Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 14 - Definition of a Christian

Today's MMM is extremely short and said by someone infinitely wiser than I, whose words convict, challenge and point back to our only hope--Jesus Christ.

"A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him." --Charles Spurgeon

Such is the life of a light. Such is the life we are to radiate to all we encounter, always ready to give an answer for the hope (and joy) that lies within us.

I'm praying his quote will be true in my life and the lives of believers everywhere.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


The following is a raw, unedited journal entry from yesterday.
I don't know if anyone else will be able to identify with the internal struggle going on in my heart and mind yesterday, but encouragement for any and every reader is the goal of this "blog."
God, be glorified. Use my hurts to bring healing to others. 

Somedays I have to repeat "Take every thought captive" to myself almost every second. My brain and imagination begin working (often in contrast to God's Word and will) and discontentment settles in faster than water in a puddle.

Today is one of those days. 

"For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but we have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."  --2 Corinthians 10:4-5

(First off, just let it soak in that we have divine power to destroy strongholds.)

The mind is the threshold of spiritual warfare and I am feeling the oppression and harsh reality of wartime right now. Perhaps it's due to this being Wednesday and the enemy wants to thwart my gaze off the Lord because of True Beauty tonight or maybe it's something completely different simply designed to sharpen and sanctify me. 

God is so good that He will use everything--the good, the bad and the ugly to "bring us to completion," although sometimes being shaped and molded like the piece of clay we are is more painful and obvious. Again, this is one of those times.

With holiness a pursuit and godliness the aim, I desperately desire a life saturated in Christ's love and goodness. Yet this poking (of discontentment) in my imagination and heart keep occurring, more frequently over the past few days, and my gaze is shifting slowly but surely off Christ and on myself. 

Dreams over the past week have been intense, very real and difficult to push aside. What makes it more difficult is that I rarely dream. My sister lovingly and wisely pointed out these dreams to be an attack from Satan. Upon further prayer and investigation I believe she's right. I've allowed these dreams to have my thoughts and attention throughout my waking hours, which means what? My thoughts and attention were on me.

Discontentment roared its ugly head and selfishness came quickly.

Today I just keep whispering "take every thought captive to obey Christ," and it is crazy how powerful it is just to say those words. It's like God's Word is living and active. Weird.

It is my firm belief that thankfulness is an antidote to discontentment, therefore I will make a list (it's what I do).


  • God's Word
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Blue ink pens
  • Palm trees
  • My job that hardly feels like a job
  • My family
  • Water
  • Fall
  • God overcoming the enemy and conquering evil
  • Shoes
  • Ponytail holders
  • Coffee
  • Blankets
  • Black babies
  • Our supreme and awesome Creator
  • Joy despite trials
  • Post-it notes
  • Sunshine
  • Open windows
  • Lists
  • Encouragement
  • Examples of Christians before us (Paul, Peter, Elisabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael, etc.)
  • This particular moment God has me in for His purpose and glory, preparing me for a future only He can see.

You are so faithful. You are Redeemer, Refuge, Fortress, Strong Tower, Champion, Father and King. Thank You for salvation and for blessing us with every spiritual blessing. You are so good and Your love endures forever.

Lord, I ask for Your help today. Help me to be content. Content in the circumstances You have me in and the people You've placed around me. Swallow my pride in Your grace and may You receive glory from this day and all that is in it. Help me to live in the freedom You died for and not be so easily entangled by sin and a willingness to pick up and cuddle discontentment and self-pity. 

You are worthy of everything, Lord, and I want to give that to You. Use even this feeble attempt to worship and be glorified in all the earth. Let all the people of the world know that You are God and there is none beside You. You are God and they will all one day bow to You. Oh, God, let it be sooner than later. 

Save to the uttermost, God. Rend the heavens and come down. Fill us with You and touch this dying world once again, Father. Thank You for Your bloody and beautiful cross and for taking my sin and shame upon it. You are so good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You Light Up My Life

We all know the Bible says Jesus is the light of the world and in Him there is no darkness.

