Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I've been thinking recently that there are several different kinds of awareness that God calls us to. For me, at this point in my life, I think I am primarily called to be aware of God and what He is doing around me and to be self-aware. God has been making it clear to me that, even if I am aware of who He is and what He is doing, if I am not keeping a close eye on myself, on my own behaviors and thoughts, I am placing myself at a disadvantage. If I am not careful, I may begin to adopt behavioral or thought patterns that prevent me or make it difficult to join Him where He is at work around me. If I am not loving Him the way He loves me, I will not be growing as He wants me to be.

I want to be the most genuine, God-driven version of myself. I think it's easy to do what we see others doing, to act and speak and think the way the people around us do. While this is sometimes a negative thing, it isn't always. Often we have people in our lives who are good models of what it means to be strong, mature, adult Christians. But we also have to be ourselves. Just copying the life of someone else won't make me into who God wants me to be. Doing what they want me to do or think I should do won't necessarily take me down the path God has laid out for me.

Several months ago God called me to learn to love myself again after years of all kinds of rejection. More recently, I realized that, in learning to love myself again I also need to relearn my relationship with Him. Now that I have a better understanding of who I am in Him, I need to return that love with praise. I need to truly bask in His glory and reflect on his awesome majesty. I need to restore the cycle of unconditional love and unceasing praise. Only then can I continue to move forward on this journey that God has laid before me.

Has God revealed anything to you recently?

Today's Verse
Psalm 146: 1-2
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Step by Step

Recently, on a whim, I took a glance at a map of Paul's ministry journeys. It's massive. He covered so much ground in the Ancient World. As I looked at the map and really soaked it in, really attempted to comprehend the distance between each of those places, the obstacles he faced along the way, I found myself marveling at Paul's resilience and determination. Paul walked most of that journey, placing one foot in front of the other, day after day after day. Every sermon I've heard about foot-washing has mentioned just how dirty peoples' feet were back then because the roads were dusty and full of animal excrement. And still, Paul walked through all of it. And he did it to fulfill the calling God placed on his life. He took the time necessary to go to those places, to invest in those people, to share the Gospel with them, to set them up well and to check up on them later in a world devoid of transportation or easy communication.

God isn't calling me to walk across nations, He isn't calling me to walk through literal feces, and yet I am still impatient at the time it takes to get where God wants me to be. Today, I am trying to focus on Paul's example, and to simply be happy putting one foot in front of the other, doing one thing at a time that I know will bring me closer to what God has in store.

How do you work towards your calling?

Today's Verse
Romans 12: 2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Little Bit Here, A Little Bit There

We live in an automated, if not entirely automatic world. Everywhere I look there is a gadget that will do something for me faster and better than I can do it myself. I have a microwave to heat up food so that I don't need to use the oven or the stove top. When I have access to a car I can get places so much faster, and to places much farther away, than when I have only my feet to carry me. I point a rectangle of plastic at a large screen and suddenly a picture and sound fill my living room at the touch of a button. If I want it, I can have it, with very little effort.

But this was not always so with people, and this has rarely been the case with God. God is rarely immediate. Instead, God is a slow mover. He is all about preparation. He is all about taking the time to teach his people, to grow their character, to prepare them for the journey ahead. The Bible is full of stories of people waiting on the Lord, of people experiencing improvements in little portions. God rarely needs us to improve and makes it so that, suddenly, in one fell swoop, we are entirely where we need to be. Instead, we work at it, He works in us, and little by little, we get to where He wants us to be.

I am trying to imagine today what waiting would look like if I didn't have so little to wait for in my life. If everything took time, would I be so impatient with the Lord? I think not. I hope not. There are benefits to having the world at our literal fingertips, but today I am stepping back. Today I am taking a break from immediacy and going for something simpler.

Are you attached to immediacy, too?

Today's Verses
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Lord Will Nourish

There are times when our bodies crave food, and it is clear. Our stomachs growl, if we wait too long our hands shake, and we start to feel faint. When we neglect to give our bodies spiritual food, however, the signs can be less obvious. We may distract ourselves with business and entertainment and neglect our spiritual health. When we wait too long, we suddenly find ourselves spiritually starved.

