Monday, October 30, 2006

Justification by Faith

From My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers:

"I am not saved by believing - - I simply realize I am saved by believing. And it is not repentance that saves me - - repentance is only the sign that I realize what God has done through Christ Jesus. The danger here is putting the emphasis on the effect, instead of the cause. Is it my obedience, consecration, and dedication that make me right with God? It is never that! I am made right with God because, prior to all of that, Christ died. When I turned to God and by belief accept what God reveals, the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ instantly places me into a right relationship with God. And as a result of the supernatural miracle of God's grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, or because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know that I am saved, even though I don't know how it was accomplished.

The salvation that comes from God is not based on human logic, but on the sacrificial death of Jesus. We can be born again solely because of the atonement of our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creations, not through their repentance or their belief, but through the wonderful work of God in Christ Jesus which preceded all of our experience (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). The unconquerable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We do not have to accomplish these things ourselves - - they have been accomplished through the atonement of the Cross of Christ. The supernatural becomes natural to us through the miracle of God, and there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done - - "It is finished!" (John 19:30). "

Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."


I welcome your thoughts, opinions, questions, remarks, etc. I'm not going to state mine just yet, as I don't want to taint the discussion or lead it a certain way.

Friday, October 27, 2006



24 years and 7 days later.... the St. Louis Cardinals are finally World Series Champions again!!!!!


2006 World Series MVP: David Eckstein

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Church Bonfire, cont.

Brother Paul, Mom, and Dad keep warm by the fire as the temperature dropped throughout the night. Regardless, it was still a FUN time!

Shelly holding Abi. Abi wasn't too interested in the bonfire...she was more interested in sleeping. Sister Mayfield is in the background staying warm inside the car.

Brother Jeff helps Tressa roast a marshmallow....without getting too close to the fire!

Sister Michelle and Sister Sandy roasting some hot dogs and marshmallows.

Dad and Tasha standing by the fire. Tasha's really enjoying that marshmallow!

At the close of the evening, we left with thankful hearts and full stomachs. It truly was a great night of food, fun, and fellowship. We missed those who weren't able to join us. Hopefully we will be able to do it again next year...with a larger crowd!

Church Bonfire

Brother Jeff, Sister Tracy, and Tressa are listening to the rules for the hayride, waiting for the tractor to take off. We were blessed with a beautiful night for our hayride and bonfire.

Sister Mayfield and Brother Chris are bundled up for the chilly ride.

Sister Michelle prompts Tressa to shout out an animal during our attempt to sing 'Old McDonald.'

Sister Sandy and Sister Michelle take a break from singing during the hayride to pose for a picture.

Sister Tracy and Sister Barb enjoy the fellowship as they eat their dinner by the fire.

Sister Michelle shows off the hot dog she roasted. Looks tasty!

Thursday, October 19, 2006





God Will Lift Up Your Head

Several months ago I purchased the new Jars of Clay CD: Redemption Songs. I have always liked Jars of Clay, but never really went out of my way to stay updated on their newest releases. This summer I was wasting time on the Internet and came across a hymn sung by Jars of Clay. I quickly located their site and purchased the CD. What a wonderful decision that was!

The CD includes several hymns and other worship songs. One of my favorites is "God Will Lift Up Your Head." This song has been such an encouragement to me, as well as a couple of my close friends. Take a moment to read the words and really focus on the message the lyrics are conveying.

God Will Lift Up Your Head - - Jars of Clay

Give to the wind your fearHope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up
God will lift up
Lift up your head

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
He will lift up, lift up your head

Leave to His sovereign way
To choose and to command
Then shall we wandering on His way
Know how wise and how strongHow wise and how strong


Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears the way
Wait because in His time, so shall this night
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joy
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joy.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Today in Introduction to Special Education, we had a guest speaker come in to talk about her experience with a special needs child. This young woman, Becky, has a son with cerebral palsy. Now, CP is very much a vague umbrella term used to describe a group of movement and posture disorders, resulting from brain damage to some degree. Micah wasn't born with CP. In fact, when he was about 2 weeks old, he developed a severe form of jaundice, in which his bilirubin level grew to such a degree that it caused permanent brain damage. This specific form of CP is called kernicterus.

