Showing posts from 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Best thing about Christmas after remembering Happy Birthday Jesus, is time with loved ones.

Holiday Blues and the Prince of Peace

The holiday season can be a joyful and festive time of the year for some people, filled with parties, celebrations, and gatherings with family and friends. However, for others, it can be a very difficult time, filled with sadness, disappointment, loneliness, and anxiety about the future. It can be especially hard for those in unresolved broken relationships or those with unmet expectations. They get a bit of the holiday blues or experience more severe forms of depression.

The Scriptures tells us Jesus is the "Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6) And God's peace "surpasses understanding and will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7

How can we experience this peace during the Holiday Blues? Here are a few recommendations:

1. Pray ("Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray..." James 5:13)

2. Confide in others so they can pray for you ("Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The pra…

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I loved my recent trip to Iowa to get sworn into the practice of law. I loved seeing my sister and her family. I loved cozying up by the fire with my husband for a rare moment of rest. I loved finishing Joel Rosenberg's new book The Tehran Initiative. I loved the snow. I even loved the cold.

As Christmas approaches, I am reminded once again of the Reason of the Season---God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ. He was born to die. For us. For me. Not because I deserve it. Not because I am worthy. I don't deserve it and I'm not worthy. And yet, Jesus died for me so I could be saved from the penalty I deserve for my sins, that is, death.

Thank you, Jesus, for revealing the Father to us, and for giving us the Spirit to guide us and empower us to do what we could not do on our own. Apart from you we can do nothing. John 15:5 Through you all things are possible. Phil. 4:13

Swearing In

Now licensed to practice law in Iowa in addition to California!

Conflict Resolution Training

Conflict is all around us, and even in us. Would you like to know how you can have God's peace in your life? Come find out this Wednesday night at "Life Streams." Last week, Pastor Tae Shin began a short three weeks series on Conflict Resolution. I had the privilege of joining him and Pastor Don Barkely in a panel discussion with the audience about sources of conflict.

I'll be joining the pastors for the next two weeks as we discuss styles of conflict and forgiveness & moving on.

Come join us for a delicious dinner and stimulating topic discussion. Check out the Life Streams website for more info for location and time.

Train yourselves

This morning I was studying Hebrews chapter 5 with my Bible study group. I keep pondering verse 14: "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." 

Constant use.  If we want to mature as believers, move beyond "milk" into "solid food," we must constantly use biblical teaching, especially teaching about righteousness (v. 13). What is "constant"? Not only is it every day, but it is continually throughout each day.

Train themselves. OK, so we can't use the excuse that we don't have formal Bible school training or a seminary degree. The writer of Hebrews tells us we can train ourselves. We can study the Scriptures ourselves. We don't need a priest to tell us what the Bible says and/or means. The Holy Spirit teaches us through the Word. (John 14:26; John 16:13-15; 1 John 2:27) I've found the more I study the Word, the more I love the Word and want to study it!

Distinguish g…

Sh'ma Yisrael

"Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one." Deut. 6:4 
In Judaism, the Sh'ma is an important part of daily prayers, and it includes reciting Deut. 6:4-9.
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your house and on your gates."
The photo above is a charming necklace John gave to me for my birthday while we were in Israel. It was handmade in Jerusalem in the Old City. Its unusual shape is a pomegranate, one of the delicious fruits cultivated in Israel. The ruby red stones are garnets. The engraving is the Sh'ma in Hebrew--Hear, O Israel: the L…

Text Messages From God


With Love From Berkeley

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Cor. 8:1b
Berkeley...What comes to your mind when you think of Berkeley? I used to think of the 1960's Free Speech Movement of course. But now I think of my daughter, who has chosen to live there for the next four years pursuing a Bachelor's Degree at the university.

John and I visited her at college this past weekend. It was Parent's Weekend and it was a blast. Not only did we get to catch up and find out all about college life, we toured the campus, ate delicious food, attended interesting faculty seminars, visited art and science museums, and made a quick trip to San Francisco.

We fell in love with Berkeley.

Yes, it is still a progressive town, but the university is a bit more tame these days. However, it still manages to makes the news occasionally.  Just Google the recent "Diversity Cupcake Sale" and find out about the on-campus Republican protest to affirmative action. The opposition tried to stop them. But hey, isn&…

Amazing Blogs re Israel

If you want to read some amazing posts and see some stunning photography by some of the students from the Bible college where John was just teaching in Jerusalem, check these out:
From End to End 88 Days in Israel
Also, be sure to check out the blog for the Bible college in Jerusalem:
CCBC Jerusalem Blog

Coast of Spain

It is nice to have a few short days in Spain to vacation before heading back to the United States. This photo is a lovely view of Calpe, Spain, where we were fortunate enough to spend one night with a lovely Dutch couple. They took us to a lovely restaurant, talked about the Spanish and Holland cultures, and shared many wonderful stories of their travel adventures. It is wonderful to meet new friends!

