Concerning Christians, Facebook, and Honor

Tune My Heart To Sing Thy Grace

(Note: When I originally wrote this I had in mind the specific scenario of how Christians talk to and about one another on facebook. I hope that it goes without saying that all this goes for how we relate to non-believers as well though.)

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” – Romans 12:3

“Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:10b

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3

“Let your speech always be gracious…” – Colossians 4:6a

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint…

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a princess worth dying for

so a girl on my floor shared this with me…it’s a poem that describes her journey with God for about the past two years.
it’s definitely worth sharing…

Disney movies and chick flick, as unrealistic as their romances are to believe
There are some that reveal a powerful truth that all women need to receive
We aren’t talkin’ about the parts where the guy and girl fall in love at first sight
We aren’t talkin’ about the parts where they dance together all through the night
What we’re talkin’ about are the ones where the plot takes the worst kind of bend
The man has to give himself up to save her and comes to his untimely end
There are times when his fate turns backwards and their love is stronger than before
Other times, that’s not the case, but because of his sacrifice, she lives for something more
There is something about this type of story that’s so compelling and strong
That I begin to realize that this is something for which I long
It’s not for the fuzzy feelings that often fade fast
It’s not for the happily ever after as the screen fades black
It’s not for a cheesy romance, with a picnic under a tree
It’s to know that someone loved me enough to die for me
I’ll be honest here, I struggle with believing this, it’s true
I fight a battle with my self-esteem, as do many of you
What I see the mirror, my face, my weight, my hair
There are days when it feels like no one should really care
But then, Jesus reveals to me that I am a princess worth dying for
I look at myself and I ask, “How on earth can this be?
What in the world does the Son of God see in me?”
I don’t think I’m very attractive, I’ve never been on a date
In fact, I sometimes doubt if I will ever find my husband, my mate
This is a struggle from which I long to be free
And I know many of you struggle with this, just like me
We base our worth in our appearance and what we wear
Being secure in ourselves is based on if someone compliments our hair
Most of us are deeply affected by what others say or think
People don’t realize how far their foolish words cause us to sink
We invest so much energy in our make-up, hair, and clothes
It often masks the insecurity and pain we feel in our souls
We think we are fat and are afraid we’ll end up alone
We think we have to be skinny and starve ourselves to the bone
We don’t like our complexion and are afraid to look in the mirror
We try to find our worth in the love of men to avoid the loneliness we fear
Even in this, Jesus reminds us of the truth I’ve already mentioned before
That He believes that you are a princess worth dying for
You are a princess because you are a child of One True God
You are given an identity in Him so you don’t have to wear a facade
Christ thinks you are worth dying for and he believes this to be true
Because while you were still a sinner, he died for you
Please do not miss the importance of what I’m trying to say
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross should cause us to fall on our knees everyday
Regardless of your personal merit, despite all of your sin
You are redeemed by Jesus Christ, regardless of who you’ve been
Christ’s blood washes you, cleanses you, and makes you new
That is what makes you beautiful, and I hope you believe that’s true
He declares, “You are beautiful, even if you don’t think you are
I hope you never let anyone’s reckless words define who you are.
I don’t care if someone called you ugly, or if you believe you’re fat
You are beautiful because I died to redeem you, and that is a fact.
I want to teach to trust and find your value in me
So that you can be the woman you were created to be.”
What this world tells you about your beauty, it doesn’t matter a thing
All that you need to know is that you are daughter of One True King
When you know your value in eyes of the Lord, your beauty will shine through
And someday the world will come to see your worth, as they see Christ in you
So the next time you watch a movie where the guy saves the girl and gives up his life
You can remember, “I have a man that loves me that much. His name is Jesus Christ.
I no longer have to hide behind my clothes or use makeup to create a facade
Because I know that I am redeemed, and a daughter of the Great, Almighty God!”
You are precious to our Savior; I hope you remember that forevermore.
No matter what anyone else has ever said, you are a princess worth dying for.

doxological whispers

today was one of those days.

