Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Judge a Sem Student By His Tie

Yesterday I received an email from a friend. The email was a message about modesty. It highlighted the fact that God looks at the heart and man looks at the outward appearance--a good and sobering reminder. Then I received an email that I get daily called Grace Gems--little bits of wisdom from puritan writers, etc. The topic? God looks at the heart, man looks at the outside. Wow, what reinforcement of what I had just read. But I'm not done! I went to high school staff meeting last night where Austin Ducan proceeded to challenge the staff. Do not get caught up in outward works because God sees the heart, and we only see the outside.

Austin related a story that I'll share because it encouraged me greatly. In one of his seminary classes, a student stood up for his turn to preach. Now this particular student was not polished to say the least. His notes were crumbly, his glasses and tie crooked, his shirt unironed and untucked. Austin was expecting a good nap. But what happened next shocked Austin and the rest of the class. This seminary student proceeded to give the most riveting sermon those men had ever heard!

Why do we fall into this trap so easily? Why do we judge people by what we see on the outside? Don't get me wrong, I know our outward actions are a great indication of the state of our heart and we can't forget that. But Lord help me if I neglect those who don't don't mesh with my personality, or who don't have polished social skills, or if I discount a sem student because of his crooked tie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Spoke With Spurgeon Today and This is What He Had to Say:

"Now the cruel hand of death comes among my friends and family, and leaves me like a sparrow on the house-top alone, or mourning in the wilderness--but then not one of all the numerous inhabitants shall so much as say, "I am sick," because they are an assembly of sinless ones.

Now I am crawling along the road of life in company with fellow-worms, who dwell in cottages of clay, and are crushed before the moth--but then, dignified with His divine likeness, I shall dwell with the Ancient of days, and enjoy the dearest and most intimate communion with Jehovah and the Lamb forever!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Something I Read Sent Sparks Flying

My friend asked me how I was doing and my honest answer was, "I'm a little discouraged." Then I read this:

"'The heart is active, not passive,' That changes everything. I was accustomed to thinking of discouragement as something that happens to a person. But on closer examination of discouragement in my existential experience, I have been taken aback by how volitional or "active" it is. To go around saying, 'I am discouraged,' as if it's a saddle someone strapped to your back while you kicked and screamed against it, is akin to Aaron's version of how he made the golden calf: 'So they gave me [the gold], and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf' (Exodus 32:24). Um, no.

I have noticed that I actually choose discouragement. Sounds nuts, but a quiet little heart transaction takes place to some point (typically, in my case very early in the game) in which I say to myself, 'I don't want to fight this thing. I'm going to just give in to it.'"

Well, I want to fight. And I won't give in to it. I am choosing not to be discouraged. God's Word holds so much encouragement--really. Lately, each time I read, the Lord speaks directly to my situation and to my heart and I'm so uplifted. And the wonderful friends the Lord has given me are a constant source of joy and grace in my life. How can I possibly be discouraged?

Why should I feel discouraged,
why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Friday, September 05, 2008

On My Way

I made it to Connecticut. But not without another funny plane story. As I was sitting waiting to board, I was entertained by a large group of gals. From what I could gather, they were some sort of sports team, maybe basketball. When one of the ladies walked by me, I finally got up the nerve and asked, "are you some sort of sports team?" She looked at me and very sweetly answered, "yes, we are the Chicago Sky the WNBA team." Was I embarrassed, yes. But it was fun to sit on the plane with the entire women's team!

Today was a great day. My mom, dad, and I got to Skype with my sister and Caleb and we got to see baby Nicholas, the little child they are hoping to adopt. He is so precious. My sister said he never cries! He is so cute--he's always smiling. I had a good time catching up with my mom and helping her do things she has difficulty doing. I cooked homemade facaccia bread pizza. Today was already a precious time and I'm looking forward to the rest of my week here.

Please pray for my dad. I know he is working so hard and taking such good care of my mom. I'm glad to be here to help ease the load a little. But I know he could use the prayers. He is an amazing man, but he does get tired! Pray the Lord will sustain Him and that his love for my mom will only grow.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Don't Waste Her Cancer

A few years ago, John Piper was diagnosed with cancer and he wrote an article called, "Don't Waste Your Cancer." That's the inspiration for the title of this particular blog entry.

Recently my mom's cancer has become active, and not just active but aggressive--it has metastasized to her liver. Most doctors will not even treat cancer that has spread through the liver, they will simply tell their patient to go home, get things in order, and prepare to die. My mom's doctor told her she has 7-9 months to do just that. Not news that anyone wants to get--not me, or my dad, or my sister, and certainly not my mom.

Many of you have been praying for my mom for years now as she has battled several rounds of cancer. God has been faithful, and no matter what happens to my mom this time, God will remain faithful. God's Word has been my strength and comfort at this time. Each time I open it, a treasure of encouragement and hope cheers me. I am finding sweet fellowship and communion with my Savior at this time and although it is hard, the hardest thing I've ever faced in my life, God is providing grace sufficient at exactly the time I need it.

I am determined not to waste my mom's cancer. I want to shine Christ and to be a reflection of Him through this and I pray the same for my mom. I pray that she will be a beacon of light to any unsaved around her and that she will remain faithful, trusting, and joyful until the day she sees her Savior--whenever that may be.

We are looking for an aggressive doctor who will be willing to try to treat my mom. We are ready for whatever the Lord has, but still don't think we need to just give up. My mom is a fighter. She is the strongest woman I know. Lately she been in excruciating pain because the bone in her hip is deteriorating. She hasn't been able to walk for the last few days. Please pray we will find a solution for this besides just giving her addictive painkillers.