Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Soul, Boast Thou in the Lord

Today, I wanted to do a blog post boasting in my Heavenly Father a bit. :)

Matthew 6:33 has been on the forefront of my mind a lot lately. Here is what is says in the context of the passage: "Therefore take no thought syaing, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:31-33)

As I have been praying for God's grace to live this verse on a daily basis, and as He has therefore been asking of me hard things - involving choices and practical actions that are testing my trust in Him - I am learning in a new way just how very faithful my Father is to reward trust in practical ways.

On Thursday evening after work, I stopped by my favorite resale shop in pursuit of a specific item. Instead, what I found was a 75% off sale on all summer garments! After an hour of shopping, I went to check-out with 5 new items of clothing in hand. As the cashier rang up my total, my eyes grew wide with surprise at the exceptionally cheap prices these clothes were costing. Matthew 6:33 kept ringing in my ears! All these things shall be added unto you.

Dark red lacy shirt from Worthington Stretch Petite - 48 cents

Melon colored shirt from Cherokee - 35 cents

Denim skirt from Old Navy - 48 cents

The only item I bought that wasn't on sale - a soft, teal green shirt from Christopher and Banks (paired with my own tank top underneath) - $3.93 - still an incredible deal!

And the icing on the cake - a beautiful, slender black dress skirt from Harold's - 48 cents!

I left the store that evening in awe of my Heavenly Father. Just a simple shopping experience - yet through it, I saw His hand of provision so dramatically! It was like He was giving me a tangible message saying, "See? I told you I was trustworthy."

My friends, let us not waste our time chasing after that which the world deems important - finanical security, a well-stocked wardrobe, careers that guarantee a high income. For after all these things do non-believers seek. Instead, I encourage you to join me on this adventure of seeking first the Kingdom of God - with our money, our time, our activities, our prayer lives.

I am coming to a deeper understanding of what the Scripture verse means when it declares that our lives are but vapors. We have only a short time to engage in Kingdom-building work, with no guarantee that we'll even be on the planet tomorrow. I am challenged by God's Spirit on a daily basis to live with eternity in mind.

I hope this story is an encouragement to you to rest assured that your Father knows your needs and will care for them if you will but trust in Him. He cares for sparrows and flowers; how much more will He provide for us, His dear children? No matter what sacrifices God may ask you to make throughout your life, trust Him to know what He is doing and asking. And then be prepared for Him to open the windows of Heaven and pour out a reward upon you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Currently Reading...

Gold Cord, by Amy Carmichael

The story of the Dohnavur Fellowship in India where Amy and fellow Christian women cared for little children rescued from temple prostitution.

A Passion for the Impossible, by Miriam Hoffman Rockness

The biography of Lilias Trotter, missionary woman to the Muslims of Algeria.

Living in the Light of Eternity, by K.P. Yohannan
A spiritually stirring message to live a sold-out life fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus.

Recently Read:

Set Apart Femininity, by Leslie Ludy
An excellent book for all young ladies who desire to be set apart unto the Lord in every way, to love Him wholly, and to engage in world-changing Kingdom service! This book contains all the material Leslie shared at the recent retreat I went to in Colorado.

The Bravehearted Gospel, by Eric Ludy

I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my promise to write a review on it. Here is my review:

Eric Ludy’s new book, The Bravehearted Gospel, is a gripping and unashamed proclamation of truth that is desperately needed in our modern era of a redefined, watered down, “anything goes” Christianity. The compelling message of this book is a call to arms for the defense of God’s Word. It is a rousing cry for the return to Biblical, historic Christianity – a Christianity that is alive with fiery passion, courage, sacrifice, victory, and the relentless pursuit of God Himself. It is a passionate appeal to be the hands and feet of Christ to the oppressed and needy of the world. Once I started reading my advance review copy of this book, I could not put it down. Every paragraph struck a chord within my soul and urged me on to the next. With his usual masterful eloquence, Eric issues forth a stirring challenge to live the sold-out, set-apart life of a true warrior of Jesus Christ – no matter the cost. Those who catch the vision are sure to change this world.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Testimony of Job

"When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth."
- Job 29:11-17

My heart's desire to is to have a testimony like Job's.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bellissima Modesty Boutique

I just found out today about a new online store for modest clothing that has been started by dear friends and MQ alumni.

