Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Art of Celebration

"Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny." -- Chinese proverb, author unknown

Everyone has their own inner battle and set of sufferings and challenges. Nobody is perfect. Everyone has had to experience deep pain in one way or another. But the difference between people is what they do with their suffering, what they do with their pain- and that difference will either make a person strong in Christ or it will break them into tiny messy pieces that nobody wants to try and get in the middle of.

The amazing thing about Christ is that He promises us joy a midst all circumstances.
Not just when things are going right.
Not just when we are healthy, when our family is happy, and when we have lots of friends.
But in our deepest pain, our grief, our loneliness, when our heart breaks
Christ tells us that we still have a reason to celebrate.

We always have something to be thankful for.
We have a Father who loves us.
We have a God who created us in His own image and calls us His beloved child.
We have hope because we have a future home in heaven.
We have love because Christ loved us.

It's easy to complain about life, and think that what we are going through is so hard.
It's easy to play victim and try to get someone else to save us or to feel sympathy for our needs
But Christ calls us to rejoice even in our sufferings
To find peace in Him and hope in His name

He calls us to celebrate
And sing praises to Him for all days
Just as ancient martyrs could sing while they were being burnt into flames on the alter
May we learn to sing to Christ and praise His name despite whatever struggle we are facing

Phillipians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.

May our prayer be that God would be honored in our weaknesses, in our wins, in our losses, and with every breath we take and that others could see the joy we have in Jesus' name and want to follow the loving God we know.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If we lived by faith

I want you to imagine with me a life of blindness. Not just any kind of blindness, but blindness from yourself and the outside appearances of others.

What if you couldn't look in a mirror? Nor could you see who was "cute" and who was "ugly" by their face, muscle tone, or size? Instead of focusing on those things, you had only one goal in life and only one place you could really see clearly. That place was upward- heavenly- and the only face you could truly imagine was the one of Jesus Christ.

In edition to not being able to see a mirror, you couldn't see your own weaknesses or strengths. Instead of knowing that you were good at doing certain things and bad at doing others you would simply follow the upward leadings. Through belief- that many eye- seeing people would refer to as magical or ridiculous- you had this utmost hope and trust in the supernatural and everything you did was God glorified.

Instead of having a plan for your life and following a set career path- your life could seem quite unpredictable and mysterious. Instead of everything always working out, sometimes horrible things happened. But when they did, instead of getting upset, you would simply change directions.

With eyes looking upward fixed on the perfect and most peaceful Creator, every move- was simply hearing and following a loving tender voice. And with every step of the way, the Creator God brought loving words of encouragement"You did it"; "I love you" "You are doing great". You lived with joy and contentment knowing that you weren't mindlessly working but serving a loving King.

2 Corinthians 5:7 We live by faith not by sight.
What would this be like for you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's not about me

I've had a really stressful week.
In fact- to be honest with you, I've had a really stressful semester.
Stress is just one thing I haven't overcame yet. I'm working on it and I'm trying. But I put so much pressure on myself to do good at the things I do that I worry more than I need too and often get too worked up about nothing.

What word do you hear me saying alot? ME
See there's a two fold problem with stress and worry. For one it's useless, wastes time, and causes terrible disease in our brain and body. God asks us not to do it. It's the opposite of faith. And two- it makes me think about ME. When I'm worried or stressed I can't be Jesus to the people around me.
Thus worry and stress turn into a SELFISH thing.

A verse that I'm memorizing this week is Titus 3:5
It says "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saves us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."

It's not about what we do to find Jesus.. It's not about anything we do. In fact it's not even about ME.
It's about Christ and the Holy Spirit living and working in our hearts and washing us to make us new.

I think so often as Christians we try to save ourselves. We try to do all the right things, have the right friends, make good grades, and tell others about Jesus. We put so much pressure and expectations on ourselves to act like Jesus.

