Posts Tagged With: Bible

 
 

Learning the Definition of Rest

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about rest.

What does it mean to rest? It means to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. But rest also means to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.

I’ve been praying for rest, but I neglected to appreciate the rest he’s given because I was focused on only one definition of rest. And it wasn’t the definition He had in mind. When I thought of rest, I thought of sleep. Of relaxation. I fervently prayed for rest during late nights of homework, hard classes at school, and from annoying conversations. It didn’t seem to happen. I’ve been sick for nearly a month. Everyday I would wake up and I was still just as sick. Still just as tired. I wanted to stop all work. To take a break from everything connected with life. To be honest, at times  I wanted a break from faith, from reaching the campus. I had no strength left. I would wake up early in the morning just as tired and I believed that maybe he hadn’t heard. But he did. Because rest is more than sleep and relaxation.

To rest is to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position. God knew what I needed when I didn’t know how to ask for it. I needed more than just sleep, I needed endurance to stay in the position that I’ve been placed in as a light on the campus. He supported me. From the moment I woke up to the time I fell asleep again, he supported me. I accomplished each and every task that was required of me. I was exhausted, but I was at rest.

I wonder if Proverbs 31:17-18 is misunderstood by some.

¨She sets about her work vigorously;

   her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,

   and her lamp does not go out at night.¨

Many women look at the Proverbs 31 woman and see an impossible standard. I mean, it’s almost like this chick never takes a break…ever. Not even to sleep. And then she gets up and keeps going, full of energy, full of power. She seems so…perfect. She has unending reservoirs of strength. Physically, mentally, emotionally. How is this possible? And why do people tend to see her as woman without exhaustion? In reality, a woman like this is tired, so how is she so strong? Whatever she does she has the strength for, because her rest doesn’t come from sleep. It comes from God. Because of God. She’s tired, but she never takes a break from the fight because God enables her to stay in her specified position.

The parallels about rest in the Bible don’t end with the Proverbs 31 woman. Think about Matthew 11:28 ¨Come to me all you who are weary and burdened (heavy-laden), and I will give you rest.” Suddenly, it means something a little different than it used to. It’s not just about physical rest. It’s God’s promise to be our rock, our support when things are too much for us to take. It’s strength to keep battling the enemy.

Yet again in John 4:6, we see that Jesus was tired, ¨Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.¨ This is the beginning of the story of The Woman at the Well. This will soon be a major turning point in the life of a tired woman and a frustrated town. But it could have just as easily never happened. Jesus could have asked for water because he was tried and never engaged the woman in conversation. He could have decided to just rest. To take a break from it all. The important truth in this verse revolves around the fact that Jesus never walked away from what God had called him to do because he was tired. At first, that seems nearly impossible as well. But it’s not. He didn’t find his strength and restoration from physical rest. He found it by resting in God. He maintained his position because God was supporting Him and he leaned on God’s strength for everything. He did not rely on his own physical strength and abilities because he recognized how frail they were in comparison to God’s. We are reminded yet again in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Our physical exhaustion may be a weakness, but when we ask God for rest, he turns it into a power.

Categories: Bible, encouragement, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, rest, sleep, stress | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Never More Than You Can Handle

It’s often said that God will never give us more than we can handle. In a sense, those words can be comforting. In some ways, it seems to indicate that we won’t be taken in over our head or be burned in the fire. But it’s a complete and total lie. God never promised us that he wouldn’t give us more than we could handle, in fact he promises just the opposite. He gives us way more than we could deal with on our own, takes us deeper than our feet would wander, and perhaps singes us in the flames. That phrase comes from the verse 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises he will never let us be tempted beyond what we are able to bear or handle. God places a burden upon us that we can’t possibly carry on our own- and we are left with a choice. Will we try to take the load up ourselves and walk on our own? Or will we acknowledge that we can accomplish nothing in our own strength? In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul has just finished describing his struggle with what he calls a “thorn in his flesh”, we don’t know exactly what he’s referencing, but through his battle with this, he hears the voice of God speak to him the words “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul concludes the verse with the phrase, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” The key is to not be strong. What do I mean? When it comes to spiritual matters, we cannot have the mindset of “suck it up, be strong, and just get through it”. That attitude puts us in control of carrying a responsibility that we can’t possibly deal with. It will never end well and it won’t make us stronger than before. It’s like trying to lift 300lbs when you can only really lift 30. Lifting that weight isn’t going to make you any stronger, in reality you’d probably end up breaking an arm. It doesn’t end well because we were not capable of lifting that weight ourselves. We must learn to be spiritually weak, so that God’s power is able to shine though us. As Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Our weakness brings our good and his glory. But don’t get me wrong, being weak doesn’t mean we stop exercising faith, in reality, it takes more faith to be spiritually weak than it does strong; this is because our weakness is a sign of humility and a sign of trust. It’s surrender. We recognize the fact that we can’t do it alone, and we roll that sense of responsibility back onto him. We place one end on the shoulder of God. God meets us at that moment when we are faced with something we can’t possibly handle, and He’s there when our faith his goodness and sometimes our faith in him run out. He quietly asks the question, “Will you let me help you?”

There are times when we must walk on the raging sea, go through the fire, or carry a burden so that, as James writes in verse 1:4, “we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” But we never have to carry it alone. God gives us more than we can handle so we turn our eyes back to him, walk with him, and watch as he does incredible things in the middle of our weaknesses. In those times where we don’t know what to say. In the times were we feel inadequate. In those moments where we are scared out of our minds to take a leap of faith and be bold. In the times where our perfectionism and our fear of failure swallows us up. In the times when the world is falling apart and you know you can’t possibly piece it back together. We give it to him. And he works it for our good and his glory. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”. We can’t fathom the power that is accessible to us through the Holy Spirit. God does so so so much more than our minds can comprehend. His reserves of power never run dry. He never gets exhausted. Only when we admit to being weak can God fill us up with that kind of power. Only when we place our faith in him and trust that he’s going to pick up the other end of the load. He won’t let us carry it on our own. Only when we believe his promise in Matthew 20:28 that he will be with us always even to the end of the age, and we tell Jesus that we are through trying to get though it on our own. That we can only do things when Christ strengthens us.

