Monday, October 29, 2012

The wind's blowing . . . .

So, news of Hurricane Sandy is everywhere. People here at school are constantly checking to make sure their parents are still ok. It's a constant prayer request in classes and front and center in everyone's minds. Please, people that are being affected by this storm, know that I am praying for you. And this blog post is in no way trying to make light of what you are going through. If anything, it is meant to be an encouragement for you.
Remember Matthew 8:23-27?  The disciples and Jesus were crossing the sea when a ginormeous storm blew up around them. The disciples were used to this sea. They had grown up on it, and before Jesus had called them, some of them were fishermen on this sea. Their lives depended on knowing this sea and how to survive storms. But this storm was different. They were freaked out by it. They had never seen anything like this storm--they were sure they were going to die. They forgot everything but surviving. They even forgot what they knew about God. Yes, they lived with Jesus for 3 years. They saw Him heal the sick and raise the dead. They watched Him with His family and friends. They saw Him in His personal time with the Father. They watched Him when He was hungry, thirsty, sad, and tired. They knew Jesus better than any person on earth. They knew that He cared about them and would protect and provide for them. But all this knowledge flew out of their heads when the storm hit. They ran to Jesus, accusing Him of not caring that they were about to die. If they had thought about this, they would have remembered. But they were to scared to notice. To remember. Jesus gently rebuked them. He turned their focus back on Him. He asked why they were afraid. He was there. They needed faith in Him. Because God would never let them down. Then He calmed the storm. I love the disciples response. "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the seas obey him?" They saw the awesome power of God manifested in what was the worst storm they had ever encountered.
So many of us are going through storms in our lives. For some, it is a very literal storm--pounding your home, your family. Hurricane Sandy is huge. Over 385,000 people have lost power. The wind is over 175 mph at times. I saw one statistic that said 60 million people were or will be affected by this hurricane. It's literal. It's huge. And it's scary. And there is nothing we can do about it. Matthew 8 tells us, though, that even the winds and seas obey Jesus. Job 36:27--For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof. God is in control of the weather. He is using this storm for His glory.
For a lot of us, though, the storms we face aren't literal floods and storms. It may be a best friend turning from God, death of a loved one, church split, parents not understanding, a disease, situations out of our control, or failing grades. I dont' know what you are facing. But God does. And in the storm, remember, He controls the water.

1. Don't focus on the negative. Look at the situation and try and see the best. I know this isn't always possible. But God is using every trial--every storm--to conform you to be more like Jesus Christ.

I love this picture. I mean, it is so beautiful. There is no colour filtration or anything going on. This is a legit picture of the sky right before Sandy hit. I found several other ones similar. This is at dawn (remember, red sky at morning, sailors take warning). This picture is bad--there is a major storm coming. But look at the beauty.  I mean, the gorgeous colours. 
Or the next picture. With the statue of liberty. I mean--this is major creepy. Especially if you live in that area. The storm is coming up. I found pictures that showed waves as high as the base of the statue. But, this picture--I'm not sure what exactly what it is. But seeing the clouds behind the statue and the light and darkness . . . . it is just so gripping. It reminds me of just how powerful my God is. Because even the statue looks vulnerable in this picture.

Lastly, just a reminder. Turn to friends. God didn't intend for you to live the Christian life solo. When you face these storms, that's when you especially need someone to come along side you and help you refocus on God. It's so easy to focus on the individual waves. Like Peter did when Jesus called Him to leave the boat and walk on water. He was doing well as long as he focused on Christ. As soon as He looked to the side, he saw the waves and panicked. Christ had to come alongside him, pull him up, and help him get back in the boat. Find someone you can talk to, tell them what's going on (being honest), and ask for help. Go to someone that isn't going to just make you feel better or feed your bad mood. Go to someone that can point you to God. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fear of Rejection . . . .

Please don't read any more of this post. No, seriously.

Why are you still reading? I dont' want you too--you may comment something that hurts my feelings.

OK, I want you to keep reading. But you understand where I'm coming from???

(On a side note, if you don't like personal, dont' read--seriously. because I may be a little personal and share my heart here a bit. But if you want to know more about me, read on.)

