Friday, July 30, 2010

Never Failing Love

Hey everyone!

So I haven't written anything new because I didn't feel ready to. I am going to confess to you all that I have been going through a lazy season in my walk with Christ. And I can't explain why, or give any excuse. I just know that I can't write something I'm not sure I believe in myself, and I was experiencing doubt.

Doubt is such a scary thing. The "what ifs" that come up in our walk with Christ are really extreme questions. But I know now that because I went through this season, I am now that much MORE confident of God's unfailing love, and His determination to complete the work He started in my life so very long ago.

I wanted to share with you what God taught me through this season. I prayed a while back that God would allow me to understand just how much I need Him. I'm not saying I will ever truly get it, but I wanted to renewed appreciation for my need for Christ. We pray things like that, and then we sometimes forget, but God doesn't. And God will ALWAYS answer our prayers for Him to show us our need for Him!

We sing the songs that say "break me Lord." But do we really understand what we're asking? No one falls and breaks a bone and says "oh, that was fun!" No! We fall and get hurt and say, "How did that happen? What did I do to fall like that?" We pray for God to break us, then we're surprised when He does.

I had a teacher once tell our class that if someone is saved, and then sins, chances are he wasn't saved to begin with... I've since learned that that is ludicrous, but the thought still remains in my mind. It is understood that when we accept Christ, He takes up residence in our hearts and that begins to change us. But to believe that it means an overnight change to perfection is to set yourself up for failure and a tiresome cycle that will get you nowhere. We are saved by our Redemption, but we are being saved daily via Sanctification... Both are needed.

Why? Are we saved for Heaven, just in case we die before we're perfect? Of course not! That would mean God doesn't know when we're going to die. Rest assured, nothing happens that takes God by surprise. Nothing happens that leaves Jesus going "woah...did you see that? I didn't see THAT sin coming...I'm not sure I died for THAT one....oops."

The mere thought would be laughable, if it wasn't so heart-breakingly common. We run with the belief that if we are saved we will be perfect...therefore if we aren't perfect, we must not be saved. But this is SO flawed! We are seen as perfect in God's eyes when we realize that Christ is the only way we can be saved. When God is looking at us, He sees us as perfect because He sees His own Son. We see the now, He sees the end result. How beautiful is that!

And yet we fall into habitual sins. It is these sins, not the oops-I-didn't-think-first-kinds, but rather the addictions, the habits, the ones we struggle with daily (be they anger mis-management, inappropriate films or music, over-eating, lustful thoughts, laziness, anxiety...choose your poison), that make us question whether or not we are saved.

But my recent visit back to my past life (previous struggles that made a re-appearance) taught me a few things about what happens when we open our lives up to sin (I also have to give some credit for some of what I will say here to last night's metamorphosis lesson).

Before I continue, I want to make it clear. I do not believe God makes us sin just so we can see our need for Him. He hates sin...why would he compel us to do that which He hates? It's not a making...but rather an allowing...When I prayed for God to break me, I didn't know I'd fall into my old sin patterns....but He did, and He knew that He would be able to use that backsliding season for my eventual benefit and to further His will in my life. So, God does not MAKE us sin (nor does the devil..."the devil made me do it" is just as ridiculous as saying "God made me do it"...we make our own will, remember?)

Now, back to what I wanted to say:

When we open our lives up to sin, we also open our lives up to the father of lies.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.(John 8:44b)

When we decide to start listening to satan, he takes his cue and starts filling our minds with lies. Lies about anything and everything. We don't even notice it... then he lowers the boom. "If I were saved, I wouldn't be doing since I'm still struggling with this, I must not be saved." It sounds like a logical statement... philosophical at best. But it turns into a fear in our hearts that, maybe we're not saved!!!

Think of when you were a little child in the grocery store. You wandered off because something looked more interesting than following your parents...and suddenly you look aroubnd and realize, "mom's not there! I'm alone! I don't know where I am! I must find her!!!"