my body has not been wanting to sleep much these days, and so i was not excited about getting out of bed this morning.
i had quite convinced myself that i was content to just stay in bed for the rest of the day – it was raining and pretty dreary outside. the perfect day to just stay cozy and snuggle up under blankets and avoid the real world.

but something got me out of bed. in drudgery, i gathered together some clothes, put on my shoes, threw on my favorite hat and my rain jacket and trudged on to class…

little did i know the things God had to tell me today.

my first class of the day is my preaching class. we’re in the time of the semester where each day we have two different people preach.

today, the second sermon was God’s whisper to me. straight to my heart.

it was all about trusting His power. it was a sermon on the feeding of the 5,000, especially as recorded by matthew in chapter fourteen. now, this is the text right before the text that i preached on a few weeks ago – also about trust.

there was one point where she said, “so what do you do when you feel like you only have five loaves and two fish?”
and that’s how i’ve been feeling lately…like a little boy with his lunch and it’s supposed to feed over five thousand people.
but you know what God reminded me in that moment?
He is greater. so there’s no need to worry.
even the smallest sacrifice, He is able to take and do so much immeasurably more with it.

then, there was the sermon in chapel today, which was entitled “forgiving God.”
this immediately caught my attention.
especially when the text was out of lamentations. (this summer one of my teammates started to jokingly call me “the weeping prophetess,” so i was hoping God would speak to me through my kindred spirit jeremiah)

towards the end of the sermon, i could not stop writing down notes:
God’s primary purpose for my life is not happiness, but holiness.
sometimes we will be in a desert season where God is preparing us – just like Moses, Israel, Jesus
God can handle your anger, your confusion, your frustration, your questions, your tears, your loneliness
the most important thing we can do when we’re angry at God is to worship God
lamentations 3 – hope is strangely restored
hesed – covenantal love – faithfulness – secure
great is Your faithfulness!

which brought to mind a sermon i heard last week:
our gain in our pain is Christ’s name exalted.

so in the middle of the drudgery. in the middle of the dismay, in the middle of the depression, we must open our hearts to these doxological whispers.

and that’s when we are able to find ourselves being able to say, like jeremiah, in lamentations 3:
“i remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. i well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
yet this i call to mind and therefore i have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. i say to myself, ‘the LORD is my portion; therefore i will wait for Him.’ the LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”

and when we are reminded of this hope as an anchor for our very dreary souls,
we are able to offer a sacrifice of worship – holy and pleasing to Him.

active trust.

God’s been teaching me a whole lot about trust lately and what it really means to follow Him.
i just recently had to write a sermon for a homework assignment, and felt like sharing it here:

have you ever done anything that tested your trust?

just last weekend, i had the opportunity to wake up at the crack of dawn to go watch the sunrise from an oklahoma mountain. now, this was no ordinary ordeal for me, and i am quite fond of the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, so i was extremely excited for this. the man who was taking us on the excursion made us try on some super neat rock climbing shoes the night before. i wasn’t quite so sure about them, but he told me to trust them, that we could practically walk straight up the side of the mountain with the traction on these things. so, long story short, we wake up, eat a nice breakfast and head off to the mountain. we get there and we start making our way up boulders. now, the ones at the beginning weren’t really all that bad, but then, about a quarter of the way up the side of the mountain, i started to see that i might not be as quite physically fit for this as i would have hoped to be. terry, our guide for the day, kept telling me that i needed to just trust the shoes. i didn’t believe him for the longest time, but eventually i started to take steps, trusting the shoes would catch the rocks and i would not fall and plummet to my demise.

one of my absolute favorite songs right now is the ever-so-popular “oceans (where feet may fail)” by hillsong united. for those of you who have never heard it before, i definitely recommend you looking it up when you have a chance – it is an incredible song, both lyrically and musically. (click here)

the song is based off of the story found in matthew 14 of peter walking on water. this passage comes at a point where Jesus had just fed the 5000 with just a little boy’s lunch. the disciples got on a boat and started heading out across the sea of galilee. late in the night, the disciples see a figure, who they think is a ghost, heading their way. they start freaking out, but Jesus quickly tells them to not worry. peter, being the sly dog he is, decides that in order to make sure it is really Jesus, he’s going to put this mysterious figure to the test. peter says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus simply replied, “come.” peter then steps out of the boat and starts walking on the water.

now, i don’t know about you, but i think that if i ever had an opportunity to do something like that in my life, i’m not so sure i would even consoled myself to actually step out the boat. but for some reason, peter did. Hh put his trust in action and he put literal feet to his faith. just like peter, God is calling us to live a life of active trust.

