Tuesday, April 28, 2009
We could each name off different challenges and trials we're facing..... family issues, unemployment, sickness, decisions to make, etc.
The world is constantly changing. Life is not certain. It never has been since the Fall and it never will be until sweet Jesus comes again!
But you know what? I have some news for you, my friends.
Our God is UNCHANGING.
He is ALWAYS THE SAME. YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMMOROW, FOREVER!
He is FAITHFUL.
He is the ROCK ON WHICH WE STAND.
How firm a FOUNDATION
He is our HOPE.
He is my JOY.
Praise you Jesus!!
He will NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US!
He is the CORNERSTONE.
He is PEACE.
He is the REDEEMER.
He is LOVE.
Oh how I love my beautiful Savior.
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed."
I want to run down the hill from the orphanage to go and hug this sweet friend. Was she able to go to the doctor? Has her body been healed? My heart aches for the people of this country. I miss their hugs, their language, their hospitality.
This my friends, is one in 143 million. That just brings me to my knees today and makes me cry.
That's my heart, laid out for you today. I'm homesick and saddened by this world we live in. And so today, I have to turn these children, these people, this country over to the hands of the Father and have faith that He will protect and provide for them.
Philippians 3:12-14 have really been an encouragement to me the past couple of weeks:
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Each one of us could apply this to a different aspect of life. We each have different races we are running, different calls God has given us.
My race, for right now, if getting through high school. There was a point this past fall in which we thought that I was going to graduate early (this May.Since i'm homeschooled, I could've worked ahead). BUT- God had other plans! And, I can honestly say that I know this plan is better. It really truly is. God has been so faithful to show me that. But sometimes, I just get tired of running this race. As my good friends get ready to graduate I am LOVING watching them finish up their schoolwork and get all excited. It has been so much fun and I can't wait to go to their graduation ceremonies and celebrate their completion of this portion of the race! I am so excited for them. But there's that piece of my heart that is still disappointed that I'm not moving on with them too. So, as I sat in church 2 weeks ago, having a battle inside with my emotions (lingering desire to move on) fighting against my brain (knowledge that I KNOW this is best for me to wait), this sermon was preached.
So now when I'm growing weary of running this race I think of this verse.
I'm "forgetting what is behind"- previous plans that were not the Lord's will
And "straining towards what is ahead"- one more year of high school
As we go through our lives running the rocky mountain paths, and jogging through the smooth paved trails, we can look upward to the Savior who gave us the call. He called us to service with Him, to be salt and light in a darkened world. To serve and love. We can run with our face to the Son, for the one who called us is faithful. And He will never forsake us in this journey. No matter how many times we tire, stumble, or take a wrong turn. The God who called us is faithful. And I'm praising Him for it!
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."
1 Corinthinans 2:2
Our walk with the Lord should not end after our acceptance of Him. We must continue on in our journey, digging through our hearts and throwing out the garbage. We must surrender all the things that are keeping us from knowing Christ more in a deeper way. This is so convicting to me. I am a total control-freak with my relationship with Christ. I hold back what I'm not willing to surrender. I hold onto it for dear life. In the end, all it does is hurt me. It keeps me from knowng my Savior more. It keeps me from knowing Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering because I'm too distracted and obsessed with keeping myself comfortable. God is not satisfied with leaving us where we are!! And I LONG to grow closer to Him!
So, I'm thankful for a wonderful weekend and a renewed spirit. The following poem was written during my devotional time on Sat. morning at the retreat.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This weekend, I have my last retreat. It's a ladies' retreat for church and I'm helping to lead worship. They're also letting me set up a table for Scraps 'n Ribbons!! So that is very exciting. However, that meant I had to stock up on some things!! So.... I went and got some fabric and ribbon and have been sewing and bow-making the past 2 evenings. While sewing, I've had lots of time to think and I realized that this business has been going for over a year!! WOW!! God is SO good! I can't believe this journey He has brought us on and I am so thankful that He has given me this avenue to "let out" some of my love and passion for the orphans.
I'm excited to see what God does this weekend. I'm hopeful that we will have alot of business. And I'm thankful for what God has done, is doing, and will do in the future of Scraps 'n Ribbons.
Oh man. Where to start with the concert??!!! It was INCREDIBLE!! SO GOOD! It was worth every penny to go.
I had a wonderful weekend. It was long and crazy but it was great. So I'll cover that in a series of posts. This post is about the retreat I went on with my youth group Friday night.
We had a great time and a phenomenal speaker. He was so good. So I thought I'd share with you a few take-aways from that.
His theme was "The Resurrection Life."