However, Peter makes it clear that we must crave spiritual milk. Like newborns, we need the milk in order to grow and mature, in order to build us up in our salvation. As we mature, we still must continue to feed ourselves, to tend to our faith and care for it, just as we care for and tend to our bodies.

As I find myself no longer working or going to class I find that I have two choices. I can let myself fall out of routine, enjoying the leisure that comes with free time, and risk totally forgetting all that structure brings to my life. Or, I can remember that I am worthy of the effort of self-discipline. I can choose to impose structure, schedules, routine on my life. I can take the time to remember to feed my body and my soul. I can make time for God, and make it a priority, even when there seems to be so much time at my disposal. I can recognize my craving for spiritual milk and feed it, knowing that the Lord will nourish me with His word.

Are you being nourished?

Today's Verse
1 Peter 2: 2-3
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Useful is a Useful Word

I was reading the other day and came across a phrase where someone referred to a word as useful. For some reason it struck me as odd. I found myself wondering, what does it really mean for something to be useful? I know what it means for things to be useful in the every day sense. I can use things to perform tasks, and so long as they perform the task well and don't break, I consider them useful. But what does it mean for something or someone to be useful in an eternal sense? Am I useful in that way? Does God consider me useful? Am I doing good work for Him and performing the tasks He has set before me well?

Satisfying answers to these questions aren't necessarily easy to come by. They require a great deal of self-awareness, and also an awareness of where God is working in my life and in my surroundings. The parable of the bags of gold (Matthew 25) shows that when we are faithful with a few things, God will put us in charge of many things. Being useful to the kingdom means being faithful with the things God gives us and being good stewards.

I am looking at my life, my skills, the ways God has gifted me. By identifying where my gifts are, I can hopefully identify where God is leading me and where I can be the most useful for His kingdom.

Where does God want to use you?

Today's Verse
Matthew 25: 23
His master replied, 'Well, done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master's happiness!'

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fly Butterfly

I have always loved butterflies. They are so beautiful, with their thin papery wings, their vibrant colors, and the way they dance from flower to flower. I've always found the caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation incredible as well. A true miracle of nature, one of God's great mysteries. Yesterday, I learned something new about the butterfly, about it's transformation from chrysalis to butterfly. As we watch the chrysalis split and the butterfly start to emerge, it can be tempting to help it, to pull the chrysalis apart and allow the butterfly to emerge more quickly. However, we should never do this. By struggling to open the chrysalis, the butterfly is given the opportunity to strengthen its new wings. It builds up the strength it will eventually need to fly away, to live its life to the fullest. If we were to rush the process, we would rob the butterfly of what it needed to prepare for the times ahead.

The challenges we face in our lives and in our faith are the same. We want to rush through them, to end them quickly, to tear them off like a Band-Aid. We want the pain to be quick so that it will also be over. But we do the most growing when we are struggling. We do the most depending on God when there is no where else to turn. It's hard not to give up, to keep going, but building up strength is necessary. We need it for the future and so that we can be ready for what God has in store.

These last few weeks have been some of the hardest of my life. I was utterly drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For a couple of weeks I was practically a zombie, just moving through my day, going through the motions, waiting for tomorrow and hoping it would be better. Finally I came out on the other side of all of that, and I experienced peace. All the struggle, the angst, the stress is gone, and I am finally at peace. I am happy. I am joyous. It's been a long time since I have been all of those things at one time, and I am so thankful to be there now. 

What are you working through right now? Are you accepting the process?

Today's Verse
John 16: 33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Gift of Friends

Have you heard that corny phrase, "friends are gifts we give ourselves"? I keep thinking about that phrase today as I feel incredibly blessed by one of my friends. Just to be an observer in her life recently has been a great blessing and gift. Today, in particular, I am finding the bulk of my encouragement in observing her life. We've been friends for years, ever since we traveled the country performing together as teenagers. She knows me in a way that no one in my life now has ever known me. She was there for me, we were there for each other, in a situation that no one else exactly understands. Our bond is built on pain and sweat and living on a bus and sleeping in random places and eating terrible food and seeing amazing sights. We are so different, and yet so the same.