But God says stop. It's not even about you. You can't ever be good enough for me. So stop trying. Stop stressing yourself out trying to do it all. Stop and find me. Just learn my face and my voice and I will be ENOUGH for you. I will fill you and work in you at the perfect time.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 says "Then I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them and take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh that they make walk in My statues and keep my judgement and they shall be my people and I will be their God."

Today I have been worrying so much about this new hospital ministry I'm trying to start. We're going out this week to perform for the kids at the Erlanger Hospital in Tennesse and I'm so nervous about how it's going to go. I have been really worried because I feel like I don't have any real talents, or we are not going to be good enough.

Finally God just spoke to me though and was like "Brooke this isn't your ministry. This is mine." You don't need to worry about it. I will work through you. You can take the pressure off yourself because it's not about you.

To me this has always been a huge struggle "being good enough" but the cool thing God says is "You never will, so stop trying. Praise me for your weaknesses because in those I prove myself faithful. Praise me when everything is going wrong so I can save the day. Praise me because I didn't create you to be perfect. I created you to be a sinner drawn to a Savior. And to me this is so comforting. It's not about me- what I can do or what I can't do for God. It's about Christ's work and the Holy Spirit and I'm so thankful.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It just takes one

Sometimes we overlook how much of a difference one person can make in someone else' life.
We think that we have to do BIG things or make Huge sacrifices to show Jesus' love for others.
Yet often it's the small, personal things that make the biggest difference.

One guy in Gym Masters believed in me when no one else did and volunteered to be my two high buddy even though I was the worst on the team.- Because of him I made it through try outs.

One girl offered to pray with me when I looked stressed out even though we weren't that close friends.- Because of her I did well with an interview and felt called to change my major.

One girl chose me as her best friend- when I didn't have any others. Because of her I believed in myself and was able to make friends with many more people.

And it was super cool because lately God has been giving me opportunities to bless others and also just to see the impact "me listening to him" has achieved.

- One girl told my mom yesterday that she remembers that every basketball practice I ran with her after I was done with my laps since she was the slowest. (I totally forgot about that).

- Last week I was able to take a girl to the doctor's office who I had never talked too before and was having an allergic reaction to bees with. She could have gotten seriously ill if she hadn't gone with me.

- One girl has been such a true friend to me- and I never would have known her- except for I saw her sitting alone in the caf. Because I talked to her, she learned to trust me and values me as one of her few friends.

And it's these small things- that are so encouraging- and remind me that we do have a purpose in America. We really don't have to travel across the world to love others like Jesus. There are so many people all around us that are lonely, or hurting, or struggling- honestly we all are: with something- God calls us to be His hands and feet. God calls us to stand up for people. God asks us to be the advocate of the lonely, the awkward, the weak.

It just takes one.

It just takes one
To change tears
Into a smile
Because someone cares enough to make sure they are ok

It just takes one
To pray for someone
And give a person peace
When they are struggling with a test or with anxiety

It just takes one
To give someone a hug
And tell them "You can do it"
And "you matter"

It just takes one.
But it does take one.
It takes one willing, one attentive
To the leadings of Christ.

My friend pleaded with me yesterday
I just need one person
to love me the way Jesus loves

Just one person
Could change my life
and help me live for Jesus again.

Will you be one? Because one is enough for God to use to do something great.

5 things that will keep our generation from success- REBELUTION

This is an article from the Rebelution. If you've never heard of the rebelution or "Do Hard Things" you should check out The Rebelution is a teenage movement to overcome low expectations and live a higher life for Christ's honor and glory. This is an article from them that I think is really practical and can help us live our lives according to God's will.

"I believe that God is moving in our generation. I see a lot of my peers taking seriously the call to follow Christ with all their hearts. We do not want to waste our lives but are passionate about glorifying God by doing hard things. Although, like every generation, there is a lot of wickedness and apathy among us, I do not believe wickedness needs to define our generation. I think we can and will succeed in our desire to glorify God.
In this pursuit, there are at least five things we must avoid that would hinder our eternal impact: apathy, materialism, playing politics, reaction, and an obsession with knowledge.

1) Apathy

Apathy is probably the most obvious to people. It shows up in our lack of prayer, in our reluctance to give testimony to what we are going through— good or bad — and in our avoidance of evangelism. If you are like me, it is easy to condemn yourself and others for apathy. It is important that we are aware of our weakness, but we must run from condemnation.
Condemnation is never from God — even when we are being apathetic! God’s way of bringing people to repentance is through kindness (Romans 2:4). I like how Keith Green put it: “Discipline is not holiness, nor the way to holiness. It just helps you maintain it.” (from No Compromise by Melody Green).
Apathy also hinders God’s working through us. We tend to think of apathy as passive, but it is really an aggressive resistance to God’s call and commands. You can either surrender to God, allowing Him to work through you and in the meantime experience His sweet presence, or you can resist Him and refuse His blessing and presence in your life. Thankfully, God is very aggressive in His pursuit of us, even in our apathy.

2) Materialism

Materialism is fairly straight forward, but very addictive. Refuse excess in your life. Give until it hurts, then give some more. Don’t worry about tomorrow — don’t even give a lot of thought to money. God will take care of you. Invest in Eternity by seeking God’s kingdom first and foremost: make seeking God a higher priority than your job or hobbies but seek God in them too (Matthew 6:19-21; 25-34).
Really, seeking God, work, and pleasure should all be in the same context. This is something only individuals can determine: for some people fixing cars, taking calls, making music or giving direction is what God has called them to do and it is both pleasurable and hard work. But sometimes we are easily distracted by pursuing things, cool cars, luxurious houses, fancy computers, fashionable clothes — you name it! We must avoid these.
Ask yourself: “Will this benefit my relationship with God and others?” For example, big houses can be excellent places to host Bible studies, youth activities, or even house churches; but if you do not feel called to this type of ministry, then maybe you should downsize and put the money toward something you do feel called to pursue, like missions, music, education.

3) Playing Politics

Of these five, I believe politics to be the most dangerous. We usually associate it with government, but it can penetrate every area of our lives—especially the church. It is very subtle and a very tempting game to play, it is the mentality that “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” “Agree with me and I won’t bother you.” Don’t play it! Run away from it as fast as you can!
The Pharisees were pros at playing this game. They played it with the Romans and the Jews and they even tried to play it with God. That’s why they hated Jesus so much, because He never played politics. He said and did only what God told Him to say and do — even if it was unpopular. Never capitulate to political pressure by compromising truth or keeping quiet about what God has revealed to you just to hold influence or popularity. Fear God, not men!
Politics is all about self-preservation and advancement by pleasing others; the way of the Cross is about submission to God, death to self, and salvation of souls.
Both liberals and conservatives will play the political game. They laugh at and mock ideology or theology that they despise, giving those around them the subtle hint that “If you agree with this, then I laugh at you.” They will loudly state their opinions, forcing everyone around them to either agree with them or publicly contradict them. If someone disagrees, they will surf the crowd of onlookers with their eyes searching for someone who will share a mocking expression with them. These “politicians” — especially those who claim to serve God—are insecure and wicked.
We must follow God, even if it’s the hardest thing in the world to do! The hardship is worth it because eternity will last longer than our earthly lives

4) Reaction

Have you ever played with magnets? What happens if you put a magnet of similar charge over other magnets? They all push away, right?
Humans are just like that: quick to react, which only breeds more reaction. It is natural, so don’t try to fight the feeling; instead, refuse to be controlled by it. When one person begins living out of reaction, others begin reacting as well. This can very quickly divide whole communities as some people draw together and others push apart.
Combined with politics and apathy, reaction will quench the Holy Spirit. Do not ever allow your actions to be controlled by reactions because it will only destroy. A group that separates from other people because of reaction will soon begin reacting to each other within their smaller group. This will keep happening until people are lonely and throbbing with pain while the work of God in their lives is all but ruined (which by the grace of God can be rebuilt).
Remember that if you react to someone (an overly strict teacher, for example) they are still controlling you, even if you do the very opposite of what they want you to do. If you really do not want to be controlled by other people, surrender to God and allow what He says to you and about you to determine your actions.

