Thursday, January 27, 2011


Just when I think this isn't a different culture, out pops another contradiction to my perceptions. I'm choosing to think of this as a good thing: I'm not always right and it's good to remember that. On that same vein...I've been reading in the sermon on the mount again and the beatitudes have always unnerved me. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is good news if you're poor in spirit. But what about when you don't feel poor in spirit? Or you don't perceive yourself as merciful? The last thing you want to be right now is a peacemaker. Pure in heart? Not today...maybe never. I did some thinking and came to two conclusions, with the second rising from the first. On our own we can't be any of these things. We aren't any of these things. That's what Jesus came to abolish. His death satisfied the requirement God gave and that we, sinful people that we are, couldn't keep. We're too caught up in ourselves and our own comforts/desires.  Without Christ we can't be what God requires.  (Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect.) But with Christ...being in Christ...we become coheirs with Him. We are given the right to become children of God. With Christ the rewards are real. To those who receive Christ, who believe in his name: rejoice and seek the things of the kingdom! His promises are for you in Christ: you pure of will see God.
Many blessings,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hello from over here

Well. Uh...I made it. The flight was pretty uneventful and even more uncomfortable. I really enjoyed my stewardess and her sassiness. "If you absolutely need to smoke, we have special seating for you: on the wing of the plane where you will get an exclusive performance of Gone With the Wind." I snickered :)

I met my flatmate Becca at the airport and praise God for her! She's easy to talk to and very patient with a bumbling American. I know God is going to do a great thing in our flat.
I had dinner with the Chestnutt's and that was a good thing. I needed to be with folks that I knew in the middle of a whole lot of things I don't know. (and there are more than I thought...I have electric water :)

I'm super tired and having a great time with Sarah and Becca watching Big Fat Gypsy Wedding so I'm not putting everything up now. But God is at work here and I'm seeing it in little things.
Please keep praying for strength and patience as I try to figure out which way is up :)
In the hope of glory both now and in the not so distant future,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Perspectives on Hope

All the paperwork is in. An extra 150.00 dollars was required. (Hidden fees) And...I still don't know if it'll all get here in time for me to leave on Monday. 
I'm on the edge of my seat to see what God will do. I've never felt hope like this. This is the kind of hope where what I'm hoping in is not the efficiency of our esteemed government to issue this paperwork, or the efforts of our BBC short term missions office (Tina-you are an angel of mercy and a true servant of God!), but on God alone to keep his promise and to keep my sanity.  It's living in the complete assurance that God's will is supreme and good. There is no error, no oversight, no incoherent thought in the mind of God.

Hope is believing there will be a positive outcome to a particular set of events. It isn't knowing-that's something closer to expectation. Hope, on the one hand, is far more dangerous, for "what do we have if not belief?" (C.S. Lewis) But if hope-a belief that indeed God works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)-is all we have...we have much!  

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

So. We don't press on as those who have no hope. "24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (Romans 8:24-26)

Continuing in hope and in prayer,

Monday, January 17, 2011

What a way to start a trip...

For the record: I'm not a blogger. But I also don't want to force Facebook on anyone, nor do I enjoy long email lists. So the lesser of two has been selected. Enough the point!

I, as some of you may have already figured out, am not in Ireland as I had intended to be right about now. Radio may have killed the video star, but a Visa killed my trip to Kilkeel. I applied for a Visa last Monday and got all my paperwork in today rush order/expedited shipping/the whole shabang and it should arrive in New York tonight. I've also got a ticket for the 24th of January-it's pushing things, I know! But...I've not given up on this thing yet.

While these are the facts, I have to keep preaching to myself more important facts. God is good. He is wise-far wiser than I-and He is merciful. I have no doubt that there is a God-glorifying reason I didn't leave on Friday and it comes down to His love for His name and for me. It's staggering really to think that God, who loves as passionately and fully as He does, never leaves those He loves. He stands to fight for them...even when I feel He's left me standing at the station. So He's fighting battles for me now: doubt, desolation, discouragement, and (breaking with alliteration) fear.

Please join me in praying against these attacks on a struggling sinner with a strong Savior and for this Visa to come through quickly. Everything is for our sanctification-an opportunity for God to take hold of and tear away our old natures that we so fiercely cling to, though the new is here in Christ!

Peace be with you as you dwell in the love of God.