So it is with the child of God who has wandered away. We look around and realize we're alone. And the lies kick into overdrive, "look at you, yeah you're alone because God left you. He gave up on you because you messed up just one too many times. Just give it up, you're never going to be what God wants you to be."

But all we have to do is turn around...God is right there, waiting for us to run back into His arms. Rest assured, there will be scolding involved. But it is a scolding that leads to our own healing. It is just like when we found our moms in the store... she scolded us for running away, but while we are sorry we ran off, the joy of being back with our moms outweighed the scolding we were receiving. And now that many of you are moms (and even I felt this at times when my brother as a baby would run off for even a moment), you know that while you were scolding your child, your joy and relief to have them safe and back with you outweighed your anger at them for leaving. Your scolding comes from your desire to never go through the pain again and for your child to never have to be afraid and alone like that again.

God is the same way. He longs for us to remain in Him.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." John 15:9

This doesn't mean that when we wander, we lose our salvation. It does mean that there are consequences for our actions, both good and bad. And we can all attest to just how severe those consequences can be. But we have something those who are outside of Christ don't have. We have our Father, waiting for us to turn around and come back. And when we do, He will never turn us away. He will welcome us with open arms.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20b-24)

This is how God is with us when we come back to Him. It is a beautiful celebration. A wonderful reunion of Father and child.

And the greatest part of all, is when we have the courage to be honest with eachother and share our struggles and fears and concerns, as well as the truths God has laid on our hearts. With that, I hope and pray that this blesses you. Whether it does or not, I still consider this season worth the pain for me to come out even closer to my Jesus.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In looking back a little more, I found this paper I wrote for a science fiction class (believe it or not this was a science class...not a writing class... for HCC)... great class because it was a great teacher. Really no way to have failed. Fairly wonderful summer class from way back when. Anyway, we had to write a science fiction short story. Here was my submission...I believe I received an "A" on it...though I always did get "A's" and "B's" on my papers.

There is room for improvement and expansion, but I re-read it, having completely forgotten how it went, and I liked it all over again...I hope you guys enjoy it too! It's kinda long (4 pages printed), but worth it, I think. Anyway, enjoy!


Dr. Bourge and his colleagues were setting up for an important briefing at the Pentagon. They had finally made the discovery so many had been waiting for. They set up the charts, graphs, and result sheets, and prepared to give a presentation that was sure to shock and amaze anyone watching.
It had taken many years, but Dr. Bourge had finally found the results he’d been searching for for over 10 years. Little by little the press began to move into the room. Dr. Bourge could hear all the clicking and swiping of the cords and wires of the cameras. But no sound could possibly be louder than his own heart racing. He was so excited he could barely breathe.
Finally, he saw the secretary of state come out to the podium to announce him. As the press gave a light applause, Dr. Bourge stepped up to the podium and gripped the edges. He began with a shaky, “Thank you all for coming this morning.”
“My colleagues and I have been conducting stem cell research for the last decade. It has taken us much longer than we planned, but we have come up with some amazing discoveries. We have so far been able to use stem cells to cure Leukemia, Alzheimer’s disease, and even paralysis, in over 30 patients. Every experiment had already begun over 5 years ago. However, considering the fragile nature of the study, we decided to monitor patients for another 5-7 years each.
“We have come out with no recurrences of any of the aforementioned diseases, and we are now comfortable with our conclusions. Pending consent of the United States Supreme Court, curing of such diseases will be possible with the aid of stem-cells.”


Reverend Klein was eating his breakfast rather quietly, compared to his usual morning chatter with his family.
“Is everything alright, Dad?” asked his daughter, Elizabeth.
“Of course, Lizzie,” he answered, “Why do you ask?”
“Well, dad, you’ve been kinda quiet this morning.”
“Oh really? Well maybe it was because of the long evening I had yesterday at the church! You know, my job doesn’t end when I step down from the pulpit at the end of the Sunday service!!”
At this reaction, his little twin children, Janie and Sean, began to cry uncontrollably. Even Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears. Her father had never been like this before, but since last month, he’d become easily angered.


