Thank You, Lord...

O my soul, rejoice!

As I look back through my prayer journal for the year 2009 I can the see the mark of God's faithfulness over and over again. He has been with me every step of the way. He never left my side. And I am thankful... you can see it splashed most every page.

In this year 2009, what have I learned?
I will take an excerpt from one of my prayers this summer:

I will forgive; You forgave me.
I will let go; You're in control.
I will believe; You are trustworthy.
I will be patient; it is a virtue and pleasing to You.
I will have joy, for You are my salvation.
I will remain; You will never let me go.
I will persevere, for you have promised a crown of life.
I will trust; You are faithful.
I will sing; You sing over me.
I will be still; You are God.
I will pray, for You hear me.
I will glorify; You are King.
I will please; for it is my deepest desire.
I will walk confidently in my steps; You have told me so.
I will love; You have loved me first.

Any more to add?
I will dance before You just like King David, for he was a man after Your own heart. I will wait on You and not waste this time; what You offer is worth waiting for. I will rejoice always; You have brought me to life. I will live free, for who the Son sets free is free indeed. And above all: I will focus on my relationship with You, for that is all that matters. May this vapor of a life be a glorifying flash of light for the One who made me.

Thank You for an amazing year, Lord.
Do Your will in the next.

I love You, Abba.


One After Another...

Two devotionals that spoke into my life.
--By Darlene Sala--

God and My To-Do List

What do you have written on your to-do list for today? Will you get it all done? Will God feel let down if you don't?
Many of us feel God is disappointed in us if we don't accomplish all we hope. Somehow we must feel that if we could just get it all done, we'd sense His smile of approval. We feel guilty when at the end of some days not even one item on the list is crossed off, because the day just didn't go like we planned. And we figure God must be pretty disappointed with us, too.
But Jesus did not come to earth to help us get more done. He came to make it possible through His life and death and resurrection for us to have a personal relationship with God. Not just "fire insurance" to keep us out of hell, but day-to-day walking and talking together.
I like the phrase "the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" used in 2 Corinthians 13:14. God the Holy Spirit lives within us, and that means we can have fellowship with Him through His Spirit. That means we can sense His presence right where we are in the middle of our circumstances.
It is not enough to organize your life so that you get the most important things done first--unless the very first thing on your list is your relationship with God. It's not enough to learn to win friends and influence people, as good as that is, unless the #1 Friend in your life is Jesus. It's not enough to learn to think positively unless your thoughts throughout the day center on God.
God's love is neither increased nor diminished by the success of failure of your to-do list. Instead He wants your first concern to be how you can fellowship with Him on a closer, warmer, and more personal level, no matter how efficient and organized--or inefficient and chaotic--your life may be.
When you have that sort of relationship, you can trust your to-do list to Him. He knows better than you what you really need to accomplish.

["It's all hinged on your relationship with God."]



The psalmist urges us:

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

Over and over the Bible repeats these words: "Wait for the Lord." Wait for God to act. Wait for Him to do what no one else can do in your situation. This kind of waiting doesn't mean drumming your fingers on the table while you accuse God of being slow. Instead, it means you take courage--you take heart--because all the time you're waiting, in your heart-of-hearts you truly believe He will act in time.
"God is seldom early, but His is never late," says my husband. In fact, they'll probably chisel it on his tombstone someday because he not only says it, he lives it. Yes, the God who invented time will answer before it's too late.
Evangelist Dwight L. Moody had a brother who was an unbeliever. For forty years Moody prayed that his brother would turn to the Lord. But he never saw it happen, for Dwight L. Moody died still waiting for his brother to come to Christ. What Moody never learned on earth, however, was that after his death, his brother did come to a saving knowledge of Christ. God did answer Moody's prayers. The God who said, "Wait for the Lord," was faithful to answer.
The circumstances of your life may look like a tangled mess of threads instead of a beautiful tapestry. Put God in charge and wait for Him to act. Nothing is impossible with Him.
Hannah Whitall Smith wrote, "It is not hard...to trust the management of the universe, and all of the outward creation, to the Lord. Can your case then be so much more complex and difficult than these that you need be anxious or troubled about His management of you?"
Yes, God wants to be the manager of your life. Think about that next time you look up into the sky and see the heavenly bodies that God keeps going in their precise orbits. Think about it when you watch the Discovery Channel of TV and marvel at the intricacies of the cycles of life that God sustains on this earth.
If God can manage the universe with such skill and care, I suspect He can handle your life's pressures and challenges as well.

["The Lord knows when a sparrow falls from the sky. Are you not more valuable than these? Be anxious for nothing. Do not worry. Be not afraid..."]

Devotions from "Encouraging Words for Women" by Darlene Sala


Flash from the Past

Previously posted October 19, 2007.

