Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
(In explaining his imprisonment, the Apostle) Paul subtly notifies his readers that proclaiming the mystery of Christ crucified is more likely to open the door to a prison cell for them instead of the door to financial and social success.
- David Garland
Being misrepresented, slandered, reviled, persecuted, and wrongfully accused is an inevitable part of being a Christian. We must expect to suffer unjustly. Our lives confront the culture we live in. We live as aliens in the world, and it should not surprise us when the world is hostile toward us (1 John 3:13). We were called for that purpose. In this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33). It goes with the territory.
- John MacArthur
Saturday, November 7, 2009
This Sunday, November 8th, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Take some time to read about and to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer in the name of Christ. Their pain is our pain...
"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body." - Hebrews 13:3
Sunday, November 1, 2009
As far as I’m concerned I’m hanging in there. It has been a rough couple of weeks and I guess the best way to describe the way I’ve been feeling is just plain sad. Thankfully I haven’t suffered any catastrophic loss but nonetheless I feel pretty broken. Ever feel like difficulties come in droves? Maybe that just comes from the mindset we get in when things get tough but I'm telling you right now that I am overwhelmed. The only answer I have for the small valley I've been walking through lately is the painful process of refinement which I honestly would rather do without. Enduring any kind of brokenness is not something most of us do well. It's a humbling place to be. So I’ve been praying a lot lately, praying for wisdom, joy, encouragement and trying to spend a lot of time just thanking God for the many blessings I have been given. I don’t know about any of you but thankfulness does not come naturally to me. So little by little I’m learning, growing and seeking the Lord. I’m interested to see what He is preparing me for throughout all of this because it has been a taxing time. Funny enough I am preparing to read Job as part of my Bible reading plan. I’m sure that is no coincidence.
Aside from the difficulties I’ve been dealing with lately it’s still very easy to say that Jon and I are incredibly blessed. He has begun the process of sending out resumes and praying through God’s specific call on our lives in the upcoming months. It’s exciting, stressful and crazy to realize that…this is it!! Who knows what the next step will be. One other important blessing to tell you all about is that I found out I’m going to have a nephew!!! Woohoo! We’ll get to see Heather and Michael for Thanksgiving so I’ll finally have a chance to see her baby bump and congratulate them in person. God is good.
So how is that for an end to my blogging drought?!? Here is a suitable song to close out my post. This is where I am.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Me and Ashley
Three years and still going strong!! ;-)
Another awesome friend I met through my job. Me and Jenn.
Mr. and Mrs. Hilton!!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The Bride and Groom- Ashley and Cliff
The girls spent the day at the Newport Aquarium and then out to dinner at a small Italian eatery, Pompilios. The last minute details of the wedding remain to be completed and I'm guessing it will remain that way until Monday October 5th. So, things are hectic, but in a very good way! :-) I hope to share some pictures of their wedding day next week. I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of it.
The rest of October is pretty calm on my end but Jon gets to preach twice at our home church from college days so that is exciting but one more thing to add to our already crazy schedules. Don't even ask me how we will manage to work Saturday night, drive down to Wilmore, and stay awake long enough for Jon to preach coherently, and then drive back home and sleep before working again that night. It will be interesting to say the least but super exciting as Jon begins to prepare more for ministry.
By the time October rolls to a close (maybe more like the beginning of November) I'll get to find out if I will be an aunt to a niece or a nephew!!! If I were to completely guess I would say Heather and Michael are having a boy but...we'll just have to wait and see. Before I know it the holidays will be here. I can HARDLY wait!! 60 some days till Thanksgiving and until my whole family is finally together again for the holidays. It has been way too long and is much overdue.
I think that about sums up life right now. I'm continuing my reading with Let the Nations Be Glad, a wonderful book I would highly recommend by John Piper on the supremacy of God in missions. I'm only on page 34 and my mind is already spinning! I'm sure at some point in the near future I will post about that book but for now I'm letting it simmer a bit. Well a hectic week lies ahead and I'll have a lot to update on again soon so this is all for now.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
- Less than half of India's children between the age 6 and 14 go to school.
- A little over one-third of all children who enroll in grade one reach grade eight.
- 95 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their fifth birthday.
- 70 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their first birthday.
- 23% of India's children are underweight at birth.