1. Our culture does not indicate the belief that Christ has risen from the grave. Americans are no longer following God as they used to. Our world is selfish, materialistic, and empty. All of these things are a result of the fall. It's hard to be a Christian and find that balance of being "in" and not "of." It's difficult to not let yourself be hollowed-out, numb, downcast, and discouraged. Sometimes it is hard for me to find God in the midst of all of this. It's hard to keep my face to the light and see hope. But- we are living for something GREATER than this world!! We are not living for this world but for our Savior! We are being commissioned to go out and do His work in this darkened world. We are living for something greater than this life. Much much greater. And all because our Savior conquered the grave do we have that hope of eternal life in a place where there are no more tears and no more suffering. So because our Jesus has risen we can find hope and joy in spreading the light of His redeeming love.
2. The next few thoughts come from Philippians 3: 7-14, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
- One of the benefits of following Christ is we have a specific destination. We do not need to wander around aimlessly because we have been given a goal and a call!
- In order to succeed in this journey of following Christ we must have an undivided heart. This was a really convicting thought for me as I know that my heart is not completely devoted to my Savior. I choose things of this world and my own selfishness over serving Him wholeheartedly.
3. During devotionals I wrote another poem. Surprise surprise lol. I was just praying and reflecting on who God is and what that means for me. I wrote it as though God is speaking to me, His daughter.
I have overcome the grave
I am mighty to save
With your life, dreams, your all
I will never let you fall
To the hope I give today
For I'm the only way
To the grace I freely give
And you may truly live
You are a daughter of the King
It is over you I sing
That You are my delight
I'll never let you out of sight
In the promises I bring
In every simple thing
In what I have in store
Daughter, sorrow is no more!
I feel like this poem sums up what it is God is teaching me, and who I am in Him.
So that was my retreat and what God spoke to me!!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
1. The smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. (and the cookie dough and chocolate chips that I have been eating from the bowl all morning lol).
2. Our Sr. High retreat tommorow-Sat. We have a great speaker lined up and I'm excited for it!
3. The Semlows invited me to go with them to the Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith concert Saturday night! :) I'm excited for that too! SCC has such a HUGE heart for adoption and I do love his music.
4. It is truly the last leg of the school year. I am SO thankful! I have a huge presentation for my spanish class, then finals in 3 weeks. Meanwhile, I'll finish up my homeschool stuff and should be done by mid-May!! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. SUMMER is fast-approaching!!
5. A relaxed day with no activities, no big assignments due!!
Well.... that's all for now! :)
Hope y'all have a GREAT Thursday and a great weekend!! I probably won't blog again until Monday. But hopefully I'll have lots of pics! :)
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
In Isaiah 62:1-5 God writes (i added the italics):
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn (until you shimmer),
her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory (your beauty);
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand (the crown of creation),
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah (my delight is in her),
and your land Beulah (married);
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a maiden (he pursues her, romances her)...
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (you are lovely),
so will your God rejoice over you.
Is that not beautiful??!! I read that today and was like, "Wow. That is so amazing." My mentor and I are still working through Captivating and this week's chapter was about the hatred that the Enemy has for women. Ladies, he fears us!! John and Stasi Eldredge say, "Satan has set against every woman from the day of her brith. It's the emotional and spiritual equivalent of leaving a little girl by the side of the road to die. And to every woman he has whispered, "You are alone, or, When they see who you really are, you will be alone, or, No one will ever truly come for you.... Satan is the one who has done these things to prevent your restoration. For this is what he fears. He fears who you are; what you are; what you might become. He fears your beauty and your life-giving heart." So let's FIGHT ladies!! Reading this made me want to reject all the world says about me. It made me want to stand up, be bold, and go unafraid into the world to achieve all that God has for me- reach my full potential.
So going back to the Scripture above- I hope that your heart is encouraged as mine was when I read this. What sweet promises our Savior gives. He delights in us, pursues us, romances us, loves us. Everything our heart longs for!! How amazing. How great is our God and worthy to be praised. So take heart, beauties. We have a lover who will fight for us. We have a lover who believes without a shadow of a doubt that we are beautiful- even when we can't see it in ourselves. Let's rise up in the strength of our God and reach the full potential that He has for us. We can find victory through Him.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Drawn from Water from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.
What do you think? I am distraught. Seriously disturbed by this world. But WOW. Praise Jesus for people who are willing and able to go and serve these children. I think that is awesome that the guy and his family are going down there to run the orphanage. Someday maybe that will be me, cuddling and loving on precious kids. I'm all yours, Lord!!