Mrs. Richman was everyone’s favorite teacher. She always had a wonderful surprise for all of her students. But today, as had been the case for the last few days, she had no surprise. In fact, the bigger surprise was how she acted today. She came in with a very tired look on her face, and she sounded absolutely drained. She shuffled into the classroom and plopped her purse on the desk. “Please open your books to page 56 and read quietly to yourselves while I read the story aloud.”
Her students sadly opened their books and began to read along. But in the back of everyone’s mind was a worry about what had happened to their beloved teacher. Mrs. Richman was usually so perky. What was going on? Ever since she got back from medical leave, she’d been very different.


Mr. Madison was working on his project when his supervisor knocked on the door. He came in with a big smile on his face and told Mr. Madison he had some news for him.
“I’ve decided to quit my job!” he exclaimed. He seemed so happy, but Mr. Madison didn’t like what he heard. Mr. Brinkley had always been absolutely in love with his work. It was his first and only love. He wasn’t even married. But this was a side to Mr. Brinkley that Mr. Madison had never seen. Mr. Brinkley’s face was shining, and he had a massive smile across his face. Even his eyes were glistening. Mr. Madison just had to ask.
“And what are you going to do after you quit?” Asked Mr. Madison.
“I’m going to be a teacher!” Said Mr. Brinkley.
Mr. Madison looked Mr. Brinkley square in the eye. There was nothing about his supervisor that was like a teacher. “Why the sudden change of heart?” he asked.
“I don’t know, Bill.” Said Mr. Brinkley. “Just a change in the wind I guess. I’m ready for a new challenge anyway.” He turned and happily stepped out. He even seemed to have a new spring in his step.


Angela Michaels was cleaning up the dishes after dinner. She was very worried about her husband. He was always home in time for dinner. In fact, more often than not, he was home early enough to help set the table. But today, that was not the case. It was already 10:30, and he hadn’t gotten home or called yet. Then, the phone rang. Angela ran to it and picked it up. “Bryan?” She asked, seemingly out of breath.
But it wasn’t Bryan. It was the hospital. “Mrs. Michaels? This is Dr. Hillbrand. Could you please come to the hospital right away? Your husband has been in an accident.”
Angela was speechless. She didn’t know what to think. Then, she finally came to her senses, and responded to the doctor. “I will be there in no more than 15 minutes.”
She quickly hung up the phone and picked it up again to call her neighbor. Gina was over in 2 minutes flat, and no sooner had she arrived than Angela bolted out the door.
She arrived at the hospital and asked for Dr. Hillbrand. When he came to the waiting room. He said that Bryan had been in an accident involving a drunk driver. “I wish those drunks would just stay off the road.” She said.
“Actually, Mrs. Michaels, your husband was the one who was found to be intoxicated. The other driver is in stable condition, but I can’t say the same for Bryan. He’s lost a lot of blood, and right now he is in the ICU. Please, Mrs. Michaels, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
But Mrs. Michaels was too shocked to answer any questions. Suddenly everything she held dear seemed to fade away. She felt hopeless with the thought of losing her husband. What if he didn’t make it? What would she do? And why was he drunk? He’d never even stepped into a bar in his entire life. He didn’t even drink wine! He never enjoyed the taste of beer. In fact, in all their marriage, Bryan had never had a drop of alcohol, except for one glass of champagne at their wedding.


