Posted in Devotion

Faith in Storms

Life has been super busy lately, so I can totally relate with the disciples in the boat during the storm. Matthew records that the “boat was being swamped by the waves”. Yeah, my boat feels a bit swamped too.

The disciples cried out for Jesus to wake up and save them. I’ll admit I’ve had those thoughts as well during busy seasons or highly emotional seasons. I say “God can you just take some of this away? I can’t handle it.”

In this scenario, Jesus woke up and calmed the storm but not before rebuking them for having so little faith. Sometimes God calms my crazy (and sometimes he doesn’t), but I wonder if I listen closely enough I’d also hear that rebuke.

I don’t think it was so much that the disciples felt overwhelmed and scared; it seems that Jesus was more bothered that they felt the need to wake him as if he wasn’t aware of the situation and in complete control. How often during our crazy moments do we indignantly cry out to God as if he doesn’t know what we’re going through and doesn’t have his hand on the situation?

In crazy situations, I don’t think it’s wrong to share my feelings with God. Based on other scripture, I believe He wants to know. The trick is though that I can’t lose my faith that he has it under control.

Not to say I always act on this lesson. God is still molding me.

(Matthew 8:23-27)

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Posted in Movies

A Walk To Remember

A Walk To Remember is one of my favorite movies. It tugs at my heart. The main character, who has a strong-rooted faith in God, befriends and falls for the school’s bad guy. There’s a little secret though that she hasn’t shared, but that I won’t share either. 

I appreciate Jamie’s strong convictions. That purity and faith is what draws Landon to her in the first place. Even after they start dating, she maintains boundaries. He tempts her, but she doesn’t give in to the desire to keep a boyfriend. Yes, Mandy Moore is a pretty lady, but the character’s true beauty lies in the faith that begins in her soul and emanates out her eyes.

Dating a guy who openly doesn’t share her faith does seem like a risky move on Jamie’s part. In her case, she’s able to stand her ground and the guy respects her faith. In other cases though, it could be very easy for the guy to pressure her to stray away from her faith and convictions. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of story either where Landon comes to share her faith.

Overall their relationship is wonderfully set sweet. He pursues her, even after she pushes him away. He respects her father. He listens to her remembers her bucket list; then he starts helping her check it off. He even dances with her under the stars. (Mop my heart up off the floor, please.) Only hope.

Now I know life can’t be like the movies because this movie is a work of fiction, but watching it does give me happy feelings. If you haven’t seen it, check it out, and if you have, watch it again. Then, let me know your thoughts. 

Posted in Book Review

The Hiding Place

“Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.” 

Corrie ten Boom lived a life devoted to God in spite of her rough and often life-threatening situations. In her book, The Hiding Place, she tells the story of opening her home to Jews needing a place to hide. After being caught and arrested, she describes the horrors of jail then prison then prison camp. At times the prison camp closely resembled the concentration camps. Through all of the insecurity, pain, and misery, her faith in God rings loud and clear. Just as she said, she allowed God to work in her life, and he prepared her for every step, even at times protecting her supernaturally.

“There are no ifs in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety.”

Her story left me speechless in ways. She continually trusted that God would provide despite all around her signs of failure. She did his work until she died. I’m not currently in a place where I am in pain or in need of anything, but I still want to be in God’s will. It’s only there that I can work and rest in peace.

“But even kalte kost (bread ration alone) would be a small price to pay… for the precious books I clutched between my hands.”

Finally, Ms. ten Boom’s devotion to God is the most admirable thing about her. In this instance, she’s risking losing food in order to keep her copy of the Bible. Later she risks losing her life to smuggle a Bible into the prison camp. It makes me ponder how I would react if I was told I couldn’t own a Bible anymore. 

I’d highly recommend everyone to read this story.

story.

Posted in Blogging for Books, Book Review

English Lessons

Hold on…don’t go anywhere. I’m not going to (intentionally) give you any lessons about English. Instead, I want to talk about an interesting little story that I recently read.

Through bloggingforbooks, I stumbled across a book by the daughter of Max Lucado, Andrea Lucado, that tells the story of her journey closer to God that happened to coincide with her journey to Oxford (England that is).

9781601428950

From the first page of this book, I was connected. This girl gets me. She and I both practically grew up in church, so our faith in God just seem connected to who we are. That doesn’t mean we were immediately saved upon birth or anything; we definitely still each had to make our own decisions about who God is to us. In fact, that’s the purpose of her book, English Lessons.  In this personal memoir, Andrea tells of how she traveled to Oxford thinking she could use it as her personal mission field (that’s how I felt in London). Once she arrives, she realizes that being the sole Christian in her graduate classes may be harder than she thinks (I can relate). She begins to question the validity of her own faith. Through a series of friendships and experiences, she comes to realize that her life is so much richer with God, and she can’t imagine her life without God.

