Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother's Day as a Way to Mother Orphans

Mother's Day 2010
Wow, Mother's Day is JUST around the corner!  I've been thinking- why not use the day to give gifts to our mothers that also benefit motherless children worldwide.  All of these directly benefit orphans in some way.  Here are some ideas:

  • TOMS shoes- you buy one for your mom, one pair is given to a needy child
  • Just Love Coffee- for each bag sold, $5 is donated to an adopting family to offset their adoption cost.  
  • My friend Bethany's handmade shop, For His Glory Designs, which has really cool headband/hair barrettes, among other things.  100% of its proceeds go towards their adoption of 2 children from the DRC.  (I have 2 flowers from her that I wear a LOT.  They of course match 2 of Eowyn's =D)
  • Get a set of coasters from my friend Heather's "Casey Adoption Store" etsy-- these remind us of all that is ours in Christ, and are SO encouraging!  (read their family adoption story here)
  • Donate to Sixty Feet
I'm sure there are 100s of other ways to give gifts that both encourage our moms AND care for someone without a mom.  What are your ideas?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Let the Buyer Beware (in both food & health care)

On fast food... know that just because it's called "natural," it doesn't have to actually be "natural."  Take Wendy's "Natural Cut Fries," for instance... apparently the fries' CUT is "natural," not the fries themselves...

On health care... know that one in three hospitalized patients experiences an error in treatment in the U.S.  (I know, that is a REALLY high percentage!)  If & when you or a loved one goes to the hospital, make sure you either are prepared to be an advocate or have an advocate who is committed to cross-checking orders, prescriptions, meds, and care options! If you know you'll be headed to the hospital, research as much as you can about your condition, procedure, treatment options, and names of health practitioners whose opinions you especially trust. A place with so many shift changes and overlapping areas of responsibility is bound to be prone to error!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Make WAR (on sin!)

On Mondays I often need an extra dose of motivation towards what I call "mundane righteousness."  By that I mean the gall to get up and live my ordinary little life like Christ actually rose from the dead, and like He actually cares about my thoughts and actions.  Here's what's helping me today:  a song and a sermon.

Those of you who have known me a while know that rap is not my natural first choice of music. :)  However, when you go to church with a Dove-and-Grammy-nominated-rapper, your horizons tend to be stretched, and even broadened! :)  Last summer FLAME (otherwise known as Marcus Gray) did a free concert in my/our church's neighborhood park, and Ryan & I packed up the baby and went, mostly to show support to our brother and to try and love on any neighbors who might show up. I was surprised (and thrilled!) to actually find myself worshipping, and being tremendously encouraged!  Marcus is a gifted evangelist & teacher, and he just drips Gospel no whatever he says!  Anyway, here is a song of his that is a great one to get in your head when you need to be reminded that the Enemy is real, and that his greatest ally is inside of you... in other words, EVERY DAY!  It's called "Make War," and it opens with a wonderful John Piper clip:

"I MAKE WAR!/Cause sin never sleeps/
It's got me in a trance/you can see it in my dreams/
I MAKE WAR!/Man I beat my flesh/
to the death/every breath/like I beat my chest/
I MAKE WAR/sun up/
I MAKE WAR/sun down/
I MAKE WAR/time in/
I MAKE WAR/time out/
I MAKE WAR/against lust/
against pride/against me/until I die/" -Flame

I particularly like this because of our Sunday sermon last week.  One of our pastors, Ryan Fullerton, preached from 1 Cor 3 on growing up in Christ instead of staying immature and needing bottle-feedings.  To do that, we need to be serious about "making war" on our fleshly desires!  I highly recommend the sermon; download or stream it here.   (The final title doesn't really capture the scope of the message, "Is There a Carnal Christian?," but you've got to call it something!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

For He Lives!

My favorite Easter hymn (and that's saying a lot because I LOVE SO MANY!! I mean, what better topic is there to sing about!?)

"And we are raised with Him/ Death is dead/ Love has won! Christ Has CONQUERED!/ And we shall reign with Him/ For He lives/ Christ has risen from the dead!" AMEN!???

