Sep 29, 2006

Say a little prayer....

Sunday, October 1st, my best friend and I (my best friend being Ariana) will be running our first marathon! 26.2 long, tiring miles!! BUT...we are so excited and so nervous at the same time!!

If you have a moment, could you keep us in your prayers? I pray all of my brothers and sisters have a beautiful weekend, filled with God, with joy, and with glorifying our Father.

May the love of Christ rule in your hearts.

Sep 28, 2006

Be thou my vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Sep 27, 2006

New layout

As you can see, I've made a couple of changes!! I hope you like the new layout!

Unfortunately, I've been a bit down lately, so I haven't much to say....but "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 3:14

Please pray for my obedience.

Sep 22, 2006


(Thomas Brooks, "Heaven on Earth" 1667)

Saving faith is soul-softening, it is
soul-mollifying. Peter believes soundly--and weeps bitterly. Mary Magdalene believes much--and weeps much. Faith sets . . . a wounded Christ, a bruised Christ, a despised Christ, a pierced Christ, a bleeding Christ --before the soul, and this makes the soul sit down and weep bitterly: "They will look on Me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him (all gospel-mourning flows from believing), as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for Him as for a firstborn son who has died." Zechariah 12:10. Oh! the sight of those wounds which their sins have made--will wound their hearts through and through! It will make them lament over Christ with a bitter lamentation. Ah! nothing will kindly, sweetly, and effectually break the hardened heart of a sinner, but faith's beholding the blood of Christ trickling down His sides! That Christ should love man when he was most unlovely; that man's extreme misery should but inflame Christ's affections of love and mercy--this melts the believing soul. That Christ should leave the eternal bosom of His Father; that He who was equal with God--should come in the form of a servant; that He who was clothed with glory--should be wrapped in rags; that He whom the heaven of heavens could not contain--should be cradled in a manger; that from His cradle to His cross--His whole life should be a life of sorrows and sufferings; that the Judge of all flesh should be condemned; that the Lord of life should be put to death; that He who was His Father's joy--should in anguish of spirit cry out, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' that that head which was crowned with honor--should be crowned with thorns; that those eyes which were as a flame of fire, which were clearer than the sun--should be closed up by the darkness of death; that those ears which were used to hear nothing but hallelujahs--should hear nothing but blasphemies; that that face which was white and ruddy--should be spit upon by the beastly Jews; that that tongue which spoke as never any man spoke, yes, as never any angel spoke--should be accused of blasphemy; that those hands which swayed both a golden scepter and an iron rod, and those feet which were as fine brass--should be nailed to the cross--and all this for man's transgression, for man's rebellion! Oh! the sight of these things, the believing of these things, makes a gracious soul to break and bleed, to sigh and groan, to mourn and lament! True faith is a heart-breaking, a heart-melting faith.

Sep 20, 2006

Lord, help me believe

(Thomas Brooks, "Heaven on Earth" 1667)

"That no flesh should glory in His presence." 1 Corinthians 1:29

God does not look for any goodness or merit in the creature to draw
His love--but He will justify, pardon, and save for His name's sake. All
the motives which move God to show mercy are in His own bosom.

Salvation is only from free grace, and not from anything good in us,
or done by us.

God is free to bestow His promises upon whomever He pleases.
He often steps over the rich, and chooses the poor;
He often steps over the learned, and chooses the ignorant;
He often steps over the strong, and chooses the weak;
He often steps over the sweet nature, and chooses the wicked nature;
He often steps over the noble, and chooses the vile; etc.,
that no flesh may glory, and that all may shout out "Grace, grace!"

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

Sep 19, 2006

Valley of Vision

This prayer book, Valley of Vision, is amazing. It's a Puritan prayer book, full of beautiful prayers about the Trinity, God's grace & mercy, Jesus' sacrifice, and so much more. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new devotional. Here's just one of the prayers I love:

Morning Dedication
Almighty God,
As I cross the threshold of this day
I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to thy care;
Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me.
Incline my heart to thy ways;
Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay;
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound thy praise;
Let those around see me living by the Spirit,
trampling the world underfoot,
unconformed to lying vanities,
clad in the entire armour of God,
shining as a never-dimmed light,
showing holiness in all my doings.
Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands.
May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot or stain.
In needful transactions let my affection be in heaven,
and my love soar upwards in flames of fire,
my gaze fixed on unseen things,
my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility,
mockery of earth and its vanities.
May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,
waiting from the coming of my Lord,
listening for the last trumpet call,
hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to thy wisdom,
Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable.
May I speak each word as if my last word,
and walk each step as my final one.
If my life should end today, let this be my best day.

