Tag Archives: Jesus

Come to Me

16 Feb

Check out this song by Jenn Johnson and Bethel Music, “Come to Me”. It is incredible!

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Mercy

21 Dec

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!

she cries, she cries so silently.

Muffled by shame, her spirit exclaims,

but from her mouth not a sound escapes.

Jesus, Son of David, it’s mercy she needs,

the fight much too rough on her own.

It seemed yesterday she was doing just fine,

but her monsters, oh Lord, they have grown.

And her hands they are weak,

and her eyes they are heavy,

she’s weary from all her striving.

Jesus, Son of David, it’s mercy we seek,

the victory won in your dying.

And as she cries out, on her floor, face down,

prepared to be punished for sin,

Your mercy pours out, oh the floodgates are down,

Your love, oh Lord, always wins.

-Erika Earl

The Plan

4 Nov

It’s always amazed me how the tiniest concepts in Christianity make for some of the biggest revelations. During my time with YWAM, we studied numerous different concepts that greatly impacted my Christian walk, none more important than that of the character and nature of God. In keeping with my usual M.O. of nerdy overachiever, I spent some of my downtime listing some of the main characteristics of God and finding correlating Bible references. The exercise proved fruitful, and the Lord really revealed so much of Himself to me as I sat on my bunk bed, devouring scripture in search of a greater understanding of Him. As I began to understand more and more of who God is, everything I believed about life began to change. One of the biggest changes was highlighted recently when speaking with a friend about the ever controversial subject of “God’s plan.”

This particular friend has been through a lot – financial struggles, betrayal in relationships, estrangement from family, and even the loss of a loved one. Through it all, my friend remained faithful to the Lord. Now that she is coming out of her hard times and entering the land of promise, so to speak, she told me that she was thankful that the Lord gave her all of these trials to refine her and bring her to the place she is at today. Instantly, I felt my spirit reject what she was saying, and sadly I believe that a majority of the modern church lives under the same impression as my friend – that God hands out metaphorical crosses to break our spirits into submission of His will and that He actively brings sadness, trials, and difficulties our way to refine us into better people, all in the name of love, of course.

That is not the God I serve.

The God I serve is for us, never against us, and it is His greatest delight to bring us through the trials that come our way. These trials, whether they are direct attacks from the enemy, come as consequences for sin (ours or others), or are circumstantial based on us living in a fallen world, are not premeditated by our loving and gracious God. Our pain breaks His heart, but in His great wisdom and love He knows just how to use these hardships for our good. In Romans 8:28 scriptures tell us that, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.” Your pain was never a part of His plan, but He is the great Redeemer and He makes all things (death, pain, betrayal, hardship…) work out for the good of those that love Him. He takes our garbage, and makes it a masterpiece.

So wherever you are right now, whether you are in a mountain top or a dry valley season, know that God loves you. Know that God is for you. Know that He never ever delights in the pain of His children, but rather in their redemption.

Truth changes the way we see things. Let this truth change the way you see Him.

Many are Called, but Few are Chosen…

19 Oct

I’ve been meditating a lot lately on the idea of God having a “chosen people.” Recently, when speaking with a friend, I was asked the following question, “If God loves all of His children, why are only some of them called His ‘chosen ones’?” It’s a good question, and at the time I didn’t really have much of an answer for it. The idea of God picking favorites didn’t sit well with me and my mind was struggling to find words that could adequately articulate the truths I knew in my heart about my Lord. So I hit my knees. I prayed and asked the Lord to pour clarity over my mind, and He was faithful as ever…

In Matthew 22: 14 it reads, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” This commonly quoted line of scripture follows the parable of the marriage feast.

In the parable, Jesus speaks of a king preparing a beautiful wedding for his son. He sent out his servants to invite his community to the celebration – but they would not come.

The king again sent his servants to invite his friends to the celebration, further explaining to them the extravagant measures he went to in order to prepare such a beautiful feast for their enjoyment. Again, they wrote him off, making light of his invitation and going about their day. Some were especially hostile and murdered the king’s servants.

The king could not tolerate such vile actions against his people and destroyed the murderers and burned their city, saying “The wedding is ready, but they which were called were not worthy.” (Matthew 22:3-8)

This depicts the reaction of the Jews, the called people of God, to the coming of their Savior, Jesus Christ. They ignored the lavish love that God invited them to partake in, rejecting His great mercy and showing violence to His children. As a result, the Jewish people suffered greatly.

But the king did not stop there. He greatly desired to share the beautiful feast he had prepared with people interested in partaking. So he sent his servants out again, this time inviting anyone they could find.

This represents the Lord extending His invitation to experience eternal life to the Gentiles. The call was no longer exclusive only to the Jews, but to all people everywhere.

And the guests came. They came in droves and the wedding was “furnished with guests”. But when the king came in and saw the guests he noticed a man without a wedding garment. He had the man tied up, taken away and cast into “outer darkness”. That’s not quite the happy ending to the fairy tale wedding I anticipated.