You can check it out at:

Hurray for modesty!

Seeking to Know the Will of God

Recently, I received an email from a young lady who attended the Virginia Maiden's Quest retreat with this question: How would you test something that you wonder if the Lord has told you, so as to know whether it really is from Him or whether Satan is trying to use it to distract you?

This is an excellent question!
I will try to answer it to the best of my ability based on the lessons and principles the Lord has taught me over the past few years, but I am still learning the answer to this question myself in every season of life.

Colossians 1:9 says, "...we do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding..."
This is one verse among many implying that the Lord desires us to know His will for our lives and then to live it out.

As young women, I believe God has given us 3 "tools" for our use in discerning His will for our lives:
1) His Word
2) His Holy Spirit
3) Our parents (or in the case of a married woman - her husband)
And prayer, by the way, goes hand-in-hand with all three.

As we pray to know what God wants us to do in a given situation or what "next step" in life He wants us to take, we must be faithful to search the Bible for words of direction that He will want to speak to us. Also, we should ask for peace from the Holy Spirit where there is a "green light" or a lack of peace where there needs to be a "red light". I have found that He is always faithful to give this peace or lack thereof as a confirmation of His will. And since we should always seek to be under authority, we must pray that the Lord will give the same direction He wants us to have to our parents.

For example, when I was 18, I learned of an opportunity to go to Peru to minister to a missionary family as a home school helper. I felt instantly that this was the dream opportunity of my life! My parents agreed to pray with me about it. As the weeks passed and I earnestly sought God's will in the matter, I received countless verses of Scripture that held special meaning for me and seemed to indicate God's leading to the land of Peru. I also had a peace in my spirit that this opportunity was from Him. After 3 months of praying, my parents also were given peace from the Lord and therefore gave me their blessing to go. All three areas - God's Word, the Holy Spirit, and parental authority - were unified.

At other times in my life, we prayed about a matter, and even though I felt like I had leading from the Bible and peace from the Spirit, my parents did not. I didn't always like it when this happened or understand it. But eventually, I would always see why God used them to correct my misunderstanding of His leading in my life. At one season, when I thought I was supposed to return to Peru, but my parents didn't agree, it turned out that God had Maiden's Quest Ministries in store! I would have missed the tremendous blessing of this ministry and all the opportunities that have come with it if I had not heeded the direction of my parents.

Another piece of advice I would add when seeking to know God's will is to set a "fleece" before the Lord as Gideon did. I have heard Gideon criticized in several sermons for his fleeces, but God didn't condemn him for them. He chose to include the story of the fleeces in His Word for a reason. And several times throughout Scripture, the Lord tells His people to "prove Him" that He may show Himself strong and true. I have found fleeces helpful many times when seeking to know His will.

For example, going back to the original example of when God did lead me to Peru, I had begun praying that the Lord would confirm His will with the provision of 3 specific things I would for the trip: money, a pair of sandals, and a bath robe. When He clearly provided all these items, I had double the confirmation that the Lord's hand was in this decision.

Fleeces could be tangible items, circumstances, financial provisions, etc.
Further examples from my own life:
"Lord, if you want me to take this opportunity, please open the door for me to participate. If not, make it clear that you are shutting the door."

"Lord, if you want me to serve as a counselor at camp this summer, please let them accept my application even though I'm not "qualified" since I haven't been to Bible college for 2 years. If my application is rejected, I'll take that as your sign that this opportunity is not your will."

"Lord, I sense that you are leading me to downsize my piano studio in order to free up my schedule for further ministry overseas. If this is truly your will, please confirm it to me by letting one of my students bring it up themselves that they are unable to continue with lessons."

I have watched God confirm His will many times through the "fleeces" I set before Him. Each experience serves to deepen my faith in His guidance.

Going back to your specific question, you asked for advice in knowing when a potential lead was from God vs. distraction from Satan. God's Word will not confirm something satan is wanting. The Holy Spirit will not confirm it either. And your parents are often given red flags that you are not. So, if you seek to run a possible "lead" through these 3 filters, I believe God will make it clear what His will is for you.

