Dec 18, 2007

Psalm 34:17-18

"The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

My friend quoted this verse to me when I found out our insurance company does not cover InVitro Fertilization.

I guess it wasn't in the LORD's plans. At least, not now. I am feeling much more at peace about it thankfully, but I definitely went through a mourning period. Not a godly mourning, more of a selfish kind. But I am thankful today because Christ has softened my heart towards His will. And knowing that my life is under His great sovereignty and control is wonderful. How can I ask for more?


Dec 12, 2007

Applying the Gospel

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 3.5 years. It has been difficult, especially when I see moms with their kids, or families at church, women that are pregnant....it has definitely caused a great deal of sin in my heart.

If only I could be totally satisfied with Christ. I know I can be, and should be, but at times I feel so jipped. So many women today are getting abortions, or are terrible mothers, and here I am, a woman who has this godly desire to be pregnant, but God has not opened my womb! It makes me want to scream and throw myself on the floor.

I've tried bargaining with God too. "LORD, if you allow me to get pregnant, I promise I will train our child in godliness!"

"I'll be submissive! I'll read my bible everyday!"

"I'll be a better woman!"

How quickly I have forgotten the Gospel!!

In every situation, I've been exhorted to ask, "How can I apply the Gospel to this situation?"

Well, first and foremost, I deserve nothing but hell. For that reason alone, I should be rejoicing every single moment of every single day that God loved me with a great love, so great that He sent His Son to die for my sins! And not just some of my sins, but in fact, the very sin of desiring a baby more than Christ.

And for Christians, during these trials, we have so much more hope than the unregenerate man. Our inheritance is not here, where moth and rust destroy, but in heaven. And every time we are awakened to see our sin more clearly, we know that we can repent of it and turn our eyes back on Christ!

Praise God that His Spirit awakens me to see the corruption of my heart.

Nov 30, 2007

You are greatly loved

By John Piper

Would you not love to hear the angel Gabriel say to you, “You are greatly loved”? Three times this happened to Daniel.

  • “At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved” (Dan. 9:23)
  • “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you” (Dan. 10:11)
  • “And he said, ‘O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage” (Dan. 10:19).

Take heart. If you have faith in Jesus, God himself says to you, “You are greatly loved.”

We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:3-5, 8).

This is better than an angel's voice. If you are “alive” you are greatly loved.

Nov 28, 2007

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

I am almost finished reading, "The Life and Diary of David Brainerd" (Edited by Jonathan Edwards). It has given me such a desire after spirituality and true communion with God. The Excellency of Christ is made manifest in his writing, surely inspired by Christ Himself.

David Brainerd was a missionary to the American Indians. Despite a language barrier, David was able, by the grace of God, to preach to the Indians the Gospel, which brought many to true repentance and salvation. From what I read, it was a remarkable awakening, done only by the work of the Holy Spirit. Brainerd himself said, "God seemed to be building up that congregation for Himself."

Brainerd suffered for many years with an ailing sickness that often left him feeling "useless" for the sake of God's glory. However, the everyday struggles he went through, sometimes feeling "dejected, melancholy and weak in body" he still persevered onward, for the sake of advancing the kingdom of God. God blessed him often with a refreshed soul, although his body was sickly.

Some of the many, many quotes that have effected me were:

"Oh! one hour with God infinitely exceeds all the pleasures and delights of this lower world."

"Yet after all my sorrows, I trust, through grace, this day and the exercises of it have been for my good, and taught me more of my corruption and weakness without Christ than I knew before."

"I wanted not the favor of man to lean upon; for I knew Christ's favor was infinitely better, and that it was no matter when, nor where, nor how Christ should send me, nor what trials He should still exercise with me, if I might be prepared for His work and will."

"I feel barren and empty, as though I could not live without more of God; I feel ashamed and guilty before Him. Oh! I see that "the law is spiritual, but I am carnal." I do not, I cannot live to God. Oh, for holiness! Oh, for more of God in my soul! Oh, this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God; the language of it is, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness"(Psalm 17:15); but never, never before. Consequently I am engaged to "press towards the mark," day by day. Oh, that I may feel this continual hunger, and not be retarded, but rather animated by every cluster from Canaan to reach forward in the narrow way, for the full enjoyment and possession of the heavenly inheritance! Oh, that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey!"

Nov 26, 2007

Waiting


"Waiting on God isn't about the suspension of meaning and purpose.
It's part of the meaning and purpose that God has brought into my life. Waiting on God isn't to be viewed as an obstruction in the way of the plan. Waiting is an essential part of the plan. For the child of God, waiting isn't simply about what I'll receive at the end of my wait. No, waiting is much more purposeful, efficient, and practical than that. Waiting is fundamentally about what I'll become as I wait. God is using the wait to do in and through me exactly what He's promised. Through the wait He's changing me. By means of the wait He's altering the fabric of my thoughts and desires. Through the wait He's causing me to see and experience new things about Him and His kingdom. And all of this sharpens me, enabling me to be a more useful tool in His redemptive hands."

Paul Tripp (Meditation on Psalm 27)

Nov 20, 2007

Romans 6:1-2

"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?"

The arguments against "Perseverance of the Saints" should all come to a halt after reading this verse. A true believer cannot and will not continue in sin because Christ lives in Him.

In a real sense, every believer has died. We've been buried in baptism with Christ, and raised up to walk in newness of life. We are no longer the same people we once were: dead, enjoying our trespasses, enemies of God, children of evil, a people of darkness....

Now, a new person has emerged! And this new person hates the things that God hates and loves the things that God loves. Our desires are of those that please God! And more importantly, we hate sin. Many opponents of eternal security make it sound as if a true believer would become lazy and start enjoying sin, thinking that "Well, if I am saved, no matter what I do, I'll still go to heaven." But this is a lie. As Paul says, "Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?"

Show me a man that continues in sin and loves it, and you'll have shown me an unregenerate person. Show me a man who sins, but hates his sin and runs to Christ for His strength, and you'll have shown me a true believer!

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

We can have security. And it is lovely to be known by God and to know Him. Once you have become a child of God, adopted into His family by Christ, then you can never, ever be separated from Him. As the days go by, I find myself enjoying God more and more. I am able to run to Him and say, "Abba! Father!" What a gift! What a privilege! What love!

Oct 10, 2007

Suffering and Consolation

This is a very helpful article by one of my favorites, Charles Spurgeon. Emphasis added is mine.

As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so the consolations of Christ abound. Here is a blessed proportion. God always keeps a pair of scales—in this side He puts His people's trials and in that He puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy; for as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, even so shall consolation abound by Christ. This is a matter of pure experience. Oh, it is mysterious that, when the black clouds gather most, the light within us is always the brightest! When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the heavenly captain is always closest to His crew. It is a blessed thing, when we are most cast down, then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of Christ.

Trials make more room for consolation. There is nothing that makes a man have a big heart like a great trial. I always find that little, miserable people, whose hearts are about the size of a grain of mustard-seed, never have had much to try them. I have found that those people who have no sympathy for their fellows—who never weep for the sorrows of others—very seldom have had any woes of their own. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart—He finds it full—He begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have.

I recollect walking with a ploughman, one day, a man who was deeply taught, although he was a ploughman—and really ploughmen would make a great deal better preachers than many college gentlemen—and he said to me, "Depend upon it, if you or I ever get one inch above the ground, we shall get just that inch too high." I believe it is true; for the lower we lie, the nearer to the ground we are—the more our troubles humble us—the more fit we are to receive comfort; and God always gives us comfort when we are most fit for it. That is one reason why consolations increase in the same ratio as our trials.

Then trouble exercises our graces, and the very exercise of our graces tends to make us more comfortable and happy. Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it "the Emerald Isle"; and wherever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts: full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God. O Christian, do not thou be saying, "Where are the swallows gone? They are gone: they are dead." They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by-and-by. Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah! no; though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon. Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah! no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers. And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He has forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope: for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late. (!!!!)

Another reason why we are often most happy in our troubles is this—then we have the closest dealings with God. I speak from heart knowledge and real experience. We never have such close dealings with God, as when we are in tribulation. When the barn is full, man can live without God; when the purse is bursting with gold, we somehow can do without so much prayer. But once take your gourds away, you want your God; once cleanse away the idols out of the house, then you must go and honour Jehovah.

Some of you do not pray half as much as you ought. If you are the children of God, you will have the whip; and when you have that whip, you will run to your Father. It is a fine day, and the child walks before its father; but there is a lion in the road, now he comes and takes his father's hand. He could run half-a-mile before him when all was fine and fair; but once bring the lion, and it is "father! father!" as close as he can be. It is even so with the Christian. Let all be well, and he forgets God. Jeshurun waxes fat, and he begins to kick against God; but take away his hopes, blast his joys, let the infant lie in the coffin, let the crops be blasted, let the herd be cut off from the stall, let the husband's broad shoulder lie in the grave, let the children be fatherless—then it is that God is a God indeed. Oh, strip me naked; take from me all I have; make me poor, a beggar, penniless, helpless; dash that cistern in pieces; crush that hope; quench the stars; put out the sun; shroud the moon in darkness, and place me all alone in space, without a friend, without a helper; still, "Out of the depths will I cry unto thee, O God." There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for that is the way to be happy—to live near God. So that while troubles abound, they drive us to God, and then consolations abound.

Some people call troubles weights. Verily they are so. A ship that has large sails and a fair wind, needs ballast. Troubles are the ballast of a believer. The eyes are the pumps which fetch out the bilge-water of his soul, and keep him from sinking. But if trials be weights, I will tell you of a happy secret. There is such a thing as making a weight lift you. If I have a weight chained to me, it keeps me down; but give me pulleys and certain appliances, and I can make it lift me up. Yes, there is such a thing as making troubles raise me towards heaven. A gentleman once asked a friend, concerning a beautiful horse of his, feeding about in the pasture with a clog on its foot, "Why do you clog such a noble animal?" "Sir," said he, "I would a great deal sooner clog him than lose him: he is given to leap hedges." That is why God clogs His people. He would rather clog them than lose them; for if He did not clog them, they would leap the hedges and be gone. They want a tether to prevent their straying, and their God binds them with afflictions, to keep them near to Him, to preserve them, and have them in His presence. Blessed fact—as our troubles abound, our consolations also abound.

