Jeremiah 15:16

I’ve wanted to write this blog for some time now… it’s a list of verses. Each is written on a nicely decorated PostIt nestled in my Bible, hehe, but I wanted to record them someplace more permanent in the hopes that I will never lose (or forget) them. PostIts are great, but I think these verses deserve more than a small note stuck between two pages that I will likely lose in time. These verses helped me persevere through one of the toughest trials in my life thus far… maybe they can be encouraging to someone who is reading this blog as well. Happy reading. 🙂

Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. Psalm 119:73-77

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-12

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done. Psalm 62:11,12

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-39

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7,8

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching….So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Hebrews 10:23-25,35-39

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy….Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:10,11,13-16

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. Isaiah 43:1-7

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. Psalm 112:7,8

Job 33

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:27-31

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91

…just a few. 😉

Many many Blessings,

Christina

pay attention to everything I say.

2I am about to open my mouth;

my words are on the tip of my tongue.

3My words come from an upright heart;

my lips sincerely speak what I know.

4The Spirit of God has made me;

the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

5Answer me then, if you can;

prepare yourself and confront me.

6I am just like you before God;

I too have been taken from clay.

7No fear of me should alarm you,

nor should my hand be heavy upon you.

8“But you have said in my hearing—

I heard the very words—

9‘I am pure and without sin;

I am clean and free from guilt.

10Yet God has found fault with me;

he considers me his enemy.

11He fastens my feet in shackles;

he keeps close watch on all my paths.’

12“But I tell you, in this you are not right,

for God is greater than man.

13Why do you complain to him

that he answers none of man’s wordsa?

14For God does speak—now one way, now another—

though man may not perceive it.

15In a dream, in a vision of the night,

when deep sleep falls on men

as they slumber in their beds,

16he may speak in their ears

and terrify them with warnings,

17to turn man from wrongdoing

and keep him from pride,

18to preserve his soul from the pit,b

his life from perishing by the sword.c

19Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain

with constant distress in his bones,

20so that his very being finds food repulsive

and his soul loathes the choicest meal.

21His flesh wastes away to nothing,

and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.

22His soul draws near to the pit,d

and his life to the messengers of death.e

23“Yet if there is an angel on his side

as a mediator, one out of a thousand,

to tell a man what is right for him,

24to be gracious to him and say,

‘Spare him from going down to the pitf;

I have found a ransom for him’—

25then his flesh is renewed like a child’s;

it is restored as in the days of his youth.

26He prays to God and finds favor with him,

he sees God’s face and shouts for joy;

he is restored by God to his righteous state.

27Then he comes to men and says,

‘I sinned, and perverted what was right,

but I did not get what I deserved.

28He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit,g

and I will live to enjoy the light.’

29“God does all these things to a man—

twice, even three times—

30to turn back his soul from the pit,h

that the light of life may shine on him.

31“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;

be silent, and I will speak.

32If you have anything to say, answer me;

speak up, for I want you to be cleared.

33But if not, then listen to me;

be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

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“Moving past the past where I have failed”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Philippians 4:6-7. Oh, how I love thee. This section of verse has always stuck out to me… touching someplace deep within in ways that I cannot even describe to you. It has been my stronghold during some of the most difficult and trying times in my life. It has calmed my nerves and led to a place of peace far beyond anything that this world can give to me… reminding me of His presence and plan (whatever it may be). I know that He is there in the midst of it all and this verse has always given me that “Just breathe, it’ll be okay” feeling.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me….But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:1,26-27

John, too. It’s as if I always knew these verses and thought that I understood them… but I was missing something all along. Something big.