I was speaking with her yesterday about giving up on the dreams I've been holding on to, knowing that God has better things in store for me, but still being nervous about the uncertainty. She calmly and gently reminded me where she found herself three years ago, certainly not seeing the plans or the dreams she'd been holding on to coming to fruition.

However, as of this morning, she finds herself a mom. She told me yesterday, as she waited impatiently for her little one to arrive, that, three years ago, she would never have expected to find herself where she is now. However, she's so glad that things worked out the way that they did. She was uncertain then, just as I am now, but that uncertainty certainly paid off for her. The pain and the nervousness and the loss of the dreams were worth it, if this was her reward. She is amazing. She is inspiring. She is so completely right.

I don't know what my reward is, but I know that there is one. I don't know when I'll receive it, but I know that I will. And, in the meantime, I will continue to watch for the examples of God's provision in the lives of my friends.

Can you see God working in those around you?

Today's Verse
John 5:17
Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Open A Window

Today I am reminded of a quote from the Sound of Music. Maria is asked to leave the abbey, where she is training to be a nun, to serve as a governess. As she leaves, and the doors to that closed community close behind her, she says, "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." This week I submitted my Master's Thesis and my defense approval forms and signatures to the graduate school. It's official, I'm done with school. I came here, always expecting to leave with a PhD, but God has, in very obvious ways, closed that door. It's scary, but as I remember this wise quote from Maria, I am filled with hopeful anticipation.

I remember all things I love about closed doors and open windows. As a child, in the hot and humid Mid-Atlantic summers, I loved to close my door and sit on my bed, surrounded and supported by pillows, as thunder rolled and rain poured down, and I lost myself in my favorite book. As a college student, I adored locking up the apartment, sitting on our horribly uncomfortable futon, and watching scores of people stream down the street, yelling and cheering the latest Red Sox/Celtics/Bruins win.

Closed doors have never scared me before, and open windows have always beckoned. Why should this be any different? I am saying no to fear and being scared, and I am ready and willing to try new things, explore new paths, and let God lead me where He may. I've never lacked for a plan before, but God is teaching me a new plan: to trust Him and follow Him with utter abandon.

I'm in.

Are you?

Today's Verse
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All These Things

I read a verse this morning that hit me in a brand new way, on a brand new level. Romans 8:37 says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." ALL these things. There isn't a single thing in my life, a single obstacle, emotion, or challenge that Jesus has not already conquered. Thanks to Him, and His love for me, I inherit His victory.

I am continually challenged to surrender ALL to Him, to let him handle even the smallest things in my life. I needn't think that something is too inconsequential to bring before Him, because He is both large enough to handle big things and small enough to care about simple things. I needn't worry about the outcome, for He is more than a conqueror. I needn't worry that He won't come through for me, because His love and presence is unfailing.  I am never separated from His love or provision, there is no area of my life He is not interested in. Nothing is too big or too small for Christ.

What do you find yourself holding on to control over?

Today's Verses
Romans 8: 37-39
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, July 15, 2013

On the Cusp

I find it both amazing and also frustrating that God keeps teaching me the same lessons. Or rather, that I need to keep learning the same lessons and He is willing to take the time to reteach them to me. My biggest, most commonly faced lesson? Patience. It has, in a number of ways, defined my life and my walk with Him. Every time I think I'm about to reach the summit, I find myself waiting.

Today the lesson finds me in my office, waiting impatiently for the signatures that I need to complete my Master's Thesis submission to the Graduate School. It is the last piece in a puzzle that has taken me two years to complete. The Graduate School has the thesis, I have paid my thesis fee. I know my committee is prepared to sign, I know they are in the building, I know one of them has possession of the form and will email me when they are done with it so I can deliver it to the other. Everything is in place. And yet, I wait. My foot shakes as I tap my fingers on my desk. I hit refresh on my email over and over. And the waiting continues.