- 58% of India's children below the age of 2 years are not fully vaccinated. And 24% of these children do not receive any form of vaccination.
- More that 50% of India's children are malnourished.
In addition to the deaths of infants and children due to malnourishment and disease, innumerable and unrecorded numbers of girl children are killed within hours of being born while many others are killed in the womb itself. Patriarchal norms, low status of women and preference for male children are the primary reasons that threaten survival of female children in India. The alarming fact is that female infanticide or foetuses has increased over the past few decades. While in 1960 there were 976 girls born for every 1000 boys, in 2001, there are only 927 girls for every 1000 boys.
- 1 out of every 6 girls does not live to see her 15th birthday.
- Of the 12 million girls born in India, 1 million do not see their first birthday.
- Every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination.
- 1 out of 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 4.
- Female mortality exceeds male mortality in 224 out of 402 districts in India.
- Death rate among girls below the age of 4 years is higher than that of boys. Even if she escapes infanticide or foeticide, a girl child is less likely to receive immunisation, nutrition or medical treatment compared to a male child.
- 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.
“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.” Ps 82:3-4
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Jon's classes are going well and he is staying busy with his applied ministry work. Along with all of that Jon is also preparing his resume and before we know it we will begin the process of seeking the Lord's will for the next phase of our lives. It's thrilling to say the least. As I look to all of the changes ahead I am trying desperately to stay focused on growing and preparing for what is to come rather than get frustrated over what can easily feel like waiting.
During the past 6 months or so reading has become a new love for me. I have never been one to read much fiction, not that I don't enjoy a good story but mainly because factual accounts can be just as fascinating. So along those lines I have read numerous missionary biographies and felt that I have grown ten fold just by gleaning wisdom from such wonderful men and women of God. Recently I began reading Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper. Each chapter focuses on the life of one women of faith (Sarah Edwards, Lilais Trotter, Esther Ahn Kim, Helen Roseveare). The current chapter I am on tells the story of Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China. Reading about these accounts have been more than encouraging to my faith and in a way I have felt a close kinship with these women (along with the likes of Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Charmichael). Despite the fact that many of them have long since departed this earth I am grateful for their wisdom and oddly enough can say that they have been a kind of mentor to me over the past months. Watching them sit at the feet of their Savior and live lives devoted to him whether by staying at home with their children or leaving all familiarity behind to travel to some far away country their stories point to the greatness of the God they serve. Like I said earlier, I am encouraged.
Coupled with my reading of numerous biographies I have continued reading through the Bible. I can't remember if I mentioned this earlier but I felt conviction a few months ago for never having read through the whole Bible so I found a Bible reading plan and by the grace of God I've been able to stick to it. There have been days I have struggled, seeing the plan more as a box to check off rather than time with God, but overall it has been a wonderful challenge. God is good.
Well I'm sure I could write more but I guess I'll wrap this up on a bit of a tangent. This morning when we were walking Paisley I about lost it when she obliviously walked directly into a tree. It was probably one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. To her credit there was a very intriguing little girl riding around in a pink jeep power wheel. I think Paisley was more than a bit distracted. Jon and I were deep in conversation and didn't even see Paisley heading straight for the tree until it was too late. Thankfully, she is fine.
More to come....hopefully.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I spent Thursday last week getting my sister Samantha settled at her new school. During our time there we had the chance to sit through a service in Hughes Chapel.
That place has so many memories for me but it also has an awesome sense of history. Numerous revivals have taken place in that very room...there is a sense of reverence and awe just sitting in the chapel. Now I love our church but we currently meet in a school cafeteria/auditorium. Yeah, not quite the solemn setting of Hughes. On Sunday, my heart longed to be reminded of the power and holiness of God. There is something to be said for walking into church with the realization that you are gathering with other believers to worship God, the God who spoke the world into being. Sometimes I believe we come to church more for the social aspect than for a desire to spend time with the Lord. Now I'm not saying that you need a building such as Hughes to experience the presence of God but it certainly can put you in a place of expectation.
I also spent time contemplating some of the words that were sung during church on Sunday.
