Saturday, February 25, 2012

Under His Hand

This morning was a lazy morning. After a week of multiple midterm exams and practicals, lots of caffeine, late nights, and getting up with just enough time to throw on jeans and a hoodie before class... I needed some definite recharge time. I was able to get myself 10ish hours of sound, sound sleep (which doesn't happen often in a dorm), and woke up slowly. Once I had rubbed some of the sleep from my eyes, I un-huddled from my pile of blankets and grabbed my Bible and journal from the foot of my bed, and then huddled back in the corner with some blankets for good measure (in my opinion, the more blankets, the better). There I stayed for a good two hours, reading and praying, writing and thinking.

I've been working my way through 1 Peter slowly. I honestly don't even remember when I started it, because I was taking it one slow chunk at a time, working through it until I felt that I understood it. Finishing it off this morning, I was on a section that I had actually memorized last school year. I had to keep myself from rushing through it because I already "knew" it, and as I came to 1 Peter 5:5-11, I read it with the painstaking pace of a first grader.

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves to humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring loin, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:5-11)

There is a lot packed into this passage.. This time though, I noticed something that I had never really thought of before. We are told to humble ourselves under His mighty hand, while casting all of our anxieties on Him. If you have an anxiety, chances are you are worried about something. The thought that He kept pounding into my head while I was working through this was "if you are humbling yourself to Me, how can you worry about ____?" You can not show humility towards Him, and still worry about money, grades, future plans, or whether or not your car will start.

When I worry about something, spending hours of my time thinking about it, I am telling Him that I don't think that He is big enough to work it for His glory and my best interest (which is His glory). I am telling Him that I can somehow fix it or come up with an alternative to whatever He is doing. Because of course, my way is faster, easier, and less painful.

My way doesn't show humility. It shows pride. It shows that I don't completely trust Him to care for me.. Because it says right there that He cares for me. He cares for me, and gives Grace to those who are humble. The proud however, He is opposed to.

It was a good morning.. I spent a lot of time talking to Him about what I was worrying about. What I was holding onto, even if I didn't really realize it. I asked Him to show me what it was that was keeping myself from humbling myself under His hand... Because safe under His hand is where I want to be.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Live Like You're Dying

God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, 
but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination. 
- Saint Augustine 

One of my classes this week has been discussing death and dying. We were asked to choose, of the following seven options, which way we would rather die and which way we would least want to die...

Heart attack
Kidney failure
Car accident

I have to admit, I was surprised when many of my class chose cancer or kidney failure as their preferred choice. Why? Because it would give them time to make things right, to spend time with their family, and to do the things they wish they had always done. Their least chosen method (ignoring suicide, because we all agreed that was a lousy option) was something like a heart attack, because it would be too traumatic and there wouldn't be any time to say goodbye.

When my classmates asked me why I chose something quicker (heart attack) over something slow, my answer was simple... If I live each day like it is my last, cherishing my time and making the most of everything, why would I need the time to "take care of things"?

We know not the day or the hour that He will return. I don't know when He will chose to take me. If I am in a situation where my relationship with someone is not what it should be, I need to address it now.. Talking with one person in more depth about it later, I realized that if I am truly glorifying Him in the way that I live, grudges, prolonged anger (unrighteous anger), dishonesty, and pride in my relationships are unacceptable. I never know what is going to happen, to them or to me.

I heard the quote on the top on the radio tonight... If I am harboring an angry attitude, a hurt attitude, or a haughty attitude, and I bring it to Him and repent (which means to turn from it...), He promises forgiveness... But He has not promised me tomorrow. He has told me to not worry about tomorrow, but to stay here. Today. Now. Tonight. Right here. Which means taking care of the angry, hurt, and haughty attitudes now

What do you need to deal with? If someone close to you was to die tonight, would you be at peace about your relationship with them? Would you be able to say that you did everything possible to Love them the way that Christ Loves you? A sinner? Likewise, if you died tonight, would they know that you represented Him in all of your actions? Would they know that you strove to Love them like He first Loved you? Would they know Him because of you? Or would they harbor hurt and uncertainty towards Him because of you?

It's a sobering thing to think about... As Christians, we should not fear death. But leaving people behind that think that following Him leads to skewed priorities and grudge-harboring, to the point they might turn from Him? That is the opposite of glorifying Him... And that, is heartbreaking. Don't wait. It's not worth it. 

Instead? Be ready, so that when that day does come (because it will), He can look you in the eyes and say; Well done, my Good and Faithful servant (Matthew 25:21).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today was not the expected Valentine's Day... But I am so thankful for the opportunity to see how many people care for me. The people who call/text to see how I'm feeling. Who follow me through dr appointments. Who take me to Walmart to buy what I need. Who show generosity through a simple card. Who make me laugh when I'm trying to find the right decongestant. Who ask how I'm doing in class. The person who gave all the girls in my program a carnation. Who show incredibly patience at my indecision with powerade. My Valentine from God. Which came at perfect timing. The roommate who took care of my rose from God while I was gone, so it wouldn't die...

