Dec 31, 2009
I gotta hand it to you Satan: Once again you & your worldly influences had an immediate answer for me. A boyfriend! You've seen the movies; everyone that has a boyfriend is perfectly happy. A prince charming will fix all of your troubles! I believed it, & I succeeded in finding myself a guy. A great guy who would take care of me, value my feelings, & fix my life? No. He called me beautiful, he went through some of the motions that are expected of a boyfriend. He said the right things, but he took so much. Satan, this lie hurt me deeply. I thought he cared, & I began to trust this man that I thought would make things better. But he failed because he only cared about his own desires. We were both selfish & we both got hurt. If I had made the choice that you offered me, I could have destroyed my life in that relationship, but it didn't happen! Satan, your grand scheme that you had been weaving for years was about to collapse. You know the rest of the story; you hate this part of the story. It was exactly this time last year when a real prince charming came into my life. He showed me the saving power of my salvation. My salvation that I had neglected for so long while I was chasing after your worthless lies. This Prince revealed to me the distinction between His Father's pure, beautiful promises, & the filthiness of your destructive lies. His name is Jesus Christ. Yeah, go ahead Satan, hide yourself in fear; the True Ruler of this earth came down from heaven to save me from the pit that you kicked me into.
I longed for peace & happiness; Christ satisfied me.
He showed me in His word that I have been created in the image of God. I am His masterpiece & I was made for a specific purpose.
I craved love & acceptance; God demonstrated His incredible love for me & how much He desires a relationship with me-- a silly human!
In Isaiah 43 He quiets my fears & comforts my soul as He describes His unending devotion for me. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name, you are Mine. You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you!"
The God of the universe loves me! I don't deserve it. I have already failed so much. I can never earn it, but guess what Satan? You can never take it away from me. Never! Because God has made a single promise that is infinitely more powerful than all of you lies combined. I am His, & He is mine.
Romans 8:38-39 says it perfectly, so listen closely. "I am convinced than neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
That includes you Satan. So stop trying to make me feel guilty for all of the mistakes I've already made in my life. Yes, I am a sinner, & I will always be one. But Christ, in His unimaginable mercy, chose to become sin for me & to take my punishment. He declared that it was finished on the cross. And unlike you, He doesn't lie! Just like in Zechariah 3, you stand on the sidelines & accuse me; you try to paralyze me with shame. But the angel of the Lord has graciously taken my embarrassing, filthy garments & replaced them with pure & righteous robes. I am no longer a slave to my fleshly desires because Christ overcame my sin when He rose from the grave. He's beaten you Satan-- you've lost!
Christ's mercies are new every morning. His faithfulness reaches to the skies. I have victory & strength in Him, so you can't control my life anymore. I love my true Prince Charming & He has promised to always be with me. So you can take your money, it means nothing to me. You can have your superficial beauty, my Savior's scars are more beautiful than anything imaginable. You can keep all of your prince charmings, I have my own. His name is Pure and Holy. Emmanuel; God with us. He suffered & died for me while I still hated Him, yet He loved me enough to save me from my sins; to save me from myself. He loved me enough to save me from you! Jesus has stolen my heart, my life is His & His alone. I was meant to live for so much more than the empty pleasures you have offered me. So that is why I write you this letter; my faith is in God. I don't want your lies anymore. Goodbye forever.
Dec 24, 2009
Dec 20, 2009
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit." ~1 Peter 3:18
Nov 29, 2009
As soon as Pastor Schmidt read that verse I felt conviction. God has been dealing with me on this subject for several months. I do not spend nearly enough time in prayer every day. Prayer is much harder for me then spending time in God's word. When I am reading the Bible, I feel a sense of (for lack of a better word) accomplishment when I have finished. But in prayer, I share my burdens & requests with the Lord & then I have to wait. I hate waiting. I want things to be fixed immediately. I like to have a part in helping with a problem, I don't like leaving things up to others. So to ask God to take care of something & then wait on the Lord's timing is very difficult for me. Isn't it crazy that I, as a financially broke, worn out college student, would try to fix a problem before I take it to almighty God & ask for His help? Yeah, it is very crazy! Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think. And John 11:22 says "But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” So, I want to challenge you to join me as I purpose to spend more time in prayer every day & to trust God more!
And can I challenge you with one more thing? Pray for others! I know that we all have so many issues in our own lives. Stressful situations, & other things that we worry about. But everyone around you has just as many things going on. I don't think any of us realize the difficult situations that go on in the lives of others.