What about you? Where are you? Are you caught up in trying to do things on your own? To power through one more day? To soak up some strength from who knows where? I challenge you to fall before the feet of Jesus and tell him that you’re ready to be weak. Ready to trust completely in his power and his plan, even though you don’t know what that might mean for you. Ready to trust his goodness and his sovereignty, even when things don’t seem to be good. To cast all your cares upon the one who cares for you. Because he has a purpose and a plan even when you can’t see it, and it’s to prosper and not to harm, it’s a plan to glorify him, it’s a plan that means the best for you and will give you hope and a future. Do you truly trust him? Be weak. God has promised to never give you more than He can handle.

Categories: Bible, Church, Faith, Trust | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Don’t Fill in the Blank

“There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

-Oswald Chambers

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So often I find that God has erased all my plans for the future and given me a clean slate. A blank space. And the hardest part is looking at that space and realizing that I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. I naturally want to fill it in. And many times I do. The space that was a clean work area for God to make and mold and move me becomes a cluttered mess of notations, desires, plans, and calculations. If you ask me, I’ll tell you I know where I’m headed; but that’s about the time God comes along with an eraser and wipes away each one of those ideas. He again gives me the space that begs the question: “Do you trust me?”. I’ll say that I do, and I might even wait a few days for God to do something. But eventually my patience wears thin. I wind up with a metaphorical expo marker in my hand. And I’m drawing something new. Why?

Part of the reason is that there has to be the seamless unity of believing and doing. I must say that I trust God to fill it in when He wants to, and then prove that I trust him by waiting on his timing and not filling in that blank space myself. It’s not that my plans are necessarily bad plans. I might have been planning to go to India and be a missionary for the rest of my life. It was the fact that God has something different and God has something better and I have to still myself and wait for him to give me direction. I should never run before God’s guidance. When he takes the time to erase my plans, it means I should take the time to wait on his plans.

Right now, I have a blank space. Not to long ago God erased all of those plans I had made and began to show me why they weren’t part of his plan. I wanted to do this to please this person. I wanted to go there to meet that person. I wanted to stay here to become this version of myself. I had hidden intentions in each one of those carefully crafted ideas. And God saw those, even when I couldn’t. . He penetrated through the murkiness of my imagination and sorted the stuff I had piled on top of my plans to make them seem more appealing. He showed me what he was seeing as I sang “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go”.  Sometimes following God’s will means waiting on him to fill in those blank spaces in His timetable; not yours.  His will for our lives isn’t some incomprehensible theory that we have to struggle and strain to somehow get on board or grab a glimpse of. He says in Leviticus 19:2 “…Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”

When we wake up committed to following him and growing in him, we become more like him each passing day. His will isn’t for the future, it’s for now. It’s that process of maturing in holiness and righteousness that sets us walking in the right direction, in his will for our lives. Even when we may only see a blank space in front of us, rest assured that God has plans for it, and wait for his guidance. Don’t rush to fill in the blank. “When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

Categories: Bible, blank, Change, christianity, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, space, Trust, waiting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

7 Things I Learned in 2014

This year has been incredibly busy. I could almost say that 2014 has been one of the busiest years of my life. This summer was packed full to perfection with an amazing vacation to the North Carolina Mountains, Williamsburg, Virginia, Washington D.C, and Baltimore, Maryland. This school year was packed with AP classes and time-consuming, tedious work. It’s a flimsy excuse for not sitting at the keyboard to post, even when I did have time, but I’m hoping that I will be able to start the New Year with a commitment to blog more (just one of my resolutions). But I didn’t log in just to tell you about how busy I’ve been, I wanted to share with you 7 important things I learned during the year 2014. There’s been ups and downs and through it all, I couldn’t be more amazed at how much I’ve grown spiritually this past year. Which leads me to the first thing I learned in 2014…

1. How to get in the Word…and stay there

I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday and I heard the Word, but often I wouldn’t take time out of my day to have a quiet time. I would usually take out my Bible and read a  huge chunk of scripture and then never read again for the rest of the month. But that changed in March of this year. After learning some context about the book of 2 Timothy, I dove in and committed to read my Bible everyday. I haven’t been perfect, but I have absolutely formed a habit of it, and I have seen the difference it has made. I notice a change in my faith, life and mood when I make the choice to read that day or not to read. That alone has been the defining point in my life this year.

2. My determination never gets me anywhere if it’s not something God wants to happen.

I can work hard. I can muster up enough determination to challenge a metaphorical Mt. Everest. I can try to tackle it. But in the end, it only takes me so far. There are always situations that are out of my control, and I have to accept that God’s plans are so much better and so far above my own. My determination should always be to bring glory to God, no matter what my circumstances are or what the outcome might be. God is ALWAYS in control. He is still sitting on his throne no matter what is happening in my life or in the world around me.

3. Savor the small things

This year I’ve gotten better at living in the moment and finding wonder and reasons to worship God in the things that could be overlooked. It means that I am not so focused on the future that I forget to look around and see what’s now. Because my “now” is a painful, complicated, beautiful work of God’s heart, and there are so many things he uses to get my attention so that I can become even more brilliant. And this year I’ve barely scratched the surface of seeing those things like they’re meant to be seen.

4. Fear is temporary when God is involved

No matter who you are or how old you may be, there is always some type of fear that plagues each and every one of us. My approach at the beginning of this year was simply to power through them. To face them. Show them who’s boss. To wrangle them into submission. In case you’re thinking of doing the same, I have a warning- that doesn’t work. I tried to. I wanted them to go away. And at the beginning of the school year, I spent some time in prayer. And Jesus told me where the problem was. The fear in my life was never something I could handle, power through or beat into submission. It was something that had to be placed in God’s hands and left there. Fear had to be given to God every single day. And there were times when a paralyzingly spirit of fear was fervently prayed out of me by people who care about me, and that was when I found myself free to accomplish each and every action God was calling me to take. Because when God is the center of my life, fear has no room to stay.

5. When I wake up committed to follow God each day, I will follow His Will for my life

Slowly but surely, I find myself on the path he wants me to walk when I give him my simple obedience day after day. “Be holy as I am holy” is what God asks of me, it’s his will for my life, and I become more like him when I wake up surrendered to whatever he might call me to do that day. I give up my own dreams and my own will and I align my will with God’s- that’s when I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

6. A change in procrastination and priorities gets more done

I’ve proved this to be true in my own life , especially as it relates to school. When school gets busy, I am tempted to let God take a backseat to my exhaustion and the growing amounts of him work I have, most of it could have been done earlier, if I hadn’t procrastinated. This year, I’ve proven the statement “When God is your top priority, everything else falls into place.” When God was my priority, things did flow smoothly, even in the midst of chaos. And, when God wasn’t my priority, even when things weren’t too tough, the schedule I was juggling seemed to fall apart. Procrastination is still a sin that needs works in my life, but I am confident that in the next year Jesus and I can straighten some of my laziness out of me. But this year has been a wake-up call to me regarding my procrastination, and next year, hopefully I’ll get more done. And finish everything all the way and to the very best of my ability.