Rejoicing in Christ's literal, bodily, victorious resurrection...that guarantees my freedom from sin right now, and my own resurrection some day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sad Saturday

The disciples would all have been confused, terrified, heart-broken, completely disoriented... Their master, their Rabbi, the one they had pledged to follow in every respect (Jewish talmidim even followed their rabbis into the latrine!) was gone.  More, he was condemned, cast out, executed as a criminal, rejected by the religious leaders they trusted to interpret the Scriptures.  His mission had completely, utterly, totally, failed.  And now... they would have to somehow what?  Go home? Get back to fishing?  Start over... if that was even an option.

I'm so glad that Saturday's dark night faded into Sunday's light!

Ryan & I just enjoyed a date (courtesy of visiting grandparents) featuring picking up dessert at PF Chang's -their Flourless Chocolate Dome, of course- and watching The Source Code. I won't really comment on the movie, though i will say I found it quite compelling right up until the ending [for those who've seen it, I would have been fine ending the movie when the "last kiss" scene froze- "He's done enough, let him die (happy)"].  Anyway, the hero has to relive the last 8 minutes before a train explodes, over and over again.  Meaning, he has to die over and over again.  The hero, an American soldier, at one point points out that "most men think dying once for their country is enough.

That reminded me of Hebrews 9:25-28, speaking of Christ's sacrificial death:
Nor did he [Jesus] enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. 
 Our Savior's ONE sacrifice was enough to deal with ALL the sin of EVERY ONE of His people.  Amen!  And I love how this passage ties His first coming (Advent) with His Second, when He will come as the Victorious Lion instead of the Sacrificial Lamb. "...not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him..."  Maranatha!

(Another much better meditation on the Cross from one who is living it out daily in Uganda)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do This in Remembrance of Me

Thursday would have been Passover for our Lord Jesus.  A time of incredible joy, of looking back at what amazing deliverance God had wrought for His people before.  A time to renew faith and family ties, to rejoice, to remember.

All day I've had this song fragment in my head, from VBS-
"Pass over, pass over; You must pass over me,
for see the stain that's overhead- the crimson stain-
Passover, passover, You must pass over me,
for, see, the lamb has died instead.

And I will live, I will live,
I will live giving glory to the Eternal One.
I will live, I will live,
I will live, because of what He's done."

Something is supposed to be different when someone dies for you.  You can't just go on like your life was never in danger, like no one loved you so amazingly astoundingly much, like no great mercy spared your life in passing you by, yes, Guilty One- you.  We who live must live on-- in remembrance.

I've been thinking about what Jesus must have been thinking all day as He participated in the preparations for Passover, for what He knew would be His Last Meal on earth, His last night with those He loved-- His last night of the bliss of perfect fellowship with the most delightful being in existence:  God the Father.  Did He slit the lamb's throat Himself?  Did He cry as He did it?  Did His gaze linger long on the blood painted on post & lintel?  Did the bitter herbs stick in His mouth as He pondered just how bitter the separation to come would be?  

Surely, there must have been sadness.  Hours later He would be weeping desperately in the Garden.  Yet, even so, Hebrews 12:2 says He went to the Cross for Joy.  Somehow, He looked around at each face in that room (maybe even supernaturally at faces not even yet born?) and He rejoiced that tonight- tonight!- He would bind them to Himself, forever. That tonight, He would seal their- our- eternal perfect Joy and would finish the work that would bring home every lost child.

"But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through

Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die.

And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of Heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
 "There were Ninety-and-Nine" (hear my favorite rendition here)

I am struck by the things that our Christ remembered as He put into motion what He asked us to remember-- not just the meal of blood & body itself, but the crucifixion and resurrection it depicts.  He was remembering all of His Father's & His plan, orchestrated throughout history and countless lives, this plan to stomp on the Serpent's head; the plan to be the Truth that would overturn every effort of the Father of Lies; the plan to "get His people back" (as I told my preschoolers every year). The whole of history had been leading up to this night, this night of agony, this night of flawless execution.  And our Lord knew it.  As He reminded His forgetful disciples just a few days later, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." (Luke 22:24-27)

I am amazed that somehow, He thought it was worth it.  Yet I know, that because God had bound Himself to it -sworn by His very own name- that His honor would have to be upheld, and that THAT would be worth it.

