5.29.2011

Silent Pride

There are two types of prideful people.
There are those who are loud, obnoxious and clearly arrogant.
And then there are those who may outwardly seem meek, yet inside, the majority of their thoughts are disguisingly prideful.

I think typically we believe arrogant, prideful people to be those who are boisterous and clearly self-centered, simply by the way they walk, talk and act.
But I realized that it goes much deeper than that.

It was two summer's ago when I found myself relaxing under a summer's evening breeze upon the grass, while soaking up the message during a Sunday night youth group.
During the summer we switch it up by meeting at different people's houses and enjoying the beautiful, outdoor weather with games, snacks and of course, Biblical truth and fellowship.
This summer night was one that caught me off guard. My youth pastor took the evening off from speaking and instead, the pastor of the church I attend gave the message.
His message was about God opposing the proud, but giving grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
As he began his message, he started out similar to how this blogpost began, talking about differing types of prideful people.

I personally believed at the time that prideful people are those who are blatantly obvious.
It never stuck me that, in fact, I was prideful. I am prideful.

I suffer from silent pride. Inwardly, I constantly am at a conflict concerning what people's opinion of me is, what a person thinks of me, how I appear when I do a certain thing, say a certain thing, what impression I will or will not make. Even down to the littlest things, which pains me to think about, that I could be so shallow and prideful. Lately, I've begun to realize what a struggle it is for me. Typically, I used to be more shy, and I still am to some extent, but often times, my pride issue mainly consisted of constantly wondering what people thought of me - in the sense of whether or not I would fit in, or be liked. Being a homeschooler, typically there are quite a few stereotypes that are attached to it, and so I wondered if I was actually normal amongst the public/private schoolers.

Pride is a deadly thing.
The type of pride I deal with is not a pride that assumes I am better, but a pride that assumes I may not be good enough. In dealing with this struggle, it is easy for me to get wrapped up thought-wise in whether I will be good enough to someone. By thinking this way, I stop trusting in God, and stop believing that He is the source of my value and identity, and begin believing that it is other people's opinions that determine whether or not I am "good enough". I know there are probably quite a few people who can relate to this.

Quite honestly, I believe that silent pride is far more spiritually dangerous than the loud, known pride. While they both can create a path of destruction, loud pride is one that can be easily noticed and reported to the specific individual. Yet, silent pride is one that is under the surface, hidden within the heart of an individual and not left out in the open for all to view.

So what's a girl (or guy) to do?
God's truth.
God's truth always prevails.

First off, we know that God clearly opposes AND disciplines those who are prideful:

Proverbs 16:5
"Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished."

 Secondly, I think the core issue with silent pride is that it has a determination of making the individual believe that God isn't good enough, that He truly cannot satisfy you, at least not to the deepest and strongest desires of the heart and soul.

And I am so glad to be able to prove this thought wrong. :)

Psalm 145:16
"You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing."


YEAH, that's right. That's MY God! He satisfies all who love and are faithful to Him.

I've learned through this personal struggle that ultimately it is something that draws me towards God. Honestly, my thoughts are right. I'm not good enough. I'm nothing. But God, well, He's everything!
I don't want people to see me, Rachel, anyway. I want to be nothing, so that to others, they see Jesus.

And yes, God does oppose the proud, for pride is a sinful and selfish thing.
BUT, He always gives grace to the humble.

Maybe you struggle with silent pride too, or even the loud pride.

2 Peter 2:19 says that man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. For me, this rings loud and clear. Pride in any form is certainly something that eventually will become your master if you don't master it.

So let us rejoice, because Jesus died and conquered the grave, overcame the world and has mastered sin, so that we may be free!

Check out your heart. Check out your thoughts. Are you secure in Jesus? Are you satisfied in what He provides? Or are you trapped by the world's logic?

God satisfies.
Live the freedom that He has provided.

5.27.2011

Why are we holding hundred dollar bills?

There she goes again.
Running after the world's "treasures" rather than her King.
She's stuck believing that what she's running after is more satisfying.
In her hand she holds this 'hundred dollar bill', with her fist clenched tight.
She won't let go, because she's afraid that if she does, she'll lose some of this "joy".

