Monthly Archives

December 2014

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Rejoice! A Savior is Born!

I don’t know about your family but for mine Christmas Eve is hectic; looking for last minute Christmas gifts and rushing to wrap everything. But through all the madness we should all take a minute to relax and remember. Christmas is a wonderful time that brings family and friends together and many people, like my mother, love to make this a very special time and go above and beyond for others. We may get on one another’s nerves, but I am so thankful that I have a wonderful family that I am able to celebrate with and share and make my Christmas memories with.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Christmas Eve service at my church, one of my all time favorite services. When I walked in tonight and sat down and watched all the people file in I was reminded, yet again, of what has now become one of my favorite verses. “Surely the Lord is present in this place!” (Genesis 28:16)

So I ask you all to remember that God is present with us all the time; but take a moment tomorrow, when you are sitting around after a huge Christmas dinner or in a sea of wrapping paper to remember that little baby boy who was born in a barn and placed in a manger. Take a moment to give thanks to God for all the blessings and be thankful for that fateful night where the darkness was to forever be put out.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being win him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:1-9).

Jesus brought us freedom, we should rejoice for this is the day that our Savior was born! Remember Jesus’ earthly parents and their faithfulness and remember God who loved us so much that God gave God’s only son so that we may have eternal life (John 3:16). And rejoice for that little baby boy who was wrapped in bands of cloth and laid in a manger (Luke 2:7).

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

May your Christmas be merry, joyful, peace filled, and loving! The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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A Christmas Miracle

The world we live in today is a dark and unsure place. We often want to give up hope and we become caught up in focusing on all the bad in the world, rather than the good. So I think we could all use some wonderful news; we should all hope for a better and brighter world and give thanks for the miracles we do hear about.

Last week I received a text message from a friend asking for prayers for her one year old cousin. I was told that this friend’s cousin was on his way to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. If you do not know, St. Jude is a very special place; a place that works every day to try and achieve miracles and find the cures to childhood cancer. St. Jude is the saint of lost causes or hopelessness, this hospital was built as a shrine in honor of this this saint. The founder, Danny Thomas, was down to his last dollar and prayed to St. Jude for help, and promised that he would one day build a shrine in his honor. Danny Thomas went on to have a successful career and later founded St. Jude. St. Jude Children’s Hospital offers free medical care to all patients and strives to make the child and family feel as comfortable as possible during such a difficult time. Because no child should die in the dawn of life.

Now that you know some background on the hospital you can judge just how serious of a situation this little boy was in. Two tumors were discovered on this child’s kidneys; one 11 centimeters long and the other 6 centimeters long, all the tests done diagnosed these tumors as stage five cancer. There was severe risk in removing the tumors because there was fear that the cancer would spread. But when they went in today and removed the first tumor, they discovered it was actually benign!! God is so wonderful! This was truly a Christmas miracle! They are going in and removing the larger tumor, and I ask you to please pray for this little boy and his family. I pray that the surgery goes well and he will be healthy and home soon.

We can all use wonderful news like this! Miracles happen everyday. God was truly so good and words cannot describe how happy I am to hear of this discovery and for the doctors and nurses at St. Jude and hospitals everywhere. There is so much to hope for and remember “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Mary and Jesus

I have had this subject lying heavy on my heart for about a week now. So what I am going to ask is for you, as my readers, to forgive me if I do not do this subject justice. I have approached this topic prayerfully and with hopes that God will work with me to use the right words for such an important subject. This is one of the biggest subjects I have ever written on.

I am a religion minor and this past semester I took one of the most faith enriching and challenging religion courses ever. I took a class called Pauline Epistles, which deals with all the letters of the apostle Paul. Through this class my heart, mind, and soul have been impacted. I know this may sound silly but I have never really been close to Jesus, I have loved, believed, and worshiped Jesus from afar but through Paul’s letters I have become close personally to Jesus. I have had a strong relationship to God, yes they are the same, but the concept of Jesus has always been difficult for me, so I often chose to just believe from afar rather than struggle to gain a sincere relationship with him. But throughout this past semester Jesus has become more real and human to me.