Sep 14, 2006

Mr. Spurgeon speaks:

"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I could learn Your statutes." (Psalm 119:67, 71)
In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on God alone. When no human deliverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God--and God alone!
When a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn--he flies into his Father's arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then, than at any other time.
Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives you to your Father! (Charles Spurgeon)

Sep 13, 2006

Romans 9:16: So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

This past weekend marked the biggest feat of my life: I RAN 21 MILES.

Despite the fact that I walked around like a drunk for the rest of the day (mind you, I was not actually drunk), I felt marvelous. What an accomplishment! What a feat! I was so proud of myself!! I called and told everyone I knew what I had done!

Then it happened. No matter how huge of an accomplishment it was, I forgot that it was God who brought me through it. I found myself getting very cocky and very...well...arrogant. *sigh*

Time and time again, over and over and over again, I fail to recognize that all that I am and all that I have and all that I have done is completely a gift from God. It astounds me how easily I forget that! How can I call myself a Christian? I mean, when I am brutally honest with myself, I see me: Samantha: the worldly, arrogant jerk who enjoys flaunting herself more than glorifying God.

Ouch. That really hurts to say it outloud. Am I alone in this? How much refining will it take? What will I have to loose in order to be genuinely thankful? Because all that I am and all that I do seems to be all that Jesus commands me not to do! It's so frustrating! I feel ashamed even coming to God when I realize these things. The filth is so heavy on my heart, that I cannot comprehend Him forgiving me.

Our Pastor gave one of the best sermons this Sunday. He spoke about how he was in New York with his wife and about how much fun they had. They went dancing, got free lodging, went out for dinner...but they spent little time with God. He said he found himself not wanting to even think about God. And when he got home, he felt so ashamed of himself that he thought himself unworthy to even pray.

But....are we ever actually worthy enough to come to God? The times when our routine is distracted and we don't get to have that "personal worship time" or "1-hour-a-night" bible time, does that make us "unworthy" or is it that we are always "unworthy"? hmmm?

His message hit home. I am never worthy enough to come to God. The only reason I even came to God was because He called me to Himself first! The only reason I love is because He loved me first! The only reason I can approach Him is because of His Son's sacrifice. So the days when I do my "Christian" things make me no more worthy than the days I forget or seem to sin more.

I am not trying to say "stop trying" or anything like that, we are alive only through Him and it is because HE is worthy and because HE is perfect that we are made right. And even still, the merit due to us is ZERO. ZIPPO. ZILCH!

Oh how dark our hearts are, yet how marvelous His grace is to save us.

Sep 11, 2006

My Testimony of His Grace

I am going to get re-baptised this Sunday and I have to read my testimony the church. I thought this a great chance to share God's grace for a sinner as wretched as me! All glory to the One who has cleansed us by the shedding of His blood!

I was baptized as an infant and raised in a Catholic family. I received all the necessary Catholic sacraments, went to church almost every Sunday, but I never really thought much about God. I believed in Him, but I had no desire to know Him.

When I was 16, my friend was killed in a car accident. I was furious at God, I knew He could have prevented it, so why He didn't baffled me. I thought God was the God of love, and this certainly was not loving to me. Instead of running to Him for comfort, I ran away from Him and stopped attending church all together.

When I was 18, I met Michael, who is now my husband. He told me that he loved God and loved going to church! Almost everything we talked about had something to do with God! So when I told him I was Catholic, I figured he'd be pleased that I was a Christian. But he wasn't, to my surprise! And he told me the only way we could stay together would be if the bible was my only authority for Truth. He also said we couldn't get married if I remained Catholic.

