Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In the news...

I was surfing the news websites today, like I do everyday, and found an interesting article. It's about a pastor and his wife in San Diego that are being told that they cannot have a Bible study in their own home. My first reaction, "WHAT?!"; my next reaction being, "Wow, we really are in The Time."

These pastors, they had someone come to their house on Good Friday telling them that they are having a religious gathering and they didn't have the proper permits. The permit(s) would cost them thousands of dollars. It's a Bible Study! I go to a Bible study on Sunday nights with just a few other people. It's refreshing. But in San Diego County, it's 'not allowed' without a permit. This is AMERICA, people!

I've been to the underground church in a communist country. They meet in secret every Sunday, and every meeting they have. If they are caught, they can suffer dire consequences. Several years ago, it was unthinkable that the same thing would happen in America, the good ole US of A. Now we are faced with the possibility.

Will this happen soon? No. But it will happen, little by little. We are living in The Time. You know what time I'm talking about. Those times that Believers has looked for since the ascension of Jesus. The End Times. (dun, dun, dun)

We need to vigilant. Have I been? Not like I should be. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 says "But as to the suitable times and the precise seasons and dates, brethren, you have no necessity for anything being written to you. For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the [return of the] Lord will come [as unexpectedly and suddenly] as a thief in the night." (Amplified Bible) Okay, so big help, huh? No times and dates?

However, Paul goes on to say in vs 4-5 "But you are not in [given up to the power of] darkness, brethren, for that day to overtake you by surprise like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we do not belong either to the night or to darkness." When we are born again, we have this hope of promise!

How do we not get surprised? "Accordingly then, let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and let us be sober (calm, collected, and circumspect). For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who are drunk, get drunk at night. But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us]. But [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ's appearing], we might live together with Him and share His life." (vs 6-10)

That's an awesome promise! As we look at the sign of the times (cliche, I know), we need not fear. "...He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4b

We also need to pray. (This is a reminder to me also as I'm horrible at this. Remembering to pray, that is.) Pray for the people of this world, especially this country we live in. Pray for the government, for our leaders above us, our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers. Pray in tongues if you have a prayer language. That way, your emotions and 'humanness' doesn't get in the way. We have a TON of junk going on today; same sex marriages, abortion, and the ever present 'crime'. We shouldn't be thinking of anything else but prayer. (Again, a reminder to me.)

But I say to you. Look up! There is a battle raging, and it may look hopeless now, but remember Who has won the war.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Misson Statement

Some of you may have noticed that I changed my page. OK, so I changed the background too, but that's not what I mean. I was referring to the verse at the top of the page. REALLY long? You can't really miss it. So what is it? It's my mission statement.

What's that? It's something that you live your life by, or something that describes values you believe in. Kind of like a code of conduct. At least, that's what it means to me. In my case, it's also what I'm called to do. There was an assignment while I was in an internship with Teen Mania Ministries. We had a fasting retreat for a weekend and we were told to make out a five year plan and come up with a mission statement. God gave me these verses.

So the five year plan didn't go anything like I had planned or thought but the mission statement, it's still there. I'm still a missionary. OK, so no matter where you are and what you are doing, you can still be a missionary. The whole world is your mission field. There are people in your backyard, next door, cubical buddies or whoever that don't know the Gospel. But what I'm talking about is my calling in life. The plans that God had for me from before the beginning of the world. Pretty crazy, huh?

So, what does Isaiah 61:1-3 mean? Well, it's a prophecy about Christ. He is the original one that these verses were written about. He even read this passage in front of the synagogue in His hometown. He told the people that were there that day, those words had come true before their eyes. (Luke 4:16-21)

I didn't get this mission statem on accident. I've done pretty much everything these verses say, through the power of the Holy Spirit. I've been to the poorest countries of the world, preaching the Good News to the people. I've worked in one of the Mother Teresa homes in Calcutta, comforting those that had been left there to die. I've been in prisons in both Panama and India. Don't worry, I didn't tell any of them that they were free to leave the jail, it was only the spiritual freedom that I told them about. I've laid my hands on people and seen them get healed.

Jesus came to do these things. He was the first to do them, the first to make it possible for these things to be done, by anyone who believes in Him. Jesus told us in John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father." Why? Because we have the same Spirit living in us that Jesus had! That's how my mission statement is possible. For me, as well as you!

