Monthly Archives: March 2010

A tribute to my friends :)

3/27/10 — New Orleans

God has an amazing way of working things out, doesn’t He?  Just when we think that everything is going wrong, He proves that He is truly present through all, over all, and in all; He’s truly sovereign!

While walking around campus this morning, I was struck by the depth of this realization.  Sometimes, I take for granted that God is constantly directing the steps of my life.  But after leaving one of my classes, I simply stopped in the sidewalk where I was walking.  I stopped, and in my mind, I traveled back to the place where I was this time last year.

This time last year, I was freshman at a small, liberal arts, private college in Conway, AR.  To say it simply, I will simply say that it was not a good fit for me.  Although I had a few friends, I read while eating many meals alone.  I was depressed and haunted by guilt from my dating relationship.  Every single day, I prayed for friends and for the hopes of a future, God-centered relationship.

With the sun shining down on me this morning, though, I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk on campus, and I realized just how greatly God had answered my prayer.  Not only had He answered it, though, but He had prepared for me a place more amazing than anything I could have ever imagined!

To all of my friends and family, tonight, I want to show you just how much I love and appreciate you!  So often, I receive words of encouragement from y’all, and I want you to know that every single time we talk and every single time I see you, I am reminded of just how great God is.  I’m reminded of how He blesses us with an abundance so great that we cannot even comprehend it!

To all of my friends and family, remember always that I cherish you and that God has blessed me THROUGH YOU!  You have made a difference in my life, and it’s a difference that has taught me what it means to love because God first loved us.

Living with the Word in our mouthes and in our hearts

Whenever we read the Bible and hear God’s commandments, how often do we view them as being separate from who we are?  The Bible can become just that book we read on Sundays, and the Ten Commandments seem to be nothing more than a collection of old words like thou, hast, and shalt.  So often, thoughts like these fill my head, and I begin to think that parts of Christianity, especially parts in the Old Testament, aren’t relevant to me.

Just yesterday, I was reading in Deuteronomy, and I found this amazing passage about those misconceptions.  In the Message, Deuteronomy 30:11-12, 14 says,

“This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach.  It’s not on a high mountain–you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it.  And it’s not across the ocean–you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it to you before you can live it.  No.  The word is right here and now–as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest.  Just do it!”

Even more so than when Deuteronomy was written, every bit of the Word is relevant us.  John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.”  With that being said, how could the Word not be relevant to us?  The Word is God!  And since the Word is God, that also means that God is in our mouths and in our hearts.  God is inside of us already!

Once we realize this, we see that God is committed to helping us follow His will.  He knows that it’s impossible for us to do it on our own; that’s why He sent Jesus Christ to fulfill the Law through dying on a cross for our sin.  He wants to help us follow His will so that we can experience the joy while worshiping with Him in our mouthes.  In our hearts filled with Him, we experience His amazing love and gifts of grace, more amazing than we could ever imagine.

Until the day that we live with God in His very presence, we have Him through the Word.  If that doesn’t make every bit of the Bible relevant to us, I don’t know what does…

Workers in a harvest field

For the past three years, I’ve had a desire to do mission work in a Latin American country.  Since November, I became convicted that He was calling me to such work through reading my Bible and praying.  I prayed that He would open the way if it was His will, and He responded by providing with the opportunity for me to teach at a school for missionaries’ children in Pucallpa, Peru for the coming year, maybe more.  The picture above is of a classroom in the school where I would be teaching.

Even after writing that paragraph, I ask myself, “So, why aren’t you going to Peru next year?”  Honestly, I’m not sure that I can fully explain it, but I realized that I had taken my current season for granted.  I felt as though I wasn’t helping as many people here  as I could in Peru.  Worries about money,whether to stay in a sorority, and wanting to focus on school less to focus on God made going to Peru seem like the greener grass on the other side.

That day that I decided to not drop out of school to work and raise money for my missions, that day that I decided to not go to Peru, that day…….that’s when I made the choice to let go of my will and trust that God had put me exactly where I was at the moment.  That was the day that I realized that I was already a missionary–a sharer of the Gospel in every place I went, a lover of His children all around me, a follower of His will no matter what it meant.

We are all missionaries, each and every single one of us.  God has put us each where we are and has given us each talents to use.  While I hope that He will take me to Peru one day, I’ve learned that I simply have to wait peacefully and trust that His willwill be done.  We just have to open our eyes to harvest field that we are in–whether it’s a classroom, Starbucks, the office, church, or even a fraternity party.  Once we ask the Lord to send us out into these harvest fields, I think we’ll be surprised by the blessings we gather.

-References to Matthew 9:35-38

“God is watching the apples!”

For today, I just want to share with you a funny story that I heard one Sunday in my pastor’s sermon…

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One day just like any other, all the children at a Catholic elementary school were lined up for lunch.  Following the strict routine of the nuns, they would pick up their trays and go through the line to get their lunch.  At the end of the line, there was a long table.  On one end of this long table, there was a tray of chocolate chip cookies.  The opposite end of the table, though, was stacked high with shiny, red and green apples.

