Monday, December 31, 2012

He is Faithful...Always Faithful!

December 31, 2012.

It feels like just yesterday that I was looking forward to the new year of 2012...and now it's already over! How this year has flown by!

Photo Credit: Keilah Engstrom of Vanilla Bean Photography
 This was a wonderful year, filled with so many blessings from the Lord: 



Conner's adoption, 









fun times with friends, 






laughter with my family, 

meeting new people, 

starting up a ministry campaign,  

drawing closer to the Lord, 


getting my license, 

making incredible memories, 

and the list could go on and on. 

Praise the Lord for all He has done!

Some of the greatest blessings though are the trials that the Lord has brought me through.Yes, they have been extremely painful, but the Lord has proved Himself faithful in every situation! Praise His matchless name!

About a month or two ago, I heard a song that has become my "theme song" for this year. It is so beautiful and brings me to tears, realizing how gracious my Savior has been! Through the journey of this past year, He has never left me alone! Oh, there is no one like my Beloved!


Looking ahead to a new year, there are always uncertainties and questions. But, as His children, we can rest in the gentle arms of our Shepherd, knowing that His ways are perfect; whatever happens, we are called to praise and trust in Him.

The following quote is my prayer for 2013....

"May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love and joy of God's presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love." Andrew Murray

Happy New Year, my friends, and may 2013 find each of us drawing closer and pressing deeper into Christ! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Singing through December~ Song #5

"He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute."
~Augustine

"It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the most profound unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. God became man; nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the incarnation."
~J.I. Packer

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christ has come...hallelujah! May this day find each one of you rejoicing in the immeasurable goodness and grace of our Savior, who humbled Himself for us. 

Here is the last song of the Singing through December series. This is my absolute favorite Christmas song and is such a powerful reminder of the Gift we have been given in Christ!

Have a blessed day, celebrating Christ's birth!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Singing through December~ Song #4

Can you believe that we only have 5 more days until Christmas? Exciting, isn't it?!

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons."
Galatians 4:4-5

Photo Credit: The Nativity Story
Let me first say, that it was really hard to pick out a song for today. I already know the last song I'll be posting, but I still have so many Christmas "favorites" that it was hard to choose just one for today.

This is a pretty new Christmas song, at least for me. I heard this for the first time a couple months ago and was brought to tears. It's so beautiful and worshipful! Praise the Lord...we have a Savior! 

Enjoy the song! Let me know what you think and if you have anymore favorites! I've been greatly enjoying all of your suggestions! Thank you so much for taking the time to share!


Hmm, my baby
Heaven sent You to me
All the world's been praying
Who will save?

But who am I?
That here tonight
I hold the One
Who'll bring us life

Hallelujah, we've been found
A child is born to save us now
Hallelujah, light has come
A Savior who will set us free
A promise for those who believe

Do You hear the angels
Sing for You, my baby?
Men and kings have
Come to bow to You

But here in my arms
So close to me
The son of God
Now all can see

Hallelujah, we've been found
A child is born to save us now
Hallelujah, light has come
A Savior set us free

So praise to God on high
He has heard our cry

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Singing through December~Song #3

Well, it's that time again. Time for another song...

This one is called "Adore Him" by Kari Jobe. I love how she turned an old Christmas favorite into a beautiful new worship song. Let us adore Him together...


Countless days on a journey that led so far,
Endless nights they traveled to follow the star,
They did not find a palace, just a humble village home 
And searching for a king but finding a child, no crown, no throne.

Still they bowed down,

Come let us Adore Him
O come let us Adore Him
O come let us Adore Him

Expectation turned to mystery
For nothing was like anything they dreamed
Anticipating the royal and those honored by this world
Instead they gazed in the awestruck eyes of a lowly peasant girl.

Holding her child,

Come let us Adore Him
O Come let us Adore Him
O Come let us Adore Him

The brilliant gold, the fragrant myrrh, the costly frankincense

Placed before Him,

Come let us Adore Him
O Come let us Adore Him
O Come let us Adore Him
Christ the Lord.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Singing through December~ Song #2

How is everyone doing this beautiful Monday morning? 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first Singing through December post. It's been so encouraging to hear all of the songs you've shared. Thank you so much!

So, are you ready for the second Christmas song?

