Thursday, October 20, 2011


We must understand what holiness is. Holiness is absolute and perfect righteousness, excellence, flawlessness, morality, virtue, uprightness, devotion and consecration. Holiness is being without sin, spotless, without wrinkle or blemish, untarnished and undefiled. Holiness is to be perfect in all things. When we say that God is holy, it is exactly what God is. This is His standard. His holiness is not just something to describe Him as or part of His character, it is WHO He is. He is holy. Everything He does, He does in holiness and rightness. In his book, Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer writes, “Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is. Because He is holy, His attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of as to belonging to God must be thought of as holy.”
The holiness of God- the human mind and intellect cannot comprehend fully the holy, matchless, incomparable, perfection of Almighty God. Thus, words cannot articulate, communicate and enunciate the depth of God’s utmost holiness. The thing to grasp is that God’s holiness is beyond anything the human mind can fathom. He is above and beyond all that I could try to write on. The human’s definition of God’s holiness is like a grain of sand on a vast, endless beach.
Again, Tozer writes, “He (God) is the absolute quintessence of moral excellence, infinitely perfect in righteousness, purity, rectitude, and incomprehensible holiness. And in all this He is uncreated, self-sufficient and beyond the power of human thought to conceive or human speech to utter.”
In Isaiah 6, the prophet Isaiah sees the holiness of God in the Throne Room of the Lord. He sees the Lord, high and lifted up, sitting on a throne. The train of His robe cascades throughout the temple. Isaiah describes the seraphim, six-winged creatures crying out and proclaiming in adoration: “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)
How does man stand in light of the holiness of God? Holiness is the measure for man. All men have fallen short of that glorious standard. (Romans 3:23) God calls us to be holy for He is holy. (Lev. 11:45) We are depraved, wicked sinners before the holiness of God. Because God is holy and man is sinful, they are opposite, opposed and separated. God cannot and will not dwell with that which is sinful, wretched, filthy and unclean. Seeing the holiness of God will show us our sin. It will reveal in us our great need for a Savior. It shows us just how far we have fallen. After Isaiah saw this majestic holiness of the Lord on High, he confessed, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5) What Isaiah saw was the holy, sacred and majestic God in all of His splendor and glory- He saw the holiness of God. It moved Isaiah to fall on his face and declare his depravity and sin before God. We must see the holiness of God in light of who we are. We must cry, “Woe is me! I am a man of unclean lips!” May we fall on our faces in light of God’s holiness. He is worthy of all praise, adoration, honor and glory!

Friday, July 22, 2011

God is Real

You probably read this title and thought, "well yeah, duh!", but my intentions for the title, and for the story I am about to relay, is to reveal how God can really present Himself to us. There have been times in my life, I know, where I have questioned God's sovereignty and His presence. Those times when I feel so lost, so alone I just simple didn't believe fully. I'm not proud of those feelings, but they happened none the less. Back in May, when I had a time like this, God came through my walls and showed me He was there and always would be.

My family and I were on a weekend trip to Memphis for my brother's basketball tournament at the very end of May of this year. It had been a fun weekend so far, but deep within I had been struggling with something for some time.
I am beginning college this Fall and I chose a small private Christian college opposed to a large public school. With the more intimate and spiritual learning environment comes a heftier price tag. I have a decent scholarship with the school, but it was still not enough. My heart and head was on a roller coaster. I want to go to school so badly, but is it worth jeopardizing my family possibly because of the cost. My faith and trust was diminishing to almost nonexistent, but my Maker was not about to let that happen.
We were headed down the elevator at our hotel Saturday morning about to meet the team in the lobby to head to the first game when we encountered a wonderful stranger. An older lady was also on the trip to the first floor and she began speaking with us. She noticed my brother had a basketball uniform on so she mentioned her daughter who had just graduated and was going to school on a basketball scholarship. My mom told her that I too had just graduated and was going on an academic scholarship, but that there were many more funds that needed to be covered. The issue had been weighing heavy on all of us it seemed. She simply agreed as the elevator doors opened and we all parted ways with happy "good-byes".
As we were sitting in the lobby waiting on all of the team to arrive my mother was approached by our elevator friend. "I made it halfway across the street and God told me to come back and find you" she explained while inquiring after where I was. She took my mom and I to a secluded hallway and told us that the Lord had told her to come back and pray with us. She did just that! She prayed aloud as we all held hands that God would provide for our family and that we would not be in want or that we would not worry. She prayed for name! After her "amen" she looked me in the eye and said "Hayley, God has told me that you have a heart for Him and if you only trust in Him then He will provide the way for your school." We gave her a hug and we parted ways yet again, never to see her again.
Two things we didn't tell this woman: that my name was Hayley and that we were Christians
I have never experienced God in a more real way. He spoke to this woman and was specific!! He knew that right then at that moment I needed to see Him. I did. I saw Him in the eyes of that woman who did what He called her to do.
I escaped the noise of the lobby and went into the bathroom and cried in lost agony. Why had I questioned God? How could I even think that I could take over? Why was I worrisome and lonely? He was with me. He was caring for me. He was providing for me. I would never doubt Him again.

That completely real experience with God, both with His messenger and in the bathroom with Him, changed my life. He was God and I know that now without a shadow of a doubt. No longer do I worry about what the future holds. I know that whatever it is God has it all under control.
If you feel lost and questionable like I did then He will seek you out in the most incredible way. Begin yourself by seeking Him. Dig into His word with a hunger and ask Him through fervent prayer to reveal Himself. You won't be lost for long, for He always finds a way back into your life.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meet My Friend

I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine.
She's actually quite close to my family and me.
She lives a little drive away, but comes over often because she is my brother's bestest friend.

