Thursday, December 27, 2007

Daily Challenge- Women

Sometime in the near future I would love to write a series of posts on masculinity and feminity as a continuation of the comment discussions. For now, though, I thought I would share with you something that I do to keep focused on becoming a woman of God.

Several years ago I found A Challenge to Women by John Piper. The first time I read it I was blown away- it is incredibly comprehensive and yet concise. I began to read it, at least weekly, and use it as a reminder and prayer guide for myself.

Several months ago I found this at Target (for $1.99!):

It started as a place where I was going to transfer my million individul Scripture memory cards into the "short" method I use now (read about it here).
Then I had the idea to put my prayer list, divided into days of the week, in there too:

As I read over my tattered copy of A Challenge to Women I got a flutter in my heart (ok, these kinds of things excite me!)- I could also break down the Challenge to Women by days!

1. That all of your life—in whatever calling—be devoted to the glory of God.
2. That the promises of Christ be trusted so fully that peace and joy and strength fill your soul to overflowing.
3. That this fullness of God overflow in daily acts of love so that people might see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.

4. That you be women of the Book, who love and study and obey the Bible in every area of its teaching. That meditation on Biblical truth be the source of hope and faith. And that you continue to grow in understanding through all the chapters of your life, never thinking that study and growth are only for others.
5. That you be women of prayer, so that the Word of God would open to you; and the power of faith and holiness would descend upon you; and your spiritual influence would increase at home and at church and in the world.

6. That you be women who have a deep grasp of the sovereign grace of God undergirding all these spiritual processes, that you be deep thinkers about the doctrines of grace, and even deeper lovers and believers of these things.
7. That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific role, that you not fritter your time away on soaps or ladies magazines or aimless hobbies, any more than men should fritter theirs away on excessive sports or aimless diddling in the garage. That you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.

8. That, if you are single, you exploit your singleness to the full in devotion to Christ and not be paralyzed by the desire to be married.
9. That, if you are married, you creatively and intelligently and sincerely support the leadership of your husband as deeply as obedience to Christ will allow; that you encourage him in his God-appointed role as head; that you influence him spiritually primarily through your fearless tranquility and holiness and prayer.

10. That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children who hope in the triumph of God, sharing with him the teaching and discipline of the children, and giving to the children that special nurturing touch and care that you are uniquely fitted to give.
11. That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world. That you not only pose the question: Career vs. full time mom? But that you ask as seriously: Full time career vs. freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom— to be in the employ of someone telling you what to do to make his business prosper, or to be God's free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God's business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or yuppie lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the family and advance the cause of Christ.

12. That you step back and (with your husband, if you are married) plan the various forms of your life's ministry in chapters. Chapters are divided by various things—age, strength, singleness, marriage, employment choices, children at home, children in college, grandchildren, retirement, etc. No chapter has all the joys. Finite life is a series of tradeoffs. Finding God's will, and living for the glory of Christ to the full in every chapter is what makes it a success, not whether it reads like somebody else's chapter or whether it has in it what chapter five will have.
13. That you develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle; that you never forget that life is short, that billions of people hang in the balance of heaven and hell every day, that the love of money is spiritual suicide, that the goals of upward mobility (nicer clothes, cars, houses, vacations, food, hobbies) are a poor and dangerous substitute for the goals of living for Christ with all your might, and maximizing your joy in ministry to people's needs.

14. That in all your relationships with men you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in applying the Biblical vision of manhood and womanhood; that you develop a style and demeanor that does justice to the unique role God has given to man to feel responsible for gracious leadership in relation to women—a leadership which involves elements of protection and care and initiative. That you think creatively and with cultural sensitivity (just as he must do) in shaping the style and setting the tone of your interaction with men.
15. That you see Biblical guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate for men and women in relation to each other not as arbitrary constraints on freedom but as wise and gracious prescriptions for how to discover the true freedom of God's ideal of complementarity.

That you not measure your potential by the few roles withheld but by the countless roles offered. That you turn off the TV and Radio and think about...

The awesome significance of motherhood

Complementing a man's life as his wife

Ministries to the handicapped:
hearing impaired

Ministries to the sick:
hospice care—cancer, AIDS, etc.
community health

Ministries to the socially estranged:
emotionally impaired
recovering alcoholics
recovering drug users
escaping prostitutes
abused children, women
runaways, problem children

Prison ministries:
women's prisons!
families of prisoners
rehabilitation to society

Ministries to youth:
open houses and recreation
outings and trips
academic assistance

Sports ministries:
neighborhood teams
church teams

Therapeutic counseling:
church based

Audio visual ministries:

Writing ministries:
free lance
curriculum development
institutional communications
journalistic skills for publications

Teaching ministries:
Sunday school: children, youth, students, women
grade school
high school

Music ministries:

Evangelistic ministries:
personal witnessing
Inter Varsity
Campus Crusade
Home Bible Studies
outreach to children
Visitation teams
Counseling at meetings
Billy Graham phone bank
Radio and TV ministries:
technical assistance

Theater and drama ministries:

Social ministries:

Pastoral care assistance:
newcomer welcoming and assistance
food and clothing and transportation

Prayer ministries:
mobilizing for major Concerts of Prayer
helping with small groups of prayer
coordinating prayer chains
promoting prayer days and weeks and vigils

all of the above across cultures

Support ministries:
countless jobs that undergird major ministries

So, now I have a daily pile of cards-
1. Prayer
2. Challenge to Women
3. Scripture memory (new and review)

Girls, PLEASE take this idea and do it for yourself!

Guys, think about writing your own resolutions like Jonathan Edwards did (see them here) and referring to them daily. Like:

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

I do think about this one every time I get hurt. It sounds funny, but it puts life and pain- ALL things into perspective. Why does God allow us to feel pain when we get a paper cut, stub our toe or wake up with a sore back? It is not "just another part of being human" but another opportunity to make us more like Christ.

Hummm.... maybe I should pick some of Edwards too... :-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

In General

Thanks for all the comments regarding the last post!!! I love to see it. :-) I am working on an indepth post, but I wanted to clear up some things first. (Thanks, Scott, for your insight and encouragement. Your wife will be blessed!)

1- I pray for all of the single men in my life on a regular basis. I have a great burden for all of you and desire to see each one of my male friends (just like my girl friends) pursuing Christ to the fullest. I also pray for the future spouses of my dearest guy friends- whoever those girls are! The times you live in are hard and I believe single men face struggles unlike any generation in the past.

2- My comments were not direct criticism to any of you Godly, elligible and single men. Each of you have circumstances and situations that are unique. God will direct you as He pleases. Several of you, like Anderw and Scott, have made great sacrifices to their own desire to be married in obedience to what God has called you to do. I understand and respect that VERY much! My statements were also not a command that you should marry tomorrow. Marriage, as high of a calling as it is, it not the end goal nor purpose of life.

3- What I said comes from several "frustrations":

A- My own singleness. I want to be married! I could be a girl that dates for fun. I don't. I could have a suiter if I was flirtatious. I'm not. I could waste time and emotions dating guys to "see" if they are the one. I'm not going to do that. AND I could be married, but it was not God's will. I am thankful, so thankful for that! It is hard to be a girl that desires marriage in an age when marriage is not taken seriously. It is hard to be a girl that is not going to take the relationship in her own hands, like so many do, and find a guy. It is hard to be a girl that is not wanting to settle for the average man. It is hard, from a human perspective, and it is an ongoing area where I must trust God and believe Him. The fact that I am still single does not shock God and He will (and IS) using it for His glory.

