Monday, November 29, 2010

jewish quarter. jerusalem. israel.


man, does it hurt when idols fail.

it hurts like hell.


but I bless you Lord, for this pain.

it is reminding me of my need -

it is bringing me back to You.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

the work of mending.

I truly believe that God uses all things for good -

that He speaks through the details of life.

This week, He showed up in a CD.

Mumford and Sons, Sigh No More.

Thank the Lord for good words set to good music.

Nothing works so well at beginning the work of mending a broken heart.

in our midst.


the Divine Presence, the numinous immanence of God in the world, a revelation of the holy in the midst of the profane. -encyclopedia judaica.

God's manifest glory dwelling with mankind. -rabbinic judaism.



those who hear.

those who hear not the music think the dancer is mad.

-chinese proverb.

with Him.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption!

-psalm 130.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

let go.

what an incredible, perspective-shattering week this has been.

God has been showing me, ever-so-slowly, how mixed up is my understanding of grace. I continuously try to earn this gift He has already worked so hard to give me. In the back of my mind lingers the constant lie that I have to be perfect to be worthy of love - especially love so grand as His.

But this week (this year, really) God has been faithfully breaking down my misconceptions of grace and teaching me that all of my attempts to earn it are loading me down under a heavy burden of guilt.

what I do can never be enough. I am constantly failing.

In the midst of this lesson, God whispers to me:

sarah. accept my grace by offering some grace to yourself. it's ok. you are forgiven and cherished solely because I have summoned you. let it go. give me this guilt you have managed to bury yourself under and rest on my work alone. I paid a high price for you. don't brush what i did aside to try and earn it on your own. take grace. it's free.

rest in my work, not yours.

so then. once again i work to reorient myself. once again i do my best to teshuvah (turn, answer) towards what is true.

i can rest. i am free.
simply because I am His.

I am free by His work alone.

bless You Lord, for this yoke that is easy.

bless You, Lord, for the lightness of this grace.

Friday, November 26, 2010

did you see?

The great leader of nineteenth-century german orthodoxy, samson raphael hirsch, surprised his disciples one day when he insisted on traveling to switzerland. "When I stand shortly before the Almighty," he explained, "I will be held answerable to many questions...but what will I say when...and I'm sure to be asked, 'shimshon, did you see my alps?' "

-martin gordon, journal of jewish thought.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

two pockets.

Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words: "For my sake was the world created," and in his left: "I am dust and ashes."

-hasidic saying.

התבודדות - hitbodedut.

התבודדות - hitbodedut: the aloneness required for private conversation with God.

throw off the bowlines.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.

-mark twain.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


how beautiful, this grace.

so full. so light. so shocking. so true.

I deserve it not at all,

and yet

all of it, I am given.

it is boundless. inexhaustible. infinite and free.

oh, this grace,

this grace.

so beautiful.

so You.


If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally,

and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue,

and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher,

and if you are prepared most of all to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself,

then the truth will not be withheld from you.

-elizabeth gilbert.


Jesus is turning me into a crazy person.


I'm ok with it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This teaching will change your life.

go here.

download the podcast called "the prodigal sons."


be changed.

we are safe.

we cannot bury our deepest emotions,
and we cannot bow to them either.

instead, we must bring them before the Father in brave and honest prayer.

He understands our weeping.

we are safe to bring our cries to Him.

-tim keller.

Monday, November 22, 2010

some days.

some days just hit me strangely, and I go through the minutes and the hours missing Israel so badly that it hurts.

today was one of those days.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


When the spiritual realm
crashes into our reality
and makes itself known,
it is then that we remember
what is important.

When the spiritual realm
crashes into our reality
and makes itself known,
it is then that we remember
what to fear.



teach me how to pray.


If you want to know God a little better today -

if you want to get a glimpse of what He is like -

read Job 38 and 39.

How much care and pride God has for His world!

He is so wise, so sovereign, and so involved in its details.




Blessed are you, O Lord Our God, Master and King of the Universe!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


There are certain days when God just abides - when His peace bursts forth like a river and His presence is heavy and strong.

I do not think it a coincidence that those days generally follow times of struggle - times when I have felt

and broken.

Today, as I resided behind a shield of unexplainable stillness and peace, I was reminded that I serve a God who intimately knows my needs, who allows me to face only what I can bear, and who loves me with a depth that I have not even begun to understand.

Today, I rested in grace.

And for that, LORD, I am grateful.

Thank you.


Embrace relational uncertainty. It's called romance.

Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It's called mystery.

Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It's called revelation.

-mark batterson.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


You are God's servants gifted with dreams and visions.

Upon you rests the grace of God like flames of fire.

Love and serve the Lord in the strength of the spirit.

May the deep peace of Jesus be with you,

the strong arms of God sustain you,

and the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen you in every way.


love and faith. and reason.

"Love and faith are at home in the mystery of God. Let reason kneel in reverence outside."

-aw tozer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

shame. idolatry. worship.

"When I worship the idol of looking good, or being bright, or attaining power, I have put my hope in a god that has no power to rescue and redeem. That is not a problem until I need to be saved. Once I need help, the god I created sits silently. In its inactivity, it mocks my cry for help.