Friday, April 10, 2009
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5:6-8
So today, I am mindful of and thankful for Jesus' amazing gift. As though I haven't given you enough to chew on....... here's a poem and 2 songs that have been running through my head.
As I think of this day, and my comfortable life
I can't help but imagine all the terrible strife
That sweet Jesus endured, and all for our gain.
For our gift of life, the Son of God was slain.
On that dark somber day our Christ Jesus was hung
On a cross made of wood, a victory won.
Each bitter thought was placed on his head
The price was paid- “It is finished,” he said.
I cannot comprehend this incredible act.
Such love we were shown, and we can't pay it back.
Undeserving, unappreciative, and selfish am I.
My heart breaks to think- for my sins did the Savior die.
On this day of rememberance, as we ponder it all.
May our hearts feel the grief, the results of the Fall.
May we see the great love that sweet Jesus has shown.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Oh SO many things to be thankful for today... this is going to be a really random post- lots of serious thoughts but also some silly ones.
1. Our opening scripture at church on Sunday was 2 Timothy 2:13, "If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown himself." For whatever reason, this verse has been running through my head all week. It brings several thoughts. First, I feel convicted. I am convicted of being faithless. I do not show complete devotion to our Father, and I do not show faith like a child. Over and over again, I choose something else over Him, or my heart harbors unbelief that He can perform miracles or change a situation. Secondly, I am filled with AWE!! The whole concept of God's faithfulness to us just blows me away. It is amazing. In this verse, it says that He must remain faithful or He will disown Himself. The essence of our sweet loving Jesus is faithfulness. He will remain forever and ever, a strong foundation that we can stand upon without ever doubting if it will hold. Praise Jesus! Thank you that you are faithful!!
2. My mom and I went on college visits last week (that's a whole other post in itself lol) but on the way there and back, we listened to some exceptional sermons on dating and marriage. The pastor was talking about just how incredible the love is that our Father shows for us and how He pursues us again and again and again. Over and over. Day after day. Year after year. We turn away from Him, become "adulterers" by choosing other things before our sacred relationship with Christ. Yet, He comes back to me and says, "Daughter, I love you. Despite your imperfections. Despite your stubborness. Despite your sin. I love you and forgive you. Come back to me." That is so beautiful!! I am so thankful that my sweet Jesus pursues me.
3. While I'm on the topic of college..... I could write a book. But suffice it to say that I am incredibly thankful for all the wonderful options that I have. And most of all, I am clinging to God's promise that He has a plan. I'm prone to fear and anxiety, worrying that I will choose the wrong place. I mean, this is a HUGE decision. But I have no reason to worry!! The Lord knows each step I will take and where I will be fall of '10!! I am so thankful that I can rest in His plan.
4. Now this one will show how nerdy I am!! But I am truly thankful for all of the other blogs that are out there. I know it sounds weird but I'm not embarassed to admit it. I love reading other people's blogs and following their journey. God has used other people's stories to help grow me. I have been inspired and touched by their lives. I have formed a better vision of the kind of woman that I want to be, the kind of teacher, daughter, wife, and mother that I hope to be in the future. And- I wish I could meet you all!!!! :) Maybe someday. So thanks for sharing your lives, your stories, your photography. I love it all! :)
5. I am so thankful for the sunshiney day out and the warmer weather!
6. I'm thankful I'm almost halfway through this crazy month of April lol! With the help of the calendar, a school plan, and lots of to-do lists I've done fairly well.... so far! :)
7. I'm thankful for a long weekend to spend with family. My aunt and uncle came in from NY today, and we'll see the other side of the family as well on Easter after church.
I hope you all have a FABULOUS THANKFUL Thursday!! Remember to PRAISE our God for all of the blessings He has lavished upon us.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I have been so inspired and encouraged by their blog and their faith.
Their magazine has a free blog directory that I've entered my blog in. So maybe I'll get some new visitors soon! :)
If you'd like to take a look at the magazine go here: http://www.seriouslifemagazine.com/ It's full of Christian articles and interviews of other really neat Godly people.
If you'd like to read about Abby and the Riggs family go to their blog: http://riggsfamilyblog.com
None of my friends have their hair like this so it's unique to me. My brothers both think I look older, which is great! I can't go to the gym without having someone ask me where my parents are at and why I'm in the adult fitness room. Um... I drove myself here. Then they always feel bad. Maybe that won't happen anymore. With my fun new look!
whose blogs content or design is,
in the giver's opinion, brilliant."
you have to give 10 'Honest' things about yourself
and then of course tag a few of your blogger friends to play along ...
so here goes ...