Tuesday, November 29, 2016

He Rules the World With Truth and Grace

Truth and Grace.

When listening to Christmas music, it's easy to not pay attention to the words because we've heard the same songs so many times, year after year.

Today as I tried to do some work during my planning period, my mind kept wandering.
Lately, I've had trouble with worrying and letting my mind wander off into "what if?" land.
That's dangerous!

My mind was wandering, and I focused back on my work and the Pandora Christmas music station (Hillsong Holiday, to be exact) playing in the background.

"He rules the world with truth and grace." That part caught my attention. "Joy to the World" has always been one of my favorites
(I had a Christmas screenname in high school: JoyToTheWorld18. (#DontJudgeMe))

Truth and grace. Two important words.

HE rules the WORLD with Truth.

Focus on the truth. Focus on what's TRUE. What we know to be true.
What I know to be true is that God has always, always, always provided for me in the past and He always will.
I know it's TRUE that whatever happens, He will work everything together in the best way possible, whether it seems like it at first or not (Romans 8:28).

The Bible says we have to control our thought life and think about TRUE things.



Philippians 4:8English Standard Version (ESV)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

If we spend time thinking about GOOD things, we won't even have time to think about the scary / bad things that can corrode our minds and steal our joy.

"What ifs" are especially dangerous because THEY AREN'T EVEN NECESSARILY TRUE. Our minds start thinking and thoughts escalate and before we know it, we are creating problems that may not even be there in the first place!
OVERTHINKING IS DANGEROUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Right before the verses about thoughts, there are verses that talk about WORRY:

Philippians 4:6English Standard Version (ESV)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.


I bought a ring with Philippians 4:6 on it. I wear it every day as a reminder. I have to constantly look at it and pray throughout the day because I'm such a worrier.
This has taught me to stay in constant prayer and fully rely on God at all times, knowing I cannot do anything on my own.
When you pray about the things you are worried about, you don't always find answers, but you will find PEACE.




And finally, GRACE.

We don't deserve anything God does for us. We are ALL sinners, saved by His grace, no sin greater than the other, and it's important to remember that all you have to do is ask His forgiveness and He forgets any wrong you have done. By His great grace...

Which should take away SHAME, and I'm working on a separate post about that!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Stop Putting it Off!!

I just wrote a post about prayer, but I have more to say. 

How blessed are we to have the absolute PRIVILEGE of being able to speak to the Creator of the universe, any time we want to?!

Thinking of prayer as a privilege really puts it in perspective. In the Old Testament, they had to go into temples and special places just to talk to God. They had to take a bath before, and all this crazy stuff (I hope I'm not making this up...seems accurate).

Now, we can literally talk to God anytime, anywhere. 
SO WHY DON'T WE?!?!

We forget.
We have pride and think we can handle everything by ourselves.
We underestimate the power of prayer.
We get busy.
We don't know what to pray?

The Lord knows your heart. Talk to Him. Say anything. Tell Him how you feel, what's frustrating you, what makes you happy... Thank Him for what He's done. Ask for what you want. He can give you what you want if it's His will.

You don't need batteries or wifi or to take a bath first. You don't need to be perfect. 

JUST PRAY! BECAUSE JESUS DIED SO THAT WE CAN!

Pray, and see how much better you feel, talking to God about things.




Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

"That's All We Can Do"

So I absolutely HATE when people say, "Just pray. That's all we can do!"
I know they don't mean anything bad by it, but I guess unknowingly, they are undermining / underestimating the power of prayer.

If praying is all we can do, then that is essentially everything.

How blessed are we to have the absolute PRIVILEGE of being able to speak to the Creator of the universe, any time we want to?!

I was thinking about the power of prayer the other day because one of my New Year's resolutions for 2016 was to be more intentional with prayer and to remain in continuous prayer - constantly talking to God throughout the day.
Reflecting on this year, I think I have made strides towards that. No, I don't pray as fervently as I should, but I have really grown in my prayer life. Not saying this to toot my own horn; I just really want everyone to be able to experience the peace that comes with constant prayer like I have. When you have something really great, you want to share it with your family and friends, right?!