Shame arises when we feel deficient, yes. But far more, we feel deficient and ugly when the god we (covertly and at times unconsciously) worship lets us down and reveals the foolishness of our idolatrous trust. Shame in not primarily an experience of feeling bad or deficient as it is the exposure of foolish trust in a god who is not God.

Shame exposes what we worship."

-dan allender.

Job 1:12.

satan has to get permission, people.

God is BIGGER.

Monday, November 15, 2010

not forgotten.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

(Jesus, luke 12).

Sunday, November 14, 2010


You know what I'm beginning to realize?

Prayer is a natural expression of love.

For example, during his farewell speech to the nation of Israel, the prophet Samuel says this:

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you." (1 samuel 12:23).

and then, while reading Job this morning, I found the following:

"Early in the morning he (Job) would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, 'Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.' This was Job's regular custom." (Job 1:5).

It would seem from these two passages that

not praying = sin


praying = love, protection, care.

which means that I probably need to rethink/relearn why I pray and what I pray for.

I live in a city. Am I praying for that city?
I live with/near people. Am I praying for those people?
I am friends with people who are part of ministries far away. Am I praying for those ministries?
I know of people who are struggling in life and in faith. Am I praying for those struggles?

And do I care enough about the community I live in and the people God has placed within my reach to take a moment and bring them before the altar, before the Father?

If the answer is no, then that probably means that I don't care very much at all.

either that, or it means that I don't believe in the power of prayer.

And I don't want either of those things to be true about me.

I care.

I believe.



I will pray.


"Let me enlighten you and show you which way to go; let me offer my counsel; my eye is on you."

-psalm 32:8.

a communion of saints.

"Whatever we know about God and God's love; whatever we know about Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection - whatever we know about the Church and its ministry, is not the invention of our minds asking for an award. It is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts. True spiritual knowledge belongs to the communion of saints."

--henri nouwen.


and what blessed and life-giving communion it is!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

be at rest.

Dear soul,

Stop wallowing in despair.

Quit allowing yourself to be distracted with worry.

Cease wishing for things that cannot bring you Life.

Be at rest.

The LORD has been good to you.



Thursday, November 11, 2010


It is not my duty to convince.
It is my call and my privilege to live.


religion gives answers.
a witness asks questions.

religion says; this is what you should do.
a witness says; this is what He did.

religion fills up with knowledge.
a witness overflows with gratitude.

religion earns.
a witness is graced.

religion wants God.
a witness needs Him.

religion asks, God, where are you?
a witness says, LORD, Here am I.

religion is kind.
a witness serves.

religion holds God as a concept.
a witness beholds God as brilliant reality.

religion says, God is good.
a witness says, "depart from me, Oh LORD, for I am a man of unclean lips."

religion is calculated.
a witness is astounded.

religion worships with a song.
a witness worships with A LIFE.


do not.

"do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom."

- Jesus.


"remember that the task is to move through your wounds, not to live in them. Don't waste time by thinking, acting, or praying like a victim. Feeling victimized only adds to your illness, and should it become a full-time state of mind, it would qualify as an illness itself."

- caroline myss.

"for God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, and of SELF-DISCIPLINE."

- 2 timothy.


I've quoted this verse on my blog about a hundred times - and I do it so often because it's one I want desperately to sink in.

(faith by osmosis, right MP?).

I am convinced that we have the power to choose blessings over curses, growth over bitterness, and joy over mourning, every single day.

God gave us that power.

because no matter what, we always have hope.

And when we turn our hearts towards that hope - the hope in our ultimate redemption - we open our eyes to seeing God and His work.

and what better encouragement can there be than that?

a word of His power.

"If the distance between the earth and the sun (92 million miles) was reduced to the thickness of a sheet of paper, then the distance between the earth and the nearest star would be a stack of papers 70 feet high, and the diameter of the galaxy would be a stack of paper 310 miles high - and yet the galaxy is nothing but a speck of dust, virtually, in the whole universe, and the Bible says that Jesus Messiah holds this whole universe together with a WORD of His power - His pinkie, as it were.

... this the kind of person you ask into your life to be your assistant?


question of the day: am I available to God, or do I expect God to be available to me?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


"God be in my head and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes and in my looking.
God be in my mouth and my speaking.
God be in my tongue and in my tasting.
God be in my lips and in my greeting.

God be in my nose and in my inhaling.
God be in my ears and in my hearing.
God be in my neck and in my humbling.
God be in my shoulders and in my bearing.
God be in my back and in my standing.

God be in my arms and in my reaching/receiving.
God be in my hands and in my working.
God be in my legs and in my walking.
God be in my feet and in my grounding.
God be in my joints and in my relating.

God be in my guts and in my feeling.
God be in my bowels and in my forgiving.
God be in my loins and in my swiving.
God be in my lungs and in my breathing.
God be in my heart and in my loving.

God be in my skin and in my touching.
God be in my flesh and in my paining/pining.
God be in my blood and in my living.
God be in my bones and in my dying.
God be at my end and at my reviving."

