Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Come Boldly To The Throne

Wednesday! That's the day after Tuesday. I am rejoicing for that!! Yesterday was... busy to say the least. Got up early to do an EStat project, turned it in, studied, went to class, studied, studied, studied, took a test a 6, got done at about 8:30. 12 straight hours of nonstop school work.. But I made it out alive! And somewhat successful even :) Thanks so much to all my family and friends who continue to lift me up in their prayers. Today I was thinking about all the prayers that people have been saying for me and also talking with a dear friend about praying for someone else, and it was so evident that a lot people are struggling right now. A lot of family members, friends, and acquaintances that are strong believers are going through some tough stuff. I guess it's the time of year. The end of school, nearing the summer, everyone is wearing down a little bit. And in light of this, I wanted to spend some time praying for my fellow believers.

I just finished Ephesians, and I thought, "Hey, why not move on the Philippians?" So I did! And similarly to Ephesians, the first chapter contains a prayer that Paul writes for his friends.
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God."

I wrote out a list of family members, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and classmates. 34 people. I prayed for all of you just as Paul prayed for his loved ones. I am filled with joy when I speak of you to my Father. Your partnership in the gospel is so valuable to me, and I pray that you will continue to grow in knowledge and insight of the Lord so you can make it through the trying times. And not just survive them, but come out on the other side pure and blameless. I am confident in my request to the Lord :)
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace." Heb. 4:16
"In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." Eph. 3:12

I am so thankful for all the beautiful people God has placed in my life. And I hope that you are somewhat encouraged in knowing that I am praying for you :)
I have one final encouraging passage for everyone that concludes my thoughts.
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a season 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 result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:6-7


Monday, April 26, 2010

Prayers of Unbelievers..

Monday, Monday, Monday! Busy day over here. Test, giving blood in memory of Miss Hannah :), starting/finishing a project, studying for tomorrow's test, and foremost, rejoicing in the Lord always! Yesterday was a wonderful day! I spent time in the Lord's house, learned a lot! Spent time with my family and friends, and got my sister all dressed and ready for her bridal pictures! She looked stunning!

But anywho.. a question that's been on mind since yesterday is, "Does God hear and answer the prayers of unbelievers?" Or what about people are have been saved, but are far from God and living in sin? I've wandered this for awhile, and my dad rekindled my curiosity in Sunday School yesterday. If I have friends who are not believers, and I ask them to pray for something, is God going to hear their prayer? I really want that to be true! But from what I've read this morning, that doesn't seem to be the case. My dad said that the only prayer God will hear from them is one of repentance. And he's right. One of the verses I read this morning was John 9:31.

"We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will." Well I guess that answers my question. No! And there's more!

Isaiah 59:2 "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that He will not hear." In that verse, it seems that even if you are saved, but are living in sin and are far from God, He will not hear your prayers either.
Proverbs 28:9 "If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable."

Prayer is one of the most, if not the most, precious thing in a Christian's life. And I would be so broken if I knew that God was not hearing my prayers because of the sin in my life or because of my disbelief in who He truly is. Thankfully, there are so many more scriptures that tell us all of how God hears and answers the prayers of those who come to Him humbly and believing that God is God and that He can and will answer them according to HIS will.
James 1:6 "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."

1 John 5:14-15 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him."

These are amazing promises that God gives to believers. And I wish that every person that had this confidence when coming to God. I am so blessed that I can come boldly to the throne of the Father and present Him with my requests. The Bible is full of beautiful promises to believers, but there is also one amazing promise for unbelievers.
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10: 31
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
And then you are given all the promises the Bible holds--answered prayers, eternal life in Heaven, a shelter in the time of storm, joy unspeakable, and peace that passes all understanding, love unending, and so much more.

