Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In the quiet, in the stillness I know that you are God...

In the quiet morning I enjoyed today I was reading the book of 1 Thessalonians. Some of the words and concepts are so simple to me but are strong in the meaning of what the church exists to be and what fellow believers are to one another. It is definitely helpful to know that there are those among me who help me to strive to live a more Godly life. It is wonderful when others who are close to me can walk along side me, encouraging me but also praying for me in the things that I struggle with. These are some of the highlights from my reading this morning:

"You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit." (1Thess. 1:6)

---I have experienced some suffering in my life, but none compared to those who are daily persecuted or even those around me who have terrible suffering. I am encouraged by my peers who are faithful to our God through these tough times.

"We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (1Thess. 2:7-8)

---I love this passage. This book references both being like a gentle mother and a father who is urging them to do what is right. That is exactly how young children grow into adults and how baby Christians grow in the Lord.

"For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory."
(1 Thess. 2:11-12)

---Not only uring them but ENCOURAGING as well.

"Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?"
(1Thess. 3:7-9)

---I am definitely influenced by my surroundings, which can be both good and bad. It is something that I constantly have to be aware of; another reason why it is important to surround myself with people that are seeking after the Lord.

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." (1 Thess. 5:23-24)

---I love the encouragement in this passage. It is extremely difficult to be a Christian: but the one who calls us to do so is FAITHFUL.

"And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere."
(1 Thess 1:7-8)

---This was my favorite part. Not only did others around them recognize their faith but it even stretched further. The ones who saw their faith told others and so on.

Am I living in such a way that others see my faith daily? What do I need to change? I can never become complacent with where I am. I love the fact that our God is constant--his love is consistent and NEVER-CHANGING. He doesn't have to change for us, but we do for him.
I am a mess sometimes: I see this; I hate this. I want to spend the rest of my life striving to live up to this calling. One of my big problems is that I hate failure. A lot of times I avoid doing something because I am so afraid of falling flat on my face. This fear will keep me from being called to something that God wants me to do; this is sin. My fear can only be conquered with the Lord, which is comforting in itself. Not only does he call me to do his work but he will help me and walk alongside me; what a comfort and a blessing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Back in the habit...

Today at church our choir sang a very popular song from Sister Act II entitled, Joyful, Joyful. It's very interesting to me when we sing songs of this nature because it is a church of classical orientation in music. I did have fun however I have not sung in this way in quite a while. I have been singing classically more often than not over the last year. During my college graduation in 2007, I joked with a fellow classmate that I probably would never sing classical music again. I am so blessed to have the opportunities that I do, whether it be in church or with the Muskegon Chamber Choir. All have been great experiences and I am glad that God has given me the chance to continue with what I love doing.

I like to think that God is often chuckling about what we think we're going to do or not do. I really thought that since I would be returning home to Muskegon my opportunities would be limited in continuing with classical music. I'm so glad that I was wrong, but also kind of mad at the way I approached it; I guess I was thinking that Muskegon had little culture or something. In some ways it is very enriched in culture and I need to embrace it instead of going with my presuppositions. I am finding out often lately that I have many presuppositions that I need to re-think; this goes much beyond just our culture, but in people as well. God is constantly challenging me and helping me to re-think what I think I know is right....for this I am thankful.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I always do this.

I am so good at re-starting my blog and then not continuing with it.
I am determined to get back into the blogging world, including keeping up with friends/family blogs, but I don't get online enough.
For this reason I make no promises for keeping up with this. I will, when I remember and have time to do so, write a blog, or read yours. If I do well enough I will eventually (maybe) have readership and enjoy reading about the what God is doing in the lives of others. I know this will bless me if I can get the discipline to do so.

So much has happened in my life. July 4, 2008 changed my life, as Mark proposed to me. We are getting ready for our April 25th wedding! It is very overwhelming but so exciting. I constantly remember the wise words of those who have already wed, reminding me that the day of my wedding will be amazing but the days after are what I really need to be planning for. I hope I will make a good wife and be the helper that God created me to be. I am very traditional and believe fully what the bible has to say about marriage. I hope I am not going into this in a naive way but I truly believe that Mark is to be the head of our household. That does not make my role "inferior" by any means; Mark COULD NOT be the head of the household without a helper. He could not fulfill his role unless I am faithfully fulfilling mine.

**An aside**
Those of you who know me know that I am NOT a natural leader. My philosophy has always been that there could not be leaders without followers. Call that lazy, but it's what I believe(d). Over the past few years I have been re-thinking this philosophy. Although I am not a natural leader God still created me to lead in certain ways. This means often I have to step out of my comfort zone. Often times I just don't want to; I am uncomfortable in a leadership position. I know that God commands us to obey him and through obeying him he will truly bless us and teach us. He will be glorified if we are faithful to him and follow the path he has for us.
**End aside**

My life is not really what I thought it would be. Sometimes I feel like I have failed those who have helped raise me up. Sometimes I feel like I have failed God because somewhere along the road, I took the wrong path. I know that in our lives we go through many times where we do not feel like we are where we are supposed to be. I know that God is constantly preparing us and using our past roads to teach us about what is ahead. I believe that I am right where I am supposed to be; although in the eyes of people I may not be. God is preparing me for what's next. I know in my heart God has bigger things for me than I can even imagine, starting with marrying my best friend. I am not sure what's next but I know that through much prayer and just being still in the presence of God, I will not be lead astray.