Lord, help me to remember, not just with my mind and affirming nods as the story is read, but with beating heart and caught breath and flushed cheeks.  Let me live with that memory burning behind my eyes, spurring me to both action and restraint, shaping my will and actions and even my tastes.  Let Your Body and Blood define me.  May we never forget.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaching Tuesday

According to this handy little "Harmony of the Events of Holy Week" Chart, Tuesday was a day of teaching:  teaching on the power of faith in an all-powerful God, teaching on Christ's role as Savior and Messiah, teaching on the Resurrection & the Second Coming, teaching on the Great Commandment, and teaching on how Christ's followers live in this non-Christ-following world.  Like yesterday and the day before, Jesus and His disciples walked from Bethany into Jerusalem and out again.  Something drew Jesus into the city He loved, the city for whom He came to die, the city that would kill Him, again and again and again.

It seems like Jesus was trying to pack in as much as He could in His last week.  Or perhaps He always taught that way, but the week's end so burned the events of their Master's final week into His followers' minds that they remembered far more of these teaching sessions than any other week's.

I just started Walt Wangerin Jr's Ragman (so far it is wonderful), and the part of its invocation struck me as perfect for a Holy Week meditation (especially as a city-dweller):

"...where can I look and I do not see You?
The city?  Hot with human enmity, cold with old mortality, the city?  Busy and fatigued; kissing below back alley stairs, lips as limp as rotten violets; and children cursing like their parents, parents careless; parties for wasted wealth on Saturday night, exhausted Sunday morning; cars and lights and sirens; ointments, rouges, polishes, colognes and coin-- the city?  Turning to the city do I turn from You?
No, my Lord, for You are in the city.  In all the affairs of humankind, You are there.  You were not ashamed to be born of a woman, flesh like hers and mine, troubled as she and I by all the bruises of that flesh.  You emptied Yourself to enter the city, and though Your coming may not make it good, it makes You cry, and there You are.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Post-Palm Sunday Monday

My more liturgically-inclined friends know it as "Holy Monday," and we Baptists think of it as "oh yeah, Easter is next Sunday!"  Regardless of what you call it, Easter --the most celebrated day of the Christian calendar-- will be upon us in 7 days.  One of my goals for this year was to immerse myself more deeply in the Christian calendar, not because it's mandated or prescribed, but because I know it will help me to enjoy far more deeply each season and holiday.  Holiday meant, originally, "holy day," and to be truly 'holy,' a day must be "set apart."  It's hard for me to set apart a day for anything without preparing for it, both physically and mentally.  Especially spiritually.  Christian holy-days are set apart for concentrated, intentional worship.  All the trappings are meant to enhance that central focus, not detract from it!

I've pretty much failed this year at observing Lent.  Somehow it just snuck up on me.  I could blame my non-liturgical church (which doesn't even nod at Palm Sunday-- I'm always a little surprised when they even have a Good Friday service, lol)... but it was really just me being focused elsewhere.  Thankfully, I "randomly" (as in, the Lord prompted me to) decided to listen to a sermon while making a meal today, and turned to Grace Church in Greenville, SC's sermon library.  Lo and behold, my old youth pastor (still a favorite preacher to listen to) had preached yesterday, and the sermon was up.  I clicked the title, "When God Draws Near," and found the sermon to be very encouraging.  It also reminded me that I'd missed Palm Sunday (drat). But at least now I won't miss the rest of Holy Week!!

I'm going to be reading the events of Christ's Passion Week in the Gospels this week, and will try to post a thought or link or quote -SOMETHING- each day to point us all forward to Easter, the day on which Christians around the world say "Halleluiah!! He is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!!"  (But I won't say that yet-- the early church wouldn't say 'halleluiah' for all of Lent excepting Sundays, just so it would rip forth with extra joy on the Anniversary of our Savior's Victory!)

Here's my Holy Monday link:  the sermon "When God Draws Near" by Bill White, preached April 17th, 2011.  You can download or stream it there.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crucified for Joy

"I've tried more of me
and I come up dry
trading You for things-
things that go away.
My happiness
is found in less
of me and more,
more of You.