She loves to cook and be goofy.
She loves to swim and play her piano.
She loves to take pictures and wear feathers in her hair.

But most of all she loves Jesus.
She loves Jesus with her whole heart.

Her name is Emily Joy.
And her name is quite appropriate.

Here is her blog.
Read it.
I can't explain everything that's going on in her life, because it's a ton.
Just imagine horrible pain throughout your body and hundreds of medical tests resulting in a prescription of a radically changed lifestyle and habits.
The LORD has called her worthy to go through this and I am honored to know such a woman so willing to obey His command.

Emily's Blog: Because You Shine

Dear Emmi,
I thank God whom I serve as I remember you in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother and your mother and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame...the gift of God, which is in you, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. You count it all joy, my sister, when you fall into various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let that steadfastness have its full effect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the daughter of Christ who remains steadfast under trial, for when she has stood the test, she will receive that crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tornadoes and the Peace of the Lord!!

It's tornado season here in Arkansas. I'm starting to get used to the sound of the sirens going off. These last two weeks have been horrible! Well, Monday was the worst of it. There were several tornado producing storms ( 10 tornadoes officially confirmed in central AR) Well, there was one headed right for us. I don't mind thunder storms unless they're headed for me. The clouds were so huge and dark! I started getting really nervous as the weather guy said that it was a huge powerful storm that contained a large tornado.

(photo credit: WTVY news)

So the prayers began. We lost power and gathered near the bathroom, (our tornado shelter.) Then I remembered the verse I got earlier that day via text from the American Bible Society.

"Do not be afraid- I am with you! I am YOUR God.... I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you." Isaiah 41:10

I looked at it earlier in the day and thought it was a good verse but it didn't really apply (or so I thought) to what I was dealing with at the time. Boy, was I wrong!! It was perfect timing! And brought much peace during some scary moments!

Thankfully and only by God's grace the stormed moved north of us and didn't go over us!! Praise Jesus! :)

There was much damage in a small town of Vilonia, AR (about 40 minutes away.)Where four people were killed.

Please pray for the families who lost loved ones and their homes in the tornadoes.

When has the Lord brought peace in the midst of a scary or difficult situation??

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Looking For Love....

God's love has really been on my mind alot lately. I've realized how much I take it for granted. Or how many times I go throughout my day without grasping God's goodness and love for me.
We sing,"He love us, oh how He loves us, oh how He loves..."

But do really realize the truth and power in those words? His love is truly all we need. It's enough. I forget that truth alot.

Instead we go after the approval and love of our friends, peers and guys. I see so many girls who go into one relationship after the next... looking for approval and acceptance and love in guys. We think that their love will be enough, that it will make us complete, that we'll be worth something when we have finally met "the one." But that's a lie.

Jesus' love is enough.

We believe that God spoke and life came to be. We believe that Jesus had the power to heal the sick, blind, lame,the lepers and to rise from the dead three days after his death. We believe that He is living and reigning. We believe He has knows everything about us, He knows the number of hairs on our heads. We believe He knows every thought and every moment of our lives. But somehow we think He's not enough. He can't be all we need. What we are really saying to God when we look for love in everyone and everything except God is this: "God, You really can't love me like I need to be loved. You can't romance and cherish me like I want to be. God, You're not enough."

I need to clarify, earthly romance is not wrong obviously. But it becomes an issue when it becomes our obcession, our identity, and sense of worth.

I am realizing that I already have a love story. It's with my King Jesus.

He rescued me from my state of shame and sin- without hope of escape. He came to my side and laid His own life down to redeem my soul. He took me and purified my heart and soul. Exchanging my filthy rags for a pure white gown. And an eternity with Him is my joy.

So for those of us who are believers- this is our love story. It's every girls dream to be rescued and romanced by a prince. Our prince is Jesus Christ- we are His bride. That's all I need. God's love is perfect, unfailing, unending, everlasting, true, faithful, pure, merciful and constant and so such more than I can fathom.

Tenth Avenue North's song,"By Your Side" sums this thought up.

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Meet Sarah!


It is easier to stand in the cold protesting than to stand in the warmth with someone whose life is falling apart.
It is easier to stand an hour shouting, than to spend an hour listening to a breaking heart.
It is easier to know what you are supposed to do, than to actually do it.
It is easier to take a stand when you have people who support you than when you are all alone.
It is easier to judge someone when you yourself have never been in their place.
It is easier to say someone should do something than do it yourself.
It is easier to walk to the other side of the road and ignore the out casts.
It is easier to tell someone what they are about to do is wrong while we stand on this side of the fence.
It is far easier to be a hypocrite, than any of us would like it to be.
It is hard to love those who standers are so low, but that is what Christ did.
It is hard to be kind to a person who is making bad decisions, yet Jesus did it every day.
It is hard to believe that many would waste the precious gift of grace that God hold out to them, but isn’t that what we are doing?
Have we forgotten that God loved us at our worst?  That he took hold of us while we were in our sin?  That we didn’t have to wait until our morals were high to receive our salvation? Have we forgotten that God loved us before we ever loved him?  Have we not learned that we are supposed to extend that love with those who are dying in their sins?
It is easy to believe that we are too holy to reach down and touch a shattered life.
It is hard for us to except that sometimes, we try to live a life holier than Jesus did.
It is easy to thank Christ for saving us from our sin and gave us his love.
It is hard to live that love.

