Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Site!

So since, I'd like to start doing this blogging thing a lot more... I wanted my own site. There were also lots of other things I wanted to do with a site that a mere blog couldn't handle. So... after this blog, I'll stop updating here and start posting on my new site.

http://www.mariagracebrown.com

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Power of the Holy Spirit

Lately I've been spending time in the book of Acts during my morning quiet times with the Lord. This morning I just finished chapter 7 which Stephen's speech to the Sanhedrin and consequently his martyrdom. What has hit me over and over again as I've been going through the book, is the radical difference in the lives of the same men I've read over and over about in the four gospels. No longer are they the clueless, devoted, cowardly fishermen and tax collectors that followed Christ before the Resurrection, now they are strong, courageous, wise defenders of the gospel of Christ, constantly putting their own lives at peril for the sake of their Lord and Savior. So what accounts for this difference?? As I've read the book of Acts before, I've read through the account of Pentecost and though I understood it's basic significance, it never dawned on me how crucial this event was and is in Christian history. The difference in these men is the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives....and if the only reference to the Holy Spirit was in Acts 2, then I might have reason to minimize it's importance. But as I read account after account of the disciples preaching and being persecuted publicly... I began to notice that each act of christian heroism performed by these disciples was prefaced by the phrase "...and filled with the Holy Spirit..."

I've been meditating on this off and on for a couple of weeks now...and I've gotten so excited about this truth. Before, the Holy Spirit to me was a "nice to have", a cool accessory that came with the christian deal... but it's NOT! It's one of the most important parts of becoming a member of the family of God. The Holy Spirit is how we enter the Lord's presence on a continual basis, It is how we pray, it is how we know the will of God, it is how we have the courage to share the gospel with a friend, it is how the truths of scripture are opened up to us, it is how the Lord comforts us with his presence. In Psalm 51, after David's affair with Bathsheba, in verse 11 he begs the Lord "Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me (ESV)." In the Old Testament God gave and took away the Holy Spirit...but on this side of the Cross we need never fear that! He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5).

What a blessed truth has been revealed to me. It shows me yet again how weak I am, and that I need the power of God himself to do or understand any part of this life that Christ has called me to, and that he has freely given me that power in the form of the Holy Spirit by the precious, shed blood of Jesus Christ, my Savior.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Classics Anyone?

Tim Challies is interested in starting an online discussion of some classic book in Christian liturature on his blog. I think it would be an excellent opportunity to impose some discipline in my life in the area of enriching my mind with the wisdom of the forefathers of the faith. Anyone else interested?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Blogger Is Back :)

So yes, I really haven't forgoten about this blog...just tons to do a lots of stuff to keep up with. I promise that I will finish my series on bible study. Honestly, the next step, interpretation is the area I'm certainly most weak in, so I guess I just keep putting off writing that one since I feel so inadequate....but I promise I'll put it together. :)

In the mean time...I've become obsessed with John Piper and recently found a booklet he did on Biblical Exegesis ... so sink your teeth into that!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Let Your Kingdom Come

Let your Kingdom Come
Words and music by Bob Kauflin

Your glorious cause, O God, engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves, but for Your renown
The cross has saved us so we pray
Your kingdom come

Let Your kingdom come
Let Your will be done
So that everyone might know Your Name
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
Till Your sovereign work on earth is done

Let Your kingdom come
Give us Your strength, O God, and courage to speak
Perform Your wondrous deeds through those who are weak
Lord use us as You want, whatever the test
By grace we’ll preach Your gospel
Till our dying breath

This is my absolute favorite worship song. I honestly can't go on enough about it. There are a couple very specific reasons, however, that the song is just so incredibly meaningful to me.

The first time I ever heard this song, it was being taught at Kingsway Community Church in Richmond, VA. It was my very first Sunday there, after having relocated to the area just a few days before. This was the first time I had ever moved, and I had left much behind me. A little background info...I had hoped to go into ministry with an organization that I had personally been richly blessed by, and I thought that this was the Lord's will for me after college. However, after a series of events, he made it very clear that he was specifically calling me to a particular job that would temporarily relocate me to the Richmond area, and would probably relocate me a few times before I would be able to settle into a permanent position. The Lord made the decision making process quite simple, there was just no way to deny that this was where he wanted me. However, the life I was leaving behind made it so hard. I had a community of wonderful committed believers that actively worked to fulfill the great commission on a day-to-day basis. I had friends who had known me my entire life. There were many older women who had invested so much into me, and several young women whom I had enjoyed pouring my life into. I loved working side by side with all of these people for the sake of the gospel...and now I was about to embark on a whole season of life, work a 9-5 job in corporate America.

So there I was Sunday morning, missing everyone I loved so much, missing the old ministry opportunities, and wondering what in the world the Lord could be doing....And it was this Sunday that "coincidentally" the church decided to teach this song. I knew the Lord was speaking to me very directly through that song. That no matter what happened, no matter where I was, no matter how weak and homesick I felt, I could sing "let your kingdom come" and have the confidence that the Lord would use me, no matter what, to advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ. What a promise!! It still fills my eyes with tears, as it did the first time I heard it. But when is say "let your kingdom come" I need to be prepared for the sacrifices that are involved. This song promised that the sacrifices I had made for this move were truly part of God's calling on my life. Yes it was hard, but look at what I get to be involved in, the building of Christ's Kingdom.

This song is my promise, my challenge and my prayer. A prayer that God will use me even within my weakness. A challenge to be willing to do whatever it takes to see his kingdom advanced, and a promise that no matter how hard it is, this really is the most worthwhile thing to lay my life on the alter for.

And now I find myself in almost the same situation. My job is relocating me from Richmond, and again, I'm leaving behind me such a wonderful network of believers that the Lord has used so richly in my life. I'm so tempted to be discouraged, to be sad about the change. But then I look at all the Lord did last year at this time, and all of the people he has brought into my life, and all of the change he as wrought on my heart, and I just can't ignore the opportunity that this new move will present. And as much as I'll miss everyone, I'm so excited about saying "let your kingdom" and "Lord use [me] as You want, whatever the test", because I know that he only has good for me, and I know that he will use this to advance his kingdom in another place, in another way. What a promise!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Goodness of God

The Purple Cellar is becoming one of my favorite blogs to visit on a regular basis. This article was posted today and I was very encouraged by it.

Goodness of God in our Singleness

Believing in the goodness of God in any area has been a major struggle in my life. I'm starting to make some headway. But no matter the situation or circumstance, I'm always encouraged when people point me back to how good a God I serve. I'm starting to recount his mercies to me more often and it is so helpful in battling this misconception.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thunderstorms

I'm sitting on my back porch listening to the rain and the really loud thunder. Why is it that there's something so peaceful about something that could be so terrifying and destructive? There is such a feeling of safety and security while seeing amazing power displayed that won't (or probably won't) hurt you at all. Remind's me of John Piper's talk at New Attitude, when he was talking about when we correctly view God there's something that makes you feel so utterly alive when you feel utterly insignifigant. I guess that's what a thunderstorm does. You feel so small, and so unimportant, yet you feel safter and more at peace then ever. Hmm...