Thursday, May 26, 2011

{be holy as i am holy}

Leviticus 20:26 -- You shall be Holy to me, for I the LORD am Holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.
The Israelites were set apart; handpicked by God to fulfill His plan for a broken creation. They were called to be Holy. Why? Because Yahweh is Holy. And through the work of Christ on the cross, we have been made holy in the sight of God.
Hebrews 10:9-10 -- Then He said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made Holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
But what is Holiness?

Simon Ponsonby, author of The Pursuit of the Holy, said this:
Holiness is about becoming more human, as we are restored into the image of God...Holiness is a return to Eden's ideal and a taste of paradise (p 23).
Here is another:
People and things are said to be holy by their relation to God, as they offered by Him or to Him or before Him (p 19).
And finally this:
Holiness is infused into things or people that come close to God or exist for Him (p 19).
The Holy nature of God sets Him apart, and as His children, we are called to live lives that are set apart as well.

Pure actions.
Pure words.
Pure motives.
Pure thoughts.

Without blemish. Without the fog of the world interfering with that which is sacred.

Let us exist for Him.

Let us be Holy as He is Holy.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

{in loss, there is hope}

Good Morning everyone.

I pray that you're having a blessed week, wherever you may be. I'm sure many of you are aware of the devastating impact that the tornadoes have had on much of the country these past few days (particularly in Joplin, Missouri and parts of Oklahoma and Texas).

It breaks my heart. Lives are being lost, homes are being ruined.

But in all of this loss, there is hope. And that hope is found in Christ.

With so much heartache going on around the nation, I ask you this: What are you doing to make a difference? Whether it be prayer, or hands on help, we are called to be there for those who cannot make it on their own.

Property of Aysha Gerald

Across the world, people are crying out for help, but here in our own country, we can soften the burden.

As we call on the name of Jesus for the fallen, the sick, the hungry, the hurt and the heartbroken, lives will be changed. Scripture says that as we do for these, we do for Him.

What a beautiful thought.

Today, I challenge you to pray. If you are unable to help the areas that have fallen, pray for those who can't find the words to speak, pray for those who are suffering.

Our brothers and sisters need us.

This post is linked to Ann Voskamp's...

Linked to Internet Cafe Devotions...

 And also linking to:


Monday, May 23, 2011

{heart of service}

With it being Make-A-Difference Monday, I thought I'd share something that happened today.

Over the past few days and weeks, things have been rocky in my family. My sister delivered her baby on April 28, and ever since then, there has been abundance of love, but also some tension. In my anger, I said hurtful things to my sister, and even though it was anger produced out of concern and love, it was anger nonetheless.

So skip forward to this morning. I got a text message from my sister asking if I would come over and watch my niece for her while she went to the gym. I was surprised that she was even talking to me, after the things that I said. I told her that I would be over, and quickly got in my car and drove the 10 minutes to the apartment.

Not only did I get to spend time with my niece, but my sister and I got along (which hasn't been happening too much lately). It was an intervention by God that made me realize how much I love my sister and how proud I am of her.

Aside from that, later in the afternoon, around 4 pm, I got a call from my mom, saying that she was stranded at work because her car wouldn't start.

Now if you know me at all, when obstacles are put into my life, I have a tendency to make a big deal out of them or complain, but today was different. I made it a point to serve my sister and my mother, because God commanded me to.

Once again, I got into my car and drove the 45 minutes to the hospital where my mother works. She was thankful that I came to her rescue, and I was genuinely happy that I could be.

It's the small things that we do that can make a difference in someone's life. Whether it be harsh words that were spoken or previous severed relationships, the smallest act of kindness can erase every negative experience.

Friends, we don't know the battles that others are facing, as they don't know the demons that we face. It is my prayer that we would approach every person and every situation with a Christ-driven humility and servant-hood that allows Him to be seen through our actions.


 Let every word that I speak come from a place in my heart that is connected to Your own. Let my actions speak of my Savior, that others would come to know Him through me. I am a vessel Lord; one called to serve with love, compassion and humility. Let me forgive those who have wronged me, and Father I ask that you would soften their hearts to forgive my wrongs against them. It is only through You, Lord, that I have the ability to accomplish these things.

I ask that you would prepare my heart for the changes that You are making within me.

In Jesus' Name, 



{blessed are those who mourn}

Psalm 30:5 -- Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Early this morning, a member of the Cornerstone community passed away.

Ryan Davis.

It is with a heavy heart that I ask for prayers, both for the Davis family and the community at Cornerstone University as well.

Although I didn't know him well, I did feel the warmth of his smile as he passed on campus. His love for the students will carry on through the years, for it has made an impact on everyone.

