Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

It was an early morning on the metro. Usually if I find myself on the train during some hour at which I'd prefer to be sleeping, I do just that:  sleep. But alas, that morning 'twas not meant to be. So there I sat, engaging in my somewhat odd habit of people-watching, when my eyes caught one of the numerous signs posted throughout the inside of the train. Lo and behold, it was a Voice of the Martyrs poster! Woohoo!! I cannot explain how genuinely happy it made me to see that this ministry was a encouraging people to support the persecuted church in avenues which I'd never even considered. Metro station? Brilliant! I can only imagine how many people, both believers and non-Christians alike, saw that sign. For some, I'm sure it was an encouragement to pray, and for others it perhaps opened the door for them to ask questions about the ministry, or even better, the faith! Praise the Lord! So instead of my norm of napping through stops, I had the blessed opportunity to spend those precious minutes before the throne of God, interceding on behalf of His persecuted people. Seeing that sign and being encouraged to pray also challenged me to evaluate other areas of my life where I spend time napping or daydreaming when instead I could be doing something to further the Kingdom! I hope God uses this short post to open your eyes to times you can be spending in intercession for His people, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sickies

Changing seasons....

As of this past weekend, winter officially turned to spring, and my body is totally confused. After experiencing several amazingly beautiful and glorious days of sunshine and warmth, torrential downpours (okay slight exaggeration!) came out of nowhere, bringing chilly winds and....a cold. Alas. Sinuses, coughing, the whole nine yards. So am I excited about spring? Most definitely! But am altogether thrilled with the havoc it's wreaked on my body this early in the season? Not at all. I'm not complaining though, really. I actually just wanted to share why I haven't been motivated to post for a bit, AND to share something new I'm going to start trying which I am entirely too excited about! And what is that something, you ask? Oh, let me tell you... :) Home remedies. 

How dare they make something so...so evil as the common cold into an adorable microbe plush toy??

Womp. I'm sure that's what some of you guys were thinking once you read the source of my excitement. But all haters aside, I really am looking forward to trying out the all-natural side of health and wellness. For me, it's so easy to pop a pill (or several pills!) to relieve a headache, pressure, cramps, cough, fever, whatever it may be. Medicines are definitely great for some health issues, but as I'm learning through my current research, somethings can be cured just as well (if not better!) through a natural means rather than a chemical one. I'm starting out with the basics:  vitamins. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I took a vitamin (which is sad, I know), but hey, I'm gonna get back on track! I googled the question of what a good vitamin for someone in my age range to take is, and came across this link from Oprah's website of what to look for in multivitamins and supplements if you're between the ages of 20 and 40. Useful tool! 

Who knows? I just may invest in one of these!

I think this is a great start to being a better steward of this physical body the Lord has given me! I'm still in the process of doing research and buying my all natural stuff from the store or wherever, but I shall let my readership know how my (hopefully lasting) new (and healthy!) habit goes!  :) 

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Country A Month

I recently started receiving material in the mail from Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that supports persecuted churches in restricted and hostile nations all over the world. (click to see what the difference is between the two!) As I've probably said before on this blog, one of the Scriptures the Lord has laid heavy on my heart is Philippians 3:7-11:
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (emphasis mine)
Remember Vibia Perpetua? She had this mindset, one of complete denial of self and of flesh, counting everything as loss, esteeming an intimate relationship with her Creator much more important and significant than anything in this temporal life. So with the Lord's guidance I've been trying doing the same thing by "daily dying", in the things say and don't say, do and don't do, watch and don't watch...you get the point! May not seem to be big things to most people, but I want to be a good steward of what God's doing in my life right now so He can continue using and growing me later! But anyways, back to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). It's so incredibly mind-blowing to me that there are people across the world, believers to be specific, who are taking this Scripture to heart in ways I can hardly imagine. When Christians in these persecuted nations read I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, they mean it!! These people quite literally "share in the sufferings of Christ" through consistent persecution, and since refusal to denounce the name of Christ is, in many of these restricted nations, a death sentence, there are some who even "become like him in his death." 

