Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Underground Church

During my shift last night I was able to finish reading the book Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand (recounting a story undying faith in the midst of intense persecution). Mr. Wurmbrand founded an organization called Voice of the Martyrs in 1967 to raise awareness and support for the persecuted church. This book is filled with the true beauty of the body of Christ, which even now is suffering from hardships that those of us in the free world could never imagine. As I read the final pages of the book my heart broke for my brothers and sisters in family who are in chains even at this very moment. The conviction I felt was overwhelming as I thought about my own life in contrast to those believers who unashamedly with great fervency share the amazing hope of the Gospel.

At the end of the book Mr. Wurmbrand implored the church not to forget those who are suffering for their faith. He reminds his readers that all Christians are part of the Body of Christ and that if one part of the body is in pain it affects the entire body. It was a heavy book with an even heavier message, one that we in America hardly ever think about.

I am left speechless and humbled.

Here are some links for those of you who would like to get more involved with the plight of the persecuted church:
(the homepage of Voice of the Martyrs. You can request a copy of their free monthly newsletter, which I would highly recommend!)
(A website of Christians who have been imprisoned. It also contains information on how to write them notes of encouragement and other avenues such as imploring the government of their country to release them)
(a resource site on books pertaining to the persecuted church)
(weblog about the persecution of Christians around the world)

"If one part [of the Body] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."
- I Corinthians 12:26

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Heart Aches Today

Lord give me peace and patience to trust in your perfect timing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Paisley!!

One Year Old!!

Feeling Lost

It has been an odd couple of days for me. I went from feeling so encouraged and content with life to being utterly discouraged and lost. I'm sure I can cast some of the blame for these out of control emotions on the fact that sleep has been evasive and I still have a painfully long work week ahead of me. However I am more than sure that there are other issues behind these thoughts. There have been other times I have mentioned this restlessness before and how these feelings seem to come in waves and I wonder, is this normal? Am I supposed to feel so lost?

I've been in the Word every day which has been wonderful and many times during my days I sense the Lord speaking truth to me and reminding me of where my focus must lie but it is such a struggle! I feel discontent when I see old acquaintances pursuing dreams that I once had but never saw come to fruition. I feel, like always, a few steps behind everyone else, like I can't quite keep up and don't quite fit in. Now as I write this I recognize there are multiple sins here that have led my heart to long for anything other than what I have. I too often covet the lives of others, as I watch them use their amazing gifts for God's glory but when I look at the small gift in my own hands it appears so incredibly insignificant. Yes, I struggle with the desire to be recognized and valued by others. If they just saw ... then they would see how much more value I posses. My heart longs for the deep friendships I see other women cultivating but that I never seemed to grasp. Is there something wrong with me?

In the end I know I'll never be the prettiest, most talented, driven, passionate etc. So, why does this bother me so much? Why am I plagued with the desire to do something great for the Lord? Maybe I just want to do something great for me. I don't know. I'm sure all of this rambling is more confusing to those looking in but I just have to throw this out there as I'm trying to sort it all out. Deep down I know these temptations, sins and struggles all go back to the fact that I continue to forget my true identity in Christ. I want to live that out but right now I don't even know where to start.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Life of Discipline

Well I hope this entry begins to put me on track again for posting on a more regular basis. I've kind of slacked off a bit. Well now that I'm back from vacation I feel as if I am back to life. The kiddos at work are now on their summer vacation which has given me some time to relax. I don't have to worry about getting them up for morning routine and dealing with the attitude so a week or so of a break is wonderful.

Outside of work, life has been okay. On a high note Jon and I have enjoyed three days off together which have been wonderful. However some of that time was filled with some frustrations that we are sure to face more of once we are in ministry full time. I have been continually reminded that unless we are grounded and focused on the Lord we will not be able to be involved in meaningful and God-honoring ministry ever. So we've been learning, growing, and struggling through lessons that God has given us, because unfortunately there is no detailed instruction manual on how to do ministry. In the midst of these lessons I'm thankful for a husband who loves me and more importantly loves the Lord and longs to serve Christ as best he can. I'm also thankful for my parents who have been in ministry as long as I've been alive. Those years of experience will be helpful as I go to them for prayer, advice, and even just a listening ear. I can only imagine how much of a blessing that will be further on down the road.

Anyways, so yes, life goes on. On a side note, I have been reading a couple of books and during my reading I was convicted of the fact that I have never in my 26 years read the entire Bible. I've read large portions of it but I honestly have never read through the entire book. So I found a Bible reading plan online and started this whole process May 19th and by the grace of God have been going strong so far. If I stick to the plan I will be able to read through the Bible in a year. It has been a huge blessing and challenge as I strive to discipline myself to read 3-4 chapters a day. It's funny how just reading, not even studying, just reading that much scripture has changed my outlook and attitude.

Speaking of being disciplined, I have also started working out! I've been meaning to get into this habit since Jon and I first got married but I never really tried all that hard. My workout time today was a hard one and as I strained to keep going I was reminded how important living a disciplined life is and I've never been all that good in terms of discipline. So here begins a new chapter in my life as I strive to be a more disciplined servant of Christ. We'll see how all this goes.

"Godly people are disciplined people."
"...We recognize that even the most iron-willed self-discipline will not make us more holy, for growth in holiness is a gift from God. On the other hand, we can do something to further the process. God has given us the spiritual disciplines as a means of receiving his grace and growing in Godliness. By them we place ourselves before God for Him to work in us."
- For the Purpose of Godliness (Donald Whitney)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunny CA- Part 1

We have finally settled back into our normal routine after an absolutely fabulous vacation out on the west coast. I think we took over 400 pictures while we were out in California so I'll do my best to keep them to a minimum, only showing you the highlights of the trip. It is gonna be a bit hard though.

Well, for those of you who have followed some of my most recent blog posts you know our original reason for going out to CA was for Jon's brother's college graduation from Biola.

Our time in the LA area was filled with graduation festivities, including a cook out, cake and a drive through the city to see the sights (Hollywood Blvd, Kodak Theatre, and Beverly Hills etc). Despite all of the wonderful experiences most the our time in LA was taken up by this...

Don't think I'll be moving to LA any time soon!! Ugh. Anyways, it was such a blessing to spend time with Jon's family and to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment Matthew has achieved. We're proud of him!

After spending three days in the LA area Jon and I set out on our own and took the HUGE rental car up the Pacific Coast Highway. We had heard that this scenic drive was amazing but nothing could have prepared us for what was to come. As our long drive began we saw some beautiful beaches and made numerous stops to take pictures.

The further up the coast we drove the more amazing the scenery became. Soon Jon was navigating the narrow two lane road up the side of a mountain with breathtaking cliffs on the other side. The sights made the long 9 hour drive more than worth it.

Here is a slide show of the pictures we took during the first part of our trip. If you feel like taking a look; go for it. When I get the chance I'll post the next blog about our time in San Francisco! I loved it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A quick note

Jon and I have been back from our California vacation for a week now and I obviously haven't been able to post any pictures yet. Jon has been in his last summer class all week from 8am-5pm so computer and internet access has been limited. Anyway, the trip was amazing and I hope to post some pictures soon. So for the small percentage of people who read my blog...I'm still here. :-) More posts to come soon. Here is a little preview...

A view from the Pacific Coast Highway