put our trust in him, and him alone!

Once upon a time, there lived an elderly man whose one and only son proceeded him in death. The man was very wealthy, but because he had no living heirs his estate was auctioned off when he died. People came from miles around to bid on all the wonderful antiques and riches proudly displayed in the courtyard of his manor. The first item up for bid was an amateurish portrait of the rich man's son. No one bid. The attendants grew restless, anxious to bid on the real family treasures. But the auctioneer wouldn't proceed to any other items until the painting had sold. Finally, a sweet young mother, with southern accent, bid on the painting. She had worked in the manor as maid for a little while and new how much the boy meant to his father. Suddenly the auctioneer threw down his gavel and announced that the auction was over. He walked over to the woman, gave her the painting and told her that everything she saw now belonged to her. The elderly man left specific instructions in his will that whoever buys the son, gets it all!

God has done the same thing! The Bible says, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. " (1 John 5:12 KJV).

Max Lucado, has said, "God rewards those who seek him. Not those who seek doctrine or religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself." And the reward is that when we believe...


"Whosoever believeth in him," Jesus said, "shall not perish, but have eternal life." Although, people sometimes imagine spending eternity in the clouds, floating around and strumming harps unendingly, that's certainly not the Biblical picture of Heaven.

The Bible describes Heaven as a place that will have rivers, trees, cities, buildings, gates, streets, mountains, and houses (Revelation 21-22). Although its glory will be beyond description, its essential components will be the same as those we find here on Earth. Paradise lost will be paradise restored. Long ago, God declared, "  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth" (Isaiah 65:17 KJV). God's plan for the Earth is not to destroy it, but to redeem it, to renew it, to restore it to the perfect paradise it once was before the fall--before sin entered the world and corrupted it.

Although the full glory of Heaven will be beyond description, we are certainly capable of imagining a better world; a world of beauty and grandeur, a paradise as God intended it to be. But that's not all.

One of the greatest blessings of heaven is what won't be there. No death, disease, or divorce. No trials, tribulation, or turmoil. Without the presence of evil, the New Heaven and New Earth will be like nothing we've ever experienced. In his book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn responds to the question-what won't be in heaven?

No death, no suffering. No funeral homes, abortion clinics, or psychiatric wards. No rape, missing children, or drug rehabilitation centers. No bigotry, no muggings or killings. No worry or depression or economic downturns. No wars, no unemployment... Close friendships but no cliques, laughter but no put-downs. Intimacy, but no temptation to immorality. No hidden agendas, no backroom deals, no betrayals.

What a wonderful world to look forward to. But still there's more. The Bible says that when Jesus comes riding on the clouds "those who have died believing in Christ will rise," and after the resurrection we will be given new bodies! Listen to how the Bible describes our heavenly bodies:

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:41-44 KJV)

Indestructible. Honorable. Glorious. Powerful. Those are words that describe what your new body will be like. In this life, we get old. We get tired. Our bodies just won't do what they used to do. But in eternity, we'll run faster, jump higher, play harder, worship with radiance, and we'll never get tired. Never grow old. 

Not only will Christ's coming inaugurate our resurrection, but it will also initiate our reunion. Imagine reuniting with family and friends! Imagine meeting your great, great grandchildren or holding the hands of loved ones you once laid to rest. But most importantly of all we will be reunited with our Creator and Savior. "On the day when the Lord Jesus comes," the Bible says, " When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." (2 Thess. 1:10).

The most amazing thing in heaven will be our intimate relationship with our Maker and Redeemer. In Heaven, the Bible says, "The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." (Revelation 21:3). We won't need to be drawn into God's presence. We'll live there, constantly and consciously. Our restored relationship with God will offer infinite possibilities. Imagine exploring the depths of God's love, wisdom, and holiness. Imagine forever growing in our capacities to fathom his immensity, immutability, and incomprehensibility. And to top it all off the more we come to know him, the more there will be to know. Jesus will spend eternity revealing to us why he is all the wonderful things he is.


He loves. He gives. We believe. We live.

It really is that simple. God loves this world, more than we'll ever know. He gave his one and only Son so that we could live forever with him. Apart from him we die. With him we live. Choose life. Choose Jesus!

If you aren't sure you've done that, you haven't. If you want to today, I'd like to help. In any way possible.

I know He lives. I know He loves each and every one of us. I am so grateful to have the knowledge of my Savior that I do, and I am grateful for his atoning sacrifice on my behalf, that I may be able to be cleansed of my sins and return to live with our Savior and Heavenly Father again. 


This Bob Marley quote just says it all. No, but really.

Practically everyday that I live I want to burn all movies that show love at first sight or soul mates or anything of the sort.

Not because I don't think those things are great-- believe me, I do. I watched Cinderella every freaking day of my childhood. I'm a big fan of true love.

But the media taught us backwards.

"Someday my prince will come....".... and he will be perfect and wonderful and never smell bad and he will look like an angel and love absolutely everything about you all the time and he will never get mad at you and he will never, ever be annoying or accidentally hurt your feelings. Ever.

Except he will.

It took me forever to realize this: Whether consciously or not,  we have this idea of who we could fall in love with.

Some girls make extremely specific lists of qualities. (Some adults have even told me to do this.)
Some girls have a secret list that their subconscious outlines.

And while some general characteristics are wonderful to list out, most are not.

For example. I always thought I could never love someone if they were smarter than me. (Sorta cause I hate being staged up. Mostly because being smart is MY thing. Kind of selfish, I know.)
Then I fell in love with someone whose ACT was not close to mine at all, but who was smarter than anyone gives him credit for.

I always said I would fall in love with someone at least as white as me.
I fell in love with someone who is way tanner than I am. Curse Genetics.

Does God love us for what we look like?
Of course not. We all know that.

Does God love us for the things we're good at? Our talents?
No he does not.

He loves us for our hearts. For the tiny things that make us, us. Don't we want a Godly love? A perfect love?

For so long, we've been programmed to have a preconceived idea of the person we're going to fall in love with.
We're searching for love backwards. We're looking in the heart last.

Fall in love with the little things, and then you'll find yourself falling in love with the knowledge he has locked inside. With the crooked teeth. With the stupid remarks. With the fact that you come after sports. Even with the fact that he, yes, sometimes smells bad. Because that's him. And you love him.

When you fall in love with the heart, the love for the rest will follow.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

dear valentine.

the other day, a group of my friends and I were talking about some of our exs. these girls have some really funny stories! We decided we should all write letters to them, and anonymously, via my blog, "send" them. So, here goes.(: you can probably figure out which are mine, given your knowledge of my current, and past heartbreaks.

My dearest Valentine, 
You were my first ever notion of puppy love.
One I'll look back on fondly every time 
I hear school lunch bells ringing in the air,
but to be fair... 
you kind of grew up to be asshole.

Dear Jason,
You were my first notion of puppy love
who just never grew up.

Dear Marc,
You were a screw-up from the start
who just never mastered that first part.

Dear Allan,
You were the first boy whose performance I ever insulted.
I'm sorry, my teenage self was rather spiteful.
The sex was fine.
It was the rest of you I couldn't stand.

Dear Damien,
You tasted of strawberries.

Dear Mario,
You tasted of tequila
and your wife's perfume.

Dear Mark...

Dear Skyler,
4 years on I still see you as his best friend
You were my first bet.

Dear Jem,
You proved every cliche in the worst way.

Dear Roy,
You were the first boy it was simple with,
whose smiles were easy to come by,

made life just make sense,
and whose laughter was my favorite sound.

Dear Daniel,
I miss you like a song I can't quite remember the words of.

Dear Tony,
I miss you every time the couple next door screams
and I can't tell if they're fighting or making up.
Let's make up again.

Dear Ben,
You were too fake to ever induce real feelings.

Dear Bradley,
I will never forget the first time we held hands.

Dear Jake, Jack and Steven, 
You were all makes of the same model,
all rebounds from the same backboard,
variations on the theme of heartbreak.

Dear Nick,
I can't let you go.

Dear Chloe,
I wasn't as drunk as I probably should have been.

Dear Guy,
You are my favorite story.

Dear Todd,
I could never date a boy 
who used more hairspray than I.
The first night we kissed by the fire
I was afraid of standing too close.

Dear Chad,
If only that kiss had turned you straight.

Dear Connor,
You told me you were a pilot,
and I told you I was single.
Yeah... we're probably both going to hell.

Dear Liam,
You were a drunken mistake 10 years in the making.

Dear Lucas,
You were my first booty call, a common whore 
paid in unwanted T-shirts from old lovers
yet if we're being honest, your price was still too steep
for the products you were pushing.

Dear Jimmy Johns,
I wish I remembered your real name.

Dear Jarad,
I loved you then.

Dear Taylor, 
I love you still.
Even more for the fact that we will never be an 'us'
and I'm okay with that.

Dear Chris,
The bruises faded. Eventually.

Dear Luke,
I'm still not sure which of us regrets that night more.

Dear Dan,
You told me you were single.
That damn girl karma never lets anything slip.

Dear Matty,
Do you even remember my name?

Dear David,
How about the color of my eyes?

Dear Ice Block Boy,
I should take my own advice..
especially since yours is a nickname I never dare explain.

Dear.. Whoever's Next,
I'm sorry...
I'm running out of firsts.
Maybe it's about time someone tried being my last.