As the children passed through the line, the nuns began to notice that the apples were disappearing more quickly than the cookies.  They realized that the children were coming taking extra apples to stow away in their backpacks.  To ensure that each child only took one apple, one of the nuns wrote a sign to place next to the apples.  The sign read, “Take only one.  God is watching.”

The children read this and became afraid; each began taking only one apple.  However, a third-grade boy decided to address this matter himself.  In childlike handwriting, he wrote a note to put next to the cookies.  “Take as many as you want,” the note said, “God is watching the apples!”

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Don’t give the devil a foothold. Give God a pedestal!

Can people really change?

This is a question that I’ve been really wrestling with for a while.   I have a core weakness that I’ve been scared was something that couldn’t be changed.  That weakness is this: I’m absolutely terrified of rejection and being alone.  When I first got this fear, I became a perfectionist and a people pleaser.  This fear also led to my struggles with body image and many other issues.

Let’s face it, though, we all have these kinds of struggles, but I believe they have a different, more biblical name: footholds.  The NIV translation of Ephesians 4:27 says, “Do not give the devil a foothold.”  The ESV translation of the same verse says, “Give no opportunity to the devil.”  Said simply, these struggles are footholds and opportunities for the devil.

BUT, here’s the good news, these struggles/weaknesses don’t have to be footholds for the devil.  Instead, these weaknesses can be pedestals for God’s greatness!

This is actually where God took a bulldozer to the walls around my heart.  God changed my life and my heart completely when I finally found truth in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

” ‘My grace is sufficient for you

for My power is made PERFECT in

YOUR WEAKNESS.’

Therefore, I will boast all the more of my weakness,

so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am CONTENT with

weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’m not sure that I can give you a stronger dose of reality than this because Paul says it best in that verse!  I just hope and pray that no matter where you are in your life–whether you are struggling with certain fears, weaknesses, etc.–God is right there with you!  Even if you’ve been praying yet don’t feel changed, remember to view these trials as pedestals rather than footholds.

Imagine giving a lump of Play-do to a 5 year-old and saying, “Take my lump of Play-do and make whatever you want!”  No matter what your Play-do looks like, that 5 year-old is going to make something that you could never even imagine out of it!

The same is true whenever we give God our weaknesses and say, “Lord, take my weaknesses and do whatever you want with them.”  No matter what your weakness, He’s going to pour His grace into it and let His glory shine through you in a way that you cannot even imagine!

If you’re afraid that you can’t change because weaknesses/struggles are at the core of who you are, wake up and smell the roses!  If you believe the depth of God’s love, the completeness of Christ’s death and resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit, not only will you be changed, but you will be reborn!

Dear Mr. God

“Dear Mr. God”

by The Warren Brothers

“Dear Mr. God, I’m writing you today

‘Cause it seems that lately i’ve forgotten how to pray

I know I don’t need this pen but everybody likes to get a letter now and then

I’m sorry for not writing more

Cause I need you but it’s hard to see

why anyone as big as you needs anything from me

I know you’re there, so how you been

I’m alright but I can’t lie sometimes

I feel like giving in; you’re all I’ve got

Dear Mr. God

Sometimes I wish you lived next door

Over coffee you would tell me what you started all this for

I guess you saw that sunrise yesterday

Thanks for the reminder that you’re never gone away

It gives me hope, tellin’ me what you already know

I need you but it’s hard to see

why anyone as big as you needs anything from me

I know  you’re there so how’ve you been

I’m alright but I can’t lie sometimes

I feel like giving in

Dear Mr. God, tell me do you ever cry

We forget to thank you for the good things in our lives

I know I can’t always understand

why you do the things you do but I know in the end

I’ll make it through if I stand next to you

So here I am

Dear Mr. God I’m writing you today

Cause it seems that lately I’ve forgotten how to pray”

Prayer for My Organic Chemistry Professor

Yesterday, I was sitting in my Organic Chemistry class.  The teacher walked into the classroom–her first time to walk in for the past week and a half.  Everyone waited apprehensively, each one praying that our upcoming test coming would be rescheduled due to her absence.  Some may have wondered why she had been gone; however, most, including myself, were more concerned with the approaching threat of an all-nighter and way too many cups of coffee in order to stay up late and learn the material.

My teacher did reschedule the test, but my excitement didn’t last much longer.  My teacher had something else to say.  She told us that she had been missing class because of her terminal illness.  She said that all she had ever hoped for was to live until she was fifty.  Her fiftieth birthday was only 2 weeks away, she said, and though she was being seen by four different doctors, she doubted that she would make it until then.

I was shocked.  I couldn’t even focus during class.  The guilt of having been more concerned with my “impending doom” in the form of an organic chem test rather than the reason why my teacher had been absent hit me.  For the rest of the day, I felt the weight of that guilt laying on my shoulders.

God taught me a lesson through this, though.  He taught me the importance of faith, hope, and love.

Check back for a post about each one of these: faith, hope, and love.  For now, though, say a prayer for my Organic Chemistry teacher.  Thanks so much for your continued support, and remember that even in all of this darkness that envelops us, Christ is our light to the world.  He is the assurance of the hope we have, the reason for the joy that we receive, and the purpose for which we should live our lives.

For now, we can rest in knowing the truth in 1 John 3:20, “God is greater than our worried hearts, and he knows everything.”

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah