My desire, His command

“But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away saying, ‘Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you’.  So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.”
- Luke 8:38-39

Since day one of being home from Peru, I have been homesick to go back.  I left a piece of my heart in a little village at the foot of Peru’s highest mountain, and it’s screaming for me to return.

I came across the above verse during my daily devotions a couple days ago.  It resonated within me as I contemplated the feelings that the afore-demon possessed man must’ve been experiencing after having been healed.  He had seen the power of God work in his very being.  He loved Jesus.  He wanted to follow his Savior.  He wanted to be where He was.  It says that he ‘was begging’ Him.  For what?  To permit him to go wherever He went.  It was as if he was attached to the LORD in some way and needed to be with Him.

But what was Jesus’ answer?

“Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.”

No, you cannot come with Me.  I want you to stay here.  Tell others of the wondrous works which you have seen God do in you.

A painful, yet beautiful command.  Not the answer the man wanted, I’m sure, but nonetheless, it was a what Jesus wanted of him.

This is where I had to stop and wrestle with my feelings.  I want to go back to Peru.  I want to go back to the family I left there.  I want to go back to the new family I met there.  I want to go back to that little village under the beautiful sky, next to the beautiful mountain, and breathe in the beautiful air.  I want to go back to that strangely familiar place where I could speak in Spanish all day and be understood and spoken to in the same language that I love. 

It was all about what I wanted.

Yet just as Jesus denied the man’s request in Luke 8, so He has gently denied mine.  I am returning to Peru next July (plans are already in the making), but I wanted/want to go sooner.

Even though the desires of my heart are to please God, I struggle with wanting to do things that I want to do.  They may be very profitable and godly things, but...they’re not what the LORD has for me in this very moment.  Right now, I am here, in Oregon, with my family.  And He wants me to ‘describe what great things God has done for me’.  Here.  Now.

His commands are always greater than my desires.  And I must remember that His commands are so much more, so much better for me than what I want.  Resting in this knowledge is hard at times, but the peace that comes from completely giving over oneself to the workmanship hands of God is indescribable.

Do with me as You please.


A story of redemption

You have committed crimes.

Not just one.  But many.

You have been sentenced to death.

A cruel and slow torture, in which your body will feel excruciating pain.  You will suffer for all the wrongs you have done, the laws you have broken, and the acts of disobedience.

You may know you are guilty, but you don’t really care.  “So what?” you say out loud, to no one in particular.  There’s nobody to hear you, no matter how loud you scream.  You’re in a dark dungeon.  Absolutely zero light.  You haven’t eaten in days.  Life has been miserable, but...so what?  You have one life and it’s going to end soon anyway.

You hear a key being turned in the lock of your cell door.  You clutch your chest as the hinges turn and make your teeth grind with the noise of rusty metal against metal.

A faint light begins to appear as you are escorted down a long tunnel, two heavily armed men on either side of you.  You drag your feet, knowing that your time is coming.  And even though, seconds before, you could have cared less, the reality of your situation has begun to sink in.  

You are going to die.

You squint your eyes as the daylight approaches with every step you take towards the end of the tunnel.  You don’t know the last time you’ve seen the sun.  But before you can step out into its light, a voice speaks:  “Let this one go.”

“But he has been sentence to death as punishment for great crimes,” one of the guards cries out.  “Someone has to die!”

“Then let it be Me.”

Silence reigns for a few seconds.  You squint your eyes trying to look at the Man who had spoken these words, but the more you try to focus on His face, the harder it was to see.  The light seemed to be coming from His very being.

“Very well,” the guard replies, and you suddenly feel the chains being loosed from your wrists and ankles.  You fall heavily to the ground, as the chains scatter around you.  Your face is on the ground, at eye level with everyone’s feet.  There is a pair that looks misplaced among the grimy, muddy feet of everyone - including your own.  They are clean, beautiful feet.  And they slowly step towards you.  Your eyes close as the light becomes brighter.  And then you feel a touch.  Not on your hand, or your face, but on your chest, above your heart.

“I love you, even though you may not love Me.  I am taking your place, and dying so that you might live.  You are Mine.”

These words were not said audibly, but yet you heard them.  In your head.

And with that, the beautiful feet walk away, the gentle hand is removed from your chest, yet the touch lingers.  Warm and powerful against your beating heart.  You draw in a deep breath, your lungs gasping for air as if you have been underwater for long minutes on end.  

It’s as if you have come alive...


I can be so pitiful sometimes

I can be so pitiful sometimes.

