Friday, March 29, 2013

His will, His way

This lovely photo courtesy of my Mama
As you may have guessed from the photo above, I was at my state capitol this week as a page.  My sister and I with 15 other teens delivered many messages, documents, and supplies, worked on the house floor, helped in the gift shop, etc. It was a really good experience with a great group of kids, but to my knowledge, my sister and I were the only Christians there.  This led to some interesting experiences, but also opportunities to show the love of God in a tangible way.

Recently, at my church I attended a God Space Workshop where I learned about witnessing to others in a loving way that doesn't try to force them into a decision they're not ready for. One aspect of the book was about "listening your way into spiritual conversations."
I had a good conversation with a guy who seemed like he had been, as my sister put it, "burned" by Christians before.  I heard him say that he thought that religion shouldn't be spoken of in group settings. So later, I had the opportunity to talk to him and ask him how he came to that opinion. There was no gospel story or "conversion," but I hope that through that conversation the Holy Spirit perhaps opened his eyes a little to God's love.

Because that's really what it is all about. The essence of Christianity is that the God of the universe loved us, His sinful people, enough to give up everything He had and suffer the ultimate punishment for us.  That is how much He wants us to be with Him.
I love the verse that says:
"By this we know love, that Jesus laid down his life for us." (1 John 3:16) There is really no other way to define it.  How can love get stronger than that?  I want everything that I am to follow His will and His path.  If I seem different on the outside, it is because an amazing change has taken place in my heart. Since I have surrendered my life to Jesus, I am no longer mine. I am HIS.

God threw me a curveball today. Things didn't turn out the way I had anticipated.  But I know that He has a reason for where I am today. His plans are far better than anything I can imagine.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

Friday, March 15, 2013

God Knew

It's the end of another quarter. With finals week looming before me, I am reminded of how good God is. 

I have been so blessed this quarter. For the most part, I have enjoyed all my classes. My teachers have worked me hard, but have also been kind and understanding. Most of all, I feel that God blessed me most this quarter through my study group for American Sign Language.  

I was taking this class with a friend of mine who I met last quarter. Prior to the start of the class, the two of us had discussed being in a study group together. I was excited and thought that the two of us would work well together.  But God had other plans.  In class when we organized study groups, I found that I would not just be in a group with my friend as I had hoped, but that three other students wanted to join us. Inwardly, in my selfish heart, I kept wishing that things could have just gone my way. 

I am so glad that I don't run things. I never could have imagined how wonderfully our study group would work together. I couldn't have known that we would become such good friends that we found it hard to actually study because we were having so much fun together.  

How could I have known that I would be blessed with not one, not two, but three strong Christians joining our group and that we not only studied together, but encouraged one another. Who would have thought that a woman in my study group attends my church, knows my sister well, and plans to transfer to the same university as me with the exact same degree? It is incredible to me that God orchestrated everything so perfectly. He's just that amazing.

The simple fact is, I couldn't have known any of these things at the time. But God did. 

I am constantly amazed by God's goodness and grace. He is with me every step of the way, guiding me into a path that is more extraordinary than anything I could have dreamed.  

As I enter the last quarter of this school year, I am filled with anticipation of what my God will do next. Yes, there are questions and doubts.
Two of the members of my study group won't be with us next quarter. One is going in a different academic direction, one to the other campus.  
My youth group leader is not able to run it next year. As a youth leader of the program, I have no idea what is going to happen next year. My youth group could disappear.
I still have not decided what I am going to do with myself this summer. 

Though I know none of the answers to these questions and others, I trust that my Lord and Savior knows what is going to happen and he will work it out in the best possible way.