Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Here?

I spent most of the day today reading news articles. The situation in Africa right now tears my heart apart. There are people dying in Zimbabwe for lack of food. I read of people who are praying for berries to grow so they will have something to eat. This one article really struck me, especially the picture. I had a good Christmas this year, but at times I felt that I couldn't really enjoy it. The entire day, I kept looking at all my gifts, thinking of this one picture, and almost crying as I thought, I have so much!! I wished I could share it with these people. Next year, I think that I will ask not for gifts, but donations in my name. My grandmother gave a donation to Heifer International in my name. The e-mail they sent me said that they had sent a flock of geese to a poor African family.

For some reason, I love Africa with all of my heart. Some of my favorite people are from Africa. I have at least a dozen friends from there. As I read of the thousands of people in Zimbabwe who are dying of cholera (which is so easily treated!) I long so much to go there. Why must I be here, in America, when I long to be working in Africa or India? I want to hold the hurting, and I want to be with the poor. I can't forget how my African friends have begged me to go to their countries and bring medicines to their people. I want so much to bring them medicines and show them the love of Jesus. So many of them are dying without even hearing His name.

And I think of the stories that I have heard from missionaries I know in Bolivia.  There are 2,000 street kids in one city alone.  The political situation in the country results in much rioting and many strikes, leaving people without transportation and often unable to get food.  Cocaine is the country's biggest crop.  Children as young as five are addicted to drugs and to sniffing glues.  HIV/AIDS and TB are common, and not many are treated.  I would love to go there and work with the children of Bolivia some day, and tell them about a Man who died for them.   

Why must I be here?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Wow, I'm on a writing streak! Two posts in one day. Must be a record! I got in one of my old writing moods tonight (I don't get them too much during school....) and I just had to stay up and write this. So I thought I'd post it. I'll explain more of the background in a few days. For now, I'll just say that November has been the worst month of my life. This semester was difficult, but it was going well until about a month ago. Then everything I'd worked for came crashing down around me.

These past few weeks have been the hardest of my life. I have been humbled more than I ever wished to be. Humility doesn't come easily, especially when you struggle with pride as much as I do. In the middle of all the heartache, I just kind of collapsed. The past few weeks I’ve been sitting on the couch, with my lip eternally stuck out, pouting to God and hating the world. Why God? Why does life have to be so hard? Why can’t I just be in heaven with You? Why do I have to go through hardships?

Then I began to realize. What if Jesus had felt this way? He left heaven to suffer here on earth. I long for heaven, but I have never tasted its joys. Jesus knew all about heaven’s joys. He was the King of heaven, who came to be humiliated on earth. His entire life on earth was about suffering. Yet He did it for joy. “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Heb. 12:2) That is something I’m just now grasping: how our suffering actually can be for joy. The other day as I was listening to a song on the radio, I realized that my main problem with this whole situation is that I haven’t been focused on hope. What hope we have in Christ!! I have not experienced anything even close to what other people have experienced in the way of hardships. Compared to Job, I have lost nothing at all. Yet Job still fell down and worshipped his Creator. What a greater, more glorifying thing it would be if I were to take hold of God and hold on so, so tightly during my hard times.

I have realized that it is okay for me to not be okay. God gives us strength in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), and somehow He has designed it so that when we fade away to nothing, He is even more glorified. But it is not okay for me to sit and feel sorry for myself, to not read my Bible, and to sap the strength from all those around me. I need to get my strength from God alone. Yes it is okay to have Christians who share our burdens. That is what Christian community is all about. But it is wrong for me to rely on them more than God. And somehow in this weakness, I’ve gotten further from God rather than closer to Him. I’ve allowed myself to believe that since I was depressed, I didn’t need to read my Bible. That because I didn’t really feel like praying, it was okay to not pray. After all, other people are praying for me, right?! That should be enough. Surely God will understand. But why in the world would I not want to sit and pour my heart out to God? He is my best Friend, my Husband, and the only thing in the universe that matters. Oh my heart breaks to think of my complete weakness! I don’t even have to strength to cling to Him when I need Him the most. What a mighty God we serve, that He loves us in spite of our weaknesses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Life, Big Difference

I found this at http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com. The story comes from the Billy Graham Library. What an amazing and encouraging story!!

