Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lord, show me...(pt 2) to love mercy

He has shown you,
O man,
what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
but to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

To love mercy? Lord, you require this of me? You require that I love mercy? LOVE it? As in, can't stop thinking about it, acting in it's best interest, putting it before other things and people in my life? As in unconditionally, patiently, kindly, without regard to what it may look like to others? You want me to love it?


"He has shown you..."

You did? Like when you called us to turn the other cheek? Like when you allowed Saul (Paul) to be saved? Like that time that you gave your life for us, hung there on the cross, and allowed yourself to be humiliated and spend eternity with me? WITH ME? Are you sure you have the right girl?

I don't think I can do this, Lord. You want me to love mercy? Do justly? Walk humbly?

Lord, show me...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lord, show me...Pt. 1


"Now it happened , as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees say it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matthew 9:9-13

Jesus told these men--Pharisees--to go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." Do you think they went...and studied? Matthew 12:6-8 shows us what happened when Jesus, Himself, turns to these same Pharisees in a grain field and, after they accuse Him of not obeying the Sabbath rules, says:

"Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

...this leads me to believe that they did NOT take to heart Jesus' exhortation to "go and learn..."

Jesus, the Great Teacher, gave His "students" a task...some homework, even...and they chose to let the dog eat it. What would they have found out if they had done their homework? What would they have discovered about the beautiful grace and mercy of our Lord?

....well, I can't tell you that. Because these men, who loved the law more that their Lord, chose to disregard His task. They chose to turn away and trust their own strength and laws. I can't tell you what they found out, but I can begin to show you what My Savior has been showing me. I can tell you that as I sat there, humbled, at the amount of times that I don't obey His voice, I gained the ability to fall on my face and ask Him to show me what it means...what HE means when He tells these men that He desires "mercy and not sacrifice."

I can also tell you that He's not done showing me. Every day is something new. Every day my eyes are being opened even more:

Mercy, as defined by
(this is what He desires)
1.compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.
2.the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
3.the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, esp. to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty. act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
5.something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.

Sacrifice, as defined by the same:
(this is what He does NOT desire)
1.the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.
2.the person, animal, or thing so offered.
3.the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
4.the thing so surrendered or devoted.
5.a loss incurred in selling something below its value.

to desire:
–verb (used with object) wish or long for; crave; want. express a wish to obtain; ask for; request: The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting.
3.a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


From the book of Nahum:

What the Lord does to His enemies:
  • avenge
  • His fury will be poured out like fire
  • He will throw rocks down on them
  • darkness will pursue them
  • He will put and end to conspiracies
  • It only takes one time for the Lord to fully tear it away.
Who are the LORD's enemies?

"The LORD has given a command concerning you:
Your name shall be perpetuated no longer.
Out of the house of your gods
I will cut off the carved image and the molded image.
I will dig your grave,
For you are vile." Nahum 1:14

The Lord wants to set us free from our enemies. The enemies of the Lord are those things that place His people in bondage. I will remind you here: you are a child of God. A father will NOT stand by and watch His child suffer. He cannot sit and see His child hurt. He WILL rescue them! YOUR enemies are the Lord's enemies and if those enemies are holding you in bondage (as many enemies of Israel did), you can be assured that the Lord wants to rescue you from them!

What is keeping you...putting bondage?

Bondage ensnares and entraps us. It keeps us from the freedom we have in Christ. Let me challenge you to do something. Take a minute, pray that the Lord gives you complete honestly, then open your eyes and honestly write down your answers to these questions.
  • What causes me to groan? (Exodus 2:23)
  • What am i fearful of? (Romans 8:15)
  • What tries to subject me? (Galatians 2:4)
  • What are doctrines of false brothers that i believe? (Galatians 2:4)
  • What is the opposite of liberty? (Galatians 2:4)
  • What is born of the flesh? (Galatians 4:24)
  • What yoke is entangling me? (Galatians 5:1)
  • What subjects me by a fear of death? (Hebrews 2:15)
  • What is overcoming me? (2 Peter 2:19)
  • What is deceiving me? (2 Peter 2:19)
Now look at this list. These things are holding you in bondage. These things...people...feelings...thoughts...actions...reactions...are the bondage that is keeping you from experiencing the pure freedom in Christ.

