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Archive for June, 2010

Every day, I read a chapter in the book of Proverbs. There are 31 chapters, so it works just right to read one every day. I’ve read through the book, each chapter, every verse many times. But there has been a verse that I cannot get our of my head this week.

Proverbs 15:29
“The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayers of the righteous.”

Today, this verse hits me differently. And please take this with a grain of salt for, if you know me and read my blog, you know I love to talk about the love of God. So please bare with what I’m about to say.

I’ve just gone through a season of my life where I’ve really questioned whether God hears my prayers. Let me be completely honest, I’ve done a whole lot of talking (probably not much, if any listening) And I’ve been consciously aware and confused by His recent, apparent silence. My first thought when I read this proverb was, “Well, maybe I’m just wicked and that’s why.”

It was then that a gentle voice in my heart said, “You are.” (And this is where you need to hear me out)

Those words unleashed a flood of understanding into my heart like the breaking of a dam. I am wicked. I really am. I may seem like a pretty nice person, but naturally the motives are my heart are self-preservation, self-promotion…self-worship. Nearly everything I do in my life stems from making myself something. And if that isn’t bad enough, I try to hide it behind things that look good. Isn’t this what true wickedness is? Deep down inside, I am so aware of my own self-righteousness, my lack of goodness, and my selfish spirit. I know it doesn’t please God, and I’m ashamed. Ashamed because I’ve given my life to God, and I know that my sin and shame separates our closeness.

After I’ve lived for myself and hidden my sin behind good works, I do possibly the worst thing I could do, I try to appease God. I try giving God things that I pretend to believe will make Him happy and less displeased with me: maybe some time, some church attendance, how about I just completely spend myself serving in ministry, I lead more Bible studies, come up with a new outreach, be a better wife, read more of the Bible….etc.

I don’t do this not from a heart of love and devotion. It’s only an attempt to get my own desires and control my own life, and I think if I appease God with my own acts of righteousness, I’ll get what I want. It’s my attempt to use God’s love for my own selfishness. I’m being my own savior. And in my selfish ambition and rejection of God, I somehow believe that God owes me something when life goes sour. I blame Him. How could I be so blind!? I reject His love, and all He has done for me. I’ve nailed Him to the cross. And then I’ve told Him, ”I’ve got this. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you.”

Oh but the love of Christ. His love is so powerful. It’s stretches beyond even the constraints of our own wickedness and my failure to figure life out on my own. There are no conditions to His love.

The answer:
“..God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:5-8

He willingly sent His Beloved Son. He knew that there was no other way to have a relationship with us, our sin is too great, and our hearts too wicked. Yet…He longs too pour out on our hearts a love we don’t deserve, a perfect love. The act of death that Jesus died didn’t magically erase the punishment for your sin, it placed that awful payment of the shoulders of Jesus. Jesus, who loved the Father so much that He would do anything for Him. The Father who loved you so much that He would do anything for you. And when all the sin, all the guilt, all the shame, and all the pain was on Jesus; He was rejected and separated from His Holy Father.

He did it all, not so we could be better people and go out and do good works, but so that we could be NEW people. His love for you is unconditional, forgiving, and faithful!! He delights in you for who you are, not what you can give Him. Friends, we must examine our hearts! Are you obsessed with your own selfish desires, and masking it behind your own failing righteousness? God sees through it. Jesus died to make a way for you to give God everything. He is a God of love. He longs for your heart. Today, love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Put your faith in what HE has done, and He covers you with His righteousness. And when you pray, you will not come before Him in your righteousness, but His righteousness that has been lavished upon you by His great love. When you ask for something, you are no longer asking as a wicked person, but as His precious and beloved child. And when you receive His love, you can know that forever you are a new person. You can know that forever you are His.

“…He hears the prayers of the righteous.”

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More Reading:
Romans 3:21-27
Psalm 32:1-2
Romans 5:18-6:11
Psalm 34:12-16
John 3:16-21
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Phil. 3:7-11
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
KR:)

ALSO: Don’t forget to check out the Cause Page!! Updated today!

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Yesterday I found myself knocking on watermelons and squeezing fruit at the grocery story. I have a gift for picking fruit that’s ripe. Hot summer mornings always remind me of the summer job I had the summer before my junior year of high school. That’s when I learned how to distinguish fruit that’s ready to be eaten and fruit that needs to wait a bit. I woke up one more this week thinking back to that summer 10 years ago.

