Saturday, March 26, 2011


I have been reading a Proverb a day this month. I LOVE it! Here are some things I’ve learned and noticed while reading . . .

Author’s Purpose: A little book full of wisdom and general truths on how to live life. *These are NOT promises, these are general truthsto the way life works. Not for us to “claim” but for us to “apply”.
Audience: Adolescent Jewish boys
Characters: The Fool, The Wise, The Simple
Problem: Folly vs. Wisdom
Solution: Fear the LORD . . . be not wise in your own eyes . . . trust in Him.

Some of my favorites:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7)
Start with reverence and awe of the LORD to gain wisdom.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” (Prov 3:4-7)
Live according to God’s wisdom rather than my own.

“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” (Prov 9:8)
Some people just don’t want to hear it. To some speaking truth is refreshing, to others frustrating.

"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses." (Prov 10:12)

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov 15:1)
Say it nicely.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (Prov 16:9)
Planning my life is good, but trusting His path for me is better.

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." (Prov 19:21)
Seeking His purpose . . .

"The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD." (Prov 21:31)
Work as hard as you can, then trust God for the outcome.

“Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Prov 26:11)
Why do I keep going back to the old way of doing things when I know it brings me harm, it’s disgusting, and stinks!

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Prov 27:17)
You need people in your life that can sharpen you and you need to sharpen others. Speak truth and be encouraging!

What’s one of your favorite Proverbs?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Speaking Truth

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15)

What is your understanding of the value of relationships?

How do you handle conflict in relationships?

How do you respond to the Biblical guidelines to help others grow up in Jesus?

These are questions I had to wrestle with this week for life group. It’s amazing how when you’re going to have 20 women in your living room to discuss these things, the LORD will put you to the test in your own relationships!

This week has been full of difficult conversations, some planned, some unplanned. Having to go to someone you love dearly and share with them areas of their life where they’re walking in complete disobedience is so hard. Having to go to people and share that they are on a path of destruction, continuing in darkness, separated from our Heavenly Father is difficult.

I just kept telling myself “Speaking truth is not always easy . . . but if it leads someone to repentance, LORD I’m willing”.

I can’t explain the burden I feel when my friends and family are not walking in the fullness of Christ here on earth. The burden is even deeper when I know they’re not going to spend eternity with Him. I pray often for my loved ones, but there comes a time when you have to look them in the eye and share. That was this past week for me. I couldn’t get the question out of my head “What am I doing to help others grow up in Jesus?” I know that one way I can help others grow up in Christ is by speaking truth to them, even when it doesn’t feel good to hear.

I told someone I’d much rather have the gift of hospitality than whatever this gift is, a burden to speak! It has cost me relationships sometimes, other times it has deepened them beyond belief. At the end of the day, I recognize that these conversations can cause people great sorrow. I just pray it is not worldly sorrow, but sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).

I think of soil. When you are trying to grow something, you need fresh, fertile soil. Sometimes these conflicts and conversations means you have to break that hard soil to get to that fertile soil, to plant seeds that can grow, survive, and produce fruit. So this week, with my shovel in hand and my prayers in heart, I have been plowing away.

I am hoping that through these conversations my loved ones will see the light, leave their old ways behind, and walk with Christ in abundance . . . on earth and in eternity.

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

“A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


My head is spinning and my heart is broken. After today’s message, I have felt like I’ve been pulled in 2 extremes. On one hand, I am so thankful to be redeemed, thankful that the LORD called me out of darkness and into the kingdom of His beloved Son. On the other, I have not stopped thinking about all of those around me who have yet to put their faith in Christ.

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

I did not grow up in church, but believed in “God” and “truth” all of my life. It never made sense to me that “all religions are right”. But I never put much thought into it more than that. I remember going to Jewish temple with my best friend in Jr.High and feeling like it was all so “cool”. Hearing them speak in Hebrew and read the Torah just felt so “religious”. In high school I went with Santino’s family to church and listened to the preacher talk about asking Jesus into your heart, and I did! I wanted that sense of closeness to the LORD, I truly did. I remember feeling a little closeness and even read the bible a bit. The feeling was there, I think I “put my faith in Christ”, but it soon died out.

“Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. (Matthew 13:5-6)

When I entered college, for no other reason but it was “fun”, I started drinking and partying. I was on a fast track to destruction and alcoholism. It wasn’t until the sudden death of my father that it all came to a screeching halt. I was faced with serious questions about life, death, and God before I had planned to have those questions.

The next 3 years were so difficult for me. As I started to seek out truth about God, life, and death, I started to realize that the way I was living didn’t add up to what I was learning and believing. This is when I started to understand that “believing in God” and living for Him was completely different.

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19)

I came to a place in my life where I had to match my actions with what I believe. Little did I know, this process I was experiencing was being sanctified, taking off my old way of living, and walking in the light.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (John 3:3)

As I started to draw closer to the LORD and further away from “partying”, I started to experience a lot of pain in realizing how much was changing. Relationships I had were starting to drift, friends that I loved dearly told me it was fine for me to be “born again” but that drinking was just too much fun, they couldn’t give it up. I was pursuing Christ and His Kingdom, only to lose so much of the worldly treasures I had at the time.

"For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." (1 Peter 4:3-4)

My heart began to break as many around me watched the change within in me, and yet still pursued ways of the world. My heart was broken again today thinking of so many friends and family members that I love who have rejected Christ. It is the rest of this passage that sends me to my knees in prayer for them. They will be judged, they will give an account for their life.

Today, I have not stopped thinking about Jonah and his message to the people of Nineveh, to repent and be saved or in 40 days they will face judgment. I was weeping in church thinking about how many of my friends and loved ones have yet to repent and put their faith in Christ. It has overwhelmed me thinking about the fact that they live daily with Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit; they miss out on life and life abundant, and will face a literal hell if they continue to reject Christ. I can’t rest with this kind of pain in my heart. I hope and pray they will begin to ask questions like I did in my place of brokenness; they will begin to evaluate their life and pursue Christ and His kingdom over self and ways of this world.

For all of us . . . because the time is near . . . let us repent, turn from our ways, and pursue Him. Let us stop suppressing the Truth and living a life apart from Him. He is our only Hope, our only Refuge, our Creator, Redeemer, and Savior.

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Green Pastures

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3)

Last week I heard a short commercial on the radio from Proverbs 31 Ministries about Psalm 23 . . . a familiar passage I know. When something is familiar, we often overlook the significance and implication on our life because we “already know” that scripture.

My commentary mentions that this Psalm is usually classified as a psalm of confidence in the Lord’s care. (Lord as Shepherd who cares for the sheep and Lord of Host who cares for His guests).

The LORD is my shepherd . . .
Just as a shepherd cares for his sheep, so the Lord cares for his people, providing for their needs, guiding them, and protecting them.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Green pastures and still waters are peaceful places of rest and feeding.

I usually take Saturday mornings and refresh in God’s word, prayer, and worship. Last Saturday was full with people and fun things, all of which are good, but I missed out in time of restoration with the LORD. I felt exhausted all week, longing for rest and refreshment.

The thought of green pastures kept coming to mind. I asked myself what are my “green pastures”? Where do I go for peaceful places of rest and feeding? If I’m honest, I know it’s not always to the LORD. Nothing feeds and refreshes me like true times of Sabbath, where I rest in Him. He will provide my every need, one that feeds me and nourishes my soul.

Wanting to linger in green pastures . . . beside still waters more often.