Friday, December 27, 2013


I'm not going all elemental on you with these titles. Promise. It's just the way it worked out.

Dad suggested I read through John over the break, and since he is utterly wise, I'm doing as he said.  So far it's been great, and I'm only to chapter 4.  I got to one of my very favorite verses this morning, John 3:8.  Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus and He says, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

First off, isn't that beautiful?  Just take a minute and reread that verse and think of the wind.  So it is with the Spirit.  Second, I found out some cool information while researching deeper into this passage.  In the Greek language, the same word is used for "wind" and "spirit": pneuma.  The term evolved from a description of an elemental, vital, dynamic wind or breath into a more specific breath blowing from the invisible realms...more of a reference to the Holy Spirit of the Lord as it is used 345 times in the New Testament of the Bible.  This breath of life is the Spirit that gives us new life in Christ.  I love that these words are interchangeable.  They are dynamic, moving as the air around us.

This idea of movement is extremely applicable to the Christian life.  God never calls us to be stagnant.  We are to continuously grow and learn in Him, going wherever He may call, wherever His Spirit (this wind John is talking about) takes us.  Hillsong United has a song dealing with exactly this issue.  If you haven't heard "Oceans" here's the link It's totally worth listening to the whole thing, trust me.

But the chorus of this song is what I really want to focus on:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Wow.  Yes.  This is my prayer because I'm so afraid of the unknown.  I'm afraid of the future, of not having hard and fast plans, of not being assured of anything other than that my Savior is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Which is enough.  Lord, let it be enough.  It takes me to John 3:30 when John the Baptist says of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease."  The more that I allow Jesus to fill me up, the less room for me and my selfish desires and sinful nature there is.  The more clearly am I able to shine forth the light of Jesus because it's not fogged up by all the junk of moi.

So Spirit lead me where I have never been before, wherever I may be called.  Take me deeper.  I hear the wind, the breath of life God sends to me as the Holy Ghost, and I will follow though I might not know where I'm going.  Honestly, this prayer scares me.  But it also reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia when Mr. Beaver responds like this to Lucy asking if Aslan is safe:  "Safe?  Who said anything about safe?  'Course he isn't safe.  But he's good.  He's the King, I tell you."  Amen.  God is good.  He is always good.

The wind is blowing.  The Spirit is leading.  Aslan is on the move.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


"Now I see fire inside the mountain, I see fire burning the trees.  And I see fire hollowing souls, and I see fire, blood in the breeze.  And I hope that you remember me."

That's the chorus to the song Ed Sheeran wrote for the credits of the new Hobbit movie that was just released. The song is beautiful - lyrically genius for all of my fellow Tolkien nerds out there - and it's acoustic Ed at his best. But beyond those aspects, I've been weirdly affected by this song. I can't stop listening to it, and I couldn't figure out why until today, which is why I'm finally blogging after approximately 7 months. Haha, oops. This seems to be a pattern...

For those of you who haven't seen the newest installment of Peter Jackson's (loosely-based on the actual book -_-) Hobbit trilogy, the second movie ends with Smaug leaving the mountain and heading to Laketown (that's not a spoiler, I promise). And Bilbo climbs up onto this rock, looking after the dragon and says, "What have we done?"  I loved that ending despite my complaining about other portions of the film.  I love it because there's this promise of fire, death, destruction, and Bilbo realizes he and the dwarves are responsible for a large portion of what's to come, good and bad. "What have we done?" I find myself asking that question in my own life - "what have I done?"  Hindsight is always 20/20, and I wish so often for a time machine to go back and change things I say and do in the past.

And this is where Ed's lyrics come in, at the end of the chorus:  "And I hope that you remember me."  Through all of the things I do and all of the experiences and happenings in this world, that is my prayer. "God, please remember me."  Honesty hour:  I felt distant from God for a large portion of this semester.  Just like the dwarves headed back to Erebor, I saw fire inside the mountain, I saw burning trees, I saw blood in the breeze.  And I kept asking myself where God was in it.  "Do you remember me, Jesus??" It became less of a prayer and more of a question.  I started doubting God's love and goodness, despite His obvious provision in my life.

In the past weeks, though (I think finishing the semester had a lot to do with the timing...), God started to soften my heart again. He revealed great kindness to me through my friends here in Albuquerque. He quieted my soul.  He reminded me that even when I am faithless, He is faithful because He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). He showed me that when I look back, aghast - questioning like Bilbo, "What have I done?" - that He is bigger than that, He is in the fire and the bloody breeze.  He showed me that not only does He remember me always, He consistently works on my behalf.

I still don't get this world.  I never will. I don't understand the death, the sadness, the suffering.  Why do good people get taken from this world too soon?  Why are beautiful young children torn from life in these horrific school shootings? Why must war continue and my friends and my friends' family members be called upon to put themselves in harms' way? A lot of my time is taken up by this sort of worry. But today I read George Whitefield's sermon entitled "Contemplating Christmas."  He says, "Let your time be spent in thinking and talking of the love of Jesus, who was incarnate for us, who was born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem us from the wrath to come."  I'm trying to refocus now, fixing my eyes on the love of Jesus, asking the Holy Spirit to convict me, to teach me, to guide me.  Allowing the love of Christ and the miracle of His birth to mold my heart this Christmas especially.

It's going to take time, that's for sure, but my pastor directed us to Revelation this past Sunday, and spoke on Revelation 1:17-18 where Jesus says, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades."  Now here's the spoiler alert: Jesus wins. In fact, He already won. There's fire in the mountain because the devil hates defeat, but Jesus holds the keys. And Jesus Christ leaves us with this truth: "Fear not. I remember you. Always."