understanding cost

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Our team’s last day at Rhino Camp in northern Uganda with some of our friends.

This morning while I was meditating I felt Holy Spirit tell me to read Mark 14. I didn’t remember what Mark 14 entailed or if I had even heard Him clearly, but I flipped to this passage in my bible and skimmed through some scriptures before realizing what He had set a part for me to read this morning: Mark 14:3-9 “Jesus Anointed at Bethany.”

Okay Jesus. I get it. Let’s read on.

To give some context, I have spent the majority of 2017 out of Canada. In early January I moved to the UK to study history abroad for a semester. I was back for two weeks in June to visit friends and family and be on Vancouver Island for my brother’s graduation before flying back to Europe for another four months with YWAM (Youth With a Mission).

I was gone for almost 10 months this year and met forever friends from all over the world. My season abroad was indescribably brilliant and unbelievably challenging. A reoccurring theme that the Lord placed in my path was “cost.” I was asked by Holy Spirit many, many times this year what the cost is of being a disciple of Jesus (disciple simply means follower) (Luke 14:33).

In Luke 14:24-34 Jesus talks about the “Cost of Being a Disciple” to the crowds and His own disciples following Him. Jesus explains that true discipleship lies in surrendering every other way in one’s life. In John 14:5-6, Jesus explains to Thomas (one of His disciples) that He is the Way and the Truth and the Life and no one can come to Father God except through Him. Jesus is the only WAY. When we give life and allowance to other ways in our life that we worship, idolize and grapple hold of instead of surrendering to Jesus as our only WAY, we are allowing double-mindedness, control, fear and doubt to invade our faith in King Jesus.

Hanging out with Lillian, my best girl and translator.
Lillian, my best girl and translator.

Jesus warns us of this in Luke 14. We cannot follow Jesus as well as be followers of ourselves. Yes, Christ’s blood has washed us clean. Yes, we are the New Creation when we give our lives to Jesus and are baptized by water and renewed in our mind’s by Holy Spirit. But until Jesus comes back to His earthly Kingdom, we’re still human and remain vulnerable and tempted by the evil one who would do anything to have you, because He hates Christ in you.

I have held on to MUCH in my life. Jesus has done immeasurable damage control in me because of all the different ways I’ve previously chose to allow in my life. This year Jesus told me that He was doing a new thing in my life, and in order to perceive it I must lay down my wayward tendencies to allow His Way to begin to take root in my heart. And it was excruciating, but I figured the only thing I had to lose was who I wasn’t created to be anyways.

Every divisive thought. Every double-minded doubt. Every fear. All control. His alter.

Freedom is sweet, my friends.

That’s not to say I’m not still tempted by the enemy or that I no longer am swayed by my old nature, because I am sometimes. But the victory is final. Jesus won when He was raised to life again after He died on the cross for our sins. Because of this, Satan is powerless in his very nature. Satan only gains power when we willfully agree with him regarding who he says we are not.

We are sons and daughters in our very nature and we were purchased at the highest cost, by Jesus’s blood; the very Son of God Himself.

So

To get back to Mark 14…

I’ve had to lay many precious and costly people, things, and habits down in my life to follow Jesus, the only Way. I recently got hit with a fresh wave of what the cost is of following Jesus. But praise God! Because the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith LOVES our hearts and honours our sacrifices deeply. It’s to our JOY to lay down what is precious to us because we are precious to HIM!

In Mark 14:3-9, Mary expressed her great love to Jesus by breaking her very costly jar of pure nard to anoint Jesus with precious oil. Although she got criticized for her actions by some of Jesus’ disciples (“There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and given to the poor. And they scolded her'” (14:4-5), Jesus loved the expression of her heart for Him. Mary was treating Jesus as the finest earthly King by anointing Him with the finest perfume. She knew who Jesus was and willfully gave to Him what was of great worth to her. And He loved her because Mary truly understood COST; even more than Jesus’ disciples.

“But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me” (14:6).

“She has done what she could, she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (14:8-9).

Jesus loves me. He is honoured when I willfully give Him what is of great cost to me because He paid the highest cost on the cross. My precious surrender to His Kingship is a beautiful aromatic perfume to Him: a perfume He deeply values and rewards with a Kingly blessing. For very precious reasons I do not yet know, surrendering to Jesus what I value highly will only BLESS Christ IN me, the HOPE of glory (Colossians 1:27)! Holy Spirit promises that hope will not disappoint me (Romans 5:5). So  I will freely hope in what Jesus has ordained for me.

There is no downside in surrender friends; there are only promises that have always been set a part for you and eagerly await your arrival.

I’m only beginning to understand this revelation myself, and as I continue to mature in discipleship there will be questions and criticisms similar to any follower of the Way, but that is the cost of being a disciple: it’s not what we choose to hold onto and define as valuable, but rather it’s what we can willfully choose to lay down to anoint our Finest King. That, in itself, is the very expression of truly understanding cost.

Maaike, overlooking Lake Victoria, the source of the River Nile.
w/ Maaike, overlooking Lake Victoria– the source of the River Nile.
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an ode to everything

Looking out over Herrnhut w/ Lil.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how truly vast beyond all measure.
I’m lying here in bed in Herrnhut, Germany and I can’t fall asleep. My mind is racing about all I’ve learned so far in Germany at Kerusso, especially this past week regarding Kingdom worldview. 

This week my mind has been unusually reflective. I’m usually so GO-GO-GO when it comes to life I don’t often catch enough breath to look back at what all has magnificently brought me to this moment and how the Father has never stopped unveiling His glory to me in my life, even in my most chaotic seasons. 

If I’m honest, these past 3 years since my DTS (Discipleship Training School) in India have been full of radical highs and deep lows and I’m only now playing catch-up in my heart to fully realize and understand Holy Spirit’s constant hand in everything and my flesh’s weakest. 

While I’ve been at Kerusso, Jesus has been completely unraveling me. I thought my old nature was left behind in India when I got baptized 3 years ago, but now I’m beginning to understand that the new self is not necessarily just about the physical symbolic acknowledge of new life and new ways, but rather its the constant choice to choose Holy Spirit in all things that proceed to empower the new self towards the Kingdom of God on earth (Galatians 4:17). The new self doesn’t just end at the event of baptism, the new self is being renewed each day by Jesus IN US as we’re choosing to be obedient to His love and ways (John 13:34). And His ways are love (John 14:23). Do I ever finally know the difference.

These past 3 years, I have struggled to find Jesus’ purpose for me in university. I’ve declared my major and nervously changed it countless times. I had intense decision-phobia. I was always so afraid of going against what I believed God’s plans for me were in university and in life. Being here, I’m deeply reminded of His glorious character and my unhinged identity and that no matter my choices, He loves me (Psalm 62:8). 

I’m deeply reminded that I’m His BELOVED daugther and He has adopted me from my old self and sent His only beloved Son, Jesus, into the world to repay the legal debt of darkness, claimed by Satan since the Fall of Man, Jesus, the most glorious man and the Father’s perfect representation of Himself (Isaiah 53:3-5). Jesus, whose Spirit lives in me and my restless soul can find it’s sound identity in. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Jewish Law, set in place by Moses. Moses received the Law after he led God’s people out of Egypt and out of slavery (Exodus 31:18). The entire Bible and its Old Testament prophecies POINTS to Jesus’ coming and the world’s anticipation and need for a Saviour (Isaiah 59:20, Acts 13:38-9, Romans 11:26-27). Jesus comes and is obedient to the Father’s necessary purpose: Jesus is the innocent sacrificial lamb, condemned to die a traitor’s death to a world bound in darkness and deception, ruled by this Prince of Darkness, Satan himself. God loved Him earth deeply at the beginning of Creation as recorded in Genesis. But Satan in serpent-form pursuaded Eve to question her perfect relationship with God and her husband Adam, deceitfully convincing her that if she ate from the Tree of Good and Evil, she would become like God (and henceforth man would not need God) (Genesis 3:4-5). So the world fell from its perfect relationship with God and sin entered into the world. And because God is not sin in his very nature, there was an irreversible separation between man and God because man fell from his original sinless design into Satan’s deceitful grip. God’s solution for this separation was Jesus Christ, His very Son. A legal debt to sin had to be paid and so the Word became flesh and Jesus chose to pay the penalty that Satan had claim to the world from ever since the Fall of Man (John 1:14). Jesus’ death and RESURRECTION restored the relationship between man and Father God and there was no more a separation of sin, but a restoration of God’s ORGINALLY intention for mankind: to be in a loving relationship with Him. 

You see, the Church has been preaching Gnosticism for so long, people don’t understand and forget Jesus’ TRUE purpose for dying for the sins of the world on the cross: it wasn’t only for eternal life. Eternal life and going to heaven is part of it, but it’s a byproduct of the former: that Jesus came to earth to establish His KINGDOM. The Kingdom message is not about going to heaven, it’s not about protecting oneself in a self-righteous “Christian” bubble from the big nasty world. That’s not Kingdom and that’s not Jesus. The Kingdom is bringing HEAVEN DOWN and setting captives free, praying healing for the sick and injured, it’s loving widows and orphans and providing for the poor and giving hope to the hopeless (James 1:27). Preaching that Jesus came to die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins is PART of God’s purpose but it was not THE purpose. Jesus died so that HEAVEN COULD COME DOWN to earth and that Jesus’ Kingdom would be established on God’s world as originally intended since it’s literal Genesis (Hebrews 1:8). 

This week I finally found peace for my nervous degree in the Truth of Jesus (John 8:32). I have loved history ever since I was a little girl. And ever since I was baptized by the Holy Spirit when I was 17 I had a growing interest and passion for God’s history. History IS God’s Story. I used to think history was the study of sin. NOT AT ALL! The world will be entangled in sin until the sons and daughters of God realize their glorious inheritance and declare it over their old nature: eternally cutting off the old self by choosing the new self which is being renewed each day in the image of our Creator (Romans 12:2). Jesus has OVERCOME and has broken the curse of sin and darkness over us over 2000 years ago. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He declared that the world’s debt to darkness had been completely paid and our relationship with the Father was enternally restored (John 19:30). God raised Jesus from the grave 3 days after His death with the power of Holy Spirit, who is Jesus’ very Spirit, freely given to me and EVERYONE who believes in Him (John 3:34). 

I love history because it’s God’s Story and it reveals His glory since the beginning of time. Satan has been at work in the world since the Fall to create death and destruction, deceitfully crafting hopelessness on this earth. Satan’s craftsmanship is found in the atrocities of war, in the corruption of the medieval Church and in man’s darkest (John 3:19). But God’s glory has never stopped persisting and insisting the Good in people, His very sons and daughters (Galatians 4:7). 

I love history because it’s never been about me, it’s always been the glorious story of the Father pursuing personal relationship with His children and for those who have said Yes to Him, we have seen so much splendour and breakthrough over the ages. I love my Glorious God greatly and knowing history enables me to know His character ever deeper. History is in essence, God pursuing His heart for His lost childen since the beginning of time. Satan has always been defeated since the cross and He is powerless to Jesus (1 Peter 3:18, James 4:7). But sin is woven into the fabrics of our fallen nature, and we as people have always been tempted and tried and often overcome by the evil one because of the desires of our flesh. But Jesus will always overcome evil with good because He is the True King of the world and he has given us an Advocate, Holy Spirit, to know the difference between good and evil and choose our new nature because we love Him (Romans 12:21).

Kerusso has been good to my heart, friends.

Stay stoked in our King, because he LOVES you and has glorious Truth for your life. His Kingdom is woven into the fabric of your very heart and into True intended nature of our world (2 Corinthians 3:3).

xx Beth 

Hanging out w/ our new friends from Poland.

simple obedience

“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭ 

Prague outreach, Czech Republic

Hey loved ones,
I’ve been living in eastern Germany for just over 3 weeks now. Life has been nothing short of radical. 

I flew into Prague, Czech Republic initially to meet up with my Kerusso tribe who had already been going strong for about a week. We were in Prague for 4 days attending Awakening Europe, which is an UNREAL Christian conference that’s sweeping the revival of Jesus as Lord ALL over Europe. 

There was epic worship, incredible Spirit-filled speakers such as Todd White, Brother Yun and Reinhard Bonnke, to name a few. There were vast salvations, deliverances and healings; at the conference and on the streets of Prague! In the afternoons, Awakening Europe would split up into groups and outreach to Prague, sharing the fragrance of the Good News of Jesus to backpackers, commuters on the metro, venders, buskers and anyone else Holy Spirit told us to speak to. 

My group on the first day witnessed Holy Spirit heal an older Czech lady with a bad knee with the laying of our hands. She was so shocked and excited she threw a side her crutch in defiance and we all kissed and hugged and waved goodbye with pure joy in our hearts! Jesus is MOVING in Europe powerfully and it was absolutely extraordinary to partner with him in Prague during Awakening Europe! 

For the past 2.5 weeks, Kerusso has settled into lecture phase during the week. We’ve had dynamic speakers proclaim the surpassing Truth of Holy Spirit in beautifully similar ways, and yet each speaker brings up new revelations and ways of knowing Jesus and the Father. It just goes to show how it’s One Spirit  interceding and speaking Truth through whoever is obedient to proclaim it.

YWAM Herrnhut, our castle home.

Last Saturday, Kerusso was in Dresden for local outreach. Dresden was part of East Germany during the communist rule, as was where I’m currently living. Atheistic generational cultural mindsets can create standoffishness and avoidsion when approached about the salvation Jesus gives to all who believe. But East German hearts and former communist nations are being transformed by the steadfast endurance of the Gospel! We saw HUNDREDS if not thousands of people come to accept Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives while Kerusso was in the Czech Republic (which is believed to be the most atheistic country in Europe). We choose to live by the promise of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to break historical mindsets and cultural criticisms: “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:5. 

I am so unbelievably content and the Spirit has flooded me with unmovable peace ever since I made the decision to come to Kerusso at YWAM Herrnhut in Germany only just over a month ago. Jesus has healed me from strenuous anxiety, which crippled me throughout this year; just by simply obeying His call for me to be here! Aaaahhh I love Jesus.

Life with my Lord is always an extraordinary adventure. We’ve got 4 more weeks of lectures here at the castle until outreach! Our teams are headed to India, Nepal and Uganda. It’s confirmed that team Uganda (my team) is going to be serving in the refugee camps in the north of Uganda, bordering South Sudan. We as a team are so unbelievably excited to partner with the Father there! 

Continued prayer for peace, finances, and spiritual maturity and wisdom is very much appreciated, friends. Thankyou prayer warriors and financial sowers! You guys make this mission possible. 

Much love & joy,

Beth xx

At the Moravian Church, Herrnhut.

My beautiful friend, Lily.
Rainy Sundays invoke mattress slides.
Speeding down our mattress slides in sleeping bags.
Lovely Maria.
Cycling the countryside.
Local outreach, Dresden.
The Kerusso tribe.
Kevin & I on our 22nd birthdays.
My fantastic German friend, Lorenz.

new abodes 

I’ve been here in England for a little over a week, and what a week it’s been! These past 8 days have been so diverse and evolving. It’s been three years to the month that I’ve gone away from Van Isle to experience a longer term adventure and I forgot about a lot of the natural drama that change brings along with that.
I’m in England to study history, and since being here I have complete confidence that there’s very little elsewhere I could go in the world to academically and practically experience history. Hatfield (the small town the University of Hertfordshire is located) holds much history itself. Hatfield House was where Queen Elizabeth I grew up in. St. Albans (a small charming town) outside Hatfield also holds immense English heritage.

St. Albans Cathedral is at the heart of St. Albans. Its original construction was started towards the end of the 11th century and rebuilt time and time again over the centuries. There’s amazing Norman architecture, influenced by the culture that William the Conqueror took with him upon his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Funny enough, the initial construction of the Cathedral was not by stone, but by brick from aging Roman walls in the area. The builders took the brick from the Roman walls, shaped it to look like stone and then painted it (poorly, by the way) to trick the eye into thinking it was marble. The Cathedral was disregarded during the Reformation. It was during this time that it’s reconstruction was in progress, but with England establishing its own religion, The Church of England (Anglicanism), and separating itself was the Church in Rome, the Cathedral’s reconstruction was abandoned. As it was a Catholic Cathedral, it fell

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St. Albans Cathedral at dusk. 
into disfavour with the people and their new faith. St. Albans was left in a partial heap of rubble for centuries afterward from debt, natural disasters and disinterest. It wasn’t until the 19th century, as a newly-dubbed Protestant church, did the Cathedral become what you mightily behold today.

Saint Albans Cathedral is obviously named after the Saint himself. Saint Alban is one of the four recorded early Christian martyrs in Roman Britain. He is traditionally believed to have been beheaded in Verulamium (modern St. Albans) sometime during the 3rd of 4th century. His shrine is in the Cathedral and it’s most impressive. As for Saint Alban himself, the Cathedral has been rebuilt and devastated so many time over the past millenia, there’s no obvious knowing where his body is located. Maybe in the Cathedral’s crypt, maybe not. Being a person of faith myself, I fan-girled HARD here. An original Christian martyr… in the 200-300s AD… WHAT THE HECK! After studying early medieval history last semester at Vancouver Island University, I understand more than ever the mercilessly persecutions Jesus followers chose to endure. These early Christian saints perished in order to testify as powerfully as they could to the truth; both to their adversaries and to their flock by becoming death themselves as Christ did. To me, as a history student and as a Jesus follower, these early Christian martyrs deserve the utmost respect for their godly valiance. It’s the same valiance that we still spiritually possess today as followers of Christ.

It’s a huge blessing to have friends here to take me to rad places, like, allegedly, the oldest pub in Britain; Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, established in 793 AD. Who established pubs during the early viking invasions? The British of course. Studs.
Although the transition from Canadian life to British life has come with some metaphorical face punches, I am so happy to be here. God is revealing things more beautiful than before to me with every new day. I moved out of dorms and into my new home off-campus yesterday morning, and my heart could not be more content. This is

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Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St. Albans.
home. Drinking Tetley tea, eating home-made soup, watching the Hobbit with my amazing Italian housemate– this is home. And it’s only day two.

Finding this home and looking forward to so much here in the UK is a gorgeous example of God’s endless pursuit of my heart. Even when I’m miserable. When my leg is swollen and bleeding from falling. Or I’m totally lost because the bus driver missed my stop. Or I’m surviving on only cereal and yogurt for the first 6 days of my being– being here, right now, in this moment, in this house, in this country, reminds of me God’s elaborate delight of my life and His perfect heart for my own.
Cheers my friends!
xx Beth

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My British abode. 

dangerously desiring 

I had been to France before when I was 16 in 2012, but this trip had a totally different vibe. France will always be so dear to me, as it was the first country I traveled to besides the States. I was in France in 2012 for 10 days visiting Paris, the Loirre Valley, Mont Saint Michel, St. Malo, Normandy and Rouen. And it was the defining

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Shirlee (left) and I in Nice, France.
trip that affirmed my desire for life abroad. Just returning from France late last night, like in 2012, I was in Paris and Nice for 10 days. But this trip was different in the sense that I was fully aware of the growth the Lord had done in my life between 2012 and 2016. Europe was not this large, crowded, foreign place; it had a greater sense of home and belonging to me after visiting it for the third time. I also had the blessing of staying with one of my best friends who lives in Paris and traveled with her to Nice for three days. Shirlee and I graduated from high school together. We weren’t super close in high school, but after traveling in Italy together last summer with two of our other friends, we totally reconnected. And man. God is so good. That girl is one of my best friends now. He blessed our time in France gloriously.
What I love most about life abroad is the sense of belonging it brings me despite being in a completely foreign environment. You’re forced to be fully independent navigating your way on the metro, making triple sure you’re making all the right connections. Independence makes way for boldness. There’s a ferocity and capability that comes out of you when totally immersed in an unfamiliar place. One of my dearest friends, my roommate from India, Ali, once told me to be independent when out in the world but through that, to be actively dependent on God. I’ve never forgotten that. Those words have been a war cry in some of the hardest moments I’ve faced abroad. Being independent reminds me that I am capable of anything. And that true capability comes from my dependence on my Lord to show his glory and faithfulness and majesty to me in life’s most impressionable moments.

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Nice, France.
Although some may think me nuts for traveling Greece and England by myself and exploring Kochi, India alone, I have truthfully never been scared when totally immersed in my mission while there. Why? Because I trust where Jesus calls me. He calls me out upon the waters to expose the parts of me He is perfecting and to discard of anything that is not of him. If you know me at all, I hope that I’ve made it clear that travel is not a restless wander for me. It is a spiritual journey that the Lord returns to me and takes me from as He decides it. I have been questioned by armed military officials in hostile northern Sri Lanka, I’ve been caught in dangerous French protests, and by the Holy Spirit’s authority, rebuked an oppressive spirit on a train to Naples. And all of those confrontations were exhilarating. They only heightened my thirst for adventure. You might be thinking- why Beth? Those experiences sound dangerous. Yes, they were. And that’s exactly why I value them. There’s a massive different between reckless danger and God’s danger. It exhausts me
when people choose what is safe by the world’s standards over what is spiritually challenging. One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis from the Narnia series says,
“… safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” – (About Aslan) The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Sometimes what the Lord will call you to do in your life will sound risky and dangerous. But that’s what living by faith is for. When we trust God and choose him over the comforting luxuries of  the world, he greatly values that and blesses us in ways unimaginable. Blessing us with unforgettable experiences will be what we remember most at the end of our lives. We probably won’t remember that night out with those friends, or that movie we saw at the cinema or that new TV. What we will remember is who we met on the road and what they taught us. What we will remember is the feeling when we saw the inside of the Sacre Ceour Cathedral for the

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The Musee du Louvre, Paris.
first time and the brilliance of it. What we will remember is the kind stranger who led us to the right metro stop in a sketchy part of Athens. I remember the large city views in Rome from the Vatican and in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe and am reminded of how small my problems are in a world that is so massive and diverse and mine to discover further. It’s not always easy to choose the way of uncertainty, but when we do we allow God the room to bless us in his fullest measure. By saying “yes, I’ll go” you give God permission to be your Savior and your provision. He will transform you and give you a new heart when walking in obedience to his calling. And although safety is persuading, what is faithfully unknown but sought will be one of your life’s truest testimonies. I recently finished reading “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge and it radically changed how I discern the Spirit’s calling over my life. It’s written for men from the perspective of what men deeply desire in life but seldom live out. There’s a women’s version called Captivating that I look forward to reading this summer. There’s two quotes especially that struck me from Wild at Heart. One is, “A woman who is living out her true design will be valiant, vulnerable, and scandalous.” The other, “The spiritual life cannot be made suburban. It is always frontier, and we who live in it must accept and even rejoice that is remains untamed.”
Jesus and his disciples were called to a nomadic life of sleeping somewhere new every night and depending on the kindness of strangers for a good meal. Despite being led into dangerous places with dangerous people, the Lord met the apostles where they were and energized them with all they needed at the times they needed it most; not to deprive them of provision but chose to reveal his glory to them when they obtained the heart to understand it best. And I believe nothing in 2000 years has changed the Lord’s radical desire for us to live desirously. But we must firstly DESIRE Him. We must secondly CHOOSE Him. We must thirdly FOLLOW Him. And when we do, our deepest desires in life will mirror the Lord’s deepest desires for us.

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Nice, France.
“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” – Proverbs 27:19