So, even though I sometimes fight God about my calling, it's incredible to know that He's called me to do even more that Jesus did. (Gasp! Did I just say I sometimes fight God on my calling? Remember the sacrifices? Yep, I struggle sometimes.) However, it's not without His help and grace that I carry out my calling. Thank God He'll help!

How do you feel about a mission statement? Do you have one? Is it something that you fight God on sometimes? Is it something that you want to do someday? Is it something you wish you could do? Do you want one? Seek Him, He'll give you the perfect one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Offerings and Sacrifices, Part 3

Continuing on with the things that God has been stirring in me, I want to talk a little more about sacrifices.

What comes to mind when you hear the word sacrifice? Most likely, especially with a church background, it brings a picture of an alter, with something burning on it. It does for me. Not a real pretty picture. Sacrifice like that is messy. I went to Kali temple in Calcutta, India, and saw the alter where they sacrifice the animals. It was stained with blood. I couldn't imagine having to do something like that, let alone watching it.

However, sacrifice can really be anything. Remember, sacrifice means the giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance. We have several different examples of this, even in the "world".

OK, so I'm not a parent, but I am an aunt. There are several things that I would sacrifice to spend time with them, or help them in anyway. Sometimes, and it's silly I know, I will give up sleeping in so I can have my oldest niece come and have a sleepover with me. She loves these times, as well do I. Small sacrifice, right? But what about me going overseas? I remember when my first niece was a baby. I went to Nepal and India for five weeks when she was three months old. When I got back, she was a completely different baby. She was chubby! And even cuter than before I left. (OK, so I'm biased!) The sacrifice I make with going overseas is not something that helps them, and it's much bigger than not sleeping in. It's messy, mostly from crying, and it's hard.

What about the men and women in the armed forces. Their sacrifice is one of the biggest. The times that we are living in now, with the war over in the Middle East, has been hard. Men have died fighting for the freedom of our country. They have come home injured or with post traumatic stress disorder. They will never be able to get rid of some things that have happened in war; to them or something they have seen. However, these men and women have chosen to serve our country and live with the sacrifice they have to make. Here again, it's messy and it's hard.

Today, I read a story on a news website about some refugees from Bhutan here in Denver that have endured some pretty serious things. They left their country, sacrificing everything they know to come to the U.S. to feel safe. The story was about the persecution they have taken in the last couple of weeks, being beat and robbed. It was all I had to not cry for them. Their sacrifice has not been easy.

Lastly, because it's so close to where my heart is, what about the martyrs? I'm not talking about someone who has given something up or died for just any cause. I'm talking about the men and women who, over centuries, have given something, in most cases, their lives for the cause of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Think about it. There are the stories of the disciples, of course. During the Roman Empire, Christians were persecuted in any way imaginable. There is a story of one woman, Vivia Perpetua, who, having an infant still nursing, gave up her life for her belief in Jesus. There are thousands more stories like these. You can read about them in Foxes Book of Martyrs, Jesus Freaks by DC Talk, and many more.

Why did they do this? Philippians 1:20-21 NLT "For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better." To sum it up, they were willing to give up their lives to bring honor to Jesus and truth to the world. Why is it that no matter how hard governments try to eradicate Christians, that our numbers grow? Because the honor that they have given to God in their act of sacrifice has proven the truth of Christ. God gets all the glory, not humans, not governments, not other religions.

What do we get when we sacrifice, even the tiniest portion of our lives? Try it and find out. I guarantee that you will bring honor to the Father, and in turn, the Father will honor you.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Offerings and Sacrifices, Part 2

I didn't really mean for this to be a two part-er. It may be more, we'll see what happens. I went to my Bible study tonight, and there were a couple of things that occurred to me.

First, offering is something that is done by our own free will. We choose to give something that we own or we give of ourselves. When we offer something to God, we choose to give it freely to Him. Not something that is done easily in some cases. I know from experience.

God gave us free will. That is what makes Him such a great God. Being a missionary, I have been all over the world. Panama, Russia, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. I've seen some of the gods the people of these countries worship. I've been to temples in India and Vietnam. I've climbed the stairs of the Batu Caves in Malaysia. These gods that the people worship, they are stone. The attributes the people have given to the stone are ones of control and in most cases control by fear. But God, He lets us choose.

