"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

The Best Journey of My Life

Posted by Emma on November 16, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Faith,Life's Race,Prayer,Repentance

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with your whole heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Eleven days ago I embarked on a journey that changed my life. It was the best journey I have ever taken. This journey was not a journey in the physical realm. It was a spiritual journey, a journey to the heart. That journey is probably the best journey you could every take.

After a few days of prepping, the 42 girls and eight wonderful leaders taking part in this journey traveled up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. During our time of prepping to Lord gave me a verse to take with me on this journey. Psalm 10:17 “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” This was His promise to me for the time we were in the Northwoods. There in a quiet secluded part of the world we began searching our hearts and seeking the Lord.

The time was insightful and I learned lots but I just kept feeling like something was between me and God. I did not want that, but I was not really sure what it was or what to do about it, also Satan was bringing doubts about whether I was saved. After struggling with it for about a day, I asked my amazing team leader if I could talk to her. She was wonderful and talked and prayed with me for several hours. However, nothing was really different.

A battle was going on inside of me. I knew there was ground that I had given to Satan, but I did not know how to break free from his hold. The next day was spent fighting an inner battle. I prayed, meditated, searched the scriptures, cried out to God, meditated some more, begged God for help, thought and fought the day away. The day went really fast, I don’t have a clear memory of a lot of it. I just know I was seeking God with all I could, hanging on to the promise He had given me at the start of the journey.

Towards the end of that day, I got another opportunity to talk with my team leader. I told her what had been going on that day inside of me and she gave me different scriptures. At length we prayed. By this point I knew I needed to surrender to Christ, although those words had not formulated themselves in my mind; the concept was there. I could not do it. I prayed. I begged God to bring me to a place of complete brokenness. But I could not surrender. Something was holding me back and I could do nothing about it.

The rest of that night was spent with this inner battle and turmoil. I continued to seek God as best I knew how and pretty much spent the time alone with Him. At one point I told a good friend, who was praying for me, what was going on. I found out I did not need to tell her much because God had already told her. I was up late that night praying and seeking God. As I was sitting up, pretty much everyone else in bed, I could sense the battles going on. More than just mine were being fought and won, as I found out later.

The next morning we headed from our cabin to the main lodge. The lodge has a tower with big windows, it was to this tower that I went. That morning I prayed and paced and meditated ad paced and prayed some more. Nothing was changed. Our leaders had told us to look at a prideful heart. After awhile of praying and pacing, I settled down to read it as best I could. There was a list of evidences of pride. The last item on the list slapped me across the face. It read, “Pride is refusing to surrender your whole life to God or resisting HIs will in any matter.” Then and there I knew what I needed to do. I needed to surrender everything to God. But it was not as easy as just knowing. Satan did not want me to surrender. So I paced and fought some more.

Finally, in desperation, I went onto my face before the Lord. Visually and verbally, I surrendered every area that I could think of to the Lord. When it was all in Jesus’ control, I had more peace that I had felt for days. Now, I could quietly read and pray.

There was not much time after I surrendered and when our leaders called us together. I found out more of the battles that had been fought and won the previous night. Although I had more peace, I knew it was not a finished work. That afternoon, I called home and confessed to my parents a whole ton of different sins and things which I either had not told them or had not been perfectly honest about. I asked their forgiveness and they graciously gave it. When I finished, I had even more peace and felt free.

That night, Jesus smiled on me in many ways and I felt the love of God more that ever. The next morning I woke up before the other girls in my cabin and was giddy with joy. It is very rare for me to be giddy, I knew it had to come from God. It was the most amazing feeling ever! I cannot describe it but I wish I could live in it for the rest of my life. I prayed, read the Bible and then because I could barely contain myself went on a walk with Jesus. I ran, shouted, jumped, sang, and in general praised my Savior and Lord and communed with Him. It was wonderful, just not long enough. Later that day, God confirmed His love for me in the form of a heart shaped rock He put on the beach just for me.