We're all "used" to the story of Christ's birth.We're so familiar with it that it can easily grow old. The following song beautifully describes the unfathomable awe of the incarnation. The great, majestic King of the Universe laid aside His glory and humbled Himself to the lowest place...to save us from our sin. Hallelujah!

Disclaimer: Clips in this video are taken from The Nativity Story. I know that it is biblically incorrect for the wise men to appear at the stable. So, please...just look past that, if you could. I was thinking about choosing a different video, but decided that the clips were a beautiful addition to the song. I hope you think so too.



Here With Us- Joy Williams

It's still a mystery to me,
That the hands of God could be so small,
How tiny fingers reaching in the night,
Were the very hands that measured the sky

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King, Here with us,
You're here with us

Still a mystery to me,
How His infant eyes had seen the dawn of time,
How His ears had heard an angels' symphony,
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King, Here with us,
You're here with us

Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem,
A baby born to save, to save the souls of man

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King, Here with us,
You're here with us


What did you think of "Here With Us"? What's another of your favorite Christmas songs?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Singing through December~ Song #1

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Hallelujah! What a precious Savior we have to worship this Christmas! And what a special privilege we have to worship Him in song! Christmas songs are such a blessing, aren't they?! There are so many beautiful songs that glorify our Lord and turn our hearts to Him!

Immanuel: God with us.

As Christians, Christmas is about Christ. We have the privilege of using this special time of year to remember and celebrate God becoming man (a baby) for us. 

And this Christ-child deserves our worship. 

This December, I'm doing a blogpost series called Singing through December. Every 5 days, I'll post a new Christmas song. That means I'll be sharing my 5 favorites with you (not in any specific ranking order).

 I would love for you to join me! Comment under each post and share a link of your 5 favorite Christ-honoring Christmas songs. There are so many wonderful songs, it's hard to choose just 5...which is why I'm so excited for you to share your favorites as well.

My hope and prayer is that this will be a precious time of encouraging one another with songs that lift up and exalt our Savior this Christmas! 

So, here we go. Song #1 for Singing through December is....

Be Born In Me by Francesca Battistelli

This is a fairly new song, but the words are so beautiful. Be Born in Me is written from Mary's standpoint and gives a challenging example of the surrendered heart we must have as Christ's followers. Our Lord calls us to different trials in life, but we must each surrender our will to His and be able to say, "Not my will, but Yours be done!" 

I hope you're encouraged by this song!



So...what's one of your favorite Christmas songs?

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Sermon and A Quote

This past weekend, I listened to a beautiful sermon called "The Five Arts of Intimacy" from Eric Ludy. For those of you who are leery of this sermon because of the title, I'll let the sermon description speak for itself:

"This message is a catalyst of change for both your intimate walk with Christ and an intimate marriage to a spouse. It brings the concepts of intimacy down out of the clouds into the realm of practical and real. For the crucified, risen, and exalted Jesus Christ is truly knowable, and life in His Kingdom is not a theory or a theology, but a very real and practical life-altering experience."

Yes, this sermon is for everyone, single and married people alike. It serves as a powerful reminder of the way we should seek to intimately love our Lord and Bridegroom, as well as our future (or current) spouse. The illustration Mr. Ludy uses is simply beautiful, yet incredibly challenging. I would strongly recommend this sermon to any disciple of Christ. Click on the link below to watch "The Five Arts of Intimacy".

http://www.ellerslie.com/sermons/eric-ludy/10-21-12/the-five-arts-of-intimacy

On a side-note, a friend of mine shared this quote a couple weeks ago. It blessed me so much and has since been a great challenge to me. May we continue to look and place our trust in Christ alone, not focusing on our feelings, but on Christ the Solid Rock.

"We should battle through our moods, feelings, and emotions into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus. We must break out of our own little world of experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think who the New Testament says Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meagerness of the miserable faith we exhibit by saying, “I haven’t had this experience or that experience”! Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims and provides— He can present us faultless before the throne of God, inexpressibly pure, absolutely righteous, and profoundly justified. Stand in absolute adoring faith “in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:30). How dare we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! We are saved from hell and total destruction, and then we talk about making sacrifices!

We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ— not a “prayer meeting” Jesus Christ, or a “book” Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and who ought to strike us dead at His feet. Our faith must be in the One from whom our salvation springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute, unrestrained devotion to Himself. We can never experience Jesus Christ, or selfishly bind Him in the confines of our own hearts. Our faith must be built on strong determined confidence in Him.

It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief."