Reading through Nahum and recognizing that God's enemies are those things that keep His people in bondage...lets go a step further. Those things you wrote down? Those are God's enemies. Those things are the direct antithesis of who are Beloved is and where our Beloved wants us.

*BUT REMEMBER* read the beginning of this devotion. What does the Lord do to His enemies?

*NOW* read Nahum 1:1-6. Find comfort that that is what our Father wants to do with your bondage. Read the next verse. (Verse 7). Here is the challenge: do you trust the Lord?

Find comfort in these words. Know that the Lord wants to utterly destroy your enemies. your bondage. Read a step further.

Nahum 1:15 "Behold, on the mountains
The feet of him who brings good tidings,
Who proclaims peace!
O Judah, keep your appointed feasts,
Perform your vows.
For the wicked one shall no more pass through you;
He is utterly cut off."

Know this. If you go away from this remembering one thing. remember this: God wants to fight your battles for you! He commands His people, Judah, to keep their appointed perform their vows. He doesn't need our help fighting our bondage. He will do it. All we have to do is sit and obey. Rest in the commandments the Lord has given us. Find comfort that the LORD GOD is in your midst...
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing." (Zeph 3:17)

To ACT OUT Psalm 37:3-7....(read below)

Friday, July 25, 2008

It is well with my soul...

"Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him..."

Psalm 37

more later...

7/29/08 (i think)

I decided not to expound on this verse. It is merely a verse that the Lord has been using in my life and one that He has called me to live out. To me, this scripture doesn't need any explanation. It speaks volumes to my heart and to add any more would take away from the glorious way the Lord is speaking to me.

Trust, do good, dwell, feed, delight, commit, trust, rest, wait patiently...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

May the words of my mouth...

"I hate, I despise your feast days. And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream." Amos 5:21-24

Have you ever just gone through the motions? Stood up in church, sang to songs, sat down, bowed your head in prayer, opened your eyes, opened your bibles...said amen? Trust me...I know we all have. This scripture stood out to me in my quiet time because I thought about the many feast days, sacred assemblies, offerings, and songs that I have attempted to bring to the Lord. How many have been despised? How many were offered without a pure heart?

Oh LORD, what is a pure heart? Father, how may I know what you hate and what you love? When I offer things to you, are they accepted?

"Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:12-14

Only the Lord can cleanse us to purity. Only He can overwhelm our souls to the place of Godly sacrifice. Only our Savior is big enough to make us blameless of our great transgression. Only He knows our hearts...why not ask Him to dig into the depths of it and pull out what is in there, that he may refine it and make it His?

"Search me, o God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139: 23-24

God, search me! Search out my wicked ways and lead me away from them! What of my offerings to you are not done with a broken and contrite heart? What of my actions, my 'rituals' are not done of a pure conscience? Reveal to me those ways of the flesh and restore a righteous, repentant, clean, acceptable attitude of giving, praise, and thanksgiving.

What does the Lord want from us? What causes His heart to rejoice? What of our sacrifices please Him? Are they found in our actions? Or is it something deeper?

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart - these, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1

Monday, June 23, 2008

God's Word...

  • Is living, powerful, sharp, piercing, discerning (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Is what we are to live by (Deut. 8:3)
  • Is in our mouths and in our hearts (Deut. 30:14)
  • Is hidden in our heart (Psa 119:11)
  • Has given us life (Psa 119:50)
  • Is a lamp and a light (Psa 119:105)
  • Is pure (Prov 30:5)
  • Stands forever (Isa 40:8)
  • Is spoken in righteousness (Isa 45:23)
I have been truly humbled this week thinking about the weightiness of God's words and what they mean to me. It started last monday on my way to Disneyland when I saw a billboard that said "R U A Rockaholic?" It got me thinking: 20 years ago, that same company, same ad agency, same billboard, would have read "Do you really like rock music?" or "Are you addicted to rock music?" Have we cheapened words so much that we cannot even write full sentences? I know I am the same way (trying to get better!) "TXT", "IM", "EMAIL" I, for the most part, don't even go back and change my "I's" to upper case, or add the apostrophe when it is needed (with the exception of this blog...sometimes). We try to think of the quickest, easiest, most "opportune" times to give information. We are in the information age. We are overloaded with information but it has all become so cheapened. Admit it, how many of you have had a "heated conversation" over messaging? Do we need so many little communication (the old fashioned eye-to-eye, voice tonality, type)? DO U TXT LIKE THIS? R U A TXTER?

