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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Boldness to Enter

John 1:36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

The priests in the temple were quietly, reverently going about their duties in the temple that day. There was a high Sabbath, the Passover, the very next day, and preparations were being made for the holy celebration of the Jews' deliverance from Egypt. Perfect lambs would have their blood shed and poured out for the sins of others. Unleavened bread and bitter herbs would fill the mouths of devout Jews all over Jerusalem, the very next day.

None of the people could come into God's presence freely, to pour out their hearts in praise and worship, because the way was not yet made into that Holy of Holies. A thick, impenetrable curtain hung in the temple, a visible, tangible separation between the sons of men and the holy presence of God. 

Until that day. As the priests prepared the altar for the lambs of sacrifice the next day, just outside the city, God's Perfect Lamb was being killed. As the bitter herbs were gathered, the Messiah was tasting the bitterness of death. As the unleavened bread was to be broken, the Living Bread himself was being broken and His blood poured out for the sins of the entire world. 

So few realized how holy, how perfect, how just was the sacrifice happening on this day! To the spectators standing by, it was either a day of great joy that the man who had caused so much chaos was finally gone; or a day of deepest grief that the Saviour was being crucified. I wonder if any person watching the crucifixion of our Lord realized that the way was being paved, the door to the very presence of Almighty God was being torn open by the death of the One on the middle cross!

In the dim silence of the temple, the earth began to shake. Faint tremors at first, but building, growing, until it seemed as if the very skies themselves must be falling, crushing the fragile world to pieces. 

The temple was no longer silent. The roar of the earth, crying out at the death of its Creator, echoed through the massive halls. Pottery shattered, metal instruments and vessels clashed to the floor, and priests and worshippers alike scrambled for cover from falling dust and rubble.

And then, as the precious Lamb took His last breath, it happened.

The veil, the wall that none dared to touch or pass--even the high priest could be struck dead on the one day a year he entered into it--tore apart from top to bottom. Can you imagine the sound it must have made as the separation between man and God's holy presence was ripped in two? Historical records indicate that the veil was at least 4 inches thick, woven of thick, strong materials, and so heavy it took 300 men to move it. This in itself is an amazing thing--it could not have been torn simply from the earthquake. It was the hand of God, removing the barrier and opening the way to His throne because of the sacrificial death of His only Son. It is so powerful to hear of this act of God...It demonstrates so clearly that the work of salvation truly was complete. When Christ said, "It is Finished", it was. Forever.

Praise God that we no longer need to live under the bondage of the law, offering sacrifices for sin day by day! I am so thankful that I can now come boldly before the throne of grace! I can talk to God any time of day, wherever I am, with the knowledge that through Christ, I am enabled to do so. What a wonderful God we serve!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Mind Stayed on Jehovah

Isaiah 26:3-4 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

These verses are fairly well known, so much so that I feel we tend to overlook them sometimes. Just because a verse is embedded in your mind does not diminish its power! 

One important thing I have noticed recently is the word "mind" in verse 3. 

Who will The Lord keep in perfect peace and give everlasting strength to? The one whose mind is stayed on Him. The man or woman who chooses to make their thoughts be focused on the things of God instead of the world. The one who has temptation come knocking and turns from it with the knowledge that to succumb would be to grieve the heart of a holy God. The one who keeps their thoughts from straying to places they should not go. 

When all is said and done, where does every sin start? In the mind. You can't steal something before you think about stealing something. You can't lie without creating the lie in your mind first. You can't become bitter and angry at someone unless you first thought over your perceived wrongs from them and chose not to deal properly with the anger. 

When your mind is stayed and fixed on the Most High, low thoughts have no place. When you are focused on the Holiest of the Holy, unholy thoughts can't enter. When you are trusting the One whose perfect compassion and love redeemed you from eternal death, how can hateful or unloving thoughts take root? 

To the one whose mind is stayed on God, there is promised perfect peace. Freedom from turmoil and unrest. A place of refuge under the shadow of His mighty wings. There is also promised everlasting strength. Strength to fight against the temptation that pounds in from all sides. Strength to stand when others are falling into sin. Strength to walk in His footsteps even when the path becomes rough and jagged. 

It takes faith and purpose of heart to keep our minds stayed on Jehovah. It's not something that will happen in one instant. But how worthwhile it is when more and more of our time is spent meditating on the things of God and on His Word, instead of filling our minds with the things of earth! How precious it is when the love of Christ begins to overshadow the temptations that come, giving us strength to endure and resist them! Is it not worth the effort? If we love Him, we should be keeping His commandments, and they are not grievous! 

