Saturday, June 20, 2009

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Picture from a church in Germany (taken when I was there last summer)

I am Barabbas

Man of scorn, enchained by sin
My thieving ways had stolen lives.
I did not care what happened to men
Imprisoned by lusts and my self-pride.
Barabbas, I’m called (when names were used),
That man shoved in a dirty cell.
Expecting death, I was accused
Of more radical crimes than I could tell.
Less than human yet more than dead
No living man cared at all.
I waited for the end with dread
As I heard the yells outside the walls.

Suddenly, a closer sound
The door opened, a man stood there.
Though blood flowed from His gaping wounds
His gentle eyes caught my stare.
A soldier pushed the Man inside
While another yanked me from the floor.
He touched my arm as He passed by
Then they pulled me out the door.

“What is this—am I to die?”
I asked the guard (who seemed the head)
His answer took me by surprise
“No, this Man will die instead,
Though Pilate finds no guilt in Him.”
“Then why is He to take my place?
His face so meek—how did this Man
Commit crimes worse than my disgrace?”

Then it seemed I felt His hand
Resting on my arm again
Looking down, I gazed in awe
Hardly believing what I saw.
Jesus’ blood covered me—
The very blood that had set me free!

[This is what I promised to share about Barabbas.] A few months ago, my pastor preached a series on the passion of Christ. Just as a side note in the course of the preaching, he briefly mentioned Barabbas. God suddenly spoke to my heart on hearing the story of Barabbas again. I have never really given a lot of thought to him, other than thinking of him as a criminal. But I realized that I am just like him--and I also have been freed by the death of Christ! I wrote down "I am Barabbas" as a little note in the back of my church notebook, and I've been wanting to write this poem ever since. Last week was the first time I was able to sit down and actually work on it. It really didn't turn out anything like I would have liked, but I really haven't had much chance lately to practice my poetry skills. Anyway, I thought I'd share it, not because it's really any good but just so that others can benefit from the blessing that God gave me when He allowed me to see how I was just like Barabbas--a thief, liar, murderer. But He took my place!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blowing Bubbles

I never put pictures on my blog from other sources, but I found this on the internet today while looking at something else. I thought it was such a cool picture that I decided to post it. I don't know how they made bubbles like that. It's pretty amazing!!

Probably the main reason this picture caught my attention is it's from a country in Central Europe, which has been on my mind a lot because I've been really missing that area. I would love to go back to the Central/Eastern European region someday... I just love the people over there!


"A couple blow soap bubbles during the international music festival "be2gether" held near the 16th-century Norviliskes castle, 50 miles from Vilnius, Lithuania, at the border with Belarus, on June 13."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Problems?

Hey is anyone else having problems with scheduling a post? I tried to schedule a post, but it gave me an error message and wouldn't let me post it at all. Then I re-set the date, and it published it even though the date was "June 20"! I ended up just saving it as a draft..... So just wondering, has anybody else been having problems?

P.S. Do you like the new layout? I'm still trying to find one I really like...

The Aroma of Sacrifice

Some of my good friends could probably tell you that every so often I get obsessed with someone from Scripture. For a while, it seems, God will keep sending Scriptures my way that emphasize a particular Bible character. Sometimes, it can even be someone really obscure. Several months ago, that person was Balaam; it seemed that every time I studied my Bible I found Scriptures to do with him. (Did you know that besides being listed in the story in Numbers, he is also spoken of at least 6 or 7 other times throughout the Bible?) Another was David, then Jeremiah, then Barabbas (hopefully I will be able to share some of my thoughts on him soon), and now Mary.

For a long time, now, I have almost been jealous of Mary. She was able to be with Jesus, touch Him, and show Him her devotion in person:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-7)

How I have wished that I could also kiss the feet of Jesus and prove to everyone how much I love Him!! What an amazing sacrifice that she gave, to literally pour out all of her savings in loving Him.

On my hour drive to school, I usually listen to a sermon. Not really noticing what I was putting in my CD player, yesterday I popped in one that I hadn’t heard in a while. It ended up being on this very passage, and God spoke to me so much through it. Some of the things I realized where things the preacher said, but most of them were just things God told me in my heart.

First of all, I don’t need to be jealous of Mary, because I can do the same thing for Jesus even now! Mary’s devotion was shown, not by what she did, but her attitude in doing it. It was willingness to give up everything for Christ. She even gave up her dignity, because in that time, for a Jewish woman to uncover her hair was degrading. Also, the very cost of the perfume was a huge sacrifice. It says it was worth about “three hundred denarii”, or three hundred day’s worth of wages (almost a year’s salary!!). If you consider that here in the US, minimum wage is $6.55, three hundred days of working only eight hour shifts would mean that a worker would make about $15,720!! And this is what she “wasted” on Jesus.

Second, when we sacrifice something this costly for Jesus, it is an aroma to the world. It says in verse 3, “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Everyone who was near knew what she had done, and how much she had given up for her Savior. Even those around her considered it a “waste” she knew that her Savior was worth so much more.

Third, Mary did not give any thought to what those around her would think or what she was sacrificing. She knew that she would be thought of as crazy, but she did not care what others thought. I’m sure she felt just as Paul, when he later said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8).

Fourth, from great trial comes great love. Look at what had happened only a chapter before. Jesus had allowed Lazarus to die (verse 6), then raised him from the dead. If Jesus had simply healed Lazarus, do you think that Mary would have felt such love for Him? But oh, He raised him from the dead!! How could she help but love Him with everything she had? I am sure that this is why Jesus allowed Lazarus to die. At the time, it didn't seem loving, but He knew that the greater blessing was for them to feel the greatest possible love for Him.

We should all be like Mary. We can all come before Jesus, and pour out everything we have, even if it means losing our worth before other people in loving Him. He is worth it all!! I want my love for Him to be an aroma of sacrifice, just like Mary’s.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend of Blessings

I spent this past weekend in at a conference in Bentley, LA. My sister and I started going to the tri-annual family camp when we were about 12 or 13, and we have been going ever since. It has always been a special place for our family, a time of renewal and fellowship. (I was converted the first time I went, too, so I guess I have an extra-special link with the camps.)

As many times as I have been in the almost 10 years of my attending the Bentley camps, I have never seen the Lord move quite like He did this past weekend. Friday night after the main speaker preached a very powerful message, the Lord moved 7 or 8 young people to conviction of their sins and they were brought to Christ!! Most of them were teenagers (1 or 2 were much younger), several of whom I've been praying for for several years. It was such an amazing event! I was so blessed to be able to be a part of it. Most of us there didn't even go to bed until after 2am because everywhere there was crying, praying, and rejoicing!! After we had a time of praise, several of us older girls got a group of the new Christians together and had an impromptu Bible study, where we were able to encourage them all in the Lord. It was such a blessing to be able to pour into their lives. I pray that God will give these baby Christians strong support, so that they will grow daily in their faith!!

It was such a blessing to see God move in such a powerful way! I just want to remind you all--the Lord is still on His throne, and He works everything out according to His will!! And it is so wonderful to see!!! Praise the Lord--He is worthy of all glory and honor!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Update on Burma Orphanage:

Thank you for praying for the children who were attacked last week in our new orphanage in Burma. We are pleased to report that all 90 of our children have been safely accounted for! We're so grateful to the Father for his provision and protection and to you for praying for their safety.

It appears at this point that our orphanage was caught in the middle of a major offensive by the Burmese forces against the Karen people. News reports have surfaced that three to four thousand Karen have since fled into Thailand to escape attacks on camps along the Thai border. Please continue to cover them in prayer.
Here's the report from our representative on the ground with the kids:
First of all, we thank God that all children and many other families survived. ... Our first stop was to see and help the KT children from Burma. The children were gathered at a Christian orphanage on the Thai side, which is just across the river of KT, Burma. The children were so happy to see our family, we brought them food, clothes, medicines, mats and plastic. Our children (90 of them) can stay here but they still sleep in the open, there is not enough space for them, this orphanage has already 55 children of their own.
We are allowed to build new dorms and a new school for our 90 children. We hope to start with this asap. This property belongs to a Christian based NGO and because of the current situation, the Thai government allows us to have our KT children here as well.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Please Pray!