Do we really understand what that means? Are we willing to be broken for the cause of Christ or are those just words? I believe it was A.W. Tozer who is quoted as saying, "Christians don't tell lies, they just go to church and sing them." Ouch. As I was listening to the music I couldn't help but think of the lives of men like Jim Elliott who died to bring the Gospel to those who had never even heard the name of Jesus. How am I even worthy to sing about laying down my life for the cause of Christ? Listening to that particular song being led on Sunday I didn't sing along, I just couldn't.
As I poured out my thoughts to Jon we also talked about a sermon I listened to the other day preached by Leonard Ravenhill. In the sermon he talked about seeing the true nature of a pastor's relationship with the Lord not by his preaching but by his prayers. The way a person talks with the Lord can quickly tell you a lot about their relationship with Him. What does my prayer life say about me?
So yeah, there is not a nice bow to tie up all these rambling thoughts but I figured I would share some of what has been rolling around in my head since Sunday. One more thing, I just finished up the book Five Who Changed the World by Daniel Akin and would highly recommend it. The book is a quick read but super convicting. That's all for now. I'll work on posting with more regularity in the coming weeks, we'll see how that goes.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Anyways, it will be a lot of fun to show her around and help her get situated. Sorry for the lack of adventure in my own life at this present time but I'm sure things will begin to pick up some momentum in the months to come so if you're interested you may want to stay tuned but for now this is just about all I have to offer.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I continue to be challenged lately in my walk with the Lord. Through reading scripture and listening to some sermons I've felt convicted to spend more time in the Word and in prayer but there are other things driving me as well. As I think ahead to joining with my husband in ministry and starting a family the burden weighs even heavier. How can I possibly take on such responsibility if I'm not grounded firmly in Christ? I can't do anything without him! The eternal weight of such things should indeed drive me to Christ. As I think of coming alongside my husband as he, under the authority of Christ, leads a church I can't help but think of all those who will be following Jon's leadership. Being in such a position we willingly take on the responsibility to live a life that points to God. People will be watching and one day we will have to account for our actions. As I think of being a godly mother my heart skips a beat but it also realizes that such a life consists of loving correction, discipline and encouragement, all wrapped up in the desire to bring and grow our children up in the Lord. I can't even begin to imagine what that will entail. As I think on all of these things I know I must rely on the Lord.
In another slightly related topic I have felt even more conviction stemming from the fact that I find myself so easily enjoying way too much time in front of the television set when the hunger and desire of my heart should be for the Lord. I read recently in the Hudson Taylor book that he would spend up to 13 hours a day revising a copy of the New Testament in Chinese. 13 hours!!! Have I ever spent this kind of time devoted to the work of God? This conviction has just been settling in and I'm not sure what it means as far as lifestyle changes but I'm sure something will have to give.
The older I get and the more I grow in Christ the stronger I feel the tension between living in the world but not of the world. I wonder what that kind of life should look like as a believer here in North America. What does it mean to forsake the world for the cause of Christ? I'm guessing it will mean more time in scripture and in prayer with less distractions such as television and movies. It will mean less time wrapped up in myself and more time investing in the lives of others with the desire to see them realize the depths of their sin and the amazing sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. The list could go on.
I couldn't be more excited about the next phase of life but right now I'm reeling with the weight of the future. Things will not suddenly change when Jon finishes seminary. We won't magically become more prayerful and faith-filled, that should be our reality right now.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I am exhausted. My night at work has been a battle and I have felt overcome with discouragement. God has been teaching me so much during these past couple of years I have worked 3rd shift but there are nights, like tonight that I feel stretched to my limit. The emotions that come with being deprived of sleep, and hours spent alone can be unbearable. Sadly enough earlier tonight I was thinking about how well I've learned to be still working nights. There have been many a night when I would joyfully sit in silence before the Lord. It's funny how we think we have mastered something but are quickly humbled with the realization that we are not as put together as we once thought. Oh well. I know when I do move on from this job I will miss the hours I had to reflect and grow. The hours after finishing my tasks that I had to sit and read, journal, pray etc. I know I will miss this...but that is not at all what I feel like right now.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The two youngest Locke sisters along with me and my hubby, Aren't we cute!