5) An Obsession with Knowledge

Now this is where it gets tricky because I’m afraid people will think I am discouraging education. I am not. I support people following God if they feel led to get a higher education. The problem here is not education or training but an obsession with knowing. Let me explain.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could eat from any of the trees, including the Tree of Life. The only tree they could not eat from was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 3). So when the serpent came along and doubted God’s words, telling them that if they eat of the tree, they will actually become like God, that is, “knowing good and evil” (verse 5), Adam and Eve had to choose who were they going to worship. Did they find God more worthy of their obedience or the Serpent? They chose “to know” rather than “to obey.” You see, worship, not knowledge, is the path to obedience.
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 2 “I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God,” but instead “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” He was emphasizing the Spirit’s power, not knowledge, as being the proper foundation of faith.
If we want to obey God and be used by Him, we must stop obsessing over knowledge and start pursuing worship.
We can do this: our generation can make an impact on eternity. But we must actively counteract apathy, reject materialism, run away from everyday politics, be led by the Spirit rather than reaction, and pursue worship rather than knowledge."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ten Thousand Blessings

Psalm 107:8 says "Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"

I am so in awe of God and how the Holy Spirit has been working in my life recently. God has really provided for every single need I have. And as I seek Him, He has been filling my life with a deep sense of peace. I want to thank God for a few things that He did for me this weekend, the first of them being- saving my life and a life of a friends'.

My friend and I made a really bad decision this past Friday night. We were trying to keep a fire going that we had started, but the ground was still wet from rain the previous day. We had a little flame but we felt our wood wasn't burning enough, so we decided to pour gasoline on the fire. I know now, it was a terribly dangerous and stupid idea. And yes our gasoline top lit on fire! My friend was holding the can and I yelled and she yelled "Water". I ran as fast as I could- and praise God- there was dog food water all the way full right outside. I poured the water on the gasoline and the fire went out. We were so close to setting the whole house on fire. The crazy thing is it should have started on fire. It probably took 20 seconds to find the water and by that time the gasoline can in its entirety should have blown up and my friend would have been killed. But God saved us. I know He had His angels with us and His hand of protection over us! God saved us because of His mercy and I am so grateful!

God is so good to us and often we don't take the time to count His blessings. But when the Lord does good for us, He wants us to share it with others. I want to share with you a short testimony of how the Lord has been working in my life lately.

"I knew God and wanted to be like Him from a young age. I saw His hand in my life working at a young age. Yet when I got to freshman year in college, I began to feel unsatisfied with my relationship with Christ. I knew more about God then I knew of God. I was lacking true Christian friends and mentors who could help me keep growing. I gave time to God but often He wasn't my priority. I really struggled with the lukewarm Christianity I saw all around me and thought "there has to be more; I want to go deeper".

When I went to Peru, serving was so much harder than I expected because I came face to face with my true identity, weaknesses, and selfishness. Yet I began to find so much joy in truly loving without expecting anything and in forming deep and intimate relationships with the missionaries I had gone with. Peru was a beautiful struggle it was full of wonderful moments of hugging and dancing and just feeling so full of God's mercy but it was also challenging and heart breaking and marked by loneliness and depression.

When I returned to Peru, I was so full of God and I had so much desire to really surrender and serve Him in every part of my life. Yet I was broken and shattered and scarred in so many different ways. Coming back to college first semester, has been extremely difficult for me. Not only extreme culture shock, but I had an enormous difficulty focusing on school and even caring. I didn't feel peace about the major I was pursuing. I also felt so broken and empty as I dealt with struggles and weaknesses I had realized out on the mission field.