I have found the Answer is to know You
and be Loved by You alone.
You crucify me, and the world to me, 
and I will only boast in You."
 -Shane & Shane, "The Answer"

"Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne.

We’re marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.

The sorrows of the mind
Be banished from the place;
Religion never was designed
To make our pleasures less."
-Isaac Watts & Robert Lowry, 1707 "Marching to Zion"

"He's [God] a hedonist at heart. All those fasts & vigils & stakes & crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the seashore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are "pleasures for evermore.""
-CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (Letter 22)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Things I've Learned about Being a Godly Wife

An engaged friend recently asked me the following:  "I would love to learn from you in how to exalt the Lord in my position as a wife. How do I encourage, bless, support, and affirm my future husband?"  Somewhat unconsciously, my response turned into a five-of-a-kind, and as I am very tired, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and let it double as a blog post. 

As I wrote, I realized I was basically writing down all the areas in which I consistently struggle in my own marriage.  This isn't me writing a list of all that I've done right; it's a list of what God's Word says I must do.  It's me reminding myself to STOP doing wrong! :)  I need to hear this advice better than anyone I know.  Seriously.

"Hmmm... great question! And honestly, you will know how best to answer that-- remember that you are called to be a helper to your OWN husband, not any other man, so your submission and helping will be uniquely suited to him!  (1 Peter 3:1- "Wives, be subject to your own husbands...") One bit of advice I was given that's been helpful was to make it a point to ask him daily or weekly "what is one thing I can do to help you today?" or "what is one thing you'd like me to prioritize this week?" His answer could be as simple as praying for a family member or making a batch of cookies, or as difficult as getting up early to pack his lunch for work, or re-arranging dinner at a different time than usual.

As far as "my own" advice, here goes:
Let's be honest- we all look at our husbands this way sometimes!

1. Don't expect marriage to be all that you expect it to be. :) Your husband is a sinner, and at some point, you will definitely think "how did I marry such a total jerk?!" It's in THOSE MOMENTS that you have to remember "I am submitting to my husband out of trust in CHRIST, not him." We are to submit "as unto the Lord," being Sarah's daughters who "do not fear what is frightening," and calling our husbands "lord" even when they pimp us out to foreign kings to save their own skins (like Abraham did regularly). Why/how? Because we are serving and trusting our perfect Savior, NOT our imperfect husbands.  (1 Peter 3:6(Note: just as often, you will be shocked and discouraged by your own sin, saying "I never thought I would be this terrible of a wife!"  The Gospel of Christ's perfection in our place is for us then, too!)

2. Be quick to forgive. Oh so hard for me... but we entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly (like Christ did- 1 Peter 2:19-23), and we draw love from the Great Love with which He loved us, so that we can forgive as the Lord forgave us. (Eph. 4:32)

3. Bite your tongue... a lot. It's so easy for us women to criticize, to nag, to suggest, to TALK!! And done in the right way/right spirit, out of love for your husband and your Lord, that will be a huge asset... but most of the time, we just need to bite our tongues in the moment, take it to the Lord in prayer, and wait. "Each of you should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for the anger of man does not bring about the righteousness God requires." (James 1:19-20) When we speak it is supposed to be full of grace, respectful, honest, and aimed to build up (Eph. 4:29). Even when we are confronting our husbands about sin, we are called to do it for their good and Christ's glory. Someone told me that the glory of God is seen in the difference between how you'd act/speak naturally and how you'd act/speak because of God's grace in your life. All that to say, if you are crying and he wants to know why, you should tell him (another great tip I was given the day before my wedding)-- guys usually are pretty clueless about that sort of thing,-- but tell him in a way that doesn't vent your frustration on him. ** Let him hold you while you cry (even if you're mad at him); it will help you both!!**

4. Be committed to righteousness, period.  Even when your husband fails miserably in the area of spiritual leadership. This is hard because we naturally want to try and take over, yet super-naturally we absolutely do NOT want to do that, but there will probably be a time or seasons where your husband is unavailable or not functioning as a spiritual leader. In those times, keep striving after godliness; be fulfilled by times with CHRIST instead of just wishing your husband would "step up to the plate." Keep reading good books on God's character, His work, and godliness, not to mention the Bible!  Do not neglect the great duty of prayer!!  Kind of like Jesus told Simon Peter when he asked about John; "What's it to you if he ___-- YOU follow Me." (John 21:22)

