“Z Best Is Yet 2 Come”

So, I’ve been reading the Bible lately as previously stated in my last blog. I’ve finished Exodus and started reading all the introductory information on Leviticus (the avoided book) which is extremely helpful in creating expectation on a previously perceived “boring book”.

Exodus has been helpful in opening my eyes to more of the details of our story as Christians. For example, you have ‘The Exodus’ (the exit or leaving) of the children if Israel out of the land of Egypt and of slavery. THE PASSOVER – which I couldn’t write enough about – full of symbolism and justice that makes me cry when I think about it. The Israelites were to take a pure, spotless lamb once a year for their passover feast and slaughter it and place the blood of the lamb over their doorposts to be safe from the judgement of G-d. GUYS. Jesus, our pure and spotless lamb spilled his blood over that tree at Calvary to forever cover the price of our sins so that judgement would be replaced with mercy in our lives.
I cry. I weep. I write blogs about it. 

The Law was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai and then immediately broken (literally and literally) by the people sinning downstairs and when Moses threw the tablets to the ground in a hissy fit of justice-rage. But, Moses was given reminders of the covenant promise of G-d redeeming His people and Moses reminded G-d of His own promises as well. We see redemption over and over in this narrative.

The BEAUTIFUL and precise instructions were given to our main man Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle (The Holy meeting tent that the Lord decided to dwell in so that He could be with the children of Israel and that they could worship Him in). Peoples hearts were overwhelmed with gratitude and generosity and began to give to the building of the temple to where they had far more than they needed. The Lord showed his compassion to this group of people by sending His Spirit (end of chapter 35) to equip His people with SKILL to complete the building of the tabernacle.

I find it reassuring to know that the Lord doesn’t always EQUIP the CALLED but He equips those in the line of His COMMANDS. We find two men here in chapter 36, Bezalel and Oholiab, along with others in ‘whom the Lord put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary… in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded’ (v.1 ish). We see no reference to the Lord speaking directly to them and telling them that they are ordained to build this sanctuary… We just see them in the path of a need that the Lord was going to accomplish. By being willing to help with whatever, they were equipped by the Holy Spirit to be useful.

G-d I want to be in line of your commands. I don’t have to be ‘called’ but I do need to be available and I trust that in my availability and being where You are that You’ll equip me for whatever YOU have commanded on the earth.

After all of this is said and done in Exodus it leaves me with such a reassured ease as I try and read Leviticus. You see, I know the end of the story and the completion of the prophecies in the New Testament. I know of the New Covenant and our immediate access to G-d and the lack of all animal sacrifices I’ve ever had to perform in my life. I can look at the Israelites wandering the desert and think, “The best is yet to come! Just hold on and keep believing!”

This all ended up rolling through my head as I made my way downstairs
to see our house sign say “Z Best Is Yet 2 Come”.

I think G-d often smiles at me, I feel it when I’m laughing at myself after ‘ah-ha’ moments come and I realise how blind I am without the guidance and revelation of the Spirit. I was reminded of the expectation I’m bringing to Hillsong Conference. I was reminded of MY story with Him and how much I’ve grown in the last 5 years. I was reminded of all the prayers that I’ve prayed and still pray and the ones I’ve forgotten that I asked for. I think G-d smiled at me and reminded ME that The BEST is YET to come…
I can look at the past all day and mentally help those people in hardship and tell them, “Wait, your story isn’t over” but in looking back and reflecting I can sometimes forget that the Lord is looking at me saying the same thing.

Moving into Hillsong Conference ISN’T same ol’ same ol’. Starting another semester with a whole flock of new students isn’t same ol’ same ol’. Each and every service and chapel isn’t the same… it’s progressively THE BEST.

Pastor Brian Houston coined that phrase for our church but I’m just starting to REALLY GET IT. It doesn’t matter if your last week was crap or the best thing ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re still sitting in emotional slavery waiting on deliverance or you were just given everything you’ve been asking and praying for. THE BEST is still to come.

