Thursday, December 17, 2009

Heaven's Glory Flood

If I were to pick a learning concept I love the most, it would be analogies. They resonate with me. So much that I feel them reach deep into my heart and pull unresolved thoughts and floating emotions to the surface of my life, rotate the puzzle pieces of my mind, and then snap them into place. The result: a beautiful picture of God’s grace. Every time.

God brought me one such analogy today. I’ve been His child on the run—resisting rest, resisting reason. Wanting to do it all on my own-prove my abilities. Deep down I knew stopping would be the best. I could trust Him to meet me and fill me—or could I? Fear that seeking Him would once again be empty and fruitless kept me from stopping for weeks. If I were honest with myself, however, I would acknowledge that the empty and fruitless places came from me trying so very hard on my own strength. So I just told myself to “buck up,” I pushed forward and all the while He was gently calling me to stop and take in all He has for me.

So finally I did today. I pulled up in my heatless but dry car to the flooded Lake Ella with some praise music and my bible study. I studied Galations with John MacArthur and praised God with Meredith Andrews. Once in awhile I would glance up at the mom and pop produce stand which had inserted itself in front of the now overflowing lake. After awhile, I noticed a curious child, maybe 5 years of age, with a bowl haircut like Jesse’s twins on Full House. He was uninterested in the produce stand, nor the people in it who were now shoveling water out of their temporary location. He romped around, feeding ducks and chasing squirrels. But at some point I looked up at him and couldn’t help but laugh. He was standing out in the rain with his head thrown back, mouth wide open, drinking in all the rain would give him. Then, almost immediately, he pulled his head up, unable to stand any more water than had already filled his mouth (and probably his lungs), and he giggled with glee.

This was repeated over and over again, and, as I watched his mirth, I remembered doing the same thing as a child. Such pure and untainted joy. Suddenly the analogy occurred to me. This is what God has been asking from me for weeks! I could almost hear Him saying, “Drink, Sarah. Just open your mouth, throw back your head and forget all that troubles you. I will pour my living water in you and you will thirst no more.” He has promised to fill me. He has promised that He is enough and so I want to believe Him. I need to believe Him.

And so, with a mouth wide open to His goodness and grace, I am resting and satisfied. May I never leave. But, when I do, let it never be for long. “This human cup cannot contain Heaven’s glory flood.”

Friday, July 10, 2009


Hope. The very pronunciation of the word seems to lend a calmness and peace that drips off the tongue and lands in the soul of the hearer like a drop of clean, cool water on a July day. Whenever the word is uttered, all of us receive, whether we know it, a mental picture corresponding to its meaning. A personification of whatever or whomever we believe to be hope. But what is it really?

Since the past election, “hope” has been quite the buzzword in the United States. Living in the capital of Florida, I often notice pictures of our President with that word in bold letters as I drive around town. It has certainly stirred an emotion in countless minds and hearts around the country.

While I am sure President Obama wishes the best for us, he really has no power to give us a true hope; an everlasting hope. There is only one true Body of Water from which the streams of hope flow. Romans 5:1-5 teaches us that God allows suffering, and suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope, Paul says, does not disappoint. It will not bring us shame. Because it is rooted in the Author of Hope Himself.

Take a moment and try to think of something or someone on this earth that, if your hope was placed upon, wouldn’t at some point bring you shame and disappointment. Could you think of anything? Hmmm…Economy? Have you read the news? Your spouse? They will disappoint. Your career? Will it last? What will happen when it’s over? Nature? Think again, nature is slowly degrading. They will all bring you shame.

Hope, in the Biblical definition is not a “wish” as we so often think of it. The Hebrew words used often in the Bible for hope are yachal which is translated “to expect, to wait for” and qavah which translates “to look for eagerly, to lie in wait for.” Are you getting the idea that this hope is expectant? Don’t miss that! This hope is secure. It is not just a flippant wish.

I love the word picture that this hope brings. My heart smiles as I allow my mind to go back to elementary school. At that age, my dad could do anything (I still secretly believe that). I was always so excited about him coming home everyday. Once in awhile, especially on days when my mom was trying her hardest to love me and I, in 6-year-old eyes, interpreted this as her trying her hardest to hate me, I would wait expectantly for my dad for long periods of time (30 minutes was a LONG time for a 6-year-old). I would go into the bathroom, drag the clothes hamper that was as big as I was, awkwardly position it right under my front window and sit. Watching. Waiting. I knew he was coming home. There was no doubt in my mind. If he said he was on his way, I believed him. That’s what our Heavenly Father is offering us. That kind of hope times more than we can ever imagine, and all He asks is for our faith. For us to believe Him as well as believe IN Him.