Yet although first semester has been such a struggle. God has given me so many gifts to help me live day by day and develop faith in Him. He has given me the best friends and spiritual mentors I could have ever imagined. People whose lives our full of prayer and love so warm and inviting. Never before have I had so many friends that I could talk about Jesus with and we are even memorizing scripture together. God has also given me a little bit of direction about my future and only because of Him I am changing my major to nursing. I know it's bizarre- I never wanted to be a nurse. I hated and still dislike shots and iv's. But I love helping people when they are sick or weak. I also love missions and love how applicable nursing would be and how useful nursing is in different careers around the world. I can become a nurse practitioner, or a PA, or I can get a masters in Global Health. To be honest, being a nurse is going to be very humbling to me. I am quite embarassed about changing my major to nursing- even though there is nothing wrong with nursing- but it's a God thing.

My life is still a mess and maybe it always will be. As I seek God, He reveals to me more things I need to work on and need to learn and un-learn. But I'm just so thankful for God's blesssings and His willingness to change me into a new creation.

I pray that you- if you have never truly surrendered your entire life up to God- your passions and even your fears- that you would trust Christ with those things. God will take care of you and remake you into a totally new Creation in Him. He calls us to surrender every day and He promises us that He will be faithful to work in us and to finish His work in the day of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Prayer for transformation

Father, take away my desires for things most people in this world want. Take away my desire for popularity, for alot of friends, for good grades, for a "nice" career, for external beauty that fades, for money and riches. For these things will fade, but Your word will not.

Take away my selfishness. My desire to have it all together, and my will to plan my own future. Help me to surrender my dreams and wants to You. Nail my desires to your cross so that I can follow you and learn to walk humbly in Your footsteps.

Father, take away my insecurities, my fears, my stress. Give me power to proclaim your name and not be ashamed, to love without fear of rejection or pain, to give with no expectation of receiving back.

Lord, I know that I can not change myself. I know that I am weak and sinful, but that you have sent the Holy Spirit to come into my heart to change me each and every day. So I surrender yet again, Holy Spirit come and live in me; come and breathe in me; come and work in me.

Even though I know that these changes will hurt.
That I cannot have both "wordly success" and a true walk with Christ.
Even though I know this will be hard.
I pray that you keep changing me according to how you see fit.
And I thank you for my trials because I know you are working on remaking me and creating in me a clean heart.

Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.

Question of thought: Can you have your cake and eat it too? Can you be highly successful according to the ways of this world and have a devout walk with Christ? Or do you have to choose one?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Who is the Holy Spirit

Judges 3:4 "Spirit of the Lord" who came upon him so that he could do hard things
Matthew 12:31-33 Blasphemy against the Lord not forgiven
Luke 24:45-49 A gift from God that brings power
John 3:6-8 You must be born of the spirit; It's something mysterious; something new
Romans 8:2-6 The difference between living for nature or living for the spirit and doing what He desires; When you live for the spirit you will deny worldly desire
2 Corinthians 5:16-18 It will be a change from a worldly perspective; a new life; a new birth. Nothing will be regarded the same way- the entire way of thinking will be changed.
1 Chronicles 12:18-20 The Spirit comes upon certain people.
Mikah 3:8-10 You can be filled by the Spirit of God.
Acts 2:1-5 The Holy Spirit was manifested in tongues of fire and resulted in the speaking of tongues (miracles). The Holy Spirit came upon a group of believers.
Luke 24:45-27 The Holy Spirit can open minds to help believers understand scriptures.
1 John 2:19-27 Some have an anointing from the Holy Spirit- and through Him they discover the truth.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:15-17 The Holy Spirit is our God sent helper that the world can not know nor understand.
Romans 8:26 The Holy Spirit will help us and even intercede for us in prayer.
Acts 1:8 The Holy Spirit brings power to testify Jesus' Christs name to the ends of the earth.
Romans 15:13 The Holy Spirit gives us hope.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart will be given and the Holy Spirit will be put in you.
Acts 2:17-18 The Spirit shall manifest itself with miraculous signs, prophecy, speaking in tongues.
Luke 4:13 The Spirit will anoint you to preach to the poor, to free the captives, to help the orphans, to proclaim liberty.
Zechariah 4:6 We are to live not by might, nor by power, but by spirit.
Titus 3:5-6 The Holy Spirit will wash and renew us.
Acts 4:29-31 The Holy Spirit will "shake you up" and give you boldness in Christ.