That spring my family had decided raise money for all of us to go to India on a mission trip with YWAM. The trip was going to cost us well over $10,000. And I remember checking the mail each afternoon to see if it had brought us any more support checks from family and friends.

picture taken on the mission trip to india 10 years ago

In order to help with the cost, my mom, my sister (who was 14), and myself decided to pick up a summer job picking peaches for a local fruit farm. I had had pretty major knee surgery that spring, so I remember having to wait to start until I was able to move around without crutches to work. The farm owner paid us cash, a whopping $4.50 per hour, and when Ike (who was 11) came along he would pay him too.

I’ll never forget that summer. The four of us would wake up before the sun came up and make our lunches. Every day we had to wear jeans and long shirts. Jeans, because snakes liked to hide under peach trees to get away from the sun. (peach trees are low to the ground) Long shirts, because the fuzz off ripe peaches burns your bare skin about like fiberglass. We would ride together to the farm, and wait in the car until the sun came up.

rolling hills of my parent's back yard

I have so many fond memories of that summer. I remember the old Vietnam vet that worked with us. He took medicine for schizophrenia with his lunch and really enjoyed the time with my family. I remember friends honking as they drove past the farm on their way to Bremen pool, because they knew I was somewhere on one of the rolling green hills. I remember Ike would stay close to me so he could get the peaches off the bottom of the tree because I couldn’t bend my leg. remember all the good talks with my mom and sister. I remember going home covered and sticky from bombing the rotten peaches at each other.

Those are great memories that I will never forget.

What are some of your favorite summer memories??

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“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none;their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.” Isaiah 41:18-19

Last night's west Texas sunset

Every heart has an empty hole. It’s a place meant to overflow with living, bubbling water. It’s meant to overflow with life.

With a dry and squelched scream, our hearts beg to be filled. We longs for life. We long for something real. And no matter how much stuff we pour into our hearts, if wrung dry not even a drop of life would be found. Some people bury their hearts. Some fill it with whatever they can find. No matter what you do, I can guarantee that you more aware of that place in your heart then every physical need you have ever known.

If you know me at all, you know I have a secret. I am full of life, of living water. My sins are forgiven. My hurts have been bore by my Savior. Every failed attempt at happiness and fulfillment has been forgotten. And every dry and empty place in my heart now overflows with purpose. I’ve been loved to the point of overflow, and I’ll never be the same again. Jesus is my life.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water’.” John 4:13-15

I’m a part of a grassroots movement.

Wikipedia : A grassroots movement is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures. Grassroots movements are often at the local level, as many volunteers in the community give their time to support the local party, which can lead to helping the national party

I’m an advocate for a cause that started a long time ago. This cause isn’t going to spread through billboards and megaphones, it’s going to spread by the way that I live. You see the gospel isn’t what I talk about on Sundays, it’s my reason. I want the world to know the secret. And I want you to know, you’re not alone.

In the early days of Christianity, people were persecuted for their faith. They still are today. (Read about Christian persecution today) In early Rome, when a Christian would meet a person in society, they would draw a semicircle in the dirt. If the other person was a Christian, they would do the same back. It would make an “ichthys.” (Read more)

I can’t imagine how much they needed each other then.

But I know how much we need each other now.

Women of this grassroots movement, women who carry the life of Christ in your hearts, women who have hope and joy and peace and love; we must love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. Jesus has showed us the way to live. He has given us the great cause of His gospel, the answer to a broken and hurt world. Let us not let one moment go by with another person, and not demonstrate that hope to them.

And let us stir each other’s hearts. So often the bubbling life inside of us can become nothing but still pools. Ladies, may we never meet together with only vanity or on the surface. May we always stir each other’s hearts by sharing our deep affections for our Redeemer, Jesus. May we love, encourage, and speak truth to each other. Let us never forget the grassroots movement. Because no matter what kind of persecution or hardship you are facing, you have life and you are not alone.

KR:)

Romans 12:9-16
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited.

How are you a part of the grassroots movement?
How are you stirring your sisters?

Let live as those who have died for their faith before us. Let us live as those around the world being persecuted live each day.

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Well, I’ve been all over the US of A over the past month.

