Author: Beth
•Sunday, April 26, 2009

Once upon a time...

A girl likes to get all "dressed up" ...

And eat amazing food by candlelight...

Served by a wonderful and gentlemanly waiter...

Along with many dear friends...

But best of all...

A handsome, wonderful, godly, protective, wise, and loving date. :)

Thanks for a lovely evening, Daddy. I love you!
Author: Beth
•Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I know I've dropped off the face of the earth lately. In between school, work, church responsibilities, friends, and finishing my Capstone paper that was breathing down my neck, it resulted in a pretty insane week and many sleepless nights. I found this humorous article that I wrote awhile back and thought I would post it here. It just seemed to fit with this week. ;-)

The Obituary of Procrastination

It was inevitable. Sooner or later, his time had to come. My close friend, Tim E. Procrastination, has finally been laid to rest, after dying right at the last minute. As I enshroud the last remnants of his existence, I reflect on the impact and reputation that he left behind.

Although uncertain about the exact date of birth, Procrastination is commonly thought to have come into being about the same time as his rival, Hard Work. Both were inseparable since the beginning, although many would remark that they often seemed to be heading in opposite directions.

Procrastination was an inventor, by profession, although many of his pet projects never paid up in the end. His work was known to have widespread influence over everything from Internet surfing to bathroom scales. He was particularly popular among the college crowd … coming up with such creative outlets such as caffeine addictions and all-nighters.

Unfortunately, things quickly took a turn for the worse, leaving Procrastination with a notorious reputation. He lived a full and varied life, but sadly could never seem to get to the end of anything. Procrastination was tried and convicted of thievery, after an investigation done by employers and school administrators around the country. He was found to be mentally unstable, constantly barraging others with self-sabotage and suicide attempts… especially by those aforementioned, sleep-deprived college kids who tried to make up their grades after spending so much time with him. Most notably, he was the one-handed assassin of the beloved Opportunity, on one fateful day when he came knocking.

Procrastination will be buried in an unmarked grave. True to character, the arrangements never got around to being completed. Memorial contributions may be made to the Workaholics Fund, an account set up for consoling the survivors left behind.

Perhaps it is for the best. Procrastination, may you rest in peace, as the rest of us toil on without you.

Author: Beth
•Sunday, April 12, 2009
"Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen, as He said." - Matthew 28:5

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

Because He lives, all fear is gone;

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living ... just because He lives!

- Bill Gaither

Author: Beth
•Friday, April 10, 2009

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:21

This is a very sobering reminder of the utter seriousness of our sin in the sight of God. Jesus, the most perfect and pure One, took our place and satisfied justice so that we might be free from the curse.


What kind of love is this?

Author: Beth
•Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A few weeks ago, I was driving home and had to pass through a construction zone. I don’t know why, but those places always make me nervous. On this night, it was particularly unsettling, because the traffic was set up so that the cars had to pass under the overpass bridge that they were tearing down. Few things are more disconcerting on the road than driving by as a weird-looking machine bites into the concrete right next to you. :-) The dust showers gave an ominous misty look in the air reflected in the spotlights. Of course, I knew that the construction workers are just doing their job and the traffic controllers would not intentionally send cars through a dangerous spot, but I was still quite grateful to be past the site and on to the wide, open road once again.

That little road scene was brought to mind as I thought about how God works in our lives as well. Sometimes we have to pass through the construction zone. It can be messy, annoying, and even a little bit scary. But in the end, we know that the road will be better because of it.

As I look back through my old journals contemplating my desire to travel, I thought about titling it “Caution: God at work.” Sometimes the desires of our hearts have to be purified before God can allow them to take place. In the middle of that heart construction, however, God always teaches us more about Himself if we watch for it. The one thing He continually pressed upon my heart during that time was this simple truth:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

I don’t know anything about the construction of roads, but I do know that God is mapping out a course for each of His children. Sometimes it requires bumps in the road… other times it requires “traveling” by faith as God maneuvers us around the bends and curves. Most of the time, we don’t know where we’re going next – and the scenery doesn’t always look the way we want it to.

But, let me tell you… there is nothing more amazing than looking back and seeing that His way was a perfect preparation for a future that only He could see.

I’ve seen it. Praise God for His loving care to give us exactly what we need for each stage of life – more of Himself.

Author: Beth
•Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Before I get too far in my “worldwide classroom” thoughts, I wanted to take a minute to point out a caveat that specifically applies to the viewpoint of world missions. To put it bluntly: I want to make sure that, although God has put a desire in me to travel and do some foreign mission work, it is not mistaken as somehow more important or more significant than other forms of serving God.

I have seen an unfortunate emphasis on young people who go away to do mission work … as if sharing the gospel in a foreign country will somehow earn a brighter jewel in your crown than sharing the gospel with your next door neighbor. I want to be very careful here to not put mission trips on a pedestal, which could lead to an unhealthy pressure on those going as well as those sending them. However, on the flip side, I also want to make sure to give God due glory for the way He HAS used people in other lands to do great things.