Hello!  My name is Sarah Holman, and I am 20 years old.  I live in central Texas with my wonderful mom and dad, my four younger sisters and one younger brother.  My parents homeschooled me through high school, and I loved every minute of it.
Some of the things I love to do are writing, reading and playing piano.  I have graduated, and I am hoping to become a published author and ultimately a wife and mother.
I welcome comments at  I also welcome you to check out my blog at

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Praying for this Generation of Men...

I don't know about you but when I see godly womanhood and manhood in practice it excites me. When I see a guy who is pursuing godliness and Christ-likeness it encourages me. I am so blessed to have the two closest guys in my life- my dad and older brother-Aaron, be excellent examples of godly manhood.

When we look at our current generation of men (and the generation to come) it doesn't look that great. The lost art of chivalry and manliness is fleeting and what is left is a mamby-pamby guy. Ok, I know I'm being a bit harsh.... I know not all men are like this but that's where it's headed.

I know as a girl, I sometimes ask myself, 'Are there any good guys out there?':)

I'm not alone am I???

Instead of thinking about how bad guys are or what we want to change about them.... how about we go to the Source- Jesus. What if we committed to lift up this generation of men to Him? What if we started praying for change? What if we prayed that the Lord would raise up generation of chivalrous,brave-hearted men who will fight for what is right,pure and godly? What would be the results?

As single girls, this can be our role.... praying for our brothers in Christ.

Here are some areas that we can be praying for our brothers....

1.) Pray that our brothers would be in love with Jesus. That their delight would be in the Lord.

2.) Pray that they would be living and walking by the power of the Holy Spirit. That they would continually yield themselves to the Lord Jesus.

3.) Pray that they would be the godly, strong and courageous leaders they are called to be. That they would be the men that God desires.

4.) Pray that they would be filled with wisdom, discernment and understanding. That they would be pursuing Christ-likeness and be filled with His attributes.

5.) Pray that the Lord would guard their hearts, eyes and minds from anything immoral and impure. That Jesus would give them the strength to fight victoriously over the temptations and lures that this would constantly throws at them.

6.) Pray for for an generation of men that will speak truth and do what is right in a generation of social and political correctness.

7.) Pray that the Lord would raise up men who will who carry out the Great Commission. Rescuing the hopeless,fatherless, poor and needy.

I know I have missed several areas but this will get you started.

Maybe devote this next week to spend an extra amount of time in prayer for our brothers in Christ around the world.
Just think about the impact we can have on this generation and the generations to come if we start praying for men- as leaders, pastors, husbands, fathers, singles, missionaries etc.... I think the impact could be incredible!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cries of the Least of These...

There is a story from World War II that makes an impact on me. A church near Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland turned up their pipe organ in order to drown out the desperate cries of those who passed by destined for Auschwitz. They were right outside their doors and they did nothing. They only tuned them out by singing and playing louder.

I think of the modern church. Are we just a contemporary version of that church in Poland? I know there isn't a concentration camp next door but are we drowning out the cries of the least of these- the ones that need us most- the ones that desperately need the hope that we possess?

They are the cries of the homeless man, the overwhelmed single mother, the orphan, the child in a broken home, the starving, the enslaved, the pregnant teen, the drug addict, the foster child, the lonely elderly widow, those in prison, those who are aborted, the couple in a struggling marriage....


Or are we just turning up the music, so we can't hear them. Are we filling up our schedules so we can say, 'we don't have time' to reach out to them.

Or do we say, 'I'm not called to those kind of people.'

If we got down and actually listened to the heartbeat of Christ we would see that His heart is for these kind of people. Not the Pharisees (or what we could say would be the modern-day, middle, upper class church population of) but His heart were for the those I listed above. The prostitutes, lepers, shepherds, fishermen etc.

Are we going to be the modern day Pharisees who know the needs of the least but choose to stay in high society, in our comfortable little lives of security and materialism? Or are we going to carry out the heart of Christ to a world that desperately needs the Gospel.

We possess HOPE- it is living in US!!! Why do we stay comfortable- living out our Christian version of the American dream. There is a dying world destined for an eternity in hell if we don't go and share the Gospel with them.

Matthew 28:19- "Go therefore and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

James 1:27- "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to VISIT ORPHANS and WIDOWS in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

Matthew 25:35-39- "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was 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, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them,'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

I love the Song from Josh Wilson, "I Refuse" here is the chorus and 2nd verse:

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately,
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of you, oh God.
So, if you say move,
Then it’s time for me to follow through,
And do what I was made to do.
Show them who you are.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meet Lorri!

 My name is Lorri Harper. I have been married for 24 years and have 7 children. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was in the 7th grade. He changed my life forever. I don't come from a Christian home, but God knew and chose me anyway! When I was a little girl, I wanted to teach my kids how to hear God's voice and follow Him! I wanted to be a Mom, Missionary, teacher, and nurse. God has let me be all of these things. I have been homeschooling for 19yrs. I am a Missionary to my family and my community, and I think I can nurse just about any "booboo" that you can imagine. :)
   One of the things that I have learned is that you cannot look at someone's potential for more than what it is. God lets us see someone's potential as a way of encouraging them to be all that God has created them to be, but that doesn't mean that they will reach that potential. That peotential is not to be the gauge that you use to choose a spouse. Example: I know John can be more than what he is now because I see it in him. I may be the only person that can bring that out in him...NOT....God is the only one who can do that. When you are looking at someone as a future spouse, you have to be able to say that there is nothing about them, just as they are before you, that you would change about them. If there is something about a person that you cannot live with, then chances are, they are  not the person for you! Everyone has faults and no one is perfect, so I don't mean to say that your spouse will be "perfect." They will not have moral or character issues that go against what you believe!! In some cases, God has used someone to change another while courting, but you still don't marry them if they still have the issues!! I wish someone had given me this information long ago because I might not have made some of the mistakes that I have made. So, I am passing this along to you in hopes that you will take this and tuck it away in your heart. 