Edward Kimble and the Shoe Salesman

It was July 1, 1885 when Edward Kimble felt the tugging of the Spirit to share his faith with a young shoe salesman he knew.

At first Kimble vacillated, unsure if he should talk to the man. But he finally mustered his courage and went into the shoe store. There Kimble found the salesman in the back room stocking shoes, and he began to share his faith with him.

As a result, the young shoe salesman prayed and received Jesus Christ that day. That shoe salesman's name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the greatest evangelists of his generation.

But the story doesn't end there. Several years later a pastor and well-known author by the name of Frederick B. Meyer heard Moody preach. Meyer was so deeply stirred by Moody's preaching that he himself embarked on a far-reaching evangelistic ministry.

Once when Meyer was preaching, a college student named Wilbur Chapman accepted Christ as a result of his presentation of the gospel. Chapman later employed a baseball player to help him prepare to conduct an evangelistic crusade. That ballplayer, who later became a powerful evangelist himself, was Billy Sunday.

In 1924 a group of businessmen invited Billy Sunday to hold an evangelistic campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina, which resulted in many people coming to Christ. Out of that revival meeting a group of men formed a men's prayer group to pray for the world. They prayed for Charlotte to have another great revival.

God sent another evangelist named Mordecai Hamm. Hamm went to Charlotte in 1934 to hold a crusade. Ham's crusade went well, even though it did not have many converts. On one of the last nights under the big tent one tall, lanky young man walked up the aisle to receive Christ.

That man's name was Billy Graham.

Talk about a chain of events! And it all started with an ordinary Christian named Edward Kimble, who reached D.L. Moody, who reached Wilbur Chapman, who reached Billy Sunday, who reached Mordecai Ham, who reached Billy Graham.

Look at what God has done over these many years because of the faithfulness of one person.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Kiss the Son

Yesterday's election was definitely disappointing. While I am not surprised that Obama won, I strongly disagree with Obama on a lot of issues and I think that a lot of his policies are going to be very damaging to this country. However, he is now our President-Elect. We must still respect him as such. As Christians, we are "to be submissive to rulers and authorities." (Titus 3:1) Obama does not need us to fight against him. What he needs is for us to pray for him. Please join me in praying that before it is too late, he will "kiss the Son."

Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 3 "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." 7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

World On Fire

This is a video I first saw last year at the Collegiate Conference in Glorieta, New Mexico. My sister and I were talking about missions the other day, and we remembered this video. It is not put together by Christians, but it definitely emphasizes the principles that all Christians should live by. There are so many things that we can do to impact this world. We need to be willing to sacrifice the amazing recources that God has blessed us with. When I look just at all the possessions I have, things that I never use, I have to feel guilty when I remember those who have nothing. Just this morning at breakfast, my parents and I began talking about how wasteful we really are. Maybe it is time for us to take a step back and put our blessings to use for other people.

I have several friends on my college campus who are international students. The other day, I was helping two of my African friends study for their nursing exam. We started talking about the differences in health care in America versus the health care avaliable in their countries. In their countries, they said, people die quickly of diseases because there are no medicines avaliable. I told them that I want to be a nurse so that I can bring medicine to the people of the world that don't have any, and they both said, "Oh please, go to our countries and bring them medicines!"

Last week, I became really sick with a stomach virus and ended up in the hospital because I was so dehydrated. I was so thankful, though, to be able to get the care I needed! This is why I want to be a nurse. There are so, so many people who die everyday of diseases that are cureable with simple treatments! This video gives me such a passion for this world. There are so many needy people.

p.s. I'm sorry if you have this on a news feed and kept getting updates.... I had problems getting the video embedded right.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

There is a Reason

The other day I was driving in my car, and I just started to think about all the pain that exists in this world--the mothers who can't feed their own children, the people who don't know Jesus, the patients I've taken care of who had HIV and the little children who were in so much pain. I started to cry just thinking about all of it. This world has so much heartache.

But today I was listening to my MP3 player while studying, and this song came on. I've never really listened to the words before, but they were exactly what I needed to hear today. It's so amazing how true this is. I have been struggling with a few things lately, but I can honestly say that I have never been so close to Jesus as I am now. I love Him with my whole heart. I hope these words bless you as much as they did me.

