Thursday, October 29, 2009

I fought the law...

I was in court today for a traffic ticket, failure to display inspection sticker. I showed up early and was very nervous. I've never been to court before. I usually move to dismiss or plead out and pay my fine in advance. This time, though, it wasn't a big priority to me. This seemed like a no-brainer. I show them proof of inspection and the case is dismissed. However, I couldn't find my receipt. So, here I am in court with no proof and hopes for compassion from the court.

I'm sitting in the room with all of the other offenders and I find myself sitting in judgment over them, priding myself on dressing more nicely or my offense not as severe as theirs. These two are here for Minor in Possession charges. That one was speeding in a school zone. Her dog wasn't registered with the city nor had records of a rabies shot. On and on it went.

The judge comes in and we all rise, per the bailiff's instruction. A short grandmother in a black robe comes in and I begin to relax a bit, foolishly. She reads off the rules of the court and makes no bones about the fact that she will put up with no nonsense. She follows the letter of the law and does not stray far from it. It seems this is going to be a bit more challenging than I initially thought. I'm getting nervous again.

Two people are called before me. Guilty, pay your fine. Not guilty? Show up on this date and be ready to present your case. I am called up next. Gulp!

I come to the front and give her the most charming smile I can muster. It is not returned. I tell her good morning. She replies the same in a very businesslike manner.

How do you plead? I lay out my request for an extension or dismissal. She offers to reduce my fine by $25. She tells me the officer reported I had no inspection sticker. That's not true, Your Honor. The inspection sticker was there. It was just damaged. If that is the case, we have conflicting statements. If you are contesting the charge, plead not guilty and prepare your case against the city prosecutor. You will need to show proof that you had an inspection sticker. I plead not guilty.

All day, I have thought of nothing else, other than proving my innocence. I need to show an inspection sticker that has most likely been thrown away. I have no photos, either. I can only hope the technician who did the replacement will cooperate and provide a statement, assuming he remembers it. I have until February. I will probably have to change my plea.

Today was very sobering to me. I couldn't even defend myself against a class C misdemeanor charge. There is no way I will ever be able to defend my sinful nature in this life. Like today, I need someone, an attorney, who knows the law and is able to defend me before the Judge.

The Bible is very clear that Christ stands as a witness to those who have given themselves as followers of Christ, those who are repentant of their sins and are covered by the blood of the Lamb. Hs is our intercessor, our attorney. His blood stands witness to the fact that He who knew no sin BECAME sin that I may be found innocent on the day of final judgment. I will be absolved and my record is wiped clean. All charges dismissed.

All praise be to God and to the Lamb that was slain!

"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" 1 John 2:1

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This was an amazing response my wonderful husband wrote to a friend of his going through some difficult times that I felt compelled to share. I feel extremely blessed to be married to such an encourager!

My dear friend, please know that I am thinking of you and agreeing in prayer with you. God reigns supreme and this season of life will pass.

"Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" Mark 4:35-41

If you've never been sailing, you can't realize just how truly terrifying it is when your boat is being tossed about in a stormy sea. Waves crash over the bow, threatening to overcome. The boat lists in logic defying fashion, coming perilously close to capsizing each time. No anchor will hold the boat in place and so you drift aimlessly, not knowing where you may turn up. These are the fears the disciples were facing, and losing to.

Had they realized that in the boat with them was the very God who created the heavens and the earth, the sea and the wind, maybe they would have been less focused on their circumstances and themselves. Instead, they may have spent that time singing praises, hymns, and worshipping at the feet of the one who knows every hair on their head and called each of them by name.

They called out to Him, "Teacher, don't you care about us? We are dying!" He gave them no comfort, no soothing words of peace. Instead He simply spoke to the storm, and the wind and sea immediately obeyed. He then looked at them and convicted them for their doubt. More than that, they were afraid for they had never seen anyone speak with the authority to control the weather.

I know times are very tough for you. I know that your faith is being tested and stretched. You wonder how you can go another day without God releasing you from this trial. I can only tell you that He will speak in authority and end this when the time has come.

You have a choice. You can react in fear and cry out to Him or you can rejoice in Him and wait for Him to glorify Himself in your circumstances. Both reactions are legitimate. Only one will bring peace in the midst of the storm.

John* is reacting from fear. His anger stems from not being able to control the situation and he turns to blame.

As a man, I want to solve the problem for you, as well. However, I have no more control over this than I do wishing time to turn back one second. I stand in intercession for you, praying for your constant renewal, peace in the trial, and glory to Our Father in Heaven. Regardless of the outcome, He will be glorified in You, Jane*.