B- Many men are still boys. (Remember I am talking in generalities now... but I have known many guys like this!) There are girls that want to be married, have children and build a home. A majority of the men that are saying they desire marriage seem to be doing nothing to pursue it. Instead, they are buying toys, going on trips and telling the girls they "love" that they are not ready to be "tied down." (Which is sad for us girls to be viewed that way!) When us girls see that happening so much we begin to feel like a product or an accessory to have and be discarded. The guy wants somone cute, thin and loyal, but he avoids commitment. The girls get tired of being used and are willing to give him more than what should be given in hopes to keep him.

C- Cultural shift and sin. Sin causes losts of problems and a low/distorted view of marriage is just another one. As cultures move farther and farther away from God, we will continue to see marriage degrated. More people, including Christians, will lower their standards and accept what should not be. We must continue to fight against worldly thinking in order to be a people that treasures marriage the way Christ does. How rare and beautiful strong, Christ-centered marriages are! We do not marry for the sake of marriage- but to display a mystery that is to mirror Christ and His Bride, the Church. Sin will always decieve and the enemy will always hate marriage because God loves it!

4- I want to be a girl that, by my integrity, purity and Godliness, encourages the single men in my life TO marry. Many guys I know look around and are very discouraged by what they see in women- including Christian single women. There ARE many dominating, immodest, controlling, manipulating, career-minded and vain Christian women. Most of my dear guy friends want a girl that is exactly the opposite of that! Even though I will only marry one, I can be an encouragement to other single men that Godly single women DO exist! I am not perfect by any means, but I want to be a woman that will bring delight, honor and joy to one man. One of the ways I can honor my future husband is by encouraging single men to marry- to be like Christ and take a bride (isn't it amazing that although Christ did not have an earthly bride, He still purchased one, the Church, and calls us His Bride!) I pray there are people encouraging my husband in the same way!!!

5- Masculinity and femininity are under attack in many ways. I believe that God gave the man a different level of responsibility than He gave the woman. It was to Adam that God gave the headship of Eve. She was to follow him. Now, this does not mean that all problems (like feminism) are the man's fault. Women are just as sinful, corrupt and depraved. We girls cause a lot of problems, trust me. I long to see more men taking leadership like we see in the lives of men like Jonathan Edwards or Hudson Taylor. I also desire to see women joyfully following like Sarah Edwards and Mary Taylor! The weight for the different roles must fall on the respective genders. The discouraging thing for me and a dozen of my Godly female friends is that in order to be a Sarah Edwards, we must have a Jonathan Edwards... and there does not appear to be enough to go around. :-) And God did away with multiple wives a few thousand years ago!

6- God's design. God created marriage. He loves it. He wants us to love the things He loves. Our Christian culture sees it more like a duty or a stage of life. God delights in marriage because it is a picture of the gospel to the unbelieving world. Also, since marriage is under attack in so many ways, what a joy to be a person that would display the original picture!

I hope that this explains a little of what I was thinking in my last post. Do not take what I said as an insult, but an encouragement. I am sorry if I came across crtical or harsh.

Galant asked that we girls pray for single men. Like I said, I do. I ask, as well, that you pray for the Godly single girls in your life. Many of them, if they are like the 100+ I know, are discouraged AND starting to take things into their own hands. It is causing them a lot of heart ache. Pray that we girls would learn to trust God as we continue to prepare for the one who will win our heart. Pray that we would be women of virtue in a perverted world. Pray that we would delight in who God has made us- keepers of the home, child bearers, followers, etc. Pray for us by praying for our husbands! You will know better than we the struggles our yet-to-be-husbands are facing!

Blessings to all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

UNabridged Me

I have been writing a post about thankfulness for about a month now. It is far from being done, so I might save it until next Thanksgiving. My mind has been very active and a lot has been happening, so I am going to write. I am not going to edit, give disclaimers or organize it in any way. This is a look into the mind and happenings of Jaclyn in the last few weeks.

- I am incredibly busy at work. Since I have never been in this position at the end of the year I had no idea what the realities were of the year end processes for payroll. Let me tell you- it is insane.

- I have been reading a book called, "Getting Ready for Getting Married." The title is deceiving, but Part One was amazing. Hopefully I will have a post on it later, but for now I will say a few things. 1. Why aren't the elligible, Godly, single men that SAY they want to get married pursuing the elligible, Godly, single women? 2. Since the elligible, Godly, single men are not pursuing the elligible, Godly, single women, the women are feeling desperate, depressed and are taking leadership. Bad news. If you want to get married, men, then marry! There are a million girls out there who are waiting... and 100+ years ago it was seen as immature and (to some groups of people a sin) for a man to delay marriage. 3. Since marriage is being delayed, we have raised a generation of women that are career minded, money seeking and abandoning the home- they are trying to find security and worth somewhere. 4. Not to mention the best childbearing years are passing most of us very quickly... and a woman's true delight and feminity is seen in having children.

- I love driving in snow, as long as it is not with a million people stuck on the interstate who, over the summer, somehow forgot how to drive in snow.

- God has been teaching me that longing for His good gifts is not wrong, unless I place them above Him.

- I want an iPod.

- I said I wasn't buying Christmas presents and that I was going to do something really creative and fun. Ha. I am buying presents.

- How can it be that we who profess to follow Christ actually love the things He hates? Who deceived us and said we could delight in what is evil and yet we do not even call it evil because we are so blind?

- How does a follower of Christ look to the world? How should we look?

- Missionary taxes are complicated.

- In the winter food is abundant and I wonder where it is the other 11 months of the year.

- If God is my true delight and treasure, I would be willing to do anything for Him. I had a conversation with a dear friend a few weeks ago and he said something that has made me think. He told me that God is not out for behavior modification and that He looks at the heart, not behavior. Now, that statement is true. The context of the statement, though, makes the statement false. I cannot do anything I want. 1 John says that if we love Him we will do what He commands. If I am doing what He commands, then my behavior will change. I will want my behavior to change. I cannot say that I love God and then do the opposite all the time just because I know God loves me. That is trampling the grace of God and not true faith. But, I do not change my beahvior to try to earn or gain salvation. I cannot. I will never be perfect, but I am called to perfection. Jesus is my righteousness and He purifies me from all sin. And I have to be willing to say that sin is sin. I cannot cover it up with an "I love Jesus and He loves me" sitcker or a "God's grace is enough" bandaid. If God hates a movie- or all movies- do I treasure Him more than they? If God begins to purge thoughts, actions and attidudes, will I obey? As I draw closer to God I am seeing the world differently. It is hard because so many people- mostly people who profess to love Christ- do not see it the same way. It appears that they go on, as they always have, doing the things they do, wasting time, wasting money and goinging to church. The more I love Him the more I want to do for Him... to show His worth and to be like Him!!!

- I'm going back to work now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The difference in a T

The letter "t" is very important, did you know that?

Punctuation and the letter "t" is even more crucial.

Especially when baking.

There is a big difference between t and T.

Now I must quadruple the batch if the muffins are to taste like muffins.

Right now they taste like baking soda.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

THE Word

I just enjoyed reading Christa's post about THE Word. How true it is that we can spend so much time reading good books and hardly ever read the Word of God.

So, I thought this would be a good time to show you just how my brain works.

A few months ago I learned that the great servant of God, George Muller, read the entire Bible 263 times (that he counted). Now, Muller became a believer when he was 25, dying when he was 92, which means he was a Christian for 67 years. Now, let's do a little math, shall we?

