Tuesday, December 27, 2011
After a long and hard semester, I had grown accustomed to running endlessly, working through the pain, and just trying to get through time as quickly as I could. Once break started though, God began to show me that eventually, my strength will fail. Eventually all that I have trusted in with fall through. All that I have depended on will be gone. Only HE is faithful to the end, only his strength will never fail.
I think that if I just work hard enough, I can make it through anything. "You're strong enough," I tell myself everyday. But what a lie have been preaching myself. It is only by God's faithful hand that I am able to accomplish anything- even down to the littlest detail, like breathing.
"For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him." (Colossians 1:16)
I've tried to be so tough, but by God's grace I am realizing that none of my efforts are worthwhile. I don't need to be tough- God's ever present strength is guiding me every step of the way.
Anyways, if you are reading this I would appreciate prayer and accountability. Pray that I would trust and depend on God's strength and ask me how I'm doing when you see me, if you don't mind. Watch the video and be inspired by God's pure and simple wonderfulness like I am :)
Saturday, October 8, 2011
The past two weeks of my life could be described as hectic, crazy, busy, stressful, scary, emotional, and all around insane. I feel like David facing Goliath- me, such a small insignificant person out to conquer a huge problem that seems impossible. I could bore you with all the details that made these past weeks so crazy, but instead I'll just tell you a few of the many things that have happened:
-3 tests and a speech all in one week
-increased hours at work (twice as much as I normally work)
-homework and studying till 2 or 3 am every night
-three dear friends of mine going to the ER all in one week
I feel like I've been running a marathon. Life and it's business just never seems to end. Being gone from home for 12 straight hours a day is beginning to take it's toll on me. I feel tired, I have no energy, I'm emotionally drained.
Now some may see this and think "Wow, she's at a really low point in life right now." And honestly, if it weren't for God, that statement would be absolutely 100% true. BUT, the wonderful thing is, it's not. In fact, it's the exact opposite.
Looking at my circumstances, the world tells me I "should" be feeling sorry for myself. I "deserve" some me-time. I "should" have a good cry and break down.
A few weeks ago, I realized just how much I let my circumstances rule my emotions. If I didn't get enough sleep, I was grumpy. If I had a test, I was stressed. If I had a hard day at work, I was depressed.
The Truth of the matter, though, is that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My stance before Him doesn't change either- he has already forgiven me, and loves me no matter what. That fact alone should rule my emotions! My joy is found in the hope of Christ. The hope that this life is temporal and that I have an eternity in paradise to look forward to. My joy is found from remembering all that God has done for me. Remembering that Jesus DIED for me so that I could live. So am I going to live a life of anger, grumpiness and stress? Absolutely NOT!
I have so many blessings that I am just completely overwhelmed with thankfulness for. I have the most incredible friends in the entire world. I have a church that preaches the Word of God every Sunday and gives me so many opportunities to minister. And best of all, I have salvation. I have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Can it possibly get any better than that? I submit that it cannot.
So all that to say, the "worst" two weeks of my life thus far are actually the best two weeks I have ever had. I've never been closer to God; He is growing me closer to Him, and even though it's painful, it's so beautiful at the same time. God is worthy of my all, and I give my all to Him.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
But then the thought struck me. Am I holy by my own merit? Surely not! Like I mentioned before, I am weighed down with just how unholy I am, how often I fail, and my daily, hourly struggles with sin. So the idea of ME having to be holy by myself is completely out of the picture. There is NO way that will ever happen.
So how can we be holy as Christians? There is no magic formula, no list of do's and don't's that we can follow to become holy as God is holy. We stand holy and righteous before God because, and ONLY because of Christ. My righteous deeds are like a filthy garment to God! (Isaiah 64:6) He doesn't want them or need them. His righteousness and holiness was imputed to us when we were born again through His saving work on the cross. Jesus is my propitiation, my sacrifice. Just like the Israelites had to offer sacrifices to pay for their sins, Jesus became MY sacrifice, and took care of ALL sins, past, present, future, big, and small.(1 John 4:10) God looks at me, and just sees Jesus' blood covering me. It is so comforting to know that I have absolutely NOTHING to do with my stance before God. It is all God's work, and I am so blessed to be called his daughter! What an amazing God I serve!
Monday, September 12, 2011
I was encouraged and challenged last night in youth service at my church in a big way. Recently, I've been struggling with the question, "What is is the balance between being content wherever God has me spiritually, and always seeking to grow, grow, grow to be more like Him." I feel like I need to be both content, but yet not content at the same time. But an encouraging thought I heard last night was, "just get to know your God." And I intend to do so.
SO. Today. Leviticus 19:1-2,
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
GOD IS SOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It really blows my mind how faithful God is to His children. He has shown and proved His faithfulness to me this past week in many ways.
The first big way that God showed His faithfulness was twofold, both having to do with the Ministry of Jr. Camp. No, I was not serving at Jr. Camp physically, but God gave me the opportunity to still be involved in that ministry here at home. It felt like He was telling me to be faithful to do the behind-the-scenes kind of ministry, aka being a faithful prayer warrior and a joyful encourager. Depending on my mood, I was excited, discontent, passionate and questioning about doing those things back at home. But through some godly counsel from a sweet girl facing the same situation and feeling the same emotions as me, I was able to see that those who are faithful in the seemingly little, persevering and 'not seen' ministry, are ones who are truly faithful to God. It's easier to serve God in 'big ways', like being a counselor or leading some big ministry. Don't get me wrong, those opportunities are still wonderful, but my point is that the 'little ways' are too. Anything that glorifies God is worth doing.
So what does this have to do with God's faithfulness, you may ask? Well, through God's strength and grace, I was able to be a consistent prayer warrior for the campers, counselors, and staff at Jr. Camp every day. God BLESSED me with many answers to prayer that I did not expect. I prayed for pretty general things for most of the people, that they would keep their focus on God and be a real servant etc. But more than once, during a conversation with one of my counselor friends about their week, they told me what God was teaching them, and it would be exactly what I had prayed for them specifically. Now that was not, COULD NOT have been my doing. This points to a sovereign God.
Similarly, God gave me and four other girls the opportunity to write letters to the counselors, and a second opportunity to write to the campers and staff as a youth group. Once again, many people who were at Jr. Camp came up to me and told me that God had used a letter I had written to them as an encouragement to them. This also points directly to my awesome God. In years past when I had written letters to those at Jr. Camp, no one said a word to me about them, which is totally fine. But this year, God BLESSED me. I didn't need or want to be thanked. But what a joy it is to know that my efforts to glorify God have not returned void!
Secondly, God has blessed me with amazing friends. A few weeks back, God taught me that I needed to be the kind of friend that I wanted to have. So I began to make a conscience effort to love on, appreciate, encourage, and sharpen my friends in the way that I would want to be treated. At first, it felt a little hopeless, like I was doing all this for others and not getting anything in return- and once again that's totally fine, I don't NEED that, its an extra want- but God still chose to bless me with wonderful, crazy amazing friends who have made all my efforts worth it. Sometimes I take for granted my friends, but God is really showing me that these people are precious blessings from Him that I don't deserve. God has proved faithful again!
And best of all, God has proven His faithfulness to me over a long span of time- 6 whole years of wanting something and not getting it. For those six years I was discontent with God's plan, up until this year, praise God. This year He gave me a contentment for where I was at and an acceptance of the stage of life I'm in now. I truly believe God blesses His faithful servants, because now, He has rewarded me with the very thing I longed for those many, many years. Right after I became content without it, of course. ;)
All in all, I see God's faithfulness the same way in both of theses situations. 1 Samuel 26:23 says, "The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness." God planted in me the desire to serve others this week. He then gave me the strength and ability to carry out that desire. And now He is rewarding His servant with amazing blessings of joy and contentment that are perfectly indescribable and overwhelming. Not to point to the faithfulness of the servant, but of the Master. We servants have just obeyed the Master- He is the one worthy of all praise. Praise Him for HE IS GOOD!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
1 Timothy 1:7
How many times have I questioned God, asking Him why I feel so dead spiritually, why I feel like I have no joy, no love, no kindness, no patience? I say, "God, I am doing everything right! And I still feel so far away from You!" In reality, I was doing what was right for the right reason. But I began to believe some lies. I began to have doubts. I doubted that I could live a life that pleases God. I started to think that I could never glorify God or be pleasing in His sight.
I also started to believe that the current state of life I was at, which could be characterized by words like 'comfortable,' 'apathetic,' or 'mediocre,' was acceptable, the new 'norm' for this stage of life. I basically gave up on the idea of living in a passionate pursuit of God, a life of reckless abandon.
Those thoughts are lies. And now, praise be to God, I know how to combat them. I have the very power of God living inside of me, and I just need to tap into it. I just need to get into the tractor and use it. I just need to stand up and start running up the hill as fast as I can towards Christ. Even if all my friends are dragging their feet up the hill, I have to run.
Obviously I can't run up that hill as fast as I can for the rest of my life on my own strength. Believe me, my strength will run out pretty fast. In fact, it already ran out. But the glorious truth is that I have GOD'S strength and power living in me at this very moment. All the power I could ever dream of and MORE is accessible to me 24/7.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Friday, June 3, 2011
While reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan, which if you haven't read I strongly encourage you to do so immediately, I came across these verses. Thy fit in so perfectly with what God is teaching me right now, I couldn't help but share them. My life is a vapor and I don't get to decide and make plans for myself. God is completely sovereign over every single area and detail of my life, and He chooses what I do everyday. His plan is perfect. If the Lord wills, I will live. What a thought to think that even my very next breath is sustained by my almighty God.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Thank you for being who You are.
Thank you for loving me, even though I fail you so many times.
Thank you for saving me from my wretched state.
Thank you for loving me enough to chasten me.
Thank you for being such a faithful God.
I fall on my face before you, in silent AWE.
You are so good to me.
I don't deserve You in any way.
God, help me to live for You.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
"How I perceive myself makes all the difference in how I receive and respond to personal criticism.
When a pastor is on the receiving end of criticism and correction, temptations are never far off. In my experience, the higher my estimation of myself, the closer those temptations are. Criticism contradicts my high view of myself—so I am tempted to respond sinfully.
How differently the Apostle Paul responded to criticism!
We read of Paul’s response in 2 Corinthians, a very personal epistle. In chapters 10–13 Paul responds to the criticism leveled against him. He could have defended himself with an account of his incredible personal experiences or with his years of service to the church. Yet he chose to respond to the personal criticism with words like these:
Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. (2 Corinthians 12:6)
This passage deserves a re-read. In case you didn’t get Paul’s point the first time (and I certainly didn’t), perhaps the following comment on the passage by Dr. Don Carson will help you comprehend its full weight:
What is remarkable is the way Paul’s stance differs from our own. Many Christians today, even Christian leaders, go through life fearful that people will think too little of them. They quickly become irritable if someone, especially a junior, is praised more than they. But Paul goes through life fearful that people will think too much of him.*
Paul was fearful that people will think too much of him!? That’s not a fear that I am familiar with. Too often my concern is that people think too little of me—that they don’t share my high estimation of myself.
Yet the question every pastor must eventually answer in his own heart is this: Am I concerned that others have too low an estimation of me, or that they will have too high an estimation of me? How I respond to personal correction often reveals which concern rules my heart.
The first concern can ultimately be traced back to the presence of pride in the heart.
The second concern can only be explained by the active grace of God in the heart."