Monday, November 30, 2009

Send Me Out.

For our last night of Bible study, I decided to dive into Luke instead of Hosea.

We read Luke 1:26-38.
Which talks about when the Angel came and told Mary that she was going to have a son, and all of her emotions/reactions through that.

We talked about:
- where we think God wants to or might use us
- experiencing God's grace; how it felt and how we responded
- what we are frustrated or confused with
- going from confusion, to questioning, to having faith
and my favorite,
- what does it mean to live by faith in the Word? what does it look like? what step of faith can we take next?

Also look at Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 2:44; and John 1:34.

God has such big plans for us, that we can't even fathom.... in ways we least expected. And like Mary, we have to be ready and willing to serve.

My favorite part: "For nothing is impossible with God. Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true.""
What strong faith she had... if only all of us had that strong of faith when God wants to use us. :)

Lacking Virtue?

God knows better than anyone how impatient I am.

Patience, overall, is just not easy for me.... waiting in lines, waiting for people, special occasions, etc.

If I could name one thing I'm just a little MORE impatient about - it'd be relationships. No, no... I'm not saying I want to be married within the next year. Haha. But a boyfriend would be nice.

But I'm torn. Because like Proverbs says, Guard your heart. So, I intend to do so.
But... a boyfriend would be nice.
But, I know God will bring him when I'M ready, and in HIS time.
But, I'm impatient.

Today, for some unknown reason, God kept showing and reminding me all day - be patient. in all things. Patience is a virtue.

Be patient.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm doing a small Christmas devotional, about the "12 Days of Christmas"... not sure how insightful or helpful it will end up being... but stuff to think about nonetheless. :)

The first one was about the greatest Christmas gift of all -- the birth of Christ.

If you read Romans 5:15-17, it talks about Adam's family (haha! :P) or Christ's family. Adam's family is the physical family, that deals with sin, etc. But being born into Christ's spiritual family... we have forgiveness and eternal life. My favorite part of my footnotes (what I took this last little part from) says: "If we do nothing, we receive death through Adam; but if we come to God by faith, we receive life through Christ. To which family line do you now belong?"

Christmas has become such a big thing about gifts and presents. But we've seemed to almost forgotten the greatest gift of all... or, the greatest-gift-giver of all.

"This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ."
- Frank McKibben

Monday, November 23, 2009

Don't Look; Be.

At church, our pastor is doing a series on five things to do/experience before you die. Today's "thing" was to have one true friendship.

One true friendship that is not your spouse.

John 15:12-14 says, "This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command."

The Bible says we should love others because God loves us, and love others in that way. In the words of our pastor, "Love God, love others, love yourself. In that order."

Don't be selfish... carry yourself third.

True friendship isn't found by looking, but by being that true friend. Kind of like, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How can you treat someone like crap and expect them remain your friend?

The story in 1 Samuel 18 (thru 20) talks about David and Jonathan and their friendship. They had a strong friendship because their friendship wasn't just based on each other, but on their commitment to God; they let nothing come between then, and drew closer when their friendship was tested.

Part of friendships is healthy confrontations.. letting the other one know when they're in the wrong. Don't avoid these. As our pastor said, true friendships form when you can both say the last 10%... the 10% being the part where you say what's wrong.

Best friends will not only defend you in front of others, but say the last 10%, and stay beside you.

God has blessed me with amazing friends... amazing. I'm not saying my friends are better than yours. I'm saying I have the best friends for me. And I try SO hard to be that to them. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I saw The Blind Side last night.... it was amazing. I joke that it was just because it had football in it, but really - one of the best movies I've ever seen.

This rich family (more, the mom at first) takes in a homeless kid who doesn't really have family, he lived in the projects, isn't smart... and gives him a home. Eventually, he makes it to college with their help.

The movie made me realize how selfish, arrogant and rude we are. Not just to homeless or poor people, but to each other. Like... wow - we're classmates, family, acquaintances, we live together, or work together... or maybe don't even know each other.... and half the time we're too arrogant or prideful to apologize, or go out of our way to help someone, or just be a decent person and be nice.

It seems sometimes we're too blinded by what's "wrong" in our life, to stop and consider that someone may have had it worse, or is having a rough time now.... and help them, or just be... NICE. This lady took that kid in off the streets and gave him home, which is huge. But, how often do we do something a fraction of that size?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Movie Quote.

"My mother always told me the hardest things to do in life are to trust, to have faith and to forgive."

How true that is.. especially in my life right now.

