I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees
(What Do I Know of Holy by Addison Road)
One afternoon I was sitting outside on the hill with Kaylee (since we didn’t have anything else to do because of our Facebook fast. Just kidding. ;)) doing our homework and playing my guitar. And as I was playing my guitar the sun came out and the mountains in the distance were absolutely breathtaking. I couldn’t stop looking at them and as I was playing I just kept staring at how beautiful they were and how awesome God is for making such a beautiful image. I wish that my camera could capture what it looked like, but the colours and depth and just awesomeness of it is something I couldn’t capture.
Then later that week in prayer groups we were talking about true beauty. And how we were made in the image of God and that there are things in our lives that distort and cover up the beautiful creation that God made us. And it made me think… The mountains in all their splendor and breathtaking beauty cannot even compare to the beauty of us.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26, ESV).
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14).
We are made in the image of God and that, more then anything else, is breathtakingly beautiful.
I heard this song on the radio and while it is adorably sweet of a guy to say to a girl, I feel like God is also saying the same thing to us. Guy or girl. He made us in His image and we are beautiful. He didn’t make us and then go “Oh no! I messed up when I made her (or him).”
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
Cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile,
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are
(Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars)
I started writing more for this blog then had a “deja vu” moment and realized it sounded exactly like a paper I wrote last year for English. So instead of re-writing it I thought I’d link to it again so that people could read it. :)
This past summer in Pneuma groups we read this and I was just remembering it and thought I’d post it. Read it slowly and picture the scene.
From Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris. Quoted from the book “When God Weeps” by Steven Estes and Joni Eareckson Tada.
The face that Moses had begged to see – was forbidden to see – was slapped bloody (Exodus 33:19-20). The thorns that God had sent to curse the earth’s rebellion now twisted around his own brow…
“On your back with you!” One raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the soldier live on – he grants the warriors continues existence. The man swings.
As the man swings, the Son recalls how he and the Father first designed the medial nerve of the human forearm – the sensations it would be capable of. The design proves flawless – the nerves perform exquisitely. “Up you go!” They life the cross. God is on display in his underwear and can scarcely breathe.
But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot.
His Father! He must face his Father like this!
From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.
“Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the crowd, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk – you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp – buying politicians, practicing exhortation, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves – relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not fee my wrath?”
Of course the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed.
The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction.
“Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!”
But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply.
The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled him. The Father rejected the Son whom he loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted his sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.
Nearly 45 years ago, a young woman named Kitty Genovese was brutally murdered. She was attacked at about 3 A.M. in a respectable area of New York City. The murderer left and returned three times; he finally put an end to Kitty’s life as she crawled to her apartment and screamed for help. It took the slayer about 30 minutes to kill Kitty. Thirty-eight neighbors watched the gory scene and heard Kitty Genovese’s screams. No one helped or even called the police. This incident prompted social psychologists to study the bystander effect, the tendency for an individual who observes an emergency to help less when other people are present than when the observer is alone. Although the Genovese slaying occurred more than four decades ago, the bystander effect is evident today as well. In August 2007 a woman was physically assaulted and raped in the hallway of an apartment building in St. Paul. Security cameras captured the 30-minute attack, and as many as 10 witnesses walked past or opened their apartment doors (and then closed them) during the assault. No one called the police (KARE11.com, 2007).
This is a quote from my Psychology book. At Fuel on Sunday night we talked about the bystander effect and I really wanted to write about it and then when reading my Psych book I came across it again and knew I needed to. The message was about how Jesus washed the disciples feet. Jesus, who is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, God of the universe, took the lowest of the low positions, even lower then the lowest servant and served His disciples. He even washed Judas’ feet, who would later that night betray Him, and Peter’s, who would later that night deny Him. And yet He still humbled Himself to serve them. What excuse do we have for not serving every single person we come in contact with? We have no right to the good things we have, God doesn’t “have” to give us anything. Every good thing we have comes from a God who loves giving good gifts to His children, but we are not entitled to those things. If He gave us what we deserved we’d all be dead because of our sins. So why do we look at other people and not help them? We see that they are suffering or in need and we don’t help. Jesus had compassion on everyone and served everyone from the highest authority to the lowest beggar.