Oct 3, 2007

The LORD is my portion


The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Oct 1, 2007

Private Worship

"I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word." Psalm 119:16

Every single day, I try to spend at least an hour singing spiritual songs, praying and meditating on God's word.

It's amazing to me, that when I miss a day or two, that the easier it is for me to miss three or four. It doesn't take long for my heart to become hardened. I even notice that in the hours following my private worship time, my heart seems to be less influenced by God's Spirit.

That is why it is essential, at least, essential to me, to be in God's Word as much as I possibly can.
After all, the WORD of the LORD is:

"the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16)

"the sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17)


Which helps us to:

"stand against the schemes of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11)

And causes us to be:

"like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither." (Psalm 1:3)

How important is time with the LORD then? How could we even start to think that it is not essential to study His word each day of our lives? Please understand that I am not saying it is a condition of salvation, but instead a vital assurance that we are saved! If you have no desire to be in His Word and meditate on His precepts, then you

(a) need to confess this to the LORD and to other brethren, and also,

(b) ask the LORD to reveal to you if you are indeed saved to begin with.

In God's Word, He showed me the true condition of my heart. In God's Word, His Gospel was revealed to me. In His Word, I find comfort when trials come, I learn about His character, I am assured that He will never leave me nor forsake me. His WORD gives me hope for today and for the future He's prepared for me, and is preparing me for!

Believe me, I have days when the last thing I want to do is read any sort of scriptures. I'd rather watch T.V., or sleep, or read something different....there are always plenty of excuses. But the LORD has helped me to become disciplined in my daily routine. I try to not think of it as something that I'll do "if I have time", but instead, I think of it as a mystery. "I wonder where the LORD is going to lead me in His Word today? What will He reveal to me? What does He want me to remember about His character? About my character?"

Be encouraged friends! Even if you can only devote 10 minutes to reading, then be faithful in making those 10 minutes count. And ask the LORD to increase your desire for Him.

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." Psalm 42:1

Aug 21, 2007

Song of Solomon

Is Song of Solomon written about the bride of Christ, or is it merely a story of Solomon and his lover?

Aug 20, 2007

Bishop urges Christians to call God 'Allah'

Catholic churches in the Netherlands should use the name Allah for God to ease tensions between Muslims and Christians, says a Dutch bishop.

Tiny Muskens, the bishop of Breda, told the Dutch TV program "Network" Monday night he believes God doesn't mind what he is called, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported.

The Almighty is above such "discussion and bickering," he insisted.

Muskens points to Indonesia, where he served 30 years ago, as an example for Dutch churches. Christians in the Middle East also use the term Allah for God.

"Someone like me has prayed to Allah yang maha kuasa (Almighty God) for eight years in Indonesia and other priests for 20 or 30 years," Muskens said. "In the heart of the Eucharist, God is called Allah over there, so why can't we start doing that together?"

Muskens thinks it could take another 100 years, but eventually the name Allah will be used by Dutch churches, promoting rapprochement between the two religions, he said, according to Radio Netherlands.

However, a survey published today in the Netherlands' largest newspaper, De Telegraaf, showed 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled oppose the bishop's view, the Associated Press reported.

Some letters to the paper were filled with ridicule for the bishop.

"Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun," wrote Welmoet Koppenhol.

The chairman of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, Gerrit de Fijter, told the Dutch paper he welcomed any attempt to "create more dialogue," according to the AP. But he said, "Calling God 'Allah' does no justice to Western identity. I see no benefit in it."

A Muslim spokesman, for Amsterdam's union of Moroccan mosques, said Muslims had not asked for such a gesture from Christians, the AP reported.

Tensions with the Netherlands' 1-million-strong Muslim community have been high since the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim avenging a film critical of Islam.

Last week, politician Geert Wilders talked about banning the Quran, shortly after the head of a group of former Muslims, Ehsan Jami, compared Islam's prophet Muhammad with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Muskens made similar remarks several year ago about using the name of Allah, Radio Netherlands reported. He also suggested replacing the national Christian holiday Whit Monday – celebrated the day after Pentecost – with an Islamic religious day.

The bishop also has offended Muslims, saying in 2005 Islam was a religion without a future because it has too many violent aspects.

Aug 13, 2007

The fury of God's storm

The thunderstorm we had early Saturday morning was amazing. It was a torrential downpour: complete with hail, winds as high as 65mph and cloud-to-ground lightning. I really thought I was going to see a tornado touch down at any moment.