THE ISRAELITES LIVED A LIFE OF ACTIVE TRUST.

from the beginning of time, after the great fall of man, God has been calling His people to live a life of trust. the israelites, after they finally escaped from egypt, really had no clue what they were doing. some guy named moses had come and now they were free, but they were just wandering along, not really knowing exactly where they were going. and to be quite honest, moses didn’t know exactly where they were headed either. the LORD guided their every step – leading them by a cloud in the day time and a pillar of fire at night. all of the sudden, the israelites find themselves with the egyptians raging from one side and the red sea raging on the other, and they start to doubt their decision to trust this man who was leading them. then, moses utters some incredible words with an impeccable promise, “the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” the LORD then immediately responds and tells moses to stretch out his hands and a miracle happens, the waters part, and the israelites walked upon dry land!

of course, this didn’t keep the israelites satisfied for very long, and they started to complain yet again, for the situation that was before them. but, great leaders, such as moses, helped continue to lead them in lives of obedience and trust, with the promise of the Messiah, who would one day conquer all. the Messiah they were hoping for eventually came, but not in a way they were expecting.

JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF ACTIVE TRUST.

and thousands of years after the israelites walked on that dry ground and followed the cloud and fire, Heaven and earth collided for the first time since after the fall, in a cataclysmic event in the womb of a young girl named mary. this defining moment of glory changed the world forever.

Jesus’ entire life was a life led in humble obedience to His Father’s will. He walked on the streets, cured the sick, healed the lame, fed the crowds, and ushered in His Kingdom. every moment was the active choice to simply trust His Father’s plan and do whatever it took to redeem His precious creation.

perhaps the most defining moment of this trust is displayed in the garden of gethsemane, the night of his betrayal. Jesus pours His heart out to the Father and starts to sweat drops of blood, because of the amount of anxiety He is feeling in this moment. He knew that the moments that would follow would cost Him His very life, and would force Him to die an excruciating and humiliating death, bearing all the sin of His fallen creation. and yet, He did it anyway. why? because He pursued a life of perfect trust in His Father’s will and plan. He knew the necessity behind all of these actions. He knew the consequences – He counted up the cost and knew that His Bride was worth it. His life of trust and obedience in death brought us life through the gift of His Spirit.

THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US TO LIVE A LIFE OF ACTIVE TRUST.

the days between Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and the Holy Spirit’s arrival on the day of pentecost are some of the coolest days in christian history. i could not imagine being able to be an eyewitness to those different events and see God work in incredible ways on a personal level, that He had not been able to do after the fall.

as Jesus was departing, He gave us the “great commission” where He promised to be with us as we go out into the world and bring people into His Kingdom. He promised to be with us as we live a life after His, a life of active trust and obedience to the Father, no matter what the cost.

and the coolest thing about it is that He kept His promise and not too much long after He ascended up to Heaven in His resurrected body, His Spirit was poured out on the believers at pentecost! and this Spirit wasn’t just some puny version of Himself, but it was, and is, part of His very nature (the Trinity). Jesus said that this Spirit would be powerful, and for those who allowed it to live inside of them, it would change their lives. His Spirit is powerful. it is quite literally the same power that allowed Jesus to burst forth from the grave in glorious day that is now allowed to live inside of us!

