My Verse

Isaiah 43:1

"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Isreal, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sacrifice: Abraham and Isaac

The story of Abraham is a story of patience (and impatience), waiting for the fullfillment of God's promises. We see in Genesis 15 the beginning of a promise, and the faith that Abraham had in God, that He would bring that promise.

Gen 15:4-5
Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

But Abraham would have to wait many years before he ever saw that promise fullfilled. Because God is so faithful, He continues to remind him of His promise, and that some day he will be the "father of many nations". Can you imagine the joy he felt when Sarah finally gave birth to Isaac? And how old were they? Over 100 years of age, and we can't even wait 30 minutes for our food.

Now skip forward to Genesis 22, "Some time later, God tested Abraham..." And we all know how it goes from here. God tells Abraham to give Him his only son, his "promise", and Abraham takes Isaac to the alter, lays the wood on the alter and then places Isaac bound atop the wood. He takes the knife and is prepared to follow through with the sacrifice, when he is suddenly stopped by "the angel of the Lord" telling him that He knows Abraham fears the Lord, and would not withhold anything, not even his son.

What an amazing show of obediance. I tell God continually, "I will lay it down on the alter," in songs, in prayer, in action. I am so willing to lay [it] on the alter. But today, what do I hear as I am once again singing of laying my life on the alter? "Is that enough?"

What? God I don't get what Your saying. I am here, and I want to honor You, by laying everything on the alter. And then He reminded of Abraham. "It" is my past, my present, the future, worry and stress, even the promises He has made anything that I have placed ahead of God. I sing of surrender, but I only want to give what is easy to let go of. I sing that I love God more than anything, but I am unwilling to go any farther than laying "it" on the alter.

Abraham was ready to go all the way. He had the wood, the fire, and the knife and everything that it would require for him to sacrifice his son, his promise. He didn't stop at just laying Isaac on the alter, but I do. I stop, waiting for the "angel of the Lord" to let me know I have gone far enough, and that I really don't have to go through with it. And today, God was calling me out.

God, I don't want to just lay my life at the alter. I don't want to stop at laying down, anymore. But am I really able to sacrifice, ready to sacrifice? Can I take a long awaited promise and really give it up? God if that is what you are calling me to do, then I want to do it. I want to do nothing more than bring You glory. To love You with all that I am. To give You everything.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Finding Life

Withering Away

A flower in the sun withers away.
The cool morning seemingly greets her
With a warmth that promises great things.
A trusting flower withers and falls away.

God, I feel like I'm dying inside.
Slowly withering away.
Is this You bringing out a new life?
Or is this me refusing to go Your way?

To die; death brings new life.
A flower dies and spreads seeds
The water falls and the sun warms
Only time will tell if new life will be.

Are You glorified in the death of a flower
Or the raising of something new?
Or is Your glory displayed in the splendor
Of the flowers fragrance, its bloom?

I only want to live
And to live is to bring You glory.
I only want to live
I only want to give You glory.

So, I wrote this last month while I was in a place where it seemed that God was continually taking things from me. And I knew He was saying die to myself, to my past, to who I see myself as. But I just couldn't do it, and His response was to put me in a corner with what He wanted me to do and face it. God is good at that. Putting us face to face with the truth. Not out of spite or to be mean, but to bring us freedom. The only reason He ever exposes the truth to us is so that we walk even more freely, in Him.

The last part of the ryhme is "I only want to live..." I didn't want to die, I didn't want to crucify my flesh. If I could hold on just a little longer, I'd give it up when I was ready. God has a way of bringing us to the point of "being ready." Right before Jesus is about to be handed over to His death, He speaks about the the grain of wheat. If it doesn't fall to the ground and die, it will never produce more fruit. He was speaking of course of His own death, but salvation and freedom are only found when we partake of His death. When we die to our own flesh and are made new in Him.