All the while her loving Father and King has been holding a 'thousand dollar bill', willing and wanting to give... if only she would have opened her hand, and let go of what she believed was the best, then she would have known real joy.


At the beginning of this week when I was in the car on my way to work, the Christian radio was on and there was a sermon playing. As I began driving, the man began to describe how some of us live our life as a person who is holding tight to a "hundred dollar bill" and will not open their hand, out of fear and honestly because they are not trusting God. All the while, God is holding a "thousand dollar bill" in His hand, willing to give, but since they are not compliant, He can't.

I had to ask myself if that's me.
It is me.
And sometimes it's you too.

Let me be honest with you.
Yeah, I haven't been posting much lately, and I miss it. A lot.
I could say that I have been busy with work and school ending... but that only extends so far until it becomes an excuse.
I could say that I am suffering from writer's block... but that only extends so far until it becomes another excuse.
The truth is, I've been in a rut lately.

My walk with God has been suffering a bit. My prayer life is pathetic. I'm reading my Bible daily but I'm not soaking it up as much as I normally would. My passionate heart is now reduced to the occasional glistening spark of light and fire. I've been struggling with certain things and sins, which make it all the more worse.

Yeah, I think you know what I mean. We've all been here at least once or twice in our walk with Christ.

So where did I go wrong?
I went wrong when I stopped depending on God and began to depending on myself.
I went wrong when I stopped believing that God satisfies and started believing that the world satisfies.
And all the while, I know somewhere deep inside that I'm in the wrong, that this isn't making me truly joyful... that there must be something better than these 'hundred dollar bills'.
And it's so easy to think that it is God who left me, but no, it is rather me who left Him.

What's truly sad is that there are thousands of Christian's out there living their life the same way, every day.
Half-hearted.
Mediocre.
They're holding onto their wealth, their power, their reputation, their relationships, their security... anything and everything you can think of. Why do we live this way? Why do we hold onto hundred dollar bills rather than letting go and letting God?


And yes, it sounds hypocritical because I do the same things sometimes. But it frustrates me.
It's not the life we were meant to live.
If only we knew and truly believed that there is more than meets the eye.

Psalm 51:10
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

5.23.2011

Let's Be Real

Can I just be real with you... whoever you might be?
I'm nothing. Some days I just realize what a fool I am.

I know some of you appreciate my posts (and I am so thankful that you do!), and that they give you spiritual encouragement or challenge (which I'm also thankful for), but let me tell you, I've got so many things to work on too.

Some days I feel really discouraged. I have such a growing desire to live a life totally and completely surrendered to God. And sometimes I think I'm actually reaching that goal. And other times, like now, I feel so far from ever seeing sight of that goal.

When I look around myself, I often feel that I see so many people progressing and moving on and growing and I look at myself and feel so, so far behind. And that's partially why I wanted to write this, to encourage you.

I think sometimes we feel like we have to be good at everything, or succeeding in everything all the time in order to feel like we're making it through life well. But I've realized that if this was true, we wouldn't really depend on God. We would see no need for Him, for His mercy, His love and forgiveness.

It's moments like these that really build the faith, that remind us of the little value we have in and through ourselves, but of the infinite value we have in and through Christ.

So wherever you are spiritually, keep fighting the good fight. Keep running the race. Keep living for Jesus, day in and day out. God is refining me through my struggles, just as much as He is refining you in yours.

Romans 5:4
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hopeAnd hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. "

5.21.2011

To All You Chivalrous Guys



I just wanted to make a little shout-out to all you chivalrous guys. :)

Today I was reminded that chivalry is NOT dead, in fact, far from it!

In a place I didn't expect to find it, I found it! Earlier today at work I took notice of one coworkers chivalry: opening the door, letting me go first... He pretty much did it all. It was so pleasing to see that there are guys still like that. :)

SO THANK YOU, all you chivalrous guys! There are ladies out there who appreciate it and it really sets you apart by doing it. Maybe you'll start a revival, who knows. :)



P.S. Sorry for my lack in posts the past week or so. :( I haven't had time nor any writing inspiration so that's why I'm lacking a bit. Hopefully I'll pick up a bit these next couple weeks when I'm not as busy!