God has really been burdening me about this recently & I think that every one of us can spend more time in prayer for these people especially:
- Our church leaders
- Our Missionaries
I don't think that any of us stateside believers can even imagine the kind of trials that missionaries face every day. Not only do they devote their lives to reaching others with the gospel, but they are often thousands of miles away from their family & friends. I know how much I miss my family & my home church when I am at college, but missionaries spend years away from their loved ones. They face challenges day after day on the field, whether it is government opposition to their ministry, or a strained budget. Medical care is usually not up to par & groceries are expensive. Add that to all of your 'normal' challenges that are part of the ministry. They counsel many new believers & they are in charge of all of the church activities & services. Missionaries need our prayers! Pray that they would have strength to accomplish everyday tasks. Pray for their safety as many of them minister in dangerous areas of the world. Pray for encouragement as they spend years away from their family & friends. Pray for provision, especially as the American economy is struggling, many missionaries are losing financial support. Pray for grace as they face many trials. Pray for compassion as they witness to others. Pray for wisdom as they counsel with many new believers & struggling Christians.
Nov 23, 2009
Starting with A Christmas Carol! I went to the performance of the Christmas play last Saturday & it was amazing! This was definitely the funniest version of a Christmas Carol that I have ever seen. The guy who played Scrooge was hilarious! I got to go with several good friends, so we had a blast.
I got this wonderful care package from my youth group on Monday...at least I think it was Monday. I don't actually remember. All of the days kind of run together after awhile...ANYWAYS! Lets just say for argument's sake that it was Monday. It doesn't really matter. But I do remember that I was having a pretty tough morning & it was such an unexpected blessing to receive such a thoughtful gift in the mail =) Thank you all!!!
Wednesday & Thursday were amazing since we had a guest speaker named Ken Ham on campus. I don't know how many of you have heard of him, but I would highly encourage you to familiarize yourself with his material. He is the founder of the Creation Museum & let me tell you, the man is brilliant! He is one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the privilege to listen to. We had three, two-hour sessions with him while he was on campus. We also had a lot of visitors, which was a blessing. Ken Ham was a bit surprised about Northland's location though. We are pretty much in the middle of nowhere, & he said that during the long drive he began to fear that some atheists had captured him & were going to do away with him once & for all. Lol! He was a huge blessing =) You can see what he had to say about his experience here.
Then on Friday I was able to drive home for the weekend. My oldest sister Amber came to Chetek for a few days &the ladies of our home church were anxious to see her new baby, so they threw a baby shower for her. It was a lot of fun & great to catch up with everyone.
Baby Bree is getting so big! Last time I saw her she was only two days old. She has changed a lot in two months! She is very content though. I think that Aubrianna was passed around to about 14 different people on Saturday afternoon & she didn't cry at all.
When she does happen to start crying, all we have to do is show her some Christmas lights. It is the cutest thing; she LOVES twinkle lights. She will be crying her little eyes out, but as soon as she sees twinkle lights she quiets right down & just stares at them in awe. It is adorable!!
My brother-in-law, Ryan, was also able to come up & do some hunting over the weekend. He got an doe & an eight-point buck! Yay!!! I was so happy! (for him...and my car!) Lol. If any of you are wondering about my animosity towards deer, this is why I am so bitter. Haha! That is my sister, Amber, looking quite grossed out on the right side of the yucky deer. Lol!
Anyways, it has been a great week. I can't wait to go home on Wednesday & spend some more time with my wonderful family. I hope that you all have an amazing Thanksgiving with you family & friends!! Take some time to thank God for all of the blessings that He gives each day. There are so many things that we take for granted. Have a great week =)
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" ~Psalm 107:1
Nov 17, 2009
Nov 1, 2009
But honestly, I've had a lot to sort out since last time I posted. For those of you that don't know me terribly well; I'm the kind of person that always needs to know 'why' I am doing something. I really had a challenge to my faith last weekend & not in the form that you would normally suspect. The challenge came while I was reading a book about a legendary missionary named Adoniram Judson. I'm sure many of you have heard about him. For those of you that haven't, I'll give you a brief description of this amazing guy:
He was born & raised in the home of a Pastor but he did not come to know Christ as his Savior until he was around twenty years old. When he did get saved he was absolutely on fire for God. He determined to go where no white-believer had ever gone before & he & his wife went to Burma, Asia. To make an incredible (but long) story short; he had a very rough time on the field. He went six years before he saw a single convert, he spent 20 months in a torture prison, three of his wives & several of his children died on the mission field, & he endured severe problems with his health for his entire life.
