Archive for ‘Random Thoughts’

January 16, 2013

Words of life for an anxious heart like mine.

Feeling incredibly thankful this morning that I can take God at His word.  He is not a man that He should lie! (Numbers 23:19) The words and promises of this world will all pass away.  Some will be kept, yes, but many will be broken.  The only sure, steadfast words belong to God.  His word doesn’t change and will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).  When He says something, I can trust that it is true – regardless of how I may feel at the time.

Take Him at His word, anxious heart of mine.  Believe that what He has promised will come to pass.  Believe that you are accepted, having been adopted into the family of God in Jesus.  You are not illegitimate, but legitimate.  You are dearly loved.  You are cared for, right down to the very hairs on your head, of which God knows the number (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7).  Believe that all of your sins and shortcomings were absorbed by your Savior at Calvary, and that when you stand before the judgment seat of God, you are declared, “Not guilty!”  Believe that in Jesus you have an intercessor who will not allow you to stand condemned (Hebrews 7:25).  Believe that Jesus knows and sympathizes with your weaknesses and temptations (Hebrews 4:15).  Believe that through His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, you are able to obey Him.  Believe that obedience is good and right because He already loves you.  Believe that you were never a mistake or an “uh oh”, but that God knowingly and purposefully knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  Believe that even if every earthly family member and friend were to leave you, Jesus would still be enough.  Believe that your identity is not wrapped up in your ability to be everyone’s best friend, but is found solely in Christ Jesus.  Believe that trouble will come, but more than that, believe that Jesus is with you when it does, and even more, believe that He has overcome the world–take heart! (John 16:33)  Believe that though you were dead in your sins, Jesus rescued you and made you alive together with Him (Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:1-5).  Believe that you are chosen, called out of darkness and into the light, to proclaim God’s excellencies (1 Peter 2:9).  Believe that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you, so that where He is, you may be also (John 14:2-3).  Believe that your treasure is being stored up in heaven and not here on earth (Matthew 6:20).  Believe that generosity is much more freeing than greed.  Believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  Believe that these present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).  Don’t be ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).  Believe that when you see Him, you will be as He is (1 John 3:2-3).  Believe that it is good to wait upon the Lord, and that His plans and timing are exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that you could even ask or imagine (Psalm 27:14, Ephesians 3:20).  Believe that He is concerned for the poor, the widow, and the orphan, and that He has called you to be His hands and feet (Isaiah 1:17).  Believe that discernment is good, and that upholding God’s truth is noble.  Believe that love covers a multitude of sins, and that without love, your gifts are rendered useless (1 Peter 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13).  Believe in Jesus.  Love Him.  Serve Him.  Preach Him.  Believe in His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and eventual return.  When you sin, repent quickly, and know that His blood is sufficient, His grace abounds.  Die to yourself that you might live for Him.  Believe that when you lose your life, you will find it (Matthew 16:25).  Believe that you can bring your anxious heart, with all its prayers and petitions, before a God who hears, and that in return, He will impart to you His perfect peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

Now rest, anxious heart.  Cease striving, and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

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June 23, 2011

Random thoughts for your Thursday

I’m really, really sad that I’ve been such a terrible blogger as of late.  I’ve got a lot of blogs in the draft stage, but I’ve come to a halt on most of them and need some fresh inspiration.  Prayers appreciated! :)

In the meantime, here are some random thoughts for your Thursday:

  • I’m quite certain I could live off a steady diet of hummus and guacamole.
  • I’m late to the show, but Greek yogurt is crazy-good.
  • I got stuck on 95 North approaching the George Washington Bridge for over 4 hours Saturday night/Sunday morning.  A trip that should’ve taken Leah and I 35 mins took over 5 hours.  How is that real life?
  • Before getting stuck in traffic, I enjoyed seeing DISPATCH perform live at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.  I have to be honest, I only knew a song or two prior to the show, but those are some talented guys!
  • I’ve been thinking a lot this morning about how quick we are to apologize for God’s character, and how often we’d rather change Him than to change ourselves… but He’s perfect!  May we seek, by His grace, to be more like HIM instead of trying to make Him more like us.
  • My sweet friend Kathryn will be here in 8 days.  I can’t wait to see her!
  • This weekend I’ll be in Vermont with my boyfriend, Adam.  He’ll be meeting lots of family members, including mom and dad, for the first time.  I’m not worried about it at all… they’re going to love him!
  • I’m seeing Owl City tonight.  I have a feeling I’ll be standing in a sea of 16-year-olds.
  • Adam and I are probably going to Ethiopia at the end of this year.  Please keep us in prayer!

