Sunday, September 30, 2007


So I just finished reading through the book of Ruth (mmm good stuff..wondering where my Boaz is...*winkwink*) :) One thing that stuck out to me was Naomi's character at the onset of tragedy. Towards the end of chapter one, she returns from Moab to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth, having lost her husband, and both sons to death. Now don't get me wrong, this is PAIN, this is LOSS, this is TRAGEDY at it's best. But her reaction to people when they returned was what caught my attention.
In verse 20 of chapter one she exclaims, "Don't call me me Mara [which means bitter] because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empy. Whey call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."

How many times has that been me? Hard times hit, and I start pointing fingers...up. How in the world, after all He's brought me through, could He be both the One I PRAISE when life is good, and BLAME when it's not. I know that God is LOVE, and TRUTH, and GOODNESS, and every amazing thing that has even thought about happening to me has come from Him. So why would I for a second, thing He would in any way want to hurt me or cause me pain? I wouldn't...except that's exactly how I act when things don't go my way--Bitter because He didn't bless my disobedience. Angry because life took something or someone away from me that really mattered. Accusing Him of deserting me, when actually, He's the only one that's still fully there. Dang it. I AM Naomi.

I sing, but don't claim to be much of a songwriter (I'm working on it) but I just wanted to share something I wrote in response to this part of the book of Ruth. If I ever get around to recording things (which is in the near future plan...and if I do, I'll post it so you can hear!) then maybe a melody will come out of it..but for now it's just my thoughts...[for you music people, the starred (sp?) part would be the repeated chorus]


Blessed with a family
Then struck by tragedy
She started on her way back home

Widowed, and in mourning
She left to find provision
But the damage had been done

*Are we like she
Bitter and empty
Blaming the Lord
Cause we wanted more
If we could open our eyes
And see the prize
Is the One who sustains
Through the joy and the pain
Maybe we could breathe
Exchange our disbelief
For peace

“Don’t call me by my name
For the Lord has turned away
Misfortune has consumed me”

Her wounds will remain
Unhealed just the same
Until access to her heart He attains

Thursday, September 27, 2007

False and Functional gods

So, last post I mentioned that my roommate and I are in a Bible Study with 3 other amazing girls (well maybe I didn't say they were amazing before, but they ARE). We are in our first week of "NO OTHER GODS: confronting our modern-day idols" (by Kelly Minter), and I just wanted to share something that was from one of the first days. Obviously we all "know" what an idol is. But this definition threw me flat-faced at the thought of those things I know have taken priority where they shouldn't.

"Most of us think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by pagan people...In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set out heart on (Luke 12:29; 11 Cor. 10:9), that motivates us (1 Cor. 4:5), that masters and rules us (Ps. 119:133; Eph 5:5), or that we trust, fear, or serve (Isa. 42:17; Matt 6:24; Luke 12:4-5)...An idol can also be referred to as a "false god" or a functional god."
{Ken Sande}

Just soak all of those different idol possibilities in for a minute. Wow...I've got some things to add to my list. I wish I could say that everything I do is from 'pure' motivation, but let's face it, we are human and selfish and that is NOT always the case. Often we have things that we know are idols in our life--our 'professed' gods, if you will. But then we have 'functional' gods that actually operate as our gods. Those are sometimes the ones that sneak in on us because they are more subtle, but we are nonetheless serving them. For instance, I wouldn't automatically think of "fear" as an idol, until I consider that if it is what motivates my decision or action in a certain circumstance, then I am serving that FEAR as a (functional) god. The tricky thing about idols (especially those less noticed or realized) is that they are often inherently good and right, but they have become detrimental simply because we desire them TOO much.

I have spent some time meditating on what motivates me and takes up more of my heart and mind than should be, and it has been pretty eye-opening. Scary at first, but then beautiful as you realize what an even greater need you have for the Lord to work in you--more than you knew before. Again my thoughts were taken back to Gen. 35:4 (see previous post) where we are reminded to BURY our false gods...not ignore or suppress them (which we often see as burial, but we are really just kidding ourselves--pretending to deal with things)...but call up the funeral home and make it a done deal. Good news: you don't even have to waste time buying flowers. ;)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Digging Graves; and the Owner of the House

There are some amazing churches in Nashville. AMAZING. Which is why it will take me the better part of my life to choose one to call my home. (A great problem to have.) While my search continues around the area every week, there is one church that has already become a treasure. It is literally 5 doors up from my house so we can walk--which by the way, I'm totally counting as my "exercise" for the weekend. It is a church called The Village Chapel, and they have services in the morning, and also one at 6. Normally I church hop week to week on Sunday mornings to catch all the different styles and speakers, but I have gotten in the habit of going to VC every Sunday night...a bit of consistency that has calmed my heart in this search for the right place for me and Jesus.

The VC reads/studies straight through books of the Bible, and right now we are on Genesis. We are up to chapter 35 now, studying the life of Jacob. Two things stuck out from this weeks message that I wanted to share. So basically in this chapter, God tells Jacob to go to Bethel and build an altar to the Lord because this is the place where the Lord appeared to Jacob when he was fleeing from his brother. Before leaving, Jacob had his household and those with him 1)get rid of the foreign gods they had 2)purify themselves and 3)change their clothes and explained the reason for this journey to Bethel (35:1-3). The preacher paused on verse 4 for just a second, but the Lord knew I needed a WORD from that verse, because it caught the eyes of my heart long before he stopped reading. "So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem."(v4)

Did y'all see that? He BURIED their foreign gods. Not hid them under a blanket to be picked back up later....but buried them. As in, dead. 6-feet under.
I don't find it a coincidence that My roommate and I just started a Bible study with 3 other girls led by Kelly Minter, the author of the book we are doing called "NO OTHER GODS: confronting our modern-day idols" (and I'm sure I'll have lots of post to share from this book as we get started). We are called to BURY our idols. To get rid of them for good. We serve a God who is entirely deserving of our undivided attention and unashamed love. What is it that you spend more time thinking about, more time invested in, more time loving after than your precious time with the Lord. I KNOW what mine are. And by-george it hurts to even think about them and how they've taken place of things that they shouldn't. And if I'm being honest, it's hard to think about burying some of those things because when something takes a position in your heart that it shouldn't, you obviously get attached. I think that's why that word BURY is so important. Don't just stick it in a drawer, minimize it on your computer, or put it on the to-do list tomorrow when you'll have more time to afford to put it a little lower on the priority list. Just straight up bury it, and don't look back.

The next zinger for me came in verse 7. I'll write 6 too so you get the whole setting. "Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother." In order to understand the point that the preacher made we have to first know that "El" means 'God', and "Bethel" means 'house of God'. So the phrase "El Bethel" would mean the 'God of the house of God'. With the addition of "El" in the phrase, the emphasis is shifted from the place "Bethel" (house of God), to the actual occupier/owner/boss man "El" the GOD of the house of God. How often do we miss that? How often do we go to the HOUSE of God, rather than the GOD of the house? As we see at the end of verse 7, Jacob named it this because it was at this place that God revealed HIMSELF to him. GOD is what we should be seeking, praising, loving. Obviously this isn't saying to not be in the house of God--this is an important part of anybody's walk with Christ. But when we are there, let's stay focused on the One we're there for. Praise Him for the things we have yes, but praise HIM, not them.

Hope that made as much sense to someone as it did me. My notes are everywhere. And the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders reality show in the background didn't help either. ;)

Friday, September 21, 2007


My roommate Laura has to watch STARWARS (I don't even know if that is one word or two) for her online class. Not just 1 of them....but ALL 6. I hate Starwars. Laura hates Starwars. We are about to have the most awful roommate-bonding experience ever because of this completely lame movie. I am SO sorry if you are a Starwars lover, but I for one don't understand it, and don't want to...and I hope our friendship (blogship) will not be too hindered by this fact. Oh heavens...there are some guy friends of hers over here watching with us (so much for roommate bonding...j/k i like them) and one of them is explaining something about Jet-eyes? Jedis? Jedies? (Clearly, I'm a fan.) I mean, I don't know, if someone else has to explain every scene because others in the room are THAT confused just seconds after the previews, what is the point?!

Ok. Venting done. Pretend smile, on. Wishing there were invisible i-pod headphones somewhere because I am craving some Brooke Fraser. Home girl can take Princess Lea (Leah? Lay-AH?) any day. (Is she even in this movie?)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Things That Make Me Smile :)

*clothes right out of the dryer
*the pictures of my friends up around my room
*yankee candles
*prayer...and knowing HE hears me
*you've got mail (the movie)
*hallmark cards
*yoplait yogurt (key lime pie and apple turnover)
*being a worship leader for camp and retreats
*chocolate...any shape, size, packaging, and flavor
*F*R*I*E*N*D*S dvds
*blue eyes
*my scripture cards
*buy 2, get 1 free sales (even though you rarely need 3)
*artsy barnes & noble mugs :)
*journals, journals, journals
*black and white photography
*my red (with white polka-dot) shoes
*willow tree angels
*marathons on tv
*my ipod
*pumpkin spice lattes (thank you fall!!)
*knowing i am made COMPLETE in HIM
*lemon scented cleaning products
*the "pray hard" ring on my ring finger
*ice cream
*shelly e. bland ;)
*new nashville friends
*staying in my pjs all day
*brooke fraser (check her out!!)
*emptying the dishwasher (yeah, i know)
*being cozy under a blanket
*big bead necklaces
*Psalm 90:2 (the Message)
"...from 'once upon a time' to 'kingdom come' YOU ARE GOD."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

You Go, Boys!

I just spent the weekend in North Carolina leading at a youth retreat near Asheville (at Ridgecrest for those of you who are familiar with the area). As an extension of my summer camp job, we have a few events in the fall that are much smaller and more personal for groups to come and really dig in fast to the Word and God's heart for a little less than 2 days. Our speaker for this retreat was Stuart Hall, whom I pray you all get the chance to hear at some point in your life. He goes so deep so fast, that blinking or breathing in the wrong place can get you behind in a flash. Good stuff. During the last service this morning Stuart spoke from Acts 4, and it just hit me in the best way, so I wanted to share. I am not a speaker or writer and don't claim to bear with the randomness that comes out of my head. :)

Acts 4:23-31
"On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God, "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

" 'Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the Lord
and against his Anointed One.' (Ps. 2:1-2)

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders throughout the name of your holy servant Jesus."
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

Just as a little background info, right before this, Peter and John (and the other apostles) were "teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead" (4:2) and the priest and Sadducees (who were Sad-You-See....HAHA...always loved that joke) came to put and end to their teaching. So, they commanded them "not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus" (4:18).
Their response to these leaders who more or less promised severe punishment?--
"We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." (4:20)

--When is the last time that this was your (or my) response when you faced any sort of serious adversity for sharing your faith? These men KNEW the consequences that were promised to them by these leaders for proclaiming Christ, and they looked them straight in the eye and with OVERFLOWING hearts, COULD NOT CONTAIN their excitement and joy about their Savior. What in the world, I want those kind of guts for the Lord!

When they returned to their people to tell of their encounter with the leaders, their response was a prayer:
1) to a "Sovereign Lord"...they recognized immediately that God had a plan for them. He KNOWS all.
*v.28--"they did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen" God knew before they were opposed that the leaders would rise up against them...and they DID. But, Peter and John recognized this not as a road block to stop them, but as a part of His plan.
*He made everything--earth, heaven, sea (and EVERYTHING IN them)--He KNOWS about His creation
2)they remembered what was proclaimed in the Old Testament spoken by the Holy Spirit through David as he wrote that the kings and rulers would gather against the Lord and against his Anointed One (Ps 2) (and they did)
3)and KNOWING that the one thing they could be KILLED for was speaking out about Christ, they PRAYED FOR BOLDNESS to SPEAK to them!!!!
*Boldness--is courage, when you have something to LOSE. These leaders were people that they would have to be in contact with day in and day out that could significantly alter their lives, even to the point of death. Yet they stared the problem in the face and asked for courage to face it head on because they COULD NOT HELP but talk about what Christ had done for them.

I wonder when the last time was for you and I, that we risked something for our faith? That we put a relationship, or a reputation, or a job, or a bank account on the line for what we believed in. Not because it was the "right" thing to do...or the "Christian" thing to do. But because we were so filled by what Christ has done for us that we were honored to lose it all to spread His name. His glory. His love. His mercy. His grace. His freedom. And His heart's desire. Who in our lives do we know needs to be held accountable for something--needs to be called-out in LOVE (not, pride)--and have truth spoken over them in an area we know isn't surrendered to Christ? We all have those people in our lives--friends, CLOSE friends, and family members--people whose opinions matter to us...whose souls should matter more...that need to know the Love which could be theirs.

*Is He worth it to us?
*Is the experience that we have had with Him enough to want to share?
*Is our gratitude of Christ's presence in our own lives being kept silent in an effort to guarantee our place in His heart in case someone else tries to pass us in the race?
*Do we TRULY have a Godly jealousy for others to know and experience what we have, or have we pridefully attempted to mold our salvation into something we were able to accept and obtain on our own, and so, become stagnant...forgetting that it has nothing to do with the particles of dust that we are, and everything to do with the Saving God that HE is.
*Would we be gutsy enough to pray for BOLDNESS, when it most matters, and the most dear parts of our lives are at stake?
*What have we got to lose? Everything. But all of "everything" is NOTHING compared to what we have gained in CHRIST, who IS our EVERYTHING.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Confessions of a 20-something college graduate

My name is Abby Lane Hinton. I am addicted to the following items which have consumed my life for the past 2 weeks:
(I am hoping at the conclusion of this email to be cleansed of my unrighteousness and begin the process of being addiction-free.)

~Coffee (i have the caffeine jitters right now)
~Ice Cream (ALL kinds)
~America's Next Top Model Re-runs (what?!)
~Checking my email (really? the world will not die if I don't respond within the hour)
~Sales at Target (oh geeze, is rent due again?)
~Krispy Kreme (we won't even go there)
~You Tube Videos (oh, the HOURS I've wasted)

**Appropriate substitution suggestions (and rehab encouragement) welcomed.**

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bianca Ryan from America's Got Talent

If you have never heard of Bianca Ryan, you have GOT to watch this video. At 11 years old, she was one of the winners of America's Got Talent. This girl is the reason my clothes are STILL not unpacked from my move...I can not stop watching. She is THE most talented 11 year old I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure I didn't even know who Jennifer Holiday was when I was 11...