This page will be found filled with words; sometimes my original thought, and other times just me relaying inspiring notions read or heard. This is just a way to speak my mind, and in doing so, (hopefully) somehow speak into the lives of others.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where I went

I thought I would take a quick minute and update. I went MIA from the blogging world back at the end of 2008 because I started up a Masters in Counseling Psychology. So work full time and school full time has left no time for blogging. :( It saddens my heart that I can't. But I'm not deleting this page. Perhaps I can resume after graduation in July 2010.

Till then...

Friday, September 12, 2008

In the Blink of an Eye

This song is by Mercy Me. I heard it yesterday and I feel like it goes hand in hand with my last post.

You put me here for a reason
You have a mission for me
You knew my name and You called it
Long before I learned to breathe

Sometimes I feel disappointed
By the way I spend my time
How can I further Your kingdom
When I'm so wrapped up in mine
In a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given
There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

And though I'm living a good life
Can my life be something great?
I have to answer the question
Before it's too late

Cause in a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given
There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

If I give the very best of me
That becomes my legacy
So tell me what am I waiting for?
What am I waiting for?

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given
There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Taking Action...NOW

“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Philippians 3:17-21

Bible commentary on Phil. 3:19:
“But we must ask ourselves is too much of our time spent on efforts that will not endure in eternity, seeking earthly pleasures, or satisfying our physical desires? We must set our minds on knowing Christ, not on the pursuits of this world.”

You know, it is so easy to get caught up in the ‘world’s way.’ I mean, everywhere you turn there is some convincing argument persuading you to buy the next fashionable item, the latest and greatest gadget, a better car, to upgrade your significant other—or at least be sleeping with the one you have. It’s no wonder we start to fall into the belief that life is about what we can get out of it. We all strive for the American Dream—getting the best family, the biggest house, the raddest toys. We are under the impression that looking out for ‘numero uno’ (…that’s you…) and doing whatever feels best should be foundational principles in living. It is ESPECIALLY easy to think this way when young. Heck, you have your whole life ahead of you to a.)figure it out/make a contribution, and/or b.)put away your self-focused ways and settle down. But what if the rest of your life means 24 hours?

It’s amazing how death sobers us up. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of not only losing my aunt this past month without notice, but also losing a college friend two days ago while he was serving with the Marines over in Afghanistan. My Aunt Cindy was “young”. Early 50’s. But Nic Madrazo…he was really young. MY age. Twenty five. Tragedies like these always cut deep, never making sense. Never an answer to the “why” question. BUT it reminds me that if you read the Bible I do, it tells us this world is temporary. Our life here is just a blink of the eye compared to our eternal lives. The end goal is not to live a good life here. The end goal is salvation, and heaven. There is a sense of urgency to life that those in the younger generations forget about since they easily overlook the fact that bad things can happen to them too, not just those around. It’s that whole being-young-and-truly-believing-we-are-invincible factor. So let’s step back and remember we ARE mortal. And the goal here is to love others with Christ’s love, and encourage everyone to find out about this ‘Good News’ we believers tend to take for granted. How tragic to lose friends/family that never believed, but moreover, that you overlooked taking the time to speak to about Christ and what He offers us all. I don’t want to experience the feelings associated with such a realization. Do you?

So instead of getting so focused on our ‘five year plans’ (don’t get me wrong, I support all you planners out there), how about we focus on the here and now, and how we can make an impact in the present? Because five years may not come for some of us. OH we all like to think it will. I’m sure Nic believed the same thing about his life until two days ago. BUT NONE OF US KNOW. At least Nic was one step ahead of many. He WAS making a difference. Let’s learn from him. Let’s engage with those around us, and learn how to help them. And LOVE them. I beg you all to consider what you can start doing...TODAY.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


God Moves in a Mysterious Way

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

~William Cowper

Read it twice. Read it out loud.

God is good. And He DOES have a perfect plan for each one of us. And even when we can't see it, or despair that maybe it does not exist, the good news remains that our feelings about the situation does NOT change the fact that God is in control AND He knows what He is doing. Rejoice in that truth. I know I am...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Changing your perspective by changing your mindset

I linger over this point—that seeing the glory of God may not require making a trip to the mountains or buying a ticket to the theater, but only opening our eyes—because I believe untold resources for mental health and spiritual joy in God lie all around us if we would but open our eyes
pg. 197

That was taken from When I Don’t desire God: How to fight for Joy by John Piper. I like that. I like even better the 11 steps his professor Clyde Kilby lectured on for how to see past ones self-absorption and notice God’s glory. It gives you something to think about, that is for sure.

“1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky ad remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above me and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death, when he said: There is darkness without and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what [C.S.] Lewis calls their divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.