Those examples of the bystander effect are awful. I read it and think, “How could someone just watch that happen??” But I know that there are days when I see someone at school sitting by themselves and think that someone else will probably go sit with them so I don’t need to. Or I’ll see someone upset and not talk to them because maybe they just don’t want to be around someone. But I regret those times so much. Even if someone else was going to help them too, it doesn’t excuse me from offering help first.
My challenge for this week is that when you see someone hurt or in need, offer to help them. Even if they say they don’t need it, at least you offered it and maybe they will be even so touched by your kindness that it will bless them in ways you never imagined.
I tell you, whatever you have done for the least of these, you did it to me. -Jesus
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:8 ESV)
These days are FAR too valuable and I cannot plan which one will be my last.
What would I change if I knew that I was going to die tomorrow?
For the past two weeks everything around me has been all kinds of messages about how short life is. From a lot of my friends getting in near death accidents and/or getting seriously hurt, to every speaker and message I’ve listened to being about what you’d do if you knew you were going to die tomorrow. And though I’ve heard that a lot and I almost kind of tune it out because I hear it so much, lately I notice it EVERY time someone mentions it. Even Wednesday in GNED we were taking prayer requests and someone said that a friends parent had died so the Prof starts praying and says “Help us to remember that time is short, that we don’t know what day will be our last, and help us to live with that in mind,” And I was like “Seriously?! What is up with all of this?!” And then at Campus Church, Clayton was talking about Generosity and I was thinking there is no way he can work something about dying into a message on generosity. But no, he did. We need to be generous with our possessions and our time and our everything because we don’t know how long we have.
With that outlook, each day, hour and minute is suddenly VERY precious. I must be thankful even for the dull moments because the reality is that I could pass into eternity tonight, next week, six months from now or in fifty years. I need to appreciate the time I’ve been given because that time is not something I can count on.
I’ve been reading through 1 Samuel in my devotions and I kinda feel like Samuel when God keeps calling him and calling him and finally he realizes it’s God and says, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
Yes, God, what is it You’re trying to say?
An appointment book has been made and my appointments WILL BE KEPT whether I like it or not. The beauty is that I don’t have to be afraid.
I’m not scared of dying because I know where I’m going. The fear of death itself is gone, Hebrews says “that through death he might … deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14-15, ESV) and that is definitely how I feel. I was once scared of dying and not knowing where I was going to go, but now I know without a doubt where I’m going and I am not fearful of dying. But at the same time there are things I want to do before I die and I don’t like thinking that today may be my last.
I feel like I am too much concerned with the future, instead of just thinking about today. I live for what I’m going to do “some day” once I get a degree or once I have a job or even once I have a husband instead of what I can do today without a degree, without a job, and without even a boyfriend. Haha. If I did live every day like it was my last day, what would I have done differently today?
Friday’s speaker at Convo was Jeff Struacker and he closed his message saying this and I felt like it was so much from God, (paraphrased a bit because I couldn’t write fast enough to get it exactly) “Do not be ordinary. When you leave this school you should have a real genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. And wherever you go and whatever you do that you should set the world on fire for Jesus. When people see you they will know there is something different about you and say ‘There is something different about you. I want what you have!’ Live your life so differently that you will transform the world wherever you go.”
Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before
I’m finding everything I’ll ever need
By giving up gaining everything
Falling for You for eternity
Right here at Your feet is where I want to be.
I am Yours.
So I have a lot of homework to do among other things that need to get done tonight, but I just can’t get tonight’s message off my mind. I’m sorry to all that were in the car with me on the way back, I know I wasn’t talkative, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what Clayton had said. Clayton King spoke a message based off his book “Dying to Live” and I almost want to spend the rest of the night reading it right now because it spoke to me so much.
He said that Jesus preached one of the greatest paradox’s in Mark 8, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Jesus is saying that we have do DIE to LIVE. How crazy and backwards is that? I’ve heard this verse and heard messages like this a lot growing up in church but it still hit me so hard tonight.
The only way we can find life, real life, a satisfying life, a joyful life, is by dying to ourselves.