It's 1:30am and I'm wiped so here is a condensed version of the rest of our stay.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
On Wednesday during our small group we spent our time discussing more in depth the topic of Sunday's sermon which I blogged about a few days ago, the topic of prayer. At the end of our discussion time we asked our friends what in their own lives they are compelled to pray for. What sort of passions and convictions has God placed on their hearts individually that brings them to their knees before the Lord? It was humbling to hear our friends speak with such conviction about the burdens that weigh heavily on their hearts. A few of the requests that were mentioned included: abortion, lost friends and family, the church and the nations. It was beautiful to see the diversity of convictions. I was reminded why we are the Body of Christ, each with our own convictions and passions. Those passions each serve to bring glory to God.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I struggled to find any artwork referring to Christ as judge or warrior. Often times he is depicted as an infant, or on a cross but there is not much emphasis on the risen Christ and on his power. There are some beautiful works of art depicting the suffering of Jesus but I find that the truth at least from my own perspective is often lost in those pictures. I can in no way put down any of those amazing works of art because I myself have been moved to praise and thanksgiving because of them. However another feeling I have sensed is a feeling of pity as I stared at pictures of the beaten and crucified Christ. We so easily forget that His horrendous death on the cross actually meant victory! I know it may sound trite but this particular song has resonated with me, reminding me of the God that we serve, one of might and of power. A warrior!!
Sojourn Community Church
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A song I heard recently went along with this theme beautifully and I thought I would share it in hopes that others might find the same encouragement. The "mother" church that our current church plant came from just produced a new CD filled with songs based on the words of classic Issac Watts hymns. The end result is a new take on some solid bible based lyrics. My husband who has never been a big fan of "worship" CDs has really enjoyed the music and now I'm hooked too. So here's a song that has been rolling around in my head since I first heard it and my plug for the album Over the Grave from Sojourn Community church. If you are interested in possibly buying the CD yourself feel free to check out their website: http://sojournchurch.com/
04 Only Your Blood Is Enough.mp3
Monday, July 6, 2009
Hudson addresses an assembly of ministers at the Perth Conference in Scotland.
"He began his address by transporting his audience half-way around the world, vividly recounting a true story of a journey he made in October, 1856, from Shanghai to Ning-po aboard a Chinese junk.
Among his fellows passangers had been a Chinese man who was educated in England and went by the name of Peter. As Hudson talked with him he learned that while the man knew the teachings of Christianity, he had never made a personal commitment to Christ. As Hudson and Peter began developing a friendship on this journey, Hudson had opportunities to talk to the man about his spiritual needs.
As the junk approached the city of Sung-kiang-Fu, Hudson was in his cabin, preparing to go ashore to preach and distribute tracts when he heard a splash and then a cry of alarm that a man had fallen overboard. Rushing onto the deck, Hudson didn't see his new friend Peter. Was he the missing man?
"Yes," the boatman told Hudson, showing no concern. "He went down over there."
After convincing the reluctant captain to drop his sails. Hudson jumped over the side and began swimming back to the spot where Peter had disappeared. But the tide was running out, and the low shrubless shore provided no good landmark. His search seemed hopeless. Just then Hudson spotted some nearby fishermen with a dragnet - just what he needed.
"Come," he cried out in Chinese. "Come and drag over here. A man is drowning!"
"Veh bin," the fishermen replied, "It is not convenient."
"Come quickly or it will be too late," Hudson pleaded.
"We are busy fishing."
"Never mind your fishing. Come at once and I will pay you well."
"How much will you give us?" the fishermen wanted to know.
"Five dollars. But hurry."
"Too little!" they called back. "We won't come for less than thirty."
Hudson told them, "I don't have that much with me. But I'll give you all I have."
"How much is that?" they asked.
"I don't know. About fourteen dollars."
They finally brought their net over. The first time they passed it through the water they dragged up the missing man. But all Hudson's efforts to revive Peter failed. It was too late. The fisherman's indifference had cost him his life.
At the conclusion of that story a murmur of indignation swept over the crowd listening to Hudson. How could anyone be so callous and selfish?
That was the moment Hudson drove home his point:
'Is the body then, of so much more value than the soul? We condemn those heathen fishermen. We say they were guilty of the man's death - because they easily could have saved him, and did not do it. But what of the millions whom we leave to perish, and that eternally? What of the plain command, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature'?..."