Last week I was doing my devotional for the day, and I accidentally read John 19 rather than John 20. If you turn in your Bible you will see that John 19 is the account of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. I have never seen the Passion of the Christ, and truthfully I do not want to, I know Jesus suffered greatly but I am very sensitive and I do not think I could handle watching this movie. When I sat down and read this account of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, I cried. And when I reread it a few days later I sat in my mom’s crafting room I cried again. I was so moved by Jesus sacrifice, I realized just how huge it really was. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, for people who are not worthy, I am not worthy of this incredible love. We are not worthy, but God loved us enough to send his ONLY son. Just please take a moment and let that sink in. Jesus died on a cross to save us, to save the world.

Christmas is the time we celebrate Jesus’ birth, you might be wondering why I am choosing to talk about Jesus’ death during this time. But how can we truly appreciate this child’s birth if we do not appreciate his death. Now I am going to ask you to think of something else that is amazing–Jesus, the one who died for us and freed us from sin, he came into this world, just as you and I did. A child. Jesus was a child, he was a baby who was laid in a manger in a barn! The King of Kings was once a small and defenseless child. And this baby grew up and changed all of our fates! We are set free because of this child! Now there is another aspect of this wonderful news I want to talk about, this child’s mother.

If you read the account of Jesus’ death in John 19, you will read about women who were present at the time of his death. My heart was moved, I was touched by something and someone else along with our wonderful Savior. John 19:25 says: “…Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Read it too quickly and you miss it, “standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother….” His mother. (The other accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion mention multiple Mary’s and it is debated whether they are referring to his mother or someone else.) Now this woman and her faith touched my heart, her faithfulness blew away my mind. This woman sat and watched her son, that she had given birth to, raised and loved, die to save the world. She had to have an incredible amount of faith to allow this to happen, and believe that all would be okay.

Mary was a child, by today’s standards, when she was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her that she would give birth to the Son of the Most High, as a virgin. She had been chosen by God to give birth to the savior. Imagine that. The angel ends the announcement with, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Mary accepts this, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). This woman was brave and above all a faithful servant to God, in Luke 1:46-55 Mary’s Song of Praise is documented where she gives praise and worships the God she trusts and loves. It also took the faith of her fiance, Joseph, to believe that she truly was carrying the Son of God. These loving and faithful parents brought into the world our Savior.

But Mary becomes so human and real when in Luke 2 the wise men come to see Jesus and report of the praise the angels had sung of God and this child. Scripture says, “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart,” just as any proud momma would do. This woman chose to put her faith in God: with Jesus’ miraculous birth and his tragic death–through it all hoping, loving, and believing that her son would save humanity.

I have been thinking about this woman and child for a little while now. And I encourage you to do the same. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but often we overlook the reason for this season. Remember why Jesus was born;meditate, ponder, and pray over this reason. Jesus was born into the world a baby, was born into the world to be our savior.

Luke 2: 10-14:

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you the good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

May your holiday season be filled with love, joy, and peace. May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you All.

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Life is too Short

So this past weekend was fantastic! I was fortunate enough to spend time with one of my best friends. Sometimes you just really need to spend time with that person you are allowed to just be totally lazy, weird, and yourself with. We spent the entire weekend together; we walked the bridge, saw two dolphins, giggled, had wonderful and meaningful conversation, watched Hallmark movies and ate–now I mean ATE some delicious food! Having this sort of friendship is very rare, and I am not sure what I did to deserve such a loving, supportive, and caring friend. But I count my blessings for this young woman and for the many other beautiful, loving, and supportive friends I have in my life.

Today I got my grades back after one of the toughest semesters I have ever had at PC; not just academically but also emotionally, someone I knew very well died at the very beginning of the semester. This semester has been one challenging feat after another and I have had some tough lessons to learn. But I did very well academically and very well emotionally–if I do say so myself! I think one accomplishment I am so proud of is one that is not academic at all, but one that is personal and emotional. You all know that I am a worrier, stresser, and high anxiety control freak; and you also know that I have been working on that. Well this semester it took a sort of “intervention” between two people I highly respect, love, and trust for me to realize how far down a bad road I had gone. I was forgetting how to live and what really mattered. My priorities were school, stress, and trying to control. Not loving, giving, and caring about God, my friends, and family. My life cannot be all about work–there is so much more to it than that. Slowly but surely I tried to reprioritize putting what really mattered first. And suddenly my life has gotten so much better. And when I checked those academic grades today online, I also checked the grade I had made in “life” and I would guess maybe I was at a B-. But a B- in letting go and letting God is a heck of a lot better than that F I did have!