"And we know that God causes ALL THINGS to work together FOR GOOD to THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, to THOSE WHO ARE CALLED according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

*names changed to protect privacy

Sunday, July 12, 2009

If sin was a man...

... I would fight him. I would beat him mercilessly for corrupting every good thing in my life.

My relationships with my wife, my sons, my sister, and even my parents are broken because of sin. I am dissatisfied with my job and my paycheck because of sin. Sin tells me that I will never be good enough, will never measure up. I'm too fat, too old, too uneducated, too poor... at least that's what sin tells me.

Sin if you had a physical form, I would attack you until one of us was dead... but you don't.

I am completely powerless to fight something that I cannot touch. I would have an easier time trying to catch the wind in my bare hands. I could more easily wrestle a bear.

I... cannot... fight... sin.

Praise God that Jesus did! For whatever reason, overcoming sin requires a blood sacrifice and only the blood of God Himself was strong enough, holy enough, to redeem the sin of this world.

Jesus is God and He poured out His blood on a wooden cross that I may no longer be a slave to the selfish whims of sin.

So why don't I live that out in my life? Instead, I pretend that the battle wages on and that the Holy Spirit doesn't dwell within me. I pretend that the very Spirit of God has left me to my own devices... and I let sin steal my victories.

Oh yes, sin, I would fight you... if only I could.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

Monday, July 6, 2009

Independence Day

This past Saturday was July 4th, American Independence Day. It is a day where we, as a nation, celebrate our freedom and honor those who have fought, and are fighting, to secure it.

Our social freedoms are God-given and reflect the liberation that we have experienced in Christ. Once we were slaves to sin and death, unable to resist the binding chains of selfish desires.

But God in His mercy... while we were sinners, enemies of The Most High, provided a way to free us and restore an intimate relationship with Him. He sent His son, Jesus, to live as His perfect sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus took on the full wrath of God at the cross, in my place, so that I could be called a son of The Most High God.

No amount of barbecue, swimming pools, or fireworks could ever express the joy I have in Him. It is because God loved me first that I am able to freely love Him in return.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dominican Republic, Day 5

In this world, I cannot think of too many things that are more refreshing than a cool rain on a hot summer's day. Things once wilted in the sun, people included, are reinvigorated and celebrate the grace showered upon them.

It has rained on us several afternoons here. It always seems to happen right as we're packing it in for the day. It restores our spirits and cools the environment around us. We actually got cold last night!

God's mercies rain down upon us just when we need them most. Like the rain, He restores our souls and reinvigorates our spirits. He washes away the defeats and failures of the past, leaving a fertile soil for His gospel to take root.

All praise be to God!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dominican Republic, Day 4

There are 2 things in life that I will never get enough of: laughter and encouragement. One of them requires no translation as you can clearly see below.

Jody said, "You will not grow in maturity in your faith until you begin to practice, and embrace, encouraging another man. It is how we grow closer in our relationships to other men."

Satan knows the weak spot in my armor: self worth. On a daily, sometimes hourly basis, he is there whispering to me, "Sorry pal, you're just not good enough. You can't hack it. You're not useful in ministry. You're a failure as a father. You're a failure in life." It hamstrings me. It colors my interactions and opinions of others. It sets me to seeking approval in as many places as I can find it. It tempts me to give up.

The Bible tells us we were pursued by God even though we were His enemies. While we were dead in our sins, it was His joy to sacrifice Christ on the cross... HIS ONLY SON... that we may be found blameless in His sight. His full wrath was poured out on Christ who knew no iniquity, committed no sin... in order that I should be called a son of The Most High God.

As a father, I can tell you that I would be very challenged to even hurt my sons' feelings for anyone, for any reason. God sacrificed His Son in order that I should live. In light of that, should I continue to live my life listening to the voice that tells me I'm a complete screw up? Should I give audience to the voice that tells me I'm not desired by anyone, even God?

Or should I listen to the Holy Spirit who has been imparted to LIVE WITHIN ME, to guide me, to comfort me?

My prayer is that some day very soon that I will be able to listen and hear the Father's voice louder.

Galatians 4:4-7
"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dominican Republic, Day 3

Sabbath. A day of rest. Why is it that I am amazed when God proves that He knows what He's doing?

Worshipped with Templo Biblico today. It was such a sweet time. Sang several familiar hymns in Spanish. I was completely moved to tears as I felt the Holy Spirit moving in the songs and desperate prayers of His people, my brothers and sisters.

