Sunday, November 22, 2009
Do you ever read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8? This passage always brings me comfort, especially when I am not appreciating the hard times of life. In the case that you have not read it, I would like to share it with you.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
The reason why I love this passage so much is that it reminds me again that God is in complete control. The verse says that all of those happen UNDER Heaven.
I know that we always want to have fun or to be happy or to be the best. Let’s face it, though. Sometimes, we have to be sad, we have to cry, and we have to feel lost or lonely. If we never experienced these, how could we ever appreciate the good times of happiness, friendship, and ease? If we never had hard times, times when we couldn’t rely on our own knowledge and strength, how would we ever learn to rely on God completely?
Today, I challenge you with one thought that God has placed in my heart:
Life is only ugly when we refuse to accept that it is beautiful.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Has there ever been a time when you have been scared for your life?
Just a few hours ago, a man broke into my house. One of my roommates was out and the other had been downstairs when he entered. Without a cell phone nearby, she ran out through the front door and drove to her sorority house on campus. All the while, I was upstairs in my room falling asleep to sounds of what I thought was my roommate downstairs.
When I got the call from my roommate saying that a man was inside the house and that I needed to lock my door, time froze. As I sat on my bed, the definition of fear was personified by the refusal of my heart to beat, the shallowness of my breath, and the inability to move.
As I locked my door—my lacrosse stick in hand—I sat at the base of my bedroom door. While listening to the comforting words of my angel and best friend over the phone, I was overwhelmed with certain words of Truth. The words of Truth that came to mind were Isaiah 43:5--“Fear not for I am with you” and Matthew 10:28--“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul."
Even with an intruder in one of the rooms next to me, I knew God had surrounded me with Guardian angels. His love and the prayers of many rested upon me, and I remained in the assurance that whatever happened next would be His will.
Even though my breath is still shallow and my heart is pacing rapidly, I know that God, my refuge and my strength, is wrapping His loving arms around me. Snuggled deep within those strong and loving arms tonight, I will find rest.
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Have you ever met an angel?
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning walking to my Psychology class, I always see one of the shuttle drivers. We stop and exchange the routine, “Good morning. It sure is beautiful this morning! Have a great day!” conversation. Although I never knew his name, I always considered him to be my newfound friend. Today, however, I finally had the pleasure of meeting him.
On the shuttle ride, we talked about the weather; we talked about the morning. He told me that he didn’t understand how someone could be a “morning person.” He told me that he was “an all-day person.” “Every day is a gift,” he told. “After seventy-five years of gifts, you realize that every day should be filled with smiles.” I was so touched by his optimism, a rare jewel it seems, that I introduced myself before I got off. His name was Charles, but he told me to call him “LaLa.” While I shook his hand and received the blessing of his smile and his wishes for a good day, I realized that I had met an angel.
Today, go out into the world and find your angels. Have a “Tuesday with _” you fill in the blank. Find and appreciate those that God has placed in your life to encourage you in your walk with God. Sure, we have hard times, but God is calling us to live like my friend LaLa—abandoned to the ways of this world and trusting that God is in control.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Only once we “let go and let God,” we are finally able to spread the joy of Christ. We are finally able to be someone’s angel.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Have you ever been hit by a realization at a random moment? Today, I was in the… ahemmm… ladies room when the following question struck me: “Why are the handicapped stalls always the farthest from the door?” It was in that precious moment in the stall that I realized something profound. Sometimes, life doesn’t make sense.
We all know this to be true, don’t we? With all of our technology, almost everything seems to have been diluted to a science. Whether it be losing weight or becoming a millionaire, easy to follow procedures have been created that, most importantly, lead quickly to a goal.
What is wrong with this picture? We expect certainty and ease in our lives. We expect for God to simply tell us what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. With these expectations, we forget one, simple fact: God is in control. With God in control, He has designed a plan for us that only He can reveal in His perfect timing.
Sometimes, life doesn’t make sense, but that is okay! God gives us these times of uncertainty in order to learn to rely on Him and to realize that sometimes “ignorance is bliss.” As humans, the extent of our knowledge cannot even compare to the knowledge and wisdom of our amazing God.
If you are the type of person that desires the destination but not the journey, maybe it is time to pray for God’s peace. Take a moment to pray about ways in which you can learn to rely on Him in your journey, not merely the destination. God wants to be with you every step of the way; however, you must first accept that sometimes, life doesn’t make sense TO YOU. The good news is, life makes sense to God; He created it!
During these times of uncertainty, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8). God has everything under control! Rest in this fact that you don’t need to plan or know everything! After all, uncertain times in our lives are often when God best reveals His beauty.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Have you ever thought about the consequences of being a Christian? I was rereading one of my favorite books, When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy, and I was struck by a reference to a story of the disciple Andrew. With every breath that he took, Andrew preached the message of Jesus. The Roman governor threatened Andrew saying, “If you don’t stop preaching this message of Jesus and this cross, I’m going to crucify you on one, too!” Andrew simply replied, “Sir, I would not have preached about the glory of the cross of Jesus if I was not also willing to die upon it!”
When I read this again, the passage had a completely new significance. My heart stopped; my throat swelled. I asked myself a question that was stealing my every breath, “Am I willing and would I be overjoyed to die upon the cross of Jesus?” I realized that every time I write a blog post, every time I hand my bible to someone, even every day when I wear my cross necklace, I must also be willing to be nailed to a cross and die.
Ask yourself this, “Am I willing to die upon the cross that I wear? Am I willing to be nailed to a cross every time I tell someone that I am a Christian? Am I not only willing, but am I also excited to do all these things? Am I truly willing to live for Christ?”
My prayer this morning for you and for me is this:
“Lord, thank you so much for the blessing of this day. Surrounded by everything of this world, may I learn what it means to live with abandon: to truly give up my life, take up my cross, and die each morning in order that I may truly follow You. Form me, shape me, mold me, and break me until I am nothing more than the wooden cross that I carry. With all of my heart, I love you, Lord. I am Yours.”
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Before I even try to create a convincing excuse, let me apologize. It has been WAY too long since I last wrote. For this, I am SO sorry! With four tests are ahead of me, time management is still a skill that I am trying to learn. Now that I have given the excuse, here’s what you are really here to read…..
The other day, I came across this amazing quote by a man named Og Mandino. For those that love quotes, search for him on a website such as www.quoteland.com. Anyways, my new and favorite quote by Og Mandino is below:
“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward in the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.”
Now, I once was made fun of for being the incredible optimist that I am; however, who wouldn’t LOVE to live with this quote as their motto? Who wouldn’t love to know that they are valuable? Whenever it is dreary outside, don’t we always begin to wish for the sun to shine again? Most importantly, don’t we all dream, hope, and pray to live with grace, strength, courage, and confidence?
If Og Mandino is correct, the first step we must do is to realize that we are valuable. When he says that we are valuable, Mr. Mandino is saying that we are valuable to God! “Count your blessings!” he says. He also says to realize that we have so much going for us in life. This is so true. God promises that he has a plan for us in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you. Plans for a future and a hope and not for evil.”
If you feel as though you have been wandering around listlessly these days, listen to Og. He may have a funny name, but for this, you must give him credit: he has an amazing way of encouraging all of us with words of wisdom.