Lastly, remember my friend Kat who is spending the summer in Ethiopia? Well, she’s there!  Keep up-to-date by visiting her blog: www.katssweetlife.com  Visit the “Kitty in the City” section to read about her time in Ethiopia.  I love hearing about her adventures and feel like a part of me is there with her.  Keep her in your prayers, friends!

May 4, 2011

In Light of the Resurrection

Here we are, a week and a half after Easter.  Another celebration of the resurrection has passed.  But is it really over?

Of course not.

As believers in Christ, we are called to live in light of the truth of the resurrection.  What does that mean?  What does it look like?

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.

Romans 6:5-9

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Certainly if this is true, if Christ has conquered sin, death and the grave, our lives and our hearts should be radically changed.   We should not only die to the world but we should live to God.  Let’s not live lives categorized by what we aren’t or what we don’t do.  Let’s live lives that reveal the goodness and love of God, the forgiveness and redemption offered in Christ, and the transformative power of the Holy Spirt.

The power that conquered the grave dwells inside of us.  Let’s not take that truth lightly.  Let’s meditate on it, rejoice in it, and seek to bring Him glory through it.  Not only on Easter Sunday, but every day.

What does it mean for you to “live in light of the resurrection”?

Some verses to check out: Colossians 1:25-27; Romans 8:10-11, 14:7-9; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:29-30, 15:17-22; 1 John 4:13; Acts 2:24; 1 Peter 1:3

April 4, 2011

Let the morning bring word of Your unfailing love.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Yesterday morning I found myself once again overwhelmed by the fact that God loves me no matter how I “perform” on a given day.

I think for many of us, we have, at some point or another in our lives, been surrounded by people who are never quite impressed with what we’ve done.  We are constantly pushed to do better and to be better.  (Or maybe this is just me and I’m projecting it on all of you… Ha!)

Christianity is not a performance-based religion.  I don’t care what anybody tells you.  God does not say, “Do better and be better and then I’ll love you.”  Now here’s the thing: He probably should do that.  Face it, we aren’t all that good and moral.  We couldn’t uphold the law in full.  And even when we outwardly perform, the truth is that inwardly we’re full of filth.  We carry envy, jealousy, bitterness, hatred… all sorts of ugly junk resides in our hearts.

So what strikes me is this:  God does not shake His head at me and say, “Well, Brittany, today you weren’t so good.  Do better and try harder tomorrow, please.”

Instead, He sees me and looks upon me with pure, perfect love.  Not because of what I’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done on my behalf.  Jesus’ record is perfect.  He IS better and He DID better because I wasn’t capable.  Not only did He bear all my shortcomings and wrongdoings on the cross, but He also imparts to me His perfect righteousness.

And therefore God, seeing me as He sees His Son, loves me perfectly.  And nothing I do or say today, no matter if I perform horribly or if I perform well, can change His unfailing love.  And yet, by His grace and through the power of His Holy Spirit, He is sanctifying me.  He is daily conforming me to the image of His Son.

And if that can’t compel me to love and worship Him, I’m just not sure what can.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8

January 24, 2011

The In-Between

Reverse culture shock.  Re-entry.  Whatever you want to call it, it happens.  I’m finding myself in this weird place between life here in New York and my two amazing weeks in Ethiopia.  It feels like life here was placed on pause, and on Tuesday night, January 11th, I pressed play and jumped back into it.  My life in Ethiopia feels so far removed from my life here.  I’m still fighting to reconcile the two, to find a place where they can converge and be meaningful.