We visited after. Rachel started this co-op as a means to offer the village women a way out of prostitution and other forms of oppression. We met one of the ladies who gathers materials and makes earrings.

After lunch, we jumped up in typical American fashion, ready to rush forward to the next item on the list. However Juan, our driver, motioned for us to sit and allow our food to digest, forcing us to slow down and rest a bit.

It really made many of us reflect on how independent and even completely rebellious, in the light of resting in God's sovereignty, we tend to be. So often, we are too quick to run and do when He is calling us to be still and wait. We equate busyness with obedience, it seems. Instead, we seem to think we can do it on our own power and volition. If we will it and work hard enough, God will give us rest after. That's so wrong.

Instead, we should rest in Him who is able to do mighty works through us. We wait until He makes us move. I honestly believe that too many times we get in the way with our own agendas that we miss out on the blessings that God wants to give us.

So today, we practiced rest. Some practiced better than others, but Juan would have it no other way... and praise God for it!

Dominican Republic, Day 2

Today, God allowed me to feel the weight of my own depravity. We walked through the batays of Poncho Mateo and Chichigua where I was overwhelmed by the abject poverty.

That God would ordain that I should live in the United States of America where one has drinkable water at the faucet, while these beautiful children live without many of our perceived necessities, seemed completely unfathomable to me. My heart broke that the villagers are dependent upon water trucks to fill a dirty sistern with water for cooking and washing clothes. Many do not have shoes. Some do not have clothes. I was filled with pity and grief, wanting desperately for them to have the life I live... only to be rebuked by the Holy Spirit.

You see, I'm not satisfied with my material wealth. Though by comparison I live like a king, my joy is not found in the car I drive, the clothes I wear, or the apartment I live in. Likewise, these villagers would not find joy in those things either. While life would be easier for these precious ones, no one has ever gone on the record to say they were tired of material wealth. It does not satisy. It is never enough.

True joy is found only in Jesus Christ. He is more precious than the finest silver, more costly than the purest gold. That became quite apparent to me as the children began to color in our coloring books and play basketball and soccer with us. With gleeful cries of "Caballito (horse)," they showed they were not there because we could give them money, toys, or other material possessions. No, they rejoiced in us as we got down in the dirt with them, shrugging off any preconceptions or prejudices we may have brought with us. They were willing to allow us the privilege of giving inexhaustible piggy back rides or playing silly games, ad nauseum.

God allowed us to share His unconditional love with a people group that has been cast aside and shunned and, moreover, we were joyfully loved in return.

Matthew 25:35-40
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, (O)to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"

*Special thank you to the Muticultural Center - Palestine, for donating many articles of clothing and toys. They will be distributed by the local churches at the missionaries' request.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dominican Republic, Day 1

I won't report the news. I won't bore you with details of narrowly making flights and what was left behind. Instead, I want this to glorify Christ.

Today, I felt joyful that I was embarking upon a journey with my family. My sister, Laura, was such a delight to visit with on all the flights. My brother, Michael, has got to be the wisest 16 year old I have ever met. I was overcome with such love for these people, though I barely know them.

What's more, I met Anne, Garrett, Katie, Robin, Cara, Miguel, Jenni, and Diego, Riley, and Jody. These are the staff members of Makarios who are hosting us this week. It was so refreshing to dine with them, laugh with them, and bring small slices of Austin to them. I am eagerly looking forward to getting to know them more over the next week.

This, I think, is what it means to be the Body of Christ. We love each other, unconditionally, though we may hardly know each other. We treat others as though they are more important than ourselves. We give as though nothing we have truly belongs to us, but to our Father in Heaven.

I have yet to see all of God's beauty that He has planned for us here. I can't wait to share more with you as the week progresses.

Romans 12:5
"so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Music, Music, Music

So this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. But I LOVE music. We're talking can't live without it. It is rare for me to not have itunes running at the house, earbuds stuck in my ears, or the radio turned up loud in the car. It is what God has most often used to comfort me, convict me, love me, minster and reveal Himself to me. I have been completely stuck on the song "None but Jesus" for about a year now. (If you've gotten an email from me a line from it is the tag line in my signiture--it's my favorite!) I can listen to the song 20X in a row for days in a row and not be sick of it. It is a reminder of who God is and how He loves us and what our reponse to Him should be. It makes me smile and it makes me cry and it makes me just sigh in awe of Him. Do you have something (a song, a verse, a quote) that does that for you? That just completely fills you up? Share please!! :)