7. I’m never meant to be center stage

I mean this in a spiritual context, because another thing I wanted to work on this past year was my humbleness…or lack of humbleness. Through different events, God has shown me that he is to be the one thing people notice about me. With my abilities or talents, I am meant to glorify him and put attention on him, not myself. And most importantly, it’s not about me, it’s all about him. There’s nothing that’s worth seeing if I’m the center of attention.

Take some time to think about what God has taught you over this past year and get ready to celebrate the new one. Here we come 2015!!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, New Year | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

The Fairytale of Pain

Once upon a time, I wanted to learn how to play guitar. My daddy could play and I remember sitting in front of him on the floor while he sat on the couch and played 80’s worship songs. I sang along. Over the years, I had a growing desire to learn how to play acoustic guitar. I saw amazing worship leaders who all played guitar or songwriters who strummed their guitars while figuring out songs and I wanted to do that too. So, when I was in seventh grade, I expressed my desire to learn and my daddy printed off a chord sheet at my request. He demonstrated the chords G, E minor, D, and C, and told me to come back to him when I could play them fairly well. I sat down on the guest room bed with my daddy’s guitar and tried to play G. The cheat of G is where you press down on the tiny E string with your ring finger and strum the bottom strings. At first I tried to play it, but it didn’t sound quite right so I pressed down harder and switched to my middle finger and there it was! The G chord!

I examined my finger, which had a growing red line through the fingertip from pressing down so hard. I rubbed it, shook out my hand and had second thoughts about playing guitar. It wasn’t supposed to be this… painful…was it? But ever determined to learn how to play guitar, I formulated a solution. I cut off the sticky parts of a Band-Aid and stuck them on the tips of my forefinger, middle finger, and ring finger on my left hand. My mom came in and asked what I was doing and I told her that I was learning to play guitar, but it hurt when I pressed down on the strings, so I was coming up with a solution where I could play guitar without hurting my fingers so much. She told me it wouldn’t work; but ever convinced of my genius, I set out to resume learning guitar. After conquering E minor with a little more difficulty, I realized that my mom was absolutely right. It didn’t make much of a difference. I still had red lines running through the tips of my fingers and the Band-Aids were starting to come off. I sighed and attempted D. It sounded right about 20% of the time. Nearly defeated, I went back to my daddy and asked him to play them for me, so I could hear how they were supposed to sound. He took the guitar from me and played each one perfectly, one after the other. Awed by his impressive guitar skills, I asked how in the world he was able to do that. Didn’t it hurt? He told me to practice every day and allow callouses to grow on my fingers. With renewed interest, I went back to the isolation of the guest room and tried to play again.

The next day, I went back to my daddy and played those four chords. Did they sound right? Probably not. But I begged him, give me a song to play and I can do it. I asked him to print off “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band and I went back to the solitary confinement of the guest room and tried to play. My fingers throbbed and were bright red. Purplish trenches appeared on the tips. The fling lasted about three days. Learning guitar wasn’t worth the pain it caused my fingers. The Christmas of 2011, I opened my eyes to find a guitar. I vowed that I would learn to play this time. But, things got in the way, my fingers hurt and it sat untouched in the corner of my room. The summer of 2013, with nothing to do for the month of July after youth camp and a mission trip in June, I felt God telling me to pick up my guitar again. So I did. Convinced that God had something for me to do with my guitar, I set out to re-teach myself what I knew and learn what I didn’t. And it hurt. My fingers throbbed and were red, I saw purplish lines, and I asked; why would anyone ever want to play guitar? Why would you torture yourself for this? And my mom replied, because it’s something they want to do. They put themselves though the pain of it because there is a reward, being able to play guitar. So I grumbled, but with the reassurance that God had something for me to do with guitar, I sat down and practiced.

Almost every day of July, I practiced. Through the pain, so sure that God had something in mind for this. And sure enough, I grew callouses, and playing guitar didn’t hurt anymore. In fact, I enjoyed playing guitar. To this day, I only know those four chords, but I can play almost any song for you and sing it in the key of G, including the very first song I learned, “How He Loves”. So what’s the point of this story? I think it can mean many different things. But it’s more than just a “No pain, no gain” story. It’s about life and it’s about the things we can’t accomplish on our own. Over time, I’ve had other experiences similar to this. I wanted or needed to accomplish something, it was painful, I stepped back, and God pushed me forward. It’s not normal to run and embrace things that are painful; it’s not a part of natural human behavior. We shrink away from the things that might make us hurt. I know I easily lose sight of the reward in the midst of pain, and I take a step back. But sometimes, God asks us to do things that are painful in order to develop us. Take a look at this verse in James:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

James 1:2-4 (MSG)

God challenges me to do things. To fight through the pain and embrace him with all that I am, to let him carry it for me. God does the same with you. Under pressure, we find that maybe we aren’t as tough as we thought we were, that suddenly the pain doesn’t seem worth the reward. We take a step back and think to ourselves, it’s not supposed to be this…painful….is it? And God pushes us forward and tells us that the reward is worth it. Whether that reward is being able to play guitar, live a healthy life, or fall even deeper in love with him. Maybe you’re learning to play guitar and God is teaching you so much through the red throbbing fingertips that will become smooth callouses if you just keep on playing. Maybe you’re trying to get in shape with exercise and proper nutrition and God has told you to trust him, not your own willpower. Maybe he’s working in your heart, developing places that he can take control of and show you that the pain isn’t really as painful as you thought it was, because the reward is so much greater. To show you that the pain only makes a sweeter “Happily Ever After”.

