Friday, October 31, 2008

In the Hands of the Potter

I had the privilege of attending Asbury my sophomore year until I graduated college. It is truly an amazing school where God is powerfully at work in the lives of the faculty and students. One of the things about Asbury that I find so unique is that when a new class comes to campus they are given a class name, colors, and a class verse (later in the year they also vote on a class hymn). The unity within the student body was beautiful and made for some fun college memories. The class of 2005 was the Vessel class, and it was by far was the best class ever!! ;-) Anyway our class name has always stuck with me and I find the idea of being clay in the hands of the Potter coming to my mind quite often. It is a perfect picture of my relationship with God and it seems even more fitting lately. These past couple of days have left me feeling stretched and challenged in new ways as God has used situations and personal struggles to mold me.

Since I last posted things have continued to be difficult and I've struggled with numerous things such as discouragement, insecurity, and irritability (to name a few). However as I look back on these past couple of days I am seeing more clearly that these struggles have God's fingerprints all over them. I've had a good bit of time to think and pray tonight and as I sit here my heart cries out for the Lord to do a mighty work in my life. I know that he desires more from me and I'm certain that there is no way I can do this work on my own, it must be the Holy Spirit convicting, and providing the strength for me to move forward. I need that...and I want it so badly.

I picked up a compilation of essays about the church by A.W. Tozer and the first one I read was striking. I felt convicted and compelled just reading those few pages. He starts out by reminding the church that it cannot accomplish anything of eternal importance without the energizing work of the Holy Spirit. How true that is and sadly that mind set is not widely heard in the church. Often times we busy ourselves with "good works" and soon any efforts are hindered by our pride as we think that we can complete any task to the glory of God without his hand moving in our midst. We want the recognition of doing something great. We want the praise but "God faithfully reminds us that a ministry of the Holy Spirit is to hide the Christian worker in the work." It's not at all about us but about all the glory being given to God.

Tozer goes on to talk about three basic requirements God makes of the body of Christ if it is to do his final work - His eternal work.

1st-Christian believers and Christian congregations must be thoroughly consecrated to Christ's glory alone.

2nd- The second most important requirement of the believing church if it is to be used in God's ministry is prayer and the response God makes to our prayer uttered in true faith.

3rd- The church must be dependent upon on the Holy spirit and wiling to exercise the Spirit's gifts.

These three points are some heavy ideas to contemplate. Some of these truths speak of things almost taboo in some churches and in idol. Consecrated to Christ's glory alone? My pride must be sacrificed if I am to be of any use in the kingdom of God. Prayer...what is that? We are called to be a people of prayer. Prayer through Christ is our lifeline to God. I am amazed at reading stories of George Muller, EM Bounds of prayer, who prayed by faith and saw God move in miraculous ways. Any revival that comes is always surrounded by prayer. Dependence upon the Holy Spirit? Exercise spiritual gifts? we are getting into dangerous territory.

I do not understand completely how these truths can and should look in the lives of the church but one thing I am certain of...this is not possible without Him. The sins in my own life and the sins of the church cannot be rooted out and destroyed without the redeeming work of God. We can't possibly see any change unless we throw ourselves with abandon on the blood stained cross of Christ. Lord...with you all things are possible.


"What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer."
-E.M. Bounds

Friday, October 24, 2008


In the Presence of Light- Kate Austin
Have you ever wondered how God could be so gracious and compassionate towards you even in the midst of your sin? I was thinking about that tonight after a particularly self-absorbed couple of hours. Over a time period of three hours my emotions went from excited and somewhat prideful, to utterly humiliated, broken and jealous. Those emotions soon led to self-pity. Nice huh?!? As I chose to wallow in that terrible place of self-absorption the Lord met me there. I heard his still small voice envelope me in my sin and speak love to me.

I am the author and perfecter of your faith. Your heart is not in the right place and I cannot allow that sin to come between us. I must weed it out even if it is painful. Allow me to use this rebellious moment to mold and refine you more into the image of my Son.

