Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Invitation

"Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!' Revelation 5:11-12

This is the first Sunday after the youth in our church returned from Falls Creek, the largest Christian youth camp in the U.S. I always look forward to this service because it is just an amazing sight to see the students come forward during invitation time at the end of service. If you are not sure what an invitation is, it is commonly used in Baptist churches at the end of service to allow anyone who has made a decision to come forward before the church. It is not like floods of students come forward, but several usually do and when the Spirit moves, it is an overwhelming experience. An invitation to me is a testament of total surrender and an act of obedience. However, during this invitation I had another feeling come over me. As the congregation was singing (and we sang for awhile) it was like a choir of angels was singing over the people who came forward to profess the decisions they had made during camp or even right this morning! Yes, we had a little boy who accepted Christ as his personal Savior for the first time this morning and he was bawling...such a precious sight to see!

This time it reminded me we have to be encouragers to those around us. Us singing was a way of support...I have never thought coming before the church was easy. And, it reminded me of the angels in Heaven praising God and singing over us as we keep step-by-step, sometimes crawl-by-crawl moving forward through life.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

Whether it is the church or family or friends, we need to encourage others in their walk with Christ. We need to unceasingly pray and believe that God is God and He can do far greater than we can. Nothing is impossible with God! It says that in Luke 1:37...check it out! Anyways, I encourage you that our God is a faithful God and he is just and He loves us so much. He is constantly pursuing us; delight in Him today!

Here is my favorite praise and worship song right now.....Came to my Rescue....enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Whatever is admirable...

"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." Philipians 4:8

In a recent turn of events, the "World's Strongest Army" has kind of decreased on my awe factor. I went to bed last night troubled by a few things regarding the Army, and instead of writing a hateful blog directed toward the Armed Forces, I shall look at some of the positives of our army.

1) Cpt. Thompson: This man told my brother if he ever got deployed, he would go with him. When Bryan was given orders to complete a year in Iraq, Cpt. Thompson kept his word. In fact, he sent back his own orders of going somewhere in the U.S. and asked to be deployed to Camp Victory, Iraq. He had to do this twice before he was given orders to be deployed to Iraq. This was his 5th tour overseas. I don't think I could have the strength to do this. It makes me think two things: 1) Integrity and honor still exist in the world and 2) It is good to know people out there like this are serving our country. Someone who would risk their lives to join their "brother" in a foreign place and keep their word.

2) My brother: OK, so I realize I am completely biased on this one, but when he actually decides to talk about the army, he only has good things to say. Some of his last words to Tim when he left to go to Basic was "it will be fun." Ha...really? And, yes that is basically what came out of my mouth the second after Bryan said it was fun. And, to my surprise, Bryan really meant it. In fact, the only album on his Facebook is titled "Good times" and it is of his days in Iraq. I also asked him why he didn't want to become a drill sergeant and he said cause they can't get deployed and he wouldn't want to put himself in a situation where he couldn't get deployed. Once again...seriously? But, he is serious. Like Cpt. Thompson, I am thankful for soldiers like these who fight for our freedom...and this really is life and death.

3) OK ADT: This stands for the Agribusiness Development Team and it is through the Oklahoma National Guard. I recently received an e-mail from someone who is in the 1-45th OK ADT. We had sent them a ton of crayons earlier in the year and was wondering if they needed more or if the new group would be continuing the project. Here is an insert of what I received.

"Not only does it give them something to color but it helps improve their language skills. The children also always ask for writing utensils for school. They always want to show us their notebooks that they practice writing English in. Most ask for anything to write with crayon, pen, pencil, anything so they can do their homework and practice English because the can't take their utensils home from school."

This is real life of what is happening outside of our country. We take for granted the choice of things as silly as which pen color to use when these children are hungry for anything they can get. We live in such luxury.

These are the first thoughts that popped in my head. I am thankful for the troops and people out there like this, and I know there are many more than what I just mentioned. Hoorah!