After seeing the movie War Room, I decided to create a prayer closet once I moved into my house (I bought it last December and moved in in February). It's still not the perfect prayer room - I'm still working on it. But it has greatly helped me to go in there and close the door and WRITE my prayers on paper and hang them up. I love being able to look at prayers I wrote months ago and put a check mark to say it was answered. Or keep praying the ongoing ones. I've spent some precious time with the Lord in there, reading my Bible and crying out to Him, especially with some stuff I went through this summer (and am still going through). Even if the prayers aren't answered yet, it brings me so much peace to just go in there and talk to God. Not that I can't do that anywhere, but knowing I have a specific spot for prayer makes it more intentional for me, which was one of my goals this year.

I have known of the power of prayer since I was very little. Growing up in a Christian home and church and Christian school, it was obvious what I should do if I wanted something. My six-year-old self probably saw God as a genie who could grant our wishes, because I started praying for a little sister when I was about that age. My mom and dad had said NO MORE KIDS, and I was happy with my brother, but he didn't like having his nails painted, so I wanted a sister!!
I took to prayer.
When I was nine years old, my mom found out she was pregnant with a baby girl. No one was more shocked than my parents. I was like "FINALLY!!"

I told my mom I remembered how she had prayed for eight years before I was born for a baby girl with brown eyes. Her doctor told her she may not ever have kids, but they prayed together and her and my dad prayed at home. In 1988 I was born (my eyes are black though...).
I told her I knew that praying for a sister would work because she had prayed for me and it worked!

As I've gotten older, I've realized that you don't always get what you pray for. God is NOT a genie in a bottle, and sometimes you don't get what you ask for because He's protecting you from something or He has something better in mind.
Sure, I am currently sitting at the job I prayed for for about ten years.
Sure, I accepted a part-time job yesterday that I had prayed for.

But what about when we don't get what we pray for?

I prayed for my uncle to be healed from cancer. I prayed so hard. He wasn't healed. In April of 2014, I held his hand and hummed Jesus Loves Me hours before he left this earth.
I'm not mad at God. I still believe in the power of prayer. I don't know why that prayer wasn't answered, but I do know that I did feel peace about his death, thanks to the constant prayer.

We DID pray for my uncle to be saved before he passed away and that prayer came true. That's all that really matters.

I have been through some times where "all I could do was pray" and they were so, so hard. The prayer was literally the only thing that got me through. I cannot understand how people go through hard times without praying - it's unfathomable to me.

I've read so many testimonies and stories about the power of prayer - healing, saving, life-changing...

Praying is the single most powerful thing you can do about any situation. Please don't underestimate it. 

I came across an article about prayer this morning when I was doing some scripture reading:


Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg




I hope this motivates or helps someone! I'm constantly working on this!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Saved From the Depths

Everyone knows I listen to Christmas music year round. Of course now I'm in full-Christmas music mode. (If you are judging me right now, click here to find out why I do what I do :))

"O Come O Come Emmanuel" is one of my favorites, hands-down. I like to break it down verse by verse because the lyrics are so powerful. 
Tonight, after going through the McDonald's drive-through after midnight (so wrong but felt so right... definitely won't feel right in the morning though!), I was listening to the song and a certain part hit me:

"O come, O come, Rod of Jesse,
And rescue us from Satan's tyranny.
From depths of Hell, Your people save,
And give them victory over the grave."

First I thought about my loved ones who have passed on. I'm not sad anymore because when they accepted Christ, they were given the promise of eternal life - victory over the grave. The long hours of holding their hands and humming "Jesus Loves Me" as they spent their final hours on Earth gave way to them ascending to their Heavenly homes, all because of Christmas. All because Emmanuel was born.


Then I thought about something - my pride.
I struggle with pride, but this reminded me that we were ALL saved from the depths of Hell. We ALL deserve Hell without Christ. Sorry if this offends you, but the Bible says 
we are all just sinners saved by grace, not by anything we have done or could ever do.

That makes me the same as the people I might be prone to judge for their actions.
He came to save them as much as He came to save me.
If that doesn't humble you, what will?

But in all this, we are "more than conquerors," and "co-heirs with Christ."
All because Emmanuel was born. 