So what does hope mean to me? Well, let’s see…The road I’ve walked the past few months and even past year has been a hard one; a rough one. But I am truly grateful for it because God has promised me so much through hope. He has promised grace. He has promised forgiveness. He has promised restoration—and that means the world to me. He means the world to me. If these past few months had been easy, I wouldn’t be where I am: on my face at the foot of the cross begging for God’s sustaining, loving and tender arms to hold me, hug me, gently correct me, and wipe away the tears of the shame that flow from placing my hopes in a fallen world. Without Him, I would have no hope. Now I have hope from not only all that He is, but also in what He will do in the world, in my life. He makes all things new.

I think that Elizabeth Elliot sums up the idea of hope well when she says, “I don’t know, when I’m asking for something here on earth, what is going on in the innermost shrine of Heaven…I am sure of one thing: it is good….The hope we have is living hope….We wait for it, in faith and patience.”

Hope is my buzzword now. I will hold out. I will wait. I will not give up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Believe

When there's nothing to believe in, I belive in you
Forget the past and let my hand in yours be the proof
Though the strong could be my company, you're the one I choose
So remember, I believe in you

I know it feels like every eye is watching you
Waiting for you to fall, expecting you to lose
But I see victory, so all you have to do
Is remember, I believe in you

I believe, even when I see you crying
I believe, let me dream for you
When nothing comes from trying
Remember, I believe in you

There will come a day when love will lift you out of here
There will come a day when love will bring the truth
There will come a day when love will free you from your fear
And you'll remember, I believe in you

I believe, even when I see you crying
I believe, let me dream for you
When nothing comes from trying
Remember, I believe in you

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Random Catfish Story

Have you ever had moments in your life when you think, “did that really just happen to me? Seriously?” I had one of those moments on Sunday. Although it was quite painful, it was rather humorous as well, and so I’ll share.

Jenna and I had decided to brave the oh-so-early hour of the first service at church in order to drive to the beach, which unfortunately is now 2 hours away. Because of this, I’d just like to mention that I’ve learned how to actually plan for a beach trip. It involves things like towels, food, bathing suits and, oh yeah, sunscreen. These minor details were not always necessary when I lived about 7 ½ minutes from the beach. But, I digress.

Once we arrived at the beach, we had a lovely time of swimming, laying out, and reading our current books in the sunshine. Near the end of our time, Jenna suggested a walk. I love walking on the beach! Something is so magical about walking along a shore of a massive body of water. It reminds me of how small I really am.

We walked about a half mile one way and then turned around, deeply engrossed in conversation. One instant I was listening intently to Jenna talk about some deep life situation, the next instant accompanied searing pain. Something was piercing my foot. I thought I had stepped on a shell, but when I lifted my foot up, an animal was dangling from my pad of my foot. I think it was then that I started to panic. Jenna said I didn’t panic, she said I was totally calm the whole time but if that’s true, I was freaking out in my head. I wasn’t sure what was stuck to me but I yelled, “Get it off! Get it off!” I held on to Jenna as she did her best to do just that. It was then that I realized a dead catfish was stuck in my foot and not coming out. Ew.

“Let me sit down, I need to sit down!” She helped me on the sand as a family came rushing over to lend their aid. Jenna was still tugging at my foot and I felt like the insides of my foot were going to come out with it. Lord, please get it out. I don’t want to go to the E.R,” I prayed. And with that, it was out. I was light headed and in a ton of pain, but I was ok! Jenna said it was in my foot about 2 inches. The family that helped us was staying in one of the condos on the beach and they ran inside to get us water, hydrogen peroxide, and bandages. Thank God for that!

As we hobbled back to our stuff, we couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably. I’m sure some of the laughing came from gratitude and relief, but you have to admit, it was pretty funny. We kept saying, “Did that really just happen?”

I paid a visit to the doctor yesterday to take make sure everything was ok. They gave me a tetanus shot (ouch) and antibiotics. They also took an x-ray of my foot to make sure nothing was left from the ugly catfish in it. It looked good and now I’m just waiting for the swelling to go down so that I can walk properly again. Right now it is very painful to walk and I’m staying alone so that makes things particularly difficult. However, I’m easily adaptable.