Categories: Bible, Faith, God, Guitar, learning, Pain | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Strong and Courageous: Leading Well (Part 4)

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:1-9

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What God’s asking Joshua to do here, isn’t all about moral support for a leader, it’s about asking Joshua to trust Him . To let go of fear, and let Him take it’s place. Fear comes when we don’t trust God. That’s how perfect love casts out all fear. Where there’s perfect love, there’s perfect trust. I wonder if Joshua was scared. He’s painted as a strong leader, unafraid, ready to do anything God would ask; like Moses. But he must have had his doubts. With Moses dead, he must have been wondering what God was up to. When God said, “Moses died, you’re taking over”, and I don’t imagine there was a lot of gusto on his part. He probably felt like a deflated party balloon. Going to see the promise land one minute and the next being told the leader of the whole mission had died and he was in charge. Everything is different when you have a whole lot more people looking up to you. He saw what these people were capable of. What if they didn’t like him? What if he failed? What about the enemies? The danger? What about war? They can’t just waltz in there an expect them to give up their land without a fight? So now he’s an army general? Even better. A new leader, responsible for land, lives, lunch, and large groups of snickering people. 

And God says: “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

God is telling him that he’s gonna be with him, just like Moses. His role-model. Who was so close to the glory of God his face shone so no one could look upon it. This guy was legend. His faith and leadership were legend, because of his trust in God. And God’s giving him the same thing? Wow. Ultimate confidence boost. Now Joshua may have been a fearless person who was so tight with God he just trusted him without hesitation. But I believe these words by God were said to him for a specific reason. Maybe because he had begun to take responsibility on himself for the people’s well-being or because he felt so inadequate to carry out such a task.

God replies: “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “

But maybe we still worry about messing something up and in response to that God answers: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

He said something similar to that before. Before, he said “I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” He reminds us that he is with us now, and will be with us in the future. There is nowhere we can go where he will not be there with us.  Looking over these encouraging words I was inspired to write a prayer I feel Joshua would say in the face of his circumstances. This prayer is something I desire to say in my own life, an act of surrender and recognition of how powerful God is. Maybe you need to remind yourself of these things as well. I think it should go something like this :

“Lord, I can’t be strong or courageous on my own. I can’t help but be frightened or dismayed by all that has happened recently. But you’ve promised you would be with me before. And you promised that you are with me now, and will still be with me no matter where I go or how old I get. Knowing that is the only way I could ever be strong and courageous when faced with what’s before me. Lord, I can’t lead these people. But you can, because their your people. I can’t take care of the land; but you can, because you’ve made it and chosen to give it to your people. I can’t give these people food, but you can, because you’re the great Provider. You’ve done it in the past and you’re just a capable now. I can’t win a war, but you can, because you’ll fight for your people. Lord, I can’t be strong, but you are. I can’t be courageous, but you can. Whatever you want to do with what I have to offer, take it. You’ve reminded me that I can’t do anything without you. I can’t be strong. I can’t be courageous. I can’t lead people. I can’t provide. But you can. And not through anything that I have done, but all because of what you have done and will continue to do. Trust casts out all fear. Where there is perfect love, there is perfect trust. So lead on Lord. Take everything I have and use it for your glory. Let them see your power and your might. Let everyone be utterly astounded by how great you are.”

If we would only take action instead of questioning God and letting our minds fill with doubts about our own abilities. They are justified doubts if we were required to do everything on our own; but we’re not. God will never call you to do or face something that you are improperly equipped for. He knows you better than you know yourself; and he also knows himself. He is stronger than we are, but so often we try to carry our burdens alone. He is wiser than we are, but we so often use feeble logic and reasoning to solve our problems. He is more courageous than we are, but, again, we look at our own small ounce of courage and maybe try to take a leap of faith. But we find our courage depleting fast, to the point where we have nearly none at all, and the leap is more like a wobble from one foot to the other in the wrong direction. Leadership isn’t about us being strong and courageous in the face of trouble. It’s about trusting him with our whole heart and letting him do the rest. And sometimes, the strength and courage come in when we take a leap of faith, not trusting our on footing, but expecting a free-fall before being caught in the arms of the Almighty God. “Be strong and courageous” is all about trusting him and letting him do the rest. And leadership requires much more of that than any skills we have we have to offer.

Categories: Bible, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments
 
 

Behind the Name

With the one year anniversary of this blog only yesterday, I thought it would be appropriate to give some background about why I started this blog and what the name “Not So Supergirl” has come to mean.

On WordPress, unless you pay money, it seems almost every blog URL you could think of is already taken.  I didn’t want to use my name and I did want it to make it sound exciting- something that sparked people to want to read. I was becoming desperate after a few days of trying (unsuccessfully) to think of a blog title that wasn’t already taken. My mind began to wander and I thought of blogs that already existed. Not So Wonder Woman certainly sounded nice- but obviously that wasn’t the right choice for a blog by a teen girl. And thinking in that same mindset, I came up with Not So Supergirl. After milling it over in my head for a day, it began to sound better and better. But what did it really mean to me? Looking back, when I first started, it didn’t mean much at all. It just sounded like a good blog title. God was working in my heart and in my mind, and because it was his blog, his plan for the name meant much more than how it looked on a computer screen. After about 3 months into blogging, I figured that I should explain the title. But what was there to explain? And that’s when it hit me. There was much to explain.

Ever since the 8th grade when we made our own personal websites for class to share our writing, I knew that blogging was the perfect ministry opportunity. We were required on our website to tell something about us, and what better way to talk about me than to talk about Jesus. My friends said the testimony I wrote for my website was deep. I thought it was shallow. It wasn’t much more than stating the Great Commission and telling people that they needed Jesus in their lives. After 8th grade was over, I still visited my website the summer before my teacher had to take them down so another class could make their websites. Even though no one was ever on those pages again, I started my own miniature blog at the bottom on the page after all my writings. When the websites were taken down, there was great remorse on my part. I loved being able to share my thoughts with the world and, in a greater capacity, Jesus with the world.

There was a desire in the back of my mind to have a website again. At first I planned to have a blog that I posted my writings on. Things like my poetry, book reviews, and short stories. And to share it with my mom so she could write too. She never found a great host for that kind of website and didn’t have the time to set the whole thing up. I decided to look on my own. I then found the “themes” page for WordPress. It took away a lot of the effort in designing the website, it was free, and had some sort of protection to keep people from stealing the things you write. I brought the proposition to my mom who told me she’d think about it, but really, she had to, because I asked her almost everyday what her decision was. It was during this time that my whole ambition for the website had changed and I knew that this blog, if given the permission to began it, would become my world-wide platform for my Savior.  I was going to write about my faith in him and use it to encourage and challenge others.