One of the most significant things that God taught me through my desire to travel was to treasure my mission field at home. As ironic as it seems, I knew that if I couldn’t get out of my comfort zone and share the gospel here in my hometown, I couldn’t expect myself to do it on some foreign soil. If I could only see the needs far away - and not the ones right around me, it was a sure sign that I needed to get my relationship with God on track. My world classroom begins right at home.

John Piper gives possibly one of the best explanations of home missions that I have read.

“Foreign missions is a validation of all ministries of mercy at home because it exports them abroad. Planting the church in an unreached people means planting the base of operations for all the mercy Jesus commanded for the poor. If we don’t let our light shine before the people at home “so that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16), what kind of obedience will we export to the nations? …

“The people who stay in the homeland are surrounded by need. We only need eyes to see and hearts that can’t walk by on the other side. This challenge is not separate from the challenge of missions. Showing practical mercy to the poor displays the beauty of Christ at home and makes the exportation of the Christian faith credible. We are hypocrites to pretend enthusiasm for overseas ministry while neglecting the miseries at home. There was something wrong with the priest and the Levite in the story of the good Samaritan, who had their distant religious aims but where not moved by suffering close at hand where they would have to get their own hands dirty. Ministries of mercy close at hand validate the authenticity of our distant concerns.” (from John Piper’s book: Don’t Waste Your Life)

It is my earnest prayer that we would keep our eyes heavenward and concern ourselves with glorifying God by serving Him wholeheartedly wherever we are. After all, He is the same God both here and there.
Author: Beth
•Tuesday, April 07, 2009

In preparation for an announcement / prayer request that I’m going to be posting soon, I wanted to share a summary of something that God has been teaching me in the last several years. I shared a very brief version of this with my church last Lord’s Day evening, and had some time today to write it down in a series of articles that I hope it will be an encouragement to you.

It all started with a globe.

My earliest memory of geography lessons as a child consisted of spinning a world globe around and watching the countries fly past my eyes. Sometimes, I would suddenly stop the globe and see where my finger landed. China… Brazil…Mozambique… England… they were nothing more than odd green shapes on a round ball. Yet, even my childish mind could grasp that it stood for something bigger – something that was outside the walls of my house and the paved sidewalks of my neighborhood.

The globe that started my wanderlust has long since gathered dust, but the feeling still remains. The stories of Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, and Jim Elliot would play over and over in my mind. I knew that someday … someday, I wanted to travel too.

As I grew older, the questions began. Okay, God, where? When? How? As time went on, it was obvious that this was a desire that God was not going to answer right away. Doors would open and phone calls would come, but God would patiently and lovingly close the doors each time.

“Not yet, my child, not yet.”

Oswald Chambers once said “If our hopes are being disappointed right now, it means they are being purified … one of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God.” Waiting on God’s timing for our heart’s desires can sometimes be the most difficult of tasks… but also one of the most rewarding when our faith is strengthened and our hope placed more securely in the One who can fulfill His plans for us.

I wanted to travel. I wanted to see the places beyond the oceans, to look into the faces of people who were living and breathing around the world. I wanted to see the same God who was in my little neighborhood working in the farthest away country.

A few summers ago, I remember struggling particularly with this desire to go somewhere. God had been calling friends to do great things around the world. I would listen to their exciting adventures and how God used them to lead souls to Christ in other lands … and deep down, I would wonder if God had forgotten about me. Why would God have me stay home instead of doing something big for Him? Aren’t we supposed to be world-changers? How am I supposed to make a difference by staying here?

Looking back, I realized that God had several lessons in store for me to learn… several things that would prepare me to have a greater “ripple effect” later on. God just had to get my heart in the right place first.

I thought I would share a couple of those thoughts with ya’ll in the next few days. Hopefully it’ll give you encouragement to trust God with your dreams as well … and be encouraged that God isn’t finished with any of us yet. :)

[Coming soon…]
Here and There ... - ... “Caution: God at Work” ...

Author: Beth
•Saturday, April 04, 2009
(an excerpt from Elisabeth Elliot's book: Secure in the Everlasting Arms. )

"Amy Carmichael gives a beautiful illustration from nature of perfect peace. The sun bird, one of the tiniest of birds, a native to India, builds a pendant nest, hanging by four frail threads, generally from a spray of valaris. It is a delicate work of art, with its roof and tiny porch, which a splash of water or a child's touch might destroy. She tells how she saw a little sun bird building such a nest just before the monsoon season, and felt that for once bird wisdom had failed - for how could such a delicate structure, in such an exposed situation, whether the winds and torrential rains? The monsoon broke and from her window she watched the nest swaying with the branches in the wind. Then she perceived that the nest had been so placed that the leaves immediately above it formed little gutters which carried the water away from the nest. There sat the sun bird, with its tiny head resting on her little porch, and whenever a drop of water fell on her long curved beak, she sucked it in as if it were nectar. The storms raged furiously, but the sun bird sat, quiet and unafraid, hatching her tiny eggs.

We have a more substantial rest for head and heart than the sun bird's porch! We have the promises of God. They are enough, however terrifying the storm."

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,

The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;

A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,

From the burning of noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

I take, O Cross, thy shadow for my abiding place.

I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face,

Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,

My sinful self, my only shame; my glory all the Cross.

(Elizabeth Clephane)