263 times through the Bible
divided by 67 years as a believer
equals 3.93 times a year

Then I wondered, well, how many chapters a day would that be? How many chapters in the Bible ARE there anyway?

Answer: 1,189 So...

1,189 chapters in the Bible
divided by 365 days a year (not counting leap year that is)
equals 3.26 chapters a day (to read the Bible once a year)
times 3.93 times through the Bible in a year
equals 12.80 chapters a day (to read through the Bible 3.93 times a year)

OR if that is too confusing...

1,189 chapters in the Bible
times 3.93 times a year
equals 4,673 chapters
divided by 365 days
equals 12.80 chapters a day (to read the Bible 3.93 times a year)

Now, if you are not concerned for my mental health yet, my mind continued to wonder...

How long, on average, does it take me to read a chapter in the Bible? There are shrimpy little Psalms (121) and gigantic Psalms (119). I guessed, on average, that it would take me a minute or a minute and a half to read through most chapters in the Bible. If I read more shorter chapters when I can and took my time on the longer ones it would probably average out.


12.80 chapters a day
times 1.5 minutes
equals 19.20 minutes a day (to read through the Bible 4 times a year)

I was shocked. I thought for sure that George had to read the Bible for hours on end to get through it 4 times year. Maybe he was a slow reader and it took him, what, 30 minutes a day?

Honestly, that is nothing.

How much time do I spend wasted on other things like Facebook, MySpace, talking on the phone, hitting the snooze button, eating, watching TV, cleaning, sitting at stop lights, etc. I am not recommending to read while you are driving, but living in Denver I sit at a lot of stop lights. Do you know the average length I sit at stop lights? About 1.5 minutes. Four stop lights a day and I can read through the Bible in a year. Or how about Facebook? I have time for it, but no time to read my Bible? Shame on me. People spend an average of 1 hour on Facebook a day. A DAY! What did we used to do with that time 5 years ago when Facebook or MySpace didn't exist?

My point- We have a lot more time than we think we do AND we spend our time on what is precious to us. If God's Word is precious then we will make huge sacrifices to read it. And is it sacrificing, anyway, when we need to give up things in order to be obedient?

No, I think that is called obeying God.

And I haven't even begun talking about memorizing. We need to be reading, studying and memorizing God's Word. It is our life. It is our strength. It is our health.

10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3
I sometimes wonder why I am discouraged, upset, easily angered, mad, unhappy, worried, etc, until I remember that I have spent little time in the Word, studying it, memorizing and praying. When I disobey in area, other areas of disobedience begin to shine through.

So... memorizing!

1,189 chapters in the Bible
divided by 52 weeks in a year
equals 22.87 years (to memorize the Bible at the rate of 1 chapter a week)

That is a lot, no doubt, but it is not impossible!

So, how about the New Testament and 100 "Golden Chapters" in the Old Testament?

260 chapters in the NT
plus 100 selected chapters in the OT
equals 360 chapters
divided by 52 weeks a year
equals 6.92 years (to memorize all the NT and 100 OT chapters)

Only 7 years.

Sure, it may look intimidating, but we become what we love. Imagine filling your mind so much with God's Word that it overflows. Imagine being able to recall Scripture in a time of need? Imagine knowing God so well as you pour over his Word?

I have found there are great times to memorize the Bible...
-taping index cards over the sink while I do dishes
- waiting in line at the store
- taking a brief walk
- taping laminated verses inside the shower (10-15 minutes of otherwise "wasted" time!)
- dry erase markers on mirrors
- listening to the Bible on CD while driving helps reinforce what is already known

And in the future I forsee...
- hours upon hours of nursing! (Lord willing) I watched my mom read the Bible through many times and memorize 4 or 5 books while she sat nursing children.
- I want my children to memorize Scripture from the moment they can talk. IT can be so simple- "God created" or "Obey your parents." It is a delight to hear Samuel quoting Scripture. The first time he ran to me and said, "Jaci, listen to my verse- 'God loved us and sent His Son. I John 4:10' " I started crying. He assured me that I didn't need to cry because it was happy! I told him that I was excited that he was learning the Bible. Then he asked, "Do you know a verse?" And, with my 3 year old brother I sat and we exchanged Bible verses we were CURRENTLY memorizing. What a joy! I could care less if my children EVER play an instrument, have nice clothes, have seen the latest movies or are popular. I want them to know God and His Word. I want them to love God and His Word more than the things that are feeting and useless!

As always, there is much more I would like to say, but I am off for now!

May you be delighted to emerse yourself in the Word of God. May you love its commands. May You fall more deeply in love with its Author. May you use it to fight the enemy.

10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3

Monday, November 05, 2007

What We Don't See

If you would like to read a fascinating story of a man who gave much, went to China and died happy, then this is not the book for you.

If you would like, however, to be convicted of your mediocre, materialistic, self-centered life by reading about a God-loving, sacrificial, servant and missionary to China, THEN this book is for YOU!

Oh, we do not know the small lives we live until we read about great men and women of faith who have gone before us. I read Scripture differently when I am immersed in learning about the faithfulness of people like Hudson Taylor.

I, personally, get so content in my day to day living that I, only by God's divine remembrance, recall the heights that I am called to achieve. As I read the history of world changers I realize that there are significant areas in their lives that are incredibly similar. Although each one lived in very different time periods, countries and had vastly unique circumstances, they all reached the same conclusions about life.

One topic where the same conclusion is reached regards money. Yes, yes, money. The substance we all love and in the next breath loathe. It is the resource we need to survive and sometimes we survive to attain. A close kin to money is possessions because, for the most part, you need money to acquire belognings.

Hudson Taylor is my hero, along with George Muller, when it comes to a view of money. He lived on little. He ate only bread and water so that he had more to minister to the needy. He was never in debt to anyone. He trusted God for all he needed and realized that if he went without something HE thought he needed that maybe, after all, God thought he did not need it- even food. Ever thought about a God-ordained fast simply because there was no food to eat and no money to buy it? It was common for Hudson and it strengthened his faith.

Some countries have a worldview that enslave them to fear spirits while others serve their family heritage. American Christians are good at seeing the speck in the eye of other cultures. We pray for the Buddists, Muslims, etc. to be free from spiritual bondage and all the while we have a monsterous plank sticking out of our eye because we worship money. The love of money is definately prevalent in many societies, but we seem to live for it more than most.

It is somewhat subtle, our love of money, and we have become good at justifying our expenses. We need to furnish our home and you know we cannot possibly shop at Goodwill (we would have mismatched furniture if we did that!). AND we have to have 8 dining rooms chairs (that match, mind you) because 4 just wouldn't do. Sit children on the floor, are you crazy? The carpet might get dirty... There must be every day dishes and special occassion dishes, as well, that is just how it is done. Ten different pairs of shoes is adequate and quite modest for most girls, yes, see I am sacrificing now. (TEN pairs of shoes.) We could not possibly do with less, could we? Then there are clothes. We must have a closet full of clothes for every occassion, time of year, fashion and occupation. When this year's styles go out we load up BAGS of clothes and hand them off to, well, someone less fortunate.

We eat out, at $30 a pop (which isn't as much as those who really waste money!) without blinking and justify it because, you know, a couple needs a nice date once in a while. Oh, then there is a good movie once a month, Starbuck's several times a week and the "little treats" along the way. It just cost a dollar, you know.