Hillsong Conference is another opportunity that we as college students have to refresh and serve our hearts out – I pray that our expectation is heightened and that we follow where we feel the Spirit is leading. I pray that we end up in the path of the commands of G-d and even if we don’t feel called that we begin to accept the equipping of the Spirit and move forward knowing we have what it takes to change something. I pray that no matter how difficult it is, or how tired we become that we don’t lose sight of the BEST that is still coming. I pray that no matter how amazing and life-changing it is for us that we realise that there IS STILL more.

Many of those reading this aren’t college students here in Sydney, Australia and to those I pray that your jobs come through – I pray your children come back to Christ or find Him for the first time – I pray that you are set free from emotional bondage of an abusive partner – I pray that you see a little bit more hope in your situation but also that you know that even in the beautiful times, the birth of your children, the promotion at work, the marriage of your best friends… that there is STILL more.

Thank G-d for hindsight and THANK G-D that I don’t know everything.


The Exodus and Leviticus links you find in this blog are from guys called
‘The Bible Project’ – They summarise the books of the bible along with explaining other key topics in a comic sort of way that keeps us creative types entertained.
Check them out.

Love On Your Little Ones

Live your life with children, explore faith with them as well as the back yard. Love them innocently and fiercely because they get it. This #ThinkBackThursday brought to you by 5 years ago – Feb 2011
I can’t explain a lot of the feels I have in my heart for my sister. Sometimes one of my friends will bring her up because it changes my demeanor instantly. I wonder if G-d’s face changes when He thinks about us…
Be blessed, be new and thank you for having a look into the stories that make up my life.

Today was a day that Oklahoma decided to have good weather. I enjoy those. You could hear kids playing in the neighborhood as their parents called for them to come inside for washing up. I had a few friends over and for whatever reason I was parked behind them, so when it was time to say goodbye I had to move my car for them to get out. I pulled my car back and was about out of their way when I see my little sister running down the driveway crying. I’m a softie for her firstly, because she is my sister, but also because when something breaks her heart it usually breaks mine. This wasn’t a scared cry; this wasn’t a hunger or a pain cry even. She was running down the sidewalk shrieking, so I jump out of my car and run to her and hold her.
“Gracie, what’s the matter? What happened?” I start to cry simply because I can see in her 6 year old body, brokenness. Something is eating her apart inside and I can’t do anything. In a painful, sobbing voice I hear her scream, “Why don’t the little ones belong to Him?”

I couldn’t answer her.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so

little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.

She was torn apart because she knew the kids in the neighborhood didn’t belong to the Saviour. The kids who most people just want out of the road, the kids who people look over and wonder what their parents are thinking letting them play in the street.

Gracie has taught me more than I could ever explain about life and about G-d. The story above was a dream I had one night and woke up crying to. Children have such a precious heart; they have such a strong faith that when someone tells them something is they believe it. One day Gracie wanted to stay home and watch TV while everyone else was leaving… I told her that it wasn’t safe and she had to come with me because no one would be there to watch her. She told me G-d would be there to protect her.

How do you argue with that?

I told her that if she got hurt there would be no one to take her to the hospital. She said that if she got hurt G-d could heal her. Who am I to tell her she’s wrong? That the faith she has isn’t always true? (I didn’t leave her alone but I had a hard time convincing her that she just WANTED to come with me).

I want child like faith. I want to have passion for the little ones who don’t yet belong to Him. I want more G-d… 

As We Tarry There

((Maybe don’t read this one at work, or maybe grab a tissue.


