Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mali's Story

Back in spring of 2008 I went to a conference for slave trafficking. Since then I have been getting emails from Hagar Ministry; a ministry that takes women who have been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused and speaks truth and love into their life. This ministry loves on these women sharing that they have a purpose and a worth in Jesus. They teach them traits that they can call their own to enable them to support themselves. I got this email this morning and wanted to share: :)

I am 22 years old now. I grew up in a very poor Cambodian family. My parents didn’t own land, so we worked as laborers on other people’s farms. My parents were very violent towards my siblings and me. We never felt love for them. We lived in fear and shame. I never went to school because I had to work all day. It was hard to imagine having a good future.

I still don’t believe my mother thought I had value. Money was more valuable to her than me. To them I was just a laborer. When my parents fell into debt, they sold me for $500 to a family.

The family treated me like a slave. The husband attempted to rape me many times, but I refused with all my strength. He hit me every time I refused. One day I decided to run away from the family, but I got caught. They hit me with electric wire. I stayed there, but I did not give up.

Finally, I escaped with a man I fell in love with. We got married. He introduced me to his parents and they rejected me because I was poor and homeless.

One day my husband and I were in a very serious car accident and my leg was broken. We went to the hospital for care and he left me and never came back. I felt rejected and hopeless. I wanted to kill myself because I thought that no one wanted me.

The hospital sent me to Hagar’s Women Shelter. I was so nervous when I arrived. I didn’t know anyone. I cried. My legs felt horrible. And, I did not have the will to live.

Hagar staff were persistent and encouraged me. Their words were so wonderful. Living in the shelter, gave me hope. I received care, love, counseling, food and other things I never expected to have in my life. Job training from Hagar’s Career Pathways Program in cosmetology really helped me recover. I have a skill that belongs to me and I can support myself. I have value and worth. Now I can say,

“I am priceless. I am more valuable than money.”

Even though my leg still hasn’t healed, Hagar staff keep praying for me. I have hope that God will heal me completely one day, and I just keep praying and waiting.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oh wow, reading Philippians in the Amplified translation blew my mind!

7But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [[a]one combined] loss for Christ's sake.

8Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),

9And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.

10[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [[b]which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]

11That if possible I may attain to the [[c]spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].

12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.

13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

14I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

15So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.

16Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Falling in love with Simplicity

I've been meditating on 'the good news of Jesus,' going back to the foundation of salvation. It is for love that He sent His Son to pursue a relationship with me. It is for love that Jesus came as the perfect image of God the Father. It is for love that He has left me His Word to instruct me.
"For I have been saved through faith. And this was not my own doing; it was the gift of God, not a result of works, so that I cannot boast."
I've been asking the Lord to personalize my relationship with Him.
"For I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them."
It has created questions in me to seek the One who chose me to see what He desires that I may be used for. Think on that with me. If you identify yourself as 'in Christ' saved by God's grace, then boldly ask the One who has called you what He has called you to. If you identify yourself by anything but the Lord, then I challenge you with the question: what are you living for?
The good news of Jesus is so beautiful and so simple! He desires to set us free from the bondage of sin and give us a purpose. We no longer have to be enslaved to live for things that hold us captive, but we are free to live for a purpose beyond this life. He has brought purpose to our lives. He pursues after our hearts: He freed me of living for myself, to live for One who has loved me eternally.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eternity minded

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."

Eternal life is to know God (John 17:3). This is so encouraging because before seeing the Lord and truly knowing Him, we may know Him now. This is eternal life. I've been challenged with this question lately: what am I living for? Really, what am I living for? It boils down to one purpose. Jesus. What am l living for? To know Him. I know for certain, because of His finished work for me, that one day I will truly know Him and see Him in the fullness of all that I've read. But I also know that eternal life now is to know Him now, and to truly respond to His desire to reveal Himself more.
I'm reminded of this reality as our Lucille went to be with the Lord this last weekend. As Doug her husband puts it, "she has graduated!" She has moved from this world to the real purpose of life! What a change of mind in thinking. I mean, think about it... as believers we live knowing that one day that we will be with the Lord... but meditate on this! Let it sink in. One day, like Lucille is now, all that we experienced of eternal life on earth will be displayed in its fullness. When my heart can grasp even just a piece of this, it makes me want to know Him so much now. It also breaks my heart for those who only intellectually know the Lord and haven't gotten to experience His love for them. There's so much more! I plead with you as I plead myself.. don't only know of Him, experience the goodness of our God... enjoy a sweet relationship with Him! I know Lucille is now, and I wonder what all she is experiencing as she is in His presence now.

