a directed heart

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No Wonder My Life is Out of Whack

I spend more time taking in the “noise” of the world (aka Twitter/ Facebook/ Pinterest/ Blog-Reading) than taking in God’s Word. No wonder I feel out of balance, unfocused, and suffocated by worldy delights.

Eric Samuel Timm shook Milligan College’s chapel today by calling us out on a problem we know too well: we spend so much time eating up what the world says and then wonder why we don’t know anything about God. Not a revolutionary idea, but an impactful one nonetheless.

His call to get in the Word partnered with actually reading the Word during lunch today pretty much kicked me in the stomach. I read Matthew 18:21-35 and had to face the facts. Who am I to have ANY right to hold a grudge? Against anyone?

I don’t.

Not when God has forgiven me infinitely more than I have forgiven anyone. Not when my wrongs against God, which I commit every day, have been wiped clean because of Jesus’ clean slate. No, God didn’t hold a grudge. Instead he sacrificed his own son to make right MY wrongs against him. How backwards is that to the way I think of grudges?!

God, thank you thank you thank you for mercy. Thank you for loving me steadfastly even though I haven’t read my Bible in a week. Thank you for loving me steadfastly even though I forget about you and spend more time thinking about the shape of my body than the shape of my heart. Thank you for loving me steadfastly and prickling my heart with convictions that lead me into repentance. Thank you for your Word, which sheds light onto you, your nature, and your desires for us. I love you, Father. I need you, Father.

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learning

God has been teaching me a lot over the past two days.

1. I am prideful and quick to point my finger at everyone else.
2. God is patient with me.
3. Reconciliation is a sweet, sweet thing. Both with God and with others.

Here’s what I read in my Old Testament Images of God class today (not exactly at all what we were talking about, but this passage formed the theme for the rest of my day):

“For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.’

Now, in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source… Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-11, 14-18).

What a wonderful Savior we have! God, thank you for your mercy on us through Christ. Thank you for our merciful and faithful High Priest, who atoned for our sins and set us free from slavery. Thank you for our High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses and yet is without sin. Jesus, thank you for suffering to destroy the power of death. Thank you for the gift of reconciliation and for your example of humility.

Today God reminded me of my sweet reconciliation with him through Christ, and today I learned humility from a friend who chose reconciliation. Today I’m overwhelmingly thankful for the gospel and for forgiveness, despite my sinful tendency to hold a grudge. God, break me of that and teach me your humility.


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a briefing that’s not so brief

An update on life in JC, TN:

-School is going surprisingly well… the past week I’ve pretty much had a break from homework, so much that I’ve already finished two assignments that are due next week. I’ve been taking a reporting & writing class, which has brought me serious headaches as well as some joy. It’s been fun to explore that facet of writing and experience the thrill of getting articles published, even when it’s just to our college paper. I don’t want to do reporting post graduation, but this class has certainly stirred my love for writing….. so, we’ll see where that leads.

-Redeemer is gearing up to celebrate our 5th anniversary! The staff is putting together a video celebration where all the members (no matter how long you’ve attended.. from 3 weeks to all 5 years) are invited to submit short videos describing what Redeemer means to them/ how they’ve grown through Redeemer/ etc. I’m pretty excited about it. They’re putting all the videos up on youtube, so I’ll link the page when it’s finished (around Dec. 3 I think).

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of seeing my uniform in person, here is a sneak peak:)

-I’m still working at the Firehouse, usually only 2 shifts a week, but sometimes 3 if I can squeeze in an extra one. Although the work gets redundant (I wait tables… there’s only so much potential variation), it’s been great to see more depth develop in my relationships with my coworkers. I can DEFINITELY see more openness and I’m finally starting to make real connections with people. Be praying for fruit in those relationships.

-Jacob and I are struggling through what is definitely the toughest season in our lives (his schedule is much crazier than mine, granted)… but we have a lot of church family who are embracing us, building us up, and encouraging us. My friend Brandy tells us, “You are the blessed ones!” We are blessed to have the opportunity to rejoice in this suffering, since suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and our hope does not put us to shame… because our hope rests in Christ alone. We’re learning a lot about who we are and the depth of sin, but much greater than that–we’re learning the depth of the gospel. We’re learning that it penetrates, heals, and casts our eyes away from empty worldly hopes and back onto Christ, our real hope.

-I’m on duty for Thanksgiving break, so this will be my first Thanksgiving ever not in Ohio with my family! I’m glad Jacob’s family lives so close, though, so I’ll get to celebrate with them this year. I’m making this delicious recipe I found off of Pinterest for Cookies ‘n Cream Oreo Fudge Brownies… maybe I’ll take some pictures of the process and blog about it next week.

-To wrap this up, I’ll end with a little summary: Jesus reigns, even when I feel stressed, angry, unsupported, weary, and like all odds are against me. Christ reigns, Christ is being made much of, Christ is worthy, God is for me, and God is still sovereign above all. I am prone to selfishness, deceit, anger, ill thoughts, and speech that tears down, but Christ reigns. He has rescued me from the pit of despair and ransomed me from those futile ways with his very own and precious blood. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. This Scripture has never been more real to me than in this season of my life–Christ, you are our hope, you are our joy, and you are our strength. Amen.


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And so we are, saints.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1.

Father, thank you.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2.

Amen.