I've seen hard times and I've been told
There isn't any wonder that I fall
Why do we suffer, crossing off the years
There must be a reason for it all

I've trusted in You, Jesus, to save me from my sin
Heaven is the place I call my home
But I keep on getting caught up in this world I'm living in
And Your voice it sometimes fades before I know

Hurtin' brings my heart to You, crying with my need
Depending on Your love to carry me
The love that shed His blood for all the world to see
This must be the reason for it all

Hurtin' brings my heart to You, a fortress in the storm
When what I wrap my heart around is gone
I give my heart so easily to the ruler of this world
When the One who loves me most will give me all

In all the things that cause me pain You give me eyes to see
I do believe but help my unbelief
I've seen hard times and I've been told
There is a reason for it all

~From Allison Krauss + Union Station Live

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Living with Sincerity

Sometimes in my walk with Christ, I find that the Holy Spirit emphasizes particular words or phrases. This week, the word that I keep thinking about is sincerity. I want so much to live my life sincerely in every part. I want nothing hidden from Him, and I want everything to be done all for His glory!!

2 Corinthians 11:3--But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Ephesians 6:5--Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ.

Philippians 1:9-10--And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

Friday, June 20, 2008

At the Feet of Jesus

At the feet of Jesus
I'm laying down my load
I cannot hope to keep
What I've been clutching anymore
I'm poured out like water on
A dry and barren land
Giving all that I've held dear
An offering You demand

All that You require
Is nothing left of me
An empty pitcher filled
With the beauty found in Thee
Peace that passes understanding
And joy that never ends
A life devoted to Thee, My Lord
Rejoicing with You as Friend

[Written after studying Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot, and 2 Samuel 23:13-17]

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lessons from the Disciples

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Yesterday, my pastor preached a sermon on this passage from Matthew 26:30-35. I was really struck by some of the things that he said. I thought that I would share some of my notes from the sermon:

Here the disciples were faced with the decision to deny Christ or be killed. We are all faced with times when we must stand up for Christ or deny Him. Later each one of the disciples died for their boldness in preaching the gospel of Christ. But here, ever single one of them falls away. V. 35—Every one of the disciples defended themselves and reassured themselves that they would never fall. They were genuinely sure that they would never turn away from Christ. They were relying on their own self-sufficiency rather than God. But they were about to fail the test. He was trying to teach them through this.

First of all, He wanted the disciples to see, you are insufficient to handle this trial. He reminded them of their weakness. He wanted them to realize their spiritual poverty, that they didn’t have enough on their own. [1 Cor. 10:12] He wanted them to realize their need of Him. Judas deliberately plotted to betray Christ. The other disciples weren’t deliberately planning to deny Christ, but they had to realize that you cannot be faithful to Christ without utterly depending on Him. Luke 22:31-34—Jesus knew that although His disciples would deny Him, their faith would not fail, because He had prayed for them (as He prays for us all).

Secondly, He wanted them to know that He loved them and would be gracious to them. John 21:4-19—In this passage, Jesus is talking with Peter on the beach, and proving his love for Him. Jesus asks Peter twice, “Do you [agape] love me?” And both times Peter answers, “Yes, Lord, I [pheilo] love You.” Agape is an overwhelming love, more than any other thing. Essentially, Jesus was asking Peter, “Do you love me more than anything else?” But Peter was saying, “Yes, Lord, I love you like a brother.” Finally Jesus asked, “Peter, do you [pheilo] love Me?” And Peter told Him, “You know me and my heart, and You know that I love You like a brother.” Peter was admitting this time that he didn’t have the love for Christ that he needed. He knew that he didn’t have the strength to love Christ like he should, but in that knowledge of his weakness, he was empowered by Christ to stand. Only 40 days later, as recorded in Acts chapter 2, Peter would stand for Christ in front of the very people who had crucified Him, and call for them all to repent.

I think that this passage really impacted me a lot, because I have been realizing the past few weeks just how insignificant and weak I really am. I don't have the strength to do anything on my own. But God has been daily reminding me, that through Him I have all the strength that I need. I just need to trust and rely on Him for that strength rather than trying to do it on my own. Without Him I am nothing. But through Christ, I have the strength to do all things.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Beauty of Praha

I am writing this from an apartment in Prague, Czech Republic [Praha, Ceska republika in Czech].  I've been here for almost a month, and I will be flying back home to the states on Thursday.  It really makes me sad to think of leaving this place.  I've really made so many good friends in my time here.  I am going to miss the people here very much.  

