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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh My Gosh, You Have to Check These Out!

These are pictures by Jocelyn Brown Photography.  Love them and love this family!!

Check out the rest here:

Check out Maggie's awesome store here:

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Need

People are herded into rows of confined seats, one after another. The air, if you could call it that, is stale, stuffy, and suffocating. Jolting, jerking, and jarring motions accompany our escalating speed. One of my sweaty palms fiercely grips the arm rest of my seat, and my other hand tightly grips my husband’s hand as my nails pierce his skin. Our intensifying speed abruptly divorces us from the ground. We soar further and further away...away from firmness, stability, and familiarity of the ground. My heart races, so fast that I wonder whether it will explode out of my chest. My breathing is no longer natural and effortless. I anxiously wait for the chime that will release the attendants and signify at least that all is proceeding according to plan. I anticipate with dread the side to side, the lift, and drop that disturbs the steadiness of the ride. I long for the time when my feet meet again the solidity of the earth beneath them.

I am terrified of flying.

I know it is illogical. I know that more people crash in automobiles than in airplanes, and yet I drive my car daily in complete peace. At one point in my life, I used to travel by airplane every 4 months. The airplanes in which I traveled never crashed. Yet, every time I fly, the anxiety within me has gotten worse.

I hate it.

However, there is one thing for which I am particularly grateful with regard to my fear of flying, and that is that it reminds me in a very tangible way of my need for a Savior.

It is easy to walk through life with the illusion that we are independent and self-sufficient. I feel perfectly confident in breathing in and out every second, rising in the morning, driving to work, doing my job, driving back home, preparing dinner, reading a little or talking with a friend, and starting that cycle all over again the next day. It is easy to forget that my every breath is sheer grace from my Creator who gave me breath and sustains it moment by moment. It is easy to forget that my life is a vapor and could be over in a flash. It is easy to forget that it is God’s empowering grace that enables me to get up in the morning, drive to work unharmed, do my job, interact with others, and study. When I am in an airplane, I feel like I will simply not be able to endure sitting there while my heart pounds, my mind spins, and my palms sweat. I find myself constantly praying, “God, I need you. Please help me.” Yet this same prayer is true and needed while my feet are safely on the ground.

My need for Jesus includes my need for His Body. I need brothers and sisters in Christ who will point me to Christ, who will pray for me, who will encourage me, and to whom I can confess and from whom I can receive counsel and help. Because Christ has set me free and because He is all, I can humbly walk in the light... I can be honest about my frailty, weakness, struggles, and sin. I can receive help, and He can receive glory. I was so blessed to have dear friends pray for me, encourage me, and help me before and during my flight. (My sweet family even wrote me the nicest cards to read on the plane.)

Another way that flying reminds me of my need for a Savior is because I know that my obvious fear reflects a sinful lack of trust in God. My head knows that God is good. My head knows that God will equip me for whatever situation He brings into my life. My head knows that any discomfort and even death is worth it so long as I can be with my Savior. I know this because God has proven His character to me over and over again. And yet in the air, my emotions betray my knowledge. My lack of faith is so blatantly obvious while I am flying, and for some reason it is less obvious to me while I am on the ground. In the air, my lack of faith and my frailty is exposed. I am betraying my Savior and friend by not trusting Him--the One who has demonstrated His steadfast love and trustworthiness to me over and over again like no other in my life has. My reaction to flying reminds me of the obvious truth that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I simply do not live by the faith that I ought.

Flying reminds me that I never stop needing Jesus. Becoming a Christian does not change the fact that I need Him for every moment of every day. I cannot do anything, good or bad, apart from His Sovereign permission. I cannot do anything good without His empowering grace. I cannot stand in His Pure and Righteous presence given my past, present, and future sins, apart from the work of the cross—where Jesus paid for each of those sins and washed me clean, so that I can enjoy fellowship with our Pristine God. And until the day when Christ’s sanctifying work in me is complete, I need His constant healing, forgiveness, and help. And when His sanctifying work in me is complete, I will need Him then too because He will be my sun, the source of my delight. I love how this song reflects our reality until that day:

“The River”

By Brian Doerksen

To the river I am going
Bringing sins I cannot bear
Come and cleanse me, come forgive me
Lord I need to meet you there

In these waters, healing mercy
Flows with freedom from despair
I am going, to that river
Lord I need to meet you there

Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord I need to meet you there

Come and join us, in the river
Come find life beyond compare
He is calling, He is waiting
Jesus longs to meet you there.
I am so grateful that my God remembers that I am dust.  I am so grateful that He is the most loving Father I can imagine, and He shows compassion and affection to me daily.  I am so grateful that He wants me to come to Him with all my cares and needs.  And He does meet me!