We also know "You Light Up My Life" are lyrics in a terribly cheesy Whitney Houston song. But when you drop the you at the beginning those four words become a request, and one I've prayed frequently over the last few weeks.

 Check out this quote from Amy Carmichael written in the early 1900s (there are so many similarities to the American church in this):

"Constantly Amy prayed, and asked her 'prayer warriors' to pray, that those who joined them would be sent by the Lord of the Harvest. No others would be able to "stem the tide, keep facing upstream," no other would "keep on fire. And truly on fire they must be if they are to set the native church on fire, for it is wrapped round and round in wet blankets of the devil's own weaving and soaking."" 

 Why fire? Why must the church be lit? Amy Carmichael wasn't the only one who said such things. Why, many ancient saints have voiced such cries, some not so ancient.

Jim Elliot, missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador who was martyred by the very ones his team was sharing with, said this:

"God, I pray Thee, light up these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus." 

Again, why fire? Maybe it's about being a light like Jesus, or maybe it's more than that. The following quote is attributed to John Wesley:

"When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn."

Maybe its because fire spreads quickly. It affects everything it encounters, setting ablaze everything it touches.

As believers, we have the light of Christ in us and we hold out the Word of life to all those around us. His light and loved lived out through us will attract others and our mission is to make disciples, planting and watering seeds of the Gospel and watching God give the increase (setting others on fire).

God, help me to be set on fire for You and let all the people be touched by Your consuming fire.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 13 - Hide and Seek?

I have a simple mind. Maybe that's why chocolate wrappers and tiny things like that speak to me. 

This chocolate wrapper especially struck me.

Lose yourself in a moment.

As I read that I was struck by the inconsistencies of the human race. People go to far away colleges and on world-wide voyages to escape current situations so we can "find ourselves," but then when we get there what happens? Dove chocolate tells us to lose ourselves in a moment.

Wait, wait, wait. Are we supposed to find ourselves or lose ourselves?

It is my belief that we "find ourselves" but then want to just as quickly "lose ourselves" (even if only for a moment) because we're actually not happy nor content with our "finding." 

I mean, let's be honest, the more we dig into ourselves the unhappier we become as we realize we aren't all there is to life. That's why we (think we have to) go to far away lands to discover what we're really about. 

The little chocolate wrapper is partially right though (and therein lies its danger). You do need to lose yourself. "Lose," as in 86 your life, nix yourself, give yourself the slip. 

"And (Jesus) said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)

 In contrast to the glorious inheritance we receive upon losing ourselves for the Lord's sake, "finding ourselves" just isn't that glamourous. 

"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say we have not sinned, we make [God] a liar, and His word is not in us." (1 John 1:8,10 ESV)

"Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool." (Proverbs 28:26 ESV)

"For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." (Mark 7:21-23 ESV) 

"And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." (Mark 10:18 ESV)

The list of verses proving our depravity go on. We have to first lose ourselves and our pride before we can realize and accept the fact that we are a helpless and hopeless people without the grace and mercy of the holy and just God of the universe. 

So I admonish you to indeed lose yourselves.

Don't gain the whole world and lose your soul.

Instead, lose yourself in the greatest exchange of all times; not to escape or evade the reality of this present life, but to accept the pardon of a gracious and perfect God who sent His Son to die for our sinful and wicked selves.

Studies show that 10 out of 10 people die, so what will it profit you if you base all happiness on something (this life) you will one day lose? Therefore, lose your life now so you may keep it for eternity, that is what God is asking of you today.

Ironically enough, a synonym for "lose" is unburden. 

Therefore, unburden yourself and turn to Jesus, the One who bore your burden so you wouldn't have to. 

May it one day be said of you:

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:1-9 ESV) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 12 - Our Great God

"No unbelief made (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."
(Romans 4:20-21 ESV)

Fully convinced. I want to be fully convinced that God is faithful to do big things, things bigger than anything I could ask, think or imagine.

Things so big, if God doesn't come through they will never happen.

Yesterday morning at church our pastor spoke on faith versus worry and how asking God for big things honors Him.

He told me the same thing a week ago and after repenting of limiting God by human logic and asking God to help me believe Him for big huge things, I read a part of A Chance to Die, the biography of Amy Carmichael (missionary to India. She rescued Indian girls and raised them as her own, she was like Katie Davis before Katie was even thought of)  that jumped off the page and nestled deep into my heart.

In the early 1900s, Amy saw, for the first time, the need for boys to be rescued from trafficking and idol worship as were her girls, but he didn't know where the men for that job would come from.

After asking numerous people for guidance and help, she realized she was looking at the wrong source for help. She began praying and this is what happened:

"The matter of where the needed men would come from was settled finally, in the forest again, this time not by the quiet pool but by a waterfall. Watching the ceaseless cataract pouring down from above she "heard a voice from heaven, the voice of many waters, 'Can I who do this, not do that?'" Spiritually, in that hour, the work for boys began."

Wow. What a tremendous encouragement and beautiful reminder-- God is infinitely bigger than I picture Him. And for Him to breathe the stars into being and waterfalls into existence is no more difficult (for nothing is difficult for God) than saving all my True Beauty girls, helping Oak Grove take the Gospel to the world, supplying 50 people to support the magazine, providing for Real Truth Matters's every need, or give me a car.

To come boldly before God (Hebrews 4:16) has taken on a whole new meaning since yesterday morning's church service when Bro. Michael defined bold as:

Bold = Praying and seeking God for things much bigger than our capacity.

God is huge and therefore we can ask huge things from Him. Let's ask big things from Him, but don't leave it at that. Believe Him for big things. And more than that, be fully convinced He is able to do what He has promised. Let's stake it all on Christ. He is sufficient.

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" -Luke 11:13

Oh, Lord, grow my faith and help my unbelief. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 11 - Fairy Tales

Once upon a time there was a 23 year old girl who loved blue ink pens, pumpkin spice lattes, camping and Hallmark movies. 

She loved the Lord more than anything in the world and would be perfectly content curled up with a good book and a steaming cup of coffee as the hours ticked by, or perhaps just a journal and an ink pen (preferably blue) by the fireplace. 

In fact, that's where the following blog was conceived. She hopes it encourages you. 

Hallmark movies are so wholesome and sweet and, although thoroughly predictable, I genuinely look forward to watching each new movie they produce. I get swept up in the (predictable) love story, the quirky characters and the impossible situation which true love always overcomes.

Today, as I was washing dishes I realized those movies probably weren't the best thing for my heart.

I mean, they are nothing more than fairy tales. Fictional stories. Nothing but unrealistic fantasies that cause women (and maybe men?) to set standards for a relationship/marriage so high no human could possibly reach.

And, as I continued washing the casserole pans and giant pumpkin-carving knives, it hit me. No, not the knives, thankfully, but the realization that even though I'm single, I'm a part of a love story that puts even the greatest fairy tales to shame.

God, the Creator of the Universe, has redeemed me from my sins, my morality and my good works--which were taking me straight to hell--and lifted me from that path to destruction and sat my foot firmly on the rock- Jesus. Now that very same God, the One who called stars into being and who took the death I deserved, calls me His bride.

What? Yeah. I'm the bride of Christ.


And what a wedding feast it will be when He returns for His Church. We really will live happily ever after.

For eternity.

What a celebration of love.
What a Savior.
What a marriage.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;

be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your Husband,
the LORD of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.
(Isaiah 54:4-5 ESV)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Help Take the Gospel to the Nations

The following is from Real Truth Matter's website, updating you on the magazine (and all the countries it has been downloaded in!) and asking you to prayerfully consider making a $10/month recurring donation to help take the Gospel and proclaim the name of Jesus to more people in even more countries. Please read, be encouraged, and prayerfully give. 

Thank you for your prayers for the magazine- God is moving! I am so humbled and thankful to be a part of His redemptive work around the nations. God is so good! 