My time in the Word this morning has been inspiring. I am overjoyed that My God hears my prayers; however, I am saddened that there are people praying to the same God,and their prayers are not being heard because of the condition of their heart. I am committed to praying for my lost friends. And also for lost people I have ye to meet.
Prayer is a powerful tool and a blessing to my heart daily. It is my prayer that everyone knows that feeling today.

Cheers to another day of rejoicing in the Lord!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In The Beginning

Thursday! The day before Friday! Which starts off my weekend! Yesss! I hope everyone had a beautiful day yesterday. Mine was lovely. Challenging, productive, a little relaxation, got to see the family, spent time with friends at church. I am rejoicing in the Lord and thanking Him for a great day. And today is another great day! Earth Day!

So I woke up this morning kind of excited! I get to go to Lacey's class and hear some music, folk music I think.., to celebrate Earth Day! And then I thought, "What scriptures can apply to Earth Day?" Initially, the obvious came to mind. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Gen 1:1 I haven't visited Genesis in awhile, so I am excited to be here today. "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." I imagine that to be awesome-looking! God's spirit moving over the water. Did it make waves? Or maybe it didn't look like anything because it was dark haha. "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." My God is so beyond powerful. He speaks and the Earth is formed. He speaks again and creates light! "And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

Ok, reviewing for myself. God created Heaven and Earth. God's spirit moved over the waters (COOL!). God spoke, and there was light! God split the dark from the light and created days and nights. I'm not sure why, but I am blown away by this right now! I have heard and read this passage a billion times, but I have never taken time to sit down, on my own, and really grasp how amazing this is. Are you getting this?? In ONE DAY (an actual day, I believe) God created the Earth that were are 'celebrating' today. Great and mighty is the Lord our God! He can do anything and everything with the words of His mouth. No wonder I am commanded not to be anxious about anything. Why should I if I have the creator of the universe beside me?

So go and rejoice in the Lord for His marvelous creation! Plant a tree, recycle a bottle, do something that glorifies God, and do it with joy. I also encourage you to revisit a passage you have heard or read many times. Look at it with fresh eyes, as if reading it for the very first time. The Word of God is full of amazing and awe-inspiring truths about our Creator. So take some time, and delight in it today. And take a little time to enjoy the gorgeous planet God has created!

Have a blessed Earth Day everyone!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And Again I Say Rejoice!

It's Wednesday.. of the the longest week of all time.. I'm losing steam! Only 2 more weeks of classes. I have been bombarded with school work lately and have really lost my focus. I have struggled to get out of bed, and I'm really getting stressed about getting stuff done and my GPA and this and that. And this morning, when I woke up an hour early to study for a test... A scripture came to mind. "Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, and again say, Rejoice!" So I thought I'd get out my B-I-B-L-E, find the verse, and check out the passage.

I whipped out my new concordance (exciting purchase!) and found it! Philippians 4:4. I better commit that one to memory, cuz I'm positive I'll need another reminder soon. As soon as I turned there, I was so excited to see the following verses too!! "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." What a blessing to find all of that encouragement in one passage! I guess if I were better about memorizing the "addresses" of scripture, I wouldn't be so surprised to find it there haha. But I'm glad I didn't know that this morning, or I wouldn't have felt so joyful to see it there!

I have an intense 2.5 weeks ahead of me. And I am fierce worrier! But worrying does not honor God; He is insulted when I don't trust that He can take care of everything. And I must must MUST remember to rejoice in Him always! Regardless of how busy am I or how many things I need to get done, God is still on His throne, protecting me, and supplying all my needs.

So I am challenging myself:
-Rejoice always!
-Don't be anxious about anything.
-Present my requests to God with thanksgiving.

And God will anoint with me His peace that passes all understanding. It's not hard to rejoice in that!!