Mrs. Richman came home after a long, hard day of work at the school. She had a message on her answering machine from the principle. “Mrs. Richman, this is Principle Jones. I have received some reports about your performance during this week. I’d like you to call me as soon as you get this message. If it’s too late, please just come into my office tomorrow morning, and we can discuss what is to be done about this situation.”
Mrs. Richman was rather worried about this, but it was already 7 o’clock. Even the little mischief makers who stayed in school for detention were home already. She decided to just relax, get a good night’s rest, and go into the office in the morning.
The next morning, the principle was worried. He said that more than three students had come in that week to report Mrs. Richman’s change in behavior. They had said that she was always tired and irritable, which was odd in comparison with the happy, perky, and patient teacher she had always been.
“Mrs. Richman, you’ve been teaching at this school for over 13 years. I’ve known you for seven of them. I’m worried about the way your students are describing you. I would hate to see you leave, but I’m worried that that could be a result if something doesn’t change soon.”
Mrs. Richman was caught off guard. Was the principle telling her she could lose her job? “I’m so sorry. I have just been so tired these days. It’s like all of my energy has been drained out of me. I promise, Principal Jones, I will go see my doctor this weekend.” She said.
“I strongly recommend it.” He said sternly.


15 doctors had been invited. 3 doctors had presentations. There were also 2 educators and 3 governmental officers present.
The first to speak was Dr. Bourge. “As you all know, my father was the doctor who, along with his colleagues, finalized the processes of using stem cells to heal certain illnesses. However, I have received a few reports and have decided to hold a conference concerning these situations. We will first hear from Dr. Baker.”
Dr. Baker sat up and leaned forward so as to allow everyone present to see him. “I am a therapist in Chicago. I had a patient come into my office about two weeks ago who was having some serious anger management problems. He was a Reverend at a church near my practice, and he had never had any history of poor anger management.”
Next was Dr. Millard. “I have had a patient for 10 years. This patient, let us call her Mrs. Smith, had never had any history of headaches or fatigue. However, last week, she came into my office complaining of these very symptoms. She was found to have migraines and excessive fatigue, and I still don’t know where they came from. Of course, I prescribed some strong pain relievers and asked her not to drink any more decaffeinated coffee. I still thought, though, that I should address the situation, since she had just had a stem cell procedure done to heal her of leukemia. I thought, maybe, that she had not been fully recovered, but I’m still pending a definite diagnosis.”
After these two doctors came two of the educators. “We have been studying the SAT data provided by the students who take the exam. We decided to closely monitor them, and we have found that there were 4000 students whose selected major did not match the scores. In other words, those who are much stronger in math wanted to pursue a career in some other area, one that does not use math, but rather English or writing skills, where they scored far lower. 500 of these students had had stem cells implanted to help with the diseases and disorders this medical breakthrough has been able to heal. 1000 of them had fathers or mothers who had had the same procedure done for some other reason. 1587 of them had had a grandparent receive stem cells.”
3 of the government officials came up next. They announced that 4 of their fellow officials had left their jobs in order to pursue careers that had never interested them, before they had been given stem cells.
Dr. Hillbrand came last. “I had a case last month were a man who had never had a drop of alcohol in his life, ‘except for one glass of champagne at his wedding,’ in his wife’s words, died from a loss of blood and a significant blow to the head after becoming intoxicated and getting into an accident.”
“And what is the common denominator here? All of these people have received stem cells. We are now here to discuss the possible reasons for these occurrences.” Said a solemn Dr. Bourge.
“Couldn’t they just be side effects?” asked Dr. Baker.
“I don’t think so. It seems so strange that nearly everyone has this ‘side effect’ It’s almost like this is a normal outcome, not a strange occurrence.” Responded Dr. Hillbrand.
“Excuse me. If I may speak, I think I may know what is going on here,” came a small voice from a far corner.
Everyone turned to see who had just spoken. They saw a young man with short curly hair. “I believe that we have made a major mistake. One that should never have been made. I believe that we have messed with something that was better left alone.”
“How could you say that?” Said an angry Dr. Baker. “We have seen so many people healed of diseases that we never thought we could heal. Illnesses who’s prescriptions were “make the patient comfortable,” are now easily and quickly healed.”
“Yes, but at what cost? We have seen some prominent government officials leave their jobs for no reason. We have found confusion among the students of our generation. I believe we have meddled with something we never should have. What if we don’t know as much about DNA as we thought?” Said the man.
“What do you mean? And what is your name, anyway?” Asked an interested Dr. Hillbrand.
“Well, to answer your second question first, my name is Andrew. To answer your first question, I believe that there is a whole other side of DNA we haven’t even begun to tap into. Something intangible. How do we decide to become doctors, or teachers, or ministers? How do we develop a love for certain genres of music or films? I believe there is another element we have messed with, and I will henceforth call it SNA.”
“SNA?” asked a puzzled Dr. Bourge.
“Spiritual Neucleic Acid.” Answered Andrew, with a smile.
“Oh great, here we go. Let me guess. We’re messing with God’s plan?” said Dr. Baker.
“I didn’t say this was of God, though I do believe. Let me say, Dr. Baker, that you can’t separate church and state, no matter how much you want to, and you can’t separate someone’s spirit from their body with science.” Answered Andrew.
The entire room fell silent.
“The Bible says that even before you were in your mother’s womb, God had a plan for you. We have allowed unborn children, or embryo’s as you call them, to die as a result from taking stem cells from them to heal these illnesses. My theory is that if we have kept a child from growing up to be what God intended, he is going to achieve his purpose by some other means. This could be the means.”
“So you are saying that we have messed God’s plan and have therefore set ourselves up for disaster and failure.” Said a victorious Dr. Baker.
“Yes I did say that, but this could apply to many other things. How do we know that what makes a murderer a murderer doesn’t happen in his DNA? We don’t know. We never will know, because you can’t see the thoughts of a criminal.” Continued Andrew.
“Then why don’t we just take the children of parents who aren’t prone to crime or some other immoral activity, and use them instead?” asked Dr. Millard.
“We still don’t know much about the difference between genetic predispositions and social elements. We don’t know the effect these have on a person’s actions and personality. Therefore, we can’t guarantee that the embryo would not have grown into a productive and law-abiding citizen.” Answered Andrew. “And did you all notice the increase in symptoms in the children of these stem cell recipients? How far will this go? I believe we have to ask ourselves which is more important; healing these illnesses, or allowing society to continue as it always has and keep the country safe from unknowns.”
The doctors left the meeting very quietly. They were all thinking about what had just happened in that room. They all had to ask themselves, which is more important?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Strolling Down Memory Lane