...the Lord commands us, commands us each one individually - 'Go,' He says, 'God into all the world and preach the Gospel to eveyr creature.' Will you say to him, 'It is not convenient'? Will you tell him you are busy fishing - having bought a piece of land, purchased five yoke of oxen, married a wife, or for other reasons cannot obey? Will he accept such excuses? Have you forgotten that 'we must all stand before the judgement seat of Christ,' that every one may receive the things done in the body. Oh, remember, pray for, labour for the unevangelised millions of China or you will sin against your own soul!"
Anyway, things are going really well with me. There have been a lot of big changes going on in the lives of people around me: pregnancies, new jobs, new houses etc. Although it has been easy to feel discontent, today especially the Lord has given my heart a feeling of joy. After finishing up the book Tortured for Christ I was convicted on how easily I lose my joy when my brothers and sisters in Christ are overflowing with joy in the midst of horrendous persecution. As that conviction settled I was questioning why my joy is so often fleeting (I believe I blogged about this a while ago). It's easy for someone to say, "You just need to focus on God. You need to have an eternal perspective." But I was struggling and still do struggle with the idea of living that out. As I tried to figure this out it hit me...why not pray for this? I'm pretty sure that God has showed me this little tidbit of truth before but I'm forgetful. Praise God for his patience with us! So as of right now I'm learning once again how to pray daily for that joy and peace that can only be found when living your life in Christ.
As I was working through those questions our pastor preached a wonderful sermon on prayer this morning and it left me feeling convicted yet incredibly encouraged. It's funny how God orchestrates the timing of what he desires to teach us.
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison - that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak."
- Colossians 4:2-4
Here are a few points and poignant questions that stuck with me:
- "Continue steadfastly in prayer" - to be consistently, persistently devoted to prayer
- Adjust your perspective (I Thess. 5:18) Prayer is not limited to the folding of hands and closing of eyes.
- Start where you are. Jesus will work with what you have.
- Is it my habit to pray for opportunities for the Gospel to go out through me?
Good stuff huh?!? Today as the sermon ended I wrote down a few things that by God's grace I desire to grow in:
- more time devoted to prayer (learned how to be in constant prayer)
- unwavering joy
- conviction and courage to share the Gospel
- growth in faith
Friday, July 3, 2009
One of the first places we visited on this trip was the Palace of the Legion of Honor, a stunning art museum filled with exquisite paintings by the likes of Monet and Degas. The Legion of Honor was also a featured place in the Alfred Hitchcock movie "Vertigo."
The architecture was beautiful!!
The Thinker- Auguste Rodin
On our quest to explore new places we found this little gem. Jon and I had never eaten at an Indian restaurant before so this was a stretch especially for Jon (for those of you who know him well, this may be a bit of a shock ;-) The second picture is of a little cafe we found down the street from our hotel that served up some yummy waffles.
The weather during our stay in California was beautiful allowing us to visit the Golden Gate Park for a second time. On this trip we spent part of an afternoon exploring the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Here is my hubby hamming it up for the camera.
Full House anyone?
To close out our first evening Jon and I drove across the bay to have dinner with my Grandmother. Since she lives all the way out in California our visits with her are sadly few and far between.
My husband is great at working out details and solving problems. So I wasn't surprised when he got us an unbelievable rate on a wonderful room at a hotel by the Wharf. However when I saw the view from our window I couldn't believe it. We could see Coit Tower from our bed! It was beautiful.
Here is a close up view of Coit Tower.
On our last afternoon in the city we walked around the streets just taking in the culture of this city and the beautiful views. Here is a shot of a street just a few blocks away from our hotel. Can you see why I love this city so much?!?
Despite the fact that we had already been to Fisherman's Wharf a number of times we couldn't help but go back and take in the sights and sounds one last time. We ate at Boudin Sourdough Bakery and Cafe (you can't get any better sourdough bread!), watched the sea lions basking in the sun and heard the interesting stylings of the local street performers. A little ways up the bay is the famous Ghirardelli Square where Jon and I enjoyed delicious ice cream.
It was a wonderful trip that ended too quickly. Looking over these pictures just makes me more anxious to go back there than ever but we'll just have to wait and see.
I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me.
To be where little cable cars
Climb halfway to the stars!
The morning fog may chill the air
I don't care!
My love waits there in San Francisco