 In doctrines today, we were talking about the Passover, and how Jesus Christ completed every single set of sacrifices. Don't ask me to explain how--I zoned out and started thinking about other things. Still sort of related to class (in that, I was still thinking about Jesus Christ), but unrelated to Passover. I was thinking about the verse, John 1:11--"And He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." So, I totally wasn't paying attention, but I came to some interesting conclusions. And you may not agree, or I may be totally wrong (and please, feel free to tell me so--I may feel free to ignore you :D )

So often, we as Christians worry WAY to much about what people think of us. Oh, we will deny it vehemently. And we don't often see it manifested in our lives. It is sometimes very cleverly disguised. In my life, I worry about letting people down. I think that people have really high expectations of me, and therefore, I can't disappoint them. I fear failure. And what people will think of me if I fail. Therefore, I kill myself to be able to do whatever it is people ask, and do it well. My friends keep telling me it is OK to say no, but I have a hard time believing them. Because I worry what people will think. I can't fail. And saying no is failure. At least in my mind.

How does this come across in your life? It may be, like me, fear of failure--saying yes to everything and over-extending yourself so as not to hurt other people. It may be not even trying, because people may think less of you if you mess up. You assume people can do it better. Maybe it's not talking to that guy because people will assume you are dating. Maybe it's not asking that girl out because you think she may say no and hurt your ego. Maybe you are like my friend who had to ask us to check with her to see how she's doing with thinking constantly about how people view her (she's beautiful, but worry that she doesn't look good enough.) In different people, fear of others shows up differently.

You know the verse, I John 2:16? "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."The pride of the life? Worrying what people think about you? Even if you don't think about it, is it in your life? Where? How does it manifest  itself? And what can you do about it? God tells us to put all our cares on him (I Peter 5:7). So, when you worry about what people think, or you are scared that you may let people down, or you are afraid of rejection, give it to God. When you think that everyone's looking at you and judging you, 2 things. 1. They probably aren't--no one notices (except your best friends) when you do something stupid or everything seems to be going wrong. And if they do notice, they probably won't remember.
2. Even if they are looking, if you can laugh it off, so will everyone else. if you act all embarrassed, they will probably also act all awkward. Just FYI . . .

Remember, that Jesus was rejected by his own family. The religious leaders of His day tried to kill Him (and eventually succeeded). His countrymen hated Him. His disciples warned Him about going to certain parts of the country because people there had tried to kill Him. As Christians, we are called to be like Jesus Christ. I don't mean go out and get your pastor so angry He tries to kill you. At the same time, some people aren't going to like what you are doing. We can't please everyone. And if you are so worried about making everyone happy, you are in for some hard knocks along the way.

So give it to God. Trust in Him. And don't fear rejection. It is going to come. But dont' let it stop you from serving Christ. . . .

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

So, since I am Canadian, today is Thanksgiving. And I wanted to take this opportunity to share just how great God is. Like Seriously.
Philippians 4:4--Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, and again I say, Rejoice.
I Thessalonians 5:18--In everything, Give thanks. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

As Christians, we are to live in a constant state of thankfulness. But honestly, this can be hard. I understand crazy schedules, and lack of sleep, and being sick. But "in everything" we are to be thankful.
A crazy schedule means that I have the privilege of being at college.
Lack of sleep means I'm not dead. I still wake up. And I get to drink mountain dew.
Being sick means that normally I am healthy. And I can be thankful that my sickness isn't anything worse than a nasty cold or migraine. In everything, give thanks.

So, this thanksgiving, what am I thankful for? I'm thankful for God's being willing to teach the same lesson over and over again to me. Being a Ed major, I have to teach. So often, when people don't get what I'm telling them, I get frustrated. But God is so patient. I mess up constantly. Mostly it's with letting Him have control and not trusting in myself. But God keeps reminding me gently to give it all to Him.

I'm thankful for the good education I'm getting here at school. I have the privilege of coming to a Christian school where everyone around me (for the most part) loves God. The main focus isn't social life or academics. It's doing everything to serve God.

One of the biggest things I'm thankful for, though, is my friends. When I'm feeling discouraged or stressed or whatever, they come along beside and remind me that God is good. All the  time. When I need a break from  (The never-ending-pile-of) homework, they will do something fun (and knowing me, probably really stupid). Our conversations can focus on God. I love Christian friends.

I'm the most thankful for God. His wonderful work on Calvary that means I can have a relationship with Him. Consider that. The great God of this universe--the Creator of all man-kind--wants a relationship with ME! If I think to hard about that, I'll be so confused I won't be able to think the rest of the day. That's amazing.

So Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for today???