I cannot do this life alone, God has blessed me with a support system that is beyond incredible. I am so blessed to have people who love me so much and who are there to remind me what really matters.

And I have realized that life is too short to sit here and worry about my future, what other people think of me, and all those things I cannot control. It really is a beautiful life–there are bumps in the road but I am just going to enjoy the ride! My hope is that you will all do the same!

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you All.

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I am home! I have one pending assignment left and that is it-I will be done with my first semester of senior year! I have to admit I was a bit sad on the drive home today, realizing that this will be the last Christmas drive I will make from Presbyterian College to Charleston as a student. It caused me a little heart twinge-but not for too long. I know there are exciting things ahead for me and we will just have to wait and see how everything falls into place, rather than being scary I am starting to see this as exciting!

One of the most joyous moments is coming home and having your house decorated! The smell of the Christmas tree,all the twinkling lights, and the special ornaments-nothing can beat that feeling! I have to say my heart lately has been overcome with joy, a joy I do not think I have ever known! I am finally learning to let things go, because even if things are not 100% perfect in every aspect of my life, I am still capable of feeling indescribable joy. The other night I experienced a heart full of warmth, grace, passion, joy, love, peace, and happiness in a way I have never felt before. I had just had a heart to heart (when I was suppose to be studying) with a dear friend, who has just recently been placed back in my life, and I left that conversation feeling God’s presence in my heart. I have not felt God’s presence like that for a long time, my heart was so full. Not just from this wonderful conversation with a wonderful friend but from recognizing my worth as a human being, and from the love and kindness my sweet boyfriend and other close friends and family have shown me.

My heart is so full in a way I have never known, with a peace that is sure, steadfast, and strong. This joy, love, and peace is something I can only accredit to God. God has placed so many wonderful people in my life, who have shown me love, acceptance, and support. I am thankful for these loving friendships, I am thankful for a warm and loving family, I am thankful for a peaceful heart, and I am so very thankful for a loving God who has blessed me with this all.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with You All.

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Divine Protector

If you have not already realized I am a worrier I am admitting it to you all now. I am not just a worrier I am an extreme worrier, so much that I cannot relax, I feel wrong if I have nothing to do- I live in a constant state of stress and anxiety. Miserable? Yeah, sometimes it really is. But I have written a few posts recently where I have been working on squashing that worry and trusting in God. And this post is about another worry that I have squashed.I have been consumed with fear, anxiety, panic, and worry about my future. I know that it is in God’s hands and I am doing my best to have plans laid out and in order, but even then I was consumed with anxiety. Now I have learned to realize when something causes me a severe amount of stress and anxiety this is not good. There is a difference between stressing to get school work or work done and stressing about a particular event or if this is the right path for your future. I have been praying consistently for God to help lead me to the right path for me, asking for guidance and help to follow God’s plan. And whenever I looked at a certain thing I would eventually become anxious, but then suddenly over Thanksgiving, I looked at something that  just sort of fell upon me. And though I am not quite ready to announce what that something is to all my readers, I am ready to share with how I feel.

I feel at peace. A peace I have not known in a long time. A peace that can only come from God. I felt like I did when I chose not to do honors research, but on a bigger and fuller scale. This tentative plan of action feels right, and I am amazed at how instantly this worrisome and panicked heart became calm. For once I feel like I am moving in the right direction and the plans I have in place may fall through-but I know what I want to do and where I want to go. But even better I know that wherever I go God will always be with me and when I seek out God I find God’s peace.

Then as I was catching up on my devotionals today’s scripture spoke to my heart in a way that only God can. It was a passage from Genesis 28 where Jacob has left his home and is resting in an area and he has a dream. When he wakes he exclaims “Surely the Lord is in this place-and I did not know it!” (Verse 16) Before this though, in his dream God tells him, “Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until have done what I have promised you.” (Verse 15) This verse hit me right in my heart but even more so the footnote explaining it, “God’s assurance adds a key dimension to the story: at Jacob’s most vulnerable moment, fleeing from home to a foreign land, he gains a divine protector and discovers his destiny” (Harper Collins Study Bible [footnotes]). Wow. With the plans that I have in store, this was an incredible reassurance. But it can be applied to all cases, God is with us no matter where we go and what we do. We do not need to fear because we all have our divine protector with us on every step of our journey.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.