This week, I want to focus my heart and mind on the King who saved me, turning away from the chaos of a wicked world. I want to fight in the strength of The Lord against the temptation that will come. I want to reach out to the lost around me with love, knowing that in Christ lies the peace that they seek.

Will you join me?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Lovely Sayings: August 31, 2017

Hello, all you wonderful people!
I have read some articles on a blog by a young lady named Moriah lately, and one of her blog series stuck out to me. She calls it "Sweet Saturday Sayings", and publishes a post every week with a bunch of beautiful quotes and sayings about various and sundry topics. 

I thought I would steal her idea (because what would the blogging world be without some honest plagiarism? ;P). I don't think it will be every week, but I do have a LOT of good quotes saved on my Pinterest boards and around my house, etc. My life is surrounded by words. Different fonts, colors, and hundreds of phrases of joy fill the walls of my room. So why not start a little blog series that hopefully will bless you all in the same way? :) Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images, and though I don't know if I can give credit to the original creator on every one, I hope it's ok if I'm simply showing them on my non-monetized blog. ;P Here are some quotes to brighten your long weekend up even more! ;) (By the way, my comments on each image are underneath the quote, not above. Sometimes it's hard when there is a row of images and words to figure out which one I'm referencing. ;)

Isn't this one lovely? The hands of Almighty It makes me think of Isaiah, where it says that He holds the waters in the palm of His hand. :)

This one blows me away. I have no words. :O

So very true. <3

I need to take this to heart and practice it every day. Thoughts have power!! 

I try not to open my phone before I open my Bible, but it is a definite conscious decision that has to be made every day to put God first!

This is from Ann Voskamp, whom I don't agree with on everything, but my goodness...that lady has a gift with words. And some of her quotes are so beautiful they can bring tears to my eyes. :')

So good!

Hopefully this one is big enough to read...this is incredibly true. As an ENFP, I have to struggle against letting emotions or feelings become things that I rely on too much. That is a dangerous game!

How important prayer is!

And finally, one of my favorite quotes of all time. I want to write a song with this phrase soon. :) 

I hope you all enjoyed this post!! Let me know what you think...should I do more like it? Also, if you have a favorite quote or verse, send me an image or just tell me what it is and I'll try to include it in the next quotes post! :) Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Perfect Words

Psalm 45:1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
An unassuming journal.
A pen with flowing ink.
A writer wildly passionate,
Finding a space to think. 
She puts the pen to paper,
And words begin to flow.
They tremble in her fingers
And they set her face aglow.
They tumble quickly from her mind
In waterfalls of grace.
They line the path she's treading
As she seeks her Saviour's face.
In words she finds expression
Of the galaxies inside.
In words she calls to question
The fears she cannot hide.
Her words are raw and richly full
Of love for Lord and life.
She finds in words a quiet lull
From the world's thunderous strife.
But human words cannot describe
The greatest Love of all.
The Love that chose to sacrifice
For men bruised by the fall.
The words for that can only be spoken
By the tongue of a Holy God.
And though she write with ink like an ocean,
Her words will ever be flawed.
In this she turns to the Holy Writ,
The only perfect Word.
So pure and undefiled is it,
Through countless years preserved.
In this great Word she finds at last
Fulfillment all complete.
Her future, present, and her past,
With perfect love replete.
So she writes with sweet abandon,
In the light from worlds above.
She pours her soul out on the page
As she shows a cruel world her love.
She uses her words, small though they be,
As a candle in the blackness.
The broken hearts of others see,
Her light of peace and gladness.
And though her words will never be
As perfect as she longs for,
She knows they will be when she sees
The King of Heaven her heart adores.
When her storm tossed ship comes to rest
On the shores of eternal glory,
She will finally have the words to express
Her soul's redemption story.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

To Know Him More Fully!

Psalm 42:1-2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

"When we look to God, we trust. When we look to things, and circumstances, and surroundings, we grow anxious." ~~J. McConkey

"[Salvation] is where we begin [to know and pursue God], but where we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awful and mysterious depths of the Triune God neither limit nor end." ~~A.W. Tozer

"The deepest fact about us is our desperate need of God." ~~Unknown

I would like to share with you something that I wrote in my prayer journal a few weeks ago. As I looked back over the things I'd written, these quotes came back to me as going hand in hand with it. I hope it is a blessing to you!