-Oswald Chambers

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Thanks-Giving Challenge - Out of the Ashes

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you all! I hope each one of you had a beautiful day, reflecting on and giving praise to the Lord for all that He has done in your life!

If you haven't visited Out of the Ashes Mission recently, I'm hosting a special challenge this weekend (the 22nd to the 25th) for Thanksgiving. I know, it's already late Friday...but don't worry, there are still 2 more days for you to get involved!

Stop on over and check out The Thanks-Giving Chain Challenge here.


"Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God."
2 Corinthians 9:6-12

Thank you so much and have a blessed weekend in Him!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Resting on His Promise

I know. I know. It's been a dreadfully long time since I last wrote, hasn't it?

Well, life has been full...and the Lord is SO good...and next week is Thanksgiving and...where is this year going?

Lately, the Lord has been leading me through a time of disciplinary refinement, for lack of a better term.

You know those times where you think to yourself, "Boy, I haven't struggled with many "big" sins lately...I guess the Lord is really working on my sanctification,"? And then, because you feel so high and spiritual, you pray (even though you know you don't really need to), "Lord, if there are any unknown areas of sin in my life, show them to me. Open my eyes to any area that I haven't given completely over to You." You finish your prayer, feeling content that you are both an obedient and surrendered servant of the Lord.

A week or two goes by and suddenly, things change. The Lord starts revealing sins in your life that you never saw or had simply grown calloused to. To make it "worse," it's not the "safe reputation" kind of discipline. It's the kind where the Lord uses your parents, siblings, and friends to bring those sins to light. It's painful and it's hard. You ask the Lord why all of this is being thrust upon you and He gently reminds you of that proud prayer you spoke, asking Him to refine you.

Mhhmm...can anyone else relate? This is where I've been the past couple days, working through ungodly habits, confessing previously unrealized sins, and re-discovering the boundless grace and mercy of my Savior.

No, it's not fun....but truly, this is where sanctification begins, isn't it?! In brokenness. In repentance. In learning to lay myself and all my failures at the nail-pierced feet of Jesus.

I can claim that I've surrendered myself by prayerfully "giving" all I am to Christ. It sounds good. It feels spiritual. But if I plead for Christ to take all of me and then refuse when He comes to claim His possession, how is that true surrender? If surrender is merely lip action, I've only deceived myself.

arms outstretched,emotions,freedoms,happiness,joy,looking up,stretching,sun,women,peopleYes, it's a struggle, a constant struggle. It's all too easy for me to look at myself, see a host of previously unrecognized sins bogging me down, and become overwhelmed by my failures.

"It's too hard."
"I can never be victorious."
"I'm only good at failing; I'll never succeed!"

And it's true. Being victorious over sin is too hard on my own. I won't ever be victorious in my own strength. When I look at my resume, it's only a list of repeated failures and losses. But that's not where my eyes should be. Because I am "in Christ", there is now no condemnation and He has set me free from the law of sin and death! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

My eyes must continually be focused on Christ!

There's a beautiful example of this in 2 Chronicles 20. It says in verses 2, "Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, 'A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).'"

Can't you just imagine this scenario?! It's a normal day in the palace of the king. Everyone is going about their business, when suddenly a messenger bursts into the throne room with terror written across his face. He stumbles before the king and announces that a great enemy has come against Judah and is already in the land, ready to attack. Panic fills the throne room, yet each voice is hushed to hear what the king's decision will be. The pale-faced king sits in silence for a moment, pondering the overwhelmingly grave news.

In verse 3, we find out his response. "Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah."

I love how that was Jehoshaphat's first reaction. He was afraid, so what did he do? Turned his attention to seek the Lord.

In verse 6, he begins a prayer to the Lord in the presence of all the people. Notice the way that he approaches Him. "'O Lord  the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You." Jehoshaphat reminds himself and all the people of the character and power of  the God they serve.

And then, if you continue to verse 12, you arrive at the last sentence of his prayer... and one of my favorite verses.

"For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You."

Isn't that just beautiful?! Oh, I have used this verse so many times, when I find myself overwhelmed by my sin. Just like Jehoshaphat, our spiritual enemy is seeking to devour us. And when we are fighting in our own strength, there is nothing we can do to stop him.