5.18.2011

"The Greatest Marriage Proposal Ever!"

Check out this proposal video. The guy was so creative and it's just simply adorable!
-girly squeal-

Enjoy :)

5.14.2011

Remarkable Joy

After switching jobs at the end of January, I realized that amazing managers actually exist. The manager I now work for is adorable, especially in her short height and goofy personality. She's so friendly. She's so joyful. She's so kind. She's respectful. I actually feel like I am appreciated for the work I do, unlike the last place I worked.

You know what is most interesting to me about my manager? She doesn't know Jesus.
Yet her attitude remains so positive and so joyful.
It made me realize a couple things.

For one thing, often times, we hear the message that Jesus is the only thing that satisfies - and this is true. But I think when we hear this, we automatically make the assumption that everyone who doesn't know Jesus is miserable and unhappy. I've realized that this isn't always the case. Which leads me to another point...

How many of us followers of Jesus, or so called "Christians", live life miserably?
I look at my manager and admire her attitude and kindness, and it's ironic to think she doesn't know God. BUT, if an unbeliever saw a miserable or not so joyful Christian, and then saw my manager... I wonder what they would think.
Would that make them want to know Jesus, if they see us living unhappily, complaining about something, or having a bad attitude?
Quite frankly, if I didn't know God, I think I'd probably rather be like my manager more than that so called "fulfilled in Jesus" Christian.

So what's your attitude like anyway? Are you joyful? Well you should be! In fact, our joyfulness is commanded! Check out these verses:

"Be joyful always..."
1 Thessalonians 5:16a

"Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!"
Psalm 32:11

"But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful."
Psalm 68:3

"Be joyful in hope..."
Romans 12:12a

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy..."
Galatians 5:22ab

"The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad."
Psalm 118:24

And to think, that's not even all of the verses that mention it! I think too often we forget the joy in knowing Jesus and what He has done for us. Come on people! Be joyful! You know the Creator of the universe! What could be more joyful than that!?

Our group for my youths mission trip to Tunica, MS last year.
This pic just makes me laugh heheh. :) I love all these people!

5.13.2011

Are You Passing Up An Opportunity?

I just got back from spending a couple hours with a wonderful young lady, in which I've had the privilege and blessing to get to know a bit better in the past month.

Let's first start off with this: I believe in the past I've mentioned at least once that I am student leader for youth group. In the past few months, my youth pastor switched up our bi-weekly meetings. Rather than talking about what games to play, what "cool" events we could do in the future, etc, it's been changed into a discipleship time. In this time he has turned it into a time to study the Gospel and also have brief devotions on the key elements that make up a leader. One of these elements is taking initiative.

I don't know about you, but I personally love to take initiative, in fact, it comes pretty much automatically and naturally for me. For a while, I didn't even realize that taking initiative was part of my personality. So how does the leadership meetings and me liking initiative connect? Well, part of the devotion about a leader taking initiative was that another way to put it was a leader that takes initiative is a leader who sees a problem, a need, and fills it, or does whatever he/she can to work on it.

A few weeks ago during small group, I saw one of these needs with a certain younger girl, and instantly God tugged at my heart to fill that need. And I listened to that tugging.

In other words, I've become a mentor...and I love it! It's so wonderful to forget about yourself, forget about your own personal life and "little world" and be there for someone else, to listen to someone else, to be someone that another can lean on for love, support and encouragement. And to think, I'm only 17!

I think sometimes we assume that due to our youth, that we can't be a mentor - that we're not qualified. But there will always be someone younger than you. In fact, you may not realize it, but I can guarantee that there's someone out there that looks up to you, whether they show it or admit it or not. Do you know what a privilege that is? What an opportunity that is?

I have an 8 year old niece, who some of you may have seen in my "The Cupcake Rap" video which I posted several weeks ago. She has looked up to me for quite some time, and for a while I honestly didn't care and if I'm honest, I (now regretfully) found it slightly annoying. I really dislike when anyone tries to be similar to me in speech, apparel, attitude, etc. I want everyone to be their own self and personality. A little over eight months ago, back in September, after something happened in my life, I decided that I would dedicate every Thursday night to spending time with my niece. And I'm so glad I did. There have been times when we've had some serious discussion, or she's asked a question which I'm glad to have had the opportunity to answer. I've been able to share Christ through my opinions or ideas. More recently, we've begun a devotional, which I'm so happy for because now we'll always have at least one conversation about something biblical (yay!).