Trust isn't always easy - especially for me. It's not about holding grudges, it's a defense. But, if I learned anything this semester - trust God more than you trust people. With that, when times get hard... that's when people lose their faith and stray farther and farther from God. When actually, in these times... people need to draw closer to God for strength and comfort. One of the hardest things for people to do is forgive others. I, too, have a difficult time with this - whether people are close to me or not. But, the Bible says if we don't forgive others that God will do the same to us.

Right now, I have to trust what God is doing and stay strong in that... and forgive those who have hurt me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Friday is "To Write Love on Her Arms" Day.

In short, TWLOHA is an organization to help those who suffer with depression, addictions, self-injury and suicide. It works towards helping those people get rid of those thoughts and habits, and reminding me there is a hope and they are loved. (Here's the site if you to know more.)

I had never heard of TWLOHA until last year. I participated/supported it for a few select people, and because I believe there are a lot of people out there suffering and need help.

This year, I'm participating again. Close friends, and probably people I know - but don't know what they're hiding - are suffering. But, some have gone through tough times but now know how much they really are loved - my friends, family, and God.

"How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings." -- Psalm 36:7

Some people, who suffer with these problems or not, don't know how much God loves them. Sometimes, you are the only influence of God they have or see in their life. And how often do we not show love to everyone around us; friends, enemies, strangers?

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." -- Romans 5:8

Friday, consider writing love on your arm for those suffering. Maybe you don't know anyone (or aren't aware of it)... but if someone doesn't know about TWLOHA, you can share the story.

"Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other." -- 1 John 4:11

But, more than just on this day... we (me included!) need to show more love to each other.
Stop hating and judging, and start loving.

To those reading this who might be suffering, you ARE loved. By me, your friends, family... and when all else fails, God :)

"...but love covers over all wrongs." -- Proverbs 10:12

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Question of the Day.

Today, I read the story about the Prodigal Son (Luke 15).

In this passage, Jesus is teaching sinners about their need and opportunity to make themselves right with God. Which, is needed so much these days... there are people who don't even know God, but then there are people who are struggling in their faith.

This passage just talks so much about how easy it is for humans to rebel against God. And it shows how horrible the son felt when he strayed from God and wasn't communicating with Him at all. When he finally decided to repent, and turn back home... that was a huge step, and it took a lot of courage to do that. People don't like admitting their sin... I mean, who wants to step up and say, yeah... I was doing wrong?

Jesus paid the price for our sin, and when we follow Him... we get the greatest gift ever - eternity with God.

The most difficult part of this story is watching the son stray from God. We see it every day with people we know... and sometimes we don't do anything but watch, and sometimes we help and it doesn't work. But sometimes, we have to just love and pray for them, and wait. And then: "But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."

The question is, which character are you?

Monday, November 9, 2009


This is probably just going to ramble and not flow very well.... so just brace yourself.

The sermon on Sunday was about forgiveness. The pastor challenged us to (before we die) live one day without any resentment/bitterness towards anyone. On the other side of that, acknowledge that you are the reason for someone else's pain or anger. I know I've hurt people, and even though I've (mostly) let go of the anger towards people who've hurt me.... I can't be certain that the same has been done for me. Which, I'm the type of person that - if you hate me, then that's not my problem. But, I would hope that people would at least forgive me.

My pastor said, "Forgiveness isn't pretending it never happened, unlimited second chances or just forgetting." He went on to say that it's forgiving their wrongs, remembering it but not holding a grudge. I use to be able to hold a grudge with the best of 'em... but now I look back, and what was the point in that? What was gained?

I guess the messages were heard backwards, because tonight at Bible study we talked about our actions and judging others. (Hosea 8, in case you were wondering.) No one is perfect. But, there are things we can work on. Tonight was a lot about how we tend to put things or people in front of God, and turn to those instead of/before God. It continued onto facing God's judgement, and those who deserve praise will be praised - and those who don't.... won't. Knowing you're in the wrong and not changing your behavior is just putting you on the path to destruction. (That's one of the verses paraphrased.) And although the Bible says we are to point out the sins of others, it's not our place to judge. God places the ultimate judgement.

Today, I read something, and my favorite blurb said, "In being immersed in the Bible, the words became part of who I am. They infuse my attitude and my actions. Over time, I don’t so much think, ‘now what is the Biblical approach here?’ I just do it. But not in my own strength, my own authority, but through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. I seek to be immersed in the Word so that it becomes part of my thinking and my actions. I seek to live the Word, that who I am reflects the love of God." I think lately, my struggle isn't not seeking His word... but sharing that joy and desires to others. It's hard to not become stationary in your faith, I believe, if you aren't seeking His word daily (or every other day at least...).