He has put eternity into our hearts.. respond to His desire to show Himself.

Please pray for the Search family! They are rejoicing that Lucille is with Jesus, but I'm sure sad as they miss her on this side of eternity

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In trials? Pray. Experiencing blessings? Sing.

This last Tuesday night we finished our study through the book of James. Tuesday nights have become my favorite time of the week. We all meet in the school parking lot and carpool over to a home where we get to have a home-cooked meal, meet new people, spend time in singing to the Lord, hear from the Word, and break up in groups to pray for one another.

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise." James 5:13

This verse shows two circumstances of life: hard circumstances, good circumstances. This verse takes both and points us back to the Lord.
Hard times? Pray. James exhorts us to pray because he knows that in prayer we take our focus of current circumstances and shift our thoughts to the truth of God. Isn't that the truth? Trials can rob our eyes of seeing the goodness of the Lord and place them on the current thing. Praying refocuses us to truth.
Things going well? Sing. Why is James exhorting us to sing? I never caught this before- James tells us to sing because when things are going well in our lives, we may start to think we have things in control and lose focus on God. Sing to the Lord because in this you will recognize Him in it.

Whatever the season... remember Him

I was encouraged by this closing passage from James. I hope this blesses you as well! :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God is good

God is good.
It’s something in the very beginning of my walk with the Lord that I’ve come to terms to know. I believe it is a life-long process to come to understand. God is good. I’ve come to know it by blessings. God is good. I’ve come to know it by circumstances. God is good. I’ve come to know it by His Word. God is good. I’ve come to know by trials.
I’ve learned intellectually of God’s goodness for so long, but I’m learning to see the blessing of learning it through experience. He is good- I cling to it because I know it is true. God is good. I know it because I know that there is nothing good in me. He is good. I know it because the only thing good in me is Him that lives in me.

"But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me." Micah 7:7

"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You." Psalm 142:8

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back from Costa Rica

Thanks for all of those who kept us in prayer while there. It was a great two weeks to see the missionaries down there, see the students before they left, and get to see a bit of the country there- green, mountainous, beautiful clouds, and friendly people! The three of us (Hollie, Carrie and I) flew down together and met up with the missionaries there (Ryan, Gerry, Sosi, Gabo and Vanessa) as well as Dave and Mark who were there teaching the last class. We got to see the ministry down there with Sunday night chapel now open to the community, the drug rehab ministry, and meet a lot of the locals that have been impacted by the guys down there.
Before going I had been asked to pray about serving down there this next semester as a missionary and Dean of Woman. I am still in prayer about this and ask that you would come alongside of me in praying! More pictures to come! :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

From Jacob to Israel

From ‘heal catcher’ to ‘God prevails.’ I keep thinking on the scripture where Jacob wrestles with God and the Lord changes his name to Israel. It’s a weird scripture to think on, but the sweet thing about it is the result from their wrestling. The Lord touches His hip and his joint was put out of its socket, and Jacob begs Him to bless him. The way the Lord blesses him is through the changing of his name. He will no longer identify himself as Jacob- Jacob with a history of trickery, but as Israel- one who is governed by God. Israel leaves with not only this blessing but with a noticeable change in his walk (a limp)- his walk with the Lord was different as well. It’s a funny thing in scripture to see Israel and Jacob used interchangeable, but through acts of faith Jacob was recorded as Israel.
The Lord brought to meditation on this area of scripture. I don’t fully understand it, but I’m amazed at Jacob's approach with the Lord to wrestle Him. I wonder what he was thinking in the midst of this. I mean, wrestling with God…? My relationship with the Lord is different than Jacob’s. I can’t imagine the guts to wrestle with God over something and expect Him to bless me. I usually result to “You’re God; You know what You’re doing.” But God honored his request for a name change. He changed his identity in his name; a name that stated that the Lord would thus be his identity.
I’ve been in that place of prayer. Lord, will you change my name in how I view myself? “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” Galatians 2:20. It is by faith that Israel walked as one who was governed by God. It is by faith that I walk also as one who is dead to my old man and alive in Christ. This is a daily call to die to self, pick up my cross and walk after the Lord. The best part of dying to self is that we are already dead to self according to the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is an identity of ‘dead to sin’ that we proclaim by faith. By faith we recognize that Jesus took our place, and we walk as one who is not only dead to our old man, but alive in Christ. Not only did Christ die for our sins, but He rose again and is seated with God. If He was raised, we know that we will also be raised to be with God. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” Colossians 3:1-3
Name change… I have been crucified with Christ!
From Jacob to Israel: Genesis 32:22-32, 35:9-10