I have seen and experienced so much.  I have rediscovered a place and a people that I love deeply and miss terribly.  My heart has been overwhelmed and overflowed, broken and overjoyed.  There are moments I well up with tears, sometimes of joy, sometimes of sadness.  There’s a loneliness I’m struck with, the idea that no one here can understand.  Missing my team, my family for the past two weeks.  Wishing I could transplant myself back in time and back to Ethiopia where life just makes more sense.  And yet it’s also a place where life makes absolutely no sense.

My heart aches for my friends who have no place to sleep tonight.  My heart aches for my friends who probably did not eat dinner, who have no shoes on their feet, who have no family to go home to.  And I log on to Facebook or Twitter and see post after post about things that do not matter.  I see complaints and greed and self pity and then I get angry at the world for not knowing any better.  Then I’m reminded that there was a time that I didn’t know any better.  And even worse, a time I knew better and disregarded it.

Living in ignorance seems ideal, doesn’t it?  “Ignorance is bliss,” we say.  But our ignorance does not erase the pain of the world.  Just because we pretend something does not exist, or even honestly don’t know that it does, doesn’t make it any less real.  For so many people it is their reality.  Homelessness is their reality.  Poverty is their reality.  Abuse is their reality.  Prostitution is their reality.  Being orphaned is their reality.  Illiteracy is their reality.  Disease is their reality.

What do I do with those realities?  That is the question I bring to God.  May He teach me and lead me and guide me.  May He deliver me from my selfish tendencies and my fleshly craving to live in ignorance.  May He continue to provide opportunities for me to be His hands and feet to a lost and dying world.  May He continue to change and soften my heart.

Jesus came and died for all those harsh realities that are so very wrong with this world.  May the love He gives and the hope He brings be that which drives me and that which I long to share.

“I know I’m filled to be emptied again, the seed I’ve received I will sow.”

October 5, 2010

A matter of trust.

I mentioned in a recent blog that I often start a post with a subject and a general outline in mind, and before I know it I’ve ended up elsewhere.  As of late, I’ve found that to be true in the lessons I’m learning from the Lord.

Recently, God laid it on my heart to take a certain matter one day at a time.  I have a tendency to look further down the road and attempt to predict the outcome.  Sometimes, what I think I see afar isn’t ideal, and so I start to experience fear and change my mind about what it is I “ought” to do.  Oh, sure, God has confirmed through His word and in various other capacities what He’s asking of me.  But no, I can’t possibly do it.  The future looks far too scary.

Needless to say, having that attitude and trying to predict what will or won’t happen as a result of my obedience has left me frustrated and has caused a sense of shame as the struggle perpetuates.

But then there’s that glorious truth: His mercies are new every morning, and His compassions fail not (See Lamentations 3:21-23).

The Lord has carried me through each day with that truth for the past couple of weeks.  I thought the lesson in all of it was to take it “one day at a time”.  While that may be partially true, the Lord, in His grace, is revealing an even bigger truth and lesson to be taken hold of:

He is trustworthy.

One day at a time means I do not worry about what’s waiting weeks, months and years down the road.  It means I trust in the goodness and grace of Jesus and in the fact that each and every detail of my life and the lives of others is laid bare before Him (Hebrews 4:13).  I don’t need to know everything, because God knows, and He holds my hand (Psalm 73:23, Isaiah 41:13).  He is trustworthy (Psalm 33:4).

The matter isn’t so much my obedience.  The matter isn’t about what I have or haven’t done at all.  It’s a matter of trust.  Do I trust in the knowledge, power, goodness and love of the Almighty God?  Do I believe His word when it says, “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11)?  As I grow in trust, the obedience will be a natural overflow.  Taking it one day at a time is teaching me to trust, to stop reaching for answers and to merely walk in the grace and strength of my Savior daily.  He is faithful to remind me constantly that He knows me.  He knows what I think and feel and hope for.  He’s not ignorant of the things that I face daily (Psalm 31:7, 38:9).  He is with me.  He loves me.

He is trustworthy.

May 12, 2010

Perfect Love.