You may be wondering why I am taking the time to blog about this lady you don't know, and will never know. Well, many of you know that I have a sincere interest and care for children with CP. My good friend, Emma, was born with CP. It is so refreshing and encouraging to see families, such as Emma's and Micah's, have such a positive attitude about their life. Several times throughout Becky's presentation, she made mention of how blessed she felt to have a child with special needs, and what a blessing it is that the school system is so cooperative. She also mentioned that she believes God had been preparing her and her husband for this situation long before Micah was born. Her husband received his degree in physical therapy, and Becky has a degree in chemistry. Before she had children, Becky worked as a pharmaceutical chemist, experimenting with different drugs. Both of their careers have helped immensely in raising a child with special needs.

It is such a blessing to know that God is in control and has supreme ruling over the plans for us. Just from listening to Becky speak for a little over an hour today, I am confident that the Lord is with that family, and has been since long before we can imagine. I don't believe Becky and her husband are raising a special needs child by chance. I am thankful that Becky believes this herself, and was bold enough to proclaim that in a college classroom.

Becky shared a poem with us today that some of you may have heard before. I had never heard it before, but I really enjoyed it. The poem is titled, "Welcome to Holland," and it tells of the emotions that parents of children with special needs experience.

byEmily Perl Kingsley.

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Box City 2006

Here are some pictures of Box City on Thursday night.

Kurt and Josh (not show in picture) were kind enough to build an addition onto their "box mansion" for Shelly and me to sleep in. Kurt is shown here getting ready to add a side wall onto our "home" for the night.

It was quite chilly Thursday night. Here we are trying to keep warm in our hoodies by the fire.

When we finally went to bed in the early hours of Friday morning, it was approximately 31 degrees outside. Shelly and I piled 5 blankets on top of us and snuggled up together inside our little box. In the morning, I awoke to find myself alone in our box. Shelly was having trouble sleeping, so she got up at some point in the middle of the night and slept in someone's car.

All in all, it was a good time. It was great opportunity to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty. When I'm old and gray, I can add it to the list of crazy things I did in college.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Getting into God's Stride

For the past month or so, I've been doing my nightly devotionals out of Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest. I found tonight's devotional to be particularly good and thought-provoking. Mr. Chambers writes:

"The true test of a person's spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening. A person's worth is revealed in his attitude toward the ordinary things of life when he is not under the spotlight (see John 1:35-37 and 3:30). It is painful work to get in step with God and to keep pace with Him - it means getting your second wind spiritually. In learning to walk with God, there is always the difficulty of getting into His stride, but once we have done so, the only characteristic that exhibits itself is the very life of God Himself. The individual person is merged into a personal oneness with God, and God's stride and His power alone are exhibited.

It is difficult to get into stride with God, because as soon as we start walking with Him we find that His pace has surpassed us before we have even taken three steps. He has different ways of doing things, and we have to be trained and disciplined in His ways. It was said of Jesus - "He will not fail nor be discouraged..." (Isaiah 42:4) because He never worked from His own individual standpoint, but always worked from the standpoint of His Father. And we must learn to do the same. Spiritual truth is learned through the atmosphere that surrounds us, not through intellectual reasoning. It is God's Spirit that changes the atmosphere of our way of looking at things, and then things begin to be possible which before were impossible. Getting into God's stride means nothing less than oneness with Him. It takes a long time to get there, but keep at it. Don't give up because the pain is intense right now - get on with it, and before long you will find that you have a new vision and a new purpose."

Genesis 5:24 "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."
From The Weather Channel:

Tonight's forecast: Clear; Overnight Low32°F Precip 0%; Wind: 13mph

Tonight I'm going to be sleeping in a box. Outside. At school. Pray I don't get frostbite.

Today in History

October 12, 1967: St. Louis Cardinals beat Boston Red Sox, 4 games to 3 in 64th World Series as Lou Brock steals a record 7 bases in 1 World Series

October 12, 2006: The St. Louis Cardinals will face the New York Mets in game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

What will you be doing at 7:19 this evening?