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just because

I was recently introduced with this new world wide.. game? I guess you could call it a game. Basically you just lay facedown on whatever you can. If I could rate this game, I would say you get points for creativity and difficulty. Here are a few pictures of the first week of the facedown world! :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Discipline of Thinking

Analogies always allow me to understand things better. I’ve been thinking about thinking… go figure. But listen to this: If we were consciously aware of the Lord’s presence constantly with us, then our response would be different. For example: worry. Once we get to a thought that is true… our thought stops there. The end. We can then meditate on that truth. But with worry, it only leads to thoughts that train to other thoughts until our thoughts end up in China. Truth will always stop us and bring us to a conclusion to rest upon.
Hebrews 6:19 talks about Jesus being our sure anchor of hope. I’ve heard an analogy of drifting to be like one playing in the ocean in front of a lifeguard stand, and when they look back up that realize that they have been brought far away from that point. In Christ, we have a sure anchor of hope. He is our hope, He is our foundation- we will not be greatly moved! When I think of an anchor in the ocean, I think of a buoy attached by a chain resting on the water. When storms come, the buoy grows to recognize its foundation and the tightness of the chain that sustains it. My prayer has been that the Lord would grow me in the discipline of thinking; that I would grow as one who is conscious of the Lord’s presence, trusting Him in heart and mind at His Word. I pray that the anchor of our minds would be shortened to the awareness of God’s truths in every storm- so that we may quicken our trusting in Him!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fear and Faith

They both can't exist at the same time. When one is present, the other is lacking. I've been reading through the gospel of Luke and have been seeing these two things side by side. The disciples will be fearful, and Jesus will ask them where is their faith. Jesus tells the healed woman her faith has made her well. "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well" Luke 8:50.

I've been thinking what it means to walk by faith as believers; growing in faith as we grow in trusting the One who is trustworthy. We have to know Him, learning His character, to truly know we can trust Him. It has been fear and control that have restrained me from letting Him have full control. Fear brings me to think on things in my own understanding- this understanding has kept me from seeing my God as fully capable and in control.

"When it comes to jigsaw puzzles, we all know that to enjoy a satisfying outcome you need all the pieces. In many ways, life is like that. We spend our days putting it together, hoping to create a complete picture out of all the scattered parts." My own understanding allows me to see these pieces of all the things circumstantially I know- trying to figure out how each will fit together. Faith requires us to give up control of putting the pieces together on our own strength and trust the Lord to do it- He knows the bigger picture and the final outcome!

It's fun to think that where there is fear, there is also an opportunity for faith. There is fear because faith is needed; with faith we cannot rely on our own strength. It can be scary to fully trust the Lord with an unknown... especially when we don't know His character and are relying upon it!

"Courage is acknowledging fear but taking action anyway"

We can take action when our focus is not on the circumstance but on the One who is higher than the circumstance! Peter lost faith that he could walk on the water to Jesus when he saw his surroundings of the waves crashing around him. This fear allowed him to sink.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:1-2

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It is finished!

I know this blog is pretty long, but I read this this morning and was so blessed! It is so powerful if you have a chance to read it, oh wow!

Don't Leave It On The Desk -

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team and was the best student in the professor's class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. "How many push-ups can you do?"

Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"

Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."

"Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson.

"Well, I can try," said Steve.

"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor.

Steve said, "Well... I think I can... yeah, I can do it."

Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. These weren't the normal kinds of donuts. They were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls.
Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"

Cynthia said, "Yes."

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"

"Sure!" Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?"

Joe said, "Yes."

Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?"

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. The professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"

Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?"

Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.

Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

Dr. Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

By this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

Sternly, Jenny said, "No."

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"

Steve did ten. Jenny got a donut.
By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, "No!" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.

Steve had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely.

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups. You can do them any way that you want." And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"
Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

Dr. Christianson said, You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?"

Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut."

Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he said, "give me a donut."

"Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?"

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down. Dr Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing. There was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"

Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."

Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan and said, "'Susan, do you want a donut?"