So what, then, differentiates a person between being “called” and being “chosen”? The invitation is clearly for all people, but Jesus says that only a few get to experience the beautiful wedding celebration He has prepared. At this point many people point the finger at God, asking, “Why, if He loves all His children, would He not choose all of us?” But the blame is not His…

The difference between being called and being chosen is what WE choose to do with the call we receive.

God has done His part. He has prepared the way for us to come to Him by sending His son Jesus to die for us. He has commissioned His servants to spread the Good News and to invite all of His children to sit at His table and feast with Him. He has been whispering in your ear since the day you were born to put on your wedding dress, consecrate yourself and meet Him at the altar. Will you answer that call? If you do, I assure you, you will find yourself among the chosen ones, sitting at the banquet table with the Lord. You, my friend, are chosen.

He is Jealous for Me

25 Sep

“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other Gods. ” -Exodus 20:5

Just as a husband who loves his wife desires her whole-hearted devotion and unwavering loyalty, so the Lord desires to be the exclusive lover of us, His bride. We all know and understand the 7th commandment, “Do not commit adultery.” (Deuteronomy 5:18), but how have we adulterated our marriage with God?

In the book of Hosea the Lord likens wayward Israel to a prostitute in unholy pursuit of other lovers. Israel had defiled its covenant with God by worshipping other Gods. All too often we mistakenly write off idolatry as a thing of the past, a problem irrelevant to our day. An idol is anyone or anything that dethrones God from the place of highest priority in our lives. So who or what is your mistress? Your boyfriend, career, wealth, lust, comfort, ingratitude, pride, sarcasm, etc.?

Sadly, we forget that all good things come from the Lord. We forget to worship the Creator and instead put our faith in the created. Even still, our God waits patiently for the return of His bride, the day when her eyes will no longer stray from His perfect glory. He is jealous for you, His beloved child. His love is enough for you. His grace is sufficient, His power unmatched.

Remember your marriage vows with Him. He has never forgotten.

Well… Hello There World

27 Jun

It was my heart’s desire to be able to take the time to respond to each and every person who commented on my blog individually, and in time I still plan to do so. For now, however, since I am leaving for Dharmapuri, India this Thursday and still have many preparations to make, I am praying that this post will some how communicate what is in my heart to you, my wonderful readers.

First of all, I want the whole world to know that I had no idea I was going to be on Freshly Pressed. “Becoming famous” via WordPress is a laughable thought to me. I am far more interested in cultivating relationships with people and encouraging them in their journey with the Lord. I am interested in answering tough questions from those who seek answers, though I don’t have all the answers myself. Please feel free to ask me questions and offer your own opinions, but please be respectful of this place and of the people here.

That being said I want to offer some context to those of you who are newer followers of my blog. Since no post or opinion or blog was created in a vacuum, it may help you to understand what I mean if you understand a bit more about me. I am a 21-year-old American girl from California. I’m a follower of Jesus and I’m currently following Him on a mission with an amazing interdenominational organization called Youth With A Mission (or YWAM). I have been in a Discipleship Training School in Kona, Hawaii since April of this year and this Thursday, July 1st, 2010 I am heading with a team of 20 young people to India to: serve the people, live among them, learn from them, and share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ. I will be stationed in Dharmapuri (in Southern India) for three months.

I am not at all interested in changing the culture of India. God loves India with her beautiful colors and bustling cities, and I know I will love her too. An organized system of degradation, however, is not culture. Whether it is upheld through religion or social structure is irrelevant. Basic morality, I believe, transcends culture, religion, and society. It is universal. Human beings are created equal. I believe they are created equal because their Creator loved each and every one of them and made them in His image. God loves His children more than we will ever understand, and He has called us to love each other as He has loved us. Wherever there is hate, wherever there is injustice, wherever there are lies that slander the very image of God, I will stand in opposition.

What right do I have to do that? Long before there were wars, long before the idea of conquering land and drawing political lines of power, long before taxation or presidents or kings or queens, this world belonged to its Creator, the one true King. Though pride and greed and hatred have invaded this planet, God never signed over the deed. This world is still His. India is His. America is His. And His culture is one of love. So when God’s children bring His pure, unadultered love, what they are really doing is restoring this planet to its true culture.

Through prayer, married with action and sacrifice, this world will be restored. Lasting restoration, not through human strength, but through the power of God is a reality. I know God longs to heal the hearts of His children, to lift them out of their darkest pit, to give them a new identity. To those that cry, “Where is God in this world of heartbreak and despair?” I cry with you! Jesus told us to weep with those that weep and my heart literally breaks for the heartbroken. This is a fallen world made broken through the free will of man. And though I’m just a broke missionary, I offer you a priceless gem…

Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee…

All I have is love. I will love you. I will care for you. I will cry with you and work with you. Take heart, love will restore this world.

To those of you that love me, I love you.

To those of you that hate me, I love you.

In Him,

Erika