:)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Will Bring Praise

Once again, Facebook's "On This Day" has caused me to notice something interesting. 


I was thinking earlier about appreciating all of life's seasons, and it's funny how I literally saw extremely different seasons of my life as I scrolled down through "On This Day."

Four years ago today, I was going through a season of extreme confusion, feelings of abandonment, etc. I was in grad school at Appalachian, but didn't live there, so I couldn't enjoy Boone. I remember being in downtown Boone after class one night and sitting in the middle of all the Christmas lights, just crying and reading my Bible in my car. I was wishing I had someone to enjoy the beautiful lights with.
(Fun fact: I got a warning ticket in Boone that day and got another one just yesterday!)
"This is my prayer in the desert, when all that's within me feels dry."

A year later, when they put the Christmas lights up, I was downtown eating at Jimmy John's with my brother and Kacie, who had moved to Boone and we all lived together. I cried the happiest tears in JJ's because I this was such an answer to prayer. Because the Lord is so faithful if we stand firm on His promises.
After a really fun night in Boone with my friends, I drove back to High Point for the weekend and cried happy tears and wrote a blog post about how happy and thankful I was. I was SO happy and everything was so wonderful.
"This is my prayer in the harvest...I know I'm filled to be empty again..."

Two years later (last year at this time), I was going through a season of extreme discontent and almost depression. I vividly remember looking at a picture of myself and thinking "I hate her." 
This scared me so bad. I had never felt that way. I was so ungrateful and discontent and it was awful. I finally opened up about it on my blog because I don't believe we should struggle privately. 
"This is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain... Refine me, Lord, through the flame."

Today before I saw any of this, I wrote a post about being so thankful for my job, and how it's what I've always wanted.
I'm also thinking about the Lord's constant provision despite my doubts. 
"No weapon formed against me shall remain."


It's interesting to look back on the years and see the mountaintops and the valleys and how life fluctuates. 

But one thing stays the same - 
"All of my life, in every season, 
YOU are STILL GOD,
I have a reason to sing...
God is my victory, and He is here."



.....................................................................


Just for kicks, here are the posts from those days. Skim over them, if you will.


Sunday, November 15, 2015


Ungrateful in the Season of Thankfulness

It's ironic how in the month of thankfulness I have been the most ungrateful. I know that this is an attack from the devil. He knows how much I grew last year in the most uncomfortable place and now I have landed ( God has blessed me with ) dream job number one and I'm too comfortable for my own good, I'm finding that it's so hard to be thankful and grateful. I keep finding different things to complain about and be upset about when I should just be overjoyed at what all God has blessed me with. I'm definitely fighting a spirit of ungratefulness right now and it's breaking my heart but hopefully it will break my heart to the point that I experience growth out of even this. 

Last Sunday I went to Green Street Baptist, the church I grew up in. The pastor that was leading the church when I was young was back for a special occasion (he is now Tim Tebow's pastor in Florida). Dr. Brunson's message was about thankfulness and how so many people are depressed and alcoholism and suicide rates are up and life spans are shortening because people are depressed and not thankful when there is so much to be thankful for. He talked about how as Christians, we have God's grace to be thankful for - the fact that He saved us when we are so unworthy of saving. We have hope of eternity in Heaven. And so on. The message smacked me in the face. Tears came to my eyes at one point because I realized how truly ungrateful I have been. I needed the message so much. 

I'm working hard to thank God every day for the things He's given me while I continue to wait for the things I'm trying to be patient for. I want to focus on being grateful in this season when it's so hard for some reason. I don't know why I'm going through this, but it has to be an exercise for growth. And I will use it for His glory. 