Lorri Harper

Lorri Harper is our guest blogger for the month of February!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Heart Bound to Christ....

One of my favorite hymns is "Come Thou Fount." The third verse has always been my favorite in the hymn. Which says:

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let your goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord,
Take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above

How easy it is wander and stray even without consciously knowing it. With the business of life,distractions, places to go, things to get done, checking email and facebook, so easily I can stray from my Prince- Jesus Christ.Slowly,those distractions, and the business of my life come in between me and my relationship with Jesus. Normally I don't think about it until I am still and quiet and then I realize what I have missed. It is so easy to put other things in front of God on my priority list.
My mentor and I were talking a while ago, and she asked what I wanted my relationship with Christ to look like. I thought of the third verse in "Come Thou Fount" especially the words, "Bind my wandering heart to thee, prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love....."
What does it mean to have a heart bound to Christ? What does it look like? My heart's desire is to be bound, bound to my Savior and Prince. To be bound so tightly that I know of nothing else but Him. To be bound to His heart so my heart beats the same beat. To see the world through His eyes, to see people the way He sees them, to love the unlovable as He loves, to be heartbroken for the things that breaks His heart. I want a life bound to Christ.

Though this is my desire it's a lot easier saying it than truly living it out. Here's an excerpt I wrote in my journal. "Do I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ? Do I only desire Him? Is He the only one who holds my heart? Will I be found in Him? I really take the amazing joy of knowing Christ for granted. He has always been apart of my life, but do I truly love and know Him? Am I bound to Him and Him alone? I need an undivided heart only for Christ. So that I can say, "I count it all as rubbish compared to knowing Christ!It must be a daily, moment by moment decision to surrender all of my will, desires, dreams, aspirations, and wholly surrender to Jesus and be bound to Him.Bind my ever distracted, wandering, sinful, selfish heart to Him. In Him, I am truly fulfilled, content and have meaning. Being bound to Christ is the best thing I can ever experience. And in Him- my Prince, I find all I need."

Monday, February 7, 2011


This is also a post I had on my personal blog, but I thought it would fit well here too :)

So many times I have often pondered the meaning behind the lyrics in the songs I innately participate in singing and playing at church and chapel.
Are the words that come out of my mouth truthful?
Is this what my heart truly desires to proclaim not only to the world, but to God?

We have some strong, powerful, modern day worship tunes out there. We hear them on the radio, we sing them at church and youth group, but are the phrases we proclaim genuine?

I looked up some of the most popular worship songs and their lyrics.
As I carefully read through the lyrics, I was convicted. They reminded me of just how awesome my God really is! These lyrics also prompted me to ask questions in examination of myself. This reminded my heart to be focused and intentional.

I also looked up verses to go with these songs. Wow! So hard to pick only a select few! Don't take these modern-day psalm writers for word, look it up yourself. These truths are everywhere in Scripture. I found so much more than I expected - and trust me, there are plenty more out there ;)

Mighty to Save
Everyone needs compassion...
Everyone needs forgiveness...
My Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save...
Shine your light and let the whole world see.

  •  Everyone. Everyone is lost. Everyone is born separated from God. Everyone needs compassion. Forgiveness. Who can get them out? Only the Savior, for He is mighty to save. When I sing this, do I truly believe this? Do I live my life in such a way that proclaims His compassion for people, His forgiveness of sins, and His saving grace?
  • Psalm 67:2-3, Romans 1:16

The Stand
So I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
So I'll stand my soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is Yours.
  •  I'll be the first to admit: raising my hands (let alone arms) during worship does not come natural to me. Whether in song, prayer, or any other form of worship, I am used to steady, unmovable, and static-ness. Recently I have been challenged and stretched in this area. At first it was uncomfortable and hard to get used to, but as I study more about worship in the Bible and especially posture (in communication theory), there is something about having an open stance that says "Here I am Lord, do what you want with me. Hey! Do you see me here? I ain't much, but I'm giving you my all."
  • Psalm 28:2, 63:4, 134:2, Lamentations 3:41, 1 Timothy 2:8

You're Worthy of My Praise
I will give You all my worship
I will give You all my praise.
You alone I long to worship.
You alone are worthy of my praise.
  • How many things do I praise in a day? "The food was amazing!" "You're a great speaker!" "I just love that song!" "My weekend was epic!" Sure, these are wonderful things we are able to enjoy and thank God for as we rightly should. But how many times are we praising the created rather than the Creator who made it all possible in the first place? He alone is worthy of my ultimate praise. His praise is what should fill time in my day.
  • Psalm 18:3, Revelation 4:11

In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, and my song.
  • This one is obvious and simple. Easier said than done, right? Is Christ the ultimate hope, light, strength, and song in my life? What do I need to eliminate that distracts me from finding peace and comfort in Him alone?
  • Psalm 62, 1 Peter 5:10, John 8:12

Revelation Song
Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name.
Jesus, Your name is power,
Breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery.
  • The name of the Lord is not to be taken lightly. He is so jealous of it. His name is holy. So simple, yet so important. Am I filled with awestruck wonder when someone mentions my Savior? When I hear His name, does my countenance lift? 
  • Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4, Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 22:2b, 24:16, Psalm 8:9