In my antsy-ness, I feel a calm, gentle nudging in my mind. It lovingly says, "What are you doing? Why are you rushing? Haven't I taken care of this already? Why are you worried and hurried? Remember to enjoy the process, the learning that comes from waiting. Here, I will remind you again."

There is learning to be done while I wait. Learning that I am not in control, that everything does not need to be in my hands, and really needs to be in His. Learning to stop and experience things, rather than rushing from one thing to the next. Learning to take the time to do things the way they should be done, when they should be done.

Are you waiting today?

Today's Verses
Romans 8: 25
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Finding God in the Whisper

I read yesterday about Elijah. The study I read made note of the fact that Elijah was an ordinary man, just like you and me. He faced a crisis of faith, feeling as if he was all alone in his work for the Lord, fearing for his life, afraid he wasn't making a difference. Then the Lord told him to go up on a mountain and that He would pass by Elijah. A strong wind, then an earthquake, and then a fire came, but the Lord was not in any of those things. Instead, the Lord was in the small and gentle whisper that came after. In that whisper, the Lord reassures Elijah that he has many people on reserve for Him and that His plan is a good one.

I think I often expect the Lord to speak in overwhelming, undeniable ways. The wind, the earthquake, and the fire are so big, so noticeable. But, they are mere distractions. They call our attention away from what the Lord has to say to us. I feel like there are a lot of winds, earthquakes, and fires in my life right now. My fears and insecurities abound, all of which are trying to distract me from the small whisper that says "Trust me. I am doing more than you can know or comprehend".

I am listening for the whisper of the Lord, refusing to be distracted by the roaring wind or the rolling rocks.

Are there things that distract you from hearing the Lord?

Today's Verses
1 Kings 19: 11-12
The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountain apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cultivating Trust

As many of my friends are aware, I really don't like asking for help. While my fear of being "needy" has resulted in my developing the skills I need to be self-sufficient, it also means I have trouble trusting. I know that I can do it, and if I mess up, it's my responsibility. I'm not sure that anyone else can help or, more importantly, that they even want to help me.

God has been challenging me to trust Him, to trust that He will provide for my needs, to trust that His plan is good, and to trust that He will place people in my life who I can lean on and count on in times of trouble and uncertainty as well as joy.

I've struggled with this. I've been disappointed before. A woman I spoke to recently even used the word 'betrayed' when I was discussing my past with her. I've been betrayed, and I often focus on past betrayals before I recognize present support. That small voice inside me reminds me of the past and tells me that I can't expect anything different now. I know it's a lie, but it's a powerful one and it preys on one of my biggest fears.

As I grapple with this intangible idea of trust, trying to cultivate it and put it into practice, God continues to meet me. It's not always easy, and God often asks me to trust Him in areas where I've never trusted anyone, but I'm discovering that refusal to trust is, in fact, pride. It tells God, and my friends, that I think I can and should go it alone. Tells God and it tells others that "I can do better without you", "I don't trust you to come through for me", and "What you have to offer isn't good enough". I don't want to say that. I don't want to think it. I don't want to act like that anymore. I want to recognize the humility inherent in asking for help, and to embrace it. I want to trust God, and I want to trust people again.

What do you do when you have trouble trusting?

Today's Verse
Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Challenged to Hope

I am quickly discovering that figuring out what God wants me to do in this next phase of my life is not the most challenging thing that I am facing at the moment. Instead, I am challenged to hope and to hope for things that are so important that just the act of hope seems impossible.

My health has been one of the greatest complications during my time in graduate school and, while not the main reason, is certainly one of the reasons that I am graduating in August and leaving my program. I've been so surprised when people, after they find out that I am leaving my program, have suggested that perhaps my fibromyalgia will go away now that it appears to have served its purpose. They've point out the ways in which God has used my health to help make my decision to leave, and they have hope that God will heal me now.