I was immensely jealous of Andrea’s story firstly because Oxford was a place in England I did not get to visit. Secondly, she was able to experience the city and meet so many interesting characters. Thirdly, she is very articulate about her story of questioning her faith and then coming back to God. She tells the story in a way that makes me want to ponder my own story again and be more reflective. There are possibly still lessons I could learn from the events that have happened and will happen within my own life.

Even though this book is clearly marked as an uncorrected copy and won’t actually be published until later this year, I am glad to have read it now. Andrea’s story is both personal to her and relatable to the many church kids out there who wonder what their life would have been like if they hadn’t grown up going to church.

For more information about this book, visit the publisher’s website.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Posted in Literature

A choice to believe

“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then ask I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones….We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t a Narnia.” -chapter 12 of The Silver Chair.

Sometimes I have moments of doubt. I wonder if there really is more than this life. I can’t prove it myself. The only evidence I have is the many lives lived before me who believed it enough to die for it. I have the Bible which has survived much longer than other books I read and definitely gets read by many more people. I have the times when I’ve felt God’s presence. But is that enough evidence to base a belief that effects my entire life? Some would say no.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not doubting what I believe. I’m just being honest that sometimes these doubts run through my mind. I believe it’s the devil that puts them there as a temptation to give up. Belief is something that we must continually remind ourselves of. That’s why I read my Bible, pray, and attend church and Bible study. This is how I prepare myself for these attacks on my belief that come from within.

I recognize that these doubts exist but I choose faith and hope. Like Puddleglum in this passage I choose to believe what may seem to some as a make-believe. The fact of the matter is that this belief has much more hope than anything else in this world. I’m on God’s team even if there is no God to lead it (although I believe there is). I will live as a Christian even if there turns out to be no heaven.

Posted in Bible Study

Lessons from Hannah

Last night as I started reading 1 Samuel, I found myself really relating to Hannah. It’s always amazing how I can re-read a passage of scripture and relate it to a part of my life like I’ve never related it before. That’s God.

Hannah suffered emotional pain during that first chapter. She was not given the desires of her heart and to top it off Penninah was cruel to her and reminded her of her lacking. Sometimes I just do not understand why I don’t have something that I really want and that seems to be in line with God’s will. The thing is that God has a perfect plan and I can’t understand it. I’m glad though for times when he’s either made me wait or not given me something I want because usually in the aftermath I can see a bit of why it worked that way.

Hannah’s first response was to cry. That happens. “Each time Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.” (1:7).

Then she turned to God. That’s a good response. Hannah was encouraged by God and by Eli, who blessed her desire and her prayer.

She received what she wanted. Now that doesn’t always happen but God has it all under control.

Another cool part of this story is that Elkanah supported Hannah’s promise to God when she chose to give Samuel back to the Lord. That’s how a husband should be.

It seems risky on Hannah’s part to make a deal with God, but she was wholeheartedly willing to be faithful to that promise. That’s what is important. Don’t make promises, especially to God, that you can’t keep.

Finally, her faith is demonstrated in her prayer in chapter 2. She reminds herself and the readers that “all the earth is the Lord’s and he has set the world in order.” (2:8b). To me that says “God has it all under control.”

So next time you’re feeling down and ignored by God, remember how Hannah reacted. Be faithful to believe that God has a perfect plan.

Posted in Life

Choosing the Attitude of Faith

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. —1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

 

Regardless of my current emotions or circumstances, I choose to focus on encouraging today. It may not be what I want to do because let’s be honest, it’s easier to stay in a pity party. That’s not what we’re called to do. We’re called to encourage each other in Christ’s love. There are some truths I know that keep me pushing through life. Today I want to share a few verses that have really encouraged me in the past bit of my life. If you’re feeling beat up by the world or completely alone, remember that God has it all under control and that he will provide a refuge.

The honesty of the Psalms have always encouraged me.

“I look for someone to come and help me but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.”

Then watch this next bit of hope break through the clouds.

“Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say ‘You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”  Psalm 142

 

In Psalm 13, the Psalmist pleads for God to restore the sparkle to his eyes. How often have I or you asked for that? Then he chooses faith.

“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.”

 

A couple songs to leave you with that we can all sing together as we choose faith.

Please Be My Strength (Gungor)

Blessings (Laura Story)