It is exciting to see what God's been doing with the new RTM Magazine. Thus far the iPad app has been downloaded in the U.S. and around the world in countries such as Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, Canada, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK, Indonesia, and even the closed country of China. 
Even though we've invested a lot of work into the creation of the magazine, it doesn't feel like work. We are simply watching God bring to pass what He has called into being. 

We are moving forward with the second issue, and we want to make it available to as many people as possible. To do so, we'd like to lay out before you a vision on how that can be accomplished. 
As of right now, the app is only available for iPads; and even there it is limited. The magazine is not available in the Apple Newsstand, and the app has to be re-downloaded with every single issue as the current app will not automatically update. 
We can publish the magazine digitally where it will be available on all smart phones and tablets. It will not be limited to just the iPad. Additionally, it will be accessible through the Apple Newsstand where it can be viewed as digital magazines were intended to be seen. The cost to do this will be $500 a month, which includes all fees required for Adobe and Apple to be digital publishers. 
We believe this is how God is leading us in publishing the magazine. It is not a nicety but a way to get teaching, testimonies, and the Gospel in the hands of as many people as possible as easily as possible. 
In seeking God for His provision for the magazine, we sense His leading in asking others from the body to be a part of the magazine with us. If the Lord leads just 50 people to donate $10 a month toward the magazine, the need will be met by our Father through the body. We are asking that if the Lord so leads that you would set up a recurring donation of $10 a month in order to make this resource accessible to more people. 
We are all partners in the spreading of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this is one way in which you can see that partnership fulfilled. We do not make our specific needs known when it comes to our day to day operations, but it is often easier to get involved when you can see how your support is being used specifically. 
You can set up a recurring donation through our website, and together we can see God take something as simple as a digital magazine and spread the name of Jesus Christ around the world.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 10 - Rebuke, Encouragement and Things I Hate

Sometimes I think I receive encouragement differently than most people.

I (usually) don’t enjoy compliments. Mostly because I don’t believe they are given sincerely. False flattery is probably No. 3 on the list of things Sophie hates. Apparently it makes me so mad I speak in third person. (For those of you wondering, sin is No. 1 followed by a deep abhorrence to candy corn.)

The order of importance there is still a little sketchy. Mice are on that list too. Probably ahead of candy corn.

I digress.

The way I do receive encouragement and feel the most loved by people is when they rebuke me.

You know someone really loves you when they sacrifice both their comfort and yours for the sake of something greater.

As always, the Bible says it best (I mean, it’s hard to beat the whole God-inspired-Word stuff).

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.” –Proverbs 27:5-7

The awesome thing about receiving a rebuke from someone is that when those same people offer you compliments or encouraging words you know they are genuine—they have proven they can be trusted.

The Latest Rebuke

Sometimes rebuke comes from the most unlikely places. Most of the time it comes from sermons, books or my closest friends (I know they’re my closest friends because they love me enough to point out things I’m blinded to, sins, areas needing growth, etc.), but the last zing of conviction and rebuke came from Lecrae.

Yes. Lecrae. The rapper. If you don’t know who he is, look him up. You’ll get more theology in one song than in most American church services every week. Combined.

The rebuke came from a line in “Boasting,” one of my all-time favorite Lecrae songs. If you don’t know it you can watch the video/lyrics here.

Glory was solely meant for You,Doing what no one else could do.With all I have to giveI’ll use my life, I’ll use my lips.I’ll only glory in Your Word, a gift to me I don’t deserve.I’ll live in such a way that it reflects to You my praise.

The rebuke came gently but firmly.

How many times do I pray for God to use me but (sometimes subconsciously) have a preconceived idea of what that will look like? I fear that so often He wants to use me but because of anxiety, intimidation, pride and all kinds of other stupid things, I don’t open my mouth—a tool He has given each of us to use for His glory, purposes and divine use. I ask to be used but don't use what He's already given me. That's just silly.

“With all I have to give I’ll use my life, I’ll use my lips.”

So God, here am I, send me. Send me to the farthest regions of the world or just to a hurting person right here. Use me to speak grace, life, love and hope to everyone I encounter in the form of Your glorious Gospel upon which You gave Your life and I now stake mine.


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