I crave affection.  And attention too.  I compare myself to other girls.  My life to the lives of others.  I wish I could have that style of hair.  Or I wish that I could be that good with words.  I wish I had better style.  I wish I had more Instagram followers.  Or I wish that my life could be 1% as perfect and beautiful as random people I come across.

I don’t know why I’m writing this post exactly.  I think I just needed to get this out of my head and onto paper (well, my computer...a word document...whatever) because it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep.

Why must I feel so emotional and become so wordy this late at night?  Why must my thoughts become stars I cannot fathom into constellations?  Why can’t I orchestrate words as poetically and perfect as John Green does?

Why must I compare myself to others and wish I had a different life when, in reality, the life God has given me is...beautiful...  It’s so beautiful.  Yet why am I so restless?  Why am I not thankful?  Well, I am thankful for it...but I’m not as satisfied as I should be.  

I don’t like being like this.  I don’t like it when my insecurities well up in my heart and spill out of my eyes in tears.

Why do I feel like this?

...I think I know why.

Because I am alive.

God has given me the power to think, to feel, to sense, to see, to taste.  But putting all of those into perspective is where finding joy in life truly lies.  He has touched my lips with the coal of burning passion to proclaim His Word.  My words may not be beautiful, but His forever will be.  I am slowly being transformed into the image of Jesus Himself.  And what greater life to live than the exact one He has blessed me with?

‘Jesus didn’t die for those who could become perfect overnight.’
- Michael Gustin


Your Word have I hidden in my heart

We are all at fault for not committing more Bible verses to memory.  Myself included.  I will readily admit that I have (numerous times) started a weekly memorization schedule that just ended up being pushed to the back of my mind.  And I’m very annoyed at myself for doing this.

Scripture memorization is one of the biggest tools in fighting everyday sins.  First off, it’s the ‘two-edged sword’ that is talked about in Hebrews 4:12:

“For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

And also, we have the greatest example of fighting temptations WITH Scripture in the Gospel according to Luke - by Jesus Himself.  

When Jesus was in the wilderness, fasting for forty days and forty nights, satan came to Him and tempted Him.  Only three of the temptations are recorded, but in verse 13, it states that, “When the devil had finished EVERY temptation, he left Him...”  But with every temptation that satan hurled at Him, Jesus said nothing else than what? A verse.

“And the devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” (Luke 4:3-4)

“And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.  Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’  Jesus answered him, ‘It is written: You shall worship the LORD Your God and serve Him only.’ ” (Luke 4:5-8)

“And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You’ and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’  And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It is said: You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.’ ” (Luke 4:9-11)  

Notice that for the third temptation, satan used none other than Jesus’ only weapon to ‘tempt’ Him.  Kinda smart, yet kinda stupid at the same time.  While trying to use the Son of God’s own strategy against Him, he is also digging himself a deeper hole because nobody can ‘beat’ Jesus, right?  Nobody can outsmart God - as we so often try to do ourselves.

And finally, satan gave up.  Verse 13 says, “When the devil had finished every temptation...”.  The power of knowing Scripture and having it at the tip of your tongue is proven in that small phrase.  Every temptation bounced off of the shield of faith.  Faith in the Word of God, faith in God Himself.  And I think this goes hand in hand with this verse in James 4:7-8a:

“Submit therefore to God.  RESIST the devil and he will FLEE from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

And also Proverbs 30:5:

“Every word of God is tested; He is a SHIELD to those who take refuge in Him.”

We have the Word of God so that we can be ready for anything, any time, anywhere.  They are His words to us.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 

And lastly, Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

“Hear, O Israel!  The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Scripture is the living and breathing Word of God.  And we must remember to treat it as such.  We should carry our Bibles around with us as frequently as our phones.  But what better way to have it as readily available as in your mind and on your tongue? 

I’m sure, like me, you have more of your favorite song lyrics filed in your brain than your favorite Bible verses.  If that’s not just me, than I certainly applaud you.  I am very guilty of this.  No, music isn’t more important to me than the Bible, but am I proving that by not having as many verses memorized as song lyrics?  Now that’s a humbling thought...

One of the biggest helps I’ve had in memorizing Scripture (and sticking to it), is to have an accountability partner.  One of my best friends and I pick three verses at the beginning of the week, and every day, we ask each other ‘Hey, have you worked on your verses?’ or ‘Hey, get off your phone and do your Bible memorization’.  Gentle reminders like that, you know?  Honestly, though, it’s been a big help to me, so I would suggest and encourage you to do the same.  Find someone who will keep you on your toes about memorizing Scripture, and who would be just as excited as you are TO memorize Scripture.

Learning things takes practice.  Memorization takes recitation.  But what better thing to learn and memorize than the words God spoke to and for us?