A mighty work had been done. But the work was not complete. Although, I had peace and was free, I knew something still was not right, something seemed to be lacking. I did not know what, I still do not know. But that evening, after I had surrendered all to the Lord, I was sitting talking with God and meditating. He gave me another promise; one to take with me as I left that part of the journey. “Being confidence of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will preform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Phil 1:6. God’s work in my life is not finished. There are still areas that need to come completely under His control. There are still areas that need cleaned out. There are still things to be dealt with. But I know that He will continue this work that He has began.

I am going to keep seeking God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I am begging Jesus to help me do this. I would appreciate your prayers, as I keep seeking Him and wanting Him to take complete control of my life. I know the prayers of my leaders and friend helped carry me through my battle during Journey and I know your prayers will help carrying me as I continue journeying on. Thank you ahead of time for them.

I embarked on what I thought was a ten day journey. I found it was a life time journey. My journey has just begun. I am not far on it. But I am journeying on with Jesus as my leader, guide, and companion.


Posted by Emma on August 9, 2011 | Filed under: Daily Thought,Prayer,Repentance

Today is the ninth of Av. This is a day of fasting and mourning for the Jewish people. A long line of sorrows have occurred to them on this day starting with the destruction of the first temple. 100,000 Jews were slaughter by the Babylonians and millions more were exiled. Some 400 years later, the second temple was also destroyed on this day. This time around two million Jews died and another one million were exiled. About 70 years later the Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by the Romans, killing over 100,000 Jews. The next year the Romans plowed the Temple mount and Jerusalem, the city where God placed His name, was rebuilt as a pagan city. The first crusade, which killed tens of thousands of Jews, was declared by Pope Urban II. On this day in 1290 Jews were expelled from England, and again in 1492 they were expelled from Spain. World War 1 began on this day in 1914 which ultimately lead to Hitler’s Third Reich and the slaughter of millions. The ninth of Av, 1942, found the Germans beginning the deportation of the Warsaw Ghetto to the consecration camps, no one knows how many were murdered.

So what is the point of all this? Obviously, the ninth of Av has been a terrible day for the Jews. But so what?

There are a couple different thoughts that come to me as I read this tragic list of events.

Thought One: Why have all these horrors happened to the Jewish people? I think there a few reasons. I am not God, so ultimately I can never fully answer that questions, but God has given us insights.

It is clear from Scripture, that the first temple was destroyed because the Jews turned away from God and served pagan idols. Likewise, the second temple was destroyed when the Jews turned away from Jesus, God’s son. This may not be the only reason for the destruction of the Second Temple, but I think it is part of the reason. The crushing of the Bar Kochba revolt is for the similar reasons. Simon Bar Kochba, the leader of that revolt claimed to be the Messiah and the Jews went after him, denying Jesus, the true Messiah.  So at least some of these tragedies are because the people of Israel turned from their God and He brought disaster on them in order to chastise and bring them back to HIm.

When you look at the course of history, you notice that whenever the Jewish people start assimilating with the Gentiles, something happens to them. God called the Jews to be His people, set apart and holy. When they forget that calling, God chastises them. Could this perhaps be the reasons for the expulsions from England and Spain? The reason for the German’s attack against them during World War 2?

The final reason these troubles have befallen the Jews is because they are the people of God. Satan knows this. He will take any opportunity to attack them because it is an attack at God. So for some of these terrible events, maybe the Jews did nothing to deserve it. Satan may have attacked them because they are God’s people and he hates God and all that are God’s.

Thought Two: What is this day to me? I’m not Jewish. This is a day for the Jews to consider the sins that led to the destruction of the temple. I may not be Jewish, but I can still turn from God to worship other things.  So for me, it is a day to consider what am I worshiping besides God? What in my life have I placed above God?

This is a day to reflect. I can reflect on my life. As a servant and disciple of Jesus, God’s son, I am called to be holy & set apart. Am I fulfilling this calling? Where am I starting to look like the world? How I have assimilated into the culture?

This is a day to mourn. I can mourn the destruction of the temples. What happened was sorrowful. I can mourn the tragedies that have happened to the people of God. I can mourn the fact that the Jews have yet to fully recognize the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Finally, this is a day to pray. I can pray for the people of Israel who are still under attack. I can pray that they will recognize Jesus the true Messiah. I can pray for complete restoration of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple.