For reminders of God's faithfulness, almost nothing beats looking back on the other times He's shown up. I wanted to repost a blog entry I wrote over 4 years ago about God's Fireworks...but it was in my old Myspace account, which I haven't touched in at least 2 years... so I had to contact tech support, send a picture of myself holding up three fingers and a piece of paper with my old url...yeah it was strange...but it was all worth it, getting to read my old blogs!

I'm going to recycle some of them over the next few days only because they are still so relevant! I'm not going to edit them...(I found some errors, so that will be hard...) I don't want to alter what was written. Yes, I'm weird like that, please forgive me for it. But this one is one of my favorites. May it remind us of just how big God really is.

From July 3, 2006
God's Fireworks

I was sitting in my room doing some knitting (yes, I knit...I'm working on an American Flag for my appropriate for July 4th, right?), when I heard (and saw, a bit) what sounded like some great I went outside to see them.

Now where I live, you don't have to spend any money to go see my neighborhood, everyone around me does all you have to do is stand out on the front lawn (or in the street if you're brave/dumb enough) and watch the fireworks all around you.

Well, I was watching the fireworks...they were very beautiful. They weren't el cheapo...they were really nice...sparkly and colorful...saw a few red/white/blue ones and a few cream/white ones...really pretty...then, I heard some huge fireworks starting up...but I saw nothing...then it was silent...I was getting a bit bored...I thought, "ok these people are going to go to bed is past 10p.m. and July 4th isn't till its starting to rain." And with that...the ENTIRE SKY filled with light!

