I was really convicted in church yesterday because I realized how often I disregard the cross. Oh I have heard that a thousand times... another gospel message...I hope others are learning from this... Arrogant thoughts such as these float through my mind a little more often than I would like to admit. But what more do I really want? The whole foundation of Christianity is the cross. Why would I assume that I know so much about it that I don't have to listen? I admit that most often I look at "the words of human wisdom" that Paul says "empty the cross of its power" (1 Corinthians 1:17) I tend to assume that words of human wisdom are a little more realistic, forgetting that Jesus Christ was fully man while fully God. I focus on things that are only real while we are on this earth, forgetting that Christ is the ultimate reality and that the spiritual realities I am so ignorant of are eternal. The cross is pretty important. I should act like it.
ok so i am reading the screwtape letters by c.s. lewis and i am totally loving it! i think reading this book is going to be a yearly habit for me... but something that frustrates me to no end is that every single chapter I can look at something the demons do to distract us from their "Enemy", also known as our Saviour, and say that I have fallen for it. How silly am I to let Satan distract me from the God of the universe?
why is it that whenever I come home, I am suddenly lazy and tired?
i sleep forever
and i neglect to spend time in the word of God.
I need it here more than ever.
the people I have the hardest time sharing the love of Christ with have my same last name.
and we live under the same roof.
if ever i long for a miracle to occur, it would be right here
within these stubborn walls and this bond of blood that ties me to my family
if ever i need to learn to love people it would be my family.
for some reason i just hold them to a much higher standard than i hold anyone else
and it hurts me every time they fail
why does my forgiveness tank run empty every time they need some?
O Lord, teach me to love, truly love this family you have given me. It was not my choice at all, but You tell me that You are infinitely wise and powerful and Your ways are much higher than mine so I trust that you put me in this position for a reason. I hope in my lifetime I understand a little of why that is. But You are God, and I am not.
So I was laying down in bed reading my bible and as I was reading; something pulled me to two particular passages. 2 Corinthians 11:16-30 and Phillipians 4:10-13. I read this and just began thinking over and over again, Paul is absolutely crazy. Not crazy as in I think he is a lunatic, but he is just seriously wild! Just reading through these passages, I can't help at be amazed at the God who gave Paul the strength to endure 2 Corinthians 11: 23-29 with the attitude of Phillipians 4:10-13. Paul had a real encounter with God and that radically changed his life. He immediately went from the guy persecuting to the one who was being persecuted the most; so much so that his persecutions and weaknesses are what he felt like he could boast in! What a crazy life change. One experience with God and his life was not the same. What does that say about our God? His revelation to Paul will affect us as long as bibles are read. What does that say about Paul? One look at God and he simply could not stay the same. What does that say about me? I feel like every day there is a war going on in my soul between my flesh and my spirit. But if anything I can take comfort in the fact that for Paul, one look at God was enough to make him go crazy.
Every once in a while I just get this overwhelming feeling that I am meant for more. I am meant to do great things, to move mountains, to see miracles happen, to win souls, to live one of those lives that people talk about in stories, maybe I will even be a sermon illustration one day. And then after I feel my heart fill with the hope of all the great things in store for my life; I hear a voice inside my head that says, "This is wrong. You should not be hoping for a great life for yourself, but simply to serve God no matter how humbly." Everything I began to dream of comes crashing down as I hear the voice chide me for my selfishness, for my stupidity. In my head I know that serving God will always be filled with beauty and adventure, wherever you are and whatever you might be doing, but still I can feel my heart yearning to be used in some mighty way, to be a participant in some grand adventure. And so I opened my bible, to see what God had to speak to my restless heart.
31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
The phrase, "You stoop down to make me great" kept repeating over and over again in my head. How could David say that? Doesn't he know it is not about him? How can God be ok with that?
From the preceding verses you can tell that David totally gets that life is completely about God. So how can he say that the Lord of the Universe stoops down to make him [David] great? I don't know. But I do know that if David, called a man after God's own heart, said it, then it can't be wrong. I know if it is printed in the bible then it is the living and active word of God sharper than a double-edged sword. I am still so overwhelmed by that statement. But I think I am going to make these verses my prayer. I will let you know how it turns out.
There is nothing like a combination of night terrors and a roommate on vacation to make a person, feel utterly and completely alone. Even as I am writing this my heart feels weirdly tight and is beating too fast and I could easily throw up or cry. But even when Sarah is here I still have been irrationally fearful. So I have been coping by waiting until two or three when I am so exhausted I can barely even move, to go up to bed and then read for a while.. And then after about ten minutes I fall asleep with the light on. About 545 when the sun rises, I get out of bed and turn off the light because now that the sun is up, things are suddenly much safer. And then I can sleep until I need to get up for work. This has been my routine for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday I was watching a Hillsong video on youtube for one of my favorite songs, You'll Come, and one of the singers read the inspiration for the song in Hosea 6.
"Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us;, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun will rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."
The lyrics from the song are "As surely as the sun will rise, you'll come to us, as certain as the dawn appears". I know how it feels to sit there and wait for morning. To pray that I will live to see the sun rise again. As surely as the sun will rise, He will come to me. How incredible is it that God is using my irrational fear, to teach me about his faithfulness. To show me that because the sun will rise, I can trust Him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
So apparently I am to the age where people decide I need a significant other. It's really funny to me, because I am perfectly happy being single right now. I love having an undivided heart so I can give more of my attention to God! This has been such a great time of learning to trust Him and his plan. It's so great to see how God has changed me because before this past year at college, I would have been feeling the same way, like I need to be dating someone. So as a youth intern we are leading bible studies for the junior high and senior high students, and our first talk is in two weeks and it is about who God is to us and so as I was just meditating on that I just realized how powerful that is. If I believe God is who He says He is: omnipotent, all-knowing, love, truth, just, merciful; then I can trust his plan for my life, whether that includes a special someone or not. That is so freeing! I don't have to worry about my life, because I know the God of the universe loves me and knows what is best for my life.
I love being here. I love my job. I love these students. I love the people I work with. I am already sad that I am going to have to leave at the end of the summer.
So something I have realized in the three days I have been here is that I am awful at accepting ministry. I would rather do things myself then let people take over. But that is so not how it's meant to be! By trying to do everything, I am robbing people of the chance to use their God given gift! My host, Sarah and her mom are incredible with the gift of hospitality! I have been seriously blown away by their desire to make sure that I am comfortable and to serve me in the background, while I go and serve the youth. Today I am leaving for the youth retreat and when I came home from church in a rush trying to get things ready, I noticed on the counter a pile of little necessities Sarah got me like bug repellent, sun screen, my favorite flavor crystal light, etc. I have been so blessed in just these three days. Exciting things are to come this summer :)
So yesterday I left Arlington to move to the Woodlands for the summer. I know a grand total of four people that live in the Woodlands. So as I was driving down I started panicking for a moment (a moment = a grand total of 87 miles) because I don't know anyone, including the lady who I am staying with who could possibly be a murderer (but isn't), I don't know what I am doing, I don't know my way around...you get the picture. So I sat there worrying and driving and listening to my ipod on shuffle, and then this song came on by Spur58 All To My God and King and you know how you can listen to something over and over and then randomly you understand it and how great and powerful the lyrics are? Well, that totally happened.
All to my God and King
It's the glory of your majesty
It's the mystery of your love for me
My heart will say, my heart will sing
You are the Christ, you are the King
I find my worth in your majesty
I find myself in you've captured me
So great! I listened to it on repeat for a while so I could just soak it up! Moving to the Woodlands, is not about me. My life, is not about me. It is all for my God and King! And I just realized how freeing that is. I don't have to be great. I don't have to strive to accomplish something awesome or earn a lot of money. My God is already great. He is awesome. So if I make my life about him then I become awesome by default. So it's ok that I am moving to a city of strangers because it's not about me, it's about Him.
because i stayed up late last night taking care of a sick lucy, i took a nap today and now it is almost four and i am not tired. so here are some random things about me:
I judge people's knees. I don't really know why. There are some I just don't like.
I want a happy ending. always.
I wish I had a style. I just wear whatever, but usually I end up looking like a grandma.
I am all over the place. My mind just doesn't really work one step at a time.
I love to read. Right now russian literature is my favorite i.e. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky...
I have totally irrational night fears.
I cannot watch scary movies. If I do I will usually stay up all night because everytime I close my eyes I see the images in my head.
I am not a fan of dolls or stuffed animals. Give me living things.
I love photography but I have zero skill. zero.
I would prefer not to play than to be yelled at by competitive people.
I drink way too much diet dr.pepper. My heart will one day explode.
I get ready pretty fast for a girl. thirty minutes max. except formals.
I love moms. They are just so wise and so giving.
I like to think about what Jesus would be like if he was here (physically) today.
I am afraid of authority figures, generally. Pastors, professors, etc.
I sleep a lot. And I wish I slept more. I am pretty sure that I need ten hours a night to function at my best.
I just have some really awesome friends. Too bad they can't be your friends because they are mine, so you will just have to believe how fantastic they are.
I also have been really blessed with some incredibly awesome teachers who really care about me and are willing to be there and I love that! Until this school year I didnt even realize how rare that is in churches! Sad day.
I really love being in college. Not because I can stay up super late or anything like that, because I really do love sleeping. But simply because I feel so empowered in college. It's a very freeing time and that's great, but I love that so many people use that freedom to serve others!
I really love 90's t.v. shows. They are the best by far. Home Improvement, Fresh Prince... need I say more?
Today I was so convicted at church this morning. I was sitting in church listening to the sermon about finances, listening for the purpose of using the knowledge for the future, because hello I am a college student and I have no finances! but God just brought to my attention this summer. I am working as a youth intern at Stonebridge Baptist Church and I am so excited I can barely contain it! But one thing I have kind of been worrying about is my lack of money. Not that I won't have money to eat or anything like that, I just really don't want to be a financial burden on anyone! So getting back on topic the sermon was on Phillipians 4: 10-13 and Paul says,
"I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed you have been concerned but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. "
So convicting! My worries were a total lack of faith and I am so glad for the message today to convict me of that! I was trying to trust him with everything but my finances! I still am trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am not supposed to be in control of my life. I am supposed to trust God with all of it, every little piece. But how freeing is that? That the only decision I have to make is to follow him and then he will take care of the rest!
So tonight I got to spend some time with one of the most precious people I know, my friend Bethany. (The worst thing about college so far is that there are some awesome people who I do not get to spend nearly enough time with!) We just had a great time of catching up and sharing what God is teaching us, and through our discussion this question stirred in my heart, "God, what were you thinking?" I could ask this question pertaining to a myriad of subjects but what I am specifically referring to is his name. When we accept Christ as our Savior the bible says we are adopted into his family as sons and daughters (1 John 3:1), so if we are his children, we carry his name. The bible also says that we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). So we are created in his image and called by his name. That blows my mind.
Why would God choose imperfect beings to attempt to reflect his perfection?
We are created in his image. Even people who proclaim themselves atheists are created in the image of God. There is no option; we cannot go back and uncreate ourselves. But we choose to be called a child of God. By his mercy and grace, He marks us with his name. So when we take his name, we have two options: we can either point people back to God or point people away from him.
What a huge responsibility for such fickle creatures!
Peter said as aliens and strangers in the world, we are to abstain from sinful desires that war against our soul. (1 Peter 2:11) So Christ lets people who are constantly in the middle of their own personal war zone, wear his name. But there is the beauty of it. Because when we wear his name, we surrender ourselves to be worked on little by little. When we wear his name we are marking ourselves. Firstly, by taking his name we give Christ permission to chase us, break us, teach us, mold us, and a whole lot of other actions that are not easy to undergo.Secondly, when we call ourselves christians we have a responsibility to our fellow brothers and sisters. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul illustrates the body of Christ and stresses how important our relationship to one another is. He even declares that within the body there should be unity and that we should have equal concern for one another (v.25). Lastly, when we call ourselves christians we offer our lives as a demonstration of the saving, transforming love of Christ to be scruntinized and analyzed so that people might see the power and glory of the living God.
What was God thinking, that he would choose me?
This is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I am a horrible decision maker. And I don't really feel like I have anything wonderful to say, but I do love reading other people's and so I figure it is only fair to give people the opportunity to stalk me in return. Be patient because I am a very slow learner. And I am also very inconsistent so I have no idea how long this will last. So just be pleasantly surprised each time I contribute anything.
So I just finished my freshman year of college. And I am happy to say that I am not the same person as when I started, and I don't want to be the same person ever again. Because God is changing me and I am so thankful. I wish I had time to write down everything i learned but it could basically be summed up in these verses:
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up to my soul.