I was reading another John Piper article tonight (The Goodness of God and The Guidance of Sinners)… I picked this topic because it is something that I am honestly struggling with again. It’s hard for me to leave things in the past… to move on and let go of people and places. Especially when I loved them and didn’t understand why I had to say goodbye in the first place. But, through it all, I have tried to constantly remind myself that HE is in control and has a mighty plan far beyond my comprehension… no door that He opens can be shut; no door that He shuts can be opened (Rev. 3:7). But for some silly “me” reason, I can’t stop seeking out one thing in particular that I lost. Rather it be through Facebook or friends… I just want to be a part of the thing that left me in the dust so long ago. I’m pathetic! And that scares me. It’s as if I’m asking to be hurt again and again… who does that? Me, I suppose. But that’s not the life or mental struggle that He would have for me… I just didn’t truly understand that until now. There is such great power in His words! I was reading this article which is centered around David and Psalm 25… the struggles of the body and mind that David underwent during that time, his prayers to the Lord, and the Lord’s promise to see him through his life when that life is rooted in Him and is spent obeying Him. Piper said something about David that unexpectedly struck close to home…

…in the middle of all this external turmoil with foes threatening and friends forsaking, the trouble is compounded by the internal misery of a sinful and guilty heart.

John Piper

I read this article for one reason – and I’m walking away touched by something completely different. Happens a lot with Him. I love it. 🙂 That quote sums up my senior year at Virginia Tech. Truly. I lost love and didn’t know why… I lost/fled from “friends”… I felt guilty for past actions and for still wanting them even though I knew they were sinful… I was lonely… I was lost… I was hurt more than ever before. Looking back, the hardest thing for me to realize is that I thought I was seeking Him during that time… He was all that I had… and, yet, I was honestly so deep in my own sorrow that I missed His outstretched hand all along. Not to belittle His ultimate timing, but I wish I had “recovered” sooner. I wish that I could be stronger now, too.

Once again, Piper’s words hit me hard and straight in the heart… I always seem to catch myself in a self-perpetuated mess with this situation. Each time it ends with me getting upset with myself and me praying to God for guidance and strength to not slip up again… all to do it yet again another day. It’s pathetic. And I’m probably my own worst fan because of it. How am I suppose to know the Lord’s will – in this situation and in others? How do I listen better to a voice that I think I listen well to already. BAM, problem number one. I’m not listening.

It is an amazing thing how many people consider themselves Christians who don’t consult Christ when making choices. So I feel the need to sound this warning: You cannot be saved from sin by the Christ of the Bible if you reject the Christ of the Bible. The Christ of the Bible is an authoritative Adviser as well as an atoning Savior. So if we try to receive him as an atoning Savior and reject him as an authoritative Adviser, all we receive is an imaginary Christ, while rejecting the Christ of the Bible.

John Piper

Read that again. That’s me right now – rejecting half of my Father – and I don’t want that to be me. I said that I was following Him and listening to His voice… but was I doing what He said? No. Did I follow His wise guidance and decrees (and do I now)? Not really. He wrote those things for a reason… they’re for our own good! How can I ever follow Him if I’m not following Him? Circling back to the beginning of my post… Philippians 4:6-7 and John 14:1,26-27 have a whole new meaning to me now. Keep reading on in Philippians to verses 8-9…

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

How did I miss this before?!! I’m so silly and young – times like this remind me of that. He guards me and my heart when I trust in His word and obey it. Duh, I know. But, YES!, I’m finally getting a taste of what these verses actually mean! THANKgoodness. 🙂 When I know His opinions and stances on things through the Word, I can follow Him likewise. Having a  fear of Him and following his counsel… that is “wisdom”.  When I grow in Him, then I am able to make mature choices. He speaks to me through His word. (Duh! Again!) I can make well-informed, heart-protecting, wise and just choices in my life when I follow the wisdom taught by the Word of God. I swear, I knew this stuff before (or so I thought), but now I’m actually starting to know it. So cool. 🙂

It seems to me that the Bible describes the ordinary guidance of God as the development of spiritual sensitivity. In other words, the prerequisite of divine guidance is not the quest for messages, but the quest for holiness. Guidance is the product not of ecstatic heights but of spiritual depth.