It’s really hard for me sometimes to say that I miss my grandparents, when I don’t honestly remember that much about them. My grandma (on my mothers side) died when I was about 4 or maybe 5 years old. I remember that she was heavy set and soft. She had white hair and my own mother has the frame of her hands, they’re rounded and not harsh. They are soft and always in need of physical contact to show love. I have those same rounded hands too; my fingers and features are soft. So while I can’t say that I miss her because I don’t remember much about her I do know her. I remember her Bible being filled with so many highlighted and written in words that it was like 17 devotionals in one. This is a part of my heritage. I remember that when she died I cried because I saw my cousin Ricky crying, and I knew that something bad was happening if he (in my eyes at the time a ‘big kid’) was crying. I remember Precious Moments coloring books at the hospital. I remember telling my brother that I was sad and I wanted to see her again, he told me that if I wanted to see her I would need to go to heaven. He brought me to my mom and I got saved that day (so that I could see Mee-Maw again).

So although I don’t remember her well – I know that she knows me and I know that she has molded my life without being in it.

My grandfather died when I was 10, I remember a little more about him. I remember him eating Ritz crackers with peanut butter on them every time I was over at his house. I remember that he would tickle you until you shrieked and then act like he was going to let you get away but as you ran his arms would catch you and pull you close again. I remember his big funny glasses that now remind me of the guy from Up (or a hipster). I remember his skin being terribly thin and me being afraid of hurting him when I hugged him later on in his life. I remember mom waking me up the day after a celebration ceremony I was a part of for having read the entire bible and memorized a zillion scriptures (seriously a zillion) and maybe learnt how to build a fire? It was pretty much girl scouts for Christians. She woke me up to tell me we were off to Georgia because my grandfather had passed away. I remember his favorite song was In The Garden. A few of the cousins, my mom and myself sang it at his funeral and THAT I can never forget – I can never forget this song.

I may have not known much about my grandpa but I do know that he had a heart to be with the Lord, he was good at sitting with Him.

I don’t remember much about my grandparents, but I do know them.

memawThey’ve been apart of molding who I am since way before I was conceived. I’m so thankful for my heritage that has since passed on and I’m thankful for my grandparents who are still with me.

I love my Grandma Cheri (dads side) more that I could ever explain and I hold part of her personality with me always. I know that without her realizing she has an inflection in her voice when she speaks and emphasizes different syllables. And I know that she has already forgotten how to log in to her Facebook. My love of dogs comes from her and I’m fully convinced that as soon as I can, I won’t be able to keep away from having those lovely fur-babies in my home. I do things that she does without even realizing they probably came from her, like mass cooking awesome food and loving to decorate cakes. We enjoy sushi and being feisty and stubborn as.

But, G-d reminded me of this song this week, as I’ve been so focused on what’s coming this year, what is the next thing I have to do I’ve forgotten too quickly how to tarry with G-d.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

To tarry is to stay longer than you intended, or delay leaving a place.

Time spent with G-d cannot come back void and you can never be there ‘too long’. Life happens all around you and all around the world without you, the worries and tasks will be there after the morning and after you’ve sat with the Saviour.

He walks with me. He talks with me. He tells me I am His own.

Lately my prayer has been that G-d would restore to me the joy of salvation. I’m not unhappy, but I want more joy. I want more peace regardless of circumstance and joy that is simply based on what Christ has already done by saving me. No greater joy have I found than to sit and be in His presence and have Him tell me that I AM HIS OWN.

And the JOY we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

Although I didn’t know my grandparents enough to ‘miss them’ as much as my older family members – I do know my Saviour, and sometimes I just miss tarrying with Him.

Sometimes you need extravagant moments with Jesus. Sometimes you just need to sit and hear Him calling you His own. Sit and listen to the melodies He is singing over you, let it echo through your being. Learn to seek Him and find the characteristics you have learned from Him that you might not realize are in you.

We truly come by them honestly.

The Heart of a Child

I wrote this when I was 18 years old, which would have made Gracie about 4 years old at the time. Also making her the cutest ever. Also making this a #ThinkBackThursday…

Pardon my love for ellipses at the time(…)

Enjoy!


