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Saturday, December 27, 2008


My family is so wonderful!  On Christmas Eve, I got to be with my dad's family, the Richards.  That's always fun.  We eat yummy steaks from Burbages and open presents from my grandparents.  Then, we all go get dressed for the Christmas Eve service with Northwood Church.  It was amazing, and I think that once the service was over, there was not a dry eye in the whole place!  Even Billy cried, and he looked so handsome.  It's fun when we dress up together.

On Christmas day, we made the trek up to Columbia, SC, to visit with my mom's side of the family.  Her sister, Katie, just had a gorgeous little girl in November, Anna Kate, and it was so fun to see how much she had grown.  And of course, her son, Adam, who is now a year and a half, was so fun and adorable.  We ate prime rib and it was amazing.

I'd venture to say that my favorite part of this holiday season was the day after Christmas.  Billy and I had made a date because we didn't get to see each other much over actual Christmas and we wanted to give each other our gifts.  I was really nervous about the iPod classic I had gotten him; I'm not sure why... Anyway, when he got to my house and I came outside, there was this huge pile of snow in my front yard.  Yep, snow!  I had never made a snowman, and he knew that, so he found a way (I'm not going to tell you, you'll have to ask him) to get snow and bring it to me in our South Carolina weather (where it doesn't snow).  So, we got off to making a snowman, and he was really little, but he was so cute.  By the time we got back from our date (at California Dreaming) he was a lot littler than when we left, due to the warm weather we've been experiencing. But oh, was it wonderful and romantic and oh so fun.  Anyway, he also got me 2 tickets to a harbor cruise, which I have always wanted to go on.  I think we're going to go on Valentine's Day... I love being in love, and I love him so much!  Christmas this year was amazing!!!!!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Taking It Seriously

When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts... I want no more of your pious meetings.  When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.  Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.  Wash yourselves and be clean!  Get your sins out of my sight.  Give up your evil ways.  Learn to do good.  Seek justice.  Help the oppressed.  Defend the cause of orphans.  Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:12-13, 15-17

I don't think I have taken God very seriously.  I am the perfect example of the first part of this passage.  My worship is extravagant.  People see that I am a follower of God through the services I attend, the excellence of my church, the relevance of our message in culture.... And somehow, when I read these verses, I feel like I am not even close to doing what God wants of me.  My worship, though awesome and "pretty" is nothing at all.  Not that I do not have this desire inside of me to please God and follow him, I do, really.  But then, as I type that, I truly wonder, do I?  I have been reading this book Red Letters that talks about really living out our faith, and not just in our "everyday Christian" ways.  I can so tell myself that I am doing a good job.  I do not watch things that I shouldn't.  I have a pure relationship with my boyfriend.  I encourage others to follow God and I live in a "righteous" manner.  But there is so much that I am missing.  I feel like the nation of Israel that God is addressing in this first chapter of Isaiah.  He is saying to me, personally, that my worship, my acts, my ceremony, my committment, isn't enough.  And I know that there are those out there that would comfort me and say, that yes, I am doing all I can, and I live a good life, because I have been that person to comfort others in their normalcy.  I want to think that there is nothing to worry about because everybody can see that I am different, and that I try to "sin less".  But I can't miss God's heartbeat in the last part of these verses, and I have to say that his heart is not in our ceremonies, not in our lifting of hands, not in the excellent environments we create for his worship.  His heart is in our going and in our giving.  And he takes it seriously.  His words are strong and he repeats it over and over throughout the Bible.  He calls his true followers not to make or put on a show for him, but to go and be like him.  Worship, yes, is wonderful and an integral part of intimacy with our Maker, but I have to question myself if I can truly worship God in fullness if I am not going or doing the absolute most I can to "do good... help the oppressed... defend the cause of orphans... fight for the rights of widows..."

I'll end with this.  When I think of giving, I wonder how much is enough.  How much can I give to meet the "good Christian"  quota?  Well, I came upon this quote from C.S. Lewis, and it completely convicted my heart:
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's been awhile.