John Piper

I wish I had known these things a year and a half ago…

Thankful,

Christina

…I suppose it truly isn’t a matter of losing, but rather a matter of growing. Understood that all wrong, too. 😉

Wise words from a wise Soul

This summer’s sermon series at BCF revolves around the book of James. I have read numerous passages in the book throughout my life, but I have never been hit so hard by James’ words prior to now. They’re impactful. Perhaps the most convicting section covered thus far involves chapter 3. Oh my… a sections devoted solely to our own worst nightmare at times… our tongues. Here are a few great verses on it and the power that it holds:

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. Isaiah 50:4

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound… Isaiah 61:1

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:34b-37

Hear and understand:  it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. Matthew 15:10-11

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! Romans 10:15

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

James’ words (and countless others’) have spurred me on to study this topic in depth and seek out the seemingly hidden areas where I fall short. Maybe this unquenchable desire sprouts from the tragic toll that the words of others (coupled with their supposed “Christian” beliefs and poor behavior) have taken on the relationships and fellowship around me… maybe it’s my own heart screaming at me for, yet again, forgetting how sinful I truly am and wish not to believe – and how that must change… No matter the reason, I know that this newfound thirst for Truth in all things regarding my mouth and the power that it holds is spurred on by His discipline for my betterment and His glory. That’s assuring. 🙂

I absolutely love John Piper’s “Desiring God” ministry. It’s simply awesome. You know the old addage, “Too much of a good thing isn’t good for you.”? Well, that does not apply in this instance at all. His website (desiring God dot org) is chuck full of “good thing(s)” and I am positive that I could read all of it and still be doing a-okay. 🙂 He’s such a great messenger for the truth in God’s words… I feel as though I could read his works all day, every day and walk away a divinely insightful young lady. Anywho, the point in me mentioning Piper and his website is this… I found an article by him titled “Let the Young Speak“. It focuses on the OT book of Job and the words of wisdom spoken by Elihu. He was young. He was slow to speak, quick to listen, slow to anger – a reverent fella. He waited his turn while E, B adn Z (as I like to call them) encouraged Job (rather inaccurately, might I add). Even while Job spoke, he sat and listened. He spoke the true words of wisdom needed when the power of God enticed him to do so near the end of the book (words that God himself did not rebuke at the end of the book – can’t say the same for Job, E, B or Z’s words). Piper makes the point that only when spurred on by a righteous anger due to the stirring of the Holy Spirit because of unrighteous acts against our God is it okay to rebuke. Rebuke out of Love, for Love, and in Love. Another important point that Piper makes regards age and wisdom. It is always assumed that the old are wise. That’s what I was always taught! And I couldn’t be more wrong! Prime example: Elihu. It is rather the power and spirit of God within a person that gives wisdom – not age nor gender nor tradition.

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. Job 32:8,9

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14

Let us not speak to one another as old; and let us not speak to one another as young. But let us speak to one another as those in whom the Spirit of God is stirring. Let us not be snobbish toward one another, as though the freshness of youth or the seasoning of age were the criterion of truth. But let us—old and young—submit ourselves to the Word of God and speak from the fullness of the Spirit within. John Piper

Another little thing brought up by Piper and is deserving of attention is this… Job was good (at first) to not become angry or bitter at God during his times of pain and trouble. He trusted in His sovereignty. Do we do the same? Reading this made me think back on my summer and the large trial I faced. Did I trust Him at all times and not doubt his will? I like to think that I did… and perhaps I did a “good” job at not doubting him sometimes – at having faith and assurance in His Word and faithfulness and power and sovereignty. It’s hard to explain, but I was almost forced to defend my faith in His goodness towards me at times. Even to my parents. That was really hard for me… always has been and always will be. Continually defend His existence and love… but maybe that’s why He made me me… to reach them. Piper gave some very encouraging words that helped to assure me that my faith and profession of that faith wasn’t misplaced then and never will be:

“It is not wrong to see God’s power and will behind our calamities. What is wrong is to accuse him of wrong.”