I still am not sure why I am here.  I feel very certain that God wants me to be here for this time.  When I was praying about coming, everything seemed to work out so perfectly.  Every other time that I have prayed about taking a mission trip overseas, I have not been able to work out the details to go.  Somehow God always stopped me.  But for this trip, everything fell perfectly into place.  And I just had such a peace about coming.  

While I have been here, I have been staying with my cousins who are working here in the city.  I have been helping them with things around the house, as well as working some in the mission office here.  I have also gotten to hang out quite a bit with the English-speaking youth in Prague.  I think that was probably what I've enjoyed most while I have been here.  Those who don't know Christ seem to be really seeking, and the ones who do know Him have so many questions.  I've had some really deep conversations with the youth here.  I was also able to go to the English speaking youth group here (the only one in the city), called Youth Praha, and each time I went, I was able to talk to someone about God.  There is always at least one teenager who seems to not know much about God, who is very curious to learn more.  I don't know how much my talking with them helped, because they still seemed very confused.  But I am praying for them, and I hope that somehow they will still keep coming and seeking Christian people to talk to.  If I was going to be here for any length of time, I know that I would definitely want to get involved with Youth Praha.  

I think for me, probably the biggest thing about this trip has just been the way that it has opened my eyes up to a different side of life.  I really enjoyed living in Prague, learning to use the transportation system, and getting to know the people.  I feel like I think about things differently now.  I can't explain it, but I do know that something in the way I view things is different.  I don't want to be limited to the American Way anymore.  In fact, I think that I've realized how much Americans really are limited in the way they view things.  I know that I am!!  This trip has been really humbling for me, too.  I've realized just how much I have left to learn.  I've realized that I don't know much of anything.  But it's really given me a hunger to learn those things.  I don't want to be limited anymore.  And I'm praying that I won't be satisfied anymore with staying in my little world, in my little comfort zone.  God has begun to teach me so much.  I have felt so close to Him in this time.   He has been doing so much in my life the last few weeks, and I know He's just beginning.  I don't know what He has in store for the next few years, but I know that He will be faithful and that I can trust Him to show me each step that I should take.  

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Babysitting Funnies....

I babysit regularly for two little boys, Christian, who is 4, and Cohen, who is 1 1/2. There are so many funny things that happen when you are around little kids for any length of time. Last week when I was babysitting, Christian broke the tail off his rubber snake. ("I don't know how it happened!" he said. "I was just swinging him around and around and hitting his tail on the ground!") So of course, we had to set up a reptile clinic with his doctor kit and try to repair the snake. He said so many funny things while he was "doctoring" that I just had to write it all down.

Dr. Christian: Oh no!! His heart just stopped beeping!! Don't worry, Mr. Snake. I'm going to cut open your whole body with my saw cutters. You're going to die for a little while, but it won't hurt for long. I'll tape you back up again when I'm finished.

Me: Doctor, what's wrong with him?

Dr. Christian: Oh, he doesn't have a heart. I just heard it stop beeping.

Me: (trying not to laugh because I've already gotten in trouble for that...) Is that bad?

Dr. Christian: Oh, no. He'll be just fine.

After we finished with the "surgery", Christian pretended to pour some pain medicine for the snake. Then he pretended to take the medicine. I asked him, "Christian, wasn't that supposed to be for Mr. Snake?" "It doesn't matter," he said. "I just poured some more for him." I couldn't help thinking that hospitals would be quite a different place if all the doctors were four years old.....

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Unselfish Sportsmanship

I don't usually keep track of much in the sports world, but I really loved reading this article: http://msn.foxsports.com/olympics/story/8091708?MSNHPHCP&GT1=39002
Sara Tucholsky did her best, but she just couldn't finish her home run after she hurt her knee tagging first base. The home run wouldn't have counted because according to the rules her teammates couldn't help her, but the opposing team gave up their own spot in the playoffs to help her score her home run. Two girls from the opposite team picked her up and carried her around the bases.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Sweet Sacrifice of Surrender

Yesterday in our leadership meeting with the BCM, my friend Cindy said something that really convicted me. She said, "I just know that wherever I am and however long I live, my life will be poured out for the glory of God." I almost started crying when she said that. Ever since high school, that is the way that I have also felt. But this past year of college, particularly this past semester, has been extremely difficult for me. I know I wouldn't have gotten through without the grace of God.