Your Grace is Enough
God I see Your grace is enough
  •  Do I see it? Do I live a life that screams out loud God's grace upon such a sinner as I? So often I take His overwhelming grace for granted. Is His undeserved favor truly enough for me to live on?
  • John 1:16, Acts 20:24, Romans 5:2, 2 Corinthians 12:9

Here I am to Worship
Here I am to Worship, here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God.
  • Again, posture. Here I am to bow down. "Isn't that like a sign of submission or something?" Why yes it is. Just to bow down before Him in acknowledgment that He alone is God is so hard to do sometimes with this stubborn nature!
  • Psalm 95:6, Nehemiah 8:6

Blessed be Your Name
Every blessing You pour out I turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
  •  Do I really turn back to bless the name of the Lord when dark times surround me? Ha, I wish I was that faithful! When He gracefully blesses me, do I turn and give all the credit back to Him? Ya right! Once again, easy song to sing...hard to follow through.
  • Job 1:21, Psalm 23:4, 34:2, Jeremiah 9:23-25, Nehemiah 9:5b

Friday, February 4, 2011

Practical Steps For a Closer Walk With the Lord....

This is a post that I wrote for my personal blog: The Great Adventure, but I thought you all here at Radical Love might like to read it! :)

For some time now, I have struggled to be consistant in spending time with the Lord and in His Word. It comes down to discipline. To put forth what is most important rather what is truvial and unnecessary. My new year's resolution is to be a better student of God's Word and make my time in the Lord's presence my highest priority.

I have been so encouraged! The Lord has given me the diligance and motivation to spend ample time in fellowship with Him!

I want to encourage you to do the same. To spend more time with the Lord and in His Word. If it means getting up earlier- do it. If it means sacfricing your favorite tv show- do it. If it means saying "no" to a friend so that you can spent a quiet evening studying the Bible- do it!! It is worth it! :)

I want to share with you what I have been doing that has really encouraged me in my quiet times with the Lord.

-> I am reading through the entire Bible- I have found a great tool and one year Bible reading plan that has been wonderful! Click here to view my Bible reading plan. It is Prof. Horner's Reading System. Basically you read 10 chapters of the Bible each day from various passages. 10 chapters seemed daunting at first but it has been such a great way to create discipline in my life.

-> Spend time in prayer- Before I even open my Bible I commit my time to Him- asking Him to reveal what He wants me to learn during my time in His Word. After my Bible time I spend more time in prayer for specific things. Something that has been very rich to me is praying for every country. Operation World is a great source to pray for every country on the earth! They have specific information on how to pray for each country. So each day I pray for a country. Another area I am praying for is the U.S. foster care system. Adopt Us Kids is a website where you can search for children in your state that are currently in the foster care system. This is a great tool to pray for children who are in need of lasting, forever families right now in our own states! And who knows- God may lay on your heart to be apart of it!! :) Lastly, I have a prayer list- I have written down prayer requests of my friends, family or people who I don't even know who are in need of prayer. I take 10 of the requests to pray for each day. This has been a great way to be faithful in praying for the needs of others rather than saying, "I'll pray for you!" and then fail to do so. :)

-> Listening to music- Maybe it's just me, but music makes me want to praise God! :) I am so thankful for worship music! It has been such an encouragement to my heart! Even before I have my devotions worship music prepares my heart for my time with the Lord. Afterwards, while I'm in the shower or getting ready for the day, worship music continues my praise,adoration and time with the Lord. Listening to worship music throughout my day keeps my focus on Jesus and the cross. It keeps my heart intune with the Lord and His Word.

-> Journaling- I really am a lousy journaler. I have great aspirations of being a great journaler but I tend to fail miserably! Having a journal to write down what I studied, how it impacted me and who I prayed for is a great way to see my progress in my quiet times! It doesn't have to be long but just write something! :)
Here is what I wrote this morning:
Matthew 14:28-31- "Jesus is walking on the water and Peter goes out to meet him. He was walking on the water fine, until he saw the wind and he begins to sink. This passage translates into my life. Following Christ is like walking on the water. As long as my eyes are fixed on Jesus it is well. But when I take my eyes off of Jesus and look at the 'wind' ( dangers, difficulties, struggles, temptations etc.) I begin to sink. Jesus told Peter, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' When I take my eyes off of Christ and focus on the trials, fears, anxieties and things of this world, I am doubting God's plan, Sovereignty and will for me."

-> Scripture Memorization- this is another necessary discipline. I find it easier to memorize when you have someone to keep you accountable. Find a friend, sibling, parent or mentor who wants to memorize Scripture with you. Meet each week and say your verses. Start out with a Psalm or a shorter passage and then work up to memorizing longer passages.

-> Reading Missionary Biographies- I have been so encouraged by reading books by great men and women of the faith. I just finished reading George Muller's autobiography. I can't even begin to tell you all that I learned from Him! His dedication in spending time with the Lord, his persistant prayer life, his trust in the Lord's provision, his heart for the poor and orphaned- incrediable! I highly recommend it! Reading books by Amy Charmichael, Elisabeth Elliot, Hudson Taylor, Gladys Alward, George Muller, will challenge you and encourage to live out the same faith and life that they lived.