I find myself wanting to hope for the same thing that they are hoping for. I hear God challenging me to place my hope in Him, regardless of my fear and my circumstances. I want to hope for healing and believe that God can do it, but I find myself asking, "What if He doesn't?" What do we do when the things we hope for never come? What do we do when we want something so much that to actually hope and pray for it is terrifying because we might be disappointed? How do we step out in faith when the potential for failing is so great?

I find the answer in Hebrews 11. The author lists numerous figures from the Bible who acted with hope and stepped out in faith. They did not receive what they had been promised immediately, sometimes they never saw the end result of their hope, they only saw that possibility in the distance and welcomed it, longing for something better, something heavenly. They heard the Lord and they followed Him, knowing that, whatever happened, if the Lord was leading them, they would be better off than they were before.

I am placing my hope in the Lord, trusting that so long as I am fully relying on Him, the end result doesn't matter so much. Whether my hopes come to pass is less important than whether I am trusting God to provide for me.

Are there things you are afraid to hope for? How is God asking you to respond?

Today's Verse
Hebrews 11: 1-2
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Intangible Things

The dictionary defines wisdom as "knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action." James defines godly wisdom as pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:17). As I enter a period of transition, I find myself unsure of how wise I am being and whether I have done a good job of cultivating wisdom.

One of the great things about God is that He willingly gives us wisdom when we ask. Matthew 7:7 says, 'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.' I often think of this verse in reference to tangible things that I need. Asking for the Lord to move in situations and relationships or asking him to provide for my physical needs comes easily. However, the Lord also promises to grant wisdom, hope, peace, and faith when we seek Him.

In times of uncertainty, it is important for me to remember that while my immediate physical needs might seem important, what I often truly need are hope and peace and wisdom. It can be easier to ask for tangible things, but what I need to do is trust God to meet my more intangible needs.

Are you trusting God to meet your intangible needs?

Today's Verses
James 1:5-6
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

There is More to be Done

Sunday's sermon was on material from Joshua and was discussing the work that God wants to do in us before He does things for us. I found myself comparing my current path with that of Israel. Joshua 5 finds Israel having crossed into the Promised Land, but they have not yet taken hold of it. After they cross the Jordan, God calls for the men to be circumcised. They obey and find themselves need to rest, wait, and heal before they can move into the Promised Land and take control of that which God has promised them and led them towards for so long.

I imagine their frustration. There they were, in the land God had promised, having followed Joshua as the Lord commanded. The dream, the promise, is RIGHT there, waiting for them. They can literally see it and they know that it will be theirs, but it isn't immediate. God says to them, "Wait just a moment. There is still work to be done in you before I can give you what I have promised you." I imagine their bewilderment. Hadn't they done all God had asked? Hadn't they wandered as He led them for 40 years? Why must they wait any longer? What is the purpose of bringing them so close, only to ask them to keep waiting?

I defended my Master's thesis last Wednesday. It was much more emotionally challenging than I expected, but I persevered, and I experienced success thanks to God's provision.  I thought I had reached my current version of the Promised Land. God has been nudging and prodding me for months to finish the thesis, get the degree, and move on to what He wants me to do next. I have been following His leading, putting one foot in front of the other to get closer to the new place He is calling me. Now, here I am, finished with what I thought would be the hardest part of this journey, and life isn't any easier today than it was last Tuesday. Just as reaching the Promised Land didn't mean God didn't have work to do in the hearts of Israel, reaching the milestone I've worked towards for so long hasn't meant God was finished doing work in me.

Instead, reaching my milestone has simply stripped away all the things distracting me from God. God has said "Trust me, I have a good plan for you. Finish this work and I'll give you new work to do." However, He is now making it clear that there are things He wants to do in me before we really move into this next phase of my life. He is teaching me reliance. He is teaching me to find my identity and freedom in Him. He is teaching me that what I need is dependence, not independence. He is teaching me the value of surrender and submission. There is more to be done in me before God can do things through me. I am looking to see what I might still have to learn before I can take hold of that which God intends for me.