-reverend jim cotter, prayer at night.


"morals won't get you into God's story. God has to come in to your story."

-tim keller.


we live in grace, only by His grace.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


unemployed. success.

living with my parents. independence.

failed relationship. romance.

physical issues. health.

dwindling funds. self-provision.

unknown future. control.


Hm. I have a sneaky suspicion that God is trying right now to teach me about where my true identity, value, and security are found...


God. character.

God. dependence.

God. love.

God. strength.

God. manna.

God. trust.




"I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart FREE."

-psalm 119.

Monday, November 8, 2010


"gossip is slander: it is soul murder." -dan allender.

...let your conversation be always full of grace.

-colossians 4.


- ambrose t-shirt.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

i have no idea.

"my frame was not hidden from You
when i was made in the secret place.
when i was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Your eyes saw my unformed body.
all the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be."

-psalm 139.


trying to get my heart to trust in this verse tonight. and wishing i could get a look at the next few chapters of that book.

i have no idea how to move forward.

which probably means that God wants me to keep




the problem is, i don't want to do those things anymore.

i want to move forward.

but the question of moving forward keeps getting met with




and so i continue to wait.

but in the midst of my waiting,

my heart can't seem to stop

asking the question:

"how long,


how long?"

bright hope.

"If we are willing not to hide under despair, but to call forth to those who abandon us - even more, to call forth to the One who seems to have turned His face - we will discover the paradox of His presence in the midst of His absence. Or, more accurately said, we will find Him after we have given up making Him in our image. Despair exposes our emptiness and the futility of our idol-making. If our hearts hunger for Him, then despair is our ally, our friend, our guide, opening our hearts to the bright hope of seeing His face."

- dan allender.

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."

- romans 5.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

you can't and you can.

"you can’t serve God + money.
you can’t have a light + direct its illumining.
you can’t be above loneliness + experience intimacy.
you can’t be everyone’s best friend + a best friend.
you can’t live in the past + experience the now.
you can’t live in the future + enjoy the now.

and now, a few more:

you can find yourself in Someone else.
you can be in love and have a best friend.
you can have your love as your best friend.
you can ask. and ask and ask and ask and ask. for anything.
you can trust.
you can change."

- MP


claim it, sister.

a new kind of ok.

God's grace is so refreshing. And it shows up in the most surprising of places. I had a rough couple days this week, battling with a lot of fear and unrest. In the midst of it all, I cried out to God, and He answered with such interesting grace. So interesting and so funny that my heart can't seem to stop thinking on it and reflecting in its light and feeling grateful to this God who lets me call Him my own - this God who summons me and offers me His Name.

It feels like falling in love.

Last night, I listened to a Tim Keller sermon about the shock and oddity of Paul's claims to the new believers that it didn't matter if a person decided to get married or be single or stay a widower - all ways were good.

Why could Paul claim this to a society whose lifeblood was the family?

Because now we have JESUS.

Jesus. lover of souls. provider. identity-maker. value-giver. protector. companion. the ultimate bridegroom.

On top of that, we get to be part of a community of believers that offers many of those very same things.

We are surrounded, on all sides, by love.

What blessing. What privilege. What comfort. What joy.

No matter our status or circumstances, we'll be ok, because God set up for us a community of people that takes care of each other.

We'll be ok because Jesus loves all of us more than we could ever need.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


an old journal entry:

“LORD. I choose today to believe that you are purposeful, that you are moving in the details of my life, that you are involved and that you are leading me somewhere.

help me not to be discouraged. forgive me when I fail to recognize You or give You credit.

give me ears to hear.

eyes to see.

a heart that understands.

Your works are wonderful LORD.



a reminder I needed today.

God’s works ARE wonderful.

and they are constant, too.


“We can tell the world there is life after death, but the world really seems to be wondering if there is life before death.”

- shaine claiborne.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


"Sadly, many assume that the more we mature, the less we desire. In fact, the more we grow, the more we hunger for what only heaven can provide. And yet earthly tastes, senses, and passions provide a picture of the ultimate redemption of all things. To desire heaven is not to desire earth less; it is to desire earth so deeply that it draws our heart to an anticipation of ecstasy in the light of God's embrace."

- dan allender.


waiting in the spaces.

“there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled.

a space

and even during the
best moments
the greatest

we will know it.

we will know it
more than

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled


we will wait

in that

(Charles bukowski).


bukowski's words
are true
but only in part


our hearts
will never be fully satisfied
until the day when God comes crashing in
to this space
with the fullness of
His fiery and radiant redemption.

and that’s ok.

because redemption IS coming.

the LORD’s zeal
right now
is bringing it to pass.

we do, in fact, wait in charles bukowski’s “space.”
but we do not wait for nothing.

we do not wait in vain.


we wait in hope.
we wait with vision.
we wait by grace.

we wait

until the day comes
when we will
live in



and it is my hope
that from this day
to that one

each day
I will grow

like Jesus

in the midst of my waiting.

Monday, November 1, 2010


"He has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only."

- cs lewis.