-> Clean out the media- I am learning that some of the habits that I have created may not be necessary or uplifting. I really like watching TV at night. I find it relaxing but what am I gaining by spending hours in front of the TV watching mostly invaluable, nonsense? Now I am not saying that watching TV is a sin but what else could we be doing instead? Spending more time with the Lord? Reading a great book? Journaling? Spend quality time with your family? Have a encouraging conversation with a friend? Writing a letter to a friend you don't see often? There is so much more you can do instead of watch TV!! :)
I love Facebook- but it is such a distraction!! I could spend hours looking at pictures, commenting on the latest news, "liking" statuses but really what do I gain?? OK, I can keep up with friends that I have in other states, but it's not a necessity. Try cutting back your time on Facebook, twitter etc. and see how it goes! :)

I hope this has been an encouragement! Try it out and let me know how it goes! Or if you have any more ideas for enriching your time with the Lord- tell me about it!! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Joshua- by Jessie Blowers

Most people say that all life is precious; but many people don’t really believe it. I was one of those people, until five years ago.
I was always taught that children are a blessing, and, with a family of eleven, my parents certainly believed it. But I wasn’t so sure. Yeah, kids are great, but they are a lot of work. Believe me, I know. As the oldest of nine, I had tons of practice “being mom” and resented it.
It was early spring when my mom came to tell me I had a new sibling on the way. The purple crocuses in our front yard were peeping from beneath of crust of ice, and the cornfields behind our house were a mosaic of muddy cornstalks leftover from last season’s harvest. Everything was hushed and expectant, eagerly awaiting the first hint of spring.
It was Thursday evening. Having finished my homework, I was sitting on my bed, busy writing my pen pal a letter. My mom’s voice interrupted my thoughts—could she speak with me for a second? Of course, I said “yes”; my mom and I are best friends. She plunked down on the side of my bed, a curious smile tugging at the corner of her lips. She had news, that was evident, but what she said didn’t make me happy.
“You’re going to have a new brother or sister,” she whispered, her brown eyes shining softly.
I can’t hide anything from my mom. To her surprise, I began to cry. Then it all came tumbling out: I didn’t want another sibling; more kids were just more work; I knew I was selfish, but I didn’t care; and, especially, I didn’t want another baby!
Dear mom, she was surprised and not a little concerned, but didn’t scold or ridicule me. She just listened; and my heart ached. I knew as well as she did that my attitude stunk. We prayed that night, just the two of us, for Christ to change my heart.
As the weeks passed, my heart did begin to change. In fact, the closer we got to our baby’s December due date, the more excited I became. During the summer months, I proudly announced to all my friends at camp that I was soon going to have eight siblings! Of course, they thought I was crazy—who on earth would want eight siblings—but I didn’t care. They eventually caught on and rejoiced with me.
 After three months, my mom let me come to the hospital to see our baby’s ultrasound. On the dark screen, I could plainly see a darling figure with a tiny head, arms, and legs. All of our baby’s organs were now developed; its hair and fingerprints were just forming; its heartbeat could now be heard; and its body, at a mere three inches long, weighed only a few ounces. The wonder of seeing this little person only increased my anticipation. 
By the sixth month of my mom’s pregnancy, she had become concerned about our baby. She hadn’t been nearly as ill the first few months as with her previous pregnancies and wasn’t feeling the baby move much. This seemed strange, but the doctors said everything looked great—only a few more months.
One night around the supper table, we discussed names for our baby. A girl’s name was settled: Abby Grace; but what about a boy’s? My dad liked “Joshua”. Yes, “Joshua” had a nice sound, but what for a middle name? I suggested “David”—“Joshua David”. It had a handsome, manly ring to it. It stuck.
By November, autumn’s azure sky turned to early winter’s slate gray; the fields, from their harvest’s golden glory, faded to a drab, frozen brown; but remnants of the sumac’s fire still hid in the hollows of our creek, and the cedars’ green accented the mild landscape. My mom began to prepare for the baby’s arrival. A white cradle and a few felt baby blankets found their way into the nursery. She would wait until two weeks before the due date to unpack any clothes.
Towards the end of November, my parents left for a weekend away. By the time they returned, they were both worried. My mom had not felt the baby move for too long. They were going to the hospital for another ultrasound. The morning of the ultrasound, I walked the three blocks to the office where I worked part-time each week. All morning I prayed, “God, please, let them find a heartbeat.” When I returned home for lunch, I answered a call from the hospital. It was my dad. The sadness in his voice told me all before he related what the doctors had said. The doctors had performed an ultrasound, but it was too late. Our baby was gone. My mom would stay in the hospital overnight for our little one to be born, stillborn.
The next morning, we drove to the hospital to see Mom and Dad. Dad told us all about our baby, a sweet little brother, Joshua David. Though beautiful, Joshua’s spine had not developed correctly, a condition called spina bifida. He had been paralyzed from the waist down, accounting for why he had moved so little during Mom’s pregnancy. He had had dark hair and only weighed 2 ½ pounds.
The following days were a blur, filled with cards, kind visitors, and a deep, hollow sadness in my heart. We held a memorial service for Joshua on a lovely morning following the winter’s first snow. The sun’s rays turned the icy spruces to silver that morning and the snow to a carpet of a sparkling diamonds.
Joshua’s death touched me in a strange way. Without uttering a word, he taught me that every life is created for a purpose. Joshua’s purpose was to teach me that I must not take for granted those God gives to me—because I may not always have them.
Before Joshua came, I took my younger siblings for granted. Now, my attitude is changed, and I love them to death. Yes, they are still lots of work—with endless sticky fingers, runny noses, and spilled milk—but their blessings far out way the troubles they cause.  Kisses at bedtime, cards with “I LOVE YOU” scrawled in big crayoned letters, and adoring eyes that follow my every move are treasures I can’t replace.
Because of Joshua, a tiny, handicapped boy whom I never met, I am a better woman. All life is created with a purpose. All life is precious. I know that now.