I sat there pondering this whole age of communication and this whole age of convenience and couldnt help but think of the Lord and His way of communicating with us. I thought about His choice of words, His true timing, even the timing of His silences. I began to ponder at language and the importance of language, the way a person relishes in, dwells upon, ponders what another says about them, to them, around them. Words are weighty. And like everything else is the world, the enemy is trying to take the weight off. He is trying to get us to think that our communication would be better if it were slimmed down more.

Then as I brought up the idea with a friend, we started talking about the power of language from the beginning. Tower of Babel anyone? (Genesis 11? I think) The enemy used language to get mankind to form together, thinking they could be like God. At that point, the universal language became a catalyst for sin. It became something that tore people away from God. So God gave us all different languages. He scattered us about and let us communicate differently. TO BRING US CLOSER TO HIM. And now, so many thousands of years later, the enemy is now using that to separate us even more. To cheapen the language God gave us to bring us closer to Him and farther from our flesh...and use it to make us non-communicative hermits in our flesh. We have gone from one extreme to another.

But again, think of God's words to us. Hebrews 1:1-3 says that God spoke to us by prophets, angels, and (most importantly) Jesus Christ. His words are all around us. Romans 1 talks of nature speaking us his love for us and singing his praises. Jesus himself says that the rocks would cry out if we did not. But God's words, themselves, are so important. Do we give them enough weight in our lives? Do we allow God to use us to speak His words? I'm still pondering this idea. I'm still in awe at how the Lord has impressed upon my heart the importance of communication: first with Him, second with others.

Proverbs 12:25 says "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad."

Do your words to others calm anxieties and make them glad?

And Isaiah 50:4 says "The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned."

May our ears be awakened by the same Spirit who dwells in Him that we should hear His Word and speak it. That we wouldn't shy away from, but dwell on, His words.

I pray my nonsense makes sense through the Spirit...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A walk through Hosea

"Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them."
Hosea 14:9

Will you listen to the ways of the Lord? Will you understand His wisdom? None are righteous on their own, but through the Lord we are deemed righteous. We are washed clean, without a blemish because of the act our Savior did for us on the cross. He has done so much for us. But, what have we done for Him? Are we foolish in our ways? Where have the transgression taken root? Do we seek after things that are not of the Lord?

"For their mother has played the harlot;
she who conceived them has behaved shamefully.
For she said; 'I will go after my lovers,
Who give me my bread and my water,
My wool and my linen,
My oil and my drink."
Hosea 2:5

You have a God who loves you so much. Listen to His heart for you. His heart for your relationship with Him:

"I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In loving kindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
and you shall know the Lord."
Hosea 2:19-20

Have you been able to enjoy that relationship with the Lord? Do you glory in your betrothed? Rejoice in the One who seeks you out? It is only with acceptance of this betrothal can you begin to enjoy the fruit of the relationship. He is waiting. He is offering. He is a gentleman, waiting for your answer.

"Sow for yourself righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you."
Hosea 10:12

See what the Lord's love for us looks like:

"I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And i was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them.
Hosea 11:4

As i meditated on these verses today, seeking and hearing the Word of the Lord, i was overwhelmed with His love for us. Tough love is the hardest love to give. It is the one that hurts the most, does the most damage, and takes the longest to heal. Tough love is like tough candy. It has to be soften, chewed, gnawed on in order to swallow. It may not seem like love at all, to the receiver. But the outcome is always so beautiful. It is always the "worth" of the actions. To give tough love shows the depth, width, height, and length of God's love for us. It hurts Him to have to give us up to our adulterous and harlot ways. It pains Him to see us choose others (people and things) before Him. But He, being the gentleman, desires that we want Him in return. He will pursue us, he will rescue us from ourselves as well as our despair and sins and trespasses when we cry out to Him. He will NOT force our betrothal. That is up to you. To me, even. Will you consider a betrothal to the Holy of Holies? To the Adonai, Abba, Savior of your life? Trust me, he won't give you up without a fight. He will pursue you and you will be the pursued. He is your One True Love.