Psalm 103

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.

8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.

17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.

19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!

21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!

22 Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Friday, August 6, 2010


There is so much in this life that we cannot see. We cannot see how the past affects the future. While we have experienced in some measure the comfort, joy, and fulfillment of God’s promises in Christ, we haven’t experienced the completeness of this fulfillment—and we await this eagerly. One day, He will wipe away every tear. One day, we will be free of the sin that entangles us. One day, this light and momentary affliction will not be fit to be remembered in light of the weight of glory we will experience. One day, the lion will lay down with the lamb. One day, war and strivings will cease. One day, friends and enemies will be reconciled. One day, we will see the full of effects of glory to God in the Highest and peace among men upon whom His favor rest. One day, we will be with Him with no barriers whatsoever and He will satisfy us so much that we will never doubt or fear again. Today, we have the promises. Today, we remember from what He has delivered us. Today, we remember what we can understand of His faithfulness. Today, we take Him at His Word, because He has demonstrated that we can trust Him. Today, we worship Him because we have caught a glimpse of His beauty and majesty and even that glimpse has been marvelous beyond anything we have ever seen. Today, we discipline our feeble hearts and minds to go back to His Word and remember just Who He is! Today, we remind ourselves that what we see today with our eye, is not all there is. Even as we live between the here and then, we seek to see Him with the eyes of our heart today, because the Majestic One is with us here, today.

Isaiah 26:3-4

“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”

I love this from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Psalm 56:
II. He encourages himself in God, and in his promises, power, and providence, v. 3, 4. In the midst of his complaints, and before he has said what he has to say of his enemies, he triumphs in the divine protection. 1. He resolves to make God his confidence, then when dangers were most threatening and all other confidences failed: "What time I am afraid, in the day of my fear, when I am most terrified from without and most timorous within, then I will trust in thee, and thereby my fears shall be silenced." Note, There are some times which are, in a special manner, times of fear with God's people; in these times it is their duty and interest to trust in God as their God, and to know whom they have trusted. This will fix the heart and keep it in peace. 2. He resolves to make God's promises the matter of his praises, and so we have reason to make them (v. 4): "In God I will praise, not only his work which he has done, but his word which he has spoken; I will give him thanks for a promise, though not yet performed. In God (in his strength and by his assistance) I will both glory in his word and give him the glory of it." Some understand by his word his providences, every event that he orders and appoints: "When I speak well of God I will with him speak well of every thing that he does." 3. Thus supported, he will bid defiance to all adverse powers: "When in God I have put my trust, I am safe, I am easy, and I will not fear what flesh can do unto me; it is but flesh, and cannot do much; nay, it can do nothing but by divine permission." As we must not trust to an arm of flesh when it is engaged for us, so we must not be afraid of an arm of flesh when it is stretched out against us.

Psalm 56

Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.

3 When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.

4 In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?

5 All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.

6 They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.

7 For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

8 You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?

9 Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.

This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise,

11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 I must perform my vows to you, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.

13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Great Post on Prayer from
Praying the 6 "D's"

August 5, 2010
By: Jon Bloom
Category: Commentary

A few years back I wrote about the 5 "D's" I pray for daily. Recently, I added a sixth: desperation. I need to feel continually my desperate need for God.

Whatever it takes, Lord, give me...

Delight in you as the greatest treasure of my heart.
Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
Desire to know you, be with you, and seek your kingdom above all else. Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
Discernment that comes from a renewed mind that I might know your will.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Desperation because when I stop feeling my need for you I tend to wander.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. (Psalm 119:67)

Discipline to plan for what I discern as your will.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Diligence to do your will with all my heart.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)