There are so many reasons I have not blogged in months. As I will soon have LOTS of down time, I am going to try and do more. However, a breif list of why I haven't been blogging (and I will expand later):
1. Mononucleousis - This frustrating virus that has dragged itself out in my body for way to long.
2. Busyness- with school and work and being sick, blogging was not a priority
3. Conviction - this is definitely one I will back up later, but I have not blogged because I feel convicted about some things... mainly my motives for blogging and my recent attempt to shift my focus off of myself...
Anyway, I'm off today to get an ultrasound on my spleen... Cause of that number one...
More to come, later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Watching Myself

Alright, so I would love to say that I thought up this wonderful, deep idea and wanted to share it.  Really, that's not true.  I read it.  But it's so good, and I had to comment on it, but I'll probably be including lots of quotes from what I'm reading.

Again, this is from Metamorpha.  I'm so into this book.  Really, not everything in it has me captured, but I like the ideas, and I am impressed.

So I was reading, still in the beginning part of the book, and I see where the author (Strobel), begins to talk about his struggle with prayer.  He says that he wanted to tell somebody about the importance of prayer, but later that night, he had a heart to heart with God.  He says, "I didn't believe that prayer worked."  And he's not saying this because he really believed that prayer was a stupid idea, he was saying that he, personally, deep down, did not believe that prayer worked for him.  And he came to this conclusion; it was not some idea he carried around about the invalidity of prayer.

This really impacted me.  The next quote was so true, and even though it's something I've heard before, it hit me again:
"Finding out what you really believe is simple: look at your life.  Where do you spend the most energy and time?  What actions or practices make up your day?  What's missing?  Suffice it to say there is something profoundly self-contradictory about believing on the one hand that God hears and answers prayer and, on the other, simply not getting around to praying."

How many things do I say that I believe in, that are foundations of my faith, that I don't carry out one hundred percent?  Do I pray about everything in my life that I know I need God in?  Do I seek his face in every area?  Do I consistently look for ways to help others?  These are all things that I have claimed are basic elements of what I believe and have devoted my life to.  But I don't always do them to the extent that God deserves.  Who am I to take away time and dedication from him to do "me" concerned things?  Who do I think I am?
"The only real way to determine my beliefs is to see how I live week in and week out."

I guess I'm on a journey to see what I believe, and perhaps to re-align my actions to follow some of the beliefs that I have neglected.  I'm excited about new chances, the privilege to do work for God, and upcoming relationships to be had and developed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It's funny how much change can do to you.  I have some changes coming up, and I'm so stoked about them that I want to make other changes.  I've updated my iCal, made a hair appointment, bought a cute car decal (which I have yet to put on... but that's coming), updated my budget, made some new resolutions for what I want to do in small group, and scheduled for a nose job.  (Ok, no nose job, but I just wanted one more to kinda send it over the edge).

No, but really, I have had a great learning experience in the last year, and I have come out a new and more humbled person.  I have taken a little time making a change, but I'm excited about it, for all parties included.  It's not fully carried out yet, and it will take some time to prepare for, but I'm glad.  There's a time for everything, and I'm glad it seems to be time for change.  I love it.

Maybe I'm just weird, but change always makes me feel free.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The way He sees it

So I'm reading this book called Metamorpha.  I've had it for a little while and I just now picked it up as life is starting to regulate itself again.

It's been pretty good so far, and it's already challenging me in some ways.  The first couple of chapters talk about worldviews and the way we should identify our worldview as Christians.  It's been different for me, and it's a new approach.  He focuses on the fact that as Christ followers, we are consistently renewed, and therefore our view of the world and of our God is going to be renewed also.  We are to "deconstruct" our view of church, ministry, culture, life, etc., so that we may allow God to constantly be working on our heart.  At first, this frustrated me a little, because I totally am grounded in my faith and what I know to be true.  How am I supposed to "open my mind" and "deconstruct" my vision every day?  I know what God says about me and about the world, and that's what I believe.  But the deeper I got into the book, the more I started to understand.  Those fundamental views will never change.  And that's not what Strobel (the author) is saying.  What he's trying to get across is the fact that we, as imperfect humans, should understand that our views are fleshy and, well, human.  God's ways are higher, and he is consistently writing a new story for our lives and leading us in new directions.  Sometimes, God might call us to do something a little differently than we thought ministry should be done.  Basically, we can't be afraid to walk out of our comfort zone and do life in a new way.  We can't shy away from having our theories for life and relationships challenged and reconstructed as God works on our hearts daily.  He uses this analogy about marriage, and how when a couple gets married, they have a preconceived notion of how this relationship is going to work out.  But the marriage will either fail or become stagnant if one or both of the people refuse to change their view of marriage and be willing to grow and change in order to love the other person more effectively.  This is how God intended our relationship to be.  When we enter into a relationship with him, we cannot expect to know just what he will ask of us or how he will work through us, though we might have some ideas because of what we want to happen or even some glimpse God has shown us.  But to be fully available for his use, we must be open to maybe realizing that our ways are not always correct or even the only way of doing things.