“Not So Supergirl” is a subtle rebellion against the way of the world and a surrender of everything to Jesus. Super Girl is the ideal girl: blond, skinny, powerful, she’s everything a girl would want to be right? You save the world and have tons of admirers. And that’s where my rebellion comes in. I’m not Supergirl, I never will be. I never want to be. She represents false ideas of beauty, and enforces the standards that the world tries to place. Standards that I’m determined not to live by or follow. Why? Because they aren’t realistic and they are not the measure of beauty or power. Beauty fades, as stated in Proverbs 31: 30

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

And “beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes; rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4.

“And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.”1 Timothy 2:9 (MSG).

That is the measure of true beauty. Godly beauty. The kind that never fades and never dies, the kind that is remembered and holds more power than unnatural abilities. Which leads me to the point that Not So Supergirl is a surrender. I don’t have it all together. I don’t have supernatural abilities. I’m just ordinary. And because I am, that means God has the freedom to show himself through me. It happens when I give up myself and everything I think I can do, and place it in his hands so that he has the ability to make the Not So Supergirl something special after all. Something with his purpose and someone who is used to bring glory and honor to him. He’s the superhero. I’m that one girl who needs saving. And frankly, when you’re not a superhero, there aren’t as many people that you have to keep from discovering who you really are.

Categories: beauty, christianity, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

20 Things To Be Thankful For

In light of how blessed I truly am, 20 isn’t many things to list. Yet, it can seem so hard to think of things. That, my friends, is pitiful. I once heard someone say: “What if the things you didn’t thank God for today, were gone tomorrow?” If it were me, unless it was the day after thanksgiving, I wouldn’t have much of anything. We take so many things for granted. And so, without further ado, I present a mere 20 things I’m deeply thankful for:

1. Jesus- For dying on the cross to save me, for overcoming sin and death, for his forgiveness and everlasting love that he gives even when I don’t deserve it, for guiding me through the things I don’t understand, and….well, for everything else that comes after this, because it wouldn’t exist without him.

2. Family- For raising me in a Godly home and having parents who love and provide for me, and  little sister (who can be annoying at times) but encourages me and inspires me with her love for Jesus and her incredible talents.

3. Friends- for making my days brighter, for making me laugh, for always being there for me, though my good days and my bad ones, and for keeping my faith in Christ strong through encouragement and accountability or because of opposition.

4. Teachers- For blessing me with their knowledge and pouring information about the world into my life. They’ve shown me how little I know, and how much I can learn. They have allowed God to increase my knowledge of things incomprehensible to human nature though things I can comprehend.

5. Words- For giving us ways to express emotion, and create surges of emotion in one another. They’ve given life and caused death, but set us free with the truth daily. They can bring hope and peace about, and help people find common ground.

6. Voices- For ways to sing, and ways to show others how much we care. Because they demand a response or leave us speechless when accompanying words and give the words a bodily form that allows us not only to hear, but receive and believe what they tell of.  I love that they can inspire, guide and lead, be comforting, passionate, or mournful, all at the same time.

7. Clothes- For an entire closet full of clothes. With different outfits to actually choose from, and for an abundance of them- given to me, so that I can give them to others when they are in need.

8. Music- For a way to express myself and become excellent at making something beautiful out of an array of shapes and sounds. For a way to share the gospel that makes people listen and a way to simplify the gospel so people can understand. For moving me to my knees in worship and into action afterwards. For giving me a way to tell my creator- the most talented musician of all, how much I love him and appreciate everything he has done for me.

9. Books- For drawing you into a new world of endless possibilities, and for teaching you things you never dreamed of knowing before.

10. Memory- For never letting you forget things that others do. For capturing sweet memories of the past, for making life seem so much more beautiful, for nostalgic thoughts that reminds you of how good things were and how good things still are today, and for allowing endless storage of knowledge.

11. Time- For time to ” be born and to die, to plant and to uproot, to kill and to heal, to tear down and to build, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance, to scatter stones and to gather them, to embrace and to refrain from embracing, to search and to give up, to keep and to throw away, to tear and to mend, to be silent and to speak, to love and to hate, and a time for war and for peace.” [Ecclesiastes 3:2-8]

12. True Love-  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]                 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” [1 Corinthians 13: 4-8]                   [Psalms 136].

13. Bible- For giving me direction, for reminding me that God is in control, for stories that show me how me how to live my life, for something to base Apologetics on, for it’s detailed historical records, for true stories about Jesus that make me love him even more.

14. Food- As Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a, once said: “Food is essential to life, therefore; make it good.” And boy, do I love me some good food. Especially on Thanksgiving.

15. Letters- the ones you write to your pen-pals, because they encourage you and give you a reason to send things via snail-mail and wait for a long time to receive a piece of what’s going on in their lives.

16.  Hands- For allowing me to touch and feel and to create words, pictures, art, food, music, and so many other other things.

17. Eyesight- For letting me see all the beauty in the world and noticing the little things in life. For allowing me to see the vibrant colors splashed over everything and worship God because of it. It leaves me in awe daily. For letting me see to play my instruments and write things. For allowing me to draw (even though I’m atrocious at it) and paint (bad at that too), and read my Bible and other books.

18. Coffee- I had to include this somewhere. With a coffee snob as a father (he roasts, grinds, and brews fresh international coffee every morning) I love my coffee; it’s required.

19. Technology- For air conditioning in South Georgia (can I get an amen to that), for computers that allowed me to create this blog. For spreading news faster and making life easier, for keeping people safer and more comfortable. For allowing the gospel and the Bible to be translated into many different languages so everyone can hear about Jesus and everything he has done.

20. And last but not least, My BCM College Students- For encouraging me in my faith, for helping me grow spiritually, for making me laugh, for being people I can confide in and trust. Thanks for playing games (such as hit the college student with a pool noodle) with an eight year old who was new around here, to singing songs in harmony with a 15 year old who could have never made it though the move without ya’ll. Thanks for being reliable and making our family’s job easier (especially my dad’s…some of the time). I couldn’t be more happy serving anyone one else. You have changed my life in ways I can’t describe, and a simple “thank you” doesn’t do enough justice. I love every one of you and am looking forward to how God is going to use you in the future- because he will- and he’ll rock this world with his power and his love in the things he does through you. Keep growing in Christ and inspiring more people like you’ve inspired me. Love you guys!

Categories: God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, students, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

People Pleasing: Leading Well (Part 3)

1 Samuel 15:24

                      “Saul gave in and confessed…“I’ve sinned. I’ve trampled roughshod over                                                           God’s Word and your instructions. I cared more about pleasing the people.                                      I let them tell me what to do.”