Lessons Learned while Digging a Hole in Texas

Posted by Emma on July 19, 2011 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Repentance

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12

This verse came to mind yesterday while I was digging a hole. I was digging a hole in the middle of Texas, which is under a draught. The ground here is what I would call fallow, and it is hard. As I was digging this verse came to mind. Digging the hole was hard work. Breaking up fallow ground can also be hard work.

The spot chosen to dig the hole looked easy from the top. The ground, although dry, was not hard. It was more crumbly. Our lives can be the same way. As we start letting God work in our lives and dealing with sin, it can look relatively easy, at first. The deeper we go, the harder it gets. After digging down a few inches the ground got really hard. After dealing with the first layer of things in our lives, it gets really hard. If we want results we have to keep going when it gets hard. I was sweating and had to put my whole weight on the shovel to get it to go through the ground, in the same way we have to work out and put our whole into breaking up the fallow ground of our lives and conquering sins.

Eventually, if we keep at it and do not give in, we will see results and have soft ground that can be planted with righteousness and reap mercy. We must seek God as we break up our fallow ground. The work starts as we recognize the need and repent of sin, then God has to take over and help us see where we have fallow ground, or sins, that need broken up. As we seek Him with a soft heart, He will come and rain righteousness on us. This is a wonderful thing. It is as wonderful as when rain comes and falls on draught stricken land.

Break up your fallow ground. Do not give up when it gets hard. Seek God and let Him rain righteousness on you.

The Favor and Mercy of the Lord

Posted by Emma on April 25, 2010 | Filed under: Bible,Christianity,Psalm 119,Repentance,Studying the Word

“I intreated thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.” Psalm 119:58 (KJV)

“I appeased thy face with the whole heart, favor me according to thy saying.” Psalm 119:58 (YLT)

What a prayer! Everyday we should be seeking God’s favor and mercy.

The first word in this verse is חליתי (chiliti), a verb meaning appease, entreat the favor of. The Psalmist is beseeching God to be gracious to Him and forgive Him. The next word is פניך (phanecha) which means thy face. This word is also used to talk about presence. When you see someone’s face or stand before their face you are in their presence. It is as if the Psalmist is in God’s presence beseeching His favor.

The word בכל (vechal) means whole, entire, all. It is connected with the word לב (leev) which means inner man as in the soul, comprehending mind, affections and will. It is who you are, what makes you do what you do, think as you think, and feel as you feel. With everything in Him, the Psalmist is asking God for favor and mercy. We should beseech God with all that is in us.

חנני (chaneeni) means show favor, be gracious. When it is talking about God, as it is in this verse, it is usually talking about the bestowal of redemption from enemies, evils, and sins. The Psalmist is asking God to be gracious and redeem Him from sin and evil.

The final word in this verse is כאמרתך (che’imeratecha). This word starts with a כ (caph) which means according to. The main word means thy word, utterances, or speech. It is in God’s word that we find redemption. The Bible as God’s word tells us about the work that Jesus did. However, Jesus is also called the Word of God in John 1. Ultimately, it is through Jesus that we find redemption, through the living Word of God.

We should be beseeching God for mercy with everything we have. We are ever in His presence, we should act like it and recognize that without His favor we are doomed. We must be redeem through the blood of His Son, the living Word. Have you been redeemed according to God’s Word? If not I would suggest reading through the Bible and learn how to, John might be a good book to start in. If you have been redeemed by the Word, dedicate yourself fully as a living sacrifice acceptable to God and beseech Him for His favor with everything you have. Remember you are always in His presence. Live like it!

Fallow Ground

Posted by Emma on September 2, 2009 | Filed under: Christianity,Daily Thought,Repentance

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” -Hosea 10:12

Repent! Seek the Lord until He rains righteousness on you. Do not give up. Preparing a field, sowing, reaping and harvesting is hard work, it doesn’t happen overnight. So to we should not expect God to rain righteousness on us overnight. It takes time and hard work as we seek the Lord, weed out sin  and break up the fallow ground.