Prayer Journal, entry for ~July 30, 2017
Lately God has been teaching me an invaluable lesson. It is one that many others have learned, and even written about, before me. It's a lesson that, sadly, we can't seem to learn second hand. We must each find our way through it on our own. It is the path of realizing that there IS no complete and total fulfillment outside of knowing God. I will never find the fullness of joy in writing. In music. In a relationship. In a friendship. No mere thing and no mere human can ever take the place of the deepest longing of my soul--that of knowing and communing with God. Nothing can fill that hole. The more I try to fill it, the more weary and heartsick I will become. He is my strength, my Redeemer, my portion, my salvation, my Rock, my Fortress, the lifter up of mine head, the One True God, my King, my God. He is all. He. Is. All. Only God.

And another glorious wonder? God wants to know me. I am priceless and full of worth in His eyes. I have done nothing worthy of the God of the universe even noticing me, and yet He tells me that His thoughts of me are more numerous than can be counted. He loves me. How? I will never know. He is God. He is perfect. He is The Holy One, and yet He condescends to care about ME. I, who wanders away from Him at every turn. I, who is foolish and ungrateful, and does not love or praise Him as He deserves. He loves me. He wants me to know Him, He wants to fill that deepest longing of my heart. Wonder of all wonders, I am His. And He is mine. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Fun Post: July favorites

Here we are, in the beginning of a new month!

WHAT?!!? *hyperventilates*

Ok, I'm good now. ;P Seriously though, this year has gone by SO fast!! Somehow even when there aren't any huge plans in place at the beginning of the summer, it does seem to really fill up quickly! :) Here are some things I've been up to this past month:

Wings of the Wind, by Connilyn Cossette. This was the third book in the "Out of Egypt" series by this author, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them!! They follow the journeys of different young women throughout the quest from Egypt to the Promised Land. I read the first two, and this one hadn't come out yet, so I had an impatient couple of months of anticipation for it. ;) I am way too cheap to buy books on their first release, so I always wait till the library gets them, which adds a bit of time as well. This book was worth the wait! Mrs. Cossette is one of my favorite authors now! :)

An Assembly Such As This and Duty and Desire, by Pamela Aidan. My friend Jenny recommended this trilogy to me, and I'm now into the third book. This lady wrote a series about one of the most famous literary characters of all time, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. :O Trying to write in the style of Jane Austen is a pretty tall order to fill, but Pamela Aidan does a marvelously good job of it!! There have been many times as I've been reading this series that I've totally forgotten that they weren't written by Jane Austen! She writes in a style so similar to her, and of course stays true to the original Pride and Prejudice, while filling in details and silent places (of which there are many), with her own story of Mr. Darcy. And let's face it...who didn't wish to know a little more about Mr. Darcy? ;P There are a lot of long spaces in P&P where we don't really know what's going on with him, (such as when he is in town during the time that Jane is also in town. What is he doing?! ;) Anyway, there is a bit of true to the period language, which is annoying, but there isn't too much of it. Just a caution for young readers. :)

 I am currently in the middle of around 6 other books as well, but I am not sure if I can endorse all of them yet, so I'll save some for next month's favorites post. ;) On my reading list for the very near future is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I have heard SO much about that book and I'm really looking forward to reading it. 

My grandparents in Salem, Oregon. We had such a lovely time with them, though it always feels a bit too short. ;) Both of our lives are so crazy, we don't get to see them but a couple times a year, so we try to enjoy every minute of it! We went to a park and a carousel, (and I got Oma to ride the carousel with me, which was super fun!!! :). We had our cousins over for a very jam packed evening of fun...I have 16 cousins on that side, though only 12 live in Salem. Counting our family's kids, there were 20 kids, and including the adults, there were 27 people there. ;D Like I said, pretty full place, especially since my grandparents' house isn't that huge. We always have tons of fun though. We went on a few nice walks, and shopped at Costco, and went to the Salem YMCA...I like our Y here in Wenatchee a lot better, but that's beside the point. ;P On our last night, we had a huge dinner out on the back porch, and then played ladder ball for a long time. I absolutely love that game!! It was such a blessing to be able to spend some time with them. :)

For the first time in 7 or 8 years!! I hadn't been camping in forever, but while some of the kids were at church camp, we got the opportunity to have a free night's stay at a campground about half an hour away. We had a blast floating around in a shallow part of the river, playing volleyball, roasting marshmallows on the grill (absolutely no campfires are allowed here during fire season), and waking up at 5:15 when it got light. ;P One thing that was SO cool was that the tent my dad bought last year has a mesh top, so I could see the stars as I was falling asleep. <3