how quickly we forget about the power that lives inside of each of us who call Christ our Lord and Savior! as paul says to timothy, the Spirit is not one of timidity, or fear and trembling, but one of POWER! because of His Spirit, we are now a new creation, and He leads us in the process of holiness and sanctification, one step at a time. and that’s all He’s calling us to. a life of simple obedience – a life of active trust in Him and His Spirit’s transforming power in our lives, to become more and more like Him each and every day.

in the story of peter walking on water, we are so quick to criticize him for turning his eyes off Jesus. but we forget the moment of him actively trusting in Jesus, getting out of the boat and walking on water, even if it was just for a split second. it is this active step of trust that Jesus is calling us to and continual steps every day forward.

when i finally started to put trust in my rock climbing shoes, and also in terry, in his expertise, i started to discover that i really am not as limited as i think that i am. i climbed boulders i would have never even thought it possible to climb before. i reached new heights, able to see a whole new view of God’s glorious landscape, all while standing on a little ledge of a rock. with the help of the shoes and my friends cheering me on, i was able to climb about 800 feet of boulders that morning, and got more than just a pretty view at the top. that rock climbing experience brought forth a new-found confidence in myself. i am not nearly as limited as i think i am, and with the proper equipment, i can do things like hike 800 feet of boulders, all within a short time span of a morning sunrise.

and that’s what it’s like when we live a life trusting in the Spirit. if i trust the Holy Spirit as much as i learned to trust the shoes that day of rock climbing, i will be able to allow God’s transforming power take me to new heights. i will be a more effective proclaimer of the gospel and be able to help usher in new citizens to His Kingdom.

my favorite line in the song is found at the end of the second verse, where it states “You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now.” God is the most constant, most faithful, most reliable, most trustworthy Being. ever. just as peter was able to take several steps and walk on water, so can we live a life of active trust in God, where we follow wherever His Spirit leads.

are you ready to go to a place where your trust is without borders?
i know i am.
it’s scary, but it’s oh, so worth it.

words

for his glory, for my good

words matter

I think I have become more careful about the words I choose in the past few years, but only recently have I realized how much another person’s choice of words in a conversation affects me.

words matter

Maybe that’s why I am a speech-pathologist. Probably not, but maybe. Have you heard that song about words from Hawk Nelson? The bridge goes like this:

words can build you up
words can break you down
start a fire in your heart
or put it out

We are told all the time to not allow words to matter or affect us. {sticks and stones break my bones…I bet you can finish this on your own} They do, though–don’t they? You can make my day or ruin it by one comment about how I look. I can feel confident in what I know or like an idiot by how you…

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for His glory.

tonight i was privileged to spend some quality time with a dear friend of mine.
this friend’s name also starts with mar, so we like to call our times together “mar-mar dates.”
we’ve only had several of them, but they have always been so rich and full of joy and Truth.

tonight, we were able to share bits and pieces from our summers –
our summers that were so full of God’s glory and His work across the world.
she also had an opportunity to spend the summer with students, like i was, but it was in a wee different context…she had the opportunity to teach in asia. (yeah, really cool, right?)

when i asked her the question of what it seemed that God kept beating into her head, she had to go back and see the over-arching theme that God has just laid on her heart as a message for the world:
it’s all for His glory.

she explained to me how in every situation she finds herself in, in any exegetical she’s ever written, etc. that it all just comes back to His glory.

which makes a lot of sense, really.
that’s why we’re here, isn’t it?
to recognize His glory, to glorify His name, and to proclaim His glory?

His glory is so infinitely boundless. it’s unfathomable. indescribable.
every time i seem to have an encounter with a glimpse of His glory, i just feel dumbstruck.
there are never words worthy enough to give Him the praises He deserves.

praise Him for His glory!
praise Him for the many ways He reveals His glory to us!
praise Him for proclaimers of His Truth!
praise Him for the Bride and our community!
praise Him for the way that He weaves together everything in perfect unity!
praise Him for the way that He never leaves nor forsakes us!

praise Him for His infinite, unfathomable, relentless glory!

rejuvenation.

i am a recovering addict of fear.
i have some of the strangest fears and they come up at some of the weirdest times.
like my random irrational fear of stairs. my school has stairs everywhere. for some reason, there are just days where i start to feel a little anxious when i’m walking on the stairs, afraid i’ll pass out and fall flat on my face. it’s really strange, i know.

today is one of those days.
i haven’t been able to get a full night’s sleep in quite some time and it is catching up with me. i’m tired and ready for a nap.

but the crazy thing about it all is that my soul feels at rest and incredibly peaceful.

i’ve seen time and time again the way God has rejuvenated me when i felt absolutely at-the-end-of-my-rope exhausted.
i’ve seen the doxology moments in my discipline. even though i would much rather sleep in, i have disciplined myself to wake up and spend time in the Word every morning. and it’s those moments that help me make it through the day…those moments that no cup of coffee could ever try and imitate.

it’s in those moments where i am reminded that there is nothing to fear, that His Spirit that lives inside of me is powerful, conquered the grave, and is one of perfect love that casts out all fear.
it’s in those moments where i am reminded to keep in step with the Spirit, walking in the light, where there is absolutely no room for darkness.
it’s in those moments where He quiets my soul and reminds me to be still and know that He is in control, that He doesn’t make mistakes, that He alone is sovereign and holy.
it’s in those moments where i realize my hope is in Christ alone, He provides my strength, and enables me to sing it is well with my soul.

He provides the true rejuvenation needed to get through every season.
the more faithful we are, the more we are able to recognize His faithfulness.

He alone is our refuge and strength.

praise Him for the rejuvenation He brings to our souls through His presence, in His Word, through His people.

doxology relationships

okay, so i haven’t posted in a long time…and maybe sometime i’ll finally finish all of the half-written posts about my incredible summer…but that’s not what is on my mind tonight.

tonight, i am praising God for the way He always knows what we need exactly when we need it.
i’m praising Him for relationships – friends, community, family, bride of Christ, the Church, whatever you want to call it.

today i interacted with so many different people in so many different ways.
even though i was reminded today how much of a hardcore introvert i am; i have always been that type of person who appreciates interactions with other humans and how incredibly refreshing conversations can be.

this morning, i sat in lectures where professors poured out their hearts and minds, from lots and lots of preparation. i saw the passion and zeal for the material they were teaching and in turn, it made me really stoked for the semester of learning that is ahead of me.

i sat in a classroom where a professor didn’t show up for class, so a student went to go check on him. he was having a hard day and so we, as his christian brothers and sisters, prayed for him. i absolutely love going to a school where not only do professors pray for us, but a place where they are vulnerable enough to share hardships with us so that we can pray for them. that’s the Body in action.

i ate lunch with a dear friend and shared stories of God’s goodness that we had the opportunity to witness firsthand this summer.

i read books, social media, articles, etc. and interacted with so many people about an array of topics.

i had discussions about personality types and vulnerability with girls on my floor.

i had dinner where i was sharpened and brought face-to-face with some actions that i needed to get in check and reconciliation that needed to happen.

i played music with girls who just kept coming into my room, and we moved into other rooms to add more instruments. just taking moments out of our day to use the gifts God has blessed us with (in such beautiful five-part harmonies).

i finally had a conversation where walls were torn down and true feelings were expressed. God showed up in huge ways and showed His glory and His faithfulness and His call for a faithful obedience to trust the journey.

i utilized some pretty sweet technology. i had encouraging text messages sent to me and i was able to be an encouragement to a girl i met this summer who is very near and dear to my heart. i had an extremely uplifting phone call that helped me to figure out how to see myself the way God sees me, where God reminded me the transformation that has taken place in my life and to celebrate those victories. i had a wonderful conversation through facebook with my mom where stories were shared of God’s goodness and childlike faith that challenges us to live a little differently.

and now, as i am preparing to go to sleep, it is with a full heart.
i am so thankful of the many ways He reveals Himself, especially in the way He allows us to have relationships with His creation.

i am ending the day in the same way i started my day…praising God for being my refuge, knowing exactly what i need.
praise be to the One to whom i cling ever so tightly, who makes all things for the good of His bride.