Monthly Archives: May 2011

the One to whom God looks

Even though my weekly, formal study in Isaiah is over, thankfully I never have to move on from God’s amazing words in this book … the Gospel of the Old Testament.  And thankfully He promises to keep doing a work in my heart as I humble myself before him.
Our church family at Grace Evangelical Free Church in LaMirada, California just concluded their studies in Isaiah as well.  My dear friend and brother in Christ, Erik Thoennes, delivers a power message on the final chapter of this book.
Isaiah 66

The Humble and Contrite in Spirit

66 Thus says the Lord:

“Heaven is my throne,

and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,

and what is the place of my rest?

2 All these things my hand has made,

and so all these things came to be,

declares the Lord.

But this is the one to whom I will look:

he who is humble and contrite in spirit

and trembles at my word.

3 “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;

he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;

he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers fpig’s blood;

he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.

These have chosen their own ways,

and their soul delights in their abominations;

4 I also will choose harsh treatment for them

and bring itheir fears upon them,

because when I called, no one answered,

when I spoke, they did not listen;

but they did what was evil in my eyes

and chose that in which I did not delight.”

5 Hear the word of the Lord,

you who tremble at his word:

“Your brothers who hate you

and cast you out for my name’s sake

have said, l‘Let the Lord be glorified,

that we may see your joy’;

but it is they who shall be put to shame.

6 “The sound of an uproar from the city!

A sound from the temple!

The sound of the Lord,

rendering recompense to his enemies!

Rejoice with Jerusalem

7 “Before she was in labor

she gave birth;

before her pain came upon her

she delivered a son.

8 Who has heard such a thing?

Who has seen such things?

Shall a land be born in one day?

Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?

For as soon as Zion was in labor

she brought forth her children.

9 Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”

says the Lord;

“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”

says your God.

10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,

all you who love her;

rejoice with her in joy,

all you who mourn over her;

11 that you may nurse and be satisfied

from her consoling breast;

that you may drink deeply with delight

from her glorious abundance.”

12 For thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,

and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;

and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,

and bounced upon her knees.

13 As one whom his mother comforts,

so I will comfort you;

you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;

your bones shall flourish like the grass;

and tthe hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,

and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

Final Judgment and Glory of the Lord

15 “For behold, the Lord will come in fire,

and his chariots like the whirlwind,

to render his anger in fury,

and his rebuke with flames of fire.

16 For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment,

and by his sword, with all flesh;

and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, zeating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.

18 “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming<a id=”fb3-1″ title=”Hebrew and it is coming” to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth

that I make

shall remain before me, says the Lord,

so shall your offspring and your name remain.

23 From new moon to new moon,

and from Sabbath to Sabbath,

all flesh shall come to worship before me,

declares the Lord.

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”


it was inevitable


Riding with my new pedals and shoes for a few weeks now, I knew a fall was inevitable . . .

I was initially scared to death to try this … I mean who wants their feet actually attached to their bike … it feels so counter-intuitive!  But, with Jon’s help, my first try was a breeze …  easy and very natural, like riding a bike!  I’ve been on a few long rides now and definitely understand the draw to clipless pedals … more power and speed!

So, coming back from a long ride Saturday morning, just a few blocks from home (where most accidents happen), I would get my first taste of the inevitable!  Coming to the intersection, I needed to commit … either clip out or cross the street.  It was a bit of a blind intersection, so hard to see, especially to the right, until you are right upon it.  I didn’t hear any taffic, so I was confident I could safely jet across . . . until I took my final glance to the right … no way … too many cars.  I would have to stop.  But I’m already upon the intersection, feet tightly locked into my pedal … too late to clip out … too slow to be still moving forward maintaining balance … here it goes … the inevitable fall.  Hopefully just the few passing cars saw my pitiful tip to the left, me and my bike, falling together on the lovely pavement.

Here’s what I have to show for it … bruised knee and bruised pride.

I did jump back on and ride home my final 6 blocks … with a bit of pain on my face … it was inevitable!

savoring the final days


I’ve been savoring the final days with Evangeline at home.  She ‘graduated’ from preschool last week and her sisters have a few weeks of school yet, so, it’s just her and I for a few weeks with a nice, open schedule.

Running an errand today, I made a point to savor her passionate singing in the car … as she sings along with whatever song is on the radio.  It’s amazing that she knows most of the words to most of the songs … but even if she doesn’t, she fakes it well.  The passion, the facial expressions … priceless!

So, today at lunch I had the Getty’s kids cd playing, (Words Jesus Said), which is basically scripture put to song.  The song about Zacchaeus came on and she  says, “I know about him … he stole money from people!  I’ll go get my bible, you can read it!”  And she did … and I did.  We read Zacchaeus, the Prodigal Son and the story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is such an amazing bible story book that captures the story and highlights Jesus on every page.  I was hit fresh today with each of these familiar stories as I was forced to look again at the Truth of the Gospel.

“Jesus loved Zacchaeus when nobody else did.  He was Zacchaeus’ friend, even when no one else was.  Because Jesus was showing people what God’s love was like – his wonderful, never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”

From the Prodigal son …

“Jesus told people this story to show them what God is like.  And to show people what they are like.  So they could know, however far they ran, however well they hid, however lost they were – it wouldn’t matter.  Because God’s children could never run too far, or be too lost, for God to find them.”

And the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and spilled precious perfume on his feet …

Jesus said of her, “This woman knows she’s a sinner, She knows she’ll never be good enough.  She knows she needs me to rescue her.  That’s why she loves me so much.”

“You look down on this woman because you don’t look up to God.  She is sinful on the outside, but you are sinful on the inside.”

“The more Jesus loved people and helped them, the more Important people and Leaders hated him.  They were afraid people would follow Jesus instead of them.  They were jealous.  And angry . . . Angry enough to kill Jesus.”

Wow!  Quite encouraging words for me today.  Thank you Evangeline for leading mommy to the Word today . . .

standing girl and skating girl


Let me introduce you to Standing Girl and Skating girl.  If you don’t recognize them, they are polly pockets, sort of.  They are McDonalds happy meal toys, a simplified version of polly pockets.  These were the happy meal toy of the summer of 2006.

These particular girls got their names, Standing Girl and Skating Girl,  from our at the time, one year old, Evangeline, who is now five going on six!  As you look at them closely, you can understand her naming process!

What’s amazing about Standing Girl and Skating Girl is that they have been around now for almost 5 years.  I have a very hard time coming up with many things in our life that we have had for that long.  Amazingly, we just can’t manage to lose them for good.  We moved to chicago in the summer of 2006 and endured many happy meals on our many voyages to and from Minneapolis.  That’s how we got these fine girls.  They disappear often and show up again when you least expect them in the most unlikely of places.

This weekend we did some much needed work in our basement, sorting toys, getting rid of many toys and things we don’t need and we were all (well maybe not Jon quite as much) thrilled to find, once again, Standing Girl and Skating Girl.

Evangeline especially is enjoying playing with them again as if they were the newest, hottest toy on the market!

I’ve become sort of attached to them now, and sentimental about them . . . I’m tempted to save them and put them away and give them to Evangeline when she leaves for college …. just kidding .. kinda, not really 🙂

scripture memory #10


It’s hard to believe we post verse 10 today! Amazing to have 10 powerful passages in my mind and heart to meditate on. I have relied on these verses more than I imagined and am grateful to see first hand, God’s word, alive and active in me!

This week is Ezekiel 36:26. This verse has been on my heart recently as it was shared as part of a testimony at a recent baptism service at our church.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 36:26 ESV)

Final BSF of the year … tear


Yes, it has come and gone … the final BSF meeting of the year.  The final meeting is a time of sharing with all the participants, including the children’s leaders.  The purpose of the sharing time is to share how God used this study of Isaiah in our lives this year and to give testimony to His great work in our lives through His word.  What an encouraging time.

For as far back as I can remember in this study, I knew I would be compelled to share on this day as God began a powerful work in my life through this study from the very first words of Isaiah.

Chapter 1:18

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:

though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red like crimson,

they shall become like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,

you shall eat the good of the land;

20 but if you refuse and rebel,

you shall be eaten by the sword;

for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Little did I know back in September how much it would mean to me to understand these words or how I would come to understand them in a new way … as if hearing them for the first time.  My sins were as scarlet, I saw that this year, I am also seeing the ways in which God sees me now as white as snow.  I also know in new ways the difference between obedience and rebellion.  God opened my eyes to this in ways only He could do.

So, I knew I would need to give testimony to His work in my life this year through this amazing study.  We were fairly warned that we would have 3 minutes to share … soooo short, but I understand the importance of giving everyone an opportunity to share.  I really had to zero in on what this study had meant to me.  So, with tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat, this is what I shared …

“BSF and Isaiah have meant the world to me this year.  I am new to BSF this year.  I have known the Lord all my life and have attended and even lead countless bible studies.  But this year, I encountered God and the gospel in the book of Isaiah, as if for the very first time.  God showed me my pride and arrogance.  He showed me the idols in my life, and pried my fingers off of them one by one.  But, He didn’t leave me there, He showed me His comfort, His love, His grace … again, in ways I have never known before.

So many verses from this book have meant so much to me this year, but these  two meant the most to me …

Isaiah 42:16

And I will lead the blind

in a way that they do not know,

in paths that they have not known

I will guide them.

I will turn the darkness before them into light,

the rough places into level ground.

These are the things I do,

and I do not forsake them.


Isaiah 43:1-2

But now thus says the Lord,

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.”

It was a sweet time.

Our dear teaching leader is ‘retiring’ and so this was her last year.  She took a few moments at the end to share as well.  I’m so glad she did … I couldn’t write fast enough to capture all of her wise words … here are a few.

In summarizing our study….

There is nothing God cannot or will not do according to His will.

We desperately need God each morning.

We are constantly coming to grip with our own human failure.

-our sin that keeps us blind to God’s will

God’s primary intent for me is for me to become like Jesus.

-it’s not to be popular, comfortable or successful

-it IS to build my character to make me more like Jesus.

-I could never do this without God’s help.

Our God ALWAYS guides us

-we have to listen, ask for his guidance and pray

-and do it with JOY!

It’s in the daily choices that God shows us how good He is.

-we NEED His word, don’t even try to live without it.

He will do more than we could ever as or imagine.

We don’t know what He is doing or will do …

-Isaiah 42:16  He will lead the blind in ways they don’t know …. He will turn our darkness into light …. He will make those hard places in our life smooth.

He is sovereign over ALL these things.

He says, “these things I will do, I will not forsake them …”

-there is no where we can go that God is not with us!

She concluded with

Psalm 139:7-12

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

12 even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you.

The Bible Study Fellowship study of Isaiah for this year is officially over.  Thankfully the impact it had on my life is not.  God’s work in my heart is not over either, thankfully.