I pray that everyone remembers these things throughout your day. Continue to rejoice in Him today, regardless of your crazy schedule or trying times. Please have a wonderful day :) Loves.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Retreat Update

Gooooood morning everyone! I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend despite the cold and rainy weather here...
The purity retreat was amazing! There were 31 girls there from schools all over NW Arkansas. We heard from an amazing speaker, Shun Strickland, who spoke about some keys to building intimacy with Christ. Then a Razorback baseball player and a former male cheerleader came in and spoke to us about relationships from a male perspective, what they look for in a girlfriend and about guarding your heart. This is was probably the girls' favorite part ;)
We also enjoyed some great time of worship and fellowship. Had tons of fun with a scavenger hunt and decorating T-shirts! And the girls also heard some powerful testimonies from some of the group leaders.
In a very short time, I made some great friends, and I can't wait to get to know my girls even more! At the end of the retreat, we had 8 girls accept Christ!! Wooooo Hooo!!! And 2 of those were from my group!! :) I was absolutely blessed beyond measure this weekend. Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for me and all the girls at the retreat. God did amazing things in the lives of all the girls there, and He will continue that work "until the day of Christ Jesus."

I have another prayer request for you all :) My friend Mallory Sims could use some serious prayer! In high school, she found out she has a rare kidney disease, and she's been battling ever since. She had a kidney transplant about 5 years ago, and a year later, her disease destroyed that kidney too. She is 24 now and has been on dialysis for 4 years. She is absolutely one of the most joyful people I have ever met, and she shares her testimony without hesitation. As a result, countless people have come to know Christ. So please keep Mallory in your prayers as she continues to fight for her health and as she goes on sharing Christ's love with everyone she meets.

I pray that everyone has a blessed Monday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Give Us Clean Hands

Happy Friday to everyone!! I'm getting geared up for a fun-filled weekend with some girls at the FCA retreat :) I am leading to worship this weekend, and this morning I have been trying to find some great songs. One of my absolute favorites is "Give Us Clean Hands" by Charlie Hall. And the lyrics of this song seem like a perfect fit for our weekend!

We bow our hearts
We bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes
From evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

Oh God let us be
a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be
a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob

The chorus comes from Psalm 24, and the psalm is even more magnificent than the song. "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob."

This is prayer today, that everyone at this retreat will have clean hands and a pure heart, so we can all come into His holy presence. I know God can wash away the stain of sin, and despite any mistake we have made, there is forgiveness at the cross. We want to be a generation that seeks His beautiful face.
Please keep this weekend and all these girls in your prayers this weekend. I cannot wait to see what God is going to do!

Also, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to a family in Kansas City. In September, they found out that their 18 month old daughter, Morgan, had leukemia, and she passed away this week. CJ and Anna will continue to be in my prayers! And I hope that people reading my blog will do the same..

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Tuesday to you all! I hope everyone had an outstanding weekend and a bearable Monday :) Dan and I had a fantastic time in Memphis! A huge thank you to Stanley and Rae Millerd for letting us stay at their house! We really reallllyyy appreciated it!

This coming weekend I am mentoring at the Daughters of the King FCA retreat. It's a purity retreat for 8th-12th grade girls, and I'm trying to get geared up! I'm a little nervous, but I know that God will be there and will give me the words to say to these girls.

I have been reading "How To Stay Christian In College" and the author write in depth about sex and abstinence. Here is just a little blurb that I really enjoyed. "A big reason Christian students find abstinence difficult is that they know the rules but haven't seen the vision. You goal isn't just to avoid something bad--it's to achieve something beautiful and lovable. God calls its "purity." Mere abstinence may be dull, but the pure in heart will see God (Matt. 5:8)."

My prayer for the girls this weekend is that they "see the vision." I hope that they understand that God isn't just being mean or hateful, but is preparing their hearts for something beautiful. And I pray that they are comforted in know that the are "Daughters of the King," and right now, His love is more than enough for them. "The Lord is my portion." Also, I know that I will gain a great understanding of all this as well, and for that, I am thankful. So please please please be in prayer for this retreat! I know God is going to do great and mighty things!

Have an amazing Tuesday, everyone :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Love and Wisdom.