5. Treat him like a hero-- respect him verbally as much as you can... the more specific, the better (guys like straight talk). "You are so good at giving honest compliments." "Your heart for the church is so encouraging!" "Thank you for taking out the trash without me even noticing-- you bless me so much." Love notes, Scripture and encouragements in dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror are fun!  When all you can think of is the bad times, look at old pictures or scrapbooks to be reminded of all the good times.  That will help you remember that you do love this man, this very dear man, and that you actually are glad to be his wife. :)

-- Christina
PS- favorite marriage books: A Love that Lasts; when marriage meets grace, by Gary & Betsy Riccuci, When Sinners Say I Do, by Dave Harvey, and A Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (read this after being married a year or two). I also found Reforming Marriage by Doug Wilson, and The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman helpful, even if you don't agree with every single thing in there.  (I just realized that 'Gary is apparently a good name for marriage-book authors...)"

Please, my married friends (especially those of you who are wiser and/or more experienced than I am!), chime in with your own advice, tips, and bits of Truth!  Husbands, this includes you!

Friday, April 08, 2011

5 Distinctive Baby Gifts

Don't want to give a set of washcloths or a tiny outfit?  Here are some ! For all you busy moms or non-craftsy friends, these are my top 5 off-the-beaten path gifts that do not require any assembling on your part: 

1. The Teethifier ($6.50)- I searched long and hard for a teether that would actually reach my daughter's aching swollen rear gums.  Those molars are bears to come in, and her little fingers already bore marks from sticking them in past all her other teeth... not to mention all the germs she was pushing in every time she did that.  This teether has been super-helpful!

2. "You Are Loved" ($18) baby book or "The Little Things" thankfulness journal ($9) from Gadanke. I am eager to order several of Katie's handmade journals myself, particularly her thankfulness journal!  They are so distinctive, beautiful, and creative!

3. Christmas ornament, toy nativity set ($20 Playmobil set on Amazon), and/or related books (such as Noel Piper's Treasuring Christ in our Traditions -$10, or the little ebook A Natural Noel, $7)-- many parents would love to better use the Christmas season to teach their child of Christ, but are so intimidated because they don't know how to get started.  If you give them something to start them off before they even need to be "worrying about it yet," they will be one step ahead, and will more than likely be very well prepared when their child's first remembered Christmas rolls around!  (Hint:  troll stores after Christmas each year to find non-year-specific ornaments and Christmas items on sale, often for 90% off!)

4. Cloth finger puppets, such as these ($15 on etsy)-- go an extra step and get Nativity finger puppets and you will be blessing a family every year for years! 

5. Board books or music CDs- these are easy to find all over the place; check sales online and in stores, take advantage of clearance or bargains.  For lots of book ideas, see my Amazon store... and here are some CD ideas:
- Slugs, Bugs & Lullabies or Slugs, Bugs & Lullabies Christmas
- any of the Seeds albums (great because each CD comes with an extra CD)
- any of the Hide Em in Your Heart CDs (or DVDs)
- any of the Praise Baby CDs (which have a lovely mix of hymns, older, and newer praise music)
- CDs of classical music
- Why Can't I See God? or other Judy Rogers albums
- a hymns CD (such as Michael Card's Starkindler or Fernando Ortega's Hymns)
- Sleep Sound in Jesus, Come to the Cradle or Close Your Eyes so You Can See by Michael Card

My favorite money-saving gift-buying tip is to keep a physical list (or a mental one, if your brain is less hole-y than mine is these days) of gift ideas for groups of people and specific loved ones, and snag gifts for them when you see them on sale.  We have a gift cupboard for this exact purpose, which allows us to give gifts that are useful and nice to our families on time (relatively speaking =D), without spending too much money, and short-cutting the whole Christmas rush.  I grab stuff at craft stores, on trips, online during sales or free shipping events, or when I randomly see a special at my local grocery store.  (I just have to remember to check what I have regularly so I don't forget!)  This has the added benefit of keeping my loved ones regularly at the front of my mind and in my prayers!

What distinctive gifts do you keep up your sleeves & love to whip out?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Did Video Kill the Radio Star? Trying to Figure Out my Lately-Lacking-Luster Blogging

Or, in my case... did facebooking kill the blogger?  Looking at my older blogposts, I'm surprised at how much every-day life found its way into my blog.  I wrote about friends and church, places I'd seen and funny things I'd heard.  I quoted books and poetry, I talked a lot about music.  I was a lot more open about my feelings and my questions.

Granted, my life is busier in many ways now-- with a toddler to tend all day and a family to feed and enjoy in the evenings (and a body dying for sleep by about 9 pm), I don't have as much leisure time to just plain ol' write.  My journaling has suffered terribly-- whereas before I filled in around 4 journals a year (in tiny writing!), now it's more like 4 years per journal... I think a lot; stuff percolates, but I'm more likely to talk it out with Ryan while we walk, or spill to my sister or Val on the phone while I cook or clean than to spend half an hour putting it on paper.  It's harder to set aside the scant time I have to myself to muse and ponder when I could read a story or complete a project; both feel easier after a day of giving of myself non-stop. I'm also more guarded about my thoughts and feelings.  There is a husband to honor and three sets of families to consider, instead of just me and my lone college self, back when my blog was read by around 6 people on a good day. :)

But I think the biggest reason my blog has cheapened is that now I have facebook.  Whereas before I piled up the mundane, sifting and sorting it until a pattern of beauty emerged; a bit of Meaning I would rejoice to portray here, now... I just throw up a two-line snippet on FB and forget about it.  No layering, no piling up, just single tosses.

It's not that I'm lacking material to mine:  I've been attacking my pile of books with renewed vigor.  I've been doing more household projects than ever, have been learning more about relationships and their sweet tangle.  The Lord has brought old memories to mind as new sermons have been preached. Every day my daughter's capacity to communicate and think grows,  and with it my delight in her and my job as a mommy... and right along with them new challenges and questions and frustrations.  I would much rather pound and meld those into blog-posts than throw them out piecemeal... if I can.

Over and over, though I think of Sally Clarkson's words to us at the Relevant conference.  "Until you are committed to glorifying God by loving your husband and your children as well as you can- when no one ever sees,- you will have nothing to share with others.  You won't have anything worth blogging about."  I've been trying very hard to hold those words close to my heart.  I came home with an armload of bargain books from the Christian Book Nook yesterday, among them When God Writes your Love Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy, and underlined this section "Leslie, don't try to build Me into your life anymore...instead build your life around Me. [...] He was not the central focus of my daily life.  In reality I was only giving Him a few minutes of scattered attention here and there." (p. 61)  Is that my problem?

Well, faithful readers, I don't even know if I succeeded at what I set out to do... but at least I did set out to do... something?  I thank the Lord for this blog; for the people it has encouraged, for the help it's been to me in my own thinking.  More is surely to come.

Friday, April 01, 2011


I just finished one of the most sobering, saddening, soul-stirring books she has ever read-- one that breaks my heart for Taiwan and reminds me of the desperate depravity that is our inheritance as Adam's children, save for Eve's Son Jesus the Christ.

The book wasn't particularly well-written, artistic or inspiring. It was facts simply stated; a story spun with plain threads. The stories on their own are enough. The book is called Dead Women Walking (written by Jennifer Su), a book describing the idol-worship, demonic torment, abuse, addictions and absolutely mind-boggling darkness & despair faced by three women in Taiwan's working class.  Recently.

As in; this kind of stuff happens every day.

Right now. To lots of women and children.

It made me sick; it shocked me, opened my eyes to see just how dark places of the world are (and I know America has hearts equally dark & depraved, though on the whole we do have legal and social protections that do actually protect the innocent.) Read it (or something like it), and let your heart break for what breaks our God's!  This book also reminded me of where True Hope really lies-- in the God who made Heaven and earth, who knows and cares for every hopeless, tormented soul, and who has the power to bind demons and change people after a lifetime of horrors.

It's leaving me asking questions of the Lord, questions like "What must I do to help?  How can I 'go' to this ripe harvest even from here?"

Lord, pour out your Spirit on Taiwan!