Other questions you can ask are:
Would this opportunity cause me to compromise my beliefs or values in any way? (satan wants you to compromise, but not God)
Does this opporutnity line up with the nature of God?
Will it bring forth fruit to the glory of God?
Does it line up with the purpose God has given me in life?

I hope these thoughts are helpful! My experience has been that God is faithful to reveal His pefect plans to us (in His time) when we are faithful to seek Him. May the Lord help each one of us to hunger and thirst for His best in life!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Christianity

With all the hoop-lah over the Olympics lately (and yes, I'm part of that hoop-lah when gymanstics is on!), the Lord prompted me to prepare a Bible study lesson for my girls at American Chinese Fellowship on the topic of Olympic Christianity. I was greatly impacted by this study and decided to post it here, complete with the insights from my Bible study girls in answer to questions I posed. Despite the fact that this post is therefore considerably longer than usual, I hope it will be a blessing to those who read it. May it cause each one of us to examine our Christian lives in the light of God's Word, and cause us to walk more closely with Him.

Olympic Christianity:

- Sacrifice - Determination - Discipline
- Focus - Hard Work


When you think of an Olympian, what sacrifices do they have to make in order to achieve their dream of an Olympic medal?
"Family relationships, food, normal school life, free time, sleep, entertainment, hobbies, private life."

Read the following verses to understand the concept of sacrifice in a Christian's life:

Romans 12:1,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Matthew 16:24
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Philippians 3:7-8
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

What sacrifices will a Christian possibly be called upon by the Lord to make for His sake?
"Life, family relationships, ambitions, material possessions, worldy 'success', reputation."


In order to make it into the Olympics, let alone win a medal, athletes must be determined. Determination is a mindset that says, “I will achieve this goal no matter what the cost is.” This mindset then lives itself out in disciplined actions, perseverance in the sport, a willingness to push oneself more each day, a steady focus on the goal, and sheer hard work. Without the mindset of determination, it would be much easier for an athlete to give up in his pursuit of making it to the Olympics and winning gold.

In Christianity, determination is also a key factor. A Christian determination is a mindset which says, “Because Jesus paid it all for me, I will live completely for Him. I will strive for the goal of pleasing Him in every way possible, no matter the cost. I will give my life to His service and will not deny the Lord who saved me.”

Philippians 3:14
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

Hebrews 10:22-23
Let us draw neart with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised).


In what ways do Olympians have to be discipline in order to win a gold medal?
"Work-out schedule, the food they eat, the sleeping schedule they maintain."

Areas for a Christian to be disciplined:

- Daily Bible reading
- Prayer
- Faithfulness in church
- Giving tithes and offerings
- Personal hygiene
- Healthy eating habits
- Cleanliness and orderliness

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate(self-controlled) in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

II Timothy 2:1,3
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Thou therefore endure hardness as a good solider of Jesus Christ.


An Olympian’s focus must be on bettering himself in the sport, performing it with excellence, and winning the prize. Distractions must be ignored and obstacles overcome in order to maintain this focus.

So it is with the Christian. Our focus must be on Jesus; His glory, His work, His reward. We cannot let distraction or obstacles hinder us!

Hebrews 12:1-2
Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…

II Timothy 2:4
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

What are some examples of “affairs of this life” that could be distractions to a Christian?
"Hollywood/movies, video games, computer games, boyfriends, shopping."
Luke 9:62
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Proverbs 4:25-27
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Hard Work
Becoming an Olympian takes sheer hard work. Winning a gold medal takes hard work. World class athletes do no have easy lives, easy schedules, or easy goals. Neither does the Christian.
Living as a follower of Christ is hard. While there is much joy along the way, there is also much hard work building the Kingdom of God; often suffering and persecution as well. It is not easy to be a living sacrifice, to turn the other cheek, to give away what is valuable, to minister to the hurting and destitute, to serve others at personal expense, to praise the Lord when mocked or imprisoned for His Name’s sake. But it is always worth it in the end.

Colossians 3:23
Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men.

1 Corinthians 4:11-13
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labor, working with our own hands: being revilved, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of this world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

Hebrews 11:33-38
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valient in fight, turned to flight the armies of aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflickted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy).

