Friday, August 30, 2013


"There's no place like home, there's no place like home." I honestly think if Dorothy was less emotionally dependent on her little dog Toto, we could have been bosom friends. Oh well, but how I do love home, as there really is no place like it!

Today, I left home. (Or the house that my parents have lived in for the last sixteen years in the humble town of Blythe, California.) I am so blessed to have a home I like, not because of its physical presence, but because of the feelings of warmth it brings. Thinking of my home and my family make me feel safe, valued, free and loved. Home is much more deeply routed in the sense of security, significance and acceptance that a person desires, than the physical place.

The first time that I moved away from home was as a freshmen in college. I was so pathetically homesick. It probably had something to do with the fact that I wasn't prepared for everyone evacuating the dorms on the weekends. Commuter schools, for the win! However, in my homesickness, God met me in a deeper way. I had grown a ton in my identity in Christ in high school and while I was preaching truth to myself daily, I had yet to consistently stick in the routine of intentionally getting time in the Word with Jesus everyday.

That all changed as a freshmen in college. My daily time with Jesus was the only time that I felt at home. Early in the fall semester I came to John 14:23, "Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'" What a promise! I was sold. I was going to obey God by spending time with Him, and He was going to love me, come to me and make His home with me. And God has done exactly that during these last 8 years!

So this morning as I drove through the desert, I was blissfully at peace. God is going before me in the move to Davis, He has been with me all along the way, and because of His Presence I will always be at home.

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness in making Your home with me, for continually meeting me and encouraging my heart in the ups and downs of life. I am reminded of Moses' words, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." You go with us, even as the rains cover the desert. You are good.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Obedience is a word we often shy away from using. To many it conjures up severe resistance and people throw out "legalism" as though to feign away from simply doing what is right.

Lately God has been making a point, my job is to obey Him.

I was on a cruise to Alaska during the middle of July. It was a Christian cruise with lots of old people, old people who love Dr. Charles Stanley. Dr. Stanley's life motto is "Obey God and leave the consequences to Him."  For the follower of Christ this is essential, it is the fruit of a true lover of God. While Dr. Stanley mentioned it a few times, it wasn't really until I got home from the cruise that my time in the Word began to bring it to life a bit more.

As I was finishing up Genesis, I was struck by Joseph's obedience to do what was right, even when it did not benefit him, particularly with Potiphar's wife. Joseph went to prison because he refused to sleep with another man's wife and in her bitterness and rejection she lied about it. While Joseph clearly had God's favor in the prison and ultimately it allowed him to be made second only to Pharaoh when he was brought out, I'm sure it wasn't a fun place to be. He wanted out, telling the chief cup-bearer to remember him. And Joseph is a Christ-type, we see him show compassion and forgiveness to his brothers, we see God use him to save many lives. Joseph trusted God enough to obey Him and many lives were saved.

As I have been hitting the funding trail pretty hard the last three weeks, as one of my most beloved friends is suffering deeply, and I'm on this medical detox/diet (which is petty, but I have the least amount of physical energy I have ever had), obeying without getting the desired consequences seems really, really hard. I honestly don't want to obey if things don't change, but I cry out to God and He gives me the grace to obey.

I remember Jesus, and I think of Him on the cross. God's only Son, innocent, but punished to death all the same, accused, beaten, nailed to a tree, in full weakness and agony bleeding, and abandoned. In that moment Jesus was in full obedience to the Father.

So often we focus on the cross, and rightly so, but in our lives when we focus on our own crosses or trials, we can lose sight of Jesus's resurrection power. Maybe it is the impending nature of our problems or our sinful self-absorption that weigh us down so, but once through the trial life is always a bit richer for those who walk with Jesus through it. He is true to His Word, He strengthens us and helps us, He upholds us with His righteous right hand. Jesus obeyed the Father and went to the cross, in righteousness He conquered death and on the third day He rose again. Because of Jesus's obedience to endure the cross, our sins have been atoned for once for all, and now in Him we have the promise of the resurrection. Jesus in perfect submission obeyed His Father and many lives were saved.


Tonight there is another choice before me. To obey or not to obey? My dad asked me to do something that I don't want to do because of my selfishness and pride. I know my dad thinks I'm the more mature person in the matter, and so he's calling me to be the Spirit filled, new creation that I am. Why would I want to blast this person with my grievances anyways? Self-righteous pride is all I can come up with...ugh. And if I don't blast this person? If I let him continually blast me and impose himself and his ways, and choose to obey God's commands to love, what could the fruit of that be? Could it be the saving of many lives? Could the good news of Jesus reach other people by my choosing to love this person (whom I already love and am just frequently annoyed by)?


I'm reading a book for my training called "Training for Trainers: A Discipleship Re-revolution," T4T for short, and it shares some of the Kingdom principles that have been helping the gospel spread in really exciting ways around the world. One of the things it highlighted was that maturity for the Christian is not based on how much you know, but rather how much you obey. In America, we often focus on how much we know rather than having a fully yielded heart to obey God.


Psalm 32:8-10:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him."

Lord, thank You for your all sufficient grace, and your complete work on the cross. You are counseling me with Your loving eye upon me. You have me right where You want me this summer as You break me of my own ways. I trust You, Lord, for You are good. I repent of my disobedience, of wanting to justify my actions, of wanting certain comforts more than wanting to love others. I come to You. Thank You for giving me the strength each day to do Your work. Thank You for my dad's loving eye on me, too. Thank You that my parent's living room for my bedroom during this two month stay as it has made me ever so excited to move to Davis. Thank You for all You do and provide. Help me to be more like You, Jesus.