Just for your information....

1989: Last time the Chicago Cubs were in the NLCS (they lost to San Francisco)
1984: The only other time the Chicago Cubs were in the NLCS (again, they lost to San Diego)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"...I will never leave thee..."

Ps 35:18 "I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people."

This afternoon I was sitting on campus enjoying a nice lunch and chat with my brother and a few friends when something amazing happened. Our wonderful friend, Amy joined us and announced that the SIUE Gospel Choir was singing outside. Becca, Isaac, and I quickly bid ‘adieu’ and made our way outside. As soon as our feet were out the door, we could here the name of Jesus echoing in the autumn air. Right there in the middle of the Quad, a group of college students were gathered to hear the praises of our Lord sung by an incredibly talented group of singers.

Thankfully, my 12:30 class was cancelled today, so I was blessed to be able to stay and listen for nearly an hour. It was an amazing experience to be able to pause in the middle of my hectic day to give thanks and worship God with other Christians…ON A SECULAR CAMPUS!!! It’s not every day that I am able to have this experience. Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


met-a-mor-pho-sis [met-uh-mawr-fuh-sis]:

1.Biology. a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism, as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly.
2.a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.
3.any complete change in appearance, character, circumstances, etc.
4.a form resulting from any such change.
a. a type of alteration or degeneration in which tissues are changed
b.the resultant form.
6.Botany. the structural or functional modification of a plant organ or structure during its development.

Several weeks ago I had the privilege to take my ‘Little Sister’ to the St. Louis Zoo. One of the main attractions during that visit was the Insectarium. Upon arrival, I was excited to learn that there is no longer an admission charge to visit the Insectarium. In all my years as a St. Louis Zoo patron, I had never had the opportunity to visit the Insectarium, due to the price you had to pay to see a bunch of disgusting insects crawl around. Well, my opinion of the Insectarium changed once I went inside. Yes, there are tons of disgusting insects that I see far too many of in my place of lodging here at SIUE. However, my favorite part of the attraction was the butterfly garden. My little sister and I were delighted to have to opportunity to watch a butterfly emerge from its cocoon. We were able to see the whole process of it changing from this somewhat unattractive, green blob into a beautiful butterfly. Soon after the transformation, a staff member of the zoo took the case of butterflies and released several into the butterfly garden. Thankfully, this area is a separate room from the other insects. What a glorious feeling to be surrounded by so many plants and have hundreds of butterflies fluttering about. The docent directing us through the garden claimed that if you stand still long enough, a butterfly might land on your nose. Well, try telling a squirmy ten-year-old girl who is anxious to visit the penguins to stand still for more than 10 seconds…it’s nearly impossible. Regardless, the experience was a memorable one, and one that caused the wheels to start turning in my head.

The metamorphosis experience led to me to reflect on the changes that have occurred, and continue to occur, in my life. We all go through changes in ‘appearance, character, and circumstances,’ whether great or small. The changes that occur from infancy to adulthood are limitless. Among those changes are those that benefit us and those that hinder us. Regardless of the immediate outcome, all have worked together in creating the person we are today.

One of the most significant changes many of us experience is the transformation from the ‘old man’ to the ‘new man.’ Now, I didn’t have an ‘Apostle Paul’ experience; I can’t tell you a specific time or place when this transformation occurred in me. However, I can tell you that it has taken place, and that nearly every day I have to remember the instructions Paul gave the church at Rome (and to us): “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” It's no secret that I fall so short of meeting this expectation. With Chris and Michelle’s recent blog entries, I too have taken some time to reflect on all the things I have set out to do, yet have not accomplished. I think of the extensive list of things I would like to accomplish throughout my life, and know that some of those will never be checked off. However, when my journey here in this world comes to an end, I know “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15)

We have the hope and promise that our greatest transformation is yet to come. When we enter into our Eternal Home, we will be transformed and will become perfect, spotless, and complete. That time will be more amazing than the most beautiful butterfly emerging from a cocoon. What a day that will be!

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1-5)