The Christian’s “Gold Medal”:

2 Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I'd rather be His than have riches untold;
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hands.

I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause;
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame.
I'd rather be true to His holy name.

Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway.
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

- Rhea F. Miller

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Quotable Amy Carmichael

"Our Master has never promised us success. He demands obedience. He expects faithfulness. Results are His concern, not ours. And our reputation is a matter of no consequence at all."

- Amy Carmichael, Gold Cord

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kodak Moments with the Goads

Katelin, these are especially for you!
Hope you enjoy!
We miss you! :)
Hi there! I'm Zion.
If you think my smile is contagious, then plesae smile back!
This is my little brother, Ethan. We like to play together.
Sometimes, he makes really silly faces. I taught him how. :)
This is my sister, Jessica. She's showing you how she does her chores.
Loading the dishwasher...

Sometimes, my two older sisters are so goofy!

Sorting clothes...

Turbo sweeper!

Katrina calls Jessica her smiling princess. And Katrina says even princesses need to learn how to do chores. :)

Cookies are fascinating objects...

and so tasty.

Don't you agree?
I love bubbles!

Sunshine boy

This is my sister, Hannah. She's Katrina's big helper.

Both my dad and Hannah like to cook. Aren't their chef hats nifty???

Well, that's all for now folks. Thanks for stopping by!
This is your blog post host, Zion, signing off for now. :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Catching Up...

Seeing as how it's been nearly a week since my last post, I decided it was high time to post a catch-up report on the various things that have been transpiring around here lately.

Last week was a very busy and exhausting week of nannying, especially having come right off a trip out of town. My little charges were still battling colds when I returned to them, and then a nasty tummy bug entered the household. Yes. I know. Not fun.

After a marvelous day off on Saturday, I started noticing a funny queasy feeling in my stomach that evening. Yes, definitely not fun. The bug got me good and I was in bed throughout the remainder of the weekend. As a result, I was home on Monday recovering, home on Tuesday due to a tropical storm in the city, and...home today as well because the children's grandparents came over to care for them! The Lord is so good. He knew I needed a chance to rest and catch up on home projects.

These past several days have been full of ample opportunity to spend time with the Lord in prayer and the reading of His Word. In His presence is truly the fulness of joy.
I've also seized the spare time to do some research on the needs of orphans, enslaved children, those who are forced into prostitution as young girls, and the destitute little ones who share our world; needs that I learned about and was gripped by while on my retreat in Colorado. I'll tell you - this research has continued to fuel the fires of passion God is stirring up in my heart to be the hands and feet of Christ to real, hurting children/young women. I don't know yet what He wants me to do about all that I'm learning, but He comforted my heart that the doing time hasn't come yet. Right now, He simply wants to give me His heart through the learning. Then, the doing will come.

Yesterday, I sat down at the piano to play a few songs. Upon opening the hymn book, I was stunned to encounter a song on the very page that fell open which totally and completely encompassed the thoughts of my heart. As I played through it and sang the words, it was as though the Holy Spirit descended in that very moment confirming His working in my heart. I could not help but weep...

Let Your Heart Be Broken

"Let your heart be broken for a world in need
Feed the mouths that hunger, soothe the wounds that bleed,
Give the cup of water and the loaf of bread
Be the hands of Jesus, serving in His stead.

Here on earth applying principles of love
Visible expression God still rules above,
Living illustration of the Living Word
To the minds of all who've never seen and heard.

Blest to be a blessing, privileged to care
Challenged by the need apparent everwhere,
Where mankind is wanting fill the vacant place,
Be the means thru which the Lord reveals His grace.

Add to your believing deeds that prove it true
Knowing Christ as Savior, make Him Master too:
Follow in His footsteps, go where He has trod
In the world's great trouble risk yourself for God.

Let your heart be tender and your vision clear
See mankind as God sees, serve Him far and near:
Let your heart be broken by a brother's pain,
Share your rich resources - give and give again."

May the Lord's work be unhindered in my heart. My greatest longing at this moment is to be totally yielded to the plans of my Jesus - wherever they may take me, and to whomever He wants me to minister.

Tomorrow, I know that means the Goad children. :-) And so, I shall return to my precious little motherless charges - refreshed and invigorated for the mission ahead!