I started to feel sorry for myself. And I think that in my pity party, I forgot the beauty of a life lived for Him. I lost track of what it meant to live completely with my eyes focused on God's glory. It seems that the "theme" of this year for me has been sacrifice. Everything I do seems hard, and I almost feel like God is telling me, "This is just practice for what is to come". That has been so difficult for me. I don't want to sacrifice. My flesh doesn't want to give up. But I know that I have to. Jesus calls us to come and carry our crosses. We are to do the hard things, go to the hard places. And I have felt for years now that He is calling me to some very hard places.

When I was in high school, I struggled with things that seemed big to me at the time, but when I look back I see that they were just small struggles--getting over a crush, deciding where to go to college, and making small sacrifices. Yet I think that those small struggles have helped to prepare me for the greater struggles. I don't want to fight. My flesh is weak, and I would rather give in. But I have seen God be faithful in so many small things, and I know that He will continue to lead me in the big things as well. I don't know where He is leading me, but I know that I must follow His call to come and die to myself.

Thanks, Cindy, for helping me remember that! :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I'm going on Missions!!

Since the beginning of this year, I have been making plans to go to the Czech Republic this summer. My cousins have been working as missionaries there since January, and I am going to stay with them for a month and help them out with things. I'm going to be working some in the office there as well as helping them with things around the house, taking care of their kids, or whatever else they need. I think I finally have most everything finally settled. I will be leaving really soon (depending on ticket prices for the best date) and I will be there for a month. I can't wait!! :)

On a completely random note, this morning I was looking at some cooking websites, and I have so many things I wish I could try. I wish I had the time to cook more!! I babysit at least once a week for a family with two kids, and once the kids are down for their naps or in bed for the night I am always "creating" something in the kitchen. I don't usually get time to eat anything until they are asleep, and then eating just a plain ol' sandwich is so boring. I'd much rather create something interesting out of the leftovers!! ;)

Friday, April 4, 2008

...but Joy comes in the morning....

My teacher ended up deciding that the test was too hard, and she threw out some of the questions. I ended up with a 79! Not as high as I would have liked, but definitely a good grade for such a hard test. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Foundation Building

So, yesterday was a pretty bad day. There are so many times I can honestly say that I hate nursing school. Yesterday was probably one of those days. I just tried to not think about it, though. I've been studying for probably 3 weeks for a test over everything to do with the Cardiac system--bypass surgeries, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, valve disorders, interpreting EKGs, etc. I've heard about this test for years now. It is supposed to be one of the hardest tests in all of nursing school. So when we first started the lectures on the cardiac system, I started studying almost immediately. But yesterday, I made a 73 on the test. That's a D. *sigh* I still have an 82 in the class, a C, so I'm hoping I can bring my grade back up to the B I had before. I'm just really disappointed that even though I studied so hard I ended up with such a low grade. I think that was probably the average grade in the class. I asked pretty much everyone what they ended up with, and the highest grade I heard of was an 86, which is a really low B.

We had all of spring break to study. I even skipped out on a mission trip that I wanted to go on more than anything else. But I don't think I have ever felt as depressed or lonely as I did last week. I just completely felt like there was nothing left of me. I would sit down to study, and I couldn't really focus at all. I called Mrs. Polly (the awesome lady who disciples me!) and asked for her to meet with me. We sat and talked for a really long time, and I felt so much better for it. I told her that I really feel upset because I feel like what I am called to do right now (nursing school) is pulling me away from the things I want to be doing to serve God. I don't see how it could be better to have to stay home and study than go on a missions trip. How could that be serving God more? Yet I believe that God always places us where we need to be to glorify Him the most. So somehow, this is how God has me serving Him.

Mrs. Polly said that she has realized in her life that the things we want to serve God with the most, God often takes away from us for a time so that we will want them with all of our hearts. Through this, when I am finally on the mission field, I will be able to look back at this time and remember just how much I struggled during this time, longing to serve God. So this is a strengthening time for me. As much as I would like for it to be over with, this time in my life is vital. Because, as Mrs. Polly told me, God doesn't build with cracked foundations. He has to make us whole first.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Roses and Encouragment

Encouragement. What is it that is so difficult about encouragement? When there are so many hurting people around us, why is it so much easier to just look the other way? Scripture says that we are to "encourage one another and build one another up" and "encourage the fainthearted" (1 Thessalonians 5:11,14).