So there you have it: my random catfish story. Crazy, I know. And yes, it really did happen.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Finding Faith

Where is my faith? As I studied this morning about Daniel’s, I cannot help but feel that I’m in a dark maze wandering around in search of a lost faith. Do I even know what I’m looking for? No, it’s as if I am running aimlessly down walled corridors in the dark looking for something that has no form. All the while, Christ is walking next to me saying, “Here, take my lamp and my map and the photo of your destination. Speak with me, I’ll guide you the whole way.” And yet all too often I brush Him off desiring to be the hero who receives the glory of finding it MY way all by MYSELF. And then often it is only when I hit a dead end in the corridor and I lose all hope, that I finally look to my side and utter a desperate and angry “FINE, FINE WHATEVER!” This is a direct quote from a 2 year old I know. Why is it she knows this frustration and these words? Because they are at the heart of who we are as humans.

And so I snatch the map and lamp and start out again. However, once I am almost sure about the right way to go, I thrust it all back in His hands and try it again my way. My way. Not His.

I want to change that. I want to be continually next to Christ pouring over His words with His lamp as my light. I want to be talking with Him, asking what He thinks about every turn. Not just when I hit a dark corner, but always.

What brings me to this confession of my lack of faith? I’m glad you asked. As many of you know, my friend Jenna (whose birthday it is today, Happy birthday friend!) and I have a desire that we believe it is from the Lord and not ourselves. We aspire to have a house geared almost solely to ministry and hospitality for women of all ages (but focused on students). We wish to have a place perfect for early morning coffee discipling (not about coffee—come on, I’m not that much of an addict!), bible studies, parties, crashing spots for the weary, and just a place for someone to listen and be pointed to Christ.

The dilemma: we have no house.

Yes, I understand, that that throws quite a kink in the whole vision. In fact, it’s the biggest and darkest corridor in our maze. Probably the second being that we have no 3rd roommate. We’ve seen a few houses we love, one in particular but money and roommates are necessary. Often, when I’m in situations like this I try to find every way to patch up the situation, MY way and in MY timing. So this time I’m sitting back. I’m taking Daniel’s example of combining wisdom and practicality with knowledge and rest in who God is. He will provide. He will show His glory. Not mine. John 3:30.

So if there’s anyone in Tallahassee who wants to join us in our maze of faith, please let us know. There will be dark times but I also believe there will be some of the brightest moments we’ve ever experienced. It will be a risk and an adventure! However, there is no need to worry! Because most importantly, we plan on staying with the Tourguide the whole time we are traveling. After all, it’s all for His glory, isn’t it? His.

I'll set my gaze on God alone,
And trust in Him completely;
With every day pour out my soul,
And He will prove His mercy.
Though life is but a fleeting breath,
A sigh too brief to measure,
My King has crushed the curse of death
And I am His forever.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Praise You in This Storm

I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am

and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

--Casting Crowns

Friday, May 29, 2009

Daniel's Resolve

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8

I can vividly imagine this scene. When the attractive, smart, and social Jewish boys (ages 15-18) were brought into the king’s court in order to be trained, Daniel and some of his friends were chosen. By the way, attractive, smart, and social were the qualifications from the king that were highly esteemed in order to immerse these Jewish boys into the culture. Sounds a lot like our culture, doesn’t it? As it started to dawn upon Daniel what was about to happen, he realized that right then and there he had to make a choice: to submit to the will of man or to submit to the will of God.

I believe that in his mind he saw no other choice.

On his knees Daniel “purposes” not to compromise. This verse speaks volumes of how to fight sin and live out godliness. Daniel’s outward change came from a very inward root. He was intentional. He was gentle. He was obedient. He gives no room for a foothold, just simply obedience.

Some of the literal Hebrew translations of “purposed” include: “to set, direct, direct toward, ordain, establish, found, appoint, constitute, make, determine, fix, to set his heart upon.” I especially like the last part, “to set his heart upon.” It reminds me of the phrase, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” That’s essentially what Daniel is doing here. He is putting all of his eggs in God’s basket. He is setting heart on one thing and one thing alone. That, my friends, is the only way we can truly stand up against the pressures and temptations of this world and culture.

So how do we live a “purposed” or “resolved” life? It starts with first a relationship with the Lord. If you haven’t believed or trusted Him as the Lord and savior of your heart. If you’ve never seen yourself as a sinner. If you don’t fall at His feet, offering your empty hands and praying for His grace to fill you, then you have no way of living a “purposed” life.