Thursday, November 14, 2013


Overcome With Emotion/Love/Gratitude/YouNameIt

 

Last night as I was driving to church, I saw, much to my delight, that the Christmas lights were up in downtown Boone!!
My mind went back to last year at about this time, when I left class one night in November (don't remember the date) and saw the lights for the very first time ever. I remember being so overcome with emotion and just pulling into a parking spot and journaling right then and there. I poured my emotions on the paper. 
(I want to find that journal entry when I get home.)
As I drove again, I saw people inside the restaurants downtown, eating with friends and wished I had friends here to eat with (this was when I was living in HP and commuting to Boone two days a week, only coming for work and class, and going back home at night).
I looked forward to this year, knowing I'd have people to eat with on King Street. I knew I'd have at least my brother!
This evening, Kacie and I went downtown and looked around in the Mast General Store, an antique store, and some Appalachian State apparel stores. I could SMELL Christmas in the air. Michael met us for dinner at Jimmy John's.
The snowflake lights were shining, and as we sat and ate supper, I just kept thinking, 
"This is so nice. I'm so glad this is happening
This is what I looked forward to last year at this time. 
This is so different from last year. God is so good."
After eating, we picked up Grace and went to Wal-Mart to get a Christmas movie and the mall to just look around. It's sometimes really nice to walk around the mall and not buy anything.
We went back to our apartment and watched Home Alone 2 (one of my all-time favorites) and drank hot chocolate and painted our nails, and my brother and Taylor came and joined us in watching the movie.
It was warm and cozy in the apartment and I knew every line of the Home Alone 2 because I've seen it so many times, and having constants like that in my life is comforting.
Being safe and warm and laughing in good company with Christmas candles going is comforting and wonderful and I loved every minute of it. Christmas is totally in the air, and it was just a special time.
I decided to drive back to High Point after we watched the movie, and after I went through McDonald's to get a large coffee, I got on 421 heading east, and as I drove and listened to Jessica Simpson Christmas hymns I just broke down.
Normally when I leave Boone on Thursday nights I'm pretty emotional, but this time just took the cake.
I was WRECKED... I was FILLED... I was overcome with this gigantic wave of emotions ranging from "Oh my gosh I want to stay and watch more movies in my cozy apartment with my brother and our friends" to "I can't wait to get home and write these feelings down!!!!"
I literally burst into tears, thinking back on my night and how God has perfectly orchestrated everything leading up to this night. 
I thought about how I'd begged and begged for two years for it to be His will for me to attend Appalachian for undergrad, and it clearly, simply was not His will. I was right where I was supposed to be at the time. If only I'd known, if only I'd had more faith and TRUSTED that everything would work out perfectly...
I can't begin to describe the emotions I was feeling tonight, thinking about how glad I am that everything worked out the way it did. I just kept thinking about what a wonderful day and night I had.
I didn't know what else to say or think, so I just kept crying and saying, 
"Thank you so much, Lord. Thank you sooooo much!" over and over and over as I drove down the mountain.
My mind just kept flashing back to that night about a year ago, and how I was alone in my car on King Street, enamored by the beauty of the Christmas decorations, wishing I had someone to enjoy them with, but savoring the time I had alone to take it all in.
And look, now. God has blessed me ABUNDANTLY with people to enjoy the Christmas decorations with.


Okay, here's the slightly eerie part:
I get home around 2:00 am (don't judge) and I find my journal and the page I first see is the one with the entry about the King Street lights.
I read the entry, and I'm amazed at what I see and how everything lines up...
Now, I'm good with remembering dates and things like that, but I PROMISE, I did not remember the date of the day I first saw the lights and wrote the entry. Nor did I remember what I had written.
Reading this entry, I was a little surprised to see exactly how similar it is to what I felt tonight, and that the date was exactly a year ago!
Thursday, November 15, 2012
It's been a wonderful day in Boone! It didn't start so well - I got pulled for running a red light coming into Boone. Luckily, I cried and got out of it. That didn't happen last time I got pulled - ha! .........
[[then I went on to talk about my day and how class went...]]
I read my Bible in my car after class, and I'm loving the book of Exodus. After reading my Bible, I looked down the street and saw light-up snowflakes lining the street in downtown. So of course I had to drive down King Street and look! I put it on 99.5 and heard Christmas music! ...All of King Street is lit up. It's beautiful. The Mast General Store looks amazing. I took some pictures and stopped to write this journal entry. I'm overwhelmed by the feeling that I have so much to be thankful for. I'm so excited for Christmas. I'm so glad I chose App State. So thankful for family and friends. And my journal. And time alone in the car to pray :)
Wow!! How crazy is that - that I was having almost the exact same thoughts pretty much exactly a year ago?? The things I yearned for last year at this exact time are the exact things I have now. God fulfills. He provides. He goes above and beyond.
At this time last year, I knew that I'd be living in Boone now, but I did not know the extent to which I would be enjoying it - with family and friends.
Sure, I have worries right now. I have things in life that are stressing me out. But there's no reason to believe that these things won't work themselves out because God has it all planned out. I see that more and more every single day.
I have goosebumps now!
eBa

"I Couldn't Do It"

I decided in high school I wanted to become a teacher.