I am the giver of all good things and whatever “talents” I allot to you, great or small the only matter of importance is that you utilize them for my kingdom. Those meager offerings you feel you bring to me are a beautiful aroma of praise. Do not allow the enemy the pleasure of stealing the praise from your lips and the joy from your heart. I am a jealous God and all praise and glory belong to me alone. Do not look to others for approval and worth. I sent my Son as a ransom for you and you are cherished and loved beyond measure. Seek me.

Those are just some of the things the Lord spoke quietly to my spirit tonight. Some of those words of reproof were spoken sternly but in such a gentle and compassionate way. How can I not be romanced by that truth? I am humbled and so thankful that his love is greater than my sin and brokenness. I am so thankful that He allows me to come before Him broken and unworthy because then I see His cross in its fullness. I am ashamed that such small things can cause me to grumble. Lord, forgive my stubbornness. Let this experience humble me and bring my heart to praise you! You are faithful and loving and my lips cannot describe your goodness!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nobody's Home

I remember watching this music video when I was in college. I dreamed of graduating college and ministering to teenage girls...and now I am. Lord give me the grace I need to love them like you do.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some Jazz

I've been listening to some music by Vince Guaraldi, best known for his music associated with the animated Peanuts specials. He was truly a master at the piano and the more I've been listening to his music the more I miss the Jazz Factory ( If you didn't ever get the chance to go to that Louisville hot spot, you missed out.

It has been a stressful night at work for me but listening to this music reminds me of sitting in the dimly lit room of the Jazz Factory, sipping coffee and taking in some smooth jazz. That's a relaxing picture. I've had so much on my mind lately that I can't even think of what I would want to write for a post so I figured that instead I would invite you to enjoy this beautiful piece of music with me. Take a deep breath, sit back and relax, if only for a moment. Enjoy.

Monday, October 13, 2008


India – More than 70,000 Christians displaced in Orissa
UPDATE: The Voice of the Martyrs contacts working to assist believers affected by attacks in Orissa state report that more than 70,000 Christians have been displaced and forced to live in refugee camps.

"At the Peyton Sahi relief camp which houses 35 families and 130 distraught tribals, Chabila Naik, a man who ran an orphanage for 50 children in Sarangada spent three days in the forest after their houses and churches were razed [with fire]. He has not been reunited with the children," VOM sources said.

Stories coming from persecuted believers in Orissa are heartbreaking. Christians spent days hiding in the forest following the attacks that erupted on August 24, after the murder of a prominent Hindu leader by Maoist extremists. “One family which did not want to be named said they had to leave their elderly mother in the jungles while the others walked through rain and darkness for 60 hours to get out of Kandhmal,” VOM sources added.

"We had no choice; I could either save my wife and two kids, or stay with her and ask for death for all of us. But, I am sure God has saved her, though I have no idea where she is," the man told VOM sources with tears in his eyes.

VOM is assisting displaced believers in Orissa and other areas in India where persecution has spread. Pray for believers who face these intense hardships and have in some cases lost contact with family members. Ask God to protect them and provide for their needs. Pray their testimonies will draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Him.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prayer Request

We ask you to pray for a friend of ours, Josh Hildebrand. Josh's wife Christy passed away Saturday evening. There really isn't much else to say. If you feel led you can read more about their story on Josh's blog ( Please pray for the Lord to grant him peace and comfort during this terribly difficult time. Our hearts go out to Josh and Christy's family but we also rejoice with them that she is now home with her Savior!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A hard days night

The Dividing Wall- Carol Boomer

Whew, it has been a difficult night. I'm exhausted after a rough morning at work and an afternoon of sleeplessness. Getting cussed out gets old fast. Right now my head is pounding and my eyes are dry. I struggle to understand why the Lord has placed me at Maryhurst working the night shift for so long. It has been a hard road and I'm wondering if God is leading me elsewhere...I'm praying so we'll see. This entry will most likely be stream of consciousness so stay with me. I'm tired.

