Saturday, May 28, 2011

My brother.

My heart is burdened for my little brother. Instead of looking to God to find the love he needs, he's been delving into various sins. My parents have decided to come back to the US this summer after hearing separately from God that they should do so. Please pray for my brother, Jon. He needs professional counseling. His actions could be affecting his health and causing him greater pain than what he's already experiencing. More than anything, Jon needs to reconcile his relationship with Jesus. Also pray for my family, as they need a place to stay and a car for next year. Thank you so much!

I'm trusting God to provide for all of our needs, but at the moment I'm still in shock that my family's really coming in July. 

In Christ,

My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:19 (GOD'S Word Translation)

Monday, May 23, 2011


Do we love sinners like we ought to? Jesus hung out with prostitutes, drunkards, and tax collectors. He loved them with unconditional love. The Pharisees scoffed at him for helping the poor, lonely, sick, and lame, but that didn't stop him. Jesus cared for them and wasn't afraid to be associated with them. He healed people on the Sabbath, much to the dismay of the Pharisees, who accused him of breaking the law in Matthew 12. 

Sadly, the Pharisees missed the point. They believed that the law was to the only way to be made right with God, but that's not true. Romans 5:20 tells us that, "God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant." In the following chapter, Paul commands us not to let sin control us. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires: "Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace." (Romans 6:12-14) 

The law's purpose is to show us how sinful we are, but God has set us free from the power of sin by his Son's death on the cross and resurrection because of his great love. God loved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Ephesians 2:4-5) God loves us, and ought to love others - not just those who have a personal relationship with Christ, but also those burdened by the weight of sin. How often do we refuse to have conversations with drunkards because we're scared that they might lead us into sin or we're scared of what other Christians will think of us? We have the power of Christ in us, which brought Jesus back to life again, so there's nothing to be afraid of. Fear of other people and what they think of us is a lie of the enemy, Satan. Moreover, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we have been called to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23) 

As disciples of Christ, shouldn't we love sinners and spend time with them like he did? Maybe you'd rather just hand out tracts to people and continue walking. I'm not saying that handing out tracts is wrong, but there's a better way. God created us to be relational beings, and his desire is that we would develop relationships with others so that we can lead sinners to Christ and encourage, strengthen, and teach other believers.  If we're going to love like Christ does, we might have to go out of our way. Ridicule might be thrown at us, even by our Christian brothers and sisters, and we might get a bad reputation. 

It's worth the cost, though, because we should see many more people come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior as they notice the difference that the Holy Spirit is making in our lives and seek to know the only One who can give them the love, grace, and peace that they need. And even if we don't see the fruits of our labor, at least we have planted seeds that others will water so that people might come to receive Christ's free gift of salvation.

Let's love as Christ did, and build relationships with sinners, drunkards and prostitutes.

In Christ,

"We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord." -Romans 15:2

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Who Shall Separate Us?

I love this video - it's so comforting. Nothing can separate us from the love of God! We can cling to that promise even on the worst days when life seems hopeless because God is faithful and he won't ever leave us.

“To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile." -2 Samuel 22:26-27

In Christ,

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Summer's begun and it comes with its own challenges. Looking for a summer job is one of them. I applied to two Christian summer camps in Ohio and was hoping to be hired by one of them, but that didn't happen. I found out that I had been turned down by one of the camps in April but I just found out about the other camp today because the letter I was supposed to get in the mail never arrived, so I finally called on Monday, waited expectantly, and called again today to find out that my references had not all been turned in on time, so I wasn't given the job. Now I need to look for work elsewhere. I'm stressed out and depressed, so please pray for me! Thank you! Tonight I also learned of my grades for the past semester, and I was rather depressed. Two of my grades surprised me. My Speech grade was much worse than I thought it would be, but my Illustration grade was much better than I thought it would be. I guess those all-nighters paid off! I'm going to be making changes in my life, including getting more sleep and giving up the internet for a while so that I can focus on classes. These changes can only happen with God's strength and power. I would appreciate prayer as I seek to do God's will in my life.

Even in the midst of my disappointment and failure, I've been learning more about God and following him. This week I've been reading Stormie Omartian's autobiography, and I'm astounded how God turned her life around, but then, that's what he always does if we let him, isn't it? I'm guilty of doubting God's omnipotence. Yes, I believe without a doubt that God is powerful, but I was having trouble believing that he is all-powerful. However, after reading Stormie's account of her life, well most of it anyways, (and I can't wait to read the rest!), I've been convicted of my doubt and now I have a better understanding of how much power God has. My view of God is tiny and skewed and I'm amazed how much I learn about him each and every day. If God can take someone with a physically and emotionally abusive past and give them forgiveness for their abusive mom, then God can do ANYTHING. 

The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God.
He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.
-Psalm 89:7 {NLT}

"I am a Redeemer. I redeem all things. I make all things new. Whatever you've lost I will restore. It doesn't matter what you've done. It doesn't matter what's happened to you. I can take all the hurt, the pain, and the scars. Not only can I heal them, but I can make them count for something."
-God to Stormie Omartian

I love Stormie's word on forgiveness: "Forgiveness doesn't make the other person right, it makes you free." We're enslaved by our sins and the sins of others until we ask Christ for his forgiveness and we forgive those who have wronged us. It's a process that can take a long time, but God can restore our broken, scarred lives wholly.

In Christ,