I got to about my senior year of college (fifth year, at that), and decided that I didn't want to be a teacher anymore.
It was too late.

I went to graduate school right after college to avoid teaching for two more years.

I got a teaching job the summer after graduate school.

People congratulated me, but most kept saying,
"More power to you - I couldn't do it."

This scared the mess out of me. I was literally terrified out of my mind.
WHAT WAS I GETTING MYSELF INTO?!?!

Now, when I tell people I am a teacher, they still say, "More power to you - I couldn't do it!!!"
But the difference today is that I have 2.5 years under my belt and it's been such a blessing. It's challenging, yes. But today, thinking about what I'm thankful for (because it's November and Thanksgiving is coming up, duhhhhh), I can't help but be so thankful for my job and for the experiences it has awarded me.

It goes way beyond teaching The Great Gatsby or getting them ready for the state exam. It even goes beyond teaching them how to write a research paper!

I'm thankful for the girl that wants to teach me how to properly do wing eyeliner.

I'm thankful for the guy who talks a lot of trash to me about the Tarheels.

I'm thankful for the kid that came to me and asked my advice because she's starting a blog.

I'm thankful for the ones who make me laugh and write me notes and give me a hard time and the ones who are hesitant to learn and the ones that are eager to learn and the ones that struggle and the ones that don't.

If you had asked me ten years ago where I wanted to be right now, it's right here, exactly where I am.

Not forever, but for right now it's perfect. :)


Friday, November 11, 2016

Welcome to the Future

This picture of my dad's mother and father is probably one of my favorite pictures ever. 


Every time I see it, I think of one of the verses of a Brad Paisley song:

"My grandpa was in World War Two
He fought against the Japanese
He wrote a hundred letters to my grandma
Mailed them from his base in the Philippines
I wish they could see this now
The world they saved has changed, you know
'Cause I was on a video chat this morning
With a company in Tokyo


Hey, everyday's a revolution
Welcome to the future"



Thinking about the events of this week, I know it seems like we've made so much progress to take a "step back," so to speak. But I cannot help but get goosebumps when I think about the many men and women (including two of my uncles)
who have fought endlessly to ensure that we do have a choice and certain freedoms that can't be taken away. America is not perfect by any means, and we still have so much to work on, but we HAVE come a long way since the picture above was taken (1944). 

Today I'm thankful that I got to know my grandparents and that they instilled in me a love for Jesus and for our nation and for other people, and placed value on hard work. 

I'm thankful they worked hard to create a family that would be successful and honor the Lord, no matter what was going on in the world.


Happy Veteran's Day!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Necessary.

Yes, I have been privileged. No, I'm not a minority. Yes, I'm a Christian. But no, I do not have my head in the sand.
Christ called me to love everyone and I do that to the best of my ability. That's what I believe. 
That should be okay with you. We all have the freedom to choose what we believe.
No, I have not seen (and most likely will never see)
what many people have seen as far as poverty and hatred, but I will tell you this -
I work in a public high school. I have 90+ students. 
Five are white. TWENTY are from other countries and have only been in the US for a couple years. Some are Muslim. 
They are from all different socio-economic classes.
I am surrounded by diversity for 40+ hours a week. That is most of my life. 
I absolutely love my job and I absolutely love my students.
I WANT what's best for them.
I don't want anyone to be scared for their life.
It kills me that they might be.

It is definitely okay to be sad about the outcome of the election. 
I totally understand why you are sad and scared. 
It is not okay to hurt others because you are sad. I am not saying you should not be sad. 
I am not saying you should pray if you aren't a Christian. I love you anyway. We are all free to choose what we believe.