We spend so much time protecting our reputations and hoping people don’t see all of our hidden faults and failures.  We want people to like us so we choose our words and actions ever-so-carefully.  We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing or making a wrong impression.  We want control over how we’re perceived.

I’m guilty of all of the above more than I’d care to admit.

But then there’s God.  The One who created me and everything I see around me.  The One who knows all, is everywhere and is greater than I’ll ever fully wrap my head around.  And He knows every last detail of my life (Psalm 139).  He knows every thought I’ve ever had, everything I’ve ever done (be it right or wrong), every word I’ve ever spoken (or left unspoken for that matter).  He sees through my outward displays and into my heart.  And despite all of the things I’ve said, done and thought that fell so short of His glory… He loves me.  And He loves me with a perfect love.

Where am I finding my worth?  Is it based upon whether or not people compliment me? Or laugh at my jokes? Or is it based upon what God’s word says?  The former can change day to day and person to person.  But the latter is based upon a promise that will never be broken.  The latter is based upon the sacrifice my Savior made for me.  It’s certain and unchanging.

At the end of the day, why strive to win the imperfect love of other people when I already have the perfect love of my God?  And if I have the perfect love of my God, I am free to love others unselfishly and without worrying about whether or not they will love me back.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are…
1 John 3:1

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.   Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10,11

April 19, 2010

love your city.

Has it really been two weeks since my last post? Whoops…

If I were to update you on all my goings-on, we’d be here for far too long.  I went to a friend’s photography show at SALT Gallery, celebrated Easter Sunday with a sunrise service in Central Park, went to a NEEDTOBREATHE concert, spent time with friends old and new, went to the Lausanne 12 Cities, 12 Conversations NYC gathering, reunited with some friends from my Venice trip in 2007 and, as usual, cooked and baked up a storm.

I really, really love spring in New York City.  Everything just starts to look alive again.  Everyone is outside, walking in the park or sitting at outside cafe tables.  The park looks absolutely beautiful.  I could wander around for hours on end with no destination.  That actually tends to happen quite a bit!

I could say it a million times but I really just love this city.  I know most of you remember 16-year-old Brittany who couldn’t wait to move to New York.  Sometimes I look back on that and it hits me how cool it is that I’m really here.  As much as I’ve always loved it, God has really given me a heart to see this city reached with His love.  For all the cool, trendy, exciting things happening in New York, it’s still a really dark and hurting city.  Tim Keller (pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church here in NYC) said something interesting at the Lausanne event last week: everything, both great and dark, is magnified in a major city.  The good stuff is really, really good.  The bad is really, really bad.  I’d even say that things that appear “good” can have a dark side.  For instance, success and money drive so many people here.  In the world’s eyes that ambition and drive is good, but at the end of the day there are a lot of really successful and rich people who are totally hopeless and empty.

I feel like I always go back to Ethiopia when I think about that stuff.  I just think about the people there who, by our standards, had nothing and should have been hopeless and miserable.  But they weren’t. They were kind and joyful and selfless.  And then you have New York (and probably most major cities), where we’re filthy rich in comparison to most of the world. We have more than we could ever really need and we’re empty and selfish and discontent.

New York City is full of people who desire more and who aren’t content with where they are, what they’re doing and what they have.  I am so thankful for the hope that I have in Jesus, because without it, this city would probably chew me up and spit me out.  I’m thankful for the family I have in Christ and for the opportunity to reach this city with His love alongside them.  I love the tagline for Redeemer’s City to City website, and feel that it sums everything up pretty perfectly:

LOVE YOUR CITY TO LIFE.

“And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”
Jeremiah 29:7

September 16, 2009

compassion.

There’s a heaviness on my heart again today when I think of Ethiopia.  It’s not sadness, really.  It’s not exactly hurt.  I’ve been trying to pinpoint just what to call it, and then I realize:

This is what compassion feels like.

If I feel this, I can only imagine the compassion that Jesus had- the heaviness on His heart for the world and the people He came to save.  It makes me love Him all the more, to know this feeling and to know that He has those same feelings towards me, and even greater still.

August 21, 2009

His great love.

If I could stop dwelling on how much I don’t deserve it, perhaps that would leave me free to accept it.