Archive | November, 2009

How He Loves

21 Nov

My current favorite song:

How He Loves

By David Crowder Band

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

It’s so good to be reminded of how much God loves us. I don’t think about it enough.

Top 10 Things I Love About Christmas

15 Nov

1. It signifies Christ’s entrance into this world as a human and as the Savior for humankind.

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2. Family

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3. Christmas Songs (the tradition ones sung in church like Come All Ye Faithful and O Silent Night) and Music, mostly notably Kenny G and Manheim Steamroller (my parents’ influences, what can I say!)

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4. Christmas Trees

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5. Candles and Fires

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6. Snow!

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7. Christmas Decorations

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8. Food!

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9. Church Christmas Programs

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10. The indescribable, irrepresentable cozy feeling of Christmas

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I love Christmas and am SO READY FOR IT!

Travis and I are going back to Minnesota to see our families December 18-27. Can’t wait!

The gears are turning…

13 Nov

…in my head, that is. I’m really trying to not get overly excited about this… and I’m praying about it because I do believe that whatever happens is from God’s hand and is the best thing for us…

But it would really cool.

Travis found out about a job opportunity from a guy who visited one of his grad classes. The job pays quite a bit more than Travis’ current job–so much in fact that I would be able to leave Dare 2 Share.

I’m not chomping at the bit to get out of my current job but I have a love-hate relationship with it. Some days, I really LOVE my job. Like today–some of the leadership took me out to lunch to tell me how much they appreciate me and my hard work. I was very touched by it, even if I felt like I totally did not deserve it. (One guy, Spencer, said that I always have such a good, godly attitude… and I said thank you, but I don’t always have the best attitude on the inside!) But then there are other days when I feel so fed up with problems and drama that I want to throw the towel in on the spot and walk out.

So while I’m content with staying at Dare 2 Share if that is God’s plan for me, I’m not opposed to leaving either. My friend, D, is leaving D2S in December to work with a triathlon company. She travels to triathlons and running races all throughout the spring, summer and fall months. I had hoped there would be a position for me at the same company but due to a change in business plan, there is only contract labor available–still an opportunity I can take advantage of but as it stands now, I most likely wouldn’t make enough as a contract employee to be able to quit D2S.

But if Travis got a job that paid more, we would be able to afford me just doing contract labor. I would also have time to do more volunteering, seriously start writing my memoir, and maybe work part-time. There are so many possibilities…

The great thing about staying at D2S even if Travis gets this new job would be that we could pay off our debt significantly faster and then possibly start a family–right now, that is the big limiting factor on a lot of things!! Not sure if I’m ready for kids (I still feel way too young to be a mother!) but I do want to start a family in the next couple of years. 

We’ll see!

Why hell?

7 Nov

Last night was the first night of the Dare 2 Share Denver Blaze Conference (I work at Dare 2 Share). There is always a drama on Friday night and last night’s drama was about a letter from hell. A guy died and went to hell and wrote a letter back to his friend who was a Christian, demanding to know why she didn’t try harder to make him understand the gospel. It was very powerful and I’m sure that it affected pretty much everyone in that arena.

It definitely affected me but instead of wanting to go out there to share the gospel with others, I want to crawl under a rock, crouch in a corner, or any of the places the psalmist names in Psalm 139, despite knowing that “even there [God’s] right hand shall lead me, and [His] right hand shall hold me fast.” 

It’s not because I think I’m going to hell that I feel this way. As a Christian, I believe that because (and only because) Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died on the cross for my sins, I am declared righteous by grace alone through faith in Him alone and am given eternal life in heaven.

But not everyone believes that. Which means not everyone is going to heaven. There are some people going to hell.

The depiction of hell last night was on par with Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” I’ve heard that while he was giving that sermon, there were people gripping the pews out of fear that they would fall into hell right then and there. It is a VERY sobering thought. One that I don’t think about enough.

Because I hate thinking about it.

Greg (the President of D2S and the speaker at our conferences) wanted us to grapple with 3 theological truths last night: 1) It’s God’s responsibility to save. 2) It’s our responsibility to share. 3) It’s their (unbelievers)  responsibility to believe. But this morning, I am left grappling with the question: Why hell?

Jesus said in Mark 14:21 about Judas Iscariot, “…but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

I feel that way about all humans who go to hell. It would have been better for them to not be born. It wouldn’t even make a difference if this earth was the most magical place ever. It’s a blip on the radar screen of eternity. If one experienced bliss here for their entire lives, they would promptly forget all of it in hell for the agony, torment and fear would erase every trace. 

And the part that bothers me even more is that we all deserve to go there. Without the substitutionary death of Christ, we all would be going there. I don’t deserve heaven any more than a man who has killed 10 people. I argue with my husband, am jealous of other women, disrespect my boss, not to mention all the hideous things I did back in college, before I knew Christ as my Savior.

Don’t think those things are as bad as murder? Doesn’t matter. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.” That means even just one sin–one little lie–merits death. And death means separation from God, which means hell. Because at the end of this age, this world as we know it will pass away and there will be a new heaven and a earth and only the righteous in Christ will allowed in.

But WHY? God knew we would sin when He created us…He knew people would go to hell. Why did He move forward with creation then?

The only answer I have isn’t the most developed but I believe God did it for His glory. Without our sin, there would be no need for Christ. And without Christ, God could not have revealed His character–His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, justice, wrath. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God” and verse 19 says “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” Jesus Himself says in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” So then Jesus is the full, complete, perfect, divine revelation of who the Father is. By revealing His character, God reveals His glory.

As for creation, if we had not been created, we could not have an intimate relationship with God through Jesus.

Switching gears a bit, this excerpt written by John Piper in an article called “How Willingly Do People Go to Hell?” has helped me understand what the Christian’s role is in light of the reality of hell:

What sinners want is not hell but sin. That hell is the inevitable consequence of unforgiven sin does not make the consequence desirable. It is not what people want—certainly not what they “most want.” Wanting sin is no more equal to wanting hell than wanting chocolate is equal to wanting obesity. Or wanting cigarettes is equal to wanting cancer.

So when a person chooses against God and, therefore, de facto chooses hell—or when he jokes about preferring hell with his friends over heaven with boring religious people—he does not know what he is doing. What he rejects is not the real heaven (nobody will be boring in heaven), and what he “wants” is not the real hell, but the tolerable hell of his imagination.

Because those who are heading to hell don’t know the reality of their dire circumstance, God has called believers, those who know the freedom and rest found in Christ, to proclaim the good news of the gospel. In light of hell, the gospel really is GOOD NEWS! There’s a way to avoid hell! And even better than that, there is way to spend eternity with God Himself! It is through the person and work of Jesus Christ. There is hope for mankind in Christ.

And so while I still do not completely understand the answer to Why Hell?, I can bow at the throne of God and believe that, regardless of how much I comprehend of Him, HE IS. He is just but He is also loving, gracious, kind, patient, and forgiving. And I would say that His love trumps His justice because He was willing to kill His one and only Son to trump His justice with love.

What an amazing, awe-inspiring, majestic God. His ways are past finding out.