Friday, March 29, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken

So many pieces of our lives. So much fragility. So much sin. But He knows our frame. He died for us. The one who was perfect. The one who was without sin.

Lives are torn apart and broken through the consequences and choices of others. If we could stop. Breathe. Get centered on God’s truth, how many choices would never be made. And how much of our lives and the lives of those around us not suffer the consequences of our decisions?

But we are broken. Sinful. Full of fear, envy and anger. We know not how to walk. We think we do, but we don’t and our lives bear that out.

But then, He was broken, bruised and crucified to give us a better life. To free us from our bondage to sin and lies and hate. The flesh.

And it doesn’t stop there. When salvation is received, He turns our ashes into beauty. Have you ever stood back and looked at the choices – the poor choices—you’ve made and seen how God has made them beautiful? To me, I am ever in awe of the power God has had over my life to turn my brokenness into beauty.

Savior, I love you. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inspirations and Grand Gestures

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”—Matthew 5:16

Pastor Jerry Scheidbach, my very first pastor, inspires me. His walk with God was so expressive that I found it very easy to follow his examples. He taught on restitution, not just repentance. He taught me that when you ask someone for forgiveness, you should also ask how or what you can do to restore the loss or ill you did to them. If you stole, give back, the Bible even says fourfold (Luke 19:8). If you put a hole through someone’s wall through anger, pay for its repair. If you hurt someone with your words, fill your mouth with kindness toward them. You should follow up with restitution at any time even if you come to it years later in your understanding.

He taught me how to read my Bible. The way he taught Scripture was so profound to me. He could take a verse and travel the pages of the entire Bible and show you where that verse fit across various books of the Bible. He could also take a swaths of history and illustrate many Bible principles through his observations. He often taught on passages of Scripture I usually overlooked because I didn't really understand them.

He taught that the simplest acts of kindness were great ways to be a Christian. Take your shopping cart at the grocery store, for example, and put it in its place. Take someone else’s cart and put it in its place. Pick up trash where you see it, and not just in your church. But anywhere. Be a Christian in all things, great or small.

He taught me the importance of reading God’s word, every day. A discipline I didn't have down until I went to Romania, where I knew I needed it the most. His sending verse for me going to Romania was “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4b).

He inspired me to read God’s word, through his own example. When he was a younger pastor and studying to get his Masters, I believe, he became so discouraged about what he was studying. He surveyed the shelves in his library and was sickened by what everybody else was saying about the Bible and so committed to only read God’s word for a season to find out what it said without the chaos and the noise of other people’s opinions. If I remember correctly, he only allowed himself to reference a Strong’s concordance, a Bible atlas, and the old 1828 Webster’s dictionary. What he gorgeously got out of this passionate commitment to know God and His Word more was that the central theme of all Scripture from Genesis to Revelation was Calvary. That touches my heart so much, even to this day. I call it his grand gesture to God, something I think every Christian should do at least once in their lifetimes.

(I don’t think I've made mine yet.)

Other grand gestures that inspire me come from God’s word: Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and the woman with her alabaster box of ointment that she poured at Jesus’ feet.

I love the story of the woman and her alabaster box offering to Christ, when without fear of reprisal, she poured her love out to Jesus without pretension, but freely, without inhibition. It was an exorbitant gift as the cost of that perfume was very expensive. It is one of the best examples of how Christians ought to be thinking in terms of their own giving before God.

And then Jesus with His washing of His disciples’ feet. How that Peter felt Jesus should not be doing that, but Jesus did it anyway, as He was illustrating an example of how we are to serve one another … and also how we ought to keep clean from the world. When Jesus told Peter he was none of His if he wouldn't allow Him to wash his feet, Peter then responds, then Lord, wash my hands and my head also, but Jesus put his zealousy in check--no, you are clean every whit, but let me just clean your feet.

I think this is a wonderful example how that as Christians, we are clean before our God, as He has forgiven us of our sin debt, but how when we minister in this world, and live in this world, we still get a little dirty, and that we need to occasionally go to Jesus for a little foot washing. (This, too, was a lesson taught me by my first pastor.)

In my current church home, Faith Baptist Church located in Spokane, WA, a visiting preacher gave testimony of his grand gesture toward God in that he personalized the commandment in the law where it required the kings to write out their own copy of it. This preacher took this principle to heart and is writing his own copy of God’s word, a chapter a day, in fact. That inspires me. How great his understanding of God’s word must be through this very simple act.

Brother Jerry Castro also inspires me. During a missionary conference at our church, he was one of those visiting us in order to share his ministry. He is a Philippino missionary to a fervent Muslim city in Indonesia. He stood at our pulpit, in the clearest English with the coolest accent and told us that he was a product of American missionaries and the money sent to them. He was called to preach the gospel to a CIA blacklisted Muslim city in Indonesia to be a witness to them. It was a city that when one Christian work went up, hundreds of Muslims would come surround that building to scare off the work, and if I remember correctly, even throwing rocks along with verbal threats into the building of the new work, until they stopped their ministry. His prayer request to me: 10 open Muslim families in a year. He didn't say their salvations, just their openness of heart. Why? Because to him, winning a Muslim to the Lord is like extracting a diamond from coal. A grueling work, but a treasure so fine, it’s worth the wait. What an inspiration to me.

I asked the Lord what to share on my blog next, and this is what I believe He laid on my heart. I actually wrote this in a letter to an acquaintance some time ago.

So much of my walk with God is bottled up within me. So many sermons, so many experiences over the years, so many lessons from His precious word. The chance to even share a little bit of that with you, for whatever reason, for whatever purpose, for however long, is a blessing.

I wonder if I’ll ever write a book about it someday. Perhaps that will be my grand gesture to the Lord.

For now, though, I will continue writing blog posts, which is just one small gesture from me to you, for which I hope to be a little inspiration.

Morro Bay, CA, February 2009

(There may be some misrepresentations I've made in remembering some of these events, and I want to clarify that they are my own and not another's. They are how I remember them, however.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Remember

Here's today's "Five Minute Friday" Post - Today's prompt is Remember. (More information about what the Five Minute Friday is can be read on my blog post here.) 


Remembering. How long does that take.  It can just be a few seconds, and I remember what I should have said.

It could be a matter of days, weeks, years, before I glimpse that face of yours that I was always supposed to remember. The smile of your cheeks. The crinkle of your nose. And that laugh of yours bringing me such joy. 

Even before I get to the future, I want to remember you as you are today. And how can I do that? How can I live fully in the moment with you in the here and now, and then when the time comes when you’re walking upright with your books in your hands, talking to me about what happened in lunch period, will I remember you today. With the two little teeth cropping up and the tail you’ve had since you were born still there in long wisps down the back of your neck? Will I remember all the cute shoes I HAD to get you, when we go shopping for your 8th grade school clothes or when you are having a hard time choosing which shoes to wear with your graduation gown.

Will I remember? I hope so. I hope I remember all the words I’ve spoken to you in the stillness of my heart. 

I hope you remember the words I’ve spoken when mommy apologizes for her harsh words and when like the cool breeze on a hot day, mommy tells you, everything is going to be ok.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

Sometimes treasures are found in the rereading of our history. I came across one treasure the other day in this poem I wrote below in 2007. For background, it is an overview of my years waiting for a husband and hopefully a family of my very own and how God did not let me wait idle! He definitely kept my feet moving.

Nearly three years after this was written, I got married, and nearly two years after that, our daughter was born. Although I reference many places, I decided to just include two photographs of the girls I mention by name in this poem. My prayer is this blesses you in some way today. --Cassy


The road less traveled
Is the one I find myself on
Here a little
There a little
Rounding the corner to find …
My destiny?
My purpose in God’s hands
I look there and see a little bit of Asia
Of Cambodia and her religious ruins and killing fields
Of Viet Nam and leftovers of a war my dad fought
Of Laos and her beautiful land
And of Thailand where I first heard my missionary call

I see a little bit of Europe
Of Romania and her “Asta Este”*
Of Romanian students trying so hard to grow up
In a world they know little about
Of Gypsies
And their flamboyant colors and naughtiness
All exaggerated in the lens of my camera
Miora’s eyes
And Sorina’s hot pink flower
In her hair
Complimenting the stare
Now immortalized in pixels on a print
In a frame on my wall

The road less traveled
I have been on since my life
Was yielded into His hands
At the age of 23

And there, in the midst of His creases and scars
Lies a map of His drawing
Of my journey with a Savior who spoils me
In taking me to places I never
Would have imagined
I’d travel.

 (Written 11-18-07)

*Asta Este means “It is what it is.” It is basically the Romanian version of the French saying “C’est la vie” or the American saying “That’s Life.”

Sorina (Onesti, Romania, in July 2005)

Miora (Onesti, Romania, in July 2005)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rest

Last week, when I was reading my friend's blog, Four For France, she had this funny "button" located at the bottom of her entry. Well, I was curious, and I clicked on it and discovered an online writing forum that sung to me! It was called "Five Minute Friday," and it was started by Lisa Jo Baker at She sends out a writing  prompt, every Friday, and the writer then takes five minutes to write anything that comes to them, without editing or over thinking. They are supposed to just write. What fun! I thought.

I then read some of Lisa's writings and was not only impressed with her talent and musings but I was also inspired to begin writing "outward" to an audience, and not for myself alone ... thus, my blog.

The other inspiration came from Jenn who writes the above-mentioned "Four For France," a blog about her life as she and her family serve God as missionaries to France. I love how she uses her writing to share her daily moments and how they often relate to Jesus and His work in her life.

Anyway, here goes my first "Five Minute Friday," and I have to be completely honest, I did some minor editing. (Old habits, you know.)

Next time, you will see the flaws and all!

And do click on that funny little button at the end of this post!

Today's prompt, as the title of this post alludes to, is rest.

What is that word in my daily life? Is it the time (quiet or otherwise) when I spend time in conversational prayer and Bible reading with my Lord? Is it when I am forced to hold my child in my arms as I feed her the nourishment she needs to grow? Is it in front of a stove, when my child is playing by herself on the floor in the room next to me, as I lovingly prepare a meal for my husband?

Or is it the time I spend – the few minutes of time, that is – when I rest my body on my bed, with my back to the pillows and that soft light emanates from my table lamp, and I can quietly read a passage from whatever book has captured my interest at that time, when, while I read, I can hear the soft sounds of my baby sleeping in the room next to me?

Or could my rest be looking out of my home office window into the forest of trees and nature my husband has so tenderly nurtured in the years he’s lived in this house, as I watch the wind blow on the branches outside and the squirrels lovingly do their “dating” rituals?

I don’t know what rest is for you, but I think for me it’s in the little moments like these I experience throughout my day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Entrance of His Words

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” 
Psalm 119:130

The theme verse in my church this year is “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) The emphasis is that we “Walk in the Spirit” in all we do, in our ministry and in our daily lives. This has led me to study the Holy Spirit in my Thompson Chain Reference Bible. I have been blessed learning about how God’s Spirit will abide with us continually, how that He is our Comforter, that He is our Guide into all truth, and that He enlightens our understanding, to name some of His works in and with the Children of Men.

Most of the blessings of this study have come from being reminded that God’s Holy Spirit is there guiding me and teaching me. He is showing me how to walk and where to walk. I am reminded, though, that this guidance does not come in a feeling (although it can) or a preset logic or something taught (although that may be true), but it comes in the entrance of His Words. 

When I read the Bible, I am gently moved to the right or the left by His Word. 

When I read the Bible, a section of Scripture may stand out to me and give me the direction I need for the day. 

When I read the Bible, a verse can settle me and give me rest.

This morning, as I was reading my daily Proverb, I was struck by “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” (Proverbs 13:3) 

Ouch, I said in my spirit. Oh Lord, how is it I can feel so great one minute about this blog "adventure" and be so humbled the next by the thought that I am in a state of opening wide my lips by the words I write? Lord, please keep me close and humble, so that I can be used by You to bless others with this gift You have given me.

And just as quickly, in my readings about the Holy Spirit, Jesus wraps His arms around my heart, giving a gentle hug with “ … he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever … even the spirit of truth … for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16, 17) 

Yes, Lord, You are with me in this venture. Because You dwell in me, I can rest in this awesome task I believe you have given me. That does not mean I won’t fail, that I won’t get prideful, but despite those likely results from time to time, You will abide with me. You are abiding in me.

Thank you, Lord. 

Ankor Wat, Cambodia. (2000)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Into All Truth

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:”
John 16:13a

So many Christians I know carry in their hearts a life verse, some salient thought that speaks to their whole being about who God is in their lives or the direction God has given them along their journey. This verse is tangible evidence they have a personal God who communicates with them.

The issue for me has always been there are too many verses from which to choose. God has spoken to me and given me rest and comfort through many verses. Proverbs 3:5-7, for instance, is about trusting God with all my heart, not leaning on my own logic and understanding, and committing my paths, my thoughts and my actions unto Him so that He can direct my paths. I love that section of Scripture. This passage of God’s word steadied me as I was dating my husband.

How about “The Lord knoweth how” from 2 Peter 2:9? This small section of Scripture helped me through a very dark time in my Christian ministry, when I was looking through the lens of my flesh and not the Spirit, when surveying what was before me.

And then there is John 14:27, which is often quoted by me. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” What a gorgeous verse when you’re in a valley and the only way to look is up to the Lover of our souls, who gives us perfect gifts in our times of need.

All that to say, I think John 16:13a is the closest Scripture passage I have to a life verse. There was a day this verse was spoken to me, and it has never left my heart. The background of that day was that my church in California had just purchased a new building. The church members had gotten together to sell the old lumber and hardware left from the previous owner, along with home items brought in by the members for a very large garage sale. My pastor was talking with another pastor that day, and I had asked my pastor a question. I can’t remember the details of that question, but I believe by the Holy Spirit’s leading, my pastor knew I could only get the answer from God. I could not just take someone’s word for it, pastor or not. That’s when he said this verse to me, and I have never forgotten it.

Whenever I am perplexed over some doctrine or some difference among faith families in God’s beautiful Spiritual Church, I remind myself, that God, by His Holy Spirit, will guide me into truth. I like to say, not 75% of the truth, not even 99% of the truth, but “all truth.” What salve this verse has been to me, as God has gently guided me on paths of study since I gave my life to Him when I was 23. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was eight, but I didn’t commit myself to His ways until much later. At that turning, my life has never been the same. Oh, there has been much heartache in the studies He’s taken me through, but they have produced in me a confidence in His Word, along with fruit-bearing Bible readings. He blesses my heart while guiding me into all truth—not at once, mind you—but, little by little, when He sees an open heart and a readiness to take in and absorb what He has to tell me. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)

Lake Pend Orielle, Ione, Washington. (Fall 2007)

(I linked this up with Christian Mommy Blogger.)
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