This is when I started questioning; Why would God let this happen to a man who was so clearly dedicated to furthering the Gospel? Yes, in spite of all of these trials he eventually saw thousands of Burmese people come to know the Lord & he translated the entire Bible into a language that had previously not even had a genuine book in print. But couldn't he have done even more for the cause of Christ if he had not been afflicted with so much suffering? Why would God allow such harm to come to a man that loved Him so dearly? Why do I love & serve a God that would let this happen?
Wow. I didn't even know where that thought came from. I'm at a Bible college, determined to serve God with my life & here I am questioning why I even love him? This is insane to me. As 1 Corinthians 10:12 says "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." Despite the questions that were running through my head, I know that the Word of God is true, & I have experienced the love of God so clearly in my life that I know NOTHING can come between me & the love of my Heavenly Father. But the questions were still there. Why? So I prayed about it, & as He has promised to do, God gave me peace & assurance.
God loves every person on this planet so much that He will do anything it takes to bring as many people as possible out from the bondage of their sin & into His love & salvation. No, we will never know the exact reason behind everything God does in this lifetime. We have to trust His sovereignty. He knows the thoughts, struggles, & every detail of every person intimately. Therefore, He knows exactly what situation each person needs in their life to bring them closer to Himself. I know there have been trials in my own life that other people could look at & question God as to why He would allow that thing to come into my life. But after experiencing those trials I know that without them, I would not depend on Christ, or have a close walk with Him. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 illustrates this perfectly:
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
What need would we have for God if our lives were perfect? What compassion would we have? What consequence would there be for sin if nothing bad ever happened? Truth is, I serve a Holy & Sovereign God who would rather see people suffer for a short time on this earth, realize their need for Him, & accept the gift of His salvation, than see them spend an eternity in hell; separated from everything that is good & comforting.
Not only that, but God knew exactly what He was doing when He put these trials into my own life. I have had an open door to talk with many girls who would have otherwise completely shut me out. Why? Because I had experienced similar hurts & I could now identify with them. They could also see that God had done a work in my life & given me victory despite my circumstances. This is the power of God & (for lack of a better word) the amazing-ness of His will!It was once said "God never wastes our tears." He knows what He is doing. Everything He does is for His glory & for the good of others.
So how does all of this tie in with my title of Forgiveness? Quite simply: because I am a sinner & I can't believe how complete God's love for me is. Isaiah 53:5 says "But He was wounded for our transgressions;He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,and by His stripes we are healed."
God is all-knowing. He knew every sin I would ever commit. He knew all of the times I would choose to go against His Word. He knew every time I would bring His name down by making selfish choices for my own pleasure. He knew every time I would ever think an unrighteous thought. Every time I would look down on other people. Every single time I would choose to sin because I didn't trust that God's plan for my life was good enough. He even knew that I would doubt Him last weekend, even after the countless times He has demonstrated His perfect love for me in amazing ways. All of that & He CHOSE to die for me. This is when I should really be asking "WHY?!"
Why would Christ choose to experience a horrible death on the cross to redeem people that hated Him? Micah 7:18 says
"Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love."
I honestly cannot answer why God loves us silly humans so much. In our selfishness & foolishness, He still delights in showing us a steadfast love that cannot possibly be explained. It is nothing we have done or could ever do to earn it; it is who He is. God IS love. God=Love. There is no way to explain it. So all we can do is rejoice in it & try to show that love to others. What a great gift, huh? Hopefully this is something we can all think about a little more this week & do a little happy dance about (just do it sometime when you're all alone, lest anyone point out your lack of dancing skills =)
Oct 25, 2009
After church, we headed out to lunch. It was me, Rachel,(a girl I grew up with from my home church)Melissa, & Mandie, (who are both friends from school) in one vehicle. Then we met the Kimbrough boys at Taco Bell. Luke & Ethan both go to school at Northland as well, & their younger brother Jared is still in high school, but he's still pretty cool. They're all really funny, so we had a great time. They also have an older son named Caleb, but he is in Australia doing the study abroad program.
All in all a very fun day! But now I need to go practice & finish my music theory home work. I spent almost all day yesterday staring at this computer screen because I had to write a 10 page paper :p Not fun!! But that is almost finished, so I'm just leaving the rest for tomorrow =)I hope you all had a great Sunday!! And have a wonderful week =)
Oct 21, 2009
Ashlee & I on Roman Day
Fighting over the bread they threw into the stands. Lol!
Our Chancellor (Doc O) judged the 'best toga' contest.
Yeah togas! Haha!
Some of my other gorgeous friends.
Classic films day. On the left-hand side is Hannah as Princess Lea in Star Wars. Next is Jacqueline from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Then Emilee & Ashlee weren't quite sure what movie they fit into. They still looked cute though! Lol!
Here we have our nuns. Haha!!
Little kid day!! Krystle said she used to be a tomboy. I was always just plain goofy.
Hahaha!I love Rachel's face here. She's on the far right. They all look so great!!
Jacqueline & I.
Emilee, myself, & Ashlee at the Northland v.s. Maranatha soccer game. It was so much fun!! But VERY cold. =)
It was such a fun week! I wish I had time to put up some more pics. There are a few more over on facebook if you feel like checking those out =) Thanks for stopping in. Have a wonderful day!!
Oct 14, 2009
Haha! So that title really doesn't have much to do with the post, but its fun to chant, so that is my reasoning. Anyways!
It has been a busy couple of weeks! I am taking 17 credits, plus voice lessons & piano practice (which equals 13 hours of required practice each week). So I basically have no life. Lol! Just kidding. There is always time for fun here at Northland. Actually this whole week has been a blast. Its SPIRIT WEEK!! Woo-hoo! So we have different themes for each day: Monday was Classic Rome (thus the togas =). Tuesday was classic movie characters. Today is Kid Day! (Yay for not matching & wearing pigtails!). Tomorrow is Classic Northland day. Our instructions for today was to wear whatever we wore as kiddos, such as scrunchies, animal backpacks, & whatever else we used to think was 'all that & a bag of chips.' It was a ton of fun! Although yesterday had the best costumes. We had one guy walking around in a legit Darth Vader costume (complete with the theme music playing from speakers on his shoulder pads!) Lol. Sadly, I forgot my camera, so no pictures =(
Tomorrow, we are either supposed to wear old-school Northland tees, or we can dress up as our favorite professor. So there should be some interesting looking students wandering around campus tomorrow.
Friday is our day of rest. No classes! Yay! I love the majority of my classes, but sometimes you just need a 'catch-up' day. I will be heading home on Thursday night, so I'm super excited to see all of my family & friends.
Well, I better run down to the practice halls now. I'll put pics up from Spirit Week in my next post =) Thanks for stopping by! <3 you all!
Oct 1, 2009
Ok, so it is a little bit more complicated than that, but I'm not going to go into detail. God is definitely challenging me in some specific areas of my life. Extremely specific areas, & I didn't really recognize the significance of the way He is challenging me, until I started thinking about it.
Psalm 37:4 says: Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
My desire is for God to change me to be more like Him. I compare myself to others. There are areas of pride, doubt, fear. I see myself as 'junk' sometimes. I'm sure you all have been there. But God is 'chiseling' away all of these un-Christlike characteristics. Let me tell you though, it has been downrite painful at times. There have been days where I just want to throw in the towel & stop trying to 'Grow in Grace.' That is my pride & my flesh, fighting against the Holy Spirit. But I am excited to see what God is making me into, & what He is preparing me for. The Lord disciplines those that He loves. I found this video & I thought it was such a great example of our inner-struggle against God's discipline.
Love you all!!
Sep 19, 2009
Sep 14, 2009
The other guy was from Zambia. Well, technically he's from Zambia & Minnesota. Figure that one out, haha! But anyways, his dad was in politics of some sort, so they would move around to the different countries whenever there was like an uprising or anything like that.
He obviously grew up in a Muslim society, & he went to a Muslim school. He speaks Arabic & English, but the other boys at his school didn't know that he spoke Arabic. So there were talking about how Christianity was 'foolish' & Jesus was an impostor. So Mana (the guy whose testimony I'm trying to retell, & not doing very well. Lol) Mana told them in Arabic that Jesus was the only way to get to heaven. So the other guys told the teacher, & the headmaster of the school came in & told him that he needed to put on the 'holy dress' & read the qu'ran. He refused repeatedly, so they called the police. The police came to his home (they were in Pakistan at the time) & they began to beat his mother. This was when he told us that when all of this took place, he was only 9 years old. They beat his mother, & threatened the rest of his family. Then his father came home & asked what was going on. They shot & killed his father that day, & for the next two years they could not go to church. They would hold prayer meetings in their home. Through all of this, Mana was just praising God for how good He is. His faithfulness, His grace, & mercy! What a challenge, huh?
We as Americans take our religious freedom for granted so much! It's so amazing to see Christ shining through guys like Mana, & challenging us all to be bold in our faith. On Sunday, the Pastor was talking about how when the church in Acts was persecuted, they never prayed for the hardship to cease. Instead, they prayed for boldness to share their faith, no matter what! I know this is really convicting to me.
I wish you all could have heard him tell his testimony, I know I really can't convey the story nearly as well as he did, but I hope that if nothing else, if makes us all think about the things we take for granted, & that we remember the faithful & steadfast love of God, not matter what our situation.
Sep 12, 2009
Sep 6, 2009
Well, Wednesday when I got here, I just unpacked & tried to get settled in. Since I'm the last kid at home, I'm now used to having my own room, & its about as big as the dorm I now share with 3 other people, so thats been an adjustment. But my roommates are all really great, so that makes it easier =)
Thursday, I actually don't really remember all of what we did, I know that's bad since it was only like 2 days ago, but whatever. Lol. I do remember that Thursday night I had piano auditions, & that went really well! It is probably the first time I've played in front of people without having my hands start shaking. Haha! So praise the Lord for that =)
Friday, bright & early, I had Aural Skills testing. Which, let me tell you, is great fun! *note sarcasm* Ok, ok, it's not that bad, but it is very difficult for me. We had to listen to the Professor play different intervals, or patterns on the piano, & then we had to write down whether it was a major 5th, or perfect 4th, or G7, or whatever the case may be. So not my forte! Lol. Next, we had music theory....nuff' said. Haha! I really haven't been taught theory at all, except for this spring, I had to cram because I was involved in about 4 competitions that required some theory. But, I am not on the college level. So please be praying for me with that. =)
Saturday was pretty full of freshmen orientation meetings, but in the evening, the student body put on some really fun activities. We all got together in the gym & they had like goofy videos, & some games. It was a blast. Afterwards, we went down to the lake & sang worship songs & gave some testimonies. Afterwards, there was a fireworks display to usher in the fall semster. It was really cool =)
Today I went to Grace Baptist Church, & I really liked it. It reminds me of my home church, so thats nice. Then A group of us went on a walk around one of the lakes on campus, & that was SO much fun. A good way to get to know some new friends. There are some awesome people here, & I'm excited to meet everyone.
Classes start tomorrow, & I'm still having a few issues with my schedule, so please be praying for me about that. Thanks everyone, & please let me know if there is anything I can be praying for you about. =) Have a lovely week.
Sep 2, 2009
So when I got back, I just had to finish packing, it now seems like I have packed everything I have ever owned into those handy-dandy rubbermaid totes. I never really realized how much stuff I had until I had to figure out what I actually NEEDED to bring to college. Lol.
God has definitely provided abundantly for me!
Thank you all for your prayers & encouragement to me, you guys are the best =) Please be praying for me as I adjust to sharing a room with not just one, but 3 other people. Lol. I'm sure I'll be with some great girls, but other than camp, I've only ever shared a room with my sisters, so it will be an adjustment. Also be praying that I will be diligent in cutting out time to spend with the Lord each day. I know I will have a busy schedule, but devotions are SO important. Last but not least, I will be auditioning to get into the music program at Northland, so PLEASE pray that I don't get too nervous! When I get really nervous, my hands start shaking, & its just a mess. =p Haha!
Anyways, thanks again everybody! I hope you all have a fantastic week =D
Aug 23, 2009
Just want to give an update on my life right now.
I've been doing a lot of stuff to get ready for college, & just trying to enjoy the rest if the summer. I can't believe it's already almost over! It went by way too fast. Maybe it's because I live in Wisconsin, so winter lasts about 6+ months, & I love HOT weather, so when it is finally here it doesn't last long enough for me. Lol...Anyways! I'll move away from that bunny trail.
I had a HUGE unexpected blessing this week:
I really wasn't planning on having a laptop as I go off to school this fall, I just didn't have money for it. So I had been praying that God would just provide me with a couple of jump drives, so I could easily use Northland's computer lab. But as usual, God went above & beyond! Wednesday night, my sister had me over to watch a movie & she gave me a graduation card. When I opened it, my jaw dropped. She & my brother-in-law gave me enough money to buy a laptop! So amazing!! When will I ever stop underestimating God?
So anyways, I love my new laptop! And now I have Skype as well, so feel free to find me there if you ever want to chat =)
Let's see, what else have I been up to? Oh! Lot's of goodbyes =( I hate those! A lot of my best friends have already left for school. One in Georgia, another in Illinois, & yet another in Indiana. So I will miss them all dearly. Another very difficult goodbye was on Friday, it was my last piano lesson. I have been taking lessons with my current teacher for 2 of the 4 years I have been playing & she has become a very good friend to me. She has taught me a lot & gone above & beyond to try to help me as much as she can. So we were both crying!! But she invited me back to play for her student recitals, & also she & her husband have a 50's style big band that I have played with before, & she has invited me to play with them again as well. So at least I will get to see her soon!
This is also my last week working at the community center pool. I love working there as a lifeguard, everyone there has become like family to me! Although I won't miss getting up at 4:30am & teaching water aerobics so early in the morning. Lol!
Anyways! Just a lot of busyness! But I am very excited to see what the Lord has for me this fall. =) Thanks again for stopping in. Have a fabulous week!
Aug 13, 2009
But how many of us really believe that? I have been so burdened lately because of a number of girls that have recently asked me why they don't feel like God cares about them. Or why they feel such a need to have a boyfriend, or they are desperate for attention from a guy because they just don't feel like God is enough.
I have been there. Not that long ago actually. Last year, I went through this exact same thing, I really doubted that God cared all that much about me. Well, I knew He loved me, & He had loved me enough to pay the penalty for my sins. But it almost seemed to me like thats where His love for me had emptied out, on the cross. Now I was left to get through the rest of life by myself.
At the same time, I really did believe in what the Bible said, I just wasn't 'drawing near' to God. As in seeking after Him, & getting into His word to find out more about His true character. As with any relationship, how can you love or trust someone if you have never really gotten to know them? God has promised us so much more than a 'surface' relationship with Him, but we often don't look to Him to fill His promises, we look other places instead.
Think about it, so many girls need attention from guys, or need to be in a relationship to get a sense of security. What do they do when they begin dating a guy?
That's just it, they go on dates! Lol. No trick questions here. ;)
They want to get to know the guy, see what kind of person he is & all of that mushy stuff.
Now stick with me, but it's kind of the same principle with your daily devotions. I think alot of times we think of devotions as a time where we read our required chapter a day or whatever, then we list off our requests to God. But how would it be if we did that in our relationships, even with friends & family? Can you imagine just walking up to the person, you've read their facebook info or whatever, so you figure you know enough about them, no need to really ask them questions about themselves, or try to find out what they're really like. Great! Now you can move on to asking them to take care of some things for you.
Probably wouldn't get a great response from that, huh? Of course not! Sometimes we have to work to develop good relationships.
So I want to encourage you, seek out God! He has promised to draw near to you! And guess what? God never leaves us either! I have found that whenever there are times I don't feel as close to God, it is never because He has changed, or that He gone somewhere else, it is ALWAYS because I have taken my focus off of Him. So turn around, God is waiting for you right back where you left Him.
There are SO MANY verses that have to do with God's love for us, I just want to share a few that I have found especially encouraging. I really want to challenge those of you ladies who may think that you will not feel whole or loved unless you have a boyfriend to really, honestly meditate on some of these verses & just ask God to help you to rest in His love. He loves you more than any guy ever could!
Psalm 36:5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from far away. "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.
1 John 4:16 So we have come to know & to believe the love God has for us. God is love, & whoever abides in love abides in God, & God abides in him.
Did you catch that? God is love! And He abides in us if we have asked Christ to be our Savior! He will never leave you or forsake you. He has promised that in His word, & it says in Hebrews 6:13-20 that it is impossible for God to lie. He can't do it! Which means He is faithful & He will fulfill His promises to us. Ok, so heres the last passage I'm going to share with you all for today. It is one of my favorites because it reminds me that I am never alone, no matter what I go through in this life. Christ is with me, & He will protect me.
But now, thus says the Lord,
He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel; "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; & through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, & the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush & Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in My eyes, & honored, and I LOVE YOU! I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you."
WOW! I can't help but have peace after I read that. God, who created everything on this earth, cared so much about me, that He chose me, He called me by name to make me His own. He is more powerful than anything our minds can fathom, yet He promises that He will be with us through every little trial, every little heartache. He even tells us that He would give all of Egypt, Cush, & Seba (some extremely wealthy countries at the time) in exchange for us. But He ended up giving something infinately more precious, His only Son, to pay the ransom for our sins. God tells us that we are precious in His eyes, & that He loves us!!
I don't know about you, but I don't believe that there is a guy, or any person for that matter, on this earth that can match that kind of love. And they shouldn't have to try, because God is enough! No, it is not a bad thing to want a relationship & eventually marriage someday,that is great. But it is so important to get in your Bible & find out who God really is, & have a personal realtionship with your Savior before you go searching for a guy to try to fill the emptiness you feel. No guy can fill it, & it is unfair to put that kind of pressure on anyone. You are so valuable in Christ's eyes & He loves you & wants to help you. Draw near to God, He WILL draw near to you!
Jul 31, 2009
Lol! Here's a great reminder of what we should be doing whenever we feel that way. This was during testimony time over the weekend at Northland Leadership Camp. Brother Will Galkin just wanted all of us to be aware of our attitudes in the upcoming week, it was very cool =)
Btw, listen for the echo ; )
Jul 25, 2009
Jul 19, 2009
How could I go through writing down that God is: My chosen portion, ever present, my rock, my strength, my salvation, steadfast, mighty, faithful, merciful, my refuge, & countless other titles & not find encouragement?!
I would highly recommend going through Psalms whenever you are discouraged. Sometimes I think we forget how amazing God is, & the Psalms are a great reminder =)
Besides what God did in my life that first week, He was also doing great things throughout the rest of the camp. There were about 40 people in Leadership Camp, & there were new testimonies & blessings from everyone, everyday! It was such a blessing! Also, we were there during Teen Week III, & 26 people got saved that week!!! So cool!
Our youth group was there during that week & one of the girls I have been praying for was able to go.
She has had a hard time with her family & everything recently, so I was so happy to find out that she would be going. She gave her testimony on Friday night, & she said that God had worked in her heart, & she was able to let go of a lot of bitterness that she had been holding on to. How great is that? God is so good!
That weekend, the LC group went hiking at Pier's Gorge, which was a blast! It was SO beautiful out there! And it was also great to be able to hang out with everyone, & get to know each other better. I made some amazing friends, that I already miss terribly.
The girl on the left is Kara. She is such a sweetheart! She will also be going to Northland this fall & she's going to be majoring in piano =)And that's Blaire to the right. I had so much fun with her! She is from Canada & probably one of the coolest people I've ever met. I'm going to have to take a road trip to Canada to see her sometime. Lol!
Jul 3, 2009
Just want to say a quick thank-you to all of our soldiers who are serving, or have served & sacrificed so much to keep our nation free. And also for my brother, who is in Bahgdad right now, I love you & miss you Jeremiah!!!
Well this past week I have been getting ready to go to Leadership Camp up at Northland. It is a 2 week camp, & I'm looking forward to seeing how God is going to work in my life while I'm there!
The first week there will be alot of sessions & sermons, that sort of thing. Northland always has great speakers, so I'm excited to have such a great opportunity to learn & grow.
Then the second week we will be kind of 'assistant counselors'. Some of us will be in Pioneer Village, which is for the elementry age kids, & then some of us will be helping with the teenagers.
To prepare for Leadership Camp, all of us that are going were sent projects that we needed to complete before we go, & those have been such a blessing! We needed to memorize the Romans Road, & James 4:1-11 (great passage!) & we also needed to listen to a series of sermons on walking in the spirit. It was really fantastic & I learned ALOT.
So I'm very excited to go! I just wish it wasn't the same time as my sister's ultrasound =(
Amber is 6 months pregnant & she is having her 3D ultrasound during the first week that I will be at camp, so I'll be missing that. But she says I can watch the dvd, so that makes me feel better! Haha!
Well, I'll try to post over the weekend if I get a chance, & I will definitely put up pictures as soon as a can. Have a great holiday weekend everybody!!
Jun 27, 2009
I just have to share a quick blessing. I have been stressing out alot about how I'm going to pay for college. Like-- ALOT! I will be paying for it on my own, so that has been a very scary thought for me. I was losing sleep over it, & freaking out whenever I thought about how much money I'm going to have to come up with, but God has given me such a peace in the past couple of days!
First of all, He has already provided the first payment in an awesome way! So that was a great encouragement.
But I was still a bit worried about how I would be able to earn the rest of the money that I will need this semester. But as He always does, God has given me assurance in a way that only He can. A peace that passes all understanding.
He has used many different things over the past few days to remind me that He is, & always will be in control, & that if He wants me to be at Northland, He will provide-in His time! But if He chooses not to, then He must have something better in store for me.
He has also reminded me that no matter how huge a monetary debt might be, He has already paid for my biggest debt with something infinately more precious than money. He sent His only son to die on the cross, to pay for the debt of my sins. How can I know that & still doubt that he can provide me with a little bit of money for college? Isn't God good? =)
Jun 25, 2009
I helped with child-care, which was so much fun! I was playing with two little girls; Kate, who is 6, & her little sister Ella, who is 3. I have to share a bit of our conversation, it was quite imaginative &...random. Haha! So here's the scene: Ella & Kate were eating their lunch that they had brought in a cute little lunch bag, we were sitting in the gym of our church & just chatting, when Kate started playing make believe:
Kate: Isn't our lunch bag pretty?
Me: Yes. It is a very cute lunch bag! Did you pick it out?
Kate: We won't throw that away.
Ella: No we won't we can use it again, & again, &...
Kate: What if it gets stolen?
Me: I don't think anyone will steal it in church
Kate: But...a cow might
Ella: Yeah! There are some cows that...
Kate: A cow might come in here & say "I want that pretty lunch bag so I can carry my lunch too!" It might... he might say that.
Me: Well, maybe you can hide the lunch bag under the table, then he won't be able to see it.
Ella: Yes, that is what we should do.
(Kate promptly put the bag under the table, she & Ella both seemed satisfied & continued eating. But then Kate thought of something else)
Kate: What if it is a baby cow? Then it can see under the table!! It might still steal our lunch bag!
Ella: Yeah, the cow, the baby cow it wants EVERYTHING in the church!
Kate: It is going to come in here & take everything. But we may get it back after he takes a nap.
Ella: Do you know? The cow is going to come in here & take everything in the church, even the bathroom doors!
Kate: That is a naughty cow...
Hahaha! It continued on like this for quite a while. Probably the most entertaining conversation I've had lately. Lol! They are such adorable little girls & it was a very fun day =)
Jun 23, 2009
It's a great way for me to just relax & think.
Lately I've been facing some very hard situations, but God is faithful, & it seems like every day He gives me encouragement in some way or another.
Sometimes it's through a verse I've read in my devotions, or a friend will send me a text & just to let me know they are praying for me. Little things that make a big difference.
But as big as a problem might seem sometimes, laying outside at night & staring at the stars is an awesome way to realize how small I am in the big picture, and how absolutely God is. I always find it so incredible that God chose me, & that he has a plan for me, even in this HUGE universe!
So now each time I go outside to stargaze, a song by Chris Tomlin comes to mind. It's Indescribable, & it talks about how God has created everything, He knows the stars by name, and yet he still cares for you & me. Not only does He care, but He loves us more than we can possibly imagine! If that's not encourage, I don't know what is! Lol.
Anyways, it is a great song. Here are the lyrics;
From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God
Jun 15, 2009
So getting prepared for the grad party has been pretty good so far, just have to finish up some cleaning around the house, & I also just put together a slideshow. So hopefully that will turn out ok. Then Sunday night I had my senior pics taken (better late than never, right? Lol!) A friend of the family took them for us. She used to work as a freelance photographer at a magazine in Denver, so she was alot of fun to work with (even though I really, really do NOT like cameras, haha!). Another huge blessing; She took the pics for free, as a grad gift to me. So sweet!
Then at work, one of my friends just got a job as a lifeguard, so he has been working the same shift as me so I can help train him in, which has been alot of fun. Work isn't quite so boring. He worked Saturday with me, & also tonight. We pretty much just joked around & talked about random things...good times =)
There is also a swim team that comes in on Mondays & Wednesdays that we got to help with. I don't know what it is, but lately I absolutely LOVE working with, or teaching little kids. So much, that I am thinking about minoring in Childrens Ministries when I go off to college. Please be in prayer that God would give me many opportunities to take part in different ministries over the course of the next few years, so I can be better prepared for whatever God has for me in my future.
Alright, that is all I have for tonight. Thanks for stopping in! =)