Photo attribution

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I used to think of myself as one who made goals, but somewhere along the way I have lost that part of me. Perhaps it was during college when all of a sudden I really didn't know what I wanted to do when I "grew up" and didn't what to think about it. However, the fact is I still don't know what I want to do, but I realized today going through life without goals is not very fun...or at least for me. Most of you have heard of the S.M.A.R.T. goal system; well this isn't the place for that today! :) Some of these may even be more like bucket list type goals, but here it goes:

1) Pursue Christ: "I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands." Psalm 119:10

Growing up in church, the three most commonly used ways to have a relationship with Christ is 1) Establishing a quiet time and adhering to it; 2) Prayer; and 3) Going to church. Although those are all great ways to connect with Christ, and trust me I need to work on them, I don't consider them to be the only ones. Pursuing Christ needs to happen everyday...and everyday you don't go to church! I believe pursuing Christ entails being more like Christ. He fed the hungry, healed the sick (which this one might not pertain to me hehe) loved children, and hung out with people we wouldn't think about today, to name a few. It is having an attitude that is Christ-like. You know it kind of brings a whole new meaning to "but the flesh is so weak." Pursuing Christ is an everyday act of obedience to follow God's plan and allow Him to lead your life.

Prioritize: I have often told people my priorities are But, c'mon! If you know me, I feel like "school" should go in that list somewhere because that is what my life was for 4 years! Often, it was much higher than those others. Although I don't believe it is a bad thing to have school as a priority, it is also important to strive to really prioritize your life. If I say those are my top 3 priorities, then I need to work on them everyday to make them apart of my life...not just something I say because it sounds good.

Serve others: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13

Volunteering has always been a big part of my life. I love it, and I most definitely have a passion for it! Throughout my collegiate career, I have had the opportunity to do many service projects, and I am thankful for each one of them. However, now is the time to start doing on my own without student organizations or such. For example, I think I want to volunteer at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Oh, and maybe Habitat for Humanity..hey, Mike was there last time, maybe he will be there again ;) Who knows what is in store, but there are always ample opportunities to get in the community and serve others. I have been blessed by being able to eat and walk and have shelter...why wouldn't I want to give others a little bit of comfort through these efforts as well?

Be adventurous: OK, lets be honest, I am the least adventurous person you know. But, I want that to change. Life doesn't have to be planned out minute by minute! Hiking, road trips, new foods (not Fear Factor style though), etc. are a few things I had in mind. If you have any ideas on this goal, let me know...

Make goodies: I have a fascination with cupcakes and cakes that look like they came from a bakery. Well, I am going to do it! Wouldn't it be fun?!? I want to make delicious goodies just so I can say I did it! Who knows, it could become a hobby!! And, I feel like this is a little vintage ;) Yippee!

Don't be perfect: We were made perfect in the beginning, but after the eating of the apple, humans were sinful. Although we should strive for perfection, it is not attainable, only in Christ. So, I should not stress over being perfect, but rather praise God for His grace and mercy. Also, I am talking in all aspects of my doesn't have to be perfect. God already knows what is going to happen in my life, and I will trust Him, even when it is difficult.


These goals obviously cannot be attained within a certain amount of time, but rather striving for them everyday. So, what are your goals? Have you thought about it lately? We get so caught up just going through life, we forget what is important to us. Make it a point to spend time for yourself so you can be fulfilled as well. Lets see where this journey takes us!

Photo attribution: Click Here

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Strength of Christ

"Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1 Cor. 1:31

God has given me so many reasons to boast in Him lately, and I must tell the blogger world! (Even if no one reads this haha) It seems that scripture is taken on a new meaning anymore these days. God is truly speaking and showing me new promises each day. I want to share a few of those with you.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

In Webster's Dictionary, the word 'desire' means to long or hope for. Likewise, 'delight' means to have extreme satisfaction. I have always thought this verse was about me, self. If I wanted something, God was surely going to grant it to me. But, truth is that this life is not about me at all! And, God does long to give you the desires of your heart as long as it is in His will and His plan, not yours. AND, and, look again at the word 'desire.' Desire is more than just wanting something, it is something so deep down, something you yearn for, and sometimes maybe something you honestly didn't expect. That last part may not make sense, but see if you can understand this. I don't always go about saying everything I long for to everyone who passes by, and often not to even my closest friends and family. But, at times there is something deep inside of you that you have put off for so long and when the time has come, and in God's plan, he will grant you that desire. Sometimes you almost forget it is there. In Matthew, God says He has numbered the very hairs on our head. Don't you think He cares about our most intimate details of our lives such as our desires? I think so! I won't go into detail what brought this about, but I have to give God the glory for showing me He does care...even in the things that may not be a big deal, it was a big deal to me.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake , I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:9-10