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson, can I help him?"

Dr Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it alone. I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes."

"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?"

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, said to the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that Jesus had done everything that was required of him, he yielded up his life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten."

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. "Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding, "Not all sermons are preached in words."
Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God spared not his only begotten son, but gave him up for us all, for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept God's gift to us, the price has been paid."

Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17

Friday, April 15, 2011

Skype date with Christy

There has to be both a recognition of who we are, and who we are in Christ. The balance of both truths produce praise; for we in and of ourselves are sinful, and only when we see who we are in Christ do we comprehend His grace! It is through His grace that we no longer think our righteousness or good deeds to be sufficient, but that we recognize His righteousness as our righteous standing! Praise God!

I feel like there has been so much that the Lord has been teaching me lately. I've gotten to read some great books, and through the Word, conversations, and homegroup, there has been an abundance of information that I don't think I have processed. Whenever my friend Christy and I get a change to sit and talk, it is just amazing how the Lord speaks to us and brings understanding as get to share these things He has been revealing! We speak a lot through analogies, and like my other dear friend Lili, the Lord has been so faithful to bring similar experience to bring wisdom and light on our conversations.

I have to share just a piece of this goodness with you! So I recently got done reading this George Mueller book, and as we all know him as a man of faith or prayer, it brought more meditation on these two things. Like faith for example- it's something we all would love to grow in, but we know when we pray for it that we're also given an opportunity to use it... which usually leads to less prayers asking for that. So to obtain greater amounts of faith, we must exercise it in whatever small area now. I started to look at this as a muscle. I use to be in track, and when I was in shape, running wasn't so much a difficult thing to do as much as it was a discipline thing to continue in. Now that I don't run consistently, running sounds like a great thing... but also something that seems far from my priorities. Faith is that same thing. Although it is a spiritual muscle, it requires the same continual discipline.

I have been thinking about how strong my physical man is. I've been getting pretty strong. Not necessarily in muscle, but in dependence upon my own strength. I know the things that I can do on my own, and although I would like to think I'm being dependent upon the Lord, I realize I'm not when it comes down to the things that are unknown to me. He has been stretching my dependency muscle, and He is calling me to trust Him with the baby things and the grande things. It really is breaking to see how easy in our flesh we can fall to depend on the things we know. Oh but how sweet in this lifetime to be able to experience a deeper dependency upon the Lord and see His goodness on earth deeper and deeper before seeing it in the fullness of face-to-face!

As faith grows, so too does our understanding of our fallen state and our righteous standing before God because, and only because of the blood of Jesus! Praying now for a deeper understanding of Jesus' blood over you and over all who might read!

Letter from Brent from 4.7.11

To our dearest family and friends,

We wanted to write and update you regarding the pathology report of the tumor that was removed from my head on the 25th of March. As of a few days ago, we now know that the tumor is a Glioblastoma (fancy word for malignant tumor). Our faith is once again being tested, having received what many would consider bad news. Yet we believe that God has given our family another opportunity to enjoy what we so often took for granted; each other! We are overwhelmed with excitement to be together as we are realizing that the most precious gifts that God gives are the gifts that we often take the most for granted. We don’t know how long we have here upon this earth, but one thing we do want to do is to live every day like it is our last. Our focus right now is our family and everything else is secondary to this focus. Our desire is to honor God in this way as much as possible (This is a lesson that my beautiful and gracious wife has exemplified to me during this trial; she is soooooo amazing). Just last night, Andrea and I were talking about not living in the future or in the past but seeking to honor Him presently. Therefore, we ask once again that you would pray for our family that we would magnify the Lord in this way by His grace.

We have been and continue to be humbled how each and every one of you have helped and continue to help support our family in innumerable ways, and for this we are humbly and eternally grateful. Words can’t express our gratitude yet we know that all the love and support that has been shown up to this point is a testimony of God’s grace; therefore we ask that you wouldn’t allow discouragement to eclipse the joy that God has granted our family during this time. We want our family and friends to rejoice with us during this time of new beginnings!
Please pray that God would give us practical wisdom, as I will need to start chemo and radiation soon. We know every situation is unique to itself, but isn’t this how God works anyways!  We love you all!!!!!