For my fellow Christ-followers:
So now, what we need to do instead of furthering the anger and the hate, we need to fervently, CEASELESSLY pray that the man chosen as leader of this country will soften his heart and be a decent President. There's no time for complaining or gloating or deleting people or fighting. We need to be on our faces in prayer. The Lord can work miracles. He turned Saul, a KILLER of Christians, into Paul, the greatest man that ever lived (besides Jesus). 
Do not doubt that He can do it.


The Lord said, "If my people will humble themselves and pray, I will hear them and have mercy on them and heal their land."
I can't think of a more humbling experience than this. What better time to listen to that verse.
I'll say it again - this is no time for lukewarm Christianity. You're either on fire or don't bother.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Just Disgusted.

UGH. I'm usually such a positive person, but this election really has me down. I know I posted a really positive post about the election the other day, and I STILL believe that God is 100% in control and nothing can happen without Him allowing it, but it seems like today I've seen everything negative about the world instead of the positives.

Get on Snapchat and you see DUMB articles about sex or itemizing women. OUR TEENAGERS ARE ON SNAPCHAT. THIS CRAP IS FILLING THEIR MINDS.
And not only them, but our men and women who are working hard to stay focused on the Lord and on track!!

Turn on the TV and almost every show is filled with sex, violence, and cursing. Call me a prude or whatever, but I cannot. It's just too much now. It makes me so angry. It's a righteous anger. That is not what we are supposed to be filling our hearts and minds with.

Thinking about today and how every person I know has had to vote for someone that they don't like. WE FEEL VIOLATED AND DIRTY AFTER VOTING. Because our nation has chosen two people who are unfit to rule this nation that was built on morals and values.
THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.

The other day I was at a Bible study and one of the girls said that we are going to battle now. This is the time when now, more than ever, we have to be SPIRIT-FILLED Christ followers.
We need to be armed with Scripture and making sure we are as close to God as we can be.

Today, my coworker and I were saying that the time to be lukewarm has long passed. Now, you are either on fire for God or you will flounder under the world's temptations and pressures.

The Israelites had scary and horrible leaders because THEY WENT AGAINST GOD. We have gone against God, and that's why we have no good choice right now. But it's okay. God didn't turn His back on the Israelites, and He won't turn His back on us.

In our Bible study for the youth group at church, we are in the book of Numbers, and I was reminded today when reading that God was with the Israelites through it all, when everything seemed hopeless. I wrote down Psalm 9:10:

"And those who know Your name put their trust in You,
For You, o Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."


Even as I'm writing this, a song came on Pandora that brought some comfort.

"Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
It is well with my soul"




I'm working super hard to focus on the Lord right now and trust Him in this fallen world. He won't turn His back on those who are ACTIVELY seeking Him.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Being a Christian is NOT Enough.

Brooke always gives the most perfect gifts. I collect Bibles, and I can't think of anything better for an English nerd who loves to annotate but also to doodle than a JOURNALING BIBLE. Literally the best thing ever. And this morning's message at Oak View was perfect for my first time using it. I almost cried I was so happy. ❤️❤️❤️


Pastor Steve's sermon this morning was ON POINT. I'll admit, I hadn't been to church on a Sunday morning in a while. I was so glad I had my new Bible with me. I've realized over the past few years that there IS a difference between being a Christian and being filled with the Holy Spirit, but I had not heard a message so explicit on this topic. Everything was so great. I was frantically jotting down notes and quotes. 
Obviously you can read my notes (that I will eventually color with the pretty pencils Brooke gave me), but I do want to touch on some points real quick.

Stephen, the first-ever Christian martyr, was a guy we should all strive to be like. I can't say this enough - it is NOT ENOUGH to be a Christian. Being a Christian will get YOU to Heaven, but it will not get others to Heaven. Allowing yourself to be filled with the Holy Spirit (praying ceaselessly, reading your Bible, serving and genuinely caring about others, wanting to constantly grow in the Lord and learn more about Him...) will set you apart from everyone else in the world. It will cause others to see that you have something different in you - that you are not like the world or even other Christians. 
THAT is what will make others want to be saved. They will want what you have - what makes you so joyful and different.