It's pretty ordinary around here.

Except for one exciting thing that happened.
My parents work with a ministry called Agape Flights, you might already know that. Anyways, every Wednesday two pilots come in and stay at our house overnight after the flight. This week we had an interesting occurrence.
My dad and I drove to a place near by to get some pizza for dinner that night. We had a great conversation. We talked about a whole bunch of stuff. I can't even begin to tell you all of it. But I do remember one thing.
We talked about all of the paradoxes in our faith.
Freedom by surrender naming one.
It's so crazy.

Christianity is the only faith that I know of that you can't personally do anything to get into heaven/nirvana/peace or whatever you're looking for. It's only by the grace of God that we make it. And we don't even deserve it. Nor can we ever gain it. Only receive it.

Doesn't that point to something there?

Yeah, it's the hardest, but at the same time, a child can understand it. People try to make salvation so complicated, and it's so simple. Isn't that just like God? He never seems to do things the way we expect Him to. But He does them perfectly.

But anyways, that's not even the exciting thing that happened.
We got back home and sat around the table, eating pizza and breadsticks. It was nice. And then one of the pilots (the volunteer, not the captain) pops a question. He says he wants to "pick our brains" so to speak. Get our perspective on a few things.

So he asks, "Is God into micro-managing?"
I'm a little confused so I ask him what he means.
He asks, "Well, is God into the details, or did He kind of just create the earth and say 'Okay, here's the earth, go and do something good with it.' Did He just set it in motion and kind of back away to see what would happen?"

And that's where it started.

As we tried to satisfy him with an answer to this questions he asks other questions like, "What about the people who never hear the name of Jesus? What about them?"

And after talking with him (me, my dad, my mom, Jeff, and Charlie) we finally come to this conclusion. We finally have this epiphany of sorts.

"Ohhhh, he's not a Christian yet."

That turned the whole discussion in a new direction. We were wondering why talking about certain things didn't seem to make much sense to him. So we started trying to take out some of those "Christian" words that tend to confuse people and just be straight to the point.

We didn't try to convert him. Just answer his questions to the best of our ability. To let him know that he is a sinner, but Jesus still loves him.

It was a really great night. I listened mostly. Feeling like that kid Elihu who had to speak after all those older than him before he could speak to Job.

Sometimes I felt like crying for that guy. He kept saying,
"I feel like God is a great guy. A really kind being. With infinite intelligence. And I think He's smart enough to see a grey area. So that those who are basically good people, He'll go ahead and let into heaven."

That's just not how it works. And I don't think he wanted to admit that. He wanted us to tell him he's basically a good guy. He didn't have to worry about getting into heaven.

He kept forgetting that we are all sinners.
And we have fallen short of the glory of God.
And God still loves us.
But He's a just God as well.

It was just, heart wrenching. I prayed for him that night. I'm praying for him now. I hope he finds the truth before it's too late.

He's a good guy. He does good things and has good morals.
But being good isn't enough.
"Your good deeds are like dirty rags." - Isaiah 64:6
And dirty rags aren't going to cut it. God is perfect and holy. How can He expect any less?

That's why He sent Jesus.
Suggesting that there's a "grey scale" to sin is saying that Jesus' death didn't really matter. That it didn't need to happen.

And that is simply impossible.


Freshman year is almost half over already?

Wow.. that flew by.
I have this week and finals left. Then I'm headed home for Christmas break!

I tried to find a picture that I've taken to sum up this semester. There are so many to choose from (because I just finished my 365 project like 2 days ago), but I finally decided on one...for several reasons. You'll find it at the bottom with a few mementos along the way.

It has definitely been an adventure so far. Thinking back to that first day... wow. That was the day our "group" came together. It was so much fun. Picture perfect.

And it was so weird how we all came together too. Our group doesn't function like a single entity. The only reason we can even categorize ourselves as a group is because we know each other a little more than anyone else knows us. But each person associates with several different "groups". We're all like intersect points.

There have been great events, like Worship on a Canvas, and 3 different Hunger and Thirst Chapels I attended. Not to mention Fire Fall, the Christmas Concert, the String Orchestra, the International Ice Cream Social, Fusion, Ignited, Humbug, and a dance performance along the way.

But I chose this last one to represent this semester.

This semester has been about three main things:
Friendship, Learning, and Growing.
Really, they all coincided. This semester has been beautiful. I have met some amazing people, had the best roommates ever, experienced some amazing things, and have learned so much.

One of the main things I've learned?
I have so far to go.

And another?
Not only is God with me every step of the way, but I've got great friends to back me up.

Oh, and I love my parents. :)

It's really very hard to sum up in a sentence or two just what has happened over this semester and how I've grown. Maybe this is just to be continued...
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