We have to come to the end of ourselves and cease striving in our own strength. Only Christ and His power through us will be victorious over sin. We must look to Christ and remind ourselves, like Jehoshaphat, who our God is and what He has promised to do on our behalf. And then, as we'll see from our story in 2 Chronicles, we must trust our God and praise Him that He will do what He has promised.

Let's pick up where we left off with Jehoshaphat. In verses 15-17, we read the Lord's response to His people's cry for help. "'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's...You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.'"

This is such an encouragement, isn't it?! To know and be able to stand on the promise that our God is with us and He will be our salvation!

One more quick point. After the Lord spoke to the people, observe their reaction (verses 18-19). "..All Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord...[they] stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel, with a very loud voice." They praised and worshiped their God before He had done anything. Their enemy was still marching toward them. No victory had been wrought. They had every earthly reason to continue wallowing in fear. And yet, they didn't. Why? Because they stood on the promise of God, knowing that He would do all that He had said.

Oh, this is so convicting! How much more should we, who have been given the very Word of God and have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, take the Lord at His Word and charge confidently into battle, relying on His Word and the strength of His might?

O Lord, bring us to the end of ourselves. Show us our utter helplessness apart from You. Grow our faith in You and teach us to praise You, despite the circumstances of our life. Thank you for all of the promises that You've given us in Your Word. How blessed we are to be Your children! We look to You now and trust that You will do more than we could ask or imagine. Praise Your glorious name!

"Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, 
and in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than the watchmen for the morning;
indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is lovingkindness, 
and with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities."
Psalm 130

Saturday, November 3, 2012

IDOP for the Persecuted Church

Did any of you know that tomorrow, November 4th, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church? Our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world are constantly beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and killed for their faith. It's so easy to forget about them, while in the comfort and safety of our own lives. Yet, Christ has called us to remember those who are suffering, as if we ourselves were suffering with them.
So tomorrow, as other Christians around the world lift up the persecuted Church before the Throne of our Father, let's join with them and do the same! 

Below is a video from Gospel for Asia, highlighting the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters. Please watch and then be encouraged to pray (and not just tomorrow, but every day). 




Thursday, October 25, 2012

When You Want to Die for Christ, But He Won't Let You

 My mom shared the following blogpost with me tonight, which was written by C Michael Patton at Credo House Ministries. I thought it was so beautiful that I had to share it with you all. Enjoy and may it drive you to Christ!

When You Want to Die for Christ, But He Won't Let You ~

You know what it feels like: you are on fire; you are ready, willing and able; you don’t need any more sermons on Rom 12:1. You are a living sacrifice. You have read Radical. You have read Crazy Love. You are ready to die. You are ready to die for Christ, the Gospel and whatever other mission God puts you on.

Wherever, whatever, however God, I am ready to sacrifice it all.

Problem: there is no altar. Well, not like you thought. If it exists, it does not exist in the glory of your perceptions. You pray continually for God to show you his direction. There has to be a place for me in His army.

Here’s what you do:

You decide to become a missionary. You talk to your wife and your family about quitting your job and becoming a full time missionary in Africa. Why Africa? Just because. You wife thinks you are nuts and your children don’t understand. All attempts to infect her with the desire to die have the opposite effect. But you are not about to question your calling. In your spiritual high, you place some distance between you and your family, believing that it is the Lord’s will. Discouragement has yet to set in.

Or maybe . . .

You decide to start a church. Your passions will be realized as you minister in your local community, transforming all those around you with the preaching—expository preaching—of the word of God. You are sick of the churches that would not know the Gospel if it hit them in the knee cap. You are going to be the lighthouse on a hill. You don’t really know what to do so you get on Microsoft Word and make a flier. You put a nice Bible graphic that you found from Google image search on the flier, along with the announcement of the new Bible study that is going to be held at your friend’s coffee shop.

The day comes. Hundreds of fliers have been handed out. Two people show. One is your wife. The other is a nice young girl who just broke up with her boyfriend and had nothing else to do that night. It’s past time for the Bible study to start and you look outside in hopes that someone else will show. Someone pulls up and leaves upon the realization that they might be the only ones there. You attempt to teach the Bible study, but the disappointment of teaching two people when you hoped for 30 to 40 takes the wind out of your sails. All you want to do is go home and cry.

Or maybe . . .

You decide to go to seminary, but don’t get accepted.

Or maybe . . .

You start with a small missions endeavor, but you don’t get the funds.

Or maybe . . .

