Category: Reflections

A new blog is coming….

sometime very soon i will blog about my reflections from the past year. let’s just say God is awesome!


Yesterday was a very nice day temperature wise so Angelica and I decided to go for a walk. It was a very enlightening walk that I don’t want to forget.

We started out and it was lovely. It was about 60 degrees outside and I was walking with Angelica.  Angelica and I always have great conversations, one of the many reasons why she’s one of my favorite people in the world. We started talking about everything from true community, world missions, troubled friends, and then we landed on the topic of justice.  She is reading Isaiah right now and it is rocking her world. She said that the people that Isaiah was trying to speak to lacked justice in their lives, they lived by the rules yet lacked justice.  The question she then posed is how do we do that? How do we seek to live out justice? We talked about it for sometime about this topic. Then it hit me, the only act of true justice is Christ.*** Yet, thankfully that is an act of injustice. It is unjust because I deserve death, the wrath of God should be poured out on me because of my sin. I am not worthy to stand before a holy God HOWEVER I don’t receive death. I don’t receive God’s wrath. Christ does for me. That is truly an injustice. But where is the justice? Sin has to be punished. In the same place there is injustice, justice is found. How is that possible?  Romans 3:26 says “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” The ESV Study Bible note for this verse says ” In the cross of Christ, God has shown himself to be just (utterly holy, so that the penalty demanded by the law is not removed but paid for by Christ) but also the justifier (the one who provides the means of justification and who declares people to be in right standing with himself) and the Savior of all those who trust in Jesus. Here is the heart of the Christian faith, for at the cross God’s justice and love meet”  Because of the cross of Christ, justice is served. Sin is paid for in full for all of those who will believe. The question still remains. How do we live out justice? I would say that it is pointing people to Christ, the only One who can provide justice. There are other injustices that need to dealt with as well like feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. My prayer is this:  “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27. I believe that if we have truly been justified, we will seek to help others. We will not forsake the Gospel in doing this. These two go hand in hand as James so cleverly puts it. These thoughts just came to me as I sat and began journaling this today. I only discussed with Angelica up to where the  *** are. Well and the pointing people to Christ part-I just filled in the gaps today.

Next on our walk we encountered two lost people and by lost I mean they just simply needed directions to a location. One was headed to Starbucks on Old Fort and the other to a post office. But as Angelica and I were talking after helping these people this thought hit me-this is a picture of how life should be done. We should be doing life in such a way that we encounter lost people. It may not be pretty (remember we were out walking in the rain) but it still must be done. Mike Lee, pastor of Third Baptist Church, said at church this morning that our purpose in life is to glorify God and make His Son known to the nations (including our nation). I will talk about the glory of God more in a moment, but I’d like to focus on the latter half of that statement.  “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” (Mark 2:17) Jesus came to save sinners, therefore we must encounter the lost on a daily basis. I was in that place, but thanks be to GOD who saved me. In God’s eyes, I am no longer a sinner, but I’ve been declared righteous. I talked plenty about that in the previous paragraph, so I won’t go on any more (but I’m hoping that we can see how these things are woven together).  Because God has saved me, I should tell others what the Lord has done in me….no matter the cost.

At some point during our walk between helping the Starbucks person and helping the post office man, we ended up at the Murfreesboro Square. It really is a neat little place, but I learned something new about the square yesterday. At two o’clock on Saturdays, well at least this Saturday bells ring from the courthouse. This could happen every hour, but I was only there at two so I can’t say for sure.  These bells didn’t just pointlessly ring, they rang to the tune of familiar songs. It took us a few songs but we realized that these songs were hymns.  The only hymn I can remember  being played yesterday was “To God Be the Glory” Then I had this thought, “What would Murfreesboro look like if believers lived out “to God be the glory”?  The song is ringing from our courthouse, why is it not ringing from our lives? As I stated earlier, our purpose, to quote Mike Lee, is to GLORIFY GOD and make His Son known to the nations.  How do we glorify God? Here is where it all ties together, we glorify God by exalting Christ (or in other words by making His Son known to the nations). “Therefore God has highly exalted him (Jesus) and bestowed on him (Jesus) the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philipians 2:9-11)  God himself exalted Jesus-at the His name, every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Why? To the GLORY OF GOD.

May our lives be about justice, the lost, and the glory of God.

When I began journaling about this walk in the rain I myself did not realize how the three of these things are woven together, but I am thankful for the Holy Spirit who reveals these things to us.

Thank you Angelica for asking me to go for a walk in the rain, although it wasn’t raining at the time you asked me because that would be dumb to walk in the rain. Little did I know the life lessons that God would teach me through our walk in the rain.

“Before the Cross”

Before the Cross

by Jon Payne (Sovereign Grace Music)

My Savior’s sacrifice paid for all my sin

So in my suffering I look to the cross again

No need, no want, no trial nor pain

Can compare to this

The wrath of God, once meant for me

Was all spent on Him

Before the Cross, I humbly bow

I place my trust in the Savior

Your finished work captures my gaze

You bore the wrath, I know the grace

In my darkest, Your presence is my peace

In my days of joy, Your grace carries me

Jesus, my Great High Priest

The One who pleads for me

My heart is filled with faith in You

Here at Calvary, on my knees



Look and meditate on the words of this song. They are amazing! Be encouraged by the work of the cross. No work that we do will ever be good enough to enter into God’s presence, but God made a way through His Son so that we may have life!

“Be Safe”

I’ve been told time and time again these few weeks to “be safe”. I’m sick of that phrase. What if I don’t want to be safe? In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, you see the children asking the Beavers about Aslan. Here is the dialogue:

“”Is–is he a man?” asked Lucy.

“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,’ said Mrs. Beaver, ‘if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King I tell you.”

“I’m longing to see him,” said Peter, “even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.””

I don’t take credit for knowing any of this information on my own. I haven’t even read the whole book. Derek Webb talks about this scene on his album “The House Show”. Aslan, the Christ figure in the story, is not safe. What can we take from this? God is not safe, but He is good, and He is the King. God, in His Word, does not promise safety. He does, however, promise that He will be with us wherever we go. Take Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was this situation safe? No. Did God ever leave him in this situation? No! Stephen preached the Word in his last moments alive then gave his life up for that same Word. God will get His glory whether in life or death.

But, I think my favorite part in this dialogue is Peter’s response. “I’m longing to see him, even if I do feel frightened when it comes to that point.” WOW! I absolutely love that response. He’s is longing to see Aslan even if it does make him frightened. This should be our attitude toward God. We need to long to be in His presence. It will cause us to see ourselves for who we are which should frighten us (Isaiah 6: 1-5) and show us how unworthy we are to be in His presence but thankfully we can be made clean (Isaiah 6: 6-7).

Wow, that was really long and a lot of ramblings.

Bottomline, I don’t want to be safe because following Christ is NOT safe, but it is GOOD!

6 weeks just got longer!

I know I have an addiction. TEXT MESSAGING! I can’t go more than a couple of hours without doing it. Its ridiculous. I send/recieve 2000 text messages in one month! Well, I called Verizon the other day about international phone rates and what not and they told me that it was $.25/message. Yeah, that’d be $500 in one month! Oh and for those of you who are like, “Where’s she going?” I’m going to Newfoundland for 6 weeks begining June 28th. I will tell you more about that journey very soon.

The text messaging black out begins June 27th…

Not a writer

I know that I’ve already written one entry, but I just wanted to get it out there that I am in no way, shape, or form a writer. I have really been encouraged lately to lay my thoughts out and since journaling drives me crazy I thought I would blog. So here goes…enjoy

I’m not a reader.  It takes work for me to sit down and read a book. Therefore, I’ve been on this long journey reading a book called “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” by Jim Cymbala. It is a very short, easy to read book, so it shouldn’t have taken me this long to read it, but it has. Today, I came home and thought “I only have about 20 pages or so left; I think I’ll finish this tonight.”  I began reading and came to this line, “The more we seek God, the more we see our need to seek Him.” WOW! I had to stop right there and just think about that. I’m still chewing on that thought as I am writing about it. Angelica would say that I’m a bottom line kind of person, and the bottom line here is that we HAVE to seek God. It is a necessity! I If we don’t seek God, we won’t see our need for Him and begin living selfishly. We will lose sight of the cross. I don’t know if that quote will hit anyone else like it hit me, but do chew on it a bit and see.


May I never lose sight of the cross!

-J. Riley