If you do have a relationship with the Lord, I believe that there are a few practical conclusions we can draw from this verse.

A Purposed Life is:

1. Rooted in God’s Word (Ps. 119:11; Ps. 17:4; Duet 6:6; John 17:17)
2. Reverently fearing God, not men (Ps. 19:9, Ex 20:20, Prov. 16:6)
3. Resting in the hope and promises of God (AKA, Faith) (Titus 1:2, Heb. 11:1, Heb. 3:14)
4. Regularly in prayer. (1 Thes. 5:17, Eph 6:18, Phil 4:6)

So how is your “resolve” going? If you’re like me, you may be trying to make it your own “resolve.” I am preaching to myself when I say that most importantly, give it to the Lord. Ask Him to give you a purposed life. Ask for His power and strength,.

“And if the Lord is for us, who can be against us?”

Monday, May 25, 2009

What Do I Know of Holy?

I'm just going to let you know right now that I LOVE MUSIC. Music is a way that I communicate. It's the way that I express myself and contribute to the world around me. It is often times music lyrics that grab my attention and point me to Christ and what He has done for me. All that to say, there will be many song lyrics, blogs about songs, songs that made me happy, songs that made me think on this page.

This song in particular is probably the most meaningful song I've ever heard. While driving home one weekend from school, the words started to echo in my head as I realized it was playing in my car. I had never heard the song before; the CD had been given to me that day. But as the words started to seep into my mind, I had to play it over and over again as to let it bathe me in understanding.

"What Do I Know of Holy?" paints the picture of humankind but especially of our american culture. We walk around thinking we have God figured out, that we can put Him in a nice neat packaged box with a ribbon and yet we have NO idea who He really is. We are merely standing at His shoreline. My favorite part probably comes from being raised in the church and the deadly apathy that can sometimes accompany years of Sunday School. The songwriter says "I guess I thought that I had figured You out, I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about how You were mighty to save but those were only empty words on a page!" Oh how I pray that we, as believers, will wake up to who God is and the little of His holiness that we are able to grasp and in turn live out our knowledge for the world to see.

One more thing, are you hurting? "Come to Him all who are weary and He will give you rest." God doesn't ask us not to hurt. He doesn't ask us to swallow it and walk through our day with a Barbie smile plastered across our face. He simply asks us to bring that hurt to Him. Why? He wants to bind up our wounds. "What do we know of wounds that will heal our shame?"

This song should be playing in the little Ipod on the blog but you can go back to it if you want to listen with the lyrics.

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
But those were only empty words on a page

Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life "its" name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?

Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


There are few experiences in my life that have been so beautiful as that night. Being away at school here the past 2 months has certainly been challenging. There are good days and there are bad days. Often, I have noticed that the bad days outnumber the good. Even so, God has been teaching me that leaning back and resting in Him is the best way to combat these testing times. One such night while lying awake at midnight, I decided to play a song by Phil Wickham that was on my Ipod. "Beautiful" is the name of the song and it also contains “It is Well with My Soul” in the midst of it. Music has been my backbone lately and it has blessed my soul so much this past few weeks. As I listened, something moved me to an action that I, shamefully, haven't taken for a long knees. As I sat on my knees against my bed I cried yet again. And finally, since I've been here, they weren't tears of pain and sadness, but of joy. Joy in my Creator. Joy in where He is leading me. Joy that my life isn't's my Beautiful Savior's.

The song has a whole concert of people singing. Have you ever noticed that when a large group of people sing, it is beautiful no matter what? It's one voice in a wonderful tone that doesn't require perfect pitch or even a well trained just blends to make something fantastic. As I listened to this song I wondered, “is that how God hears it?” I wonder if sometimes He only hears one massive, collective, and beautiful voice of all His saints that, though they are all around the globe singing in hundreds of different languages and thousands of different songs, they come together in perfect harmony of His praise.

Suddenly all I want to do is listen and sing to the Lord. I feel as though tonight I caught a glimpse of Heaven. And for once I really mean that. Not "heavenly chocolate" or "heavenly comfort" but the true Heaven where with one voice we will live in constant praise of our Lord and since that's what we are created for, it will be the fullest joy we've ever experienced...

Download this and then listen to the song Beautiful. It has to be played in your headphones, though. Eyes shut or better yet, in darkness.

His whole CD is free at