Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Old Rugged Cross

Today I had the need to praise God through some good, old fashioned gospel music. So I opened my itunes and found The Gaither Vocal Band. Those guys know how to praise God and you can't help but get in a toe-tapping mood when you listen to them.

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...

'Twas a life filled with aimless desperation

Without hope walked the shell of a man;

Then a hand with a nailprint stretched downward,

Just one touch then a new life began.


And the old rugged cross made the difference

In a life bound for heartache and defeat;

I will praise Him forever and ever

For the cross made the difference for me.

If we could only live out our lives with the Cross on our minds and this chorus as praise on our lips, how much different would our life here on earth be like?

follow this link to watch a video of this song...excuse the static because the whole video is worth it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The idea of getting my best friend to be my roommate has always been one of my dreams. I could picture us staying up late sharing stories, giving ourself pedicures while watching sappy movies, and just being there for each other through the craziness of life.

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 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

My plans vs God's plans

I've been reading Mary Beth Chapman's book "Choosing to See" this weekend. Not only is the book about the Chapman family and the tragic death of their five-year-old daughter, Maria Sue, but there is a main theme that runs throughout the book. This theme is the struggle that Mary Beth has had in recognizing that God's plans do not always line up with her own.

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.

Father, thank you that you have a plan
for me. Remind me that your plan is
better than the plans I have for myself.
Help me to daily surrender to your will and
praise you even when your plans turn
out differently then my own.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Even youths grow tired...

As I look back on my last post I feel too weary to live life abundantly. Looking towards the three day weekend that lies ahead of me I feel like I need to rest up for the break. It is amazing how a week and a half of classes and new experiences can make one weary. A weariness not only in body, but also in mind and spirit.

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.

"Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40: 30-32
Lord, renew my strenth as I put my hope in you.
Give me rest, not only for my body, but for my mind and my soul
as I look forward to another week.