11.18.2010

Wordless Wednesday






This past weekend, I went camping with the Environmental Science Club, and it was an awesome retreat from normality as well as just what I needed at the time. We basked in the sun, hiked and explored around in the woods/streams, and roasted marshmallows around a bonfire in the evenings. Magical. Here are a few pictures to recap the weekend.








Fishers of Men-God’s Vision




"As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Mark 1:16-18

When you see an egg, do you see it for what it is, or do you see it for what it could become-a bird? When you see a small tree, do you see the green leaves and rough bark, or do you see the potential pencil or log cabin?
When you look at others-do you see them for what they are? Or what they could become? Similarly, how do you think Jesus views you? We have an incredible savior that has a perfect purpose for our lives, and luckily, he views us for what we are to become, not for what we are. He has a VISION for each of us. For example, in Mark 1:17, Jesus says to Simon and his brother, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” He didn’t view the men as fishermen, simply seeking food to provide for their family or to make a profit, I think he saw them for what they were to become-fishers of men-“casting” out their lives to draw in men with the great news of Jesus.

When Jesus spoke to the men, He said, “Come, follow me.” The text says that “At once they left their nets and followed him.”
If a bunch of small kids were playing in a yard and an old man drives up in a pick-up truck and tells them to hop in the back, would you be okay with that?
Now what if I were to tell you that the old man was the children’s grandfather? That changes the whole situation. This makes it okay for the kids to go with him, and you probably feel safe and at ease.
The same thing applies in the story with Jesus. When you knew that the older man was the kid’s grandfather, you trusted him and immediately were okay with letting the kids go along. Believing leads to stepping. Simon trusted Jesus and “at once” followed Jesus. If we believe in the Gospel, then that goes hand in hand with following Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t being saved it’s being sent.

Stepping leads to sacrifice. After trusting, step out after Jesus with your life, this changes your entire lifestyle. This means that you’re not just trying to feed yourself, but you live in a way that feeds others-by bringing love, joy, peace and compassion into other’s lives. There are two main verbs in this passage: make and follow. I think the more important of the two is the verb make. In order for God to make you fishers of men, you have to follow. After you follow, HE will make you into His vision for you.
Sacrifice leads to blessing. In Mark 10, Jesus talks about leaving everything and following him. In response to Peter saying he had done that, Jesus tells them “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:29-31). God also blesses Abram in Genesis 12:1-3, “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.””

If you are not sacrificing, are you really stepping? The only way to truly save yourself is to give yourself away. Isaiah 58 verses 10-11 summarizes that perfectly:
“and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

11.09.2010

Getting in the Word

I have been so blessed here to have met so many great spiritual role models and friends through the Campus Outreach ministry. Weekly, every Wednesday night, there's a meeting where a student first shares their testimony and what God is doing in their lives at that time followed by a talk by someone on staff. I am so grateful for this ministry, they actually get it. They are so encouraging, while living out the example of Jesus' love in their own lives where they're students living on a college campus as well.



I've met with several older girls and done what they call "getting in the word," not a social event a.k.a. a "Bible study", not a chastising (tell me all your gossip) meeting, but an in-depth, fruitful study of God's powerful word with the primary intention of getting to know HIM better and what He has to teach us. I'm going to write about one of these studies, mainly so I can reinforce some of the wonderful things I learned into my little noggin.


The study was of 1 Peter 3: 14-17. We studied this passage in this format: Context, Observations, Q&A's, Principles (universal truths about God made clear through the passage), and Application.



'"But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." 1 Peter 3:14-17



Context:
Godly Living, "Suffering for Doing Good."
Author: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ."
Audience: God's elect, strangers in the world-this could be describing how we are strangers in this world, living in our temporary home, or it could be talking about how we as Christians aren't supposed to be worldly, we're set apart. God's elect-addressing Christians, reminding people you are saved and this is what you do because of your salvation.


Observations:
-You should suffer for what is right
-You are blessed
-We are called not to fear
-Set Christ apart in your hearts, out of the huge jumble that may be your heart, set him apart in the center, He's set apart as LORD.
-Be ready to give a reason to anyone who asks about the hope within us.
-Christ is our hope-We have hope!
-Told to be gentle and have respect to those who question us.
-Keep a clear conscience when you're slandered
-those who speak maliciously against you will be put to shame.


Questions:
Should it be our aim to suffer for the Gospel? What does it mean to sanctify Lord in your heart? What does sanctify mean? How can we do this with gentleness and respect?


Answers:
Suffering-feel pain or to undergo as of in pain. injuries or disease. to feel unwell or uncomfortable. be set at a disadvantage. put up with someone or somebody unpleasant.
Defense-Protect from harm.
We’re protecting our integrity in the cross, just as a child would boast in his father and defend him with pride when others try to wrong him, we defend our heavenly father with saltiness.
Sanctify-to make holy, set apart as sacred; consecrate. to purify or free from sin. Sanctify your hearts.


Principle:
Christ is LORD and our HOPE, and we are supposed to defend that hope!

Application:
Make it a point in my life to remember why i’m suffering-for the Gospel, defending our hope. In this, I will be more diligent with scripture memory (a big weak spot for me) so that I can BE READY to give an account of the Bible.

Hurting Lately

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him. Philippians 1:29


My heart has been breaking these past few days for unbelievers, to be more specific those that I live with. Sometimes I'm just so confused by God's will and so unbelievably frustrated with how some people just can't seem to realize that their priorities lie in the wrong place! They don't know God's love! I want more than anything for them to know that they DO have an eternal daddy that wants a relationship with them! My heart is aching for them.


I hear them in the bathroom agonizing over one little pimple or how they have (what I wouldn't even consider noticeable) flaws and how it's "just not fair!" I want them understand that they are made in the image of Christ, beautiful because we're HIS creation, HIS bride, HIS beloved. I want them to understand that I DON'T CARE how they look! No matter what I say, they always, always, always apologize for how "gross" or "heinous" they look, I just want to shake the truth into them! Not really, I know that would be a little harsh/extreme, but after so many months of this, I'm hurting more and more for them each day. I want for there to be a heart change. I keep asking God to show me new ways that I can love them. I am constantly reminded each and every day here at college, just how utterly dependent I am on a Savior, how much I need Christ, and how no good deed comes from me, but rather HE deserves ALL the glory. Thank you sweet Jesus, my sanity.

11.07.2010

Casting Crowns-"Praise You In This Storm"

Praising God when it is easy is effortless. Praising God when things get really bad shows a real love of God!