Happy Friday to everyone!! Boy am I ever glad that it's Friday!! In a few hours I will be on the road! Destination: Memphis. Dan and I, and about a hundred+ others are getting outta town to go have a blast at formal for Dan's fraternity (BYX-Brothers Under Christ). Please pray that we all have safe travels and a great time :)

Before heading out of town, I was supposed to meet with my friend and go over our study of Ephesians 5. Our plans got canceled, but I'm so glad I am revisiting this passage! If anyone remembers, this is the illusive "Imitators of God" passage.

After my original post, my bestie Kayla left me a wonderful comment! "..If we love Him, we will obey His commandments, but His main commandments are love God and love other. Therefore, the question becomes am I loving God and loving others? Am I reaching out to people that the world doesn't love because God loves them? I think if we spend all our time loving God and loving others, there isn't really the time to get caught up int he sin, to get caught up in the do's and don'ts.....I think the question always has to be what are my motives? What is my passion? Then I'll know whether I am following Christ or just stuck in the rut that is the rules."
My, what wise friends I have! Thank you again, Kayla, for your help! :)

Since this comment from her, I have been trying to examine my motives. Why do I blog? Why do I go to church so often? Why do I post scriptures and songs about my faith? Am I really loving others like Christ loves us?
And I believe that I truly do these things to grow in my knowledge of the Lord, to encourage others in their faith, and to show to love is Jesus. God's Word is powerful and needs to be shared!

In addition to God's command to love, He also gives us a huge hint on how we are to live. "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." This verse was kind of like a, "duh! How did I miss this the first time?!" I've been wondering how to live, and He tells me right here in vs 15! Wisely! So I searched for scriptures that spoke about wisdom, and I was lead to Proverbs 2, 3, and 4. I encourage everyone to read these chapters. And if you have already, read them again! Solomon is telling us, by the inspiration of God, all about wisdom! What a treasure. The benefits of wisdom are unending! And that is how we are to live.

A few other verses I came across were Psalm 107:43, "Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord." and Proverbs 10:8, "The wise in heart will receive commandments; but a prating fool shall fall." God's word is incredible. Here are the instructions I've been looking for! Live wisely. And how to do I do that? Remember God's great love, which is His greatest command and fear Him, for this is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.

I am growing to love and appreciate the Word of God more and more every time I open it. Thank you Lord, for your perfect, infallible, holy, God-breathed, Word. I am challenged to live a life of wisdom and love, and I now feel better equipped. Please help to remember that living this life is not about what I can do on my own, but about how you are using me, for your honor and glory, to show your love.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Psalm 121

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.
Psalm 121:1-2

This month is gonna be a crazy one for me. Tests, projects, homework, finals, work, a wedding! I need all the help I can get. And I am so thankful that my help comes from the Lord. If He can create the heavens and the earth and raise people from the dead, He can carry me through to May 9th! "He will not let your foot slip." "The Lord watches over you-- the Lord is your shade at your right hand." "The Lord will keep you from all harm--He will watch over your life." Psalm 121 is full of amazing promises, and I will cling to each one.

Have a blessed Thursday, everyone!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It Is Well

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."
It is well
With my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord O my soul.
It is well
With my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul.

O, Lord haste the day when my faith shall by sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
"Even so" it is well with my soul.
It is well
With my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio G. Spafford lost all 4 of his daughters in a ship wreck in 1873. While traveling home to be with his wife after the accident, the captain of his ship told the passengers they were passing over the place where the accident had happened. Horatio said to himself, "It is well, the will of God be done." He later wrote the famous hymn based on these words.

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all." Psalm 34:19

Thursday, April 1, 2010

For I Am Persuaded

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, not angels, not principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, not height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Thank you, Lord, for your love. What a peaceful feeling to know that there is nothing that can separate me from it. I will not fear dying or living or today or tomorrow, for I am persuaded.