Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jesus, my everything

We sang one song in chapel this morning. It was perfect. Think about what these words mean--what they REALLY mean. I think if we actually understood, we would be crushed by God's outpouring of love and grace and mercy. We are so undeserving.

Grace and peace to you. Rest here in this truth.

Before the throne of God above

I have a strong and perfect plea

A great High Priest whose name is Love

Who ever lives and pleads for me

My name is graven on His hands

My name is written on His heart

I know that while in Heaven He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart

No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of the guilt within

Upward I look and see Him there

Who made an end to all my sin

Because a sinless Savior died

My sinful soul is counted free

For God, the Just, is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me

To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there, the Risen Lamb

My perfect, spotless Righteousness

The great, unchangeable I am

The King of glory and of grace

One with Himself I cannot die

My soul was purchased by His blood

My life is hid with Christ on high

With Christ my Savior and my God

With Christ my Savior and my God

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


As a Christian, I'm a big fan of Easter. It's the annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus that changed the world and changed my life. I didn't know what "Lent" was until I was in college. The religion department at Belmont is a wonderful mix of people. There were people who grew up in more traditional settings, and they were familiar with creeds and liturgy and old hymns, and there were people like me who grew up in less traditional settings. I didn't know the creeds or anything about liturgy or lent or advent, so I had to adjust my thinking. If you're like I was, I encourage you to read up on the Church and the history and where these traditions come from. There are excellent resources available. Take advantage of that.
So I started observing Lent at Belmont. What started as an experiment to see if I could really go without something for 40 days became something I looked forward to every year. I've continued to observe Lent since graduating, and I've also participated in other times of prayer and fasting. The significance of Lent is not punishment. It's not God saying that I cannot have something for 40 days. It's me saying "Jesus, I acknowledge everything You gave up for me. So for this 40 days, I'm giving up _______ and instead of doing that, I'm going to fix my eyes on You." It gives you the chance to put distractions aside and focus on Christ as the time of His death and resurrection comes around each year.
In years past, I've given up Facebook, TV, soft drinks, meat, desserts, carbs, and the list goes on...
This year, I'm taking social media off my phone. Getting an iPhone changed my life. Literally. I love my phone. Some of my friends would say that i'm never without it and that I would probably die if I lost it, but I don't think that's true. I think I have it all the time because I can...not because I have to. But I have started to notice that I've been using it as a security blanket. If i'm in a situation where i'm not completely comfortable, instead of adapting, what do I do? Check Twitter. Get on Facebook. Scroll through Pinterest. Comment on someone's Instagram post. Well, I'm giving that up. I took the apps off of my phone. I'll still be reachable through those mediums, but if you need to get in touch with me, your best bet will be phone calls, text messages, and e-mails. On my lunch break, I'll still check in on Facebook or Twitter because that's how the girls in my Life Group communicate, and I am getting rid of my social media apps to intentionally connect with others. So if that's how they talk, that's how I'll listen.
I'm also giving up sugar. Kind of. I'm still going to eat fruit. But no Girl Scout cookies, cake pops, frozen yogurt, cupcakes, sweet tea, lemonade, etc.
I can't decide which thing will be hardest to go without: Twitter or Frozen Yogurt? Haha.
Anyway, I'm hoping to get a lot done and get to know some people better over the next 40 days and to honor God in the process. Thank you in advance for whatever prayers you throw my way. If you see me, tell me what you're giving up too.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"...but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." Psalm 34:10b

Oh man. I have been extremely convicted lately about my attitude. I've also been completely overwhelmed by the goodness of God. It's amazing to me how interconnected these two things are. I haven't been overly negative or cynical or mean spirited or had a rotten disposition, but I have been anxious. That's disobedience. In Philippians Paul writes:

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Phil. 4:6)

We hear this part of Paul's letter to the Philippians quoted often. It's valuable. But it's not the only valuable information in Philippians 4. The verses around it say this:

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:4-7)

Y'all, this is pretty much the instruction manual for living every day in relationship with Jesus.