        *************************************************

People are very influential beings, and often very selfish. They think about what  they want, when they want it, and they use people in order to get it. Words can be as sharp as a double edge sword or as smooth as butter, leading people to their downfall. God placed kings to be examples of good leaders, designed to bring peace and prosperity their domain, if they sought after what the Lord would have them to do, and stayed in that will. He also placed certain kings to be examples of discipline and downfall, to show what would happen to the people if they strayed from him, to let them know how helpless and purely mortal they were. Riches and stone towers cannot protect people from everything. Even kings were ruined, sometimes inside their lavish homes. Some kings were evil and caused the people pain, but the people brought it upon themselves because they wanted a king, and were not content with God’s power and leading alone. Saul was the first king, made king because of this desire of the people.

This verse was written after he had blown his last chance at being a God-fearing king. He has heard the news that he is to be replaced, and that the Spirit of God would no longer dwell in him. God was tired of having the being in which he dwelled, consistently pursuing the wrong things. So, God said, “Enough”. It was that “last straw” that got my attention. It was his confession that got me thinking. His last chance at proving himself a godly king ended because he tried too hard to please people, and not hard enough to please God. Many times, the downfall of a leader is another person, or in this case more than one person. When we try to please them, instead of pleasing God, it creates problems. Our focus comes off of what God’s will is for something and onto what will make the most people happy. Often times, the things God calls us to do don’t make very many people happy, but that is where it becomes important to choose him over popular opinion.

I’m a people pleaser. I love people. I want them to like me. If they don’t, I think there is something wrong with me personally. I don’t stop to think that maybe they are the ones who need to do something different, instead, I try to change myself. Now, that doesn’t mean I go off and become someone I’m not, but I take their opinion of me personally, when their opinions aren’t personal to me at all.  It’s hard to be task oriented when you focus too much on the people involved. It’s hard to be people oriented  when you focus too much on the task at hand. There has to be a balance. Because if there is no balance, either nothing gets done or people get their feelings hurt, and sometimes, some of both.  Saul in this verse, not only paid too much attention to pleasing a crowd, but he got so caught up in pleasing the crowd, that he went in the wrong direction completely. God was angry because he specifically asked Saul to do an important task and Saul said “no”.  So God said “no” to his being king any longer. Leaders are entrusted with an important task, and straying from that task in order to please others is just as bad as saying “no” to the face of a holy God. There is no respect, no fear, where there rightfully should be, and God’s command isn’t something we need to rebel against like an immature teenager. At the very end of the chapter, 1 Samuel 15: 35, reads “…God was sorry he ever made Saul king in the first place.” I would hate to have God be sorry that he ever entrusted me with a task as great as the one he has given me.

We are not defined by what people think of us, we are defined, and always should be defined, by what God thinks of us, because his opinion matters so much more than any other person on this planet. “Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” 1 Timothy 2:8-10.  We are not here to please ourselves or to please others, but solely for the glorification of our God and one true King. Leading well requires us to forget about pleasing people, and instead make it our aim to please God in everything we do.

Categories: christianity, Faith, Kings, leadership, people, perfection, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

I’ll Be With You: Leading Well (Part 1)

Exodus 3:9-18 (MSG)

9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”

15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.

16-17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.”’

18 “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship God—our God.

*********************************************************

For a long time, I’ve been behind the scenes working for Christ on campus. I’ve been there, I’ve led in my own subtle mannerisms, but never noticed a big group following behind me, or was ever entrusted with the care of their spiritual growth.  I prayed, was outgoing, witnessed, all of this leading in its own way, but never truly led. This next year, I have the chance to lead. From what I have heard, I am a very possible candidate for a leadership position with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. You have no idea how excited this has made me. I get my chance to lead people. People will look up to me and I’ll challenge them in their faith. More witnessing will happen and the school will be turned upside-down because of the call he has placed on my life. But I’ve never truly led.

The reality of this hit me one night and I was suddenly asking myself, “How is it possible that I could be leading others?” I wondered what I would say to get their attention. How I would say it? I planned out all the things I wanted to get done and everything that needed to be done. And I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought of leading actual people. Even more so, people my age and older than me. Of course the cute Christian girl praying at her Dad’s college meetings is enough to inspire a Christian college student, but not lead them. I’m not teaching Bible Stories to five-year-olds either. After moving, I hardly had any friends. In middle school, I integrated with the “outcasts” of middle school society and felt a whole new way to stand up for what I believe in , from a bunch of atheists who hated god, a bunch of skeptics who didn’t think he existed, and a bunch of hurting people who couldn’t accept a God who had never done anything for them and allowed them to feel pain. My faith dwindled and then grew as I was able to tell them what they needed and was able to stand apart from them, but allow a safe-haven for them even though I believed in something different.

I was still left out sometimes, most being of the popular Christians crowd.  As the two groups of us moved further away from each other, a fear began to grow inside of me that kept me from going back and finding Christian friends. It was a fear of rejection. We were only 3rd and 4th graders when we met. I didn’t know one person my 3rd grade year who had  felt what it was like to be new someplace and have no one to welcome you.

My story turned out for the better, I stepped outside my comfort zone and the haze of lies the Devil had fed me to keep me away from the people who might help to grow and encourage my faith the most. The Christian people like me. Of course, the giant gap remains between my group of lesser on the popularity chain to greater on the popularity chain. I feel like I can’t relate to  Christian people sometimes. These people have always had Christian friends, they always seemed to be accepted by everybody. I haven’t. So it was this that I came to that night. That I had a chance to lead the people I had been afraid of and bridge the gap between my group and theirs. Where do I begin? What do I say? They won’t listen to me! I’ve never led anyone before. Near tears, God spoke to me. He said “I’ll be with you, believe me, they will listen to you. I gave Moses the words didn’t I?” . I remembered this passage and read it over and was so overcome with joy.