Carried by His Grace,
Brent, Andrea, Jaiden, and Micah

Psalm 126

New prayer request

Remember those earthquakes we were talking about in the previous blog? There has been another round of earthquakes in those dear to us in the area of suffering. Many of you have been praying for the Yim family as we found out about Brent’s brain tumor. He is now out of the hospital and at home with family awaiting further procedures; the tumor was found cancerous. I now write for you to come along side of another family so dear to my heart- the Search family. Doug is the director of the Israel campus and his wife Lucille went this semester, but after having a seizure and was rushed to the hospital in Israel, there hasn’t been much recovery. Doug has been concerned, and last Tuesday night the two of them flew home to North Carolina and went straight to the hospital there. Lucille was found to have two tumors in her brain- one the size of an orange and the other the size of the plum. This last Monday they were able to remove the tumor, but due to the fast growing pace of it, chemo is said to only buy time. The tumor was actually the same cancerous tumor that Brent had.
Please keep these families in your prayers. They are both asking that the result of this would be God glorified!

(I tried taking a picture of Doug and his family off facebook, but with their new settings it won't allow me. This was the only photo I could find where you could kind of see who Doug is! He is in the yellow with the sweet hat! ha.. I'll try to add one of the fam soon!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Grace and Glory:)

These are two words that I feel like I use in sentences pretty often, but at the same they are words that I still can't comprehend. This last weekend, I was asking the Lord to show me what these look like... I have to show you what He revealed!!

God being glorified- '"This," says Jesus in effect, "is the hour of My glory, for it is the hour of My grace to sinners." In Jesus, there we see that God's highest glory consists in His securing our deepest happiness.' (page 33 of We Would See Jesus)

Journaling: Sunday March 27
"God is glorified when Christ died because He was able to display His grace fully! This is the heart of God- that His goodness would pass before us. We wonder how we can glorify God? Jesus talked of His time to be glorified to be coming... crazy to think that Jesus of all possible thins (I mean He already is God and was in glory) would label the cross His time to be gloried. This reveals God's heart and desire to reveal His grace to mankind. How then is God glorified... through out death.. not physical, but yes in a sense to the things we cling onto that are physical. God knows that when we die more and more we must cling to Him, and in that He is glorified, because again His grace will be displayed. So God's glorified... when His grace is displaced! What a beautiful God... His heart is to reveal to us how much He wants us!"

"The Lord Jesus is always seen through the eye of need... The acknowledgement of need and the confession of sin, therefore, is always the first step in seeing Jesus." (page 35 of We Would See Jesus)

Oh man, I hope this blessed you even if just a piece of what it blessed me!! May you draw near to God as you see His true character as the one who made a way for you because of His amazing love and jealousy for you! The God of the universe thinks of you... He knows your life from beginning to end... and I don't even know what I'm doing tomorrow :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake.. when all shakes what will remain?

Earthquake in New Zealand, earthquake in Japan. It led me to Psalm 46 again- the scripture the Lord gave me after returning from Haiti and hearing about the earthquake that happened there. It first starts off to proclaim who God is and His accessibility, giving us the confidence to stand firm while everything around us screams the opposite. It tells of His authority over all things, and then lastly after all these things... "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
I have been thinking about the earthquakes that have happened in my life these past few months- things that have shaken me to, making known that my foundation can be in nothing but the Lord. There's a lot of things that can be said about our faith, but application is truly seen in the times of testing and in those times of shaking. I've heard it said that from the mind to the heart is the longest 18 inches that must be traveled. It's in these earthquakes of life that I can see how much of those 18 inches from the mind have: already made the connection to the heart, currently traveling, and what areas from the mind that need to travel to the heart yet still. It's true as well, when the things around us shake, the Lord can be the only One that we cling to for refuge. We learn this to be true as the facts or God's Word resonate in our mind and become the outflow of our heart. Trials only strengthen and speed up this understanding. I have found it to be a beautiful picture of dependency and the Lord rightfully receiving our whole undivided hearts. I'm finding His word to come alive to me and to be my source for all things. 'Living' is a word that continues to echo. The Lord has given us His living Word, His living Spirit, a living hope, and our living God is bringing His promises to pass.

An email from a missionary in Japan after the earthquake: "We are reminded at this time of whom we serve, of whom we worship and we want to be bold, efficient, effective believers who are seeking to live out the Presence of a very real Living God in the midst of this national tragedy."

Hebrews 12:25-29 ... all will be shaken that the things that can not be shaken will remain...
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" Matthew 24:35... Him Word will remain throughout all eternity!

and lastly: "In this (our living hope because of Jesus' finished work on the cross) you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7

"Obedience to the 'Heavenly Vision'" My Utmost For His Highest- March 11

I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision —Acts 26:19

If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible— not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life— sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.