Job himself states, “Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord and not receive evil?” (2:10). Amidst all his pain and suffering, Job keeps the right perspective and says, “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (1:20) and he “did not sin in what he said” (2:10). Despite it all, he praised Him and did not become angry towards Him or his situation… wow. Admirable. Righteous. He knew that the God he loved and served was still GOD – come good and come bad – and He is always worhty of praise. Amen. I hope I served Him like that in my time of trouble…

Two wonderful hours later,

Christina

Just listen

Becoming Who You Are by Mainstay

Our God by Chris Tomlin

Forgiven by Sanctus Real

Buried Alive by Chris and Conrad

Waiting Room by Jason Diaz

Up and Up by Relient K

(…in order via Grooveshark, I suggest) 😉

Winchester, you have big shoes to fill

Do you ever have those nights where you find yourself lying in bed just before falling asleep with a smile on your face because your day has been that wonderful?… Silly, I know, but yesterday was one of those days for me. It felt so similar to the “normal” days I’m accustomed to but haven’t been able to have in so long. I spent the first few hours of my day in the Word and journaled, studied for a test and took it, FINALLY caught  up with a dear friend for a solid hour on the phone, ate supper with five awesome friends and helped move some furniture, and visited the Duck Pond (one of my absolute favorite places on campus) to feed about a hundred crazy ducks and geese with one of my best friends. And that’s not all. 🙂 Maybe for the last time in a long time, we talked and walked all around our beloved campus. I love this place. I truly do. The best way that I can describe what Virginia Tech means to me is this:

Becca and I went to the Pylons for a minute during our walk/talk adventure. When we first got there, we saw a man sitting alone playing his guitar by the memorial stone. She could recognize the song immediately – something by Third Day. I felt compelled to talk to him – me being me and liking to strike up conversations with total strangers all the time, hehe – but I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt his time of worship. Plus, it just sounded so beautiful. Who would want to stop something like that? Feet dangling over the edge of War Memorial Chapel, Becca and I sat there overlooking the Drill Field as the sun set over Brush Mountain. Beautiful. Sitting there watching people play ultimate and remembering all of our fun times doing the same, glancing at the 4/16 memorial and remembering the candlelight vigil, reliving all the memories from Ring Dance, graduation, and Chi Alpha in the Chapel and above it, laughing to myself when I saw the bench were I had my first cigar on my 18th birthday, seeing the faint edge of the Duck Pond off in the distance and reliving all the times I spent alongside the water’s edge, the MANY many times I’ve run laps around the Drill Field during training – or just running through it in the freezing cold to get to my 8AM class in McBryde… all these memories and more flooded my mind… every sidewalk and Hokie Stone covered building holds cherished memories of mine. Four years of my life were spent here. This is the place where I’ve felt closest to Him and grew beyond my wildest expectations… I found Him here. I found my heart here.

Needless to say, I went to bed with a huge smile on my face and a thankful heart. I truly am so thankful for the four wonderful years that I’ve been given here in Blacksburg (although undeniably tough and trying at times). They have been the toughest and the most blessed. Like most good things. 🙂 I never knew that you could love a place, a church, a ministry, a school, a people and a God so much… until I came to Blacksburg.

Off to work,

Christina

PS. Guitar boy is a member of NLCF and really nice. I couldn’t help myself – I had to say hi when we left! 😉

“I in them and you in me”

Amidst the unexpected twists and turns that my summer has taken, I have had lots of time to do something that I love and usually can’t find enough time for during the crazy school year… reading. I honestly have a stack of six books sitting on my bookshelf that I cannot wait to dig into (not counting my trusted ole blue leather Bible). As could be expected, I haven’t been able to read nearly as much as I had hoped this summer… God had different plans in store for me and my time, hehe. BUT, now I am back and working my way through those books… and trying not to read too many at once! (I tend to do that… start three books at the same time and then only get half way through each one… trying to work on that…) 😛 The book that I’m currently obsessed with is Radical by David  Platt. In one short (and cliche) phrase, it has been a wonderful book for me. Eye opening and convicting – to say the least. Among many other things, Platt is good at confronting the American church and the “Jesus” we have created out of our own desire for comfort and ease. He pulls straight from scripture and tests the traditions and understandings that we (in all our American glory) think are correct… and actually aren’t. Good book, go read it.