I was terrified. All weekend, I kept thinking about this storm though. It was if the LORD was urging me to think on it. Suddenly what came to mind, is that if I was as terrified as I was at this storm, how much more should I be terrified of God's wrath? I wonder sometimes, if He doesn't cause storms and natural disasters to remind us of that? The weather is one thing that man cannot "control" (although God is always in control). Man is completely helpless with what the weather does. We can do our best to prepare, but we cannot stop hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami's, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, thunderstorms, etc. etc.

It's reminders like these that put praise on my lips, knowing that Christ is my hiding place; a safe cloak for the fury of God's storm.

Aug 7, 2007

Glory is certain


Glory is certain
Henry Lyte (1793-1847) / David L. Ward

My rest is in heaven, my rest is not here,
Then why do I worry when trials are near!
Be hushed my dark spirit, the worst that can come
But shortens your journey, and hastens you home.

Chorus:
I have died to this world, and am hidden with Christ
So my mind will be set on this:
Glory is certain, for Christ is in me,
Glory is certain, for Christ is in me.

I dare not be seeking my comfort and bliss,
Or building my hopes in a place such as this;
I look for the city God promised and built,
Where Jesus has banished my sin and its guilt.

Afflictions may press me but cannot destroy,
One glimpse of His love turns them all into joy;
The tears of a lifetime will vanish away
When He stoops to dry them on that coming day.

So let Satan’s army assail me full force;
Their plans cannot help but to steady my course.
Come joys or come sorrows, whate’er may befall
An hour with my Savior will sweeten them all.


There is no greater portrait
Eric Schumacher & David L. Ward

There is no greater portrait
Of love and sacrifice
Than Jesus leaving glory
And laying down His life.
When I look on the sufferings
My Savior chose to bear,
It fills my heart with sorrow
To think I put Him there.

He ran the race before Him
Though it was filled with pain,
And walked the road to glory
In agony and shame.
Then for the joy before Him,
He chose to bear the cross,
Pursued His Father’s pleasure
And counted all else loss.

The Son of Man was lifted
Before creation’s eyes;
Was mocked and scorned by soldiers,
By kings and priests despised.
But now the Son is risen,
Ascended to the skies.
By angels He is worshiped;
By nations glorified.

O Savior, let this sinner
Be ransomed by the flood
Of mercy and forgiveness
Abundant in Your blood.
O Lord, be my salvation,
Your Holy Spirit send
To change my heart and cause me
To love You to the end.

Aug 2, 2007

Bridge collapses over Mississippi River
Pastor John Piper: Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After the Bridge Collapsed

My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who lost loved ones last night. I pray that everyone who has been hurt would heal quickly and would all turn to Jesus for their salvation.

I am awaiting to see how God might be glorified in this tragedy.

Aug 1, 2007

If our hearts are not rocks

(Thomas Watson, "Body of Divinity")

"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:8

See here the astonishing humility of Christ. That Christ should clothe Himself with our flesh--a piece of that earth which we tread upon--oh infinite humility! For Christ to be made flesh, was more humility than for the angels to be made worms! He stripped Himself of the robes of His glory, and covered Himself with the rags of our humanity!

Christ's humiliation
consisted in His being born, and that in a poor condition; and His undergoing . . .the miseries of this life, the cursed death of the cross, and the wrath of God.

The prime cause of Christ's humiliation was free grace! Love was the intrinsic motive. Christ came to us, out of pity and love. Not our deserts--but our misery, caused Christ to humble Himself. This was a plot of free grace--a design of pure love! Christ incarnate, is nothing but 'love' covered with flesh! As Christ's assuming our human nature was a master-piece of wisdom, so it also was a monument of free grace!

Behold the infinite love of Christ! Had not He been made flesh--we would have been made a curse! Had He not been incarnate, we would have been incarcerate, and had been forever in the prison of hell.

Consider where Jesus came from. He came from heaven, and from the richest place in heaven--His Father's bosom, that hive of sweetness.

Consider for whom Jesus came. Was it to His friends? No! He came for sinful man--who had defaced His image, and abused His love, and rebelled against Him! Yet He came to man, resolving to conquer our obstinacy with His kindness.

If He would come to any, why not to the fallen angels? The angels are of a more noble origin, are more intelligent creatures, and more able for service! But behold the love of Christ--He did not come to the fallen angels--but to sinful mankind!

Among the several wonders of the magnet is that it will not draw gold or pearl--but despising these, it draws the iron to itself--one of the most inferior metals. Just so, Christ leaves angels, those noble spirits, the gold and the pearl--and comes to poor sinful man, and draws him into His embraces!

Consider in what manner Jesus came. He came not in the majesty of a king, attended with His royal retinue--but He came poor.

Consider the place Jesus was born in--a feeding trough was His cradle, the cobwebs were His curtains, the beasts were His companions!

Christ was so poor, that when He needed money, He had to work a miracle to obtain it. When He died, He made no will.

Consider why Jesus came. That He might take our sins upon Him--and so appease God's wrath for us, and bring us into His kingdom!