That night he promised me that he would give me a full training in how to be a leader. I know it will make me better equipped and a better leader than any “how-to” book on the market or any year-long seminar. He’s the best leader there is. I love how he gets irritated with Moses. He says that he will be with him through everything, that he will give them the words and the victory, yet Moses doubts God. My favorite line is one I’ve said myself many times, ““But why me? What makes you think that I could ever _______________________?” And every time God answers me,  “I’ll be with you.” He’s with you too, whether it be leading an entire body of Christians or overcoming the initial shock of something extravagant he asks of you. He says,  “I’ll be with you” and proves it to be true every time.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, prayer, teens, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Completions and Complications

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog, and before you go off on me about not writing for a few months, hear me out. I have this class that was a little behind grade-wise in AP U.S. Government and Politics (most of you know where this is headed) but before you go thinking that I’ve failed the class, I want to clarify that we are talking about a perfectionist (me) who “failed”. In other words, I was making a B and my 4.0 average began to slip down the drain. I’m not bitter that I was temporarily grounded from my blog, because I felt the same. Taking an AP class consumes a lot of your time, and like the usual me, I couldn’t get my priorities straight, and so my parents straightened them out for me. You have no idea how glad I am to be back and how glad I am to be able to write about the pieces of my life you missed this past month, and also about all the experiences I will have this summer. It’s going to be epic, just saying.

I titled this “Completions and Complications” because it sums up life for me right now, pretty well. As I have had the chance to read other’s blogs and let them pour into my life, I realized that I enjoy reading blog posts where people are real. Not the fake “I’m doing fine” not the teaching of what they learned about Jesus this past week, but when they sat down and said, look, my life is a mess. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It’s hard for me to write this. It’s deeply painful to sum up what’s going on right now, but healing can be painful and I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to. It inspires me. Because I never for one moment think; “wow, they don’t have it all together” or “their faith must be really weak because they can’t trust him with this”, instead I think, “I want faith like that”. It takes a lot of confidence to put out the things you are struggling with at this season in your life. You suddenly become more vulnerable than you’ve ever been, and it’s scary. Like stepping out on a limb that you’re not sure will hold you up. I’ve made the decision to write like that. I’m stressed. I’m worn out. I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It may be hard for me to write like that. It may be deeply painful. But healing can be painful and I’m going to I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to.

The school year has ended and I cannot believe how many close friends I have made just in this school-year alone. This summer will be difficult to begin, I’m going to miss those dear friends so much, and they will always have a place in my heart. I’m finally beginning feel that I have accomplished something. I still have so much that I have to learn, and so many things that God has to pull out of my life. Just as the school-year ended, he put a pin-point on a fear I had lived with for a long time, and I was able to begin to overcome it. As this summer begins, expect to see shorter posts with more content, for as many days as possible. Thanks for coming on the journey this far, in June my blog will be 6 months old.

Categories: AP Civcs, Change, christianity, communication, converstions, failure, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, prayer, reality, relationships, School, speech, stress, summer, teens, Uncategorized, vacations, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Work in Progress

I’ve had people ask me a lot of challenging questions this week. I’ve gone through many faith-challenging things these last few weeks. I found that through my walk with Christ, I’m able to give things to God more easily. When something comes up that I feel like I don’t know how to handle, I’ve learned to give it to God. It’s still a work in progress. That phrase, “a work in progress”, describes me well. My tennis skills: a work in progress. My gym class tolerance: a work in progress. My faith: a work in progress. Mackenzie: a work in progress. There are many things I need to work on, and many things God needs to work out of me.

I find that people often say “be strong” when you’re faced with hard circumstances, but I’ve found God tells me just the opposite. He tells me that through my weaknesses, he is made strong. Basically, he says “be weak.” When you become weak, you become flexible to God’s schedule as opposed to your own. You’re giving him control, letting him turn something into a masterpiece, instead of trying to make it on your own, without even knowing how. You’re trying to make something perfect out of nothing. Have you ever done pottery before? Imagine an instructor sitting a ball of clay before you and saying, make a flawless teapot. I don’t want to see any cracks, and make sure all the air bubbles our out and make sure you use the spiral method. Oh, and don’t forget to wedge and knead the clay before you hollow it out, also score and slip the pot before adding the handle. Unless you really know how to make pottery, you might be a little lost.

I’ll explain. If there are cracks in the clay you are molding with, it will be hard to shape and falls apart easily. If there are air bubbles in the clay when you fire it in the kiln, your masterpiece will explode. The spiral method of making pottery is difficult and it usually comes out lopsided if the clay “snake” is not rolled out evenly. You wedge and knead clay to get all the air bubbles out so it doesn’t explode in the kiln. You must also hollow out the inside of your pot because you couldn’t use it if you didn’t and also because there is a great chance there are air bubbles in that clay and it will explode in the kiln if you do not knead them out. You score and slip pieces of clay that you want to attach together, because they would not stick otherwise. Slip is a mixture of clay and water that acts as a glue for pieces of pottery. Scoring refers to the process of roughing up the surface area of the two objects that you want to attach, where you want to attach them; scoring is like making scratch marks in the clay with a utensil such as a plastic fork before slipping it and attaching it. If you do something wrong, your masterpiece will either fall apart or explode when you try to complete it.

I wonder how many of us, would have known exactly what to do, without being told any of that information. How many of us could have made perfect, flawless teapots? And yet we treat our lives like a piece of pottery that we know exactly how to mold, which is the biggest lie. Does a pot know how to mold itself? So for God to accomplish his purpose in us, we must first become weak and willing. We are all works in progress. None of us are perfect. I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I look at people who don’t seem to have any problems in their life and wish I were them. Comparing myself to a broken, useless person who God has fixed, isn’t perfection. It’s a broken useless person who God has fixed and given a purpose to. I’ve misunderstood and undoubtedly misplaced perfection. We have God’s full attention. He is intent on making us into something wonderful. We never take the time to notice that our creator is perfect. We never take the time to compare our own lives to his. We are too caught up in comparing ourselves to “perfect” people. Like I said, I’m a work in progress, and only when I become weak, can God turn me into something breath-taking.

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 (MSG)

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle.

Categories: beauty, Bible, clay, clay pot, comparision, Corinthians, creations, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, perfection, potter, pottery, purpose, relationships, Self-esteem, Thoughts, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The past few weeks have been a challenge and I was tempted to write a blog post about it. But finding out where to begin was hard, and I feel like I’ve posted enough posts about the sadness in my life. Optimistic and cheerful are two words describing me in the dictionary and I want to keep up the image. This blog is to encourage others in their faith, not to tell them my life story. So while I was worrying about what to do, a song came on my iPod.

“Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life, we have some trouble
When you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……”

I love this song. If you’re having a bad day, this song is perfect. Spiritually this song has great value as well… but not as much as this verse:

Philippians 4:6-7(MSG)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

I hope today has been blessed, and don’t worry…don’t do it. Be Happy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Categories: Bible, christianity, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, happiness, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, Moving, people, prayer, reality, speech, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, words, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Learning to Listen

I’m a chatterbox. There is the plain truth in black and white. If someone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them. They will hear much more about my life than they ever wanted to. It’s comical really. But I also have a tendency to be a chatterbox to God. I talk and talk and talk about my problems. Why this, why that, I wonder about this, I wonder about that, on and on and on. It’s good to pray. It’s good to talk. But sometimes all the talking drowns out what the other person is trying to say and you miss something important. When my mouth isn’t moving, there is something wrong with me physically. When my heart is talking, there is something wrong with me spiritually.

Why is there something wrong with me spiritually? It’s because I’ve completely ignored what God is trying to tell me. I’ve interrupted and kept talking. “Be still, and know that I am God.” For me, God is trying to tell me in that verse to stop being such a chatterbox and just quiet down and listen. He is God! He holds the entire world and my problems are nothing compared to him. One of the first steps toward having gentle and quiet spirit is to be quiet. Many of my friends are quiet people. That leaves me to do most of the talking. But when me and another friend both like to talk, it creates serious communication issues. You try to talk at the same time and all the words are jumbled together. When you tried to say “my fish is sick” and they tried to say, “I bought some tuna” you wind up with something like “my tuna fish is some stick”; not at all what you were trying to get across. It’s the same thing with God, though with a not nearly as funny outcome.

When you talk so much you can’t hear God, your almost saying “what I have to say is so much more important that what you have to say, therefore you must listen to me before I’ll hear anything from you.” It’s a detrimental spiritual disease called selfishness. It grows in your soul and has to be weeded out by a professional gardener; otherwise, it spreads and you think you are entitled to everything because the world revolves around you and what you want. This is what I’ve done when I needed to listen to God. Because I don’t, I wind up completely and utterly confused and lost. Because I don’t focus on his directions, I lose sight of the way he wants me to walk. Being quiet takes practice; it takes vigorous spiritual exercise to listen. When all you want to do is tell God about your problems, you forget that he is trying to tell you how to fix them. Spiritual chatterboxes don’t make strong Christians; they make confused Christians who have a selfish slant to their lives.

Praying is a wonderful thing. But prayer is a conversation, not a journal you’re keeping. With prayer, you talk to be heard and you talk to be answered. Spiritual talking is almost like a cheat prayer. You just talk to talk and whether anyone responds isn’t your concern. Each trial we face in our lives, is for us to learn from, whether we want to learn or not. The trials build up our faith and the more you learn from it, the stronger you faith becomes. But how much you learn depends on how much you listen.

Categories: Bible, Change, chatterbox, christianity, communication, converstions, encouragement, Faith, garden, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Journals, learning, life, listening, love, people, prayer, reality, relationships, selfishness, speech, Thoughts, Trust, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

My Future Husband

While Valentine’s Day and New Years are very much different, I have resolutions to be the best fiancee. I read at least five verses in Proverbs about not being a nagging spouse. About how living with a nagging spouse is worse than listening to a leaky faucet and how it would be better to live in a cabin alone than to live with a nagging spouse in a mansion. Ouch. While I’m not married yet, I have the best future husband ever! This is the long post where I tell you all about him. But really, it’s too short to began to describe how awesome he is.

He asked me to marry him when I was six years old. And, of course, I said yes. We then began growing our relationship even more and began planning our wedding. He told me about a place he knew where we would have our wedding. It sounded so beautiful, I couldn’t help but agree. I almost didn’t believe him, except for the fact that he never lies to me.

I met his dad, and absolutely loved him. He remains just like a father to me and I usually tell him all about my problems. Did you know he is both a counselor and a doctor? His dad is a pretty good teacher as well, so my future husband has the gift in his genes. His dad lives in the place where we will have our wedding. I told him, “It must be so wonderful because you live there.” He most definitely agreed with me.

My future husband writes me letters all the time. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the time to read them, but his dad told me that you make time for what is most important in your life. It made me feel guilty about the things I hadn’t read yet. My future husband never forgets to tell me how much he loves me and how he thinks I am the most beautiful girl in all the universe. He writes me songs and sings them to me and makes sure that I always feel loved. He shows me where I am wrong and tells me gently how to fix it. Sometimes, I let him be the handy man and fix it for me. There are some things that are beyond what I can do to repair.

He tells me not to be a nagging wife and trust him always because he knows best. That’s hard. My future husband doesn’t want me to drive the car, he wants to drive it for me so he knows that I am safe under his watch. He hugs me when things go wrong so I know I am safe in his arms. He tells me to dream big, because his dad can do anything, but not to dream so big that I lose sight of what really matters. Because it’s more important to have a bunch of people move to where his dad lives and see the wedding, than it is to make a big show of how many decorations we will have.

My future husband loves me so much that he moved away from his dad to come and ask me to marry him. At first his dad wouldn’t allow it, but my future husband gave me a red dress to wear while I’m around his dad, and now his dad has forgotten all the bad things that I did to soil his honor. But that red dress cost a fortune. My future husband had to pay a lot to give that dress away. It cost his life. He loved me enough to do something like that. I didn’t think I was worth it. But he told me that I was chosen, and no one can take me away from him, because I belonged to him and him alone.

My future husband moved back to where his dad lived . But he never forgot me and still writes me letters. Sometimes, I forget about him and the price he paid to have me. I find exciting things that live around me and I forget about my future husband. They become more important to me than my future husband. And my future husband gets mad, well… not mad, jealous. They never paid as much for me as he did, and he tells me that. We go to marriage counseling with his dad and I tell my future husband how sorry I am. I broke the contract we had, I shrugged off that red dress like it was nothing. I never expected to be forgiven. But I was.

My future husband loves me in spite of what I’ve done. He tells me that he still loves me and always will. He says I’m beautiful. My future husband never gave me a diamond ring. My eternal valentine never gave me a box of chocolates, a necklace, or a rose for Valentine’s Day. He gave me him, and that’s all I will ever need.

My future husband and I are getting married when I move up to heaven and all the wedding guests have arrived. They’ll ring the bells and the service will start. The best food will be served and we’ll all be praising him and his dad. My future husband’ s name is Jesus and we hope you’ll come to our wedding. My future husband… he’s awesome.

Categories: beauty, Bible, christianity, Church, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, looks, love, Moving, people, prayer, purpose, reality, relationships, teens, Thoughts, Trust, Valentine's Day, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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