My post today concerns a mini-chapter in Platt’s book. In a short little section of chapter five, Platt talks about John 17 (in order for the rest of this to make better sense, take a minute and read it here). At this point in Jesus’ ministry, he is preparing for his upcoming arrest and crucifixion. The whole chapter is a prayer. Kinda awesome, I think… a prayer from God to God. But, the coolest part for me (and Platt) is the subject of his prayer. At a time when he could have easily prayed entirely for himself and his upcoming future or bragged about the marvelous acts that he had performed while on this earth… he prayed for his men. He prayed for his current closest 12 amigos (even Judas) and his future sons and daughters. Really. Verses 1-5 are about Himself; verses 6-26 are about His children. Call me crazy, but that’s a wonderful expression of love right there. Putting this aside for now, let’s look deeper at some other things I found reiterated in this chapter…

1. Our God is a triune God. (SO hard to wrap your mind around, I know!) He exist as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus reiterates this many times in this passage (17:11 is my fav). In 17:17 Jesus also states, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” In John 14:6, Jesus also refers to himself as “the truth”. This is so neat to me (probably because I have always taken it for granted or overlooked it). In an awesome – and confusing – way we are given even more evidence in support of the Godhead’s three person nature.

2. Another no-brainer: God loves us. Not only did the Son love the disciples dearly (and those who were to come), but the Father also shares that same emotion for His children. Too many times to count, Jesus prays to the Father asking that He love his people through him and because of His love for him. Once again, Christ’s atoning blood is echoed (I may be wrong in saying that, but maybe not).

3. He didn’t belong to the world, nor should we (17:14-16). Although He loved the world (meaning His creation, not what we have made of it – I believe) (3:16), He was never a part of it and nor are His true followers. Lots more info on this to come at a later time, so I’ll move on for now. 🙂

4. Something pointed out by Platt (gotta give the man his credit): As striving Christians who wish to follow Christ’s example… let us see it and follow it. This whole prayer is based on one thing: His disciples. Present and future. His focus is (and has always mainly been) on the twelve men that he poured so much of himself into. Christ’s ministry and focus was on the twelve – not mainly on the masses. His last prayer was focused on the twelve and their future works. He loved these guys and put all of his stock into their abilities, training and faithful work in the future. We should follow that example. There is a lot to be said for Christ’s example and his last words to the (now) eleven in Matthew 28:16-20… go and make disciples. Just like he did. Pour into others and build up the kingdom one by one. That’s how it’s done, son. 🙂 (I feel like I should get Navigator brownie points for this one, hehe)

Hope this made sense, 😉

Christina

NOTE: I’m not a Biblical scholar by any means. I just love Him and the Word. I will most certainly miss key lessons and misunderstand His words… and I hope that you all will comment and add your input/insight in order to broaden both of our knowledge! 🙂 I’m just trying to figure out this crazy, awesome life… and you’re the lucky one who gets to hear my sometimes inaccurate thoughts. 😉 PLEASE correct me if I’m totally wrong or missing something! Like I said, I just want to learn with you. 🙂

I don’t want to be a Laodicean

Those of you who know me well are aware of the fact that I am in love with a book: Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I have always appreciated and revered the men and women who have been given the ability to write professing and convicting works in His name. Always. It’s as if my heart lives vicariously through their works and I absolutely love referring them to friends and family members. On more than one occasion I have found myself awestruck by the words spoken by these authors and their complete alignment to the thoughts and convictions of my heart and mind – thoughts that I suppose I am never able to clearly articulate myself. I am so thankful for their God-given wisdom and acts of obedience in writing these books! Anywho, back to Chan and Crazy Love…

I’ve been attending an adult elective at BCF (my home church here in Blacksburg) this summer. We are making our way through Crazy Love, chapter by chapter. I read the book last Fall and quickly fell in love with the message Chan had to share (see previous paragraph for perspective)! So, to say that I was very very excited to study this book with numerous other BCFers would be quite an understatement! 🙂 Today we discussed my absolute favorite (and the most convicting) chapter in the book: “Chapter Five: Serving Leftovers to a Holy God”. This is honestly one of those chapters that completely humbles you by knocking you flat onto your butt. It’s message is strong and true. Brutal, but oh so true. There is too much discussed within the chapter to even begin to cover or summarize here… you’ve gotta take a few minutes to read it sometime!… but I found this video online that discusses a good bit of the information covered therein:

Although some of my friends think that Chan is too overzealous and animated… I love his charisma and passion for the Word. I really do. Probably because I feel as though it is very similar to my own. 😛 During this video (which echos the messages in chapters four and five of his book), Chan points to one main section of verse when addressing lukewarm faith and God’s opinion of it… Revelation 3:14-22. Speaking to the Church in Laodicea, Christ warns the body that their faith is lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – neither on fire for Him nor in opposition to Him – and that such a faith is, well, disgusting and unpleasant to the Lord. He says flat out, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16). Ouch. I don’t want to be lukewarm, nor do I wish to see anyone else be such a “Christian” either. I love how Chan says in his book, “a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there is no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are ‘lukewarm’ are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven….Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.” Ouch, again. But oh so true, again. (Reread Rev. 3:14-22). As difficult as 3:14-18 may be to swallow, please take the time to read and reflect on 3:19-22… once again, He loves us and offers His grace despite our poor tendencies. I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 73:25 and countless other Psalms and parables and NT verses when studying this topic. They all tell us one thing: do not love this world and all that is within it. Love the Lord your God. Store up your treasure in heaven. (Go read Deuteronomy 30:11-20 – it’s a fav of mine and applicable I think) I can’t help but say that when you do love Him – when you have an accurate understanding of who He is (or as close to one as you can get) – you cannot help but drop all else and strive to bask in His light. Whether it be money or a dream career or a comfortable home and family or your favorite shirt in three different colors… it all pales in comparison to Him and we must be willing to give it all up if He asks us to. There’s nothing else you’d rather do! Once you catch a glimpse of who He truly is… you can only stand in awe with a thankful heart and recite the words of the four living creatures at the alter: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). You’ll be in “crazy love” with Him…

Also, listen to this sermon! Danny White did a great job this morning. Our tongues are quite powerful. James 3:1-12

Happy Sunday!

Christina

The first of many

Howdy! I can’t believe I’m actually writing this… I’ve always thought that those who took the time to write public blogs had too much time on their hands and were too open about too many important, personal things. I’ve changed my mind for the time being. 😉 This little adventure of mine will hopefully do one of many things…

1. Keep my friends from afar up to date with the happenings in my life as I leave for graduate school in two short weeks

2. Encourage someone who may take the time to read my (sometimes silly) rants and raves and/or

3. Serve as an outlet for the many thoughts that are always bouncing around in my head.

My mind can be a crazy place sometimes, hehe, and it greatly helps me to write all my thoughts down on paper. Or screen. My hand starts to cramp up after just a few pages of writing… so here we are. 🙂 In all seriousness, I love being able to look back at my writings. I love seeing the struggles and joys that filled my life in the past and how everything worked out (or is still being worked out). Strangely enough, I am always surprised when I reread my own words – it’s as if my writing had a dual purpose all along. Not only did my emotional outlet help me back then, but it also encourages me today – usually reminding me of the things I have surely long since forgotten. I love seeing how much I’ve grown… it helps to push me forward in my walk and my life. Sometimes I am my own best teacher. Granted, my thoughts may not always be coherent or logical or profound… but please know that the words spoken are the direct meditations of my heart. So please go easy on me. 😉 Most of the things that I talk about will undoubtedly revolve around my faith and how it consumes my life. I love Love. I am on an unending journey to live a life in which I continually seek His face… a glorious and tough journey that leads me to unexpected places alongside inspiring people captivated by the truest love I’ve ever known. Join me on my crazy, painful, joyous, righteous ride. 🙂 I also have too many hobbies and passions. Those will probably be talked about lots, too. I love people, as well, and am so blessed by the people He has placed in my life… hope you all don’t mind me mentioning you from time to time, hehe. No worries, I won’t talk about anything too too personal. 🙂 Please comment on the posts!! You all know how much I’d love to hear from you and dig a little deeper into the questions/material that I talk about. I might not be in Blacksburg anymore, but I am just a few clicks away. 🙂

Lots of love,

Christina

PS. I’m a huge Hokie.