And, I still give 10% to the church, so I am okay. Isn't that all God asks of me? I cannot afford to do more at this point! I have school debt to pay off. Oh, now I cannot give more because we have little kids. Then there is a house, sports, college, retirement, etc. and before another word life is gone.

Shame on us.

For one example- we, Christians, should be ashamed of the gross amount of money we sacrifice to the god of coffee. Millions of dollars that pass through the hands of Christians are being spent on a hot drink while that same money could rescue 25 million 8 year old girls from the sex trade in Thailand. Billions of dollars breeze in and out of bank accounts belonging to self-proclaimed followers of Christ as we praise the gods of clothes, cars, movies and music.

God does not need our money, let me clarify that, but He does command us to give, live soberly and have no earthly ties. It all burns. The nice furniture, as cheap as you think it was, will burn. The clothes... gone. The nice dishes, big screen TV's and fashionable cars will pass away.

God does not want us to worship money, but He does tell us to be good stewards of it. And this does not mean "good stewards" of it from an American "I-got-the-best-deal-so-I-am-being-a-good-steward" mindset. Being a good steward of what God has given us means that we think of others before we think of ourselves. It means that we use our money as a weapon to fight the evil one by not allowing him to enslave us with love of it, because instead we use it to spread the gospel.

God have mercy on me! Praise You, God, that you are Sovereign over my sinfulness and that Your purposes will be fulfilled without my help. Yet, convict and conform me to your image so that I am ever more sacrificial as I see the end approaching. Teach me how to live on less so that You alone capture my love, affection and attention. Keep me from justifying my thoughtless expenses. Teach me how to use money as a weapon against Satan and a tool to further the gospel. May I never boast in what I own, for it will all perish...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What a Day

This has been an amazing, strange, beautiful and tiring day.

In a way, my work load for today began yesterday since the payroll company did not return our download to me before I left. That meant I had more work to do today and on top of that, after making this abnoxious beep, my computer has randomly been shutting off. It usually does it once a week... yesterday it happened 4 times.

I did not sleep well last night and was facing the busiest day of my entire month in an exhausted state of mind. Payroll took three hours to process this morning when it usually takes one. My computer was moving exceptionally slow and my printer was squeeking like a wild mouse.

Since I have been having an unquenchable hunger for God's Word and, seemingly some time on my hands, I decided to take advantage of the slow download. My computer was occupied and I could do nothing else. I was already half way through Genesis in my normal readings so I finished it, read twenty-five chapters of Psalms and then ten chapters of Exodus.

Let me say this, it is absolutely incredible and dare I say IMPERATIVE to read God's Word in huge chunks on a regular basis. It has been a while since I have done so and it was like water to a thirsty soul. I read the accounts of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and watched as God revealed Himself to them.

This is no story. This is no play. This is real and the words on the pages I read today are faultless, seamless and life-giving. To neglect God's Word and intense study of it is not only stupid, but wrong. How can I expect to defeat sin, have a oneness with God and transform my world if I am not daily practicing my skill with the sword?

Then, after payroll was done, I checked my email and found one from Todd. He sent me a link to a sermon on YouTube. I watched the short clip.

Gut wrenching, painfully convicting and soul reviving is how I describe what I heard. Some might be angry with the preacher and others would not even understand what he said, and yet it was exactly what I needed to hear. I later listened to the whole sermon and wanted to weep uncontrolably. I would have if I had been alone in my room, but I had payroll to complete and a dentist appointment to make.

Can I ask you to listen to AT LEAST the short clip and PLEAD with you to listen to the long one? Paul Washer communicates so passionately what I long for the American Church to hear. I will be listening to it several more times and seriously continue reevaluating my life.

I will post about the sermon soon. For now I will say as I said a few posts ago... I can feel something being unleashed inside of me and I cannot wait to see what God is doing with me!

LONG Sermon- almost an hour

SHORT clip- 3 minutes

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Do you ever look at the people in this world and wonder what they are living to accomplish? We are like little ants, going here and there, working, storing up food for the winter, and yet one day we will die. There is no cure for death and yet we live as if the inevitable will never happen.

What is the point of gaining more possessions, fame or a "better self"? What is that going to help when death is just around the corner for all of us?

What am I living to accomplish? I am like a little ant, going here and there, working, storing up food for the winter, and yet one day I will die. Do I live as if I think the inevitable will never happen?

I am hungry. They are hungry. We are hungry for God whether we admit it or not.

And there are a few of us who have the answer to the hunger. We have been given access to the Bread of Life. We have tasted and seen that He is good.

Yet we hoard it for ourselves. Oh, we do not always do it intentionally, but we do it all the same. We get so busy in our menial tasks that we forget the war for souls continues to wage all around us. We stay locked in our houses, cars, jobs and churches. We hoard the gospel, abuse it in our own lives and occassionally hope that the lost will be saved.

And death comes. For them. For us. And life is gone...

Monday, October 15, 2007


After discovering that tomorrow is National Boss's Day, a girl decided to do something nice, and include her co-workers in the plan too. Since their boss was in Singapore, she emailed the department and encouraged people to send him an e-card or an encouraging email.

After pressing the send button she gasped in astonishment. She had emailed the whole, the WHOLE, department...

...including the boss.

She cooly walked to the IT managers office and asked if an email could be unsent. The IT manager appologetically replied no. Knowing he had access to everyone's inbox she pressed, "Well, tomorrow is National Boss's Day and I just sent an email to everyone encouraging them to send a kind note to Wendell. And I included Wendell."

He laughed, amused, "I think I can take care of that."

After a few information technology backdoors and one click...

....DELETE.... heart went back to a normal, healthy pace.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Moment of Ranting

I'm frustrated. I am more frustrated right now than I have been in a long, long, long time.

Sin makes me mad.

After all that I know, believe and love about Christ, I still decide to sin. I decide to be arrogant, selfish, angry, jealous and prideful. I have the forgiveness of the Creator of the universe and I am willing to throw it back in His face and go my own way.

The last few weeks have been hard for me on the inside. Time is up. I've had enough.

I know what it will take to be the amazing woman of God that I desire to be. Wait, let me say that again- only God can take this lump of clay and transform it into something beautiful. I cannot do anything but walk in obedience.

I'm tired of being the same. I am tired of struggling with the same things. I am tired of living every day the same. I am tired of only scratching the edge of the infinate love God has for me- and I can have for Him.

Watch out world... something is being unleashed in me. I am excited and scared to death.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wrinkled Hands-Blazing Heart

Hands, wrinkled and weathered by age, tenderly touched the faded pictures as she recounted details of the story behind each portrait. Our eyes soaked in the beauty of her once young face while we eagerly listened. Page after page brought forth more accounts of God's faithfulness to John and Helen Cox as they served Him in Thailand.

Now she is old and frail, her hearing and eyesight are failing, yet she continues to live with persistence. Every day she retreats to her single room at the Lammermuir House so she can talk with God and fellowship with Him. The most important thing in life, she tells us, is to spend time alone with God. And she does, faithfully.
Helen is just one of the dear people we had the honor of living with last week in Lancater, Pennsylvania. The other "reassigned" missionaries have similar stories and spend their days in like fashion- prayer and Bible study. One couple decided they must get up earlier, 4:30am, if they were to cover all of the prayer needs each day.

I will be formatting more of my thoughts into intelligable language soon, but for now I wanted to leave you with a picture:
(Helen is on the far left in the bright blue dress... what a precious woman of God!)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Life- One Sentence Style

I leave for Pennsylvania tomorrow at 10:21 AM.