I actually have more that I've learned from this book, and maybe I'll blog about it tonight, but I have church, and right now, I'm exhausted, hungry, and ready to relax.  So I'll expound more later, but it's about not believing in prayer and other fundamental practices (hmm...).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cardboard Testemonies

This is absolutely beautiful.  I know that a lot of people have already seen this, but I felt like I should put it up.  If you don't cry, I don't know what you'll do, but hopefully it touches you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

the Desire and the Power

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

-Philippians 2: 12-13

I have a bad habit of thinking of myself.  And, no, not in the way you would think.  I think of myself as powerless, unmotivated, and empty.  I have these huge dreams.  I know, I've always known, that God has placed this desire on my heart to write, to do missions, to be used by him in a huge way.  I want to make an impact;  I want to change the world.  I know that, I desire that, I want that with all of my heart.  But I also know myself.  Even though I want these things, I just can't really do them.  I know me, I know the extent of my ability.  Right now, I know that with everything going on in life, I just don't have time to write.  I know that at this stage in my life, I just don't have that much influence to make the kind of change I really want to make.  I know that.  I never doubt it for one second.  Yeah, I might lament over it, it might even make me angry at times, but I know where I am and what I've got in my hands.

And that's what I know when I'm focused on me.  I know who I am.  And I know who I'm not.  And I know the dreams that God has put in my heart.  So, when I focus on him, and forget about me, forget about my past, my ability, my time, my restrictions, then I can.  I can do what he has called me to do.  And I don't have to worry.  I was reading today, and the words "desire and power" totally strung a chord in my life.  I have desire.  I have the biggest dreams I know.  But so many times, I forget who my God is.  I forget what he says about me.  I don't forget what he says about others, or how much he loves the world, I just forget he includes me in his plans.  And when I focus on him, then I can let him focus on me.  I can remember that if he has given me the desire, he will give me the power.  And when I abide in him, he will provide the time, the skills, the opportunities to do exactly what he has put on my heart.  For he says, "It is the same with my word, I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."  (Isa. 55:11).  God is completely true.  He is truth, he desires justification, and he fulfills what he says he is going to do.  If I know (and I DO) that God has placed these huge, specific dreams on my heart, then I have to focus on his promise to produce fruit through me as I abide in him.  He did not give me empty dreams, but what he says will always prosper and will aways do what he wants for it to do.  So when I forget about my self and my insuficiencies, then I can get excited, and I can move forward.  I let myself hold back, stay where I am, not move, only because I don't think that I can do anything else.  And I might be right.  But God can do something else, and I have got to get past myself.  He is, and he's bigger, and he is more excited about the dreams he's given me than I am.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Love Appropriately

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings, so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of, bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. -Phillipians 1:9-11

Ah!  I know that I keep meaning to write funny blogs, but I am busy and tired often, and am mostly inspired to write after spending time in God's word.

So tonight I was reading the scripture above... and wow.  Do I love appropriately?  When I am treating those around me with love, is it consistent?  And I don't just mean romantic love, but I mean, the love I am called to have for the world, for the church, and for each individual.  Does my feeling of love direct my idea and concept of what it truly is?  If I am loving in the way Christ loves, then passion will come out of that love, not the other way around.  Passion ends without fuel.  Passion cannot fuel commitment and love.  Emotions will end.  Truth and love are real and consistent.  But do I live as if they were?!

Monday, June 30, 2008


Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others - ignoring God! - harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Galatians 6:7-10 (msg)

Taking time out to focus on hardcore ministry always makes me examine my motives and the way I live my life.  After the trip to Mexico City this past week, I really was touched (again) by the way that God can use all of us to do His will.  And trust me, it has got to be Him, because I was tired and myself, and I know that all of the good things in me had to have come through God.  I am consistently convicted after mission trips in one particular way.  I end up asking myself, why do I think God is less here than He was there?  And because I know the answer, that God is the same everywhere, no matter when, no matter what situation I am in, I have to ask myself another question... Who do I think I am?  I know for a fact that My God is not kidding when He gives me a passion and a desire for His will and His ministry.  Romans 11:29 says that "God's gifts and His call can never be withdrawn."  He doesn't change in His ability and capacity, but he also doesn't change what He purposed in my heart.  If I have a heart for people when I am in Mexico, I should have a heart for people when I am in Charleston.  And, ultimately, I do.  I love to minister, I love people, and I love when God uses me, even here at home.  But am I being just as intentional here as I was on the mission field?  The verse above says to watch it because God doesn't joke around.  When you plant seeds of love and godliness, you will harvest the same.  But if I plant seeds of selfishness and pride, then why in the world would I expect God to use me?  If all I am concerned with is me, then how can I see the needs of others?  And another version says that the person who helps those in need finds the most possible personal satisfaction, and all because they are unconcerned with themselves.  I am so happy that God's ways are higher than mine, and even happier that His grace covers my inadequacies.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Con manos vacías

There is this song that I have been familiar with for some time now. It is a Spanish worship song that has meant a lot to me. However, sometimes, God really brings it back up to me in a very personal way. Not only does it have really emotional ties with my past, but it contains the very essence of the life that I would like to live. 

About 6 years ago now, a very dear friend of mine died. He was a worship leader, and originally was from Mexico. He used to love this song and it will always remind me of him. But tonight, as I was spending some time with God, this song came to me, and I went to look it up so that I could listen to it, and it just brought tears to my eyes. I want to be this open, this vulnerable. This is my cry. 

For those of you that don't speak Spanish, I have copied both the Spanish and English lyrics to this song. But I will always think it to be more beautiful in Spanish. Either way, the desperate cry and hope of the song remains the same.

(If you don't understand what he is saying, I recommend that you skip ahead in the video to about 1:30, so as not to get lost in all of the talking and to get straight to the song.)

Con manos vacias
vengo a ti
no tengo nada que darte
no hay nada de valor en mi
no puedo impresionarte

Hoy puedo entregar mi corazón
pero esta quebrantado
recibelo mi buen pastor
tu puedes restaurarlo

Pongo mi vida a tus servicio Señor
no sera mucho pero la entrego hoy
y si mis manos hoy vacias estan
puedes llenarlas con tu gran poder y amor
usa mis manos Señor...

Con manos vacias vengo a ti
no tengo nada que darte
no hay nada de valor en mi
no puedo impresionarte

Hoy puedo entregar mi corazón
pero esta quebrantado
recibelo mi buen pastor
tu puedes restaurarlo

Pongo mi vida a tus servicio Señor
no sera mucho pero la entrego hoy
y si mis manos hoy vacias estan
puedes llenarlas con tu gran poder y amor
usa mis manos Señor...
usa mis manos Señor.



With empty hands,
I come to you.
I have nothing of value in me,
Nothing to impress you.

Today I can deliver my heart to you,
But it's broken.
Receive it my good shepherd,
You can restore it.

I put my life to your service Lord,
It doesn't hold much but I give it now.
And if my hands are empty today,
You can fill them with your great power and love.
Use my hands, Lord...

With empty hands,
I come to you.
I have nothing of value in me,
Nothing to impress you.

Today I can deliver my heart to you,
But it's broken.
Receive it my good shepherd,
You can restore it.

I put my life to your service Lord,
It doesn't hold much but I give it now.
And if my hands are empty today,
You can fill them with your great power and love.
Use my hands, Lord...
Use my hands, Lord.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

just one.

God sticks his head out of heaven. He looks around. He's looking for someone not stupid - one man, even, God-expectant, just one God-ready woman.

                                       -Psalm 53:2

This is a hard one. I want to be the one that God sees, the one that is God-ready and God-expectant. But so many times I know I am not. My focus strays, and I become lost in myself or the things of this world.

I am ashamed.

God is looking, searching, hoping to find just one person that is fully willing and completely devoted to Him. Am I fully devoted to do His will? All of me wants to say "Yes! I will follow wherever He leads me!" But I get so lost, I get so blinded, so quickly.

Aren't we all like this? We are hopeless creatures wandering around in a dry, helpless place. But there is hope for us. When it seems like all else is lost, God comes through. He sees our barren-ness. He knows we have nothing to offer. He is not blind... we are. If I could look at myself everyday, and see my emptiness and hopelessness and need for God, and then go to Him in all of my understanding, I would be made more complete than if I worked and worked toward perfection on my own. And once God makes me perfect in His sight by His grace, I can be fully willing and devoted, even in all of my flaws. I can finally become the one that He wants, with His help.