College Station

(David had 3 cousins graduating from Texas A&M. Congrats to them!)

Dallas

(For a night to see our sweet friends Chris and Morgan Myers. They are living and working in Dallas while Chris finishes seminary.)

Denver

(for some time together)

Houston

(just to fill up the plane on the way to the Buckeyes state)

And good ol’ OH-IO (Go Bucks)


It’s been a fantastic journey.

The time with my husband was so needed and precious. And the time with family and friends was priceless. It’s so good to get away, and spend time with the people that matter the most in my life. It is also so good to come back home and get back to work. There is something very sweet and stable about doing what you feel called to do. And by that, I mean the thing, the task, that you feel God has entrusted you to complete. Every time David and I go away, the Lord always clarifies His voice and our calling. I’m always amazed at the God of love we serve, that He would draw us away to rest and enjoy Him and His love.

I had an interesting conversation with a stranger on the way home from Ohio last week. I sat down on my connecting flight from Dallas to Amarillo to a nice man in a cowboy hat several years older than my dad. Our small talk was short lived; it wasn’t long before he told me that his wife of over 30 years had left him the day before. I’m constantly reminded that pain is a common language in this world we live. I’m so thankful for the love of Christ displayed by His death on the cross. As I shared the gospel with this sweet stranger, I couldn’t help but thank God for the opportunity to share His amazing love with others. And what he said back to me has had me thinking all week. He said, “You know I’ve had a lot of opportunities to die in this life, but I’m still here. I’ve always figured that must mean God has something really important for my life.”


(he had been a bull rider)

My answer to him flooded out of my mouth before I even had a chance to think. I said, “He does have an important plan for your life, and I know what it is. It’s to have a relationship with Him. It’s the most important thing in the world to Him, because He loves you so much.”

I wish I could put those words in a bottle and hold them close to my heart. I wish I could open that bottle every day and hear those words again, because I needed to hear them as much as that sweet stranger. Thank you Jesus for your love. It was a perfect end to my time off. We must remember the gospel. We must never leave the foot of the cross. We must live our lives being faithful to our call.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

My life is Jesus. My language is this gospel.

This is our (David and I’s) call…
1. Our marriage. Marriage is a language describing something bigger. Radically and selfless loving another person to the point of death, pursuing their hearts, forgiving their flaws, and having an intimate relationship with another is what the gospel is all about. Marriage displays those qualities of Jesus to the world, and we want God to use us through our marriage.

2. North. We feel called to pursue Jesus in a community of people. Pulling others in. Striving for more of God. Loving each other. And loving people in Canyon, Amarillo, and around the world. North is the vehicle in which God has called us to do this.

North is a community of young adults in Amarillo, Texas, a ministry of Trinity Fellowship Church. North is our passion. North is our calling. North is what David and I are giving our lives to. We don’t do North for the recognition. We don’t do North to have influence or status. We don’t do North to get a paycheck. (I don’t especially, because I don’t get one) David and I give our lives to North because of the Gospel. We believe that in this fallen world, Jesus is the only way, the only hope, the only truth, the only love. Jesus is life. He isn’t a part of our lives. He isn’t a day of our week. He isn’t just an answer or a lucky rabbit’s foot when life is tough. We believe that everything in this life is like chasing the wind. We believe that He is everything.

How has God called you to display the Gospel to this world? I can guarantee you, He hasn’t called you to do it alone. It’s going to be radical. It’s going to be about love. It’s going to be about community. Be a part of North with us. If you live in the area, we are about to begin the most exciting series and months of North’s existence. We are about to begin a series on the Holy Spirit. North can be a place where you experience Jesus and where you have the opportunity to live the Gospel. It’s a perfect opportunity to give your life to the gospel, to answer your call.

If you don’t live in the area, be a part of A White Stone Blog, this blog is a community within North. Subscribe to North podcasts. And ask God where you are called and how he wants you to live the Gospel.

Understanding your call is all about asking the right questions, how is God calling me to live the gospel and who is God calling me to live out the gospel with?

Listen to a podcast on this!! Click here

Wherever you are and whatever you do, Jesus is life and He has called you to display this the gospel to this world. Be strong and be faithful even when it’s hard. It’s so worth it.

Psalm 37:3-7 (English Standard Version)

Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Also read Colossians 3

KR:)

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