The Lammermuir House is my end destination.

Ann Marie, Ben and I will be socializing with 85 year olds for a whole week.

I haven't started packing yet which is highly unusual for me.

I am buying a new camera today.

It is hot in my office.

Speaking of office, it will be my own in a month and I am getting excited to decorate it.

Evangeline's CD (from my friend Jonathan Barrick) is being released on Tuesday (

I have a lot of work to do so I am going to go do it.

Bye. :-)

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Last week I was talking to a friend about God. A good topic, huh? Yes, the only topic worthy of discussing! We briefly mentioned the mind-blowing idea of God's timelessness and I thought, "I should write a post about that!"

So, here it is.

I love thinking about the deep things of God. It is fascinating, faith building and just good to think! There are times when I get frustrated when I realize how finite my thoughts truly are. There is NO way, ever, never, EVER that anyone simple or scholar, will be able to comprehend or explain God. It is beautifully impossible.

As Ben exhorts, though, "We should always be thinking lofty thoughts and purusing a deeper humanly understanding of the majesty of God." Ok, that may not be exactly what he says, but it is pretty close!

God is outside of time. He is outside of time because He created it. Notice in Genesis 1 that light, the sky, water, and plants were all created BEFORE time:

And God said, "Let there be light,"
and there was light.
God saw that the light was good,
and He separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light "day,"
and the darkness he called "night."
And there was evening,
and there was morning—the first day.
Genesis 1:3-5
And God said,
"Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky
to separate the day from the night,
and let them serve as signs to mark seasons
and days and years,
and let them be lights in the expanse
of the sky to give light on the earth."
And it was so.
God made two great lights—
the greater light to govern the day
and the lesser light to govern the night.
He also made the stars.
God set them in the expanse of the sky
to give light on the earth,
to govern the day and the night,
and to separate light from darkness.
And God saw that it was good.
And there was evening,
and there was morning—the fourth day.
Genesis 1:14-19

The creator cannot be apart of the creation. The creator only puts characteristics of His being into what he creates (eg, children- they are not their parents but have part of their parents in them). Since He is outside of time He controls it. Time does not have any affect on God. Time was given to humans to govern seasons, mark years, etc.

God sees everything in an ever present now. He was there before time began and He will draw time to a close at the end of the world. I love Revelation 22:13 -
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.
If you put those two together, just in themselves, without the other thousand ideas I can draw from God being outside of time, you will have a headache. Let's try for one, ok? :-)

Since God is outside of time and sees everything in an ever present now, He knows all things we have done, will do and could do. And He can see them all at once. From God's presepective He can see the creation as if it is happening and the end of the world as if it is done already. This is called God's foreknowledge and comprehensive knowledge.

Knowledge, as well as thought, have to do with time because as FINITE beings we need time to learn. We do not know all things all at once. God, on the other hand, because He is INFINATE, knows all things all at once. He does not have to ponder, think or recall information, all three of which are linked to time.

He knows what I will think, do and say every day for the rest of my life. He knows those same things for everyone I know and everyone that has breathed and will breathe until the world comes to an end. He knows all information, from how many hairs are ON your head to the number of molecules it takes to make up each of those hairs. And He know the same for all people who have ever lived and will ever live. He knows how many trees the world has held at one time, how many molecules were in each tree, how many tress will be planted, their molecules, etc. He knows how many books there have been, will be, number of pages, letters, cost of producing, molecules to make the book, how the book will be destroyed, how many good books have been thrown away, etc. He knows all things about all things- Past, present and future, which He sees all at once in His "now" existence.

Get the point?

God's timelessness means I can trust Him. He knows. He sees the future, He sees the past and it is a beautiful orchestra of praise and glory for Himself. He is never shocked or surprised by anything. He is never late. He never delays.

He is, also, gracious to give us time. Time allows us to have order and a pattern to life. Time shows us how we have grown and matured. Time gives us food in harvest, a break in the winter, a cool evening after a hot day, light to see and darkness so we can rest.

Time will end. Everything CREATED has a beginning has an ending. God is the only everlasting being. He lasts forever. Humans and angels are only eternal beings, with a created being that will last for eternity.

There is a lot more I could say on this topic because it is one I love to discuss. It causes my heart to swell with love and awe for God. It makes me want to scream along with the Psalmist, "Who am I that the Son of Man would care for me???"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

51 Weeks

There are only 51 weeks left until my birthday!

I act like such a little kid when it comes to celebrating birthdays. When I was younger it was the presents that were the object of my anticipation. As I grew a little older it was the level of privilege that excited me, like shaving my legs, driving, getting a job and voting. The year I turned 21 people were anxious to know if I was beating down the bars for my first legal drink. My answer to that question was, " I can adopt children!"

There is, in my mind, only one more "big" age mile marker before getting senior citizen discounts... (Scott, this might shock you :-)


In the state of Colorado you must be 25 to test drive a car. And that is what I want to do next year, Lord willing, on my birthday. What car, you ask? Two, if I could... a Hummer and Corvette.

On this birthday I completed 24 years of walking, living, breathing, working, crying and laughing. The number 24 seems so old and still very young. I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed. It is no wonder that people in their 80's say that the years are like days to them.

Every year around my birthday I take time to reflect and do some serious introspecting. What has happened this year? What trials did I experience? What happiness did I enjoy? Who did I meet? Did I fulfill any dreams? Where did I go? What books did I read? What were my greatest strruggles? How did I come to love Christ more? Has my faith in Him grown? How am I serving Him? What am I going to do this next year to serve, love and believe Him more?

What has happened this year?
Oh my, a ton! My dad was jobless for most of 2oo6 and that proved to be a monumental family challenge! On top of the financial pressure, we all experienced deep hurt from the church situation we came out of and 2006 was spent healing. We watched God do God-things by providing for our every physical need and restoring our hearts emotionally.

My dad asked me to get a better paying/full-time job to help with family finances. This caused me a great amount of stuggle because I loved my job and the flexibility working part-time gave me. Yet, I knew that God was calling me to surrender my comfort and join Him in an adventure. In September I was offered a job with OMF International and Initiative360. To make a VERY long story short, I accepted.

My faith grew in amazing ways as I watched God provide for our financial needs by giving me a job that perfectly fits my passion for world missions. It was difficult to leave American Family after working there for 7 years, but I knew it was what was best for me. The longer I work at OMF, the more I believe that!

Holidays came and went, the winter in Colorado was VERY snowy (10 weeks straight with at least 6-8" a week!) In February Initiative360 closed down and OMF hired me full-time. It was sad to see a place shut down, but even in it I knew I was here for a reason. I was able to be apart of key meetings and offer my perspective and experience from the church situations I have faced.

The last thing I will share about has affected the second half of my 24th year the most. For the first time in many years I felt severe pain in two friendships. I will leave details aside, for they do not matter, but I will say that I have not cried and hurt this bad in a long time. For several months I severly struggled with the one friendship and pleaded with God to do a miracle.

He did- inside me. When the problem first hit at the beginning of the summer I knew, without a doubt, what God WAS doing and was going TO do inside of me. He was making me more like Jesus. And that is what I always pray He would do. I can honestly say I did not question Him or ask Him to take away the pain like I have done before.

I sought Him with all that was in me. And He gave me more of Himself. He opened my eyes to see sin inside of me and He also gave me confidence that I was obeying Him. He showed me that the life of true discipleship can be very lonely. When I stand stong on who He is and what the Word says people are going to get upset, call me judgemental, etc. And that's ok.