The things in life that we think matter, the things we think we find happiness in, they are only fleeting. The only thing that really matters is living for God. If we truly believe that we are going to live in eternity with God in heaven, then why don’t we live it? Instead of trying to do things our way, to get things we like, to satisfy our little desires, why don’t we live for something bigger and greater then us that will far outlast our lives here?
I want to create art, send a message of hope out into the world, I want to inspire others. Most of all, I long to draw a pure reflection of what I’m living for and Who claims my life, my strength, and my all. – Adam Young
I know I quote Adam Young a lot but I absolutely love him. I love his songs, I love his heart, I love his passion, I love his writing. If I ever meet him I’m going to thank him for being such a tremendous inspiration in my life.
Our lives are so short compared to eternity and I want my life to be a part of something that will have an impact far beyond what I can see. I really do want to inspire others and have my life be a pure reflection of Who I’m living for.
I want to die to my desires and the things that I want that are worldly and not of God. There are things that God has placed on my heart to be passionate about. And there are desires He’s given me that I know are from Him. But the desires that are my own, the things that I want because I think they’ll bring me happiness and contentment…the things that I think will bring me satisfaction and recognition…those are the ones I need to die to.
I was really convicted by what He said about how it’s not just about the “epic moments” in life, like “literally dying” somewhere overseas preaching the gospel to a village in Africa, but it’s the daily things in life that you know you’re supposed to do, but honestly you think that dying in Africa would be easier then doing what you know you’re supposed to do here. That’s how I feel. If God called me to leave everything and live in Africa for the rest of my life, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. But tell me to go back to my hometown and live there the rest of my life… That’s tough. I want to travel and do spectacular, world changing things for God. I really have a hard time staying in one place and doing the ordinary things. And lately I’ve been super convicted about that.
It’s not some great change that will just happen over night. I know that. Every day I know that I’ll struggle with my desires because I’m only human. Every day I need to ask myself what Clayton said he felt God asking him, “Will you follow me if I’m all you’ve got?” I want to live my life daily as if Jesus really was my greatest joy in life. That my contentment and significance and worth comes only from Him. Because no person, no guy, no friend, no thing can ever give me contentment. As my favourite Convocation speaker Jamie George said “What would it be like if you lived today as if you were loved by God? Like totally be okay with just the fact that God, well, He loves you.” I want to be content being wholly God’s child and die to my desires so that in death I can truly find life.
Lord, You are more precious then silver
Lord, You are more costly then gold
lord, You are more beautiful then diamonds
And nothing I desire compares with You.
Just for a second, forget your weekend plans, forget what’s in the books, forget your date on Friday night, forget how crazy the world is and how you just want to be there already. Things can change in a split-second and sometimes you have no idea what you’ve got until it’s gone. Sometimes life is not about the destination, but about the journey designed to take you there. – Adam Young
That is so hard to do sometimes. Especially here at school. I’ve got a quiz today, a test tomorrow, a DB on Friday, a paper on Monday, 3 DB’s next week… Just to start. I’m also looking forward to hanging out and studying Hebrew on Wednesday and Thursday with some friends, chilling with my girls on Friday night, hiking with the Brothers on Saturday, going to church on Sunday, CFAW kids are coming next week, Switchfoot and The Almost will be here next Friday…
And then the plane lands and I’m out of there. Sometimes I’m walking away, glad to be back on the ground but wishing I would’ve found a deeper appreciation for the journey itself, rather than focusing only on the destination. – Adam Young
It’s sooo hard for me too because I LOVE looking forward to things. Sometimes I almost enjoy the ‘looking forward to’ part more then the actual event sometimes. One of my favourite quotes is from Anne of Green Gables where she says, ‘Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them. You may not get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them… I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.’ I still totally think that’s true, that it would be worse to expect nothing then to be disappointed, but I’m starting to see that sometimes you have to appreciate the journey, not just rush to get to the destination.
As I’m writing this I’m realizing it sounds like I’m contradicting my last post about fixing my eyes on things unseen and in the future. But I think maybe that there has to be a balance. That you have to see the big picture and understand the difference between focusing on the temporal vs. the eternal but that we can’t rush life trying to get to the end.
The last thing I want to do is wish my life away, be it a device to eclipse exhaustion, fatigue, apathy or otherwise. These days are FAR too valuable and I cannot plan which one will be my last. With that outlook, each day, hour and minute is suddenly VERY precious. I must be thankful even for the dull moments because the reality is that I could pass into eternity tonight, next week, six months from now or in fifty years. I need to appreciate the time I’ve been given because that time is not something I can count on. It will elapse at some point and when I look back at the life I’ve just lived, what will I think of it? I don’t want to cross the finish line and feel the tiniest hint of disappointment.
In America we’re so rushed. We can’t wait for anything, everything is so fast paced. We don’t like to wait for anything, we want it all now. But every moment of every day is a precious gift from God, even the moments of waiting. I read this verse the other day, “If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3). Sometimes things seem really slow in coming. You can’t wait for the weekend because classes will be done, finding that special someone, moving out, getting married, finding the perfect job, retiring, etc. But God says, even if it feels like it’s slow to get here, just wait for it. It will come eventually, at just the right time.
That’s when I realize I’m tired of waiting. I’m so sick of wishing I was there already. I’d rather look around and not have to squint to see the beauty that literally lies everywhere.
Whether things are happy or life is hard, there is SUCH divine beauty all around, and I suppose in a manner of speaking, “the trick is to see it.”
A Switchfoot lyric appropriately comes to mind:
“This is your life, are you who you want to be?”
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
I love to read Adam Young’s blog (www.owlcityblog.com) and a post he wrote a few weeks ago has been on my mind since I read it, so I thought I’d share parts of what he said. In it he talked about some of the things that inspire him, and about how sometimes it’s not just books, or people, or music or anything like that that inspires us, but it’s seeing that which is unseen, or far off in the future, that inspires us to become a better person or to live for something greater then us.
It goes without saying that materialism is fleeting and will inevitably come and go but what if the things that inspire you actually have effects beyond the way you write if you’re an author, the way you strum if you’re a musician, the way you see the world through lenses if you’re a photographer, the way you paint the page if you’re an artist…
The sky really is the limit.
Life is such a beautiful gift and I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t got it figured out in the least. But the more days go by and the more I turn around and look back on them, the more I realize I have no interest in living for myself and that my focus is far better fixed on things unseen.
I love the idea that “I have no interest in living for myself and that my focus is far better fixed on things unseen.” It’s like what 2 Corinthians says, we’re to focus our attention on the unseen, because only what is unseen is eternal. I want to live my life like that. Focused not on living for myself but on living for the unseen. It’s not just a decision I can make once and be done, it’s something I have to decide to do daily. But I want to live like that.
I realize I’m being a bit ambiguous but it shouldn’t be all that hard to put together.
A familiar way to sum it up may be this:
I am not my own
For I have been made new
Please don’t let me go
I desperately need You
Life is in fact a tremendous journey and I believe everyone deserves the chance to start over.
That, dear friends, is unequivocally inspiring to me.
When did I arrive?
I don’t recall ever leaving Alaska.
Why do I hate the dark when I’m alone?
I was on my way to a brighter day
I’m still chasing around.
But somehow I believe that this is home.
It’s so good to be home.
I still can’t really believe that I’m here. I’ve been here for three weeks now and it still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m at school. It honestly doesn’t even feel like I went anywhere. I still feel like I’m “home.” Yeah, I miss my family and friends, and yes some days I wish that I was back with them, but more then that I wish they were here experiencing this with me. I wish I had words to describe the atmosphere here, it’s just something you have to experience for yourself, but let me try.
I go to Convo every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and hear speakers challenge us and great worship and see thousands and thousands of college students worshiping together and I can’t believe this is my life.
I stay up late into the night just sitting in the hall with the other girls talking about anything and everything and I can’t believe that we’ve only known each other 3 weeks.
I go to classes where we pray before every class and every subject whether it be Hebrew or Drawing, Theology or Psychology is taught from the perspective that it all of it is important to God and we learn both sides of the issues. You can be a teacher or a preacher, a mother or a worship leader but that all of us are called to use our passions and professions to be a light in the world.
I can be talking to someone about the most random thing and suddenly we’re discussing the Bible and God and different thoughts we have about Him and His call for our lives or how He’s speaking to us.
I love that we’re challenged to step out of our comfort zones and live life on the edge and not pampered and told we can’t do anything but are actually given high expectations and expected to live up to them.
I can go outside early in the morning when only a few people are awake and sit in the grass and read my Bible or walk around the grounds praying or sing along to the music coming from the stadium and no one cares because they’re all doing the same thing.
I am being prayed for every day by name and have an accountability partner who I can chat about anything and everything with and I wish that everyone in the world had that.
I love meeting new people in my classes. I love sitting next to someone new almost every day in my big classes and then getting to really know some kids in my smaller classes.
I love Brother/Sister car rides and turning up the music really loud and just having a blast riding around.
I love that everyone here is friendly, and that the guys are gentleman and walk you to classes or to your dorm and that they give up their seats for you or let you go first or holds doors for you.
I love that the girls are all encouraging and loving and friendly and are always around to talk to and to share clothes with and stories and giggle and be silly and joke with.
I love that I go to school at the world’s most exciting University where we spend our weekends at concerts or the movie theatre or playing games with the Brother Dorm and I forget that I’m actually at school and have homework to do, but somehow it’s okay, because who said school couldn’t be fun? <3
But somehow I believe that this is home.
It’s so good to be home.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25, NIV).
Over the summer I was a counselor for High School week at Lake Springfield Christian Assembly and the missionary for the week was a couple named Chris and Twila who are going to Thailand. The last night of the week a couple of the girls and I sat with them at dinner and got to talk to them and hear their stories and after dinner was over I sat and talked with them for a while afterward. We talked about a lot of things, from relationships to maturity, to God’s calling, to missions, to what it means to be broken. It was incredible how every single topic we talked about was something that I had been thinking about lately and everything they said was exactly what I needed to hear. I love how God knows exactly what’s on our hearts and knows exactly who and when and where to put people in our lives to encourage us and bless us.
Before the week had started I had kinda been thinking questions like, “Who are you?” “What is your purpose?” “What are you doing to fulfill that purpose?” Those were questions that seemed to keep coming up in messages and conversations and songs and just popping up in my head. And after we finished talking I went to the main session and they were already in the middle of worship and the song was The Stand by Hillsong, “And I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the one who gave it all. And I’ll stand my soul Lord to You surrendered. All I am is Yours.” I realized that all I am is because of what God has done, He gave it all for me, and because of what He did, I stand surrendered to Him in whatever way He wants to work through me. I’m His child and I am loved by God. I just stood there so overwhelmed with how everything that night was like God speaking directly to me. First through Chris and Twila and then through the first song I walked in on…
But it got even better, we then sang the song From the Inside Out, that goes, “Your will above all else, my purpose remains, the art of losing myself in bringing You praise” and it hit me that my purpose was also to lose myself for the purpose of bringing Him praise. I wrote and re-wrote and re-re-wrote a longer explanation of what it means to “lose myself” but then I thought of this song by Tenth Avenue North that perfectly expresses what I wanted to say.
But if I let these dreams die
If I lay down all my wounded pride
If I let these dreams die
Will I find that letting go lets me come alive?
So empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with You
It’s so incredible how God can speak to us through so many ways, it doesn’t just have to be an audible voice, it can be through a song, a verse, a book, a person. I love that there are so many ways to hear from God and that He’s not limited to just an altar or a church or speaking through a “priest” but that He actually lives in us and speaks to us through everything. It’s so amazing to think about and I hope that I can live every day of my life to fulfill God’s wonderful purpose for it.
Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.
Now I surrender.
Tonight during Campus Church the message was about this being the best school year ever and what we could do to make it the best school year ever. And in my mind during the prayer afterwards I was listing all the things I was worried about, all my fears about school, my concerns about what was going to happen, my worries about classes and friends and life in general…
Then we sang this song…
“He can move the mountains … He is mighty to save … author of salvation … Jesus conquered the grave.”
And it hit me.
I was singing to a God who is the author of my salvation and I’m worried about Him taking care of the little things going on my life?
He can move mountains and I’m concerned that maybe I won’t do good in classes?
He conquered the grave because of His love for me and I’m nervous about having to make completely new friendships here?
This year will be the best year ever and it will be that because God is with me and “If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what can stand against us?”
So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.
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