John 12:24-26

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Psalms 42:7-8

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

Okay another one of my favorites. I stood in the kitchen today waiting for my grilled cheese sandwich to cook. Talking out loud to myself cause there is noone here today except for me. Then my talking turned to God. Praying to Him that I would no longer pray as a person worrying about the things of this world. Being reminded by Him that Jesus told us we should pray a simple prayer, acknowledging that God knows our needs before we even ask them.

Our conversation (strange as you may think it sounds), trailed to other things, who His word says He is, who the world thinks He is, who Christians think He is. And how do I see Him? Much like Peter and Jesus, ..."but who do you say that I am?" Many times God has been an unseeble spirit beyond my grasp, and unreachable by my prayers.

But as I stood in my kitchen, by now the sandwich is done and I was no longer waiting, I could feel His spirit, connecting with my spirit. Like rivers and oceans, lakes and streams, all connecting. There is nowhere that I can go, that I am too far for Him to speak to me, to reach me, to save me. There are times that my spirit inside of me, cries out. Much like Romans 8:26 &27.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

God I thank You for Your Holy Spirit that fills me and reveals to me the things hidden in You.

Seeking: The Marvelous Mystery

Well, here is a continuation of the last blog:

Partial lyrics from
Revelation Song

I’m filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus, Your name is power breath and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery

Sunday at church we sang this song, and it hit me as we were singing this verse, that once again, God is a mystery to sought after.

So, here I am again poring over the meaning of this. Everything that Jesus is; life, breath, a mystery. I wrote a blog last year about how I wanted to be sought after, and how God had been persuing me. Here I am today realizing there is even more to it than that. God wants us to persue Him. Like playing hide and seek, only He hides in plain sight, because His goal is to not remain hidden, but for us to come to Him, to find Him, and stay with Him. But I think sometimes we stop searching Him out. We forget there are even more mysteries that He wants to share with us. Maybe we think we have learned all there is to know. But the depths of God are unfathomable.

God I want to continue seeking you. Thank you for persuing me, but I want to run after You. To find You anew everyday. I don't want to be content with where I am, but to go deeper into You, to continue chasing after Your marvelous mysteries.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Matthew 6:33-34

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Remember what it was like to play hide and go seek as a kid? Excited, nervous, scared, but there was nothing greater than it. I remember once when I still really young, somewhere between 3 and 5. We were at a family reunion and all my cousins were outside playing hide and go seek. It was dark, and the only light was from the porch, which of course was base. I stood on the porch for long time watching everyone run around and screaming and chasing each other. I wanted to play but they weren't letting me. Until finally one of the older kids coaxed me off the porch. That was the most fun I remember having at a family reunion.

Matthew 13:44

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Imagine the excitement this man must have felt when he found a treasure hidden a field. But he went and hid it again, and sold all that he had so he could go and seek that treasure again. Do we seek God and His will, His kingdom, His light, like this man? Are we willing to wake up every morning with a new and revived desire and passion to seek Him like a treasure hidden a field.

I find that I am often too distracted by the day and what it holds. I'm thinking about what is going to happen further in the day, that night, and the next day. I am worrying about bills, my paycheck, I'm wasting time with the cares of this world. What would happen if I completely gave my day to the Lord everytime I woke up. From the moment my eyes opened to the moment they closed and even while I was sleeping. All that we need and can even think to ask for He has promised to provide. Earlier Matthew 6, Jesus tells us how we ought to pray, not as people worrying, but as people who trust in their God.

Matthew 6:7-13

"And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way:

'Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Faith, Worth More Than Gold

1 Peter 1:6-7

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Worth (n) - excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem, usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose, value, a quantity of something of a specified value, wealth; riches; property or possession

Faith. I read the above scripture yesterday for the second time. I had read it earlier and even put it in my last blog, but I didn't really pay that much attention to the part about faith being a greater worth than gold. Not until yesterday. And now I find myself thinking about what the faith in my own life. Do I know the usefulness or importance of faith in my life, it's purpose in my life, and it's value in my life? Faith has worth, an excellence of quality. Do I pocess faith in such a way that it is an excellent quality?

When I seem to go through "various trials" my first reaction is not to praise God, as I confessed in my previous post. I don't rely on my faith. Instead I do the complete opposite. For a long time now, I have struggled with having faith, I have put worth in my own works. And to that God says...

Psalm 127:1-2

"Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; or He gives to His beloved even in his sleep."

God, I cannot depend on my works or anything of this world any longer. When the trials come, and my life is tested, the only thing that will withstand is faith. Faith in You. That is faith is proven genuine, the real deal and results in the praise, glory, and honor of Jesus Christ; the One who saves. Just like Paul and Silas were praising You in the midst of the prison, it resulted in the jailer and his whole household being saved and giving you praise. Lord, I want the praise of You to be a part of who I am. Not something I have to force or practice or work at, but it is natural to praise you in all situations. That only comes when my faith is proven to be genuine.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I Will Praise The Lord

I Will Praise The Lord
Words and Music by Ray Boltz

Bleeding in the darkness
The cell was cold and black
Driven to unconsciousness
The stripes on his back
He heard a voice call out his name
His mind began to clear
And in the darkness Paul replied
Silas I’m here

Oh my brother Silas
Paul uttered with a groan
Today when they were beating us
I thought We were going home
And when I opened up my eyes
I was going to look at Jesus’ face
But here we are together
In this dreadful place

But I will praise the Lord
I will praise the Lord
No matter what tomorrow brings
What it has in store
I will praise the Lord

I will praise the Lord
I will praise the Lord
No matter what tomorrow brings
What it has in store
I will praise the Lord

This may be a prison
And these may be chains
Still I am free
Free to praise His name
And in tribulation
My heart still sings
He is my Messiah
Yes He is my King of Kings
Prisoners started waking up
Singing filled their ears
Some men started swearing
Others were in tears
Then suddenly it happened
There was no mistake
As Paul and Silas praised the Lord
The walls began to shake

I will praise the Lord
I will praise the Lord
No matter what tomorrow brings
What it has in store
I will praise the Lord

I love this song. It is undoubtedly one of my all time favorites, it always brings me back to the reality of where I really am. Acts 16 is also one of my favorites chapters to read, it has brought hope to me countless times.

Today, I was leaving church, feeling somewhat dissappointed. I find myself yet again in the midst of a spiritual struggle, and the conflict between my flesh and my spirit has me in a state of confusion. I am still trying to do things in my own way, on my own terms, and in my own strength. But God is showing the purpose of His spirit in my life (and we will get to that soon, believe me I can't wait to write the blog about knowing the purpose of the Holy Spirit, in your life), and it is to be my helper.

So in my car on the way home, I was telling God out of my dissappointment that I would do what it seems He is telling me (God doesn't always tell us we are going to get what we want). So, I said, "God I will praise You where ever I am." In my spirit, I knew what God was saying. Really? In chains (not physical chains, but spiritual ones)? See Paul and Silas could have easily sat in the prison and grumbled and complained and blamed God for their current situation, but broken, bruised, and near death they rejoiced in their suffering.

This isn't the first time God has spoken to me about rejoicing in my so called sufferings (cause really do I suffer as much as Paul and Silas did?).

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

1 Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

Romans 5:2b-5
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Not that my sufferings are anywhere near what the early christians had to suffer. I have never been beaten or tortured for the sake of Christ. But I fight the same fight that has been fought, even long ago, the struggle is as Eph 6 puts it; "... not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." There are times I feel alone, and times when I feel so defeated, but I know that God has not left me, and that the final victory belongs to Him. It is this hope that should cause me to praise him even the midst of the battle, the struggle, the suffering.

Lord I will praise You where ever I am. If I am alone, if I am defeated, if I am living victoriously, I will praise You. I will praise You in the depths of valleys and the heights of the mountains, You are there and You are with me, and I will praise You.