Just the other day I posted a portion of an e-mail I received from the IJM. I am also signed up to receive e-mails from the International Christian Concern. The e-mail I got today chilled me to the bone. I don't understand why anyone would attack an orphanage, but this world can be so evil sometimes. I have a few friends (who are now in America) from this part of the world, and they have told me the persecution of Christians in this area is definitely really severe. Please be praying for these people!!


I just wanted to let you know that one of our worst fears has been realized. Our orphanage in Burma was attacked by the Burmese army last night.

The orphanage was a new project for us. The buildings (dorms, church, and a school) had just been finished in April. We had 30 kids in the orphanage. Their stories, such as the ones below, are heartbreaking.
  • My name is Kham Loo, I am 13 years old. I have been here for eleven months. My parents were killed in Burma. I am an only child. It was very dangerous for me to get here. I had to avoid the many landmines. I saw the Burmese soldiers come into my village and have witnessed many of my friends being murdered. Many girls have been raped and then killed by Burmese soldiers. Other girls who were gang raped became crazy. The Burmese soldiers also took our harvest.
  • My name is Seng Mon. I am 11 years old. I have been here four months. It took me one day to travel here. My father died and my mother was taken away by the Burmese soldiers. I came here, because in Burma it is very dangerous. I have seen the Burmese soldiers raping girls. There are many landmines around our village in Burma. I feel safe here and I want to learn to speak English.
orphans and riverThe project was such a success that another 60 kids (persecuted and traumatized by war but not orphans) had come to the orphanage for an education and relative safety (compared to living without defense in the jungle on the constant run from the army).

But last night, these kids were trapped and had to flee in the middle of the night. The only way to safety was across the river into Thailand (photo at right). Not all of the kids knew how to swim so we are on pins and needles waiting to hear what happened. The initial report is that most survived (Praise God!!).

A few days ago our representative on the ground had warned us that there were fears that the Burmese army might attack because the fighting was getting increasingly close and the Burmese army was going to make a final push this year to defeat the Karen people.

Well, last night those rumors became reality. Here is the report from our partners on the ground.

As far as we know, we have 400 children and some adults on the Thai side, somewhere in hiding in a ____________. It is rainy season and kids need to get clothes and plastic tarps and rice for now.

The army attacked the camp in Burma first, then went and crossed the river and went into Thailand! They then crossed the river again from the Thai side into the other camp, our kids were trapped and could not run deeper into Burma because there were landmines placed around the camp.

The only way to escape was to cross the river into Thailand. This created, of course, major panic. Many of the little ones cannot swim and it was pitch dark. (The initial report is that) most of the children survived though they are traumatized and don't have dry clothes or food to eat. Please, Please, pray for this urgent situation.

We will keep you updated as we learn more. Obviously, we want you to pray and ask for help for these kids. Also, if you want to help with financial needs for the kids, you can go to http://www.persecution.org/suffering/donation.php and include in the note that your gift is for the "Burma orphanage."
Thank you,
Jeff King
President, ICC

Negative Purity

I found an excellent quote the other day from Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 1. It really convicted me that as a follower of our Lord, not only should I be keeping myself from evil, but I should also be devoting myself (far more than I do) to delighting in the Lord and His Word. Oh, I do love the Word of God (Psalm 119 is one of my favorites)! But do I meditate on it day and night? Do I follow the Lord as if He were right beside me every moment? I know that I don't. Lord, I pray You will teach me to follow You as I should!

