Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In which I emerge from my hole (in the ground)

Hello there! It's been quite a while since I've given y'all kind folks an update from life...

Not like there's anything wrong with this blog being a place where I share my thoughts from Bible study and such, but I want to make sure that I maintain a more personal level of blogging as well.

What say you? ;)

Most recently, my life has been crazy! 

College is still up in the air. My application was accepted into Moody Bible Institute's non-degree program, and I am hoping to take a couple of online courses this semester. 
Mom and dad want me to take the ACT again...I'm not too keen on that idea, especially since I've been out of school for over a year now, and therefore am rusty on a bunch of stuff.

I may or may not move to Indianapolis temporarily, to do some work at Verity Institute. As much as I'd like to go, I have grown to love this here city of Topeka. Nineteen years is a long time to live in one city, and I've just recently realized that I have an amazing community of friends - college age, and other ages. 
As we talked about last night in college fellowship... "But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7)

Cafe Barnabas has now opened a second shop here in Topeka! 

On Painting day
After everything was finished

Eating mor chikin...
Mooooooo! I got my free meal from Chick-Fil-A on July 14th. Since the new Cafe Barnabas is right across from Chick-Fil-A in the mall, I went over on my lunch break, and got foooooood!

Weekly "Encouraging Word/Quote" at the first Cafe Barnabas.
"Even So Come" by Kristian Stanfill <3

Chuckled at this. But it's so true in my life!

With family on Sunday. My dad's cousin, Cindy and her husband, Jack were visiting from Arizona with their youngest, Emily. 

Needless to say, Emily is a lovely young lady, and the wedding was a hasty one. XD

Over some new songs I've found. <3

Eragon by Christopher Paolini (not my favorite series ever). I saw the movie before I read the books, so that didn't help either.
Follow Me by David Platt (continuing on with all of his books...)
Passion by Louie Giglio


Tea as usual.
(I looks like coffee, but IT'S TEA!)

A lot lately.

To lift up the Name of Jesus in every aspect of my life.



What I refer to as "Jesus Music" - music that lifts up the Name of Jesus.

The Princess Bride for the first time EVER.

Times with family and friends.
Sweet little Keziah Rose. Daughter of Cafe Barnabas' executive director and his wife.
(She's like a little sister to me!) 

This "fortune" I got in a fortune cookie.
It's the only one that's actually happened to me. :D

In hope, because of Jesus Christ.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." (Romans 5:13)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit." (Galatians 5:22-25)



Grateful that...

Praising the Lord for what He has done in my life in this past year!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Breath of a Living God

Our God is the God of immeasurably more than what we can ask or imagine. He continues to speak to me through messages and passages I've heard/read over and over again!
Ezekiel 37:4-9
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.' " So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.' "

The Hebrew word for breath here is ruach (roo-ah). This is the same word used in Genesis 1, where in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and His spirit, or ruach, was hovering over the waters. This is the life-giving, creation-bringing, power-endued breath of the living God. 

In this passage, bodies start breathing. Eyes start opening. Re-made people start looking around, and standing up on their feet.

"they came to life and stood upon their feet - a vast army." (verse 10)

Death is now an army. An army with a purpose.

But an army doesn't just hang around; an army is empowered with the interests of their home nation. These dry bones have received the breath of life, and divine purpose and meaning. There is no disconnect from God breathing life and God launching into mission.

If you've been made alive in Christ, then you are enlisted. Whether you know it or not, you are in the army. You've got the ruach of God on you. We don't need to go to a conference with the question of "Should I be a missionary?"
The answer is, you already are a missionary! We became missionaries - ambassadors, agents - of God the moment we got breath.
We've been raised up as a generation in order to be sent out. Sent out to do what, though? An army needs marching orders, right?

Those orders are given to us as we begin to understand the heartbeat of Jesus.

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Jesus saw this as His mission. In Luke 4, God in human flesh began His ministry...
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Everything they had been waiting for happened right then and there. In Jesus Christ, we see the year of the Lord's favor. 

And here's where we fit in. We were the valley of dry bones. We were lifeless without hope. We were the prisoners, the captives, the ashes, the mourning, those in darkness and despair. But just as He did in the valley of dry bones, God has swept into our midst, proclaimed His Word, and then breathed new life into us.

Our ashes have been exchanged. Our mourning has been turned to joy. Our darkness has been filled with light. We are now called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

We no longer have to sit back, like the people of Nazareth before Jesus rolled up in the synagogue, thinking Maybe someday it's going to be the year of the Lord's favor. Maybe someday God is going to bring freedom.
The tomb is empty now, and death has been defeated now. The year of the Lord's favor is now. Jesus is alive, the Spirit has come, and we have the very breath of the living God in our lungs.

Because of this, everything is different for those who believe.

Our message has changed. I was dead and now I'm alive. I was a stack of dry bones, but God has breathed new life into me, and now I'm alive and going to be alive forever.
Our identity has changed. We are an army. We are priests. We are the rebuilders of the devastation. We are the people of God, raised to new life in Jesus Christ. We were not, and now we are. We weren't a people, and now we are not just a people, we are the people of God.
Our witness has changed. That witness is our healed, and healing wounds to show what changes when we are brought from death to life. 
Our freedom has changed. We have been given freedom for the sake of freedom. Because Christ has set us free, we are to commit ourselves to the cause of bringing freedom to others. That means that we devote ourselves to the twenty-seven million people who are captive to some form of slavery all across the world. It means that we proclaim the year of the Lord's favor not as an idea, but as a reality.

Our worship has changed. Worship is what happens when we give God His breath back. God gave us His ruach, when we were dead in our sins. When we worship, we give it back, and we do that every moment of our lives.

We are either going to live as if nothing has changed, or live as if everything is already changed. Because in Jesus, everything has changed. Everything changed the day He gave you His ruach.

Our entire lives are all about one singular legacy in light of what's changed because of Jesus. My legacy is singular, and it's the glory of the One who gave me breath all over again.