Sagrada Familia

Have you ever landed in a foreign country where you couldn't speak the language, didn't have the currency and got lost? Well it happened to us after we arrived in Spain. After we rented our car in Barcelona, we followed directions of the car rental people and headed south---the wrong way! We found ourselves trapped on a road with no escape and were forced to pay a toll. Since we didn't have any foreign currency, we were able to use our credit card. We tried to ask someone how to get back to Barcelona but no one spoke English. We finally found a way to turn around and head back, paying the toll again! John found a gas station where we tried to ask for directions. Again, no speak English. So we did the first smart thing---we bought a map! We figured out where we needed to go and headed there. Instead of taking 20 minutes to get to our hotel, it took 3 hours. What an adventure!

We saw many interesting things in our short stay in Barcelona but the highlight was the Sagrada Fam…

Good bye Israel

It was hard leaving Israel. After spending some time in the north, we missed Jerusalem and the students so much we returned to visit one more night before leaving Israel. Returning to Jerusalem and seeing the students again felt like coming home. Surprised to see us again, they greeted us warmly. It was hard to tear ourselves away.

We forgot that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) was the same day as my birthday. We were invited to a Rosh Hashanah celebration and went for a short while. Almost all places closed early--restaurants, too. Finding somewhere to have dinner proved a bit of a challenge. Finally we found that the YMCA across from the King David Hotel was serving a buffet dinner so we made our way there. It proved to be a most memorable experience. We had a good laugh. They were serving chicken--one of the few things John does not eat. There was no dressing for the salad and the bread was like store-bought white Wonder Bread, not the yummy fresh bread so common all over Israe…

Sermon on the Mount

"Now when [Jesus] saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them..." Matthew 5:1-2
Words cannot begin to describe the "Awesome-amazing" experience at walking where Jesus walked. As John and I begin our short time by the Sea of Galilee, we are reminded of how much of Jesus' ministry was done in this area. One of the highlights for me was returning to visit the Mount of Beatitudes, where tradition holds is where Jesus gave His "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. The Sermon on the Mount is full of rich teaching, including the "beatitudes" and teaching on prayer. Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of serving You.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Matt. 5:8

Teaching on prayer

"Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Eph. 6:18
I praise the Lord for the opportunity to return to the Golan Heights to resume my previous teaching on prayer. This time I taught on prayer in spiritual warfare. Did you realize that Paul mentions prayer in Ephesians 6 when he talks about putting on the "armor of God" in spiritual warfare? Prayer is one of our spiritual "weapons," so to speak. May our prayers please the Lord.

Garden teaching

John teaching his class at the Garden Tomb yesterday.

Pray for Israel and Palestine

If you are not already aware, this week is an important week at the United Nations, which is meeting in New York. Palestine will formally present its request for statehood recognition on Friday.  Be sure to stay tuned to the news. This is an important event for the Middle East and the world.

Pray for Israel and her neighbors. Pray for peace.

For this is what the prophet has written...

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem." Matthew 2:1

OK, I know I'm not too savvy when it comes to geography, but I really didn't know Bethlehem was sooooo close to Jerusalem. Yesterday we took a day trip to visit the site where tradition says Jesus was born. It was so very interesting in many ways.

First we met with some Palestinian believers and had some good fellowship over lunch. Then we visited the Church of the Nativity (and the Grotto of the Nativity, which is supposed to be the exact cave where Jesus was born), the Shepherd's Fields, and Rachel's Tomb.

My overall impression of Bethlehem was much better than I had expected. It reminded me of Jerusalem, some old and some new parts. I was pleasantly surprised at how much new building was taking place, beautiful buildings. I saw many sign with "U.N." on them. When I asked about the signs, I was told it has to do with the P…

Walk About Zion

"Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end." Psalm 48:12-14

Have you heard the phrase, "my dogs are barkin'"? I'm told it means "my feet are hurting." I have no idea what hurting feet have to do with dogs barking. Odd American saying when you think about it...

Tonight my dogs are barking. But, it's a good bark, as far as barks go. After church this morning and lunch, John and I decided to walk around the Old City of Jerusalem. Actually, it kind of just happened that way. We ventured out the visit the Garden Tomb and Skull Hill, starting at Jaffa Gate. But by the time we actually found it (yeah, we did get a bit lost getting there), we discovered it was closed. Bummer. By that time, we realized we were by the Damascus Gate. Since we weren't too far from the …

God's work in my life

"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

This morning I was blessed to share my testimony with the students at early morning chapel. What a privilege to speak following their worship time. These students know how to worship! Can I take them home with me, please?

Later, after John finished teaching his afternoon class, we had some girl time! That meant heading to the local mall for coffee with the girls. (No shopping this time.) Except it really is too hot here to have coffee so most of us opted for cold coffee drinks. Yum! When they closed up the shop for the start of shabbat (Jewish sabbath which starts on Fridays at sunset), we headed back to the lobby of our hotel to continue our conversation. Mostly I shared about my experience in ministry, marriage, and travel. But it was also an informative briefing time, as I talked about the local customs, politic…

John teaching in Jerusalem.


Tunnels to the ancient city

Saturday we arrived in Israel safe and sound, after having totally rescheduled all our connections when we arrived at LAX on Friday morning due to our first flight being cancelled (entirely different airlines going through entirely different cities and countries). Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken.
Sunday and Monday were spent mainly settling in, getting acquainted with the students, and lots of walking to get the best deals on fresh groceries. We managed to squeeze in a walking tour of the underground tunnels at the Western Wall. Fascinating! I had no idea the current "Old City" of Jerusalem is built on top of an ancient city. In the tunnels, we could see much more of the Western Wall and the ancient streets and city of the Herodian period when the second temple was built. We're talking over two thousand years old!  There is a special spot underground called "The Cave" and is purported to be the closest access to the Holy of Holies,…

Return to the Holy Land

We're on our way back to Israel tomorrow to teach!

Recommended Reading

I read a few great books over the summer that I highly recommend:

Why I am no longer "Pro-Choice"

I used to be "Pro-Choice." I used to be a feminist. Not any more. Why? A few years ago (while in law school actually) I learned to think and to reason. I learned to use my God-given brain and ask questions and search for truth. I stopped blindly following everyone else's agenda.


Yes, truth. You see,  I used to buy into the post-modern definition of truth, that truth is relative--Your truth is true for you but my truth is true for me. But I wanted to know. If there was an objective "truth" to be found, then I wanted to find it.

I found it. 

Jesus said, "... for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."(John 18:37) And "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) If we seek Him, we will find Him. (Rev. 3:20)

Jesus is the Truth

So what does Jesus have to do with the abortion issue?

Well, if …

How I Came to Believe...

Recently someone asked me if my testimony was posted online. I realized it wasn't and decided it was a very good thing to share.  I hope you are blessed...
        When I was 8 years old, my parents took my sisters and me to a new evangelical church in Des Moines, Iowa. That first Sunday visit was the first time I heard the Good News about Jesus Christ. I believed and accepted Jesus as my personal savior.As my family continued to attend church, my younger sisters and I become involved with various youth activities and musicals.            After graduating from high school, I moved to Southern California to attend a public university where my worldview was instantly challenged. I was not equipped for the battle. Initially I boldly defended my conservative Christian views. However, influenced by carnal sorority life and liberal Hollywood politics (I was an acting major in the Theater department), eventually I came to embrace progressive feminist and socialist ideals. I got married, g…

Epicenter Conference 2011

I just finished watching several videos online of speakers from Joel Rosenberg’s Epicenter Conference 2011 in Jerusalem. I highly recommend them!

Peacemaking in Kenya

Our dear friends, Pastor Sammy and his wife Anne, invited me to teach at their new church plant in Kitengela, just outside Nairobi, Kenya. It is a quickly growing church. The building already has a roof!
It was an amazing three days! I thank God for the opportunity to teach biblical peacemaking at a three-day women’s conference in Kitengela, Kenya. While the drive there and back each day was an enormous challenge (taking between 2-3 hours to drive there and then about 2 hours back—EACH DAY!), it was a blessing to teach conflict resolution to eager learners.
The week after the conference, Anne told me that the women from the conference were already applying the peacemaking skills they learned. Apparently two women who attended the conference were in conflict with other, but they reconciled their differences!Others reported reconciling with their neighbors and co-workers. What a privilege to pass along what I have learned. May God be glorified! 

Israel - Love the People!

An amazing thing happened when I went to Israel for the first time recently. I fell in love with the people. It is true that before I left for Israel I already had a love for them in my heart. But I didn’t really know how deep that love was until I spent time in Israel among the people.
Our first day in Israel, while we were visiting Old Jerusalem, I witnessed the deep cultural tensions so present in the land. On our way to visit the Western Wall, we walked through the narrow city streets and perused the colorful vendor shops. There I observed a hostile confrontation between a Sabra (native Jewish person) and an Arab. Perhaps the gold Star of David charm hanging from the Sabra’s necklace provoked the initial comment from the Arab. Another Arab joined in with some verbal jabs. Sensing the clash, I quietly moved away from the conflict. Wisely, the Sabra held his tongue and slowly moved away from the area, never taking his eyes off the aggressors. There was no fear in his eyes, only ange…

Israel: Do you love the land? Or do you love the people?

The question echoed in my mind. A friend in my Christian writer’s group went to Israel earlier this year and she relayed this story. While at the airport on her way to the Holy Land, a couple asked her, “Do you love the land? Or do you love the people?” Surprised by the question, my friend replied that she loved the people, of course. Sometimes loving is easier said than done.
          Why do I love Israel? It is different from Kenya and India--it is not third world. (Although approximately 25% of the Israelis currently live below the poverty line.) Despite Israel’s rich Holy Land heritage, to some it seems even more secular than America, spiritually poor. It is hard to imagine a country that exists against all odds, due to faith, miracles, and God’s promises, and yet so many people there do not know the one true living God. Less than 1/10 of 1% of Israeli Jews believe in Y’shua, Jesus.
          I view the Jews with love as the Bible describes them--God’s chosen people (…