Often we are missing the Holy Spirit. We know about God. We know about Jesus. But do we truly have the Spirit living inside of us?

What will it take for the final generation of youth to rise and finally declare the Gospel to the Kingdom? Not a preacher, not an evangelistic campaign, but a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in individual lives... and the Holy Spirit will give us power to finish the work.

I'm super excited because lately I've really been convicted of the Holy Spirit and He has just really been working in my life. Tonight I realized something really cool is that my summer camp's theme is Experiencing the Power... Well last year when I was looking at the theme there was a big disconnect. I was just thinking about the power of God and going to talk about typical themes like grace, love, overcoming your fears. But this weekend it all hit me- our theme can be about experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit is what so many of us followers of God are missing and I believe it is truly what we must have in the End Times and what will help us reach the end of the world for Christ and set the world on fire.

But what is the Holy Spirit?
Often there is so much confusion. Based on some Bible research above. Here are a few definitions.

1. Gift from God
2. Our Helper
3. Our Comforter
4. Our Peace
5. Our Power
6. The Convicter
7. Our Fighter for Battle
8. He wants to live in us.

I'm so excited about learning more about the Holy Spirit and I just pray that He would come into my life and come into my friends' and families lives that we may begin the revival for Christ.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why am I a Seventh Day Adventist?

I urge you to think deep within your heart why you believe the way you do.
Do you even really believe it?
Because when a non-Christian or someone struggling with their beliefs asks you "Why are you a Seventh Day Adventist?"
"Because my parents were" just isn't gonna cut it.

Reasons why I am a Seventh Day Adventist:
1. I believe the Bible is true and that God is surely alive.
2. I believe in all ten of the Ten Commandments which is why I choose to worship on Saturday.
3. I believe that more than any religion- I am a follower of Christ who puts the Bible far above any other speaker. I respect that Seventh Day Adventists honor the Bible among anything man made, any priest or prophet, and use the Bible to learn God's word not to prove their own points.
4. I believe God is real and involved in my life because He has given me peace, He has provided me safety, He has done miraculous works and shown His glory through me.
5. I believe that Christ is coming soon and that He calls His followers to testify His name to every nation, tribe, and people.

Saying that you believe something that you really don't believe does nobody (including yourself) any favors.

Believing in something without acting in it- is weak and cowardly. We must stand firm in and for what we believe despite what others may think of us.

Claiming to follow God while not standing up for Him, can actually cause others to fall away from Christ and make God out to be a liar.

Think about why you believe the way you do so that you can testify to others with power.

Hebrews 6:1-2
"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bring the Rain

It's storming and lightning outside my window. It's loud but nothing like the rain in Peru- that bashed against our metal house shaking everyone inside. No this rain is gentle.

Sometimes the rain comes down in our life and challenges just seem to pour in like buckets of ice thrown on top of our heads. There are those moments when everything that we know of- our deepest foundations- seem to be shaking-  and we are literally left crying out to God "Help me in this storm. What is going on?" Sometimes it's hard to see in the midst of the storm the right hand of God that is holding us. Sometimes it's not til after the storm ends, when we say thank you Lord- I will praise you for that storm- because it changed me or because it brought me closer to you.

The Bible says that we should praise God in the storm and we should praise for the storm. For the challenges in life and any opportunity to sacrifice our self for His name is a way we can thank Him and be even closer to Christ.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Matthew 5:10 says "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Mercy Me- "Bring the rain"
"What's a little rain?...Bring me anything that brings you glory. And I know they'll be days when this life gives me pain but if that's what it takes to praise you Jesus bring the rain."

"Keep Making Me"- Sidewalk Prophets

"Make me broken...
 Make me empty so I can be filled cuz I'm still holding onto my will. And I'm completed and you are with me. Make me empty.
Til you are my one desire. Til you are my one true love. Til you are my breath, my every thing. Lord please keep making me.
Make me lonely so I can be moved. Til I want no one more than you Lord cause in the darkness I know you will hold me. Make me lonely."