Jessie Blowers is a young woman passionate about pursuing Christ through her Biblical role. She resides in Lincoln, NE, and—when not studying for her Business Administration degree—loves spending time with her family and mentoring younger girls.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Outside the American Dream....

One thing that I have realized since coming back from Africa is that the America is very comfortable. Even in the American church I see that we are very comfortable. We never had to worshipping in secret because the fear of being arrested or tortured for our faith. We've never had to live without heat or worry about dying of AIDS or malaria,or not being able to have medicines or see a doctor. Everything is at our finger tips. Because we are used to living this way-it becomes the norm- we think everyone lives this way. The truth is that we are the ones who aren't normal.

More than 660 million people without sanitation live on less than $2 a day, and more than 385 million on less than $1 a day. (2006 United Nations Human Development Report)That won't even buy you a drink at Starbucks!

I think I thought the same way most Americans think. 'Live a good long, happy life, live safe and comfortable.' After seeing poverty, seeing their faces, holding their hands and seeing their love for God and others- poverty isn't just a statistic- it's people. I will never be the same. My life will never be the same. My view will never be the same.These people who have NOTHING- who don't have a car, nice house, designer clothes, who don't worship in a luxurious church building but in a field or mud hut, who don't have access to a hospital or medicine or even a Bible in their language- they are the ones who have the most JOY! They are the ones who are smiling the most, laughing the most and singing the loudest! The ones in poverty. Poverty is horrible- millions die because of it. I'm not saying that poverty is a good thing. But believers in poverty is what I am talking about. They have so much to teach us and for us to learn and glean from their lives.

In America, we are rushing around, always on the go, we complain about everything- the heat,the cold, the slow drivers in the fast lane, our sickness, our food, how bad we have been treated, our clothes etc. I am SO guilty of this! We think we deserve to get the best out of life. To go get a 4 year degree then onto grad school, make a six digit salary, build a huge house and drive a Lexus. That is the American dream. I think (as a bleiever) it is the wrong dream.

God blesses abundantly. It is a blessing to have a nice home, a car to drive and a good job. But in America it has become an idol. To live the American dream and live happily-ever-after.

We say we have enough God in our life but not enough stuff, money, cars, house etc. We pursue earthly treasures while we say we are pursuing God. Are we only following God to keep us out of Hell? Because if we were really sold-out for God our lives would look much different. All the world has to offer wouldn't matter anymore and all that would matter would be to live to glorify God and make HIM known. I am so guilty of this. Eric Ludy says this:

"There is a simple truth in the kingdom of God; The more beautiful and stunning you are to this world, the more disagreeable you are in the eyes of Heaven. Or the inverse could be stated; the more lovely you are to heaven, the more disagreeable you will, by nature be in the eyes of this world. Heaven and Earth represent two contrary systems and they are at odds one with another."
-Eric Ludy "The Bravehearted Gospel" pp.97

When I look at the American church after being in Africa- I can't help but think of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. He asked Jesus how to have eternal life. Jesus answered, "You can receive eternal life if you keep the commandments." (v.17)The rich young ruler had kept all the commandments. What did Jesus ask him to do? "Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect,go,sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (v.21) He couldn't do it. He would rather have his possessions, riches and comforts on this earth over eternity with Jesus!

Is the American church a bunch of rich young rulers? Is our possessions getting in the way of truly following Christ? Are you will to give it all up? Are we too attached to our possessions, riches and comforts where if we were asked to give it all up would we walk way like the rich man because we are too attached? Is our possessions and comfort and safety so important that we would rather live in the comfort of luxury than truly follow Jesus?

Jesus doesn't call for us to live the American dream. To live for wealth and possessions and stuff. He may bless us abundantly but it is not our purpose. He calls for us to TAKE UP OUR CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM. To leave everything behind and follow Him. He may call some of us to be missionaries in Africa, Asia, South America or other places in the world. Or He may call us to live in America and shine His light to the hurting and needy here. Whether in a third-world country or in America each and everyone of us has this call on our life. TO FOLLOW HIM. What is our response? Do we walk away back to our earthly treasures or do we abandon everything a RUN after Him?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Reason for the Cross