He is, I'm sure, disappointed when we don't choose Him. He loves us. A concept I'm still trying to get. Because of this love, He lets us go. He made us, in His own image. He wants to call us sons and daughters. There are those of the world that just don't choose him. (Matthew 15:19)When we do choose Him, the Bible tells us that he rejoices over us. (Matthew 18:13, the parable of the shepherd and the lost sheep. The shepherd is, of course, Jesus and we are the sheep.)

The second thing that occurred to me was that God uses us as we are. I don't really like the word use, as it denotes control, but if we are willing, He will work through us to accomplish His will. In the Bible study, we are going beginning to end to see how the Grace of God was evident in the Bible. Yes, even in the Old Testament, the Grace is there. He dealt with the people of the Old Testament differently as they were still under the old covenant.

We just finished 1 and 2 Samuel, with Samuel, Saul and David being the forefront characters. God eventually had to deal with them very harshly, but He did use them. I'll take David, for example. He is the man after God's own heart. Why? I've heard it's because he was quick to repent. He screwed up a lot. He was horrible father, a womanizer. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then killed her husband to cover the pregnancy that resulted from that one night. In our eyes, big sins.

There are no big or small sins in God's eyes. Sin is sin, period. However, in the end, God used David and Bathsheba to bring about the genealogy of Jesus that was for told by the prophets. Not only on one side of the 'family tree' but both sides! Amazing!

Romans 12:1 "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?"

How do we do this? Romans 12:2 goes on to say, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."

I'm not in any way, shape or form perfect, nor have I got any of this down. There is no formula. None. I'm not going to pretend that any of this is easy. We war with our flesh. Paul talks about the war with his flesh in Romans 7. Did he have any of this down? Better than me, that's for sure, but he still wasn't perfect.

The good news is that God doesn't expect us to be perfect! He just wants us to choose Him. He'll help you do the rest.

Offerings and Sacrifices

Those are two words that the world in general has heard of. Anyone that is devoted to any form of religion knows those words well. For me, as a Christian as well as a missionary, it means something different than the rest of the world, in a couple different ways.

What are offerings? The dictionary describes offerings as something that is offered, or the act of offering; something offered as a sacrifice to a deity; a financial contribution to a church, often made during a church service. Sounds pretty good, right? Think about that for a minute, and I’ll come back to this.

What are sacrifices? The dictionary describes sacrifices as a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance; something valuable or important given up as a sacrifice; a loss incurred by giving away or selling something below its value; RELIGION an offering to honor or appease a god, especially of a ritually slaughtered animal or person. Except for the last one, that sounds ok, too; hard maybe, but ok. When the Israelites made their burnt offering, the animal was completely consumed on the altar, turned to ashes. They offered up a bull, sheep, goat or bird, without blemish. The blood of the animal would cover the sins of the people or person for a time. The important word is cover, not cause the sin to disappear. The only way for us to be completely washed of our sins is the blood of Jesus. His sacrifice was the ultimate, but also made a way for us to become intimate with Him and His father.

Today in church, a word came through someone that offerings are more than the ‘good’. They can be what we consider the ‘bad’ as well. Now, go back to the definition of offerings. It’s us offering something. Going back to sacrifices, it’s something we value. Putting them together, we give up or offer something of value.

What do you consider of value? Home, job, family; all of these things are of value. But what about the hurts, the disappointments, the anger, and the shame we all carry on a daily basis? Do we consider those something of value?

There are several definitions for value, but the one that makes the most sense in this case is the worth, importance, or usefulness of something to somebody; to regard somebody or something as important or useful.

Taking a look at my own life, and I’ll be honest, my biggest disappointment is the fact that I’m not married and honestly see no time in which that will come to pass. I’ve all but given up on that particular dream. It has been my biggest dream since I was little. I’ve even had several prophecies about it. I’m now in my early thirties and feel like time is slipping away for me to have a family. To make it harder, my younger brother has been married for almost nine years and has two beautiful little girls, six and two. I feel like he is living my dream.

Is this something I consider of value? My dream, however diminished it seems, is very valuable to me. The tough question I was faced with today is if the disappointment and the anger and hopelessness are all of value to me. The answer? It shouldn’t be. Until today, I never evaluated it, but since I’m still holding on to it, it does seem that it is valuable, in its sick and twisted way. That’s the way Satan gets us.