God has once again shown me His timing is perfect. I have thought about writing this specific blog for a couple of weeks now, but I just haven't until tonight. God showed me His strength again today and the need for us to draw near to Him in times of suffering. Part of the lyrics by Francesca Battistelli in "Beautiful, Beautiful" states "But even perfect days can end in rain." Every time I hear this song, those words stand out to me like bright flashing lights. This made sense again when, after a decent day at work, I entered my car and within 5 minutes received a text message saying my high school English teach had passed away. Mind you, I was on my way to Vacation Bible School and had to be strong for everyone around, correct? So my on and off again crying spells led me to the church parking lot where I fixed my makeup and headed into the church where I went to my mom's room to hand her my keys. Right then, I broke down. I had prayed for God's strength to get me through the next couple of hours. I realized when I was crying that sometimes God's strength comes through other avenues such as my mom. He allows us to completely fall into His arms, broken and hurt. You see, that is His strength to me. It isn't about being the tough person, but surrendering yourself to Christ and His power.

I sat through the funeral today of my beloved teacher and did fairly well. However, I noticed the pain and hurt of her grandson and daughter. You might expect it from the daughter, but the grandson is a 'manly soldier' who could not hide the pain. And, I felt so little. I have always been one to want to help stop others from hurting, but sometimes you are helpless. You see we all have hurt, and it doesn't all come in the same package. Sometimes it hurts at times more than others and sometimes you may just feel numb. But, speaking from experience, God is the Ultimate Healer. His strength is incomparable to what we can do alone. I can't say that it is always easy, but I have no idea how I could go through pain in my life without the hope of Jesus Christ. Allow His strength to be your resting place today, friend.

I am leaving you with a picture of my niece and me at VBS this year...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Just a Call Away

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3

Have you ever waited impatiently for a specific phone call? One that you don't know the time it is coming or how long you will get to talk, but you will be extremely disappointed if you miss? Well, I guess the ol' military has taught me another calls are a precious gift at times. I watched for a whole year, as my older brother was overseas, my parents eagerly anticipating phones calls. Sometimes they never came and at times the only thing they heard was his voice on the answering machine because they had missed the call. But, sometimes after answering the phone and having a small pause in there, a voice familiar to us would say "hey" and all of a sudden a certain peace came over your body knowing you were really talking to your loved one and he was OK. When Tim left for Basic he had one call when he arrived at Ft. Jackson. My parents waited the whole day on June 5 and left for an hour to go run an errand. During that time, Tim called and I answered. Talk about disappointment from both my parents and brother! lol So, from when Tim left on Memorial Day until today, my parents had not talked to him. They knew he was going to call, but not certain the time. On faith, my mom went to church but came right home after, just in case. Good thing too since Tim called around 2 p.m. this afternoon. Dad didn't get to talk to him because he was still up at church. But, this phone call was a very important one for my mom. I am happy she got that call.

Much like we wait for important phone calls, I believe our Heavenly Father waits for us to call on Him. He is eagerly waiting to hear our voice. How often do you sometimes go before you talk to God the next time? I can't honestly say I have a perfect prayer life...that is something I definitely want to get better at doing. The truth is that He does answer when you call on Him. Sometimes it is not always what you are wanting to hear and then other times he blesses you beyond measure. Amy Grant has a song out right now called "Better than a Hallelujah." To me, this song shows us that God doesn't want you to just come to Him when things are going great, but even during the darkest times of your life. When you are completely broken and call to God, He enjoys that more than someone who always "does the right, Christian things." I think this shows that you recognize God truly is the only One who has the power to save and is God.

God really is just a call away. He is waiting to hear our voices.