I have a heart to share Christ with the world, but aside from sharing Him currently where I'm at, what else can I do? Think, think, think...ah! I can pray. (novel concept, huh?) One of the materials I received from VOM was a map showing all of the restricted and hostile nations in the world. I posted the map on the wall in my room and have decided to pray for a country a week. Last week I prayed for Columbia. For their government, for their economy, for the churches, pastors, believers, unbelievers, persecutors, children, parents, and more. This week I'll be praying for Chiapas, Mexico. Praying is the least I can do! I'd love to support financially, but I'm not in a position to do so. However, I realize that my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and my prayers will be heard by the One Who's able to control all that is going on in these countries--for His glory!! If we aren't careful, we can forget the power that can be found in prayer. The Bible clearly tells us this in James 5: 
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (emphasis mine)
and this in Philippians 4:
 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (emphasis mine)
So let me get this straight. There are Christians, who I'll probably never see until heaven, all over the world who are suffering, under intense persecution (think beaten, tortured, abused, jailed, chained, etc.) boldly sharing the unwanted but needed truth of the gospel in places that I'll probably never go.They are desperately in need of support. Now add this: my God says that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective, and that I should present all my requests before Him. With all that being said, I don't plan on missing out on the great opportunity of lifting up these saints in prayer any longer! Not when God has promised to hear and respond! (This isn't to say their persecution will all out stop; it's clear in the Word that believers will face sufferings in this life! But God always knows how to provide for and look out for His own.) 

So anyways, I definitely encourage you guys to check out the VOM website and request some of their free material. It's always a good thing to see a world outside of our own (especially if the most we've seen of the world has been limited to the luxuries America offers!). There are believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ, people saved by grace through faith just like us, who are suffering persecutions for this very same faith - persecutions that we may never, ever experience! We should desire to edify these saints in whatever way we can, and it can all begin with interceding for them in prayer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Can't Keep My Eyes Off of You...

Ever heard the song "You and Me" by Lifehouse? (The title's a line from the song, fyi!) The song is about five years old, but ever since the first time I heard it (and I don't remember when that was!), I was in love with it. Just the sound, and the lyrics, all of it! There's a part of the song that really stands out to me, and it goes like this:
"What day is it, and in what month? The clock never seemed so alive..."
Today when I heard the song (on Cold Case of all places!), I couldn't remember the lyrics as clearly since I hadn't heard it in a while, so off to google I went. I read that line and just started thinking, Wow! I can totally feel what this song is saying here. I mean, it's already MARCH! Over a week into March at that. Just yesterday I was writing out my goals for 2010! "The clock never seemed so alive.." So true! 

I can totally relate this song to other areas of the world and life in general too. I think about the earthquake in Haiti, then Chile, then the landslides in Uganda, the killings in Nigeria, then add to that all of the other things that daily plague nations all over the world: starvation, AIDS, ethnic cleansing, persecution, and so much more; with all of these things occurring, I just can't help but think of the Bible. (Yes, it is possible for a secular song to make me think about the Word! lol)

When I read Matthew 24:3-9, and then look at all of the stuff going on in the world today, I realize that all of these tribulations are only the beginning, and Jesus' return is imminent! Time is passing by soo quickly (see the correlation to "the clock never seemed so alive" now?), and I want to make the most of every moment that the Lord is giving me, making sure that He is honored from the time I wake up in the morning 'til I lay my head on the pillow to sleep at night (well....actually that's usually the morning too since I'm semi-nocturnal hehe). James reminds us in the Bible to always keep our lives in a right perspective:
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 
Well, if I'm only gonna be on this earth for a short period of time, I want to make the most of it, and the best way to do that is to live my temporal life fully surrendered to the One with whom I'll be spending my entire eternal life! I can't keep my eyes off of You, Jesus!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sweet Stuff

Sweets #1

IBC Root beer (the ones in the glass bottles are best!)....

...coupled with a pack of Thin Mints (the Girl Scout ones are the only genuine thin mints!)....

...equals an amazing combination of flavors guaranteed to make you happy! :) 

Sweets #2
(Ya'll know I just had to put my food section on here first, hehe.) So last time I posted, I let you guys know that I was accepted to go on the Cape Town, South Africa missions project with the Impact Movement. Woo-hoo!! One of my biggest encouragements has been the outpouring of love and support from my Trinity family (the church at which I accepted Christ!). There is just something so sweet about knowing that there are  fellow believers, both young and old, who genuinely care about me and desire to see Christ use me to the fullest extent possible! Something that added additional sweetness to this fact was that the praise team at church sang this awesome song called "I Give Myself Away/Here I Am to Worship." (Haven't youtubed it yet, otherwise I'd share!) Anyways, the song just tied in so well with my desire to surrender all of myself to the Lord, because really, true worship of Jesus is inextricably tied to the surrender of ourselves to Him! It's like surrender is a prerequisite to worship! I thought that was pretty sweet. 

Sweets #3
I actually wasn't planning on putting three sweets on here, but the post just doesn't seem complete without a number 3!!! So...here goes...


(now that's pretty sweet.)