Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Some people watch TV to relax, some read books. I surf the internet. Especially since my parents have no TV, and my mom has so many books. Inevitably, I would revert to my old ways and stay up till 2 or 3am all caught up in the story. I need my beauty sleep, y'all!

I'm sitting in my pjs on my mom's guest bed in Philly. Mom and Dad have no internet service. The best they had to offer was a phone line. Through the miracle of technology, I added internet service to my blackberry, and am now surfing the net (at a surprisingly RAPID pace) by tethering my laptop to my blackberry. Yes, I could simply surf the web on my phone, but the screen is really small, so I tether. I love modern technology.

I am so blessed to be here. Blessed to have been able to attend service at Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia last night. Blessed to be spending Christmas with Cliff, Ellyna, and Sophia, along with Ellyna's family. Blessed to be God's precious child. Blessed to know He has a plan, and I just need to be available to Him. Blessed to be saved out of my sin and depravity into the glorious light of His Gospel. Blessed to know Him, trust Him, and claim Him as my own.

My Christmas present to you: Mercy Me: Emmanuel

I hope you are equally blessed this Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

stats stink sunday

here goes:

1. Favorite Christmas Carol: O Holy Night. Favorite arrangement of this song: Chris Tomlin, Glory in Highest.

2. School is done. Got an A in my lit class. Really enjoyed the course. Signed up for 3 classes next semester. Let the insanity begin.

3. Major product rollouts at work this week. For the most part, things went smoothly. I put in a lot of OT, and I was pretty burnt out by Wednesday.

4. My response to burn out is to shut myself in my room and watch pointless boring movies all night.

5. Going home on Christmas Eve. Can't wait to see my family again. Can't wait for them to see me. I am back to graduation weight (highschool). Haven't been this thin in 12 years.

6. Thanks to a roommate selling Mary Kay, I cannot leave the house without makeup and retain my self-respect. I used to be soooo low maintenance. :(

7. Still on a brownie kick. When I am craving chocolate, it's always brownies, and nothing else will satisfy.

8. My favorite verse of the week (and pretty much always) is Zephaniah 3:17.
"For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song."
What a beautiful picture of His love for us!

Until next time,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unspeakable Joy... Probably longest post ever

I'm sitting here in my candlelit bedroom listening to Chris Tomlin on iTunes...If you haven't gotten it, I strongly recommend his Glory in The Highest Christmas album. I love his new version of Joy to the World. Maybe its because I've been through so much heartache recently, and now I'm coming out of that heartbreak into a brand new me, and that chorus just expresses it so clearly.

I was pretty shocked when God called me out of First Baptist Lutz. Shocked, heartbroken and just plain flummoxed. I thought that the stability of that church was exactly what I needed, so I didn't understand His plan in having me leave. Here's the sequence of events:
  1. I cleared my schedule to spend as much time as possible with the youth, but I wasn't seeing clearly where I was supposed to be there.
  2. I started looking for a place to live in Lutz, but wasn't feeling it. Something just kept holding me back from committing to an apartment.
  3. I began to clearly see that as much as I loved the youth, I wasn't supposed to be there.
  4. I was told on no uncertain terms to get into Divorce Care. It was the one thing I had been avoiding since Chris left. I don't know why. Possibly because I didn't even want to acknowledge that I was divorced.
  5. Being told I had to go to Divorce Care quite frankly ticked me off. But I respected the person who told me that enough to stop and examine it. I started looking for recovery classes in the area. I was supposed to be in class at USF on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and church Wednesday nights, which left Mondays. I'm not good when I'm running every night. Not having down time stresses me out beyond belief. I fasted and prayed that Saturday. I found a Tuesday Night recovery class at The Crossings. "God," I said, "If I'm supposed to attend THIS divorce care, let me find an online class at USF that I need to take." I found the last seat in an exit course.
  6. That night I texted a friend of mine because I wanted to talk. She was on her way out the door to attend her church. I decided to meet her there.
  7. The pastor changed the sermon. I knew I was in trouble. At first I was thinking about how awesome his vision was, and what a great church. Then I heard these words, like a lightening bolt: "I have this press for PRAYER, and I'm taking YOU ALL WITH ME!!" The one thing I KNOW I've been called to is Prayer. I thought "O NO! But God, if you move me away from Lutz, I'll feel like I'm in exile!" Just then the pastor read Jeremiah 24:6. He said "I will bring you back from exile and your fruit will be TWICE as sweet!" I turned to my friend. "Do you still need a roommate?" I asked. She'd only been asking me to move in for six months. She grabs her journal and shows me where she wrote Psalm 118. Next to it she wrote "NO FEAR". Just then the Pastor reads it over the pulpit. I'm not sure how God could have been any clearer.
  8. I moved in on 10/31/2009. On November 1 I open Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest and read this:
There is no such thing as a private life -- "a world within a the world" -- for a man or a woman who is brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ's sufferings. God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves, we are called into the fellowship of the gospel, and things happen which have nothing to do with us, God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way; if you do not, instead of being of the slightest use to God in His Redemptive work in the world, you will be a hindrance and a clog.

The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged Reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as He gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so-called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says -- "Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, than thank Him for breaking your heart.

Thank you for breaking my heart, Abba Father. I trust you with my past, present and future. My life is yours. Take it, and do what you will. Your dreams for me are so much better than mine for myself.

Moving was the right decision. I love my home, my church, my new friends and my old friends. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. That gives me unspeakable joy!

Next post: Lifegroups



Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Faith of Tim Tebow...

This was forwarded to me via email. I have no way of verifying every fact, and I do not know exactly where it originated from, but I think there are some important truths in what is said here. So without permission or acknowledgement, here is : The Gospel on Offense - The Faith of Tim Tebow

by Mark Earley

America's largest church has a capacity to hold 16,000. But while Tim Tebow may not be a preacher, when he runs into the University of Florida's football Stadium - affectionately known as "The Swamp" - his congregation numbers just over 90,000. And you can bet they're hearing Tim's message.

It's not just that this University of Florida quarterback wears Bible verses etched into his “eye-black” on game days. Tim Tebow hasbeen making headlines for more than simply his Heisman Trophy win as a sophomore and his two national championships. This summer the New York Times, GQ, and Sports Illustrated, all covered the quarterback's strong Christian faith.

Last year, when the Florida Gators won the national championship, the pre-game show followed Tim into a local Florida prison where he can regularly be found sharing his testimony and preaching the Gospel. And this top-notch athlete, who spends his spring breaks and summers ministering to orphans in the Philippines has actually helped change the culture of the University of Florida . According to Sports Illustrated, "Since Tebow's arrival on campus, and in large part because of him, the University has launched a series of community-service initiatives." Even coach Urban Meyer has taken his family on a "Tebow-inspired mission trip to the Dominican Republic ."

The press seems to be fascinated with outspoken Christian quarterbacks like Tim Tebow; Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman winner; and now USC's Matt Barkley. Only a few decades ago, it would have been taken for granted that these would be the kinds of fellows any father would want his daughter to marry. Now they are put under the microscope as some kind of curious anomaly-well-known athletes who actually exhibit character.

In our doped-up, mug-shot celebrity culture, sadly these young men do look a little out of step. And that's to our culture's shame. Perhaps that is why last year when the press asked Tim Tebow a rather impertinent question - they were more embarrassed by the response than he was. It was at a Southeastern Conference news media event where one reporter asked in front of the crowded room, "Are you a virgin?" Tim answered with an unequivocal yes and had yet another platform to explain how his faith impacts every area of his life.

That platform for sharing the Gospel is exactly what Tim's parents prayed for before he was born. Tim's father, Bob, a missionary in the Philippines, had been weeping over the millions of babies aborted in America. It was then that he prayed, "God, if you give me a son, if you give me Timmy, I'll raise him to be a preacher." Soon after, when Pam Tebow learned she was expecting, the parents' faith was put to the test. After a series of grave complications, doctors encouraged them to abort the child. They refused. Born small and weak, Timmy struggled from the beginning. But his dad continued to tell him, "God's got a purpose for you, and at some point, He's going to call you to preach."

Dad was right. God's message would come through the roar of the crowd, beamed to millions via satellite. But little did they know, Tim would don a jersey, not robes, and use a stadium for his pulpit. Tim's a great example of an opportunity every believer has - to put our faith to work on the field of play where God has gifted us and called us.

"Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it." William Penn

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9 NIV