Now before I ramble on and tell you my whole life story (which I think I pretty much just did...), I'll stop!

The whole point of this post is that there are a lot of people out there who really could use a mentor. I know from my own personal experience, how much I have valued the thoughts, opinions, and wisdom of women older than me. They're encouraging and uplifting, and so, so selfless. They are women who I long to be like, or perhaps I should say that they represent Christ so well that it points me towards being more Christ-like, and gives me a desire to be more Christ-like.
Is there someone in your life that you could be a mentor to? Don't worry - You don't have to know all the answers, or be some super duper wise know-it-all Christian. But you do have more experience, things you've gone through, you also (hopefully) have a more matured spiritual walk with Christ, which can be very beneficial to the newbies. :)

Maybe you could be a mentor to someone. Consider it.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
Proverbs 27:17

Oh, how He loves!

I read Psalm 107 today. It's beautiful! God is so mighty and wonderful.
Read it. Really read each word and soak in the incredible King we serve. :)


Psalm 107
 1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.
 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—
   those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands,
   from east and west, from north and south.
 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
   finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty,
   and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
   to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty
   and fills the hungry with good things.
 10 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
   prisoners suffering in iron chains,
11 because they rebelled against God’s commands
   and despised the plans of the Most High.
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor;
   they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
   and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
   and cuts through bars of iron.
 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
   and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food
   and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them;
   he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
   and tell of his works with songs of joy.
 23 Some went out on the sea in ships;
   they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the LORD,
   his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
   that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
   in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
   they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
   the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
   and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
   and praise him in the council of the elders.
 33 He turned rivers into a desert,
   flowing springs into thirsty ground,
34 and fruitful land into a salt waste,
   because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
35 He turned the desert into pools of water
   and the parched ground into flowing springs;
36 there he brought the hungry to live,
   and they founded a city where they could settle.
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards
   that yielded a fruitful harvest;
38 he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
   and he did not let their herds diminish.
 39 Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled
   by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
40 he who pours contempt on nobles
   made them wander in a trackless waste.
41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
   and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright see and rejoice,
   but all the wicked shut their mouths.

43
Let the one who is wise heed these things
   and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.


All of us were once the wanderer, once in prison, once the fool, once the rebel, yet God loved us and saved us! My favorite is v. 9, which I put in bold. It was a reminder that I needed, that God does satisfy and satisfies with good things. Sometimes when I look at my life, I feel really hopeless. There are so many things I need to work on, so many things I mess up with, so many things I feel that I'll never be "good enough" at, especially spiritually. Feeling this way perplexes and stresses me because I have such an overwhelming desire or longings to grow in those certain areas and meet those "goals", so wanting those changes yet not knowing how puts me in distress.

Sometimes I think we (or at least I do) feel that we must be adequate, that we must be good enough in order to be successful - that it all depends on our abilities. But then I realize... by saying that it depends on me, that it depends on how "good" I am, then I am not depending on God, and I am not believing the fact that I NEED Him! Yeah, I am nothing. I'm pretty pathetic. I can't do much of anything. But with Christ? I can love. I can have joy. I am forgiven and can truly forgive others. I can do ALL things.

:) That makes me joyful.
Photo credit belongs to me. :) (Outer Banks '10)

5.10.2011

Can you say that again!?



I almost forgot! Recently, my Dad bought a book for me entitled "Found: God's Will" by John MacArthur. Side note: It's a great little booklet, and if you're interested in hearing the sermon then feel free to click here!

Back on track, I was finishing up the little booklet last night when I came across a line that made me want to jump up and down with joy for a very long time.

MacArthur wrote...

"Don't ever water down the Gospel.
If the truth offends, then let it offend.
People have been living their whole lives in offense to God;
let them be offended for a while."