The fact that I can sacrifice my(imperfect)self to Him and bring Him glory through it... is the greatest news I have ever heard.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

THE List!

Ok! So when I was 15... My dad told me that I didn't know what I wanted in a guy, and that I needed to make a list. Today, when I was out with him, it randomly came up. So, of course, I wanted to go find it. I had it saved on the computer, and I found it. It was fun to look back on what I was thinking then and how little my basic ideas have changed.

So, the credit here goes to Dad, for making me write this, and for helping me keep it all of these years. Lots of these characteristics come from the man he is in my life.

Here goes, exactly as it was written my first year of high school...

Sarah Ann Richard
My Standards

  • Puts God first
  • Gentleman
  • Gets along with my brothers and my dad
  • Loves his family
  • Taller than me
  • Smart
  • Deep enough to read my writings and not laugh
  • Considerate
  • Treats everyone equally and with respect
  • Likes traveling
  • Knows what he wants
  • Has high standards
  • Doesn’t care whether or not I have makeup on
  • Not girly… likes sports, macho, etc. ;)
  • Self confident
  • Humble
  • Heart for the lost
  • Knows how to have (clean) fun
  • Treats ladies nicely (opens doors, girls first, etc.)
  • Honest
  • Gentle, but still likes to “be a guy”
  • Someone who would dance with me and not feel stupid
  • Strong physically
  • Strong personality
  • Doesn’t care what anyone thinks
  • Thinks I’m beautiful
  • Romantic (but not too sappy)
  • Puts others before himself
  • Willing to stay pure
  • Likes kids
  • Goes to church
  • Can hold an intelligent conversation
  • Not shy
  • Willing to have fun but has limits
  • Can be stupid, but can be serious
  • Sensitive to other’s feelings
  • Knows when to stop teasing
  • Holds my hand
  • Doesn’t care what position my dad or grandpa is in--- is respectful regardless, but not too intimidated
  • Brave but not cocky
  • Doesn’t smoke/drink/do drugs
  • Knows he’s not perfect
  • Not too flirtatious
  • Only says I love you when ready to give a piece of himself up/ or is totally sincere.. Because I love you is such a serious thing to say
  • Will watch movies with me… even chick flicks
  • Is a leader (leads me in the relationship, leads others)
  • Evangelistic - Witnessing is important to him and lives a life for Jesus
  • He sets boundaries for himself

Isaiah 53...

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried - our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him - our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn't say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off - and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he'd never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn't true. Still, it's what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he'd see life come from it - life, life, and more life. And God's plan will deeply prosper through him. Out of that terrible travail of soul, he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many "righteous ones," as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly - the best of everything, the highest honors - Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest.

He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

                                                                                      -Isaiah 53:4-12

Alright, so I know that was a lot of scripture to paste, and I just as easily could have linked it... But I just had to relay all of the things that stood out to me when I read this tonight. This passage is absolutely amazing. The more I get to know my Jesus, the more I am amazed. The funny thing is, the more I read the Bible and become more intimate with God, it is not the Greek meaning of the words or the history of the Israelites that astounds me. I mean, each of those things adds to my understanding and depth. But truly, what really seems to hit me more and more is the simple gospel. It confronts me every time I open my Bible. No matter what I read, the bottom line I come to every time is God's saving love and His sacrifice for me.

And the more I grow and mature as a Christian and as a person in general, the more I see how incredible His love really is. As my eyes are opened to the wickedness and injustice and pain of the world, I see the perfection of Jesus in even greater contrast. Here is a man that loved so much that he carried the entire weight and sin of the world on his back until it killed him. And today, the world is filled with men (and women) that live entirely for themselves, for money, fame, and sinful, destrucitve desires.

I want to be a Jesus to my world. I want, as offhanded as this may sound, to give myself as a sacrifice for others so that they might know the love of the Savior. I want to be righteous, so much so, that I cause others to follow after the righteousness I seek in Christ. I want to not be so churchy, but I want to live and breath Christ in a world that is desperate for what I have. I want to live like I have the answer. I want to fight for those that are weak. I want to hold the ones that have nobody to care for them. I want to wipe the tear of the one who is sad and lonely.

I want to be a vessel of the living water that gives others life, just because they have met Jesus in me. This is my greatest desire.

chocolate with moxie...