  1. "Rejoice in the Lord always." matter the circumstance. Always. Paul says it twice, so he must mean it.

  2. "Let your reasonableness be known to everyone."...don't be ridiculous. Avoid unecessary drama. Flee from foolishness.

  3. "The Lord is at hand"...God is here. For that reason...

  4. "do not be anxious about anything"...why? Because God is here.

  5. "but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."...God doesn't have to wait for us to tell him what's going on. He already knows. This is for our benefit. So our minds will be aligned with the mind of God. Prayer puts us in conversation with Him. We speak but, more importantly, we also listen. Supplication means 'a humble entreaty or petition.' Through supplication, we are spilling our guts to God. Again, not because He doesn't already know, but sometimes it helps to just talk it out or write it out. Then, we're able to see what we're asking for. We see our desires and hopes and dreams. We can evaluate through scripture and the guiding of the Holy Spirit to see if they match up with God's will and His word. This also allows us to really give it over to God. It's easy to say we've given up control when we haven't really laid it all out. Talking to God about it allows us to be specific. Paul also says 'with thanksgiving' not only are we giving it all over to God, we're also thanking Him for what He's going to do in that situation. Before it happens. Why? Because that is what trust looks like. We are told time and time again in the Bible that God works for our good. Don't you believe that? I do. But I don't always act like it. By praying with thanksgiving, I'm further giving up control and saying "God, whatever you do in this situation, I know it will be Your will and for Your glory, so I'm thanking You in advance no matter the outcome."

  6. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."...if you do all of the things above, God's peace will fill your life. Proverbs tells us to guard our hearts above everything else. 2 Corinthians tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Philippians is telling us that if we trust God completely, then He will do that for us! His peace will guard our hearts and our minds. Then we can rest.

Rest has been an ongoing theme in my life these days. Resting is not something that comes naturally to me. I'm not good at quiet. I'm not good at still. I'm good at busy. God wants me to rest in Him and in who He is. Part of resting in Him is trusting Him completely and then being content. I'm so quick to try and fix things myself instead of "letting go and letting God". When I give it to Him, that's it! I don't need to take it back. I laid it down because He can handle everything and I can handle nothing. When I pick it right back up, I'm saying that I don't really trust God to handle whatever it is that I'm dealing with. How foolish is that?! He's God! He can handle it and He does not need my help. He just needs my obedience. Charles Spurgeon said:

"Be wise and attend to the obeying, and let Christ manage the providing."

I can either be obedient and get to be a part of what God is doing, or I can be stubborn and in the way. God will still move. God will still work. God will still prevail. He does not need me. But He does delight in me and wants to use me for His glory. I love that moments of rest are written into the Psalms. I love the Psalms in general, but I particularly love the Selahs. Psalm 46 says this:

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah" (Psalm 46:1-3)

Simple, right? God is here. God is God. THEREFORE we will not fear. Even if everything collapses around us, God is here. Selah. Rest. Psalm 46 goes on to say:

"The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah" Psalm 46:6-11

God is here. So just rest. Be still. Trust. Give it up and don't try to take it back. Selah.

Earlier, I was reading Spurgeon's 'Meditation for this Morning', and I was once again in awe of the perfect sovereignty of my God. I'll leave you with Spurgeon's words today:

"To Him be glory both now and for ever." Will you not this day make it your prayer? "Lord, help me to glorify Thee; I am poor, help me to glorify Thee by contentment; I am sick, help me to give Thee honour by patience; I have talents, help me to extol Thee by spending them for Thee; I have time, Lord, help me to redeem it, that I may serve thee; I have a heart to feel, Lord, let that heart feel no love but Thine, and glow with no flame but affection for Thee; I have a head to think, Lord, help me to think of Thee and for Thee; Thou hast put me in this world for something, Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life-purpose: I cannot do much, but as the widow put in her two mites, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into Thy treasury; I am all Thine; take me, and enable me to glorify Thee now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have."