It's a hard prayer to pray. I don't think I'm quite there yet. I mean asking God to mess up your life and make you lonely.. so that you will be even closer to Him. Wow. God promises that if we are willing He will transform our lives- and that transformation won't be easy- but it will be beautiful and worth it. Through the rain, may we have joy and hope, remembering that God will never fail us and that He is not finished with us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dear guys

Dear guys,

We need you.
Not to be our knights in shining armor-
We'd like that
but not right now.

We need you
to save yourself.

We're trying to stay pure
As daughters in Christ
We are trying to wear white

We are purifying our music
So that we can hear the Holy Spirit's voice

We are dressing modestly
So that we can encourage you to think pure thoughts
We don't want to be a stumbling block

We are trying to avoid violence and sexual scenes in movies
We want to think thoughts of Christ

We want to be innocent- not naive- when it comes to the evil in this world
It doesn't help when we hear perverse talk coming from the lips
We are trying to talk about things of Christ

We are trying to be soft and gentle
We don't want to have to put up a  fight to protect our self

We are trying to be honest
To be vulnerable
We are trying to trust you
We are trying

When we see you
We watch you
We look at your actions

We want to respect you
We want you to be a leader for our faith

When you make jokes about a girls' body
We lose our respect for you

When you talk about the crude movie you saw on tv last night
We lose our respect for you

When you put someone else down to make yourself look better
We lose our respect for you

And we no longer want to know about the God you serve
We don't want your help or leadership any longer

When you struggle with pornography
And date the wrong girls and get led down the wrong path
When we see you struggling with addiction

We care about you
But we don't know how to help you

1 John 2:13 says "I write to you young men because you have overcome the evil one."

Guys- don't you realize this is war and that you are being attacked. If Satan can deceive you then how much easier it will be for him to deceive us girls as well. We look to you to be our leaders. We see what you are doing, and justify our actions. Please stand up- please follow God- please wait on God- and please be leaders for us in the way of truth and righteousness and the way of agape love.

Learning to "agape" love in a world about ME

This whole week at my school has been a week about redefining our sexuality- God's way. It's called "Fall at the Wall" and prevalent topics that have  been addressed were about dating, pornography, sexuality, and marriage God's way. I really appreciate the fact that we are finally talking about these things- about our sexual society- within the Adventist church because there are some major themes that have needed to be addressed for a long time.

Each issue is so complex and I can think of so many questions that could be addressed about each topic. But tonight I feel like our speaker, Nixon, did a great job of summing up the overall problem "a me centered- passionate society" instead of a God-centered, waiting for God to lead, genuine agape love.

So many things impact the way our society currently views sex and dating, pornography, homosexuality, body image, eating disorders- are impacted by the media. I feel like we are constantly downplaying just how much the media has affected our society and is affecting us as individuals each and every day. There are so many stories about encounters with the media at young ages leading to young addictions in porn or masturbation or misleading females or males to feel uncomfortable with their own sex or even simply in their own body. Movies, music, magazines, books, and the internet-- wow these can be major stumbling blocks and tools for the devil.

So how do we get back to agape love when everything the media is teaching us is wrong?
It's not about us. It's not about me.
Christ sacrificed His son on the cross to teach us sacrifice, to teach us the joy of giving, to teach us the cost of love. I don't believe love is free.

So how do we learn to love like Jesus?
We meet Jesus on our knees.
We don't meet him in our cocky proud spirits, thinking we're all that with our cute outfits and talents- we meet Him when we quiet our selfishness and listen to His Word and ask Him to humble us.

And only then as we learn to love like Jesus
We can learn what it truly means to love another person
Only after we are filled of Jesus' love
Can we have enough love to share with someone else

1 John 4:19 "We love because He first loved us."
He demonstrated perfect love so that we could learn from Him.
We don't need to worry about relationships and finding that "right" person
We need to seek God so that we can be transformed by His love.