Later I may post more on the two situations and the Biblical issues that were the focus of the relational controvery, but for now I will say that it caused me to dig into my Bible! I know more now why I believe what I believe, Biblically, and am confident in what the Word says.

Lastly- DAWN AND MATT were here!!! Their flight home from MD was delated 2 DAYS and they were able to spend time with me and my family. It was SO much fun. It was fun to have Judah and Samuel together. It was a delight to see them with my family. It was precious to see Dawn BIG pregnant! I cannot wait until I see them again!

Where did I go?
Two places stand out to me the most:
1- California. January 18th I shocked Dawn by showing up on her door step for her 25th birthday! It was a wonderful trip and I continue to love her more and more.

2- Manitou Spring, Colorado. Ann Marie and I went down to Summit Ministries to relax and be with friends. It was very refreshing to be with like-minded girls after having just felt some great pain in the friendships mentioned above.

What books did I read?
Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper (read it 3 times)
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Bible :-)
Ephesians (did an indepth study)
Hebrews (did an indepth study)
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Athiest by Norm Geisler
(There are more but I cannot remember them....)

What were my greatest struggles?
* My dad being jobless
* Changing jobs
* Financial pressures
* Friendships
* Singleness

Has my faith in Him grown?
YES, oh, YES!!! I cannot begin to describe the transformation that has taken place inside of me the last year. My love for God has grown and deepened. I do know Him better. I am realizing how much farther I have to go and am glad that He is not done with me yet! 100 years would not be long enough to discover the depths of who He is.

A Look Back- 5 Years
2002- I would have been 19. I had just come home from my second trip to Romania. I was engaged and planning my wedding. I was also planning my third trip to Romania.

2003- I was 20. I was engaged for half of my 20th year and then I broke off our engagement. It was a rough year, to say the very least! It was wonderful too, for God healed my heart like only He can!

2004- The wonderful age of 21. God continued to do a beautiful transformation in me. I learned so much about who I was in Him and what He was calling me to do. My convictions and passions began to take a deep root.

2005- Glorious 22! The family struggles began this year as we faced a horrible situation at our church of 7 years. My dad was asked to leave because the new pastor did not think my dad had a calling to ministry. We began the unemployment journey. I fought desperately against bitterness. God taught me to love instead and gave me a jealous heart for His church.

2006- 23, here I come. I began working at OMF, dad got a job and life began to return to normal. My love for God through world missions grew and matured. I faced friendship struggles. The Ben Zornes Band blossoms and keeps all of us busy!

2007- Finally 24. I am looking forward to what God has planned for me this year. Many people, including myself, hope that God's plan for me this year would include a Prince Charming. We shall see. God is my treasure and in the next year it is my goal to know Him and believe Him more.

My life verse remains my aim:

"'You are My witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed nor will there be one after Me.'"

Isaiah 43:10

The Next 5 Years- God
Only God knows what He has arranged for my journey the next 5 years. Marriage? Children? Traveling to Asia, India or Europe? Death? Life? Joys. Pain. Laughter. Tears.

The only thing I know for sure is that my quest to know and believe God will be the focus of whatever happens between now and the time I am 29. I want to look back and say that I lived it well, people saw Christ in me and that He was glorified.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Worldwide Tragedy and God's Mercy

This is a call to prayer and to praise. It is a call to prayer because there are many things happening in our world that cause us to rely on God more and more. It is a call to praise because our God is relyable, all knowing and merciful.

Each morning at OMF we open our day with prayer. There always seems to be enough to pray about that we could continue for hours on end. Three things were the main focus this morning, though, and they are:

1- Minneapolis and the collapse of the bridge. (Read about it HERE)
2- North Korean missionaries being held hostage. (Read about it HERE)
3- Taiwanese village (where animal sacrifices are still being done.)

These three things are happening all at once. There are a million other stories that could be added to this list as well, including our own needs.

Pray. Pray that God would draw all men to Himself. Pray that your own faith would grow.

Read. Read the news. Pray as you read.

As I was praying and reading this morning, I read an article by John Piper about the collapse of the bridge, which is one mile from the church where he is pastor. We wonder why these things happen and he proclaims:

"The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world. "

We have the most precious message in the world in our hearts, heads and hands. May it be precious to us as we know Him and praise Him!

Monday, July 30, 2007


I am entereing into a very reflective time of the year for me because in less than two weeks I will gain another year to my life. There may be time between now and then to write a painfully long post about what has happened this last year, how I have grown and who I want to become.

For now I will leave you with a picture that reminds me of how I feel when I think of completing my 24th year on this earth.

Mountains and valleys, climbing and surviving, beauty and rain, majesty and mystery, joy and sorrow... but God always at my side, comforting, protecting, guiding, disciplining, reforming, shaping, molding and changing me.

What an incredible year it has been.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Here In


I did not fall off the face of the blogging world. I just got busy and slightly overwhelmed both physically and emotionally.

And I am getting better.

It has been another one of those times when God is doing amazing things in my heart, yet these times of growth only come through trials. The last three months I have faced some emotions that, in all honesty, have been quite foreign to me. Truly, in relationships with other believers, how do we mix admonishment, love, judgement and grace?

I may post more on what I have been learning in regards to friendships, but I do not have time for that now! All I will say is that I am VERY thankful for like-minded friends! They remind me that I am not alone in my determination to be Christ-like!

Jonathan gave me a quote several months ago:

"Oh to Behold the glory of Christ!
Here in would I live,
here in would I die,
here in would I dwell in my thoughts and affections
until all thing here below become as dead and deformed things
and in no longer, any way, calling out for my affections."
John Owen

This is my prayer for myself and for my friends. Oh, to abandon all for Christ and to see Him fully. Oh, to have the eyes of our heart enlightened so that we might SEE Jesus and SAVOR only Him.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Something Lighter

Q: What happens when a branch that is 4" in diameter and 10" long breaks off its tree and free falls for 10' before hitting you on the shoulder?
It hurts really bad.

Friday, June 22, 2007

If God Says

Does God ever "call" His children to not obey one of His commands, like missions, bearing children, telling the truth, etc? Can we say with a straight face that, "I am not called to missions" or "God does not want me to have children" or "If I am protecting my family I can lie"?

Every day I disobey, many times willingly, commands I know God has clearly given to those who follow Christ. I decide to be grumpy. I decide to be impatient. I am proud, selfish and unforgiving. Then there are times when we, I, disobey God's commands because I am not fully mature yet, not knowing it is sin.

Yet, once I am confronted with my sin, then I am responsible to obey or not. None of use are perfect, meaning without sin, but we press on and on and on for the prize:

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained."
Philippians 3:12-16

There are things in Scripture that are so clear and still many of us ponder, "What is God's will?" He has laid most of it out clearly: believe in His Son, do not lie, do not commit adultery, go make disciples, look after orphans and widows, do not be conformed to this world, do not get drunk with wine, be fruitful, do not divorce, etc. etc.

So what is our problem with just obeying? Are we ignorant to what God has said? Are we purposefully disobeying? Are we immature in our faith?

I think, depending on the person, the answer can be yes to all of the above questions. Still, disobedience is disobedience. Praise God for mercy and grace. He knows our weaknesses, excuses, stubborness and humanity. If there is any good in us it is Him.

These verses convict and comfort me at the same time:

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
John 14:21

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
I John 2:3

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome...
I John 5:3

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Awesome Creator

About 1,500 galaxies are visible in this deep view of the universe, taken by allowing the Hubble Space Telescope to stare at the same tiny patch of sky for 10 consecutive days in 1995. The image covers an area of sky only about width of a dime viewed from 75 feet away. (See this and more here.)

Did you just read what I read?

About 1,500 galaxies are visible in this deep view of the universe, taken by allowing the Hubble Space Telescope to stare at the same tiny patch of sky for 10 consecutive days in 1995. The image covers an area of sky only about width of a dime viewed from 75 feet away.

The image covers an area of sky only about width of a dime viewed from 75 feet away.

How great is our God!

And I let my minute, puny, tiny problems distract me from HIM? The Creator of the 1,500 galaxies I see here?!?!

How human can I be???

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Glimpse Inside

There are times in my life when I wonder what God is doing with me. It seems that the tests and trials come in waves, crashing in on me all at once. I have come to realize, though, that blessings always follow close behind!

There is so much going on right now in my life, heart, mind and soul. I am building relationships with new friends, having struggles with old ones and seeing that Jesus is the only Friend who will never let me down.

As I face new areas of growth, trusting God has once again been taken to a new level for me. His ways are not mine and I have no control over anything. He calls me to follow after Him and obey. I cannot look to the right or the left to see if others are obeying Him. My concentration needs to be on the battle that is in front of me.

Last night I had a wonderful, yet painful, breakdown. And, yes, it did include crying. I recognized that I have been more stressed about a couple of things than I realized. The burdens I have been carrying during the day, along with sleepless nights has resulted in a girl who is tired, distracted, unhappy and sad.

I know this is not the last time I will feel grief, pain and heartache, but I feel a freedom today that I have not had in several months. The truth of these verses and the call to obey them is what gave me such peace:

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:7-11

Cast my anxieties on Him and leave them there. I am free to be self-controlled and alert when I am not lugging around my burdens. The enemy is ready to destroy me and if I am overwhellmed with concerns then I leave myself weak and vulnerable to his attack. My brothers and sisters around the world are suffering from anxieties of all kinds too, so if I stand firm then maybe others will have the courage to do so as well! I will suffer because Christ suffered, it is apart of life, and yet it is only for a little while. He will restore me and make me strong, firm and steadfast. All of this is for His glory because He alone has the power to transform my anxieties and make them something useful for His name sake!

Monday, May 21, 2007

For Real Now

Several weeks ago I wrote a pathetic post about what is happening in my life. I really wanted to write more, but I lacked creativity and time. There are many things to tell you, my readers (Whoever that would be), about what is happening in my life and family.

Friday, April 13, 2007 my brother, Ben, won the vocal competition at the Northeast Artists Guild Expressive Arts Conference. See more info at his blog site: Ben Zornes' Band or here.

Two broken bones in 12 hours is not a family record I would recommend trying to beat. Three Wednesdays ago my brother Timothy, 11, crashed on his scooter. Take your hand and bend it back like you are trying to grab your elbow. The curve from arm to hand is where Timothy landed. He has a buckle break just above the wrist where the bones, both of them in his arm, broke from the pressure that was felt on both sides- wrist hitting ground and body falling on top. OUCH. The doctors thought that there was possibly a need to put him to sleep and rebreak it. Thank God this was not the case! He is casted and on his way to healing!

Guess what we learned through this? God designed, in His infinate wisdom, for the body to compensate the break by replacing the gap in the bone and disolving the excess bone. Let me explain. When you break a bone there can be a number of degrees that the break angles. Timothy's was 15% and angled down. The arm will heal with this curve. Then the body grows more bone on the side where the angle is acute and then disolves the excess bone on the obtuse angle. Make sense?

So, the Thursday morning after Timothy's accident, my grandma fell down the stairs and broke her shoulder. My mom has been a great daughter and has made numerous trips to Cheyenne to help my grandparents over the last four months. She has become a doctors' office visit specialist this year with three surgeries, stiches in my sister and Timothy's broken arm! Thanks, mom, for all you do! :-)

Of Bikes and Mattresses
Tax return. I do not know what that phrase stirs in your heart, but I know it creates excitement in mine. For some reason I think that tax returns are to be spent. The whole year I am dilligent to save. I make sure I have reserve for large purchases or emergencies. So, if the government has taken more money than need be and in my mind that money is already gone, why save it when they finally give it back?

This year I decided to use my return for several "large" purchases, which are: a mountain bike, helmet, nice tennis shoes, a wave enhancer (like a perm) and a mattress.

The last 6 months I have been convicted in regards to several areas of my physical life: health and money. God has constantly been showing me that great men and women of the faith kept these two areas of their lives under tight control. They ate healthy, excersised, gave away money, prayed over money, etc. So, with my tax return I decided it was a perfect time to get resources that would encourage me to get into shape.

Jogging is out of the question for me, but I absolutley love to ride. A while ago I told my dad that I wanted to get new tires, new breaks and a new seat on my Huffy (Walmart) bike that I have had since I was 13. He smiled, "Jaclyn, you might as well get a new bike!" So, I did a fair amount of research on the type of bicycle I wanted.

I discovered that I wanted: a mountain frame (thicker, sturdy, wide tires), 10-24 speeds (for a variety of terrain), hand breaks and shocks. On top of THAT I wanted it to be, obviously, in good condition and of a reputable sporting brand. AND under $100. Sure, go ahead and laugh. It is funny if you know anything about bicycles.

I mentioned to a friend of mine at work that I was looking for a new bike. She said that she had been wanting one too! So, we began the hunting togther. The day she asks me if I want to go to Play It Again Sports, a used sporting goods store, I was in a dress. We arrive and I see it. The bicycle of my dreams right there in front of my eyes. We gawk, admire and inspect. And gawk again when we see the price: $59.99. Since I am in a skirt she test rides it around the parking lot. We decided that one of us will definately use it and if not we will resell it for $100. Ah, I love capitalism! I took it home that night for a test-ride. I fell in love. I told her so the next day at work and she said that it was mine!!!

It has all of the specs that were on my wish list. The picture above is from the Giant Bicycle website and looks almost like my bike except mine has shocks! The price tag on this machine brand new is $500-700!

The idea for a new mattress comes from the desire to rest better. My back and neck have been killing me lately. I am not sleeping well because I have a spring sticking into my hip. Yet, is this complaining? Hudson Taylor and great other number of missionaries GOT RID of their mattresses in order to prepare for the field. Am I wanting the new mattress for selfish reasons or Christ-exalting desires?

Anyway... there are several over due update bits. There is a ton more to tell, but for fear of loosing your interest I will stop there. :-)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Unusual Me

I chose pink for the background of my blog? Could it be? Was it me? Who kidnapped Jaclyn and switched brains with her? Hahaha... We'll see how long it lasts.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Me who? What?

I think it is high time for a casual, update post about my life.

What is there to say, though???

*** ADDITION: ***
Ann Marie wants me to mention that I am hilariously funny.

I work.

I eat.

I sleep (barely).

I ponder deep things.

I am reading the Cost of Discipleship (still).

I finished Looking Back by Husdon Taylor.

I am studying what God has to say about divorce and remarriage.

I long to travel overseas.

And people are wondering when I will get married.

My mom wants grandchildren.

The End.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Cost

"When Christ calls a man,
He bids him come and die."
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer~

I am slowly making my way through Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. When I have more time to think and write I shall give you a more inside view into my thoughts. For now, though, I will just give you highlights from chapter one.

~Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting to-day for costly grace.

~Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system.

~Cheap grace mean the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.

~Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has.

~Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son: "you were bought at a price" and what has cost God so much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

~As Christianity spread, and the Church became more secularized, this realization of the costliness of grace gradually faded. The world was Christianized, and grace became its common property.

~I need no longer try to follow Christ, for cheap grace, the bitterest foe of discipleship, which true discipleship must loathe and detest, has freed me from that.

~The price we are having to pay to-day in the shape of the collapse of the organized Church is only the inevitable consequence of our policy of making grace available to all at too low a cost.

~The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works.

Soak that in. More to come...

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'll Cry Glory

Three of the four members of the Ben Zornes Band, Ben Zornes, Caleb Lane and Greta Dittmann, as well as two moms(not pictured above), Momma Zornes and Momma Lane, are in New Jersey!

They are attending a singer/songwriter competion and conference. This morning Ben performed three of his songs in competitions and will do another two this afternoon. He will also compete in a vocal session as well.

Pray that he does well and that the judges will have favor on these three, that people would be drawn closer to the glory of God by their songs and that Jesus would be magnified!

For more information and updates from the band visit:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pampered Americans

There are some things that, seriously, are done or found "only in America," such as:

25 kinds of peanut butter
because you know some people cannot just have
Creamy but need
Extra, EXtra, EXTRA
while others only like
Extra, Extra

A Starbuck's Coffee on every corner
since driving 5 more minutes to get a
cup of coffee would be unthinkable you know!
(and it would be even worse
to just drink Folgers)


You always hear, "Look how much I saved!"
and you spent $1,000 to save $50?
Oh yeah, makes sense to me...
+ + +

This weekend I went to a Pampered Chef party. I like their products. I want their products. I own some of their products. I could spend a lot of money buying their products. I have friends who own ALL of the products.

Seriously, though, do we need an "avacado" colored knife that costs $16?

There are gadgets, tools, spoons, knives, cutters, slicers, dicers, bowls and pans for everything. You can wash, dry, chop, and serve your salad in one bowl. (Ooooo, ahhhh!) It could probably eat it for you too. Slight exaggeration, I know...

And the PRICES. I have not been to a Pampered Chef party in a couple of years so I forgot how ridiculously priced these kitchen toys are! I know that some people would try to tell me the old, "You get what you pay for" thing, but that doesn't work with me. The Walmart spatula for $1 works just fine AND if it does break I can buy a replacement 12 times for the price of one from Pampered Chef (which equals $12 by the way- for a spatula!).

I could go on. You get my point, right?

+ + +

It burdens and grieves me that we dump so much money into frivolous things. I am definately guilty, as we all are, so do not think I am just frowning on Pampered Chef products.

What about $200 car payments? (or $300, or $600)
Clothes that HAVE to come from designer stores? (when thrift stores have great variety!)
Spending $8 for a salad when eating out? (when that same price could by a week of salads)
Budgets for Starbuck's? (someone I know has a monthly $50-$100 budget for Starbuck's)

It is everywhere in our culture. From childhood the materialistic part of the secular worldview is impressed into our minds so that it all seems normal. We are so good at justifying and rationalizing our expenses that we cannot even see the wastefulness behind it all. We can explain away the reasons why we had to make certain decisions and purchases.

Christians are just as prone to materialism. We unbiblically call possessions blessings while pouring our lives into serving them. Our children have to do soccer, ballet and music lessons. We buy new clothes and eat the best food. Of course we need to keep up with the world so we also own the latest in technology, see all the new movies and try all the new restaurants. American Christians find tithing difficult. A missionary speaks at church and if we are in a good mood we might find $10 to give him. (Meanwhile the parking lot is full of new cars.)

I am not calling for a "sell all you have and live in poverty" kind of Christianity. That mindset, while I have met those who believe it, is not Biblical either. Rather, I desire for people who claim to know Jesus to be wise with what God is lending them. Nothing is ours in this world. We can take none of it with us when we die. There is a spiritual war raging around us. A war for Christ-likeness. A war for souls.

What does history display about how people handle money during a war? Every penny counts. Cash is hidden between matresses. People are careful, not frivolous. Old cars must be driven in order to feed the family. New clothes are not an option. And people are content because they know their countrymen are fighting for the freedom of the nation.

My plea is for a Biblical, war-like lifestyle. What if we all lived in such a way, being so careful and deliberate with our money that...

... missionaries had all they needed?
... the homeless were fed?
... our pastors could focus on ministry?
... orphans were in homes?
... wives could stay at home?
... Bibles were translated into every language?
... missions organizations were fully funded?
... no one was on welfare?
... no one was hungry?
... everyone had warm clothes?

... everyone had the opportunity to hear the name of Jesus?

Do these issues matter to us as followers of Jesus? They should! It matters to Him.

They should be of more value to us than new clothes, nice furiture, cool cars and eating out. A desire to see these become reality should so burden our hearts that we ARE WILLING to sell all we have to see them come to pass.

The problem, though, is that we have cheapened grace. Grace too has become a possession that we buy, own and sell. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, states,
This cheap grace has been no less disastrous to our own spiritual lives. Instead of opening up the way to Christ it has closed it. Instead of calling us to follow Christ, it has hardened us in our disobedience. Perhaps we had once heard the gracious call to follow Him, and had at this command even taken the first few steps along the path of
discipleship in the discipline of obedience, only to find ourselves confronted by the word of cheap grace. Was that not merciless and hard? The only effect that such a word could have on us was to bar our way to progress, and seduce us to the mediocre level of the world, quenching the joy of discipleship by telling us that we were following a way of our own choosing, that we were spending our strength and disciplining ourselves in vain- all of which was not merely useless, but extremely dangerous. After all, we were told, our salvation had already been accomplished by the grace of God. The smoking flax was mercilessly extinguished. It was unkind to speak to men like this, for such a cheap offer could only leave them bewildered and tempt them from the way to which they had been called by Christ. Having laid hold on cheap grace, they were barred for ever from the knowledge of costly grace. Deceived and weakened, men felt that they were strong now that they were in possession of this cheap grace- whereas they had in fact lost the power to live the life of discipleship and obedience. The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works.
Grace is costly. It cost Jesus His life. It will cost your life.

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10:37-39

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What 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 9and 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. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Philippians 3:7-16

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 3:11-14

6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:6-19
+ + +

Some may say, "What's the big DEAL, Jaclyn, it's JUST Pampered Chef!"

I would answer, "How many things are we going to excuse before we FULLY surrender to Christ? It's just a movie. It's just one drink with dinner. It's just a kiss. It's just a sermon. How many?"

Grace was too costly for me to waste my life with excuses. Money is the resource God has given me to bless others with food, clothes, housing... and most importantly... a way to hear that Christ is their treasure!

I want to live to prove that Christ is more precious than life! This conviction will permiate every area of my life and leave none as they were before. I must destroy the secular worldview inside of me whether it is the culture I have grown up in it or not. I have to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. If our whole lives are focused on getting and maintaining possessions then we will look like everyone else in the world. Jesus then becomes apart of life and not life ITSELF. If He is not treasured by us then why would anyone else treasure Him?

Nice houses, cool cars and fat bank accounts will never point people to Jesus.

*Disclaimer: The author claims NO perfection in the aforementioned topic. God is severely convicting her in regards to her monetary wastefulness. She is disgusted by Christians who waste so much money when she herself is exposed to so much world-wide need. She does not want to be one of those people, even though she is disgusted by herself so many times...