I teach high school and have a teenage sister and work with teenagers at church, so I'm decently up on the lingo, and I know that when people (mostly teens) say #GOALS, it means that they really admire something and want to emulate it. So I wrote #GOALS by Stephen in the Bible because that's who I want to be like. I want people to look at me and see that I am not only different from the world, but different from other Christians. 
Cool. 
I was like "Heck yeah, that's me!"

Gah I'm so prideful. 
JESUS WAS HUMBLE, BETH. BE LIKE JESUS.

So then Steve said that this is NOT SO THAT THE WORLD WILL SEE US, BUT THAT THE WORLD WILL SEE CHRIST IN US. BECAUSE OF US! 
And I know that. 
Once again, I was reminded that I have a huge pride issue that I have to keep control of, and I have to constantly remind myself of the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Hillsong United - 
"Your will above all else, my purpose remains - 
the art of losing myself in bringing You praise."

A true SPIRIT-FILLED Christian must be so in love with Christ that their own identity pales in comparison to their representation of the Savior. 
(( Are people more interested in my outfits or the God I serve? 
What do I want them to see when they see me?? ))

Steve said that in this world, you cannot stand firm unless you are Spirit-filled. If you don't love Scripture and have the desire to read it and memorize it, it is very hard to live for God in a world that generally does not love Him. 

My prayer is that the Lord will continue to convict me and that I will listen to Him prayerfully and humbly serve Him and others, and that the world will see me as different - that they will see Christ in me and that I will be so wrapped up in Him that I lose my own self. 

More on this later! I love it. 


MY PRECIOUS WEEKEND

Going into a three-day work week (blessed, I know :)), I'm thinking about my wonderful weekend.
Friday night my dad and I got to go to our annual UNC basketball game. We have gone to at least one together every year for the past three years. I love this sweet tradition! Chapel Hill is one of my favorite places and Carolina basketball is a tradition second to none.






Saturday we headed to Boone for the first Appalachian football game I've ever been to with my parents. My dad and I have gone to lots of basketball and baseball games together, but he had never been to an Appalachian football game, and my mother hadn't been to one since 1975. She doesn't usually like sports, which is funny (and sad) to me, so it was pretty cool and rare to get to go to a football game with them. My mom's first Appalachian football game as an alumna! haha...
I just wish my brother didn't have to work and could have come :(

***I may have eaten an entire funnel cake because YOLO***







As I sat in the middle of some of the people I love most in the universe and looked out at one of my favorite views in the world, I couldn't help but think about how blessed I am. It's so easy to take things for granted, and I'm determined not to. 

***There's something about being in the football stadium ("The Rock") and looking out and seeing the majestic quiet mountains and being nestled all snugly in the middle of God's Country, 3,333 feet above sea level, closer to the angels with some of the most precious people. I just CAN'T EVEN.***


Thank you, Jesus. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Thoughts on the Election

2 Corinthians 10:3-4(NIV)

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."

It's election season and all we see on TV are commercials for or against candidates. Propaganda everywhere. People arguing on Facebook (my favorite). The general consensus for this 2016 election is that there is no good choice. Some people are pretty depressed about that. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do... on our own, at least. Complaining and fighting on social media will do no good. 
When I think about this election, the verse I posted above comes to mind now. We are in this world, but the ideals and battles we are fighting are spiritual, and that's how they should be handled. Regardless of the outcome on November 8th, as Christians, we should spend a lot less time arguing and a WHOLE lot more time praying for our country. God is ultimately in control. Not Clinton or Trump or even old Gary Johnson!! The world wants to argue and fight. That takes our attention away from the One in control. God wants us to realize that no leader is enough for us, but that He is. We better be getting on our knees and going to battle. Our weapons are not guns and words, but prayer. We have the God of the universe on our side, and in His name the power to break every chain and stronghold.
I know what I'm gonna do - I'm gonna get my War Room ready. I'm taking all the clothes out of my closet and replacing them with pillows and blankets and hanging some Christmas lights and going in there and shutting the door and fighting this battle on my knees. 
We aren't fighting Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. We are fighting Satan. Let's focus on the bigger picture here.