Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hiking to Heaven

So....we leave for Alaska in the morning, but I wanted to share with you something I have observed these last few weeks. I have noticed something wonderful in my family as we prepare to go on our 4th annual summer backpacking adventure. Here it is:

Going on a backpacking trip is a LOT of work--and this year that work is compounded by the fact that we are flying to our destination. But because we all love, love, love to go hiking, the work doesn't seem burdensome at all. In fact, it seems exciting and fun! I don't think that I have heard one complaint from any of the family members when I asked them to plan a menu...or dehydrate pounds and pounds of fruit, vegetables, or meat...or set out the tents and check for holes...or find the trowel (for you-know-what)--hey you either bury it or pack it out--which would you choose?...or check the water filter to make sure it filters. (OK--well, maybe I complained a little when I bought the wrong batteries for the GPS--give me a break--I was exhausted from my 3rd trip to Target). We so love the goal--hiking together in God's beautiful creation--that the way to get there seems not wearisome, but enjoyable!

Shouldn't we all be more like this when we think about preparing ourselves for our real and permanent home--Heaven? Shouldn't our infatuation with the dream--the reality of someday meeting Him--OUR FATHER-- make us giddy with excitement and anticipation? All of this training ourselves to think rightly and lining our lives up with the Word--all of this denying ourselves and looking to Him--shouldn't this give us just a little shiver of longing when we realize what all of our "preparation" is for? Sure it is hard and tiring and sometimes you just want to stop and be done cause it seems like you will never be fully ready, but if you stick with it and you keep on "carrying your pack", you WILL see your mountaintop...your goal... your JESUS!

The good stuff is yet to come, so keep on keepin' on. Don't let the many tasks in front of you get you down. Your final goal is within reach. Look UP!

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

John 14:2-4

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hanging and Hoping

"...but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:31

Beth Moore helped me understand something today. I think you will all be able to relate to her word picture. Here what she said on the last day of my Breaking Free Bible study:

"When my children were little, if they couldn't get me to stop and play with them, they would hold on to my waist and wrap their legs around one of mine. I'd whistle, go about my business, and say, 'I wonder what [my girls] are doing right now?' They would laugh hysterically. My heart never failed to be overwhelmed with love, because I realized that their favorite game was to hang onto me!"

"To 'hope in the Lord' is to do with God exactly what my children did with me! To wrap ourselves around Him as tightly as we can. Why does Isaiah 40:31 present the concept of binding ourselves to God in context with being weary and faint? Think about the illustration of the game my children and I played. Who did most of the work? I did! what was their part in the game? Binding themselves to me and hanging on tight. Do you see the parallel? When we start feeling weary, like stepping out of the way for awhile, we're probably taking on too much of the battle ourselves.

"You'll never be more beautiful to God than when He can look down and see you hanging on to Him for dear life!"

Isn't that the coolest analogy! I am picturing myself, right now, hanging on to God's legs tightly. My only job is to hold on with all my might--to intertwine myself with Him. His only job is to take care of everything else. I think I have the better deal.

And if I am hanging onto my Lord with both hands, I can't reach out for all the charms this world has to offer. Isaiah 40:31 says if I bind to Him tightly, I will soar with Him freely.

I want to put my hope in Him,
He is so worth hoping in!

Monday, July 26, 2010


"From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth."
Psalm 50:2

I love this verse. When I read it today, it stopped me in my tracks. It created the same kind of awe in me that I experience when I see a deer leaping gracefully in the field while I am running with the rising sun. It created the kind of thankfulness in me that overflows every time I see His promised rainbow in the sky. It created the kind of longing in me that aches every time I read about my treasure in Heaven.

God is PERFECT. God is BEAUTIFUL. God shines forth, perfect in beauty...because He is God. And because He can. I love that.

So powerful. So striking. So right. So good. So GOD.

"I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me."

Isaiah 46:9

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So, I only have a few minutes and I realize that it is July 2oth and I have only posted twice! this month, but here are a few things that have been rolling around in my head:

I just finished To Kill A Mockingbird and loved it! As an avid classics reader, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I had never read it. I fell in love with Atticus, the father, and the way he always thought the best of people--even bad people--by saying, "You know, that's just their way..." He refused to let unwholesome words come out of his mouth when discussing others and I really admire that about him. I want to be more like Atticus.

I have also been reading the book of Esther and am awed by how loosely Esther holds onto her life. When her uncle Mordecai encourages her to go and talk to the king about the planned annihilation of the Jews, she tells him that anyone who approaches the king uninvited could be killed on the spot unless the kings extends his scepter to them. Esther continues to consider her fate and then tells her beloved uncle, "I will go to the King, even though it is against the law. AND IF I PERISH, I PERISH." What a cool testimony of someone who fully trusts God with their very life. I want to be more like Esther.