"None But Jesus"
In the quiet, in the stillness I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence I know there I am restored
When You call I won't refuse
Each new day again I'll choose
There is no one else for me None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free Now I live to bring Him praise
In the chaos, in confusion I know You're Sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness You give me grace to do Your will
When You call I won't delay
This my song through all my days
There is no one else for me None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free Now I live to bring Him praise
All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope, all of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord Forevermore

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I got this off their website; really good stuff from Charles Spurgeon:

"If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" — Luke 23:31

Among other interpretations of this suggestive question, the following is full of teaching: "If the innocent substitute for sinners, suffer thus, what will be done when the sinner himself --the dry tree--shall fall into the hands of an angry God?" When God saw Jesus in the sinner's place, He did not spare Him; and when He finds the unregenerate without Christ, He will not spare them. O sinner, Jesus was led away by His enemies: so shall you be dragged away by fiends to the place appointed for you. Jesus was deserted of God; and if He, who was only imputedly a sinner, was deserted, how much more shall you be? "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" what an awful shriek! But what shall be your cry when you shall say, "O God! O God! why hast Thou forsaken me?" and the answer shall come back, "Because ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." If God spared not His own Son, how much less will He spare you! What whips of burning wire will be yours when conscience shall smite you with all its terrors. Ye richest, ye merriest, ye most self-righteous sinners--who would stand in your place when God shall say, "Awake, O sword, against the man that rejected Me; smite him, and let him feel the smart for ever"? Jesus was spit upon: sinner, what shame will be yours! We cannot sum up in one word all the mass of sorrows which met upon the head of Jesus who died for us, therefore it is impossible for us to tell you what streams, what oceans of grief must roll over your spirit if you die as you now are. You may die so, you may die now. By the agonies of Christ, by His wounds and by His blood, do not bring upon yourselves the wrath to come! Trust in the Son of God, and you shall never die.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hip, Hip...HORRAY!

I had an MRI last Monday and then a follow-up with the Cyberknife dock on Thursday with GREAT news!! My brain is healing nicely and there is NO MORE TUMOR. Radiation will not be required; scans for rest of my life will be but that's ok by me. This was really a great bit of news as i now feel like i can hit the play button on life again. Everything has been on pause pretty much since last August when i was first diagnosed. Nothing has been planned until we found out about radiation and now that we know treatment is done it's pretty stinkin exciting! I don't have to wait until after radiation because I'm not having it!! Such a relief and blessing to be done--at least until I have another surgery ;)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Headaches:Take 2

That's we go again. I've been having regular headaches pretty much every day for the last month. I'm back on the allergy meds and hopefully will be able to determine if they work since I don't have a nut sized tumor shoving things around. So the roller coaster has started once again and who knows what the results will be this time. I'm praying for the simplest solution (allergies) but at the same time know that not all the tumor has been removed and so it could be more complicated. Next MRI is the beginning of March and I hope that things are healed enough and the scan is clear enough for some definitive decisions to be made about the next step in treatment. The frustration level is pretty high at the moment as well as disbelief. I mean, seriously...headaches...again. In the the famous words of Charlie Brown "Good grief."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Learning one's limits

I learned an important lesson yesterday about what I can and can not do. For Christmas, Quinn got a Ripstick. it's a two-wheeled in-line skateboard that swivels in the middle so it can be kept in perpetual motion. Brad had to go help set up at the school for church and so we went with him to get out of the house and let the kids ride their wheeled vehicles (I should have stuck with Liam's scooter)

So Quinn makes this ripstick thing look easy. He's really good at it and so I decided to give it a try. His helmet was too small for me so i, foolishly, thought "Well if i lose my balance I'll just be able to jump off; no problem." Yeah, big problem. So I get going, am on this thing for a split second and next thing I know I'm on the ground with my butt bruised, my elbow on fire and my glasses half way across the parking lot cause they flew off my head when I hit pavement. I'm lying on the ground calling myself all kinds of idiot names when this sweet high school kid with first aid training rushes up to check on me. The boys have disappeared and I'm just hoping I haven't broken anything (I landed on my phone but it survived); I found out later from Brad that they had gone inside to get him. Here's how that conversation went: "Hey Dad we might have to call EMS" Dad: "Why would we need to do that?" Kids:"Well come here and we'll show you. Come here Dad" So Brad sees me on the ground and is all "What is she doing on the ground?" So he comes outside and I have to relay the the whole Ripstick incident. not once did the boys mention I'd fallen or smacked my head. Nice to know they can remain calm in a situation like that and thank goodness it wasn't more serious. So today I have the sore muscles and gross looking scrape to remind me that no matter how young I think I am my body is happy to remind me that I'm not.