One time when I was standing in the checkout line of the store with some roses in my hand, I noticed a little elderly lady in front of me. She looked so lonely and sad. I felt as if God were telling me, "Give her a rose." "But Lord, I don't even know her!" I thought. "It doesn't matter. Just give her a rose." I suddenly thought of Matthew 35:40, "...as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." After I had finished checking out, I walked quickly, catching up with her on my way to the door. As I passed her, I reached out and laid a rose in the top of her cart. Her smile stayed with me for the rest of the day. I have rarely given a gift that felt as rewarding as that simple rose.

As I began to think about it all later that day, I realized, I want my life to be about giving roses. I want to be known as a woman who serves others unconditionally. Just the other day I was talking to a friend of mine about serving others, he mentioned the servant heart that one of our friend's has. He said, "She is so amazing! She is always giving to others. That is what her whole life is about--giving to others!" I thought that was probably the biggest complement that anyone could receive. A life given to serving others is a beautiful gift.

Scripture says that Christians are known by their love for one another. So often, God has revealed Himself to me through the small things. I wish that I listened to His promptings more often. Sometimes, I think that it's really the little things in life that make the biggest impact.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This heart of mine is opened wide
I'm torn apart and weak inside
What went wrong? what should I do?
Thought I was strong, thought I knew

From nowhere came...emptiness
I only saw its great abyss
It overwhelmed my coward's heart
Destroying peace and bringing dark

Yet as I cry, I feel His arms;
He's holding me, and whispering,
"Trust in Me; My plan's not through;
Just wait and see what's planned for you."

Suddenly, His peace surrounds
It's in my heart and all around
Joy within a barren soul
My Savior comes and makes me whole.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Hindrance of Distraction

I thought I would share some of my reflections from my Bible study today:

Matthew 16:21--From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance [or in some translations, stumbling block] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

I can't tell you how many times I have heard this passage read, but it really impacted me when I sat down and just thought about it for a while. I've never reallly considered the fact that I can actually be a hidrance to Christ and His work, just by not focusing on the things of God. There are so many times when I take my eyes off of God and get caught up with the busyness of life around me. This life, even ministry and trying to do all of the "good things" can be such a distraction from what we should really be focused on. I wonder if Jesus could ever say to me that I have been a hindrance to His work? I pray not, and I pray that He will never be able to say that!! Lord, help me focus on You and the things of God.

These are the very next verses:
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

One Night with the King

Several months ago we got together with some other women and girls from our church for a "girls night out". We rented One Night with the King, popped some popcorn, and settled in to enjoy the show.

We had a wonderful time watching this movie. The story of Esther has always been my favorite Bible story, and I think that this movie was very well made. The storyline in the movie did differ slightly from the Biblical account, but I don't think that there were a lot of significant changes. The only complaint I had was that I found the plot a bit confusing at times. There was a lot of conspiracy involved in the storyline, and I found that some if it was difficult to follow.

However, I really appreciated the way that Esther's faith was made clear in the movie. The film makers did an excellent job of showing what a truly courageous woman she was, yet made it clear that her courage came from God. In the movie she compared herself to David when he fought Goliath. She knew that just as David was able to kill Goliath through God's power, that only through God's power would she be able to safely appear before her king. The scene where she enters the throne room uninvited is the most powerful scene in the entire movie. It wonderfully displays the remarkable courage that Esther had, and shows just how much she trusted her Maker, yet still showed respect for her husband.

This past semester, my sister, best friend, and I led a Bible study on our college campus studying Esther. One of the things that we most noticed about Esther was her submissive heart. Throughout the entire book, Esther is humble and obedient to God’s plan. Wherever she went, God rewarded her obedience with His favor and caused her to be blessed (Esther 2:9).

How much have I relied upon Christ for my strength? Not as much as Esther, I know. I wonder if I put my whole trust in God’s hands and relied on Him for my strength as Esther did, how much God could accomplish through me. The whole key is submission, and being willing to lay down my own life for the King.