 Recently, due to a couple conversations I found myself in, I felt so condemned for being honest and speaking truth, even with Christians! It drove me nuts, because what I was saying WAS and IS truth. I felt like I was being asked to water down the truth, and that is something I do not like doing! For those of you who know me really well (-cough- Laura), you'll know that I typically am pretty blunt and honest, especially if you're asking for my opinion. So when it comes to speaking truth... I typically tell it like it is. Long story short, I found these few lines to be very encouraging and I honestly loved the way he put it.

So yeah. :) Keep speaking truth! Never water it down out of concern for "offending" someone else. I think especially in today's society and culture, people desperately need to hear the truth of God.

Owl City, yes please!

Time for a lighter post! I love Owl City (Adam Young)... I know some people think the lyrics are weird or bizarre, or even... girly, for lack of a better word. But it's far cleaner than a lot of today's music, not to mention Adam Young is a lover of Jesus! Anyway, he has a new CD coming out soon and I came across a couple of the new songs on YouTube. Check them out! :)

If you're in a calmer mood...



If you're in a jammin' mood

5.09.2011

All for a Grass-Eating Bull...

"They exchanged their glorious God
   for an image of a bull, which eats grass."

Psalm 106:20

Earlier I was reading part of Psalm 106 when I came across the verse above. I admit, I slightly laughed at the thought that people (the Israelites) were willing to bow down to an image of an bull which eats grass. Nevertheless, putting aside the funny business, this verse really stuck out to me. How often do I bow down to "an image of a bull, which eats grass."? Okay so maybe I'm not bowing down to a cow-like creature, but what other idols could I or you potentially be bowing down to without realizing it?

Money
Social Status
Reputation
Relationships
Material Objects
Sexual Sin
Electronics
Facebook

Those are just a few that I could name off the top of my head. Perhaps you can relate to one of those, I can say that at various points in my life I've been able to relate to several of those.

You know what the saddest part of all this is, the saddest part of the verse?
They exchanged God for those things.
They exchanged their GLORIOUS God for a grass-eating bull.
They exchanged love, forgiveness, hope, encouragement, faith, and purity for sin, idolatry, weakness, destruction, imperfection, and worthlessness.

I'm sad to say that we, me included, do that every day. Every day we're given many choices, with the option of holding onto our glorious King, or trading Him for second rate, for junk, honestly.

Why would we trade God for money, when in reality, He is what makes us eternally rich?
Why would we trade God for a relationship with someone else when no ones love can compare to His?
Why would we trade God for clothing, for cars, for food even, when they all turn to dust and rot, yet He is infinite and unchanging?
Why would we trade God for lust, when all it wants to do is harm us, meanwhile, all God ever wanted was to protect us and keep us pure?

For the past five minutes I've been trying to think of some epic conclusion to this blog post but I simply cannot think of one. All I can say is that God is glorious, creator of the world, maker of Heaven and Earth. He knew you and I even before the world began, every thing we would think, say and do. He knows the deepest longings of our hearts. He controls everything. He is infinite. He is powerful. He is our King. He is so faithful!

I guess the most beautiful thing about all of this is, is that even while we abandon Him, even when we are unfaithful and give into idols, He loves. He forgives. He satisfies. Can money do that? Can Facebook do that? Can the opinions of others regarding you do that?

"...But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
Joshua 24:15


5.08.2011

School Assignment - Please leave a comment!




I am doing a small assignment for school. All you have to do is tell me what your favorite pizza topping out of the five below is:
  • Pepperoni
  • Mushrooms
  • Pineapple/Ham
  • Peppers
  • Anchovies

PLEASE PICK ONLY ONE!

Thank you. :)

5.07.2011

A Sad Break-Up



Remember back a while ago in the beginning of March when I made this post? In that blog post, I talked about giving up movies/television for a period of time. Well, a few days later, people started talking about lent, which is then when I made this next post, in which I decided that I was going to to continue through until Easter without watching movies/television. In the end, I went about eight weeks without watching really anything. There were a few times when I went, sat down in front of the television and began to stare (though mostly day dreaming, not actually paying attention) at it without even really thinking what I was doing, shows how much of a habit it was!