Listening to...
The Planet Earth II soundtrack. It's on Spotify, so I love listening to it as I work. (It's on YT too, but then I can't  turn off my phone while it plays. ;P) Some of my favorite songs from it are Planet Earth II Suite/Main Theme, Garden of Ice, Starlings, and Flight over the Alps. You should go listen to at least those ones on YouTube. Like right now. Look, I'll even give you a link to the playlist!!!! LINK THAT YOU SHOULD REALLY CLICK ON. Can you tell that I just absolutely love this music? ;P

Taking pictures of...
Tons of stuff. ;P I got an iPhone 6 Plus for a very good price this past month (yes, I switched over from Android very reluctantly. No, I am not a full on Apple maniac. ;P) I admit they have some advantages for sure, but there are some things I really miss about Android, such as haptic feedback and the back button. ANYway, moving along... ;D One thing I love about my new phone is how good the camera is!! It has been really fun being able to take good pictures, and I've enjoyed playing around with editing on Snapseed. I'm not a photographer by any means, but having a nicer camera is sure fun!! :)

Thrilling with excitement about...
My upcoming missions trip to Fiji and Samoa in November!!!! I've refrained from saying anything on here about this until I was sure, but it does look like The Lord is working things out so I can go both to Fiji for the missions trip with my church, and afterwards to go back to Samoa with my dear friend Abby for a visit!!! She and I are sooo excited about both of these incredible opportunities, and would appreciate your prayers as we prepare for it. I have a fundraiser page that gives some more details about the trip, you can view that here.

In an area I never knew had hiking trails! Last week a church member took us up to Mission Ridge, about 20 minutes from my house, and we hiked up to two sparkling lakes in the mountains. It was an amazing time to go, because all the wildflowers were in full bloom. I have almost never seen any place so beautiful in my life, and I've been a lot of places! It was so peaceful and quiet. Some parts of the woods were bright and sunshine could reach to the forest floor, making tiny ferns and plants reach through the layers of pine needles. Other areas were dark and still, with black beards of lichen on the trees. When we got to the lakes, it looked like a painting with the trees mirrored in the perfectly glassy water and flowers of every color lining the banks. I saw a tiny snake with patterns like a fancy necktie gliding along the top of the water. On the way down, I gathered an armload of wildflowers, and you'd never be able to tell where I picked them, they were so profuse. It was such a stunningly breathtaking display of creation. 

Going out...
To the park every weekend for outreach. Wenatchee has a massive amount of public parks, and one in particular usually has a lot of people walking around in the evening during the weekends. We have been going every Friday night and Saturday morning to witness to people, and have had some really good conversations. Besides getting to walk through the beautiful riverfront park! I love Wenatchee. :)

Insanely happy with...
My new rolltop writing desk that I bought on Craigslist. I love it SO. MUCH. Ahh!! I could just sit there all day!! ;D

Thankful for...
The perfection of summer evenings--When it's been hot during the day, and then it cools off, but the ground is still holding some of the heat, so it's the most comfortable weather there could ever be for watching the sunset...just wow. :O Kombucha. Old tv shows. Snail mail from friends. Unexpected letters telling me a poem I entered in an online contest went to the semi finals and they are going to publish it in an anthology?! Cookie dough. Having church in the park with a BBQ and potluck afterwards. Playing Settlers of Catan with the kids. Singing "Prince of Egypt" songs at the top of my lungs. ;P (That movie was my childhood, ok??) SUMMER. 

Well, this post turned out to be a long one, so if you're still hanging out with me at this point, congratulations and thank you!! :D I hope each and every one of you is having a lovely summer! <3 Love,

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Refuge from the Storm

Psalm 62:7-8 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

When the sky is black and thundering,
And the fierce winds howl and moan.
When frightened hearts are wondering
How to face the storm alone.
When the world you've known comes tumbling
Down around your ears,
And your heart is weakly stumbling
As you struggle to face your fears.
Oh, child of God, why linger
In the shadow of the storms?
When your Saviour promises refuge
In the shelter of His arms.
He will hide you under mighty wings
He'll give you peace and rest.
When the mighty wind and rains beat down,
Lean on His gentle breast.
He holds out nail scarred hands to you,
His voice calls out your name.
In the fiery trial you're going through,
He'll walk with you in the flames.
He shed His life blood to redeem
Your soul from doom in hell--
Is He not able to keep you, then,
When life gets rough as well?
The choice to put your faith in Him
Will never cause regret.
When all around you things look grim,
He's a solid rock to stand upon--
Oh, my friend, do not forget!
Sometimes He'll choose to calm the storm
With a whisper, "Peace, be still."
Other times He wants you just to rest
In His perfect, precious will.
A refuge from the storm awaits you,
But you alone can choose;
Will you follow Christ in the path He takes you?
Or wander from Him, lost and confused?