April 23, 2011

AP: New Blog Page

AP writes:

I don't know how many of you know, but I am planning on going to China on a mission trip this summer and have created a blog to post updates about my trip. You can follow it at http://summerinchina2011.blogspot.com.

Have a blessed day!!!!

Ashton =)

April 8, 2011

KP: Praise

KP Writes:

Just a quick update this morning.

How often do you hear praise of our Lord Jesus Christ? How often do you hear grumbling and complaint about our circumstances? If you are hearing the same human race as I am, you know where I am going. And I dare say, it is not much different within the Christian community. Yes, Christians praise while in a church service or prayer meeting or when we are giving a , but what about when all the stuff of life is happening. Is praise continually on our lips? During these times our God has not changed. Why should the praise we lift up change, or even cease? Beloved, circumstances will resolve or pass away. And, more significantly, our circumstances (aka trials and tribulations) are for developing faith and perseverance in us.

Consider Hebrews 13:15, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name."

Notice a couple of word choices that God has included.
1) constantly - 'we are to constantly offer praise up to God' - constantly means c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y
2) at all times - 'we are to at all times offer praise up to God' - at all times is pretty clear!
3) I think God makes a pretty strong case when He reiterates 'constantly' with 'at all times'.
4) sacrifice - 'a sacrifice of praise'; the word sacrifice doesn't bring to mind a sweet little girl skipping through the meadow freely praising the Lord. No, sacrifice is a costly choice when other things may be much easier and seem even more satisfying for the moment.
5) What exactly does He mean by offering up praise? That we 'thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name'.

A couple of closing thoughts regarding praise:

++Praise turns trials into faith-builders as we learn to measure our problems against His limitless power transforming the stumbling blocks of today into stepping stones for tomorrow.

++Praise frees us from having to understand our circumstances, knowing that God is in control. A heart that is filled with praise does not have to understand every detail of the circumstance. In fact, the details really don't matter. What does matter is that God is aware of every minute detail, monitors the circumstance and shapes it to fit His plan.

Love you,

March 23, 2011

AP: 300th post!!!!!!!!!!!

AP writes:

WOW!!!!! This is the 300th post on our family blog!!!! I can't believe how much God has been teaching my family! It is so much fun to go back and read old posts!

Well........I have some pretty exciting news for you! March 23rd, 2011 is a very special day. =) Today I took my Introduction to Educational Psychology CLEP test and passed. This moved my credits up to 120 which means.......

I'M A COLLEGE GRAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!

I now have a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. =) I won't actually graduate until June but I've done all the work, so for me it counts as graduation! =) I'm so excited I'm about ready to burst! My parents and Mallory met me afterword and took me to eat Chipotle! =) It's still very hard for my brain to comprehend that I don't have any more school! As for the rest of my year I have lots of things to keep me busy! I am currently working on our dance performance we are doing in June called Firstborn from the Dead and Sleeping Beauty. =) So that takes lots of time. I get to start playing piano again as well as do Calculus I and II for fun! I miss math so much, so I am going to do those and then I'll probably be done. =) I am also preparing to go to China this summer! I'm still working out all the little details but so far it looks like I'll be going for about a month. So I am starting to learn Mandarin Chinese. =) And then in August, I'm going to start my second degree. I will be attending IHOP's Bible school, IHOPU, and getting a four year degree in Biblical Studies. =)
Another exciting thing is I'm getting a facebook! I don't have time to set it up today, but I'll probably have one by this weekend......so look me up! =)

So cool that I got to post my graduation as the family's 300th post!!!!! =) Hope ya'll have a fabulous day!

Ashton =)

AP: Praying for Japan

AP writes:

Most of you know of the current status in Japan from the earthquake that happened a little under two weeks ago. Just wanted to post some prayer updates:

>Dacia Bostrom (the student from Japan living here with the Kawase family) went back a week ago to visit her family for a month. While she is there they are planning on visiting Sendai, the epicenter, and providing hot meals and the good news of Jesus Christ! =) Pray that they will be safe from everything including the radiation!
>Mr. and Mrs. Kawase left this morning for Japan. Mr. Kawase was cleared as a Doctor to be able to go into Sendai and minister to the people there for 10 days. Mrs. Kawase will be assisting him as well as helping with the Bostrom family. Pray that they will have traveling mercies, especially since they are traveling with lots of medical supplies. Also pray they will be safe from radiation since they will be driving past the nuclear plants.
>Pray for Grandma Kawase as she was alive during the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is really hard for her seeing her son willingly put himself near the radiation in order to help other people.
>That God's purposes will come forth in Japan through this crisis. God causes all things to work together for his glory! Pray for the hearts of the Japanese people that they would turn to Christ as the only savior to help them through this massive crisis

Thank you all for praying! My heart hurts for our Japanese brothers and sisters. But God holds all things in his hands!

Much love,
Ashton =)

March 2, 2011

KP: Desperation

KP Writes:

When things get tough, really tough, we become desperate. Quite frankly the feeling of desperation is awful. It is that state of being where you have no ability to be able fix or change the situation. None. There is no person or nothing
available to you that can change your situation . That place can bring despair. Desperation can actually be our friend. "What?", you say. That sounds anything but true. But, desperation can be our friend IF it makes us crave God and long to see His power unleashed in our lives.

How hungry are you for God today? Do you long to see His power unleashed in your life? It is much more pleasant when these desires come out of a heart at peace. But, given the alternative of not seeking God wholeheartedly and not seeing His power unleashed in our lives, I would even welcome a situation that unleashes desperation for Him. The end result of hungering and thirsting after God, seeking Him like never before, grabbing hold of the hem of His garment and not letting go until He meets me new and afresh, must be the posture of my heart.

Lord teach me to love you in and out of the storm.


February 21, 2011

KP: I Have to Know, What Makes them Cry Holy?

KP Writes:
OK, so the Lord is speaking me through song right now. (He often does.) I was in the prayer room Thursday all ready for a Misty Edward's set. I had missed her 4pm and so I was really looking forward to the 8pm. When I walked in, Brandon Hampton was leading the set. Hum, I must say I was initially disappointed. But God hijacked me, one of God's names I know best - El Hijacker)

The lyrics to the song which are from Rev. 4 are below. You know, I had never really asked myself what it is that they see that makes the elders and angels in heaven do what they are doing and will continue to do for eternity. Do I have a knowledge of God that elicits the same response in me? Sadly, no, but I want it. And I want it enough to spend time getting to know Him in that way. It is a costly desire, anything is that requires time, our one limited resource. To say yes to one thing is to say no to another. But, I have to know, so I say yes.

You can click HERE
to hear the song. Scroll over to 1:16 to get to the beginning of it. Warning: for those of you who do not like repeating songs, this one repeats for approximately 30 minutes, but then again, so does the song being sung by the angels in heaven, theirs lasting forever. Play the music in the background and meditate on the words as they come. I think you will enjoy.

"There He sits, upon the throne,

Sustainer of all things.

The elders bow,

And angels sing, their song forevermore.

How can I comprehend the beauty that has no end?

You have beckoned us to come and see

For every nation testifies
the majesty
they can't deny
the Son has made a way for them to come.

There is only one, there is only one, there is only one

Found worthy

What do the elders see
that makes them all fall down?
What do the angels see
that makes them all cry holy?
We have to know ,

We have to know ,

We have to know ,

What makes them cry holy?

There is only one, there is only one, there is only one,

found worthy.

To Him who sits on the throne

To him who reigns forever

To Him who sits on the throne

To him who reigns on high

Be blessing and honor and glory and power"
(Rev 4:11)


February 20, 2011

MP: Love of Christ

Hello all,

I hope that you have been doing well lately. I sure have. At dance we have started learning our pieces for the performance, Firstborn From the Dead. So far it looks as if I will be in three pieces. In the piece that is for my jazz class I have a solo which I am super elated for, yet also terrified in the same breath. Before I do my part (as the mute) I have to stand frozen in position for a long time that seems like a perennial. :) This performance is basically an excerpt from the New Testament as the life of Christ.

We have gotten a bunch of snow. Our trampoline had icicles hanging from the bottom of the mesh and a block of ice on top which I had to devise how to get off. I will infer that the block of ice was two to three inches thick.

Have you ever thought about how no matter what people do, God still wants them for himself? God wants His people which is why He sent his son to die on the cross. It is so amazing that God would send his only son to go to the cross, die, and resurrect just so that when you sin you can be forgiven. I mean you naturally would assume that you have to work hard or do something. But no, you just have to say God or Jesus or Holy Spirit I have sinned and I ask for forgiveness and you will be made completely and utterly clean. It is so cool!!! And God does not defer in forgiving us. All that is needed is a subservient heart. This is not a tortuous walk at all and it exonerates you.

I also love the fact that Jesus knows everything that you have ever done and He still wants you. He is the perfect Bridegroom and He is waiting to come back for His people until they are ready for His return; ready to love Him whole heartily. Jesus is intent on contending for our hearts. We don't have to contort to be someone we are not for Him. He really wants a people that fully want Him. Not just to fix problems but to talk to and to spend time with.

Well this is what I have been thinking about in the prayer room. Hope it is some food for thought for you too and I have not expounded too much.

Love always,