First of all, I will say that I honestly did not miss movies. Truly, I forgot about them. Not watching them was extremely beneficial to me spiritually. It helped me maintain a higher standard of purity in my heart and mind.

I believe it was last Thursday (not this past week, but the week before) that I watched my first full length movie. I couldn't help but continually stare at the clock, watching my minutes pass by. "Is watching this movie really worth it?"

Last night, I went to the good ol' Redbox and rented a movie that I heard was apparently really good. It wasn't until after I had rented it and arrived home, did I look at its potentially objectionable content. I was slightly--okay, majorly disappointed that I hadn't looked before I rented it. Honestly, renting it was kind of spur of the moment, so I hadn't really thought it through very much.
I contemplated not watching it. I mean, the content wasn't SUPER DUPER X RATED DON'T GO THERE! bad, but there were a few things here and there that kind of caused my conscious to stir a bit.
I ended up watching it. I will admit the plot was pretty interesting, but there were some parts that I just couldn't really handle.

If I'm honest with myself (and you), I'm pretty disappointed for spending the whole $1.07 that I did on it.
Those two hours I spent watching it could have gone towards reading my Bible, encouraging a friend, or SOMETHING far more edifying.

I think I've made my decision.
It's like a sad break-up!

Dear Movies-that-are-not-edifying,

Things between you and I are just not working out anymore! You're discouraging, negative, impure. I don't think my Father would be too happy if he knew we were seeing each other. You are not willing to protect my innocence and my purity, you're really only in it for your own glory. I think it's time to call it quits, and go our own ways.

Better off,
Rachel

Perhaps you can take a thing or two from my own past relationship experience with movies.

I have pink hair!

Okay maybe not completely pink hair, but a few days ago my Mom told me that the hair salon we go to was doing pink hair extension for Breast Cancer Awareness. My first thought: "PINK HAIR?!? YES!!!" Yeah, totally me. Breaking out that rebellious side, a GOOD rebellious side... haha. :) But hey, I think it's pretty cool anyway, raising awareness in a fun way too! :)


5.06.2011

What went wrong?

Earlier today I heard the sad news, that a girl (who we'll call Elizabeth) I knew back in my childhood had been found dead this morning by her mother. When I was told, my heart instantly broke. There are questions about possible drug overdoses in relation to suicide or perhaps that it was an accident - no one is sure just yet.

Before I was homeschooled, I attended a public elementary school from K-5th, and for some period of that time, she and I had been close friends. It probably has been a good six years since I've seen or spoken with her. To hear that someone I once knew had died, it made me wonder what went wrong. If it was a drug overdose, if it was suicide, what went wrong? Why was she aching so much that she went to such lengths as death? Even though I don't really know her now, I wonder what could have been done differently, so that the outcome wouldn't have been what it is now.

Honestly, hearing of what happened to her, scared me. It threw reality upon me. I mean, we all know that everyone dies, we all know that people are dying everyday. Or do we?
Do we really understand and appreciate the fact that people are constantly dying?
150,000 people die every single day... and to think that most of those people don't even know Jesus, well that makes me want to cry.

I think the reason her death was such an impact to me is because was so young, only 17. In my eyes, she really hadn't even begun life yet. She was just starting out, and to think now she's gone and probably not in Heaven, that hurts. After thinking through this a bit, there's a few things it reminded me of:

LIFE IS VALUABLE

Often, we live everyday as if we know there will be a tomorrow. We live as if it's just another day and we forget the significance that is found within each day we are given. We take each day for granted, rather than in thankfulness and gratefulness towards God. How many days do we wake up cranky and complain about SOMETHING, rather than being so thankful that God has a reason that we are still living, that His plan for us is not fulfilled yet and so we must keep working hard by serving Him? I can say that some days, when I'm getting up at 6am for work, that's definitely not my attitude... but how I wish it was! Life is valuable, and God gives it to us for a reason, for a purpose, not to squander it or waste it.

LIFE IS SHORT
We will never know what day is our last, until that day comes. Often times I think we have an attitude that in our youth, we have so long to go, and because of this, we forget that our days are numbered, that there really is an end. Consequently, we waste our days. We treat our minutes of life as nearly valueless, rather than priceless.