Whatever you write on the heart of a child
No water can wash away
The sand may be shifted when billows are wild
And the efforts of time may decay
Some stories may parish, some songs may be forgotten
But this graven record—time changes it not
Whatever you write on the heart of a child
A story of gladness or care
That heaven has blessed or earth defiled
Will linger unchangeable there…
-Author, Unknown

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.”//“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

For anyone on the brink of being a parent, who has been a parent, or who works with kids of any age: realize the gift and responsibility that has been given to you.

G-d not only gives children for the purpose of raising but instructing and to personally keep YOURSELF in check…

Storytime!

One fine, freezing Monday afternoon an Ice storm hit Owasso, OK. At the time I was at church working with Kevin, Kara, Nich and Francyne (Frankie). Nich and Frankie live in Catoosa (roughly 45 minutes away from Owasso) and the roads had already gotten too slick to drive safely home for them, so they stayed at my house. The next day was filled with quality time with them and my baby sister Gracie. Gracie and I LOVE making cookies so, Frankie, Gracie and I start making our homemade chocolate chip cookies. Francyne and I both LOVE McAlisters Deli cookies because they usually (more often than not) under bake them so that the middle is still a very soft almost cookie-type cookie dough (AMAZING).
So in honor of being stuck at home and wanting that good ol’ comfort food we under bake a batch just enough to satisfy mine and Frankie’s taste.  🙂

All of the cookies are done and cooling on the table downstairs and the boys come down (what guy doesn’t come to the smell of food?) so downstairs at the table it was me, Grace, Francyne, My dad, and Nich (Vito might of been there too at this point)… I went to go for one of the under baked cookies with a lot of chocolate chips. I picked it up with both of my hands and ALL of my focus. Nich, being the loving co-worker and friend that he is decides to take my chair out from under me and I, in all faith and confidence sit down expecting the chair that I just got up from to be there. I land on my back. I was really alright with falling, no big deal… but when I looked up and realized that my cookie that I so carefully picked out was no longer in my hands I shout (in a joking voice) “I HATE you Nich!! I hate you!” I look around in a somewhat panic to find my cookie broken into two or so pieces and I pick it up, pout and make Nich eat it because it fell on the floor.

About this time while everyone is laughing at me falling, Gracie chimes in and says “Laina, you shouldn’t say you hate people…” at this point apologize and still laughing sort of brush the comment off; She continues “It hurts G-d’s feelings when you say Hate” Ouch… I slide back from the table and everyone at this point is in shock and laughter (Francyne was crying she was laughing so hard) because hearing something like that from a 4 1/2 year old isn’t exactly common. Everyone is laughing and we all semi-collect ourselves back to the table. I apologize once more and take a huge sigh and say “I’m sorry Gracie but that was really funny” and she replies “Yeah, that was really funny when Nich pulled your chair out from under you”

….Gotta love the mind track of 4 year olds.

This was possibly one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me and also one of the most spiritually convicting.

The idea of having “Child-like faith”

It’s an innocents I wish I still had.

Words such as “crap”, “dang”, “stupid”, “hate” are all words that coming out of a child’s mouth you’d cringe to hear. But why does the standard change just because you’re older and you’ve put in your time? Do you somehow earn the right at a particular age to say whatever you want? What you say around children will not be forgotten. Gracie is 4 and absorbs anything and everything she hears. I thank G-d and my parents for teaching her that life is about being polite and honest and keeping your speech at a standard that pleases G-d. To this day I watch more than ever what I say because I didn’t even think about Gracie being in the room. To tell the truth I didn’t even think about saying “hate” …no harm no foul?
However, the harm in the situation is not being sensitive to the fact that not only was I in the presence of a child, I was in the presence of G-d and HE monitors more than just my speech, He guards my heart and spirit. The Bible says the Word of G-d even separates bones and marrow. G-d gets to the nitty gritty of faith and gives a black and white of what life should be.

Why is any of this story Important?

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 18.3

If you don’t become like little children, you WILL NEVER enter heaven. What better way to learn how to be a child that from a child? Next time you’re around a young person watch what you say and instead of trying to get them to learn to read or add or multiply or any of that, why don’t you just observe what exactly they have that you’ve lost.