Sometimes I wish I could gain the wisdom that comes with age without struggling through the trials that would bring me to that point. But I guess that is North American thinking for you, whatever is quick and easy, hey yeah I'll take that. God grant me wisdom.
A quick snippet on this particular painting. This is a modern piece of artwork (which I am normally not particularly fond of) but I like this painting. I'm sure the fact that I like dark and heavy paintings says something about my inner psyche but that is a post for another time. It is a dark painting for a dark subject, our separation from God. If I were more awake I would attempt to post more of my thoughts on this piece but I don't know if I can muster the energy for that. So I will borrow a quote from A.W. Tozer:
“Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.”

So jumping from the spiritual to well...not I put this together tonight to pass the time. Here are a few of my favorite no particular order.
Tranquil Mint hand cream (Bath and Body Works)
Christmas music!!
Candles. Umm. Smells good (My favorites have to be Yankee candles)
Playing the piano...I miss it.
San Francisco
My man
Classical art/art museums
Well crafted music

Okay this list could easily go on and on, which it may very well do in following posts but I better stop for now. Hmm, that made me feel a bit better. Maybe in the near future I'll be able to post some deep thoughts on faith and the like brain is too tired to form sentences so this will have to do.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not ready to be back

Well I am back in the swing of things. It kind of stinks to come back to work after three days off knowing that you are in for a long six day work week. *Deep breath* One day at a time. Anyway, my three days off were different than I expected them to be but at the end of my short time off I'm longing for a real vacation. The next break I have is over the Thanksgiving holiday. Jon and I are flying down to Naples Florida to stay with my parents. November 24th can not get here fast enough!!

So since I am missing my family here are a few pictures of the Locke clan. Enjoy!

The Four Sisters
(Me, Heather, Samantha and Tiffany)

Here we are again.

Dad, Samantha and Mom

From left to right (Pap, Michael-Heather's husband, Gram, Me, Samantha, Dad, Heather, Tiffany and mom is taking the picture)

I miss them a ton!! Anyway, I could write more but I think for now this will have to be it...maybe I will post later when I feel more awake.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Interrupted Thought

God as An Architect- William Blake

Tonight has been a peculiar night. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened but I feel as if God interrupted my night (perhaps because I was not taking time to give him room.) He interrupted my night and gave me some time to just sit and read. I've been perusing a book I read when I was in college called Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? While flipping through the pages I looked at some different passages I underlined and during that time the Lord began to quicken my heart once again for a passion to share the Gospel with those who have yet to receive it. I began to search through the Scripture on verses pertaining to the Gospel, humanity's fallen nature and God's ultimate gift of grace. I quickly wrote down verse after verse and I was struck by two of them in particular.

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God..."

Depressing and heavy huh?!? But wait...there is more...

"And that is what some of you WERE. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (I Corinthians 6:9-11) Amen!!

Those verses just hit me and I was so in awe of the greatness of our God. We were enemies of the cross steeped in deadly sin. Our eyes were veiled to his sacrifice but by the grace of our Lord we were brought to repentance and were washed and sanctified, not because we deserved it, no...we were filthy and full of everything contrary to God's nature. We were washed because of God's great love for us!!

Piggybacking on that idea look at this next verse:

"...He [the Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but every one to come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)

God could choose to return to earth any day but all of these years has had been patient not longing for anyone to perish but for all to find grace in the sacrifice of his Son. I was humbled by that truth when I thought of all my loved ones and friends who do not yet know Jesus...God is patient with them...he is waiting...because his heart is for all people to be restored to a right relationship with himself!! In fact that is what the Bible is all about. Passage after passage of scripture tells truth of God reaching down into the ravaged lives of his Creation, bridging the gap and redeeming them.

I think some of this week I'm going to take time to look and reflect on God's nature of redemption and restoration. My heart needs to be burdened like the Lord's heart is burdened for those who are still lost. My lips have been quiet for too long...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Resting in the Lord

Here are some more pictures of our puppy. She has grown even bigger since these were taken. The last time we visited the vet (which was last Tuesday) Paisley weighed in at 47.5 pounds! Geez!!