“Though it tarries, wait for it . . .” (Habakkuk 2:3). We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning we saw the vision but did not wait for it. We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision.

Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

It is essential that we live and “walk in the light” of God’s vision for us (1 John 1:7).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Update from Brent Yim

A lot of you have been praying for our friend Brent and his family after he found out about the brain tumor. Brent recently wrote us to keep us updated with his medical state. Please continue to keep him and his family in your prayers! He sends his love:

To my beloved family at TCC and TCS, I feel impelled to write and update each and every one of you concerning the events that have transpired in my life over the course of the last few days. No doubt these events have been unexpected, yet through it all I have never been more aware of the presence of God than at this point in my life. I have concluded in my heart and mind that God has ordained this by His sovereignty and for His glory. I feel so honored and humbled that God has counted me faithful to suffer on behalf of His name to this degree.

I have come to understand that the desires He has given me can only be realized in my life through His divine design. For my life He saw fit that this ailment would bring about that end. Although the natural man will never understand this fact, the spiritual man submits to the truthfulness of this reality with all of his heart. The redeemed children of God know that His ways are above their ways and they are past finding out!

I will not lie; I have experienced times of despair and fear since hearing the news. My heart yearns when I wake up next to my wife not knowing how many more times I will see her laying next to me. My heart has failed when I hear my boys laughing not knowing how many more times I will hear their beautiful voices or if I will see them grow up into healthy young men. But each and every time my heart becomes overwhelmed; the Lord’s supernatural comfort warms my soul. Not by revealing that He will heal me of this sickness but rather that He will be with me through the valley of the shadow of death! I wholeheartedly believe that all of these things will work together for good because I love Him and I am called according to His purpose. These events, no matter how they unfold, will turn out to the glory of His Name!

I have been astounded by the love of the saints. Your support, prayers, and comfort have become a great source of consolation to my family and me. I ask that you continually uphold us in your prayers. Pray that the Lord would grant us courage and confidence in Him as we walk forward in the future. Our greatest plea is that we would represent our Savior properly during this time.

I sincerely wish I could speak to each and every one of you face to face to express my appreciation. Yet it is clear that at this point I am to focus on my family and spend as much time with them as possible. I will purpose to keep everyone updated as we receive more information. To God be the glory in His Church both now and forever!

In His Hands,
Brent, Andrea, Jaiden and Micah
Romans 11:36

Oh Lord, You're Beautiful!

Oh my goodness, probably one of my favorite songs! Read through this song and meditate on the Words! :)

Oh Lord, you're beautiful,

Your face is all I seek,

For when your eyes are on this child,

Your grace abounds to me.

I want to take your word and shine it all around.

But first help me just to live it Lord.

And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown.

For my reward is giving glory to you.

Oh Lord, please light the fire,

That once burned bright and clear.

Replace the lamp of my first love,

That burns with Holy fear.

"Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God." 1 Chronicles 22:19a

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is This True of Me? My Utmost for His Highest- March 4th

"None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself . . ." —Acts 20:24

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide. You may be more prosperous and successful from the world’s perspective, and will have more leisure time, if you never acknowledge the call of God. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself.” But Paul said he considered his life dear so that he might fulfill the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude chooses our own judgment, instead of Jesus Christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use— but always consider that “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are His.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Utmost for His Highest- February 24 "The Delight of Sacrifice"

These have become my favorite devotionals lately!

I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls . . . —2 Corinthians 12:15

Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

When someone thinks that to develop a holy life he must always be alone with God, he is no longer of any use to others. This is like putting himself on a pedestal and isolating himself from the rest of society. Paul was a holy person, but wherever he went Jesus Christ was always allowed to help Himself to his life. Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a “doormat” without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. We tend to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow. Freedom was not Paul’s motive at all. In fact, he stated, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren . . .” (Romans 9:3). Had Paul lost his ability to reason? Not at all! For someone who is in love, this is not an overstatement. And Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Faith or Disbelief

If you knew the horrors of the potential judgment that hangs over us–if we really believed in what is coming–how differently we would live. Why aren’t Christians living in obedience to God? Because of their unbelief. Why did Eve fall into sin?
Because she did not truly believe in the judgment–that death really would come if she ate what God forbade. This is the same reason many continue in lives of sin and disobedience. - K. P. Yohannan