What do you do when your goal is so close, and yet still so out of reach?

Today's Verse
Psalm 27: 13
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Mountain of Faith

I hiked a local mountain yesterday with my parents and the whole time we climbed I kept thinking about how faith is a lot like hiking a mountain, and how hiking a mountain is the perfect metaphor for my life this last week.

The first part of the hike was the hardest - convincing ourselves and encouraging one another to keep putting one foot in front of the other, fighting gravity to reach the summit. Once we reached the summit the views were beautiful and the wildlife we saw was awe inspiring. I was the closest to a hummingbird as I have ever been and the way the sun glinted off its feathers was a gorgeous example of the beauty of God's creation. Getting to the top, seeing what was there, made all of that early effort worthwhile. But, much like in our journeys of faith, reaching the top didn't mean that our struggles were over. We had to consistently nourish ourselves with water to avoid dehydration. We had to be careful where we stepped to avoid tripping over rocks and tree roots. There were times when the trail ascended even higher up the mountain and we needed to expend a bit more energy to keep going. But, each vista point was lovely, and the view from the top never got stale.

I defended my Master's thesis on Wednesday, and the entire experience was much like the first part of the hike. It was harder than I anticipated, but there were people to encourage me along the way, and the view from the other side, after having passed, was worth the struggle. However, I find that passing doesn't mean my struggle is over. Now I have to nourish myself with the Word, with the living water Jesus promises, to keep moving forward. I have to be careful where I step to avoid stumbling blocks and other ways the Enemy seeks to trip me up as I attempt to walk the path God has laid before me. I know that the journey won't always be easier just because one milestone is behind me. I know that God will continue to challenge me, to expand and strengthen my faith. I also know, however, that the view from the top of the mountain of faith is worth the struggle and that the view will never grow old. So long as I can view my life through the lens of faith, the effort that is required will be fruitful.

What mountains are you hiking in your life today?

Today's Verse
Psalm 95:4
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Big Day

My Masters thesis defense is today at 11. As I wait for it and for the outcome, I trust that God is faithful and works all things together for my good.

I hope that you are also relying on His providence and goodness today!

Today's Verse:
Romans 8: 28
And we know that in all things God works for good for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Eager Anticipation

Today I am taking strength and encouragement from stories in the Bible that are full of anticipation. In particular, I am thinking of Noah. He built an ark and then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, flooding the Earth. But Noah believed and had faith that there was light at the end of that tunnel. He believed that, one day, the sun would shine again, the land would dry up, and life would go on.

As I prepare for my Master's thesis defense, I know that there is light at the end of this long tunnel that I have been walking through. I can see it; I know that it is right around the corner. I am making diligent preparations, eagerly waiting for that day when I can say that this difficult journey is behind me and a new journey is beginning. I will start life anew, and I am so excited. I am praising God for bringing me through, and leading me to new adventures.

What are you eagerly anticipating?

Today's Verses
Ephesians 3: 20-21
No to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Raise Mine Ebenezer

Yesterday our pastor told us of the importance of remembering the things that God has done in our lives as a way to remind us of His faithfulness. I have been focusing a lot recently on the things that I can see God doing now and where I can see Him working currently. However, I realized that my focus on the present has distracted me from the past.

When I focus only on what God is doing right now, it is easy to become apprehensive. What if things don't continue going the way I think or hope they will? What if I come up against unexpected obstacles? While focusing on the present keeps me grounded and aware of my surroundings, it is remembering God's past faithfulness that soothes my fears and anxiety.

As I face the large scale transitions coming up in my life, I remember times in my past when God has been faithful. When I left home on a missions trip that stretched me farther than I expected, God was there. When I graduated from high school and moved 300 miles away to go to college, God was there. When I was applying to graduate school and deciding where to go, God was there. When I was sick and weak and frustrated, God provided me with people who were supportive and caring.

Where has God been faithful to you? What stories are you remembering?

Today's Verse
1 Samuel 7: 12
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us."