You go to your pastor and tell him you will serve wherever, but, not only is he not as excited about your prospective involvement as you thought he would be, there is nothing for you to do. He says he will call you if something comes up. Nothing ever comes up.

Or maybe . . .

You start with a bang, but then it fizzles and no one is as anxious and excited as you are. You feel let down and discouraged.

What do you do when you try . . . I mean really try to die for Christ, but he won’t let you. What do you do when you are on the altar and you don’t die, but your are getting really sunburned?

This is to those of you who feel called to do something big for the Lord, but it never happens.

Don’t give up your zeal.  The first two illustrations given above are round about reenactments of my life. Someone has once said that the Christian life is a life of starting over—every morning! Don’t let let-downs discourage you. You may be let down, but God has not set you down. Remember, he is not setting you on a 100 meter dash, but on a long distance run—a long distance run. I love new Christians who are set on giving their lives up for the Lord. But I am so saddened when I see those who had such a zeal reenter their old life with great discouragement, wondering why the Lord did not use them. God will use you. God is using you. But he does not carve out flashes in the pan. He creates endurance. I know . . . He does not move as quickly as we like. Keep the zeal and passion, but let the Lord set the pace. This is the hardest thing to do.


Ministry is not the de facto solution to satisfy your intense craving to die for the Lord. Remember, you are a living sacrifice. A living sacrifice. Don’t be surprised if you live! Don’t be surprised if you live a life that is rather ordinary, not making a significant impact every direction you turn. Don’t impose such a goal upon the Lord. Remember Abraham? What the heck was so great about his life? I don’t know that he ever held a great evangelistic crusade. He never traveled all over the world with nothing but his Bible. He never wrote any books. He did not pastor a church. He did not even start a blog. From what I read about him, if it weren’t for the Bible and God’s testimony about him, he would have never made much of a footprint in the world. Or, better, we would not have recognized the footprint he did make. Why then is he so great? Because he was a friend of God. He trusted him. Everyday, he believed God. He endured quietly.
Sometimes being a living sacrifice is just quietly trusting the Lord.

Be quiet and tranquil. The Lord will show your path in your tranquility. Paul tells the Thessalonians to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands” (1Th 4:11). Ouch. But impacts are never “quiet.” I want to make an impact. I want to stir things up. I want to drop a bomb on the world leaving behind the sign of the Trinity! The problem is that your bomb could be the very opposite of God’s plan. Your bomb could be you getting off the altar. God will direct you.
I have just watched a very dear friend who had so much zeal for the Lord, so much passion to follow him, so much desire to die that he now sits, divorced, estranged from his wife and family, with his head in his hands wondering why the Lord gave him a spiritual cement job. In his zeal, he outran the Lord and left his wife because he could not wait for her to catch up.

Your passions may open the doors you expect and they may not. But you are to sit on the altar, no matter where you are or how God leads, and be a living sacrifice. Chuck Swindoll once said that the problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar. Get back on the altar.

What do you do when you cannot die for Christ? Live for him.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Empty of Self ~ A Quote

"The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty of self and constantly depending on the Lord for supplies, to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus, weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits."
~Charles Spurgeon

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Musings...

It's October already! Wow! Is anyone else amazed at how quickly September flew by?

Well, it's been awhile since I posted anything on this blog. It's been a very busy last couple of weeks! Forgive me for my absence....


 "The preoccupations of young women…do not change very much from generation to generation. But in every generation there seem to be a few who make other choices."
– Elisabeth Elliot –

I've read this quote before, but lately I've been thinking a lot about this. I'm turning 18 tomorrow and there's something about birthdays that cause me to reflect.

I want to be one of those few....those few who choose to reject the typical pattern of a young woman and live a life of radical abandonment to Christ. I don't want to be obsessed by the newest movies, caught up in the latest fashion trends, or absorbed in seeking the attention of young men. I don't want to waste my life in comfortable apathy. 

I want Christ. I want to be full of Him, used by Him, and in love with Him. Oh, how I want to be one of those few in this generation that would pursue Christ, no matter what anyone might say or do. 

I desire these things so much...and yet I see how far I am from them. 

I still see the reeking selfishness in my heart, the bitter pride that bites and attacks those closest to me. I am grieved to observe my disobedient heart, my judgmental mind, and my piercing tongue. 

I know. He is sanctifying me. He is continuing to grow me up and chisel off the ugliness. But sometimes, doesn't it feel like it's taking forever? Or that it's not even happening at all? 