My dog has been limping and probably needs to have surgery to repair a ligament, so we have been keeping him cooped up in either the porch or his kennel for nearly three weeks now to see if it will heal itself. It is a slow, boring time of possible healing for Neo and he doesn't like it. And he wishes he could run and play, but he can't because we won't let him. But you know what? Even though Neo doesn't understand why we are restricting him (and he probably thinks it is kind of mean) he still loves us the same as always and he trusts that we know what we are doing. Just because he is uncomfortable doesn't make him judge us "unfair". Neo trusts his masters implicitly. I want to be more like Neo.

Most importantly, though, I want to be like Jesus. And being more like Atticus and Esther and Neo will make me resemble Him more. May it be so.

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. "

I Thessalonians 5:23-24

Monday, July 12, 2010


“If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings.”

Adoniram Judson

This morning, while waiting for a friend, I was listening to a CD of John Piper talking about Adoniram Judson. Adoniram (whom I have nicknamed AJ from now on) was a pioneer missionary to Burma (now called Myanmar) in the early 1800’s. I was so enthralled by the story of his life that I plan to read his biography, To the Golden Shore, just as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Most people, upon hearing Adoniram’s story, would say that AJ was dealt an unfair hand in this life. After choosing to be “all in” for Christ, he had numerous hardships and endured great suffering; his first and second wives died before him (the second one on a voyage back to the United States to treat her disease); many children born to him in his first, second and third marriages died in infancy or childhood, he was wrongly imprisoned and tortured for 19 months and accused of being a spy; his converts were few at the beginning; and his work at translating the New Testament in the Burmese language was tedious and difficult. Such was the life of a missionary in those times. But AJ persevered and continued to die again and again to his desires, his affections, his comforts, and his will.

Because of the life he lived--and the life he gave up-- when he died at age 62, in the 38th year of his ministry, Adoniram Judson left seven thousand Burmese believers behind as a testimony. And then he entered the presence of his Savior and his true home…where he suffers no more.

What struck me most about AJ was this: He totally trusted in the One whom He had chosen. When bad things happened to him, when his life fell to pieces, he was able to say, “If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings.” He KNEW that God loved him and would only do what was best for him—even if the “best” looked like horror to him.

He really trusted God…I don’t do that.

I worry about the future and about what I would do if something happened to my husband or one of my kids. I refuse to do some things because I am scared of the outcome. I don’t pray, “God, increase my faith” because I think He might take something away from me. How pitiful I am…and how weak my trust in the Almighty God.

If I am to truly be effective in this scary, changing, and lost world, I must hold on to the Truth that is comforting, unchanging, and secure. If I say I want to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone, I MUST TRUST HIM FULLY. I MUST NOT FEAR SUFFERING. For I know that anything he orders is allowed out of an infinite love and perfect mercy. I must make the decision to believe that God is always good.

God is ALWAYS good even when I “feel” like He isn’t.

AJ said another thing which made me stop and examine my heart. As he was speaking on one occasion, a Hindu man exclaimed that the gospel couldn’t possibly be true because a great king would never subject his son to suffering as Jesus endured. AJ quickly took the man aside and said, “You are not a true disciple. A true disciple inquires not whether a fact is true to his own reason, but whether it is in the Book. Your pride has not allowed you to yield to the Divine Testimony.”


A true disciple inquires not whether a fact is true to his own reason…my mind…my feelings. A true disciple looks in the book …the Bible…to see if the “fact” is truly true.

Am I just being proud when I determine “rightness” of things based on my feelings? Yes.

Do I need to deny myself and remember that everything I suffer is ordered in Love? Yes.

Do I need lots of grace for this? You bet.

As my old buddy, Oswald Chambers says, "I need to believe God is always the God I know Him to be when I am nearest to Him."

So, next time I am faced with fear that is raw and emotions that tempt me to doubt my Father, I will remember AJ and say “What would AJ do?” And I will do it. So help me God.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 5:10-11

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wounded Healer

For Ryan

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…

Isaiah 49:15-16

Do you see these wounds, my son? The ones on the palms of my hands?

Do you see your name, my son? It is written…with my blood…with my pain…on those wounds on the palms of my hands.

Do you see my Love, my son? It is shown by my suffering…and my death…for His Glory…and your salvation…by those wounds on the palms of my hands.

I have engraved your name—your name!—on the palms of my hands, beloved.

Walk with me now and I will show you that I have not forgotten you. I will show you the wounds on the palms of my hands.

And you can show your love by allowing Me to hold your aching heart, your battered soul…in the wounds on the palms of my hands.

I will set you free…I will be your God. And you will be my child…and your wounds will be…on the palms of my hands.

I love you.

" He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."

1 Peter 2:24