8. I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, fulfill the moment as the moment. I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is just now.

10. If for nothing more than the sake of a change of view, I shall assume my ancestry to be from the heavens rather than from the caves.

11. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life in the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Going through a rough patch?

“Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength
till each appears before God in Zion.”
Psalm 84: 5-7

I really like the comment from strength to strength. That so is life, isn’t it? Always working, always growing. We are never perfect and can always use improvement, while also learning more about ourselves and the world we live in. The phrase reminds me of an expression Dahlstrom used in one of his sermons (which sidenote: was a pivotal sermon day in the life of Joelle). He said that we as Christians are to grow “from glory to glory to glory.” And while stating that sentence, he used his hand to motion stair stepping up with each progressive “glory”. Granted to grow from glory to glory, we can only do so by allowing God to take our burden at each turn we come to. Otherwise we stay on that stair step for as long as we refuse to give into God’s help and HIS way.

But that was just a Joelle tangent. I liked the Bible commentary on the above three verses:

“Because Baca can mean ‘weeping,’ it may have been a symbolic reference to the times of struggles and tears through which people must pass on their way to meet God. Growing strong in God’s presence is often preceded by a journey through barren places in our lives. The person who loves to spend time with God will see his or her adversity as an opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness even more deeply. If you are walking through your own Valley of Baca today, be sure your pilgrimage leads toward God, not away from Him.”

I’m sure all of us can relate to numerous challenging life scenarios. It goes along with being human. Oh the joys. But I think the key is how you view your hardship. Is the glass going to be half empty—the pessimistic view that life sucks and God is against/hates you so this must be punishment, or is the glass half full—the optimistic view that trials come with being alive, and are not specifically created by God, but rather He can use them to grow you as a person and teach you through the pain? I personally find life easier to deal with when my glass is half full.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Let's talk about the "P" word

I’m not one to back down on promises, and I gave you my word in an earlier post that John Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy would be discussed at a later date. Whelp, the time has come.

Prayer is a powerful thing. I think sometimes, myself included, forget just how life-changing it can be. I have a lot of thoughts about prayer, but so does John Piper. In fact he has devoted pages to it in this book. I’m going to let John do the talking today and quote a number of paragraphs from chapter ten titled The Practice of Prayer in the Fight for Joy. There were many other outstanding points made in this chapter, but here is just a taste:

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thess. 5:14-18)

What then is the key to this rejoicing, or this delight, which sustains the life of fruit-bearing love? Verse 17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” And verse 18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” So the answer seems to be that continual prayer and thanksgiving is a key to joy in God that makes a person durable and fruitful in relation to all kinds of people. Therefore one biblical key to maintaining joy in God and his Word is to pray without ceasing.


If we are going to be fruit-bearing people, and not wither under the pressures of idle, fainthearted, weak, and hurtful people, then we must fight, as 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, to “rejoice always” or to “delight…in the word of the LORD…day and night” (Ps. 1:2). And to do that, as verse 17 says, we need to “pray without ceasing.” Which leads to the question of what that means.

Praying without ceasing means at least three things. First, it means that there is a spirit of dependence that should permeate all we do. This is the very spirit and essence of prayer. So, even when we are not speaking consciously to God, there is a deep, abiding dependence on him that is woven into the heart of faith. In that sense, we “pray” or have the spirit of prayer continuously.

Second—and I think this is what Paul has in mind most immediately—praying without ceasing means praying repeatedly and often. I base this on the use of the word “without ceasing” (adialeiptos) in Romans 1:9, where Paul says, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing [adialeiptos] I mention you.” Now we can be sure that Paul did not mention the Romans every minute of his waking life, or even every minute of his prayers. He prayed about many other things. But he mentioned them over and over, and often. So “without ceasing” doesn’t mean that, verbally or mentally, we have to be speaking prayers every minute of the day in the fight for joy. It means we should pray over and over, and often. Our default mental state should be: “O God, help….”

Third, praying without ceasing means not giving up on prayer. Don’t ever come to a point in your life where you cease to pray at all. Don’t abandon the God f hope and say, “There’s no use praying.” Jesus is very jealous for us to learn this lesson. One of his parables is introduced by the words, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). He knew our experience in prayer would tempt us to quit altogether. So he along with the apostle Paul, says, Never lose heart. Go on praying. Don’t cease.

So from the context of 1 Thessalonians 5 I say that the key to “rejoice always” is to “pray without ceasing.” Lean on God all the time for the miracle of joy in life. Never give up looking to him for help. Come to him repeatedly during the day and often. Make your default mental state a Godward longing for all that you need, especially for spiritual desires.”

Thank you, John Piper.