Oh God, help my unbelief!

I'm reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9.

“'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

How good it is to know that my sanctification rests in His hands! His grace is sufficient and I can trust that He will continue to do what He has promised to complete. 

But oh, that doesn't mean that I will ever stop praying and pleading with my Father! He is the only One who can make me one of those "few;" I must continue to ask Him, as He has commanded, to seek His ever-straying servant. It is only through His extended grace that I will ever seek, love, and serve Him more. 

May the Lord make this following verse the prayer of our hearts....

"Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways." Psalm 119:37

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Blogger's Prayer~

I found this a couple weeks back and was so challenged by it! Oh, that this would be my continual prayer!

"I am no longer my own blogger, but Thine.

Refine me with each post how You will, rank me how You will.

Put me to service, or put me to suffering.

Let me be a follower, instead of seeking followers.

Let me post for thee or be put aside for thee,

Lifted high, only for thee, or brought low, all for thee.

Do with me and each post whatever you will, because You alone know best.

Let me not strive but submit.

Let me not compete but care.

Let me not desire hits but holiness.

Let my blog be full of You, and let it be empty of me.

Let me crave all things of You, let me care nothing of this world.

Let my words be worthy of the greatest of audiences: You.

And You are enough.

May I write not for subscribers… but only for Your smile.

May my daily affirmation be in the surety of my atonement, not the size of my audience.

May my identity be in the innumerable graces of Christ, never, God forbid,

the number of my comments.

And may the only words that matter in my life not be the ones I write on a screen- but the ones I live with my skin.

I freely and heartily yield every sentence, every title, every post, every comment… or no comments… all to Your pleasure and perfect will.

My only fame is that I bear your name.

My only glory is the gift of Your Grace.

My only readership, Your eyes that seek to and fro to find a heart hard after you.

Make this so. Lord…

Yahweh, You alone are my God, not Google.

Jesus, You alone are my Savior, not site meters.

And Holy Spirit, you alone are my Comforter, not comments.

So be it, today, yesterday, and every post to come.

This is my prayer I have made on earth, over this keyboard…
may it be ratified in heaven.

Amen."

~ Ann Voskamp

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Answer Is.....

Alright, it's time for the unveiling of the announcement!

Thank you to everyone who commented! I loved reading your guesses. :)

The announcement is....a new website! (Yes Patrick, you were right! Congratulations!) ;D

The new website/blog is called Out of the Ashes Mission and is the birthing of something the Lord laid on my heart about a year ago. It's so exciting to see it finally coming into existence! Praise the Lord! I would love to tell you all about it right now, but to save from sounding repetitious, I'll let you find out about it on the actual website. Click the blog button below to check it out!

Oh, and one more thing. Make sure to sign up to be a follower or to get the email updates. I'll be posting on there pretty regularly (Lord willing), so you'll be assured to get the posts if you sign up.

May you each have a wonderful day in the Lord!


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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Any Guesses???

Well, it's officially the beginning of fall. I can't believe that it's already here, but school buses are again being seen in the neighborhood, leaves are starting to appear on the ground, and my calendar insists that it's September.

Time sure is flying by...

And with this new season, comes an announcement.

No, I'm not engaged, going to college, or leaving on a missions trip.

But, can you guess what I might be announcing?

See below for riddle. (Answer will be published on Monday.)

I'd love to hear your guesses! :)



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Friday, September 7, 2012

Even through the Tears...

Hello friends!
For the past several months, I've been following a wonderful blog called Proverbs 31 Wannabe. I've always been greatly encouraged by Tessa's posts; her love for the Lord is very evident. Recently, she asked me to write a guest post. So, I just thought I would let you know that a new post is up...it's just over at another blog. :)

Below is a snippet from the post that's over on Tessa's blog. And don't just go over to her blog to read the rest of my post. Sign up and follow her blog as well! I know you'll be encouraged!


I saw it out of the corner of my eye. The glass haphazardly rocked back and forth, warning me of its impending fall. I lurched across the kitchen, grasping the container only seconds before its oily contents would have spilled all over the new rug. “Thank you Lord,” I breathed, “thank you Lord!” My mind immediately jumped to the “what if” scenario, imagining the hours I would have had to spend cleaning the kitchen, if it had been smeared with splattered oil. I breathed a sigh of relief and again thanked the Lord for saving me from such a “horrible” situation. 

Would you have thanked Me if the oil had spilled?

Continue reading at Proverbs 31 Wannabe....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pictures from Recent Adventures

Hello Everyone! Makenna invited me (Ariana, her sister) to post my pictures from our family's recent adventures! So, here they are.

                                           We recently visited the Woodland Park Zoo!





 Our family at Megarama Day! It's a huge farm where families who have Down Syndrome children can come and ride horses, go to the beach, and meet one another! It was a lot of fun.


                                                        Enjoying a few moments at the beach!







Conner Dressing up at Megarama Day!



                                                         Makenna- a cowgirl at heart! =)                                       
                
  Camera Man

Enjoying her coffee

                                                                 Our family Kayaking




Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Have a glorious day! =)
~Ari

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Life Lessons: Sickness, Surrender, and My Precious Jesus

Hello dear readers...

I'm terribly sorry that I haven't yet posted the pictures that I promised to. My mom and sister have been sick for the past couple days, so I've been much busier than usual, taking on the "motherly" duties. :) It's been a wonderful time of once again recognizing (I feel like this is a continual lesson) my need to lean solely on Christ, especially when I'm tired and worn out, my emotions are spent, and there's still a million things to be done.

Over the past two days, there have been many times of falling into impatience, anger, self-pity, and bitterness. But isn't our God so good?!  He continues to pick me back up and graciously lead me to surrender...again and again.

Surrender. Giving thanks in every circumstance. Serving with a joyful heart. These are the things He is teaching me right now, the lessons that are so hard to learn. But He is teaching me, slowly but surely. Even when I don't feel "spiritual", even when I don't think that I'm growing in Him, even when I see the ugliness that I thought was gone boil up inside my heart again, I must trust my God. He has promised to continue refining me into His image; shouldn't His Word be enough? I must look to Christ, not myself.

"I am Yours; save me!" These words often pass my lips throughout the day, yet I wish that I reminded myself of this truth more. It needs to be His work in me; there is nothing I can do to change my selfishness, my bitterness, or my pride. He alone can change my heart and bring forth the dawning of His light in the dark night of my soul. I must trust Him. Oh Lord, help my unbelief!

I came across these verses tonight from Micah.

"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, o my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me."
~Micah 7:7-8

Oh, this is so beautiful! How great is our God; He is our ever faithful Rock! And though we may fail, though we may fall, He will pick us up and bring us to victory in Him! Oh, my friends, let us wait for our God. Let us surrender ourselves completely to Him and watch expectantly to see what He will do.

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Well, I wasn't planning on writing all that I did above. I came on my blog planning to write a quick note saying, "Sorry that I haven't posted pictures...don't have time, so here's a quote from Charles Spurgeon,"(by the way, the quote from Spurgeon is below) but I just started typing and that's what flowed out of my heart.  Now that I think about it, I probably could have posted the pictures in the time it took me to write what I did. :) But, it's okay. The pictures will get posted eventually, but I needed to reflect on His faithfulness tonight...and He knew that. Again, I'm overwhelmed...He is so good.

So, here's that quote (that I mentioned above) from Charles Spurgeon. I read this tonight and it blessed me greatly. May it turn your gaze towards your Savior with a heart overwhelming with gratefulness and love. He is certainly worthy of it!

"My Master has riches beyond the count of arithmetic, the measurement of reason, the dream of imagination, or the eloquence of words. They are unsearchable! You may look, and study, and weigh, but Jesus is a greater Savior than you think Him to be when your thoughts are at the greatest. My Lord is more ready to pardon than you to sin, more able to forgive than you to transgress. My Master is more willing to supply your wants than you are to confess them. There is no music like the music of His pipe, when He is the Shepherd and you are the sheep and you lie down at His feet. There is no love like His, neither earth nor heaven can match it. Lord, teach us more and more of Jesus, and we will tell out the good news to others."
~Charles Spurgeon

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sneak Peek~ Recent Adventures

I know it's been several weeks (or has it been months?) since I've posted family pictures up on my blog. And because I've had several requests to post more pictures, I believe it's about time.

I was hoping to post those pictures today, but since I didn't have time, here's a sneak peek of the blogpost that will be coming in the next couple days.

I hope you're all enjoying this beautiful Monday, rejoicing in the goodness of our great God!


Megarama Day on Whidbey Island







Kayaking in Bellingham