So I have recently rediscovered this amazing candy. It's called choxie! And oh my Goodness!!!

It's like heaven in my mouth. My favorite so far is the dark chocolate truffle. I love it. I didn't even know it existed, but it might even rival Godiva for my favorite (which is a pretty hefty claim for me to make)!

So, needless to say, go... Go find the amazingness of choxie. Fulfill that ever-present chocolate craving. It's way worth it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

my desert

I am so tired. This school year has worn me out.

I know what David means when he says that he's "travelled across dry and weary deserts." This year, I have experienced some of my most lonely times and my most devastating emotions. I have lost "friends" that I thought I had, I have had nightmares like never before, and I have had my eyes open to a part of sin that I wish I had never ever seen.

But, as awful as it may sound, it has been the greatest year of my life.

I have had the chance this year to learn about my God. I am amazed. He is this water that cleanses, redeems, and refreshes me. Through all of my lonliness and pain and confusion, He is constant. He has taught me to love like I never have before. His love may be heavy, but it is amazing. He overwhelms me with His grace and His desire for me. I really have been in the desert. But my thirst and emptiness only makes God that much more real to me. Through my walk alongside Him this year, I have realized my desires, and His desires for my life. And I have had the chance to bring Him glory, which I have found to be the most fulfilling achievement I ever could make.

It's like this... By becoming desolate and desperate, I have found all I ever could need.

a worthless sacrifice

"When you say, 'The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,' that's defiling.

And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you're trying to get rid of - blind and sick and crippled animals - isn't that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator - how far do you think it will get you?"

..."I don't want any more of this so-called worship! Offering God Something Hand-Me-Down, Broken, or Useless" ..."You profane me when you say, 'Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,' and when you say, 'I'm bored - this doesn't do anything for me.' You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air - act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it's a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I'm going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!"

                                    -Malachi 1:7-8,10,12-13

I woke up today knowing that I really needed to take time out to spend with God. Honestly, it was my first thought. So I got out of bed, got a shower, and went to work. Then, I ate lunch with some friends. After that, back to work, and then home. I set the table, and fell asleep for a little bit. I was kind of tired. Not too bad, cause I slept in some. I ate dinner with the family, and watched tv with them. Our quality tv time really means a lot to me. Plus, I really wanted to see what happened in CSI Miami and which girl the Bachelor was going to propose to.

It got to be about 11pm, and I headed off to my room. I got ready to sit in my bed, get on facebook, maybe read some. I really had no intention of going to sleep. Oh! Then I remembered what I had thought of this morning. So, I thought maybe it would be good to do my quiet time. And I can truly say that I enjoy my time with God. It is amazing, and I get fed each and every time. And I am not bad about doing it. It's important to me. But really, it's an easy, whenever I find time in my day, kind of important.

You see, I have been offering sick animals to God. No, I don't really have a cat with the flu sitting on my alter outside, but I might as well. I mean, I give my time, but it's all left-over, when-I-get-to-it time. As I was reading Malachi tonight, I began to get disgusted with myself. All of my efforts are fruitless. My worship to God should be first. And I don't mean, first in order in my day. If I made myself get up and read and spend time with God every day early in the morning, it would be worthless. So maybe it's not really the time I spend with God, it's the attitude that I take with me into it. Like today, I am ashamed to say, I didn't think, man, I just can't wait to sit on my bed and soak in the words of my Savior. It was more like, tonight, I thought, Oh No! I really need to read my Bible, because I know it's super important. Reading this passage made me sick. I felt like it was me with the sick animal going, "God, please bless this! I know that this lamb has only 3 hooves, and it can't see very well, but, you know God, I just can't afford to give you my best one. Because then my family may not have the best meat. Or maybe that would take extra effort. You'll be alright with this one, right? Ok, God, thanks!"


God, sometimes I really make a mess of things. I mean, I have things all wrong. But THANK you for revealing yourself to me. I want you to be first, the One I look forward to spending time with. The thing I can't breathe without. I want you to be the One that makes me breathless just by being in your presence. I'm sorry for giving you my sick cat. I don't want to do that anymore. I can't promise I won't fail (which you know good and well)... but I can make sure that the time I spend with you has Purpose and Dedication and is Intenionally given. Because God, you're worth all of my time. And I am willing to sacrifice myself to bring you glory. After all, you gave your life. Sorry again. And thanks again. I know we've been through this and we'll go through it again. You're amazing. -Me.