Thursday, December 2, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
"I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me." Psalm 13:6
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
However, I'm realizing that living by my feelings and emotions is wrong.
This thought came up as I read Leslie Ludy's devotional for this week called "The Secret of Contentment." Which I wholeheartedly recommend you read. http://www.setapartgirl.com/Devotional/Entries/2010/11/5_the_secret_of_contentment.html
In Leslie's devotional she quoted Elizabeth Elliot:
“The difficulty is to keep a tight reign on our emotions. They may remain, but it is not they who are to rule the action. They have no authority. A life lived in God is not lived on the plane of the feelings, but of the will. In Scripture the heart is the will – the man himself, the spring of all action, the ruling power bestowed on him by his Creator, capable of choosing and acting.” (Elizabeth Elliot, Quest for Love, page 35)
Powerful words, huh? Letting my feelings lead me often leads to selfish decisions and as a girl who wants to live in total abandonment to God, selfishness is not what I am pursuing. So today I surrender my emotions to Jesus!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I have had a choice to make in the past two weeks. A choice that made me feel at the edge of two roads. If I chose the road to the left I would be choosing to try to be normal, fitting in with my friends, going through each day with my checklist, buying into the message the world teaches through music and television--that I need to find happiness in any way I can and right now, because I shouldn't have to wait for anything.
If I chose the road to my right I was choosing to learn to wait patiently on God. (It amazes me how God tells us to wait and the world tells us instant gratification is the way to go) Not to expect happiness, because God offers a joy none of us can comprehend. To not only read His word, but to also live by it, all of it, not just the parts I find easy-to-live-by or interesting, but every part.
I want to recognize the things that are a waste of my time because they do not bring me closer to Him or further His kingdom so I can let them go. And I want my example of living a set apart life to shine like a "star in the universe" (Phil 2:15). That's why God told us not to be part of this world...we are supposed to look otherworldly because this is not our home. By living a set apart life, people who need Him will see His love in our eyes and our actions, and God willing they will ask us why we are different. (I wonder what people in need of Christ think of Christians who live just like they do? Why would anyone want to accept Christ when most of the Christian examples are hypocrites, preaching one thing, living something totally different) I don't think we have to live in a Christian commune to achieve this. At least not a physical commune. But I think we have to guard our minds and hearts against the messages of the world. We can't afford to become emotionally attached to the things this culture promotes. We can only love the people in the secular world as Jesus loved them...if we love them humanly we will get burnt. Emotional attachment is so strong and just because we are Christians doesn't mean we are immune to becoming emotionally attached to the secular world, human or object. So we have to keep a safe distance while still filling the world with Christ's pure and holy love.
I have a desire to have authentic friendships…I think it comes to a point where God wants us to let go of relationships that are bringing us down. It is another moment of allowing Him to refine us with fire. In the end, we have to focus on Him. We were made to have a relationship with Him so if something takes the place of it, even a relationship, we have to let go. As God continually told the Israelites to get rid of their idols, we too have to clean out anything that brings our focus from our Lord's face. That even means relationships...and those seem to be the hardest to let go of. I've had to do it...I've had to let go and trust that God would take care of that person without my influence in their life. Because the risk was losing my own relationship with Him. God said through Paul that we should not be “unequally yoked together” (2 Cor 6:14). He is talking about more than marriage relationships here. No matter how strong we think we are we can be pulled down by the other person (1 Cor 10:12).
Though I might sound like I have it figured out, writing it out and living it is two different things. Each day I have to get up and choose who to serve. I have to strive to live by Philippians 4:8. Because if we apply that to everything in our lives...our books, the tv shows we watch, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the jokes we tell, the conversations we enter into, and our very thoughts...if we live by that verse won't we be guaranteed to be set apart from this world? That is why I feel so strongly about drinking, smoking, drugs, tattoos, physical contact with the opposite sex. Those avenues are the world's...if I want to be an example to others, why would I walk down those roads? Why would I want to defile God’s temple, which is my own body to simply gratify my own desires? 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” Is it good for those who need God to see us, the ambassadors of Christ, living as they do: relaxing with a bottle of wine at the end of the day or ordering a mixed drink at a restaurant in the company of our girlfriends, falling asleep next to our boyfriend/girlfriend during a home movie, and going to see a new movie just because it looks funny even though the content is less than perfect. We can’t settle for less than perfect. 1John 2:6 tells us, “whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” Wasn’t Jesus perfect? Should we not “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1John 1:6).
As I said before, I don’t pretend to live out these commands perfectly. But I pray that each day I come closer to the person God wants me to be. How can I do less for a God who “showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4: 9-10).
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:3-5
Lord, I want to live a life pleasing to you, set apart from this world.
Allow your unfailing love to shine through me.
Guide me to live differently than the world tells me to live.
Help me live according to your commands.
Help me walk as Jesus did.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
What touches me the most, besides the inspirational music, is the lyrics. When "The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference" began to play I was struck with the thought that I don't think about the Cross enough. Let me share the lyrics of the first verse and chorus with you...
Saturday, September 18, 2010
As a college student, who still lives at home, I've never experienced sharing a dorm or an apartment with a roommate. A lot of my college friends share places with their best girlfriends. They often post crazy pictures of their times together and sometimes I'll visit them and think how cool it would be to share an apartment.
But just when I feel down about my circumstances I experience a night like last night....
My sister and I were getting ready for bed and we turned on the radio. One of our favorite stations to listen to at night is hosted by a woman who solves people's problems. Often a guy in love will call in and ask her to dedicate a song to his girl and she'll throw in some advice for free. We love listening to the sappy loves songs and laughing out loud at the people who dare to call in and share their life story.
We finally told each other we had to go to sleep. After turning out the lights and crawling into bed (we share a room and a queen sized bed) Jennifer started chattering up a storm. It is amazing how the quietness of night brings out the chatterbox in my sister. Part of me was irritated because I was tired, but as I look back on our life and our time sharing a room (almost 15 years!) the best memories are when we talk, under the covers, in the darkness of room before drifting off to sleep.
So, I might have never shared an apartment with a close, college friend, but I've shared a room with my best friend in the whole, wide world for most of my life!! She is, and always will be my best friend....my sister, Jennifer!!
Thank you, Jennifer, for putting up with me all these years. Just like many roommates we have our differences and our arguments, but we always manage to patch things up.
I praise God for you, little sister!
Monday, September 6, 2010
I'm sure many of us struggle with this from time to time, I know I do. I like to have things planned out. I don't like to be caught off guard. When my family and I are going on a trip I like to know exactly what we are doing and when we are doing it so I can be prepared.
I have some friends who are spontaneous. They like when events come up unexpectedly and they like to go with the flow, but for me going with the flow sometimes seems impossible.
One of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29: 11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Look closely at this verse. "For I know the plans I have for you." God is speaking and He says that He has plans for you. Not the other way around. God doesn't say "so, how do you want your life to go? Let me take notes so I can follow your insructions to a T." That isn't how it works. He created us and He has a plan for us. Somtimes His plans don't turn out to be what we invisioned or even what we prayed for, but as Romans 8:28 says "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
We can have faith that God works in our best interest. As children of God, we can place our hands in His and trust that He will lead us on the best path.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Psalm 62:5 says, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him."
I haven't quite figured out how to find rest in God alone. Oftentimes when I feel tired I take a nap, watch a movie, or just surf through television channels. When I feel weary from a hard day studying my first thought isn't to dig into God's word or spend time in His presence doing so sounds like more work to me.
The Bible is full of verses that talk about finding rest in God alone and looking to Him to renew our strenth. As I rest this weekend I want to remind myself to not only sleep to renew my body, but to pray and read God's word to renew my soul.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Throughout the Bible there are instances where jealousy took over...
- "When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister." Genesis 30:1
- [Joseph's] brothers were jealous of him..." Genesis 37:11
- "And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David" 1 Samuel 18:9
When each person above allowed jealousy to infiltrate their heart and mind they committed acts that were displeasing to God. Rachel sent her maidservant to sleep with Jacob so that she might have a child through her, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, and Saul saught to end David's life.
Tonight, as I examine my own heart, I pray that God will save me from the poison called jealousy and I praise him for providing His word which has taught me what jealousy can do when I person allows it into their life.
Friday, June 18, 2010
A couple of weeks ago I had this sinking fear that maybe I couldn't use my degree after graduation and that maybe I should stay in school to get my teacher's certificate. I proceeded to email all the people I knew who I either consider mentors or who have taken/finished the teacher's certificate. Everyone was so sweet in their responses giving me great advice and well wishes. I asked God for a sign! I needed a sign...anything. Writing in the clouds would be good...maybe one of my dogs could just bark it in code? I didn't care, I just needed a sign. The next day I just had a feeling in my heart that the teaching certificate was not something I was supposed to obtain. It reminds me that often when we want the obvious, right now, God gives us something simple.
Last weekend I was so excited about working VBS. I knew I was going to be with one year olds and I knew all of them (that's a plus working with that age) and I was ready to get started. By the third day getting up at 6:30 am wasn't fun and if I had to tell one more little kiddo to sit down while they ate their fish crackers and to stop taking toys from each other I was going to have to leave. I prayed for strength and for patience and though I wanted an considerable injection of the two, it came slowly, through the giggle of a little girl when I tickled her tummy. Or when she sat on my lap on the floor. Little moments like that throughout the week helped me get through another day.
The last two weeks I have been reminded that God's provisions don't always come when we want them, like we want them, but He always gives us what we need. I am shouting my praise that He is my provider! He always is and always will be.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The only upside of feeling this hurt, left by those who are supposed to be my friends, is that in my sadness I am reminded of God's love. He is faithful and His love never, ever fails! There is someone I can always count on and He holds me in His hand.
The first two days I felt myself going through withdrawl. I wasn't sure how to spend my time and by day two I longed to watch a movie. Since then I have read an entire book, finished a book, written letters, done laundry, got groceries for my mom, cooked dinner and washed dishes in a timely fashion, and won two games of Monopoly. It is amazing what you can get done when you aren't glued to the tube.
Though I can see the benefits of this week with out television, in the back of my mind I have made a list of movies I want to see and I'm counting down the days. However, I feel that once Sunday rolls around I will watch less tv and enjoy more quality time in a book or buying up Boardwalk, much to my sister's chagrin. :)
Friday, May 21, 2010
- Walk 30 min-5 times a week
- Jog 20 min- 3 times a week
- Jump rope 20 min-3times a week
- Eat one fruit and one vegetable ever day
- Read 5 Psalms every day
- Write in a prayer journal every day
- Be kind to a neighbor 3 times a week
- Read the gospel of Mark
- Tell someone verbally about Jesus
- Read "Hind's Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard
- Read "The Case for a Creator: Student Edition" by Lee Strobel
This is just a few of the things we must do to complete the challenge. At first, when my sister suggested we participate in this challenge I said "No way!" I knew that when it came to exercise I'm a wimp. I'm not afraid to admit it. But then she showed me we would get a cool t-shirt after completing the challenge. Well, I'm a sucker for t-shirts, so here I am beating my body into submission and wishing I had learned to persevere earlier.
Romans 5:3-4 says "we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character;and character, hope."
Right now exercise seems a lot like suffering so maybe after this 30 day challenge I will have finally produced some perseverance, character, and I hope that I will think hard before entering into a challenge in the future.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I don't recommend you watch Miley's latest video. Not only does the young singer offer her audience an immodest view of her body, but she engages in sexual poses with both female and male dancers. Her eyes are shaded with midnight black and blue eye shadow and her lyrics continually sing/scream, "I can't be saved." What a hopeless message to send her young audience who have followed her through the Hannah Montana years. What a sad message of the lost innocence of another pop singer. I pray that she doesn't take her fans with her.
It is amazing how a long walk and a long talk with your Heavenly Father, puts everything into perspective. I am reminded over and over again of His faithfulness through the valleys and His unfailing love.
After walking and talking with my Father in Heaven. My dad asked me why I hadn't told him I was taking a walk. He had wanted to look at the progress of some work he has been doing in the pasture. So I suggested we walk anyway.
Now, I had recognized my time with God, out there at the bottom of our pasture, as a great blessing, but here I was being blessed again. I was able to tell my earthly father about what was going on in my life. Once again I was reminded that not only am I blessed to have a faithful Heavenly Father, but my dad is also faithful. He is faithful to encourage me and his love for me, also, never fails.
No matter what I go through or what I've done I have two great fathers who will always be there for me and I am so thankful for them both!