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

From Charles Spurgeon:
And now mark his positive character. "His delight is in the law of the Lord." He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. "The law of the Lord" is the daily bread of the true believer. And yet, in David's day, how small was the volume of inspiration, for they had scarcely anything save the first five books of Moses! How much more, then, should we prize the whole written Word which it is our privilege to have in all our houses! But alas, ill-treatment is given to this angel from heaven! We are not all Berean searchers of the Scriptures. How few among us can lay claim to the benediction of the text! Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you--Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God's Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand--your best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing belongeth not to you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

IJM Rescue

I received this e-mail yesterday from the International Justice Mission (IJM). They are
"a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems. IJM's justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems." (Taken from their website.)

I am signed up to get prayer updates from them, and I always rejoice to see God's work being done. Praise the Lord for this latest update:

IJM Rescue Update
Location: Mumbai, India
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Result: Trafficking ring crippled - 8 suspected perpetrators arrested, victims freed

Dear Katie,

I'm pleased to share that in a carefully planned, multi-stage rescue operation conducted last week in partnership with the India Central Bureau of Investigations, IJM struck a blow at an organized trafficking ring that had entrapped victims from as far away as Bangladesh. In cooperation with IJM staff, police arrested the suspected perpetrators and safely removed 34 women and girls from a restaurant, a hotel and the trafficker’s apartment and brought them to a safe location where they are now receiving counseling and care.


Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord !
~Psalm 146:5-10

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Amy's Lily

Pretty much anyone who knows me will realize that I love to read. I used to read a lot when I was in high school, but in college I haven't had as much time. One thing I still make time to read though, is biographies--especially biographies about missionaries. I am always encouraged by the reminder that these people struggled just like I do. It is so easy to think of the missionaries we read of as some kind of "super-Christians." But they were everyday people, only accomplishing and overcoming what they did through Christ.

Last year I was really impacted by the lives of the Elliots. I read Passion and Purity, The Journals of Jim Elliot, and The Savage My Kinsman. Through Elisabeth Elliot's love of Amy Carmichael, I became interested in her life. So when I finished my books on the Elliots, I started reading books about Amy Carmichael. I've finished a few written by her, and I'm currently reading a wonderful biography about her, A Chance to Die (which was actually written by Elisabeth Elliot).

Today while I was reading, I ran across an event in her life that really impacted me. It reminded me so much of all that my Casa de Amor friends are going through right now.


"A few weeks later an epidemic struck. Two babies died, and Indraneela ("Sapphire" in Tamil), the only baby left, lay very quietly on Atah's lap....'She held out her little hands to be kissed, and then, tired, fell asleep. In the few hours that followed we could not help noticing the other-world expression deepening in the baby's eyes....Then there was a sudden breaking of the silence, one little cry, the baby's mother-word, "Amma!"'

An angel came for her, Amy said--gently touched her so that she slept and woke to the music of heaven. Amy took the children to the garden and showed them nasturtiums and convolvulus which were not flourishing as they should have. But one beautiful lily, the first that had ever blossomed there, had opened that very morning.

'If Jesus came to our garden,' she asked, 'which flower would you give Him?'

They ran to the lily. 'We would give Him this!'

Would she give Him her lily?....We would give Him this! We would give Him this!--the words kept repeating themselves in her mind. Would she, could she give Him this? As she was resting in her room later that afternoon, trying to gather strength for the baby's burial, she heard Mr. Walker's schoolboys reading aloud from the book of Exodus the description of the breastplate of the high priest, which had four rows of stones. In the second row was a sapphire. It was the word she needed. Her Sapphire was "set on His breast." The child would be safe there.

Dear little feet, so eager to be walking
But never walked in any grieving way,
Dear little mouth, so eager to be talking
But never hurt with words it cannot say,
Dear little hands, outstretched in eager welcome,
Dear little head that close against me lay--
Father, to Thee I give my Indraneela,
Thou wilt take care of her until That Day"

(A Chance to Die, by Elisabeth Elliot; pp. 184-185)

Jesus I am Resting



A friend of mine introduced me to this beautiful hymn a few weeks ago. It has really meant a lot to me lately, so I thought I would share the blessing.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Refrain

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belov├Ęd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Refrain

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Refrain

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Refrain