"How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man,
The Holy One in your midst;
And I will not come
with terror."
Hosea 11:8-9

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Seeking after Him

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:33-34

What is on your mind right now? What is seeking out your attention, pooling all your energy? Is there something weighing heavy on your heart? Something that cannot be taken care of immediately? Maybe where you will live in a month? How your best friend may react to your exhortation? Where next months car payment may come from? How you will be able to pay for that dr's bill you know is coming up? How in the world you are going to have "that conversation"? How much you weigh, what you are making for dinner, what you are going to wear tomorrow....the list could go on.

May i plead with you to stop? Stop listening to yourself. Stop making lists in your mind. Stop trying to figure out those details and trying to make these things all figure correctly in your life. Please. Just stop.

Thank you. Now with all that extra time you have, i encourage you to "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." after all, that is what HE told us to do, right?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."

Isaiah 61:1-3

I lead a bible study of high school girls every monday night with a friend, Sarah. Not too long ago, we encouraged our girls to "be a tree." This 'stemmed' from Psalm 1:3 that says, "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." We encouraged our girls to constantly be near their "food source", the Word of God, and to let their lives be a witness to those around them by the fruit that they produce.
This verse from Isaiah takes that encouragement a little further. It tells us that we are to be called trees of righteousness:

How? By accepting the gifts the Lord has given us?
What gifts? How i read it is that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, wants to give to us these amazing things: beauty, joy, praise. He wants us to be flooded with these things by His power and might.
When? When we accept that Jesus DIED for us, released us from the bondage in our life that so easily ensnares us, and ask for his forgiveness.
Why? "That He might be glorified." What more of a reason can we ask? We become beautiful trees of righteousness, planted by streams of flowing water (drinking up the Holy Spirit) by ACCEPTING these gifts that he wants to give us. All so that He can be glorified.

Can you accept that? Will you? What is going through your mind right now? Are you mourning? Do you feel defiled, burned, full of ash? What is weighing heavy on your heart? Can you accept that the Lord has come to release you from this bondage? To heal you? To set you free? To comfort and console you?

Do you desire to be called a tree of righteousness? Release whatever you are holding onto, and let the Lord plant you by His streams of living water.

And may your life glorify the Lord.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dear Erika

You suck. Or at least that is what the blogger-boss said to me today. It was basically because i had "created" this blog but didn't post anything. Ha. I didn't really know what to post. (secret: i still don't). So anyways, i had created the blog and then just left it there, hoping that i would get inspired. Inspired to say something...well...inspirational.

It still hasn't come yet.

So while i sat there trying to figure out what my first "inspirational" blog would be, i got this email that says (loosely paraphrased) "dear new blogger, we pretty much think you created this blog to spam other bloggers and we are putting you on blog probation. You suck!"

Apparently my blog-boss doesn't have the time to wait for inspiration. And apparently it wasnt necessary for me to wait for inspiration. Because God will give it to me. Because this blog isnt about me. Its about Him. Oh, and they took me off probation.

So here goes:

"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:5-7

I would humbly like to submit myself to you. I ask that you would keep me accountable to keeping this blog about the Lord. Never about me. Ever. My prayer is that God would use me, my life, my "whatever", to honor Him and that, whoever you are, when you read this blog, you would be inspired by the Holy Spirit. To share His love, to share His wisdom, to serve others and to clothe yourself with humility before one another.

I dont care if i have a typo and i dont care if what i say doesnt "sit right" with you. My only concern is that my words would come from the Word of God and that He would use them as He sees fit. I want to be His vessel. I want my words to "sit right" in light of the Word. In light of Jesus Christ.

Because I love Him.