I was challenged by this question from a class I am taking... "what was the purpose of Jesus coming to earth?" Simple right? So many great reasons... to set captives free, to free us from our sin, to show us the image and character of God, all for love, to abolish sin. Jesus answers this questions directly in the book of John.. ready for this? "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world- to bear witness to the truth." John 18:38 It's so cool that the truth is linked to freedom. I mean when I think that Jesus came to bear witness to the truth, I see that His truth set us free from sin, death, and hopelessness. "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32 If Jesus is the truth, it implies that everything outside of what the Jesus says is a lie.
I'm reading this book on faith. It is impossible to please God without faith- our works won't please Him. Faith is trusting in what the Word of God says, and then walking in application of it. So if faith pleases God, than disbelief has to sadden the Lord. When we are not resting in the promise of the Lord, it shows that we really don't believe what we say we believe. This meditation was a challenge to my heart to examine how of much of the truth is applied in faith in my life. Look today for new promises of God to trust, and then walk in faith that what He says is really the truth!

Friday, February 18, 2011

On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord...'

I've been thinking and meditating on this word 'Lord' lately. It's a very well-known word use in prayer and used in accordance to Jesus. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines it like this: 1. one having power and authority over others, 2. a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due.

The truth is many have come to know Jesus as their savior, their redeemer, their friend, their healer... but He has also become to some a slave and a genie. For someone to be Lord over us sounds like a trapping thing. To think of Jesus as our Lord is an easy thing to claim in words, but would you believe that there is freedom when we come to the deep understanding of Jesus as Lord over our lives: Lord over our decisions, over our emotions, over our dreams, and Lord over our thoughts. Freedom sounds like a funny word to use when you read those definitions again, doesn't it? But what if we understood lordship in the sense of a battle and our Lord was the one leading us into victory? He is leading us triumphantly into victory, where with Him as our leader, we are destined to win! There is a pretty high confidence to know that you are on the winning team and the end result is already known!
We have been saved by grace through faith... We are saved from the captivity of our sin and saved from the lies of this world that entangle us. Jesus was the one who released us from our captivity... and He is our Lord! When we understand what Jesus has released us from, we understand that Him as our Lord means Him as our Savior! Read those definitions again... ask Jesus to have Lordship over every area of your life... it's only when He is Lord that you will find the most freedom to know that you are headed toward victory!
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." Romans 10:9-10
"Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the LORD, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7
"In your hearts regard Christ the LORD as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you." 1 peter 3:15

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. Romans 3:22

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. Galatians 3:13. You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God; and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30. Not by works or righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:5-6.

I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. Philippians 3:8-9.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Since we backed it up to catch up on 2010... let's back it up a little bit more to Spring 2008, my first semester in Peru. But before that, we have to back up to 2005, my first mission's trip to Peru- which had a huge impact on my heart that lead to a change of direction in schooling. I was attending San Francisco State for interior design and knew it wasn't where I was supposed to be. My dad can probably laugh at this story.. I remember the first day of classes, I called home crying because I knew it wasn't the right fit. I took that year to seek direction and from there I transferred to a community college near home to get an Associates in Liberal Arts to be able to use for the missions field. My dad was so supportive in my changes while I was seeking where to go to prepare for ministry. My friend in Peru introduced me to the idea of Bible College. So from Peru, to Japan, to interning, to Murrieta, to Israel to Murrieta to finish... I got to graduate! My dad flew down to support me, and my friend Christy came as well! Thank you all for your support through my time through Bible College.. I feel like even now I am beginning to learn more as I get a chance to put into application all that the Lord has allowed me to dive into!

the last part of 2010!

Happy 2011!! I think New Years and birthdays are the only two times during the year where people usually look back on the previous year where they were at and what that year was marked with! This year I look back on a measurement of growth and changes from Peru, to Israel, to San Jose, to moving to Southern California, to interning for the Bible College, to working at the Bible College, and also graduating from Bible College. So in just one sentence, there is a summary of 2011. I remember last year this time being in Peru with my dear friend Lili, praying about Andrew, the internship, direction, and wondering where I would be. Now I get to look back and see God's faithfulness in my life! Andrew said this to me once: "God is such a great leader that most of the time we don't even realize His leading." With that, I know that I can trust the Lord with the plans He has for this year!