As people grieve over this loss, there is also hope laced within. We will see Ryan again, whether our time on earth ends sooner than we had wished, or when we are all taken to be with our Lord again.
Matthew 5:4 -- Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Friends, it is my prayer that we would remember that every moment on this earth is a gift from God. Let us not waste it on the things of this world, but let us press hard towards our goal.

We are not promised tomorrow, but our hope is eternal.
Revelation 21:4 -- He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Blessings and prayers today,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

{sweet little one}

Well, after 3 weeks, I am finally getting around to posting pictures of my darling little niece, Nylah.

She was born on April 28 at 6:16 pm, weighing 6 lbs 4 oz and was 19 inches long. Of course I'm biased, but she is the most amazing little baby to grace the planet :) She barely ever cries, she's interested in everything around her, and the best part of all? She recognizes my voice! I can walk into a room and start talking to her, and she will turn her head and get the cutest little smile on her face.

Melting my heart is an understatement.

So, I won't let you wait in suspense anymore :) Here are some pictures!

Sleeping in my lap :)
I love her more than words can express.
All swaddled up and adorable!
Beautiful girl.
I love her big, brown eyes :)
Sleepy baby.
The smile that melts my heart.
I treasure every minute with her.

Oh, my sweet little princess pea; what a gift from God.

Blessings my friends,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

{judgment day, anyone?}

It's almost 9:45 pm on Saturday and here I am blogging.

I'm sure many, if not all of you, have heard of the predictions made by Harold Camping, talk show host from Family Radio. He is claimed to have spent the past 50 years of his life poring over the Scriptures, in which he made an "accurate" conclusion about Judgment Day.

Only, it has failed to be accurate.

The day that he predicted? May 21. The time that he predicted that it would begin? 6:00 pm. The sequence of events? An earthquake such that the world has never, or will ever experience again, followed by the rapture of 200 million believers (yes, only 3% of the population). Finally, the people left behind were set to experience 5 months of judgment before God destroyed the world on October 21, 2011.

All across the globe, Camping's name is being mocked, as the predictions that he made have not come to pass. He made statements such as, "The Bible guarantees it." My heart is heavy for him. Harold Camping, a frail, 89 year old man, is what many are calling a false prophet.

In my opinion, he has attempted to play God, and has failed at it. Miserably.

I can't even begin to express my thoughts on his assumed certainty, but even more than that, I can't imagine making the claims that he did, only for them to prove untrue, while in the mean time turning people's hearts away from God and onto himself.

He has made a grave error, and he will be responsible for every heart that he led astray. As for the people who followed him (yes, he had his own "following"), it is my prayer that they would not turn from God as a result of this.

My friends, this incident has come to show that although the end times are near, no one, and certainly not Harold Camping, has the authority to decide the outcome of God's plan.

And that's what it is. Prediction versus Plan.

God has a plan for His creation. Harold Camping made a prediction. Predictions can be changed, whereas God's plan has been set in stone before the world came into being.

As many verses have been quoted in the past few days, I have heard this one more than any other:
Matthew 24:36 -- But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
In my own life, being a follower of Christ means many things to me, but this more than the rest: I am not God. I make mistakes. I fail, time and time again. I don't have a fraction of the knowledge that God possesses, so for me to do something such as attempt to predict the end of the world, I only make it more apparent that I am not God.

In the next few days, weeks, months and years, I pray that each one of you would keep your eyes, ears and hearts alert. The fact is that not one of us knows when Christ will be sent to collect His beloved. It could be tomorrow, it could be 10 years from now. And that is why it is so important for us to cling to the truth found in the Scriptures.

We must meditate on the Word, day and night. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ came so that we might have life, and have it abundantly, not that we should worry about our futures and miss out on the gift of the present. We do not have to fear tomorrow, for we are held in the hand of God today. Our future is certain. Our salvation is sealed. We need only look to the cross, and there, we will find truth.

Blessings my friends.

In Christ,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

{the matthew movement}

Here we are at Writer, Thinker, Dreamer Thursday. What a mouthful, huh?

These past few weeks, days and hours have been challenging, yet so encouraging.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to make a difference for God's kingdom. At 5 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a missionary. I wanted to be the next Amy Carmichael. I understood at that young age that I was marked -- personally chosen by God for something that would bring about a change in the world. In the following years, it would be His will that I would strive to follow, His heart that I would long to know.

At the age of 21, I've come to a place of rest, or soul peace rather. The past year at Cornerstone University was a time of growth and being stretched..ultimately, it was the season of my life where God was preparing me for what I am being called to this minute.

The Matthew Movement.

I imagine that you're wondering what that is, and I chose the name that I did. Here is that answer.
Matthew 25:34-36, 40 -- Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’... And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
I am building up this organization from the ground up, with nothing more than the directions given by God. It's a complete act of trust for me, as I'm one who tries to hold the reigns on everything in my life.

So what is the movement about? The Matthew Movement will be a non-profit organization selling handmade (by me!) treasure boxes. With each box that is custom-designed and purchased, half of the proceeds will go to the movement's ministry funds. Furthermore, boxes can be donated (with a letter or card inside from the person who purchased the box) which will be given to:
  • Children coming from low-income families or children living in children's homes
  • Abused women
  • Nursing home patients
  • Soldiers
  • Prisoners (letters only)
  • Homeless in my local community (brown bag lunches + a letter)
There are so many people who need to hear the Word of God, and so many people aren't stepping up to the plate in their own communities. I want to change that.

It's our job to remember those who society has either thrown away and forgotten, or has given up on. It's our calling to remember the sick, the needy, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, the hungry, the thirsty and the naked.

As a follower of Christ, I seek to die to self daily and make an impact for the Kingdom. With The Matthew Movement, I will have the opportunity to advance the Kingdom and make a difference in a life that would have otherwise been disregarded.

You can be a part of something great and it all begins...with a box.


PS. It would be awesome if you could begin praying for the process, as I begin talking to elementary schools, youth groups, local churches, children's homes, abuse centers, etc. As I embark on this journey, I also ask that you would pray for every life that I encounter, that they would see Christ in my actions, hear His voice in my words, and feel His presence as I stand near them. Thank you for making a difference.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

{righteous anger}

This idea has been on my heart a lot lately.


More specifically, God's anger, and what that looks like. I think it's easy for a lot of us to look at God and see Him as loving, compassionate, merciful and gracious (don't get me wrong, He is all of those things), but He is also a just and jealous God.

We seek justice, daily. A person wrongs us and we want to pay them back. An unborn child doesn't make it to their day of birth, and we want immediate answers. Our boy/girlfriend or spouse resorts to cheating, and we want them to feel the pain that we felt.

All of these things, and more, cause us to seek justice. But that made me wonder..if we seek justice for these pains in our lives, imagine how God felt (and still feels) when we turn our backs on Him, wrong Him, sin blatantly against Him, or even deny Him.

Anger rises within us when justice isn't served. If we feel that our anger is justified, because the situation can't be, then God's anger is all the more righteous, and justified.

The problem is that our anger usually results in sin, whereas God's anger is rooted in His love for us. Picture this: A little boy is playing in his driveway, when his ball rolls into the street. He has been told over and over that he isn't allowed to go past the end of the driveway. As he looks around, he doesn't think that anyone is watching, so he runs into the street, grabs the ball, and on the way back to his driveway (thinking that no one has caught him), a car turns the corner and misses him by inches. The father, who watched the ordeal from the window, immediately runs outside, picks up the little boy and holds him in his arms. The anger that is produced is a kind whose roots are found in love. Of course he is angry that his son disobeyed, but it was because he loved his son that his anger surfaced. It was righteous anger.

Now, that story can be translated into God's own love for us. Here we are, running after work, relationships, money, etc., when all of a sudden those things slip away from us. We know that God has commanded that we shall have no other gods before Him, and that the things of this world won't satisfy. But because of our nature, we want to chase them. When we think that no one is looking, we run to catch the thing that has enticed us. And all of a sudden, something happens that jars us awake. All the while, God is watching us, and as soon as we are in a position that calls for the hand of God, He comes. In His love, He scoops us up, and shields us, but with that love comes righteous anger. An anger that says, I've warned you what would happen if you strayed from my commands; it's because I love that I'm angry with you.

We have wronged God in so many ways. A wrathful, revengeful anger should be expected, yet He doesn't produce it.

God is love, and in that, His anger is brought forth from a place that says, I understand.

Maybe today you feel as if you've wronged God and He's turned his back on you. Maybe you feel that you're being punished because you've somehow angered God. Let me be the first to tell you, that is not true. Even on our worst days God's grace is sufficient.

His anger is that of a father. A father who loves His child more than one could possibly imagine.

Is your anger causing you to sin? Or is your anger righteous?


Monday, May 16, 2011

Lead Me to the Rock that is Higher Than I

As it is Word-Filled Wednesday, I thought that I would encourage you this week.

No matter what you're going through, I pray that you will be blessed by these words:

We have no reason to fear.

We have no reason to worry.

Father, lead us to the Rock that is higher than our sorrows, higher than our problems, higher than our burdens.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spirit Reign

Enter in the Holy Spirit.

The third member of the Holy Trinity.

God the Father.
God the Son.
God the Holy Spirit.

God sent His only Son to this earth, as a sacrifice for our sins. We all know the story. After His death, Jesus laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea for three days. On the third day, He rose from the dead, breaking the chains of death, because He had never known sin. On the day that He ascended into heaven, He told His disciples that He was leaving, but that He was sending someone to be with us always; the Holy Spirit.
John 14:15-17 -- If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
John 14:26 -- But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
We have never seen God. We live in the age after Christ walked the earth. But as it has been said many times throughout Scripture, we are never alone.

So who then, is with us? The answer is the Holy Spirit.

When we are comforted in times of hurt..when we feel joy while praising God..that is all the work of the Holy Spirit. Many times, the Holy Spirit is forgotten, yet He is one of the most important aspects of having a relationship with Christ, and therefore, a relationship with God.

When do you most feel the work of the Holy Spirit?



Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh, Nimrod

Genesis 10:6-14 -- The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.
One of the classes that I took this past semester was Old Testament. I went into the semester worrying about how I would understand the history of Israel, and more importantly, what God would reveal to me concerning Himself. The Bible is a self-revelation of God to His creation, and the Old Testament was a way for Him to be revealed to His people, the Israelites.

In this passage from Genesis, the name Nimrod is brought to our attention.  

History Rewind: Creation had been breathed into existence and called good, but everything following the fall has been nothing but chaos, disorder, destruction, wickedness and evil. Humanity has fallen, judgment has been ordered, the earth and everything on it (excluding Noah and his family) has been erased. After 40 days and 40 nights of rainfall, Noah, his wife, their three sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) and their wives exit the ark.

From the Biblical story, we come to learn that Ham's line becomes cursed (after looking upon his father's nakedness). Shem is blessed, and his brother Japheth will be blessed as well.

So we come upon these verses in Genesis 10.

Ham had a son: Cush. And Cush fathered a son: Nimrod.

We are told that Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord, but his character wasn't that of righteousness in the sight of God.

Just as Adam and Eve had 3 sons, where Cain's heart was evil, Noah and his wife had 3 sons, where Ham's heart was also laced with evil. And through his line, the descendants that would rise up were found to be wicked in the sight of the Lord as well (such as the Philistines).

So back to Nimrod.

A mighty hunter.

But not the kind of hunter you would assume. He was a human hunter, as we find out in other Old Testament narratives. He sought power and destroyed any man that stepped into his path. God wanted humans to "be fruitful and multiply" and Nimrod wanted to contain his power to certain kingdoms, which was a direct violation of God's commands.

Nimrod was angry, but through that anger, he proved that he was also a fool. He sought revenge against God for the destruction of his forefathers and the curse placed on his grandfather's line. He ordered the building of the Tower of Babel, which was erected to either: (1) reach the heavens, (the Ancient Near Eastern people -- separate from the Israelites -- believed that the deities could be pleased) and understanding that Nimrod was not of God, then it can be understood that he most likely served other gods as well, or (2) be high enough off of the ground that, in the event another flood should come, they would be safe. In a way, the latter gives us this notion that Nimrod believed that he could personally thwart God's plans to accomplish his own.

It is in Bible passages such as this, that I am reminded that we have a choice to make. We can be found righteous in the sight of the Lord, or we can be found wicked. We can receive blessings or curses can rain down upon us. Our hearts must make a choice.

What is the state of your heart? Is it one like Nimrod's, revengeful, hateful, prideful and haughty? Or is that of Shem, or even later, David, who would find themselves in the presence of God Almighty?


Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Single Thought Raised

A single thought raised is a perfect prayer, to God.

As I was driving by a local church the other day, their marquee read these words.

In our churches, in our youth groups, in our circle of friends, we are burdened with the thoughts of our prayers being too long, too short, too in-depth or not deep enough. How are we supposed to know the "correct" way to pray? Or is there even such a thing?

This message ran through my mind over and over again, and then I was reminded of this verse:
1 Thessalonians 5:17 -- Pray without ceasing.
Seem impossible? Not so.

I believe with all of my heart that God seeks to have a constant, ever-growing relationship with each one of us, and when we train our thoughts on Him, our thoughts become prayers before Him, and continual prayers at that. Prayer is about communicating with God. When we are ritualistic with Him, we lose the relationship component of our connection. Jesus outlined the concept of prayer for His disciples in Matthew (chapter 6), and through that, we learn that prayer is so much more than finding time in the day to connect with God just to repeat words for the sake of having done it.

Living a life of prayer is not about "penciling Him in" our day planners.

It is a living, breathing, constant interaction with Him; a connection from His heart to our own.