This coming week is Jon's fall break and I think I'm going to take a little lesson from our dog and use my three days off to rest. My mind has been processing through life and lately I feel as if I'm running on auto-pilot's time for a break. There is such a huge part of me that wishes I could put life on hold for a while and just sit at the feet of Jesus...but the gospel wasn't meant to be lived in solitude, holed away from the reality and struggles of real living (although times of refreshment and rest are necessary). The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that it is meant to meet you at your work desk or at home while you are cleaning the kitchen. It is full of wisdom that impacts your every day life and that sustains you when life gets heavy. I have been in a funk lately and my eyes have been so clouded by the stress of life that I forgot that God is my Comforter, an ever present help in times of trouble and nothing can separate me from his love. So during my three days off I plan to accept the gift of rest in Christ that can restore my soul as I sit (if only for a short time) in His presence.

So for now, as I am asking Christ to give me the strength to keep my eyes steadily upon Him, my worries and questions will be laid at the foot of the cross. In order for me to live out the Gospel in my life I will need times like this week to allow God to refocus my heart.

God you know how frail I am, and how prone I am to wonder and lose sight of You. Take these meager offerings of my tired heart and renew me day by day so that I can become more like your Son. Thank you for the blessing of living life in the trenches and giving me the chance to get my hands dirty in the midst of a broken world. Revive my passion to share Your hope with others and plant my feet firmly in Your word.


That Incredible Christian
Chapter #33
How to Keep from Going Stale
Taking Time to Rest

(A.W. Tozer)

Sometimes our trouble is not moral but physical. As long as we are in these mortal bodies our spiritual lives will be to some degree affected by our bodies. Here we should notice that there is a difference between our mortal bodies and the flesh of Pauline theology. When Paul speaks of the flesh he refers to our fallen human nature, not to our physical bodies, which are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Through the power of the Spirit there is deliverance from the propensities of the flesh, but while we live there is no relief from the weaknesses and imperfections of the body. One often-unsuspected cause of staleness is fatigue. Shakespeare said something to the effect that no man could be a philosopher when he had a toothache, and while it is possible to be a weary saint, it is scarcely possible to be weary and feel saintly; and it is our want of feeling that we are considering here. The Christian who gets tired in the work of the Lord and stays tired without relief beyond a reasonable time will go stale. The fact that he grew weary by toiling in the Lord's vineyard will not make his weariness any less real. Our Lord knew this and occasionally took His disciples aside for a rest.

Prayer: Father, may I have the good sense to schedule time for rest. Forgive me for sometimes taking on too much and, as a consequence, failing to serve You well.

Scripture: "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'"— Mark 6:31

Thought: Jesus recognized the need of rest for His disciples. He still does! Rest is not an excuse for laziness. It is an essential for effective service.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall is here

I absolutely love the changing of the seasons. Lately here in Louisville fall has come upon us quickly. The leaves are turning and some have already fallen off the trees. There is also a distinct chill in the air. I could actually see my breath this morning when I took Paisley outside.

This changing of the seasons has given me the urge to bake pumpkin pies and enjoy a steaming bowl of soup next to a roaring fire. Ahh, I love fall. Next week is Jon's Fall Break which means a week of no school and three days off work just to enjoy time together. I can hardly wait. Hopefully I'll have a chance to take some nice fall pictures during that time so I'll make sure to post them...I haven't done a very good job keeping up with the picture taking. Anyway here is one of Jon's favorite soups I make. We substitute bacon for ham since Jon is slightly obsessed with the tasty breakfast meat. It definitely feels like a good fall meal so enjoy!

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup
Submitted by: ELLIE11
Rated: 5 out of 5 by 1799 members
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings
"This is a delicious recipe for ham and potato soup that a friend gave to me. It is very easy and the great thing about it is that you can add additional ingredients, more ham, potatoes, etc and it still turns out great."
3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper,
or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.
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