THE GOOD NEWS
Something that really struck me is that I wonder if Elizabeth knew the good news of Jesus. Had she heard? Did she care? Would it have made a difference? Everyone needs to hear about Jesus. How often do we slack off on sharing, or because we're too afraid and honestly, don't really trust God for the powerful and mighty God that He is, we back down and keep our mouths shut about Jesus. Who needs to hear his Gospel? How many people today are feeling hopeless, how many peoples hearts are broken and they are lonely? How many of those people could I be sharing with? How many of those people could you be sharing with? 

We only have one life, and only so much time and limited opportunity to share about Jesus.
Why are we so selfish to not share with people who desperately need to hear this truth? It makes me angry, and even angry at myself for being selfish and not sharing sometimes.
Who could you share with today? Who needs to hear the good news of Jesus, about His love, about what He did for us, and why living this life for Him is more than worth it?

5.05.2011

Modesty from the Mind of a Guy

How ironic that I just wrote recently a blog about modesty, and to think now the blog for Lies Young Women Believe is doing several posts on it!

Today they posted a video, which includes several letters written from Jesus loving guys and their experience on a college campus, going in between classes and time at church. They share their experience and struggle in regards to young ladies and what an incredible impact modesty really does make.

It really ached my heart a bit to hear from the guys who are struggling so much. I think we really do forget what a struggle it truly is. So, listen up, pay attention to the video and let the Spirit work in your heart and life in areas that need it in regards to modesty!


P.S. Quiz time... anyone know what movie the music in the video is from!?

5.04.2011

Be Still

I've desired to blog recently but just haven't had time or the energy! In the past two weeks I've worked a total of 67 hours and on top of that I have school everyday, including an AP Exam tomorrow morning (yay English and potential college credits) as well as church related responsibilities and activities (which I do love)!



Let me tell you, it's tiring. My weeks have been flying by. I see gaps in my spiritual life that really need worked on, but I feel so suffocated by activities and work that I don't have time. A few things that have been on my mind have been my prayer life and what I'm going to do after I graduate in a month. Life is just flying by and I'm standing here pretty clueless. "God, what are you doing!?"

I think sometimes I forget that God is... well, God!
I really have enjoyed this well known Bible verse lately:

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10


With a combination of work, school and my future, stepping back and remembering that God is God, is really comforting. It reminds me that God has got this whole thing called 'Rachel's life and situation' under control after all! It warms my little and weak heart that God is big, strong, powerful and in control. I just need to trust Him and remember that His love and faithfulness endure forever!

So take heart, fellow followers, no matter your situation in life, or how crazy things may be.... God's got it under control. I believe that sometimes we need crazy times to make us depend on God and realize our deep and truly desperate need for Him.

Nevertheless, I think it's time to finish up this blog post... gotta be up at 6:45am sharp for my test! Pray that I do well. :)

P.S. I think next week I'll be able to make a few blog posts, as my schedule isn't as busy. Yay for blogging! :)

5.01.2011

What is He to you?

Defender.
Loves unconditionally.
Faithful.
Forgiving.
Carries our burdens.
Gives hope.
Just.
Shepard.
Servant.
The Way, Truth, Light.


Tonight after youth group, we watched a short clip on YouTube with a preacher saying what Jesus is to us, kind of like the phrases I listed above. Afterward, we spent a few minutes praying, but those prayers were only prayers of adoration and praise to God for what He is... and I loved it! All I could do was smile during the entire prayer time, because God is so good!

Often in prayer we focus on OUR problems and even more often, we forget to give God the praise He deserves. I'm sure you've struggled with this... haven't we all!

This is a short (but sweet!) little blog post where I just want to remind you that God is more than someone who hears all your problems, issues and prayer requests. YES, God does want to be your comforter and give you strength BUT, think of it this way: You have a good friend and all he/she does is talk about their problems or concerns. That gets a little tiring after a while, now doesn't it? It's the same with God, so stop dwelling on all those problems or issues or whatever the case, and just devote some prayer time adoring God. You'd be surprised how many things you can praise God for, and how many things you can find about God that are worth praising. :)