Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lent Devotional 2013

Every year, my church puts together a daily devotional book that takes us through the season of Lent. For the past several years, I've been asked to contribute. I hope you enjoy.


Deuteronomy 10:12-22

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

I have heard many analogies for sin, but one that resonates most with me is this: ever since sin entered the world, humanity began to dig a hole, one that separated us from God and could not be filled. Nothing that we can do can fill the hole. We are indebted to God. We owe Him more than we can ever pay. In the words of St. Anselm, “Sin is nothing else than not to render to God his due, and the wish of every rational creature should be subject to the will of God.” The will of God is to “fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees” (Deut. 10:12-13). The law was created for the good of the Israelites, so that they could find favor in God, but because of sin, it was impossible. Even though this passage is originally addressed to the Israelites, who could not possibly love God the way he required them to under the law, through the grace of God we are now included in God’s chosen through the death and resurrection of his son, the ultimate sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews emphasizes this point by saying, “let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (4:16). Our debt is now paid for in the death and resurrection of Christ. He defeated sin and death so that we may enter into relationship with the Father. He is the fulfillment of the law; the ultimate sacrifice. As my class went through the Bible in my Old Testament class last semester, I was constantly in awe of God’s goodness. Everything He did, no matter how hard it was for us to understand, was for the good of his people. We are chosen by God, and as Christians, we are to love God with our whole beings, and to submit to his will. During this time of Lent, I encourage you to reflect on what that will mean in your life. What parts of your life are you holding on to and not surrendering totally to God?

Dear Lord,

You are good and you know us better than we know ourselves. I praise you for all that you do in our lives. Thank you for sending your son so that we may live in eternity with you. Forgive us when we try to take control and ignore your will. I pray that we surrender to your will every day and that our hearts become more like yours. Teach us to love like you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Braindead

If there's anything I've learned this year, it's that I'm not a philosopher. I enjoy learning, and I will own up to being a nerd any day, but I my brain does not desire to think deeply about hypothetical questions that don't have any solid basis. It's such a struggle to try and answer a question that doesn't have an answer. My teacher knows going in that I won't have an answer, and I know that I won't be able to argue as well as he wants me to. I know that it's all a part of the learning process. I'm learning to better reason through problems, which I know is a good thing, but it's hard to convince my self of that at the moment. Right now, I'm sitting in a study room with two of my best friends trying to prove that we cannot have a rational account of justice without an account of the human good...so I'm in the process of defining first the human good...and then justice. But here's the catch, I can only use the texts that we've read in class. I'm drowning in Plato. HELP. 

Oh, and I have 3 other papers to do this week on top of my Justice midterm... it's gonna be a late one. The good news is: SPRING BREAK IS SO CLOSE. 3 DAYS AND COUNTING. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today was a great day. My Mondays and Wednesday are a different kind of busy than my Tuesday/Thursdays schedule, which are filled with school. I was able to rearrange my schedule so I can spend more time in Malvern. Today, I got to go to the high school, which is great and overwhelming, exciting and scary. Basically, any emotion I could feel, I feel walking into the school. I get there and walk in and realize how much I don't belong. I run into one girl I know and then journey into the abyss of unfamiliar faces. All I want to do is go hide in the bathroom (which I almost did) and wait until all the kids get on the bus...which of course, would defeat the whole purpose of going to the school. I ended up leaving way earlier than I should have, but I'm learning. It's a process. I panicked and got super nervous...so I fled. It's my gut instinct, "Get back to the car; it's safe there." Even still, I'm thankful for being able to go to the school, and failing, realizing that I was trying to go on my own accord...on my own strength. I panicked...I was relying on my own abilities and not allowing the Spirit to work through me.

My Monday schedule is great. I have one class in the morning, then go do homework and leave for GV at 2:00 to catch the bell at 2:30. Then, depending on whether I am hanging out with anyone, I go and do homework in the 'Bucks until Club, which was a great tonight. It was a smaller crowd, but the energy was really high and I feel like everyone was really well loved, which is always the goal.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Life As I Know It

So here I am, more than a month since my last post. I really need to start being more constant blogging. I'm really great at reading other people's blogs. Now that I've given up Facebook and Twitter for Lent (they had become huge distractions), I've been reading blogs even more consistently  It's a great peek into people's lives. Some of my best friends keep blogs, and it's a great way to keep up with them across states on this campus. I know that it's not a glimpse into their whole lives, but it's good to hear their thoughts...just whatever they feel like sharing.

This semester has been a whirlwind. There have been so many ups and downs. My classes are harder and I have more hours devoted to YL. At the beginning of this semester, I was given some great advice from a lady at my church. She told me to take life one day at a time, one paper at a time, one line at a time and to truly surrender each day to the Lord. Laying my worries down at the foot of the cross is this only way that I can find joy in each day. I will not find joy anywhere else than God. I want to be joyful and I want to flourish. At one of our Honors Forums earlier this semester, one of our speakers said that her goal was not for balance in her life, but rather flourishing. I've adopted that mindset. I know that it's impossible to balance each aspect of my life. There are some things that will take precedent one week and something different the next. I can't devote equal time to everything in my life. My goal is to flourish. I know that there's no way to flourish unless I'm surrendering every aspect of my life to God. And that is way more said that done. I so easily slip into self pity. "I have no time to spend with friends... there's no way I'm going to finish all this homework... my friends have so much more fun than I do... I am so sleep deprived... I need coffee... I don't want to babysit... If only I didn't have so much homework..." There is no room for that in my life. I have chosen some very time consuming things between the THC and YL and that's going to make my free time very scare, BUT I wouldn't change a thing. I honestly couldn't imagine living my college years any other way.



The Lord has provided so much this semester. He has brought such encouraging people into my life; friends who actually care for me. They take the time to ask about YL and how things are going. They truly care about me. It's been truly a blessing. He has provided me with the best roommate. Abbie gives me so much grace when I leave my clothes all over the floor and press my snooze button several times in the morning. Our living styles compliment each other so much. I'm so thankful friends who send me letters of encouragement and pray for me. I'm so thankful for my small group email chain and friends from home who are able to encourage and pray for one another. I'm thankful for my YL team and the friendships that we've developed. The Lord has brought our community in YL leadership closer together and has brought so many great new additions even since I came in the fall. I'm thankful that the Lord has provided a way for me to be able to go to the high school every week. He is so good. I'm thankful for being able to work out and all the doctors that made it possible for me to run pain-free. All glory to Him who created the universe.

Even though I am constantly battling stress and the business of life, this has been a fabulous semester. Our God is faithful through the midst of trials. I'm living for the little victories and praying to see the world through the eyes of Christ. I'm just overflowing with gratitude. I would be nothing without God. His presence is the beauty in my life.