The next hour proceeded in the same way...a few fireworks...silence...then massive flashes of light that took up almost the entire sky...

My ex-fiance used to say that lightning was God's fireworks show. Although he turned out to be a jerk and we broke up about 3 months of engagement...that's one thing I'll never forget that he said. Everytime I see a firework I think to myself...yeah that's pretty...its neat how we figured out how to get that to work...but then I see lightning...and I'm left speechless...Its God's way of going..."yeah let me play too! Here are my fireworks! Hope you like them!" It was like "battle of the lights." God obviously won.

We use fireworks on the Fourth of July to remember the battles that were fought for our independence from England. While the canons and rifles didn't leave lovely colorful flowers of sparks in the sky, the sound and flash remind us of the explosions and the sounds of battle. They remind us of our independence as a nation.

But the lightning reminds me of my dependence on God as my protection and strength. As human beings, we are not "independent." Although we want to believe that with age comes independence, we are still dependent on God. We may want to convince ourselves that we are independent, but as believers, we do know better. We are fully dependent on God for all of our provision, strength, peace, purpose, joy, and love. We are always in God's Mercy.

Remember every time you see a flash of lightning, remember these verses...

Job 36:26-33
How great is God - beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out. "He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way he governs the nations and provides food in abundance. He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.

And my favorite one!
Job 38:33-35
Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? "Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?

Happy 4th of July to all of you!
Next time you see fireworks,
remember that

God is the Ultimate Firework Technician! this video. It gives you an idea of what I'm talking about here.

(It's kinda long but you'll get the whole idea between 3:00 and 4:10, so fast forward to it and enjoy!)

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Dessert In the Desert

Ok...I'll admit this entry won't be fuzzy wuzzy like my cloud gig... but it is what it is, and I promise it will be orth your time.

I've been reading through the Bible in 90 days... on (my favorite website, hands down), it is one of the reading plans. I have never gotten this far into it. I usually get through Exodus and I exodus outta there... Just too many nitty gritty details...and let's not get into Leviticus...or worse, Numbers! Sheesh!!!

Well this time I've so far made it through to Judges (I'm about two weeks behind, between getting sick and being at camp), and it's been an amazing journey!

Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic here, but I honestly feel like the Israelites...wandering the wilderness. I was in a horrible situation with my family, and God delivered me from it, but now I feel like I'm wandering that seemingly pointless wilderness between the bad and the promise. I have so many hopes and dreams that, only with God on my side, can be reached! So much potential! So much...future!

So much to thank God for for delivering me from the past. Dark depression, low self esteem, poor self-image and extreme stress and anxiety were all left on the altar of the LORD and are just part of my past. By His Grace, I'm never going back to any of it!

But here I am, stuck in the middle...not getting much of anywhere... it can be very discouraging (I just hope it won't be 40 years!), and disheartening most of the time!

But then I came across a gem of a verse in Joshua. At the end of their long journey, the writer says, seemingly in conclusion to the whole messy, five-book-long story, that

"Not one of the LORD'S good promises to the house of Israel failed;
every one was fulfilled." (Joshua 21:45)

So I'm taking hold of that verse. God is a promise-keeping kind of God. He has promised that if we delight in Him He will give us the desires of our heart.

And I wish I could sit here and tell you all the great stories of how He's done that! (of course for sakes of time, and confidentiality, I can't, but trust me it's some awesome stuff) I've learned so much about my God that I never would have learned had things not gone so crazy all's sort of the dessert in the middle of the desert...

I hope that this is of some encouragement to anyone else who feels like they're stuck in the wilderness! I know it helped me a great deal. I still feel like I'm stuck in the middle, but it's not so much wandering anymore to me, it's more of a waiting on God. And I'm willing to do that as long as I have to!

Praise His Holy Name!!!