He was poor--that we might become rich! He was born of a virgin--that we might be born of God! He took our flesh--that we might have His Spirit! He lay in the feeding trough--that we might lie in paradise! He came down from heaven--that we might go up to heaven!

And what was all this, but love? If our hearts are not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us. "May you
experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it!" Ephesians 3:19

Jul 30, 2007

Predestined us for adoption

For a little over three years, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant. I've been asking the LORD, "What are you trying to show me? What do you want me to learn from this trial?" I haven't figured it out yet...at least not completely, but I do know it is for my own good. Praise the LORD that He has given me this attitude (today) because I do spend a lot of my time sinning because I am impatient and want a child now. This is one thing that I cannot have any sort of control over, since it is the LORD who opens and closes the womb. (Believe me, I already know He is omnipotent, but still I sometimes think I can have the control).

Recently, however, I've been thinking more and more about adoption. The idea of was always a last resort to me. I had no desire or want of a child that was not my own. Selfishly, I told my husband, "If we can't have kids biologically, then I don't want them at all." But slowly, the LORD has been changing my heart. Some friend's at church reminded me that I've been adopted into Christ's family.
" He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:4-6)

Amazing isn't it? Maybe He has closed my womb because He has a child waiting for us to adopt. Adopting doesn't mean we've given up, it means we could be a part of redeeming a child from a life without a family...the LORD has blessed us with becoming a part of His redemption plan!

I've learned so much these part few years. I cannot pinpoint the exact day of my salvation, but I believe I've only been saved for about 2 years. I've only had the assurance of my salvation for about 8 months. I cannot thank Him enough for leading me down paths of struggles, through joys and sorrows, into dark days and into the joy of the morning. He's taught me that He will not necessarily change every situation in the way I am wanting, but instead, change me in the midst of the situation! He's been a faithful husband, a perfect companion. I am truly blessed to be known by Him. I pray that He will continue to lead my heart down the path of adoption. I've been asking Him to show me what to do. It seems so overwhelming, but if it is His will, I know it will work out. After all, I am being lead by the Hand of my redeemer, why should I be afraid?

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John Piper: Adoption: The heart of the Gospel
(Sent to me by a dear friend who has seen God's work in her life through the adoption of their son from China)

Jul 27, 2007


"I was thinking this week that if I could identify one single attitude biblically that would be the supreme...the most desirable attitude of all from God's viewpoint, it would be humility. That's one of the most beautiful virtues in the attitudinal sense-Humility. And if I were to identify one activity as being most desirable, it would be the activity of service. Combining the two, I would say the bible teaches then that the highest attitude is humility...the highest activity is service. And for a woman then to offer humble service is for her to have a head start on men in being able to reach the highest level of God's intention for His people." John MacArthur

"Did God make our bodies out of the dust, and that dust out of nothing? Let this keep down pride! When God would humble Adam, He uses this expression, "You were made from dust." Why are you proud, O dust and ashes? David says, "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Your being wonderfully made-- should make you
thankful; your being made from the dust--should keep you humble. If you have beauty, it is but well-colored dirt! "For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return." Genesis 3:19" -Thomas Watson

"For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself." 1 Samuel 2:22

"Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,and to listen than the fat of rams. "
1 Samuel 15:22

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

"The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." Exodus 34:6

Jul 25, 2007

The Challenge

I was listening to "FamilyLife Today" and they had an interesting idea: fast from T.V. for the month of August. I never listen to the program, but just happened to turn it on today (I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason).

So maybe I'll take this challenge. Maybe it will influence me to just give up T.V. for good! I really wouldn't mind. There are far better, edifying things to do and read that corrupt my mind with television. I'm one of those people that sits in front of the T.V., trying to find something to watch, but can't, and then flips for an hour or so before I give up. I promise you I would not give a bad book an hour, but T.V.? Yep. Ridiculous!

Yes, I think I will pray about this. If this will give me more time to read His Word and to fellowship with Him, then I say: HECK YEAH.

If you guys have any ideas of some good books that I could read for the month of August, please feel free to comment. So far, the only book I have in mind is "The Holiness of God" (Sproul).

I probably should preface this whole post to tell you that I am not doing this to get approval from God or anyone else. I do not plan on shouting this through the streets, claiming that I am more holy than you :) This is not a works-righteousness act, or a merit-based idea. Just something that might help me grow closer to Him.

And one last thing: Watching television is not a sin, unless you make it a sin. You know what I mean.

Jul 24, 2007

A sinful man's intercession

Recently, I was speaking with my grandmother (who is Catholic) who is suffering from terrible foot pain. She said to me, "Too bad there isn't a Saint of foots!"

To which I replied, "I think God can certainly heal by Himself"

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe He needs our help. Maybe He needs the intercession of sinful men.

Jul 12, 2007

The Prayer of Love

Gracious Lord,
Thy name is love,

in love receive my prayer.

My sins are more than the wide sea’s sand,

but where sin abounds,

there is grace more abundant.

Look to the cross of thy beloved Son,

and view the preciousness of his atoning blood;

Listen to his never-failing intercession,

and whisper to my heart, ‘Thy sins are forgiven,

be of good cheer, lie down in peace.’

Grace cataracts from heaven and flows for ever,

and mercy never wearies in bestowing benefits.

Grant me more and more

to prize the privilege of prayer,

to come to thee as a sin-soiled sinner,

to find pardon in thee,

to converse with thee;

to know thee in prayer as

the path in which my feet tread,

the latch upon the door of my lips,

the light that shines through my eyes,

the music of my ears,

the marrow of my understanding,
the strength of my will,

the power of my affection,

the sweetness of my memory.

May the matter of my prayer be always

wise, humble, submissive,

obedient, scriptural, Christ-like.

Give me unwavering faith

that supplications are never in vain,
that if I seem not to obtain my petitions
I shall have larger, richer answers,
surpassing all that I ask or think.
Unsought, thou hast given me
the greatest gift, the person of thy Son,
and in him thou wilt give me all I need.

-From the Valley of Vision

Jul 10, 2007

My lack of blogging


I long to love God the way I see others love Him. Like Tozer said, "O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee,..."

I am so consumed with myself and worldly things lately, that I've really been struggling to let go of my sin. And I am reminded each day how wretched and filthy I am. I hate that I am so luke warm at times and so numb when I sin. I wish I hated it more! I wish I loved Him more.

Sometimes I leave church and I wonder how I can call myself a Christian? I'm always putting on an act or laughing at certain sins, when I should be falling on my knees in confession and weeping that it was I who put Christ on that Tree.


I don't know. I've just felt sad and lonely. I desperately want children and I don't know how to keep a positive attitude day after day. I find myself constantly wanting to buy this or that, because I want to fill that void and the pain of not having what I want. The thing is, I don't deserve anything I have, nor do I deserve children. And I cannot control these cravings, so I just indulge to make myself feel better.
That's where I am at, at least at the moment, and why I cannot even think of a thing to write about.

I am praying that I would not only know He is sufficient, but would truly experience His sufficiency. I know the different attributes of God, but do I really believe them with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? I pray He will give me the feelings...the desires to love Him and glorify Him in all that I do and say, that He might be my only delight and joy.

Jul 9, 2007

Finding happiness in a miserable world

(Gorham Abbott, "The Family at Home", 1833)

"A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15
"But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these." 1 Timothy 6:8

A little simple food, and plain clothing, and humble shelter--this is all that man really needs. Outward things can neither make a man happy or miserable. Ahab was discontented on a king's throne. Paul and Silas were happy in a dungeon.

Nature is content with little;
grace is content with less.
Luxury is seldom satisfied;
lust is never satisfied.

If we have but little in this world, we may content ourselves with the reflection, that it is safer to have little than much. Many have been ruined by prosperity. Many have gone to hell splendidly clothed, and who lived each day in luxury!

Very wise was the prayer of Agur, "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." Proverbs 30:8

Christians should be content, because time is short; and if time is short, trouble cannot be long! "Weeping may endure for a night--but joy comes in the morning!" These light afflictions are but for a moment--and then comes an eternal weight of glory! The Christian is traveling down a rough and dirty piece of road; but he is going home--to his glorious heavenly home! This is the true secret of finding happiness in a miserable world.

Jul 6, 2007

The love of fine dress

(Gorham Abbott, "The Family at Home", 1833)

"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." 1 Tim. 2:9-10

To many young women, the love of fine dress is a great snare--which leads them into a series of mistakes.

A profusion of fine bows, feathers, necklaces, and earrings--is often the outward and visible sign of inward emptiness and vanity!

A minister, calling to visit a lady, was detained a long time while she was dressing. At length she made her appearance, bedecked in all the frippery of fashion and folly. The minister broke into tears. She demanded the cause of his grief; when he replied, "I weep, madam, to think that an immortal being should spend so much of that precious time which was given her to prepare for eternity--in thus vainly adorning that body
which must so soon become a prey to worms!"

A lady once asked a minister whether a person might not be fond of fine dress and ornaments, without being proud. "Madam," replied the minister, "when you see the fox's tail peeping out of the hole--you may be sure the fox is within!"

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful." 1 Peter 3:3-5


"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30

Jul 3, 2007

From Glory to Glory

R_W_Glenn_Sermon_0...



This is an amazing sermon, one that really convicted me and showed me how desperately I need to remember the Gospel! I am so encouraged by this message, and I pray that you might be encouraged as well!

Jul 2, 2007

Suck out the sweetness


(Thomas Watson, "The Christian Soldier" 1669)

Meditation is a holy exercise of the mind; whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance--and seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves. It is a work which cannot be done in a crowd. A Christian must retire from the world, to have serious thinking upon God. It is not a few transient thoughts that are quickly gone;but a fixing and staying of the mind upon heavenly objects.

As the bee sucks the honey from the flower--so by meditation we suck out the sweetness of a truth. It is not the receiving of food into the mouth, but the digesting of it, which makes it nutritious. Just so, it is not the receiving of the most excellent truths in the ear, which nourishes our souls--but the digesting of them by meditation.

Satan does what he can to hinder this duty. He is an enemy of meditation. The devil does not care not how much we read--so long as we do not meditate on what we read. Reading begets knowledge--but meditation begets devotion. "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long." Psalm 119:97

Holy meditation quickens the affections. The reason why our affections are so cold to heavenly things--is
because we do not warm them at the fire of holy meditation. As the musing on worldly objects makes the fire of lust burn; and as the musing on injuries makes the fire of revenge burn; just so, meditating on the transcendent beauties of Christ, would make our love to Christ flame forth.

Meditation has a transforming power in it. The reading of the Word may affect us--but the meditating upon it transforms us. Meditation stamps the impression of divine truths upon our hearts. By meditating on God's holiness, we grow holy. While by meditation we look upon God's purity--we are changed into His likeness.

Meditation produces reformation. "I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes." Psalm 119:59. If we would spend but one quarter of an hour every day in contemplating heavenly objects, it would leave a mighty impression upon us!

Jun 27, 2007

Excuse my profanity

If you've stopped by my blog recently, you've probably noticed that it looked something like crap. Is crap a bad word?

All I was trying to do was to see what another template would "look" like and I ended up deleting tons of stuff! So now I have to go back, find the different blog rolls I was on and find their code....blah blah blah. So on top of this horribly bad thing (I know it's not horrible, but I was pretty mad) my car stalled on the freeway, I found out I had to change my work hours and we can't take the vacation I've been so excited to go on!

So I've been very angry. I've been mouthing off at work, having a bitter attitude with everyone I talk with, and I really wished I still smoked so I could just feel that nicotine calming me down. What's so difficult is that I know that everything I am describing is incredibly sinful. But while I know this, I just don't want to care. I want to say, "Screw it! Screw you! Screw everyone! I don't care about anything anymore!"

I was telling one of my sisters at church about this, and she said, "...sounds like you are angry at God, Samantha."

Huh?

It's hard for me to take rebuke, but indeed, I needed it. I was angry at God. In fact, I'm still confessing that anger to Him. I am angry at my circumstances...at the discipline He's been showering on me. I don't mean discipline like "You sinner, I am going to cause your car to break down because you are a bad, bad girl!" No, not that. Discipline as in shaping and molding me more and more like Christ THROUGH the difficult circumstances He's allowed. He could easily zap me with patience and love, but instead, He's chosen to refine me in the most loving way possible: by showing me how badly I need Him; how badly I need the Gospel....how badly I need a Savior! The greater a sinner I see myself, the more lovely I see Him and see my dependence of Him!

So right now, I praise the LORD that He brings strife and trials into my life. I know He loves me. And I pray that one of these days I'll believe that will all my heart.

Jun 21, 2007

The long walk down the aisle

I remember walking down the aisle to my husband. He was the only one I saw. No one else mattered. Not how much the wedding was costing us, not if I was at my perfect weight, or had the perfect dress on...all that mattered was that Michael was going to be mine, and I was going to be his.

In the same way, I am on the same walk down the aisle to my Groom in heaven, Jesus Christ. He's given me the most beautiful dress, once soiled with sin, now washed in His blood to make it as white as snow. He's loved me far before I even knew Him. And as we speak, He is preparing for me a crown of glory and a great feast at His banqueting table.

He's asked me to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind. And how I want to love Him the way He loves me!
But in my sin, I've committed adultery on Him many times. I'm a whore, whoring myself out to other idols and desires. And yet, He is always forgiving and always merciful. And He's promised me that nothing can separate us from our love: neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-40)

Jun 15, 2007

Quotable Friday


I love quotes.

No one can truly say that Jesus is Lord, unless Thou take the veil away, and breathe the living word. Then only then, we feel our interest in His blood. -John Wesley


When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn. -John Wesley


Pray until you pray. -The Puritans


There are no shortcuts to holiness. There is no easy way to conquer the flesh. Christian character is a matter of growth, not of secrets or formulas. Growth takes time. It also takes the discipline of prayer, of study, of heart searching, of sensitivity to the Holy Ghost's pleading, and of consistent obedience. It must always begin with a renewed thankfulness for the never-ending grace of God, and a sense of being set free repeatedly to a life of holiness. -John White


I always observe inward trials prepare me for, and are certain forerunners of, fresh mercies. - George Whitefield


The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to tear down. -George Whitefield

God's mercies are new every morning because each day has enough mercy in it only for that day. This is why we tend to despair when we think that we may have to bear tomorrow's load on today's resources. God wants us to know that we won't. Today's mercies are for today's troubles. Tomorrow's mercies are for tomorrow's troubles.--John Piper


The only time a woman can really succeed in changing a man is when he is a baby. - Natalie Wood (sorry, I had to put that one in)

Jun 13, 2007

The other day in the mail, I got this letter that said something like, "God is going to bless you!" So I suspiciously opened the letter, and low and behold....a picture of Jesus with a penny (yes, a real penny) in each of His Hands!

This letter told me that Jesus wanted to bless me financially, and I should just put the pennies in each of my shoes and wait and see what happens the next day!

Had I known it was so simple to get blessed with money just by putting pennies in my shoes...well, I probably would have started doing it earlier in my life!

Actually, I'm kidding. As a matter of fact, I was pissed (yes, strong language...cover the children's eyes). This letter is like the 4th letter I've gotten that has told me this same message. First it was a prayer rug with Jesus' face on it, and they told me that if I starred at it for a long time, Jesus would open His eyes. I really don't remember what was supposed to happen then, but I know it was foolishness! I don't know how I got onto their mailing list.

This health and prosperity gospel is so dangerous. As Christians, we have been called to "forsake ourselves", "carry our cross", become "servants of Christ", not to "store up treasures on earth" but instead to "give to the poor" to find our treasure in heaven.

The LORD did not die to give us comfortable, stable lives. Like Christian, in "The Pilgrim's Progress" we have to travel through the valley of death, prepared for danger, for trials, for sorrows....for falling. We have to battle satan, battle the flesh, battle the world! The world tells us that being rich brings happiness, but how much more joy for the Christian to have nothing, yet have Christ? And Christ is enough. He is sufficient! He is better than any amount of money or material things we can obtain. These earthly treasures are but shadows of the true treasures we have in Christ! They are meant to draw us closer to Him; to see His beauty as far more brilliant than anything and anyone else!

"For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits." James 1:11

"That which cannot quiet the heart in a storm, cannot entitle a man to blessedness; earthly things accumulated, cannot rock the troubled heart quiet, therefore cannot make one blessed. When Saul was sore distressed, could all the jewels of his crown comfort him? 'They shall cast their silver in the streets...their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord." (Ezek. 7:19) --THOMAS WATSON

"Afflictions add to the saints' glory. The more the diamond is cut, the more it sparkles; the heavier the saints' cross is, the heavier will be their crown." - THOMAS WATSON

Jun 12, 2007

Repentance: Part 4

According to Thomas Watson, in his book, "The Doctrine of Repentance." there are 6 ingredients that lead to genuine repentance. So far we've looked at:
Sight of Sin
Sorrow for Sin
Confession of sin

The next: Shame for sin.

Dictionary.com defines shame as: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.


What is dishonorable about sin? This question, while it may seem easily answerable, is actually one of the most important questions you should ask yourself when you are convicted of sin....it will tell you if you understand the Gospel. Shame for sin isn't because we should be ashamed for ourselves. Self pity is a sin,turning our eyes away from Christ and onto ourselves. This seems like a common theme in these last few posts, doesn't it? Looking at the cross should cause us to feel ashamed for our sin, but not because we are humiliated, not because our egos are bruised, but because our sin was against the GOD of Glory!!

"Sin hath the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death for its wages." --Thomas Watson

Jun 8, 2007

Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Folk spir­it­u­al

I am a poor wayfaring stranger,
While traveling through this world of woe.
Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright world to which I go.
I’m going there to see my Father;
I’m going there no more to roam.

I’m only going over Jordan,
I’m only going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather round me;
I know my way is rough and steep.
But golden fields lie out before me
Where God’s redeemed shall ever sleep.
I’m going there to see my mother,
She said she’d meet me when I come.

I’ll soon be free from every trial,
My body sleep in the churchyard;
I’ll drop the cross of self denial
And enter on my great reward.
I’m going there to see my Savior,
To sing His praise forevermore.

Jun 7, 2007

Repentance: Part 3

Continued from yesterday's post and yesterday's yesterday post. Did that make sense?

Next up in the 6 ingredients to true Repentance: Confession.

The heavy burden of guilt lays heavy on my heart. It's one of the most difficult sins to overcome. While sorrow for sin is necessary...and even guilt necessary for a time, these can cause us to turn from our Savior and onto ourselves. There are seasons for these emotions, but like every weather pattern, things must change in order for us to see our new life in Christ.

That is why confession is such a relief, isn't it?

1 Timothy 2:5-6 "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."

We can boldly come to Christ and acknowledge our need for Him. "
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We no longer have to be afraid to approach Christ. We can know that when we confess our sins to Him, He has forgiven us and "cleansed us from all unrighteousness." He has applied HIS righteousness to our account. We have no reason to be fearful that He will condemn us. He has already done the work, nailing our sins to Himself on the cross, and bearing the Just wrath of God on our behalf. This should cause us to run TO HIM every time: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

So let's not wallow in self pity and guilt! Let us tear off that burden and confess it to the LORD! Some of my best times of confession have been with my brethren. Exposing my sin causes me to say, "What can satan do to me? How can he accuse me, when I've allowed my sin to be exposed?" Did the LORD give us a spirit of fear? No! "
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!""

We are His. We can confidently draw near to Him, confessing our sins, and continuously being cleansed and drawn back to Him. "
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

And that is truly amazing. At least, I think it is.