"We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Thoughts.

So, every week, the girl Bible study leaders on campus meet together and talk... sometimes productively, other times not as much. There's not always a specific topic... just whatever comes up.

This week, we got to talking about relationships and boyfriends.
Which, what girl doesn't need to hear about that?

Here's some of what we talked about:

There's no dating in the Bible. Maybe "dating" one or two people, but then that was it... and they got married. Does that mean we don't date? Not exactly. Should you pray about whether or not this is the guy you're supposed to be with? Yes.

What's most important in a relationship is that both people are seeking Him and praying. Therefore, we (girls) shouldn't worry about if we're ever going to get married or find someone... we're not going to miss him. If you're both seeking God, He will bring you together. And if/when you start dating - your relationship should be about keeping the other more focused on God, rather than focus on each other.

You should consider every guy like your brother, until God shows you he should be more than that. Guard your heart.

Having JUST guy friends is good - God is teaching you how to JUST be friends with guys. .... Since sometimes in marriages there can be jealousy of opposite sex friends, etc.

God will bring you someone in time. Having the desire to get married isn't bad though, because He gave us that desire - and if you have that desire... He's not going to not fulfill it.

Hosea 7.

“I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars. Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside! Its people don’t realize that I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I see them all."

- God sees and knows everything. We, like Israel, often forget this. thoughts like, "No one will ever know," or "no one is watching" may tempt us to try to get away with sin. If you are facing difficult temptations, you will be less likely to give in if you remind yourself that God is watching.

- Ezek 24:13 - "Your impurity is your lewdness and the corruption of your idolatry. I tried to cleanse you, but you refused. So now you will remain in your filth until my fury against you has been satisfied.”

- Sometimes He tries to purify us through difficulties and troublesome circumstances. When you face tough times, allow the sin to be burned from your life. Look at your problems as opportunities for your faith to grow.

- Jer 2:19 – “Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

- Sometimes we lose focus and don’t realize our actions. We’re the only ones accountable for our actions, and God will punish us for them if we don’t ask for forgiveness.

“The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake! Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don’t even know it. Their hair is gray, but they don’t realize they’re old and weak. Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don’t return to the Lord their God or even try to find him.”

- How do we “mingle” with them, but not take on their actions? Where do you draw the line?

- The half-baked cake can also be related to only loving God halfway… when actually He wants our full devotion.

“The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves, first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help. But as they fly about, I will throw my net over them and bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will punish them for all the evil they do.”

- We often go to parents or friends for help, when God is the one who can solve our problems. (Even though there is such thing as seeking wise counsel, we still need to turn to Him.)

“What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me.They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine, and they turn away from me.”

- Amos 2:8 – “At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of their god, they drink wine bought with unjust fines.”

- What do we use as security instead of Him?

“I trained them and made them strong, yet now they plot evil against me. They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow. Their leaders will be killed by their enemies because of their insolence toward me. Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them.”

- A crooked bow is unreliable. Its arrows miss the target, and its owner would be quite vulnerable in battle. Life without God is as unreliable as a crooked bow. Without God’s direction, our thoughts are filled with lust, cheating, selfishness, and deceit. As long as we are warped by sin, we will never reach our true potential.

- Nahum 1:9 – “Why are you scheming against the Lord? He will destroy you with one blow; He won’t need to strike twice!”

- Psalm 78:57 – “They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow.”

- (Not saying our parents are faithless…) But our generation is “louder” and more active in their faith than our parents and grandparents. And we talked about how we come to college and develop our faith, and why we do what we do, etc.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Loudly I'll Sing, Loudly I'll Live.

A reoccurring theme I've been hearing about lately seems to be how we live, or present ourselves... how people perceive us. Or more importantly - the people you surround yourself with.

What and who you surround yourself with, reflects in your actions. It reflects the way you talk and think; your outlook on life.

I found it ironic at the time (high school graduation), and find it ironic now... that my mom chose this quote to play in my segment of the senior slideshow: "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Emerson

The sermon in church yesterday (Click here) talked about discerning God's will for our life. And, about how there are some "ill-intentioned" people in your life who try to drag you away from that, that can be friends or people who aren't really your friends.

Some friends really are only for a season; God brought them into your life for a reason, and they aren't in your life anymore for another reason. But, you have to look back and realize why and see how much things have changed - for the better.

Surround yourself with people that won't drag you down, that won't cause you to stumble. And do the same to someone else.

"Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall."
- Romans 14:13