            I think about the Cross a lot. People die within our lives every day it seems, but who are they? An aunt, a mother, a friend, a political leader, an actor, or someone else we know of. Jesus was a son, a brother, a friend, and a leader, but above everything else He was God. Yes, God![1] The Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Wonderful Counselor, the Almighty, and the Great I AM. This perfect and holy Son of Man was beaten and torn for us! It wasn’t the death of a man which we would soon recover from the sorrow of; it was the death of our Creator and that is something we will never forget or “get over”.
            Sometimes we want to fall at the throne of our Savior and kiss His feet, but would we have kissed His bloody nail pierced hands or wiped away the dirt and sweat? Sadly, most of us wouldn’t have. Many of us would have denied Him like Peter did[2] and we would have walked away just so we didn’t scar our precious minds. Don’t turn away! Stare at it! Stare at the Lamb of God bleeding and crying out. Hear it, taste it, see it, smell it, feel it; but whatever you do, don’t turn away from it.
            What should our response to such an experience be? We should weep in shame so profoundly that our entire being shakes. We should raise our hands begging God to explain why He would pay the price for us. Most importantly we should respond with the greatest love our hearts have ever known.
            Christ’s blood fell on the road to Calvary for that sole reason: love. God loved us so much that He sent His Son, a part of Him, to this Earth as a helpless child, made Him live in this world of sin and hate, and then allowed Him to hang on a tree as a criminal so that we, the sinful and disobedient, would be freed from bondage and able to enter the Holy Gates of Heaven! [3] Heaven! That is where God sits on His throne. I don’t belong there; I’ve cheated, I’ve lied, I’ve murdered, I’ve stolen, I’ve coveted, and I’ve hated. But God knows I’ve fallen, He knows everyone has[4], but because of His unfathomable gift of love it isn’t about what we’ve done.
            So, how do we, the body, get our hearts back to the true love Christ desires from us? Our stubbornness tends to keep us from seeing anything wrong with ourselves, but from God’s viewpoint we’ve got a lot messed up. Two points I want to make that we seemed to have degraded are Belief and Action.
            Belief. What do we believe? Have we entrusted our knowledge to the Word of God or have we relied on a denominational doctrine? I often wonder if our churches are too clean. Are the blood covered feet of Jesus walking on the floors, is His cross dripping onto the pulpit, are the dirty and hungry allowed in, or do we keep the insides of those four walls spotless? Our belief should be like that of the criminal who hung beside Christ on that fateful day[5]. He witnessed the sea of red and he smelled the sweat and tears, yet He believed in that man. He knew deep within His heart that all of Jesus’ turmoil was for him and he accepted that Jesus. The criminal didn’t see a painting of the Lord perched upon a cross appearing to be clean, he saw the Holy One beaten into an unrecognizable state and suffering greatly. If we could make ourselves see as he did then there is no way our beliefs could remain where they are.
            Action. We enjoy our lives and that is wonderful. God wants us to be happy and joyful, but we are missing out on one of the greatest joys: Service. When Christ was here He was not served, but instead He served others[6]. He wants us to continue His work for the broken, widowed, orphaned, and hurt[7]. Simon was forced to lift a heavy burden on the day of the crucifixion[8], but what he accomplished in that grueling task of carrying the cross of Christ was an example. An example for all of us to pick up our heavy and wearisome crosses and follow Jesus Christ wherever He goes[9]. The cross should not shrink to become lighter or be tossed to the side for an occasional vacation, but instead it should be taken up and carried every day of our lives.
            As soon as we believe in the true sacrifice and take up our own crosses, then we see the Resurrection. Beautiful Christ coming forward made new so that He can embrace us and make us new in Him. Then, we get to enter into the greatest love relationship the world has ever known. And that is the reason for the Cross.

[1] John 1:1-2
[2] Matthew 26:69-75
[3] John 3:16
[4] Romans 3:23
[5] Luke 23:40-43
[6] Matthew 20:28
[7] James 1:27
[8] Luke 23:26
[9] Luke 9:23

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcome To "Radical Love"

Well, It’s here! Welcome to Radical Love! I (Mariah) am so excited to see how God will use the blog/website!

God has blessed me with some wonderful godly, women in my life. Some I see on a regular basis others are across the country and I have not met face to face. But all have impacted and blessed my life.
A couple months ago, God laid on my heart to start a blog with a couple of these women. So here we are today! So let me introduce them to you! You can find more information on each of the girls on the “Who We Are” page. We will be adding more girls to our family soon, but here are our wonderful girls as of now:

Hayley- Is one of my best friends! She has been a constant and faithful friend and sister in Christ. Her love for the Lord is so evident in all that she does.
Devan- went to Bible college with my brother Aaron last year and has become a sweet friend of mine. She is such an encouragement with her sweet spirit and love for Jesus.
Joanna- and I met through a home school website. Through I have never met her face to face; I can clearly see her heart for the Lord and desire to serve Him.
Rachel- I also met Rachel through the home school website. She has been such a blessing in my life. Her giving spirit and faithful prayer and support has been incredible!

I love reading blogs, but a trend I have noticed is that they are fluffy and flakey even narcissistic at times. Everything is about us, our lives, what we are doing, how important we are… etc. I do understand that some blogs have purposes… a young mother writing about her kids and parenting, a college student writing about her fun times, a newlywed couple writing about their life… etc. I totally understand all of that but still I think blogs can be a place to show off who we are and how great we are. That is not our goal here.

Even Christian blogs or websites that address issues for young women have the tendency to be shallow and uncontroversial. With the Lord’s help and guidance this will not be said of us!

In our generation-media and the world has affected us. Our viewpoint and worldview on how we live. We tend to live in a way that is ‘normal’ rather than live in light of God’s word, letting it affect every area of our lives. Dictating our choices, beliefs and standards.

There is a reason that the divorce rate of Christian church goers is the same to atheists. There is a reason that teens in the church are sexually active. There is a reason that college students are walking away from their faith. It’s because they have not fallen in love with Jesus Christ. They have not fully surrendered to Him.

When that has happened there will be a difference. When believers are in love in Christ there will be a radical difference in the way we live. Not just being able to say the right answers but believe and abide by the truth.

When we are in love with Christ we will long for His glory not ours. Our worldview, our lifestyle, and our purpose will be all about Him.

By no means are we perfect or have this down. But we feel called to share with you how God is molding us and shaping us. We want to challenge you, encourage you, and call you out from a mediocre Christianity to a life in full surrender to Jesus Christ- by that living your life with a Radical Love for Jesus and for the world.

This will not be a warm and fuzzy blog. At times it may step on some toes. You may think that we are being too literal, too radical, too bold, or not politically-correct. What we are doing is calling people back to what Jesus commands us to do and be. If I recall correctly, His message was not warm and fuzzy and it was not politically correct. He was literal, straight forward and He did not teach what was comfortable and popular.

So please don’t expect a pretty little fluffy jot about how to be more spiritual.

So are you ready??

Let’s be RADICAL!!!