It doesn't take a big act to show someone that you care. It doesn't take a heroic, loud, or surprising act. It can be as simple as taking your friend to the ED and sitting and waiting for her, never complaining. It can be texting someone, to see how they are and letting them know you're praying. It can be a note to your daughter, letting her know you're thinking of her. It can be talking to your daughter, making her laugh when she feels so lousy. It can be putting together an assortment of treats to show your best friend that you pay attention to the little things. It can be a FaceTime chat to talk before homework commences.

Just showing someone that you *know* them, and care? Priceless. The people who pay attention to the little things.. Those are the people who make Valentine's day, and every other day out there, special =)

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Sealed: (1) guarantee of authenticity, (2) guarantee of protection.

S.W.A.K: Sealed With A Kiss. The phrase that I used to stick on the back of all the envelopes I sent to my girlfriends around the age of 9 or 10. We thought it was cute and funny, and the guys thought it was gross. How much better can it be? Thankfully, as I grew older, guys became less fun to disgust and more fun to be friends with.

Now, in college, I am surrounded by the people who live in a way that I have chosen not to. Not because I am better than they are, because I'm not, but because I have God-given strength to follow in the path that He has set for me. I view myself as a gift, rather than as something I am trying to sell. Rather than sell myself, I am content to view myself as God does. Precious. His child.

In a dorm lifestyle, being single is rare and being pure is even more rare. Recently, one of my classmates displayed an incredible amount of shock when she found out that I had never kissed anyone. She gave the normal reaction of "WHAT?! How will you *know* if you don't kiss him??" I told her that I had decided long ago that my first kiss would be for no one but the man I marry. 

To seal something is to show that it is authentic. Whether it is a seal on a diploma or a seal on a letter, the seal shows the authenticity of the person who gives it. It also shows that the thing receiving the seal is protected. A wax seal used to be used on letters, so when the recipient received it, they would know by the quality of the seal whether or not the information inside the letter had been tampered with.

This is why I save my kiss. I save my kiss, and myself, because I want the man that I give it to to know that I am not only authentic, but that I have been protected. I haven't been tampered with or 'opened.' When he receives that kiss, he receives everything, including the duty of guaranteeing that I stay protected, and our relationship stays authentic. 

This isn't something that I am doing by my own strength. Honestly, by my own strength, I couldn't. It is something that I can do because I have already been sealed once.

"In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, 
the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, 
you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,"
(Ephesians 1:13)

I have been given the seal of Christ, which comes with the strength from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit doesn't 'make' me do the right thing, but He does lead me. All I have to do is choose to follow His leading, believing His promises are true. 

If you're a young woman reading this, I would encourage you to ask God how He views you this Valentines Day. Ask Him to show you how precious He thinks you are, so that you might follow His voice as He shows you how to protect yourself and keep that seal in place. I can promise you that it will not be easy, but I can also promise you that He will also bless you for your obedience and willingness to listen to His voice. 

If you're a young man, please, do not open that seal unless you have every right to. Don't put the young woman in your life in a situation where she might have to push you away. Rather, view her as a gift, and one that is to stay fully sealed until the man that God chooses is able to open it. She will respect you for this, much more than she will if you attempt to take what isn't yours to take. 

If you are spending this Valentines single, take the opportunity to let Him speak to your heart. Ask Him to show you where He wants your heart to be, and ask Him to give you the strength that you need to protect it until the time for Love comes. He is faithful, and He will help you. He has already given you His seal of authenticity and protection as His child, and He will never break it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I had every intention of writing out a huge, long, wordy post this weekend.

Alas, a recurring sinus infection has made it so that I am a dizzy, tired, achy, and uncomfortable to say the least.

I have spent my day with nasal sprays, high amounts of liquids, and having the least amount of lights in my room on as possible. Which is a bummer, because it was actually beautiful outside today.

My continual thought for this week has been this...

My Love for God is measured by my obedience to Him. I cannot obey Him if I do not know Him. And I cannot know Him if I do not spend time in His Word.

I asked Him to give me a hunger for Himself and He responded. He has shown me more in these past two weeks than I almost cared to know. He dug at the tiny things that I thought weren't important, until He loosened them out of my grip. It wasn't pleasant. It hurt. But when He was done, and when I let go? I felt a sense of relief, and I knew that I had pleased Him.

Thankfully, He hasn't asked me to surrender decongestants, antibiotics, or saline nasal spray ;-).

Love the Lord, all His faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to Him,
but the proud He pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
(Psalms 31:23-24)