I consider all the disappointment, etc. bad. However, God still wants it. Why? Because it’s not His best for me. He wants me to sacrifice it, offer it to Him, so he can give me something of MORE value. Something that is ‘good’. Jeremiah 29:11 says “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Now, the question is, what am I going to do about it? It’s not something that is done easily, nor with a wrong heart. The point of sacrifice or an offering is not the act, but the attitude. It’s something that I will have to work on. But God is patient, and His grace is never ending.

What will you do about it? Will you hide, as I have done for so long, or will you go to Him and offer your sacrifice to Him? Looking at the sacrifice Jesus offered up to His Father for us, is it really that hard?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blown Away

I went to my cousin's graduation on Friday night. He is now a certified medical assistant. Not only did he graduate, he rocked the whole thing and blew me away in the process.

He has had a hard life, with many different struggles. His father was never there for him. He has had a lot of heath issues. In times past, he would get a vision for something, but then it would fall through after a while.

He spent some time in a hospital in the psychiatric ward. After that time, when he was able to minister to the people there with him, he got a vision to become a medical assistant and work somewhere like that so he could continue the ministry.

Friday night, they handed out several awards, and my cousin got every single one of them. The honorary award went to six (6) people that were in the graduating class. Apparently, less than 20% of students get this award. The average grade point average for those other five (5) people was about 97 to 98 percent. My cousin had a grade point average of 101.5%. Don't ask how you get that, but there was extra points for attendance.

After all he had to go through, he pushed through and persevered. He graduated at the top of his class, no one else even coming close to him. I believe he's finally found what God wants him to do. For now anyway.

Congrats, cousin! I'm very proud of you!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

You did WHAT???

This is really for my brothers benefit. I told him I was going to say something about what he did today.

So, work was OK, kind of crappy, but I survived. My day was just ending when my brother, who works for the same company, came to my desk and set a little "Tupperware" container on my desk. You see, my sister in law makes stuff for my brother's coworkers on Wednesday's as they have meetings on that day. So sometimes, I get a special treat too.

Today, I got a cupcake. But you see, he left it in his car. It was a VERY nice day out today with the temperature almost in the 80's. It apparently fell on the floor, right side up, thankfully, and he forgot about it. So at the end of the day, he brought it to me with the icing pooled on the bottom of the container. So I have a small round cake, sitting in icing, in my fridge right now.

It's the thought that counts, right? Thanks for the cupcake. = ) Love you, guys!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I posted something yesterday, but after "reflecting" on it, I deleted it. I wrote about the war within, whether that be with family, God, or ourselves. That's where I've been for the last several months.

Looking back, I would love to disappear. Never again show my face to the people that I've humiliated myself in front of again and again. I lost my best friend because I'm an idiot, and I'm sure part of her hates me. I've alienated everyone. Just when I thought that it was getting back to normal, I humiliated myself again and now am being either ignored and hated, or yelled at or everyone is pissed at me. I'll be lucky if I still get to have a relationship with the two most important people in my life.

I'm typically a negative person. There's a joke in my family that it's because of my blood type. I'm A negative. Silly, I know, but when mom and brother have A positive and dad has A negative, and he's normally negative too. It makes it kind of funny, in a sick way.

Okay, so on a lighter note, I FINALLY got my slide show to post. It only took me over an hour. Trying to figure out some software systems will probably kill me someday, but it didn't today.
So that means I'll still be around to post some more pictures. Look for some more coming soon!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I have NO idea what I'm doing...

And it's true. I have not a clue. I don't really have anything exciting to share. I'm not one of those extreemly talented people who have a ton to write about or to share with others. My sister in law has a blog for her soon to be published books and she suggested that I start one for my pictures.

I love photography. I hadn't really gotten into it until just a few years ago. I've been told that I'm REALLY good at it. True, there have been some pictures that have completely surprised me. I'll look back at them later and think, "I really took that?" Most look like something anyone else could take.

One thing I can do it practice. I would love to take classes, but will need to save up money for that. I'll have to save up money for the camera that I want too. I don't know a lot about cameras, but I look at adds in the Sunday newspaper and drool. There have been times that my mother has been tempeted to put a rag, or even a bowl, under me so I don't drool on the table.

For now, we'll see how this goes, and if it's just silly, then we'll try something else.