This, of course, was a huge blow to my pride. I thought I was right and I desperately tried to prove him wrong. I picked up my bible and actually started reading it for the first time. And instead of convincing Michael that I was right, I was convinced that I was wrong. The bible started making sense suddenly. While I use to think I was a pretty good person, I read in Isaiah that, "all my righteous deeds were like filthy garments" in the sight of God! Suddenly my sins seemed very serious and it finally hit me how wretched and dirty I really was.

I am not completely sure when I was saved. I do know, however, that by no work of my own, I have been saved by His grace. My desires have changed from enjoying my sin, to hating my sin! From being angry when things didn't go my way, to actually praying for brokenness and humility. Suddenly I love reading God's Word and love being in fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. And now, I understand what Paul meant when he said in Romans 8:28 that, "all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose" I now know that suffering can be a blessing. It's through the most trying of times that my face is fixed on the cross.

Sep 8, 2006

Thy will be done

I was listening to John MacArthur and he was speaking about God's will. He said that God's will is not always done on earth, but that it is only done completely in Heaven....which is why we pray that "His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."

The Plan of Prayer

I'm confused. Can someone explain this please? I always thought God's will was always done?

Sep 7, 2006

J.C. Ryle once said.....

Do you belong to that class of persons who really profess Christian faith and Christian obedience, and are you trying, however weakly, to follow Christ in the midst of an evil world? I think I know something of what goes on in your heart. You sometimes feel that you will never persevere to the end, and will some day give up your profession of faith. You are sometimes tempted to write bitter things against yourself, and to believe that you have no grace at all. I am afraid there are myriads of true Christians in this condition, who go trembling and doubting toward heaven. However, in spite of all their groans and doubts and fears, they do not turn back, but press on, though faint.
Now, my advice to all such persons is very simple. Pray every morning and evening of your life, “Lord, increase my faith.” Cultivate the habit of fixing your eyes more simply on Jesus Christ, and try to know more of the fulness there is laid up in Him for every one of His believing people. Do not be always pouring over the imperfections of your own heart, and dissecting your own sins. Look up! Look more to your risen Head in heaven, and try to realize more and more that the Lord Jesus not only died for you, but that He also rose again, and that He is ever living at God’s right hand as your Priest, your advocate, and your Almighty Friend. (J.C. Ryle)

Sep 6, 2006

Psalm 29

Psalm 29: A Psalm of David

The Voice of the LORD in the Storm

Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in holy array.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The LORD is over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful,
The voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes
Lebanon skip like a calf,
And Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everything says, "Glory!"
The LORD sat as King at the flood;
Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.
The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Sep 5, 2006

The idols of my heart

I long to be a mother. I want to have kids so badly. It's been an obsession of mine for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for that day to come, and while I am waiting, God is cutting off the dead branches from my heart.

I guess you could say I have caused myself to become a slave to this yearning. I never really thought about it like that before, but while I was trying to find a verse to help me quit smoking, God reminded me of Romans 6:16:

"Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness"
My obsession with getting pregnant had become my master. It's what I think about, what I long for, what I hope for, and what I wait for. Isn't the desire as a Christian the deisire to know Christ and obey Him? Not my earthly wants?

This is just crazy to me!! I like to think my master is only God, but so often, I obey the lusts of my heart. Idolatry does not only mean worshipping a "golden calf" but it also means obeying "your desires" over God's commands; it means loving yourself & anything else more than you love God. Jesus told us,


Praise God that He reveals these sins in our lives, so that we can repent and refocus our eyes back to the cross! Every single day and every single moment must be done with our eyes upon the cross. It's so easy to follow the desires of our hearts, the ones that turn our eyes from the Lord. Praise God that He is faithful and as He grows in us, He turns our hearts more and more toward Him and away from ourselves.

Obviously, "All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose" -Romans 8:28. Apparently, for my own good, I am not pregnant. How easy it is for me to forget that God is perfect and His will is working out for my good! Even if that means I never have kids, it is His perfect will for me! This longing I have in my heart needs to be replaced with a longing for Him!

Sometimes I sit here, completely amazed by God's grace. Even though I do not understand all of His ways, I know they are perfect, I know they are merciful and I know they are working out for my good.

To God be the glory, forever and ever.

Sep 1, 2006

Worlds Apart

This Jars of Clay song is my favorite.

"I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

[Additional lyrics:]

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can't deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart"