Nov 29, 2009

Lord, teach us how to pray.

I just want to share something that God has put on my heart lately. Last weekend I was able to come to Chetek & visit my family & my home church. Pastor Schmidt has been teaching a series entitled "Steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding." It is based out of Ephesians 6 & it has been such a blessing! Well, last Sunday we were in verse 18 which says "Praying always in the Spirit, with all prayer & supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints."
 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
The Pastor of a church has so many responsibilities & burdens to deal with. Not only do they spend time putting together messages & studying the Word to better share it with others, but they also counsel the entire church body as well. Think about the stressful situations that your family faces each week, & then multiply it by however many families are in your church. More likely than not, your Pastor is spending time counseling with many of the families in your church, & he is spending a lot of time in prayer! So uplift him & his family in prayer! Pray for wisdom as he tries to counsel each individual. Pray for strength as he labors on behalf of the church family. Pray for peace & trust in God as he has so many burdens placed upon him. And pray that he would find time to spend alone with God & with his own family. Pray also that God would protect our church leaders from Satan's attacks. Satan would love nothing more than to see a godly man fall into sin.

  • 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.

There are so many others in our lives that need prayer, so I encourage you to just take the time to ask people how they are doing...& mean it!! Don't just let them tell you "I'm fine." We need to share each other's burdens, & what better way to do it than on our knees, in prayer! Thank you so much for stopping in, & please feel free to leave any prayer requests you might have.

Nov 23, 2009

A Wonderful Week!!

Well, this has been a great week! It was one of the most challenging weeks of college so far, but for every little trial I faced this past week, God provided an extra blessing. And since it is almost Thanksgiving, I'd like to share some of the highlights of the past week!

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 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


Did you know that there are actually people that have Abibliophobia? Which is the fear of running out of reading material. Aren't you glad you stopped in today? You got to learn a new word! Lol! I definitely do NOT have that fear. With college there is no possible way I will ever run out of things to read. Well, even with all of the studying & the multitude of tests that I've had lately, there has still been time for some fun! Which included 'kidnapping' on of my friends on her birthday & smuggling her off to a surprise party. We had to do it; she was planning on studying all night! It was a great party. Ashlee made some delicious chocolate cake & we all watched movies. It was a nice break for the normal college routine. Here are some pics =)

                               The 'Abduction.'

      Poor Jen still had no idea where we were taking her!

                         Yummy cake!!!!!

           The birthday girl & Hannah, so cute!!!

 Ashlee jammin' on the guitar. I assure you, it was lovely =)

                  Hannah, Emilee, & I. We had a blast!!


Nov 1, 2009

An Amazing Gift of Forgiveness

So I've been feeling quite restless lately. Not just physically restless, but spiritually as well. I don't know how else to describe it, it has just been a constant feeling as if I need to find out more about God & also that I need to be going for 5 mile runs so I have alone time to think about everything I'm learning! Lol!

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 =)