Sunday, May 1, 2011

1 Peter 1:6-7

I figured since I was going through 1 Peter and wanted to dig deeper, I'd continue to post things when the Lord showed me something really incredible. :) So here it goes for today...

"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 
1 Peter 1:6-7

-GREATLY rejoice- this is a joy that comes from the unchanging, eternal relationship with God. 

-Various trials=troubles

-Peter reveals characteristics of "troubles" in these verses
1. "little while"- trouble does not last.
2. "if necessary"- trouble serves a purpose.
3. "distressed"- trouble brings turmoil
4. "trials"- trouble comes in various forms.
5. "greatly rejoice"- trouble should not diminish the Christian's joy. 

-God's purpose in allowing trouble is to test the reality of one's faith. 

-When a believer comes through a trial still trusting the Lord, he is assured that his faith is genuine. 
(Genesis 22:1-12, Job 1:20-22)

-The revelation of Jesus Christ refers to His second coming- specifically when He comes to call and reward His redeemed people (the rapture) 

After reading this it was so evident to me that this past season has been a trial. It's been challenging and draining and at times has pushed me to the edge. It seems as if this trail is coming to an end. My only thought is, "how am I coming out of it?"Am I coming out with my faith firm and rooted in the Lord? Am I coming out with my faith broken and shattered? Or am I coming out the same as when I went in? Unfortunately, I'm not too sure where I'll be coming out. During the trial, was I greatly rejoicing? No, I wasn't. Even though on a daily basis my sweet fiance would simply remind me, "Rejoice." But if you were to ask me today, "Are you rejoicing?" I would say yes. 

This season has grown me more than I could have imagined. 

So think about where you're at today. Are you in one of those seasons of trial and trouble? If not, you're probably about to go into one. My advice would be to make a mental note that it wont last, serves a purpose, brings turmoil, comes in various forms, but ultimately... that it should not diminish your joy! 

So, when a trial comes, rejoice! 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

This. Is. It.

Here are just a few thoughts from my time with the Lord this morning :) 

Let's start in the best place to start, the Word. 

1 Peter 1:3-5
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 


I read this this morning and realized how much TRUTH was in these three verses. I wanted to dig deeper. Here is what I found...

- First, the glory goes to God. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..."

- "Our" indicates an intimate relationship.

- The Lord's great mercy recognizes our sinful nature and offers us glorious salvation REGARDLESS! The Lord truly is merciful. 

- A living hope = eternal life. Beautiful.

- "Hope" means confidant optimism. 

1. Hope comes from God 
(Psalm 43:5 - "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.")

2. Hope is a gift of grace 
(2 Thessalonians 2:16 - "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace...")

3. Hope is defined by Scripture 
(Romans 15:4 - "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope.")

4. Hope is a reasonable reality 
(1 Peter 3:15 - "...but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence...") 

5. Hope is secured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ
(John 11:25-26 - "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"  
John 14:19 - "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also."
 1 Corinthians 15:17 - "and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.")

6. Hope is confirmed in the Christian by the Holy Spirit
 (Romans 15:13 - "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.")

7. Hope defends the Christian against Satan's attacks 
(1 Thessalonians 5:8 - "But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.")

8. Hope is confirmed through trials 
(Romans 5:3-4 - "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.")

9. Hope produces joy. 
(Psalm 146:5 - "How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.")

10. Hope is fulfilled in Christ's return. 
(Titus 2:13 - "Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.")

-The living hope means nothing without the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

- Eternal inheritance is...
1. Imperishable- something not subject to passing away, nor liable to decay. 
2. Undefiled- unpolluted, unstained by evil. The undefiled inheritance of the Christian is in contrast to an earthly inheritance, all of which is corrupted and defiled. 
3. Will not fade away- "fading" is the image of a withering flower. Eternal inheritance has NO decaying elements. 

- Our inheritance is reserved!

- "Protected by the power of God" - this is a supreme power. Omniscience. Omnipotence. sovereignty. This not only keeps the inheritance, but also keeps the believer secure! 

-Faith- this is our response to God! The saving faith is permanent and it will never die. 

To me, This is it. This is truth. This is the central message of the Gospel! Do you see it? There is something so beautiful about all of this. I am secure! I am rooted in the Lord's hand and will not be removed. I am here only because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without that, I have nothing. Because of that, I have everything. I am promised eternal life with the Lord. Eternal life that is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away. I have that living hope of eternal life. I have a confidant optimism, which means SO much. And this is all because of the Lord. He is merciful. And ALL the glory goes to Him. 

Do you see the truth? 

This. Is. It.

I'm Back!

Obviously I have been terrible at blogging for the past... oh, 3 months or so. Mostly since I've been back at school. Any of you who have been around me lately or have talked to me frequently know that school has been controlling my life. Well, I am happy to say that I'm done. (Okay... I still have four finals and a portfolio to assemble. But other than that, I'm DONE!) 

Yesterday I was talking to Matt and my best friend Michele about how when I was in Haiti over the summer I thrived on spending time with the Lord first thing in the morning on the balcony outside the room. There was something about being outside with a cup of coffee (in the heat) surrounded by mountains and beautiful trees saturating my heart with the Word. I loved it. I recently saw an email I had sent to Matt on one of those beautiful mornings saying that wherever we end up living, we have to have a balcony. And sure enough, our apartment (his until were married) has a large, beautiful balcony overlooking a lake/canal. Lovely. 

I've struggled so much recently to start my mornings digging into the Word. It's been a challenge because in the profession of education, early mornings are mandatory for work, which doesn't leave too much time for anything in the mornings. I can handle waking up early, but in all honesty, this semester I've completely neglected waking up an extra hour or so early to spend time with the Lord. If it fits in my day, great! If not, tomorrow will make up for it. Oh how sinful my heart is. 

Well, all of this to say, I'm back. I realized how much more I thrived on the Word when I could be away from my roommates (I love you guys, but there's something about being ALONE with the Lord... kinda hard to do with 4 other roommates. I know you all feel the same :) haha). I realized how much I grew when I could dig into the Word, surrounded by Creation, and how much I LOVED blogging about what the Lord was teaching me. I've always had a journal. I've always written out Scripture, prayers, thoughts, whatnot. But there is something about blogging that hits home in my heart. My thoughts come easier, I can type much faster than handwriting. I've missed it. Truly missed it. This morning I spent time digging into just a few verses, I wrote everything down in my journal. But then I decided I wanted to transfer it to my blog. I want to start this again.

My heart is so excited for what will happen in two months and two days. Yes, my wedding. I am going to marry a man who's heart is after God and who longs to see the Kingdom multiply and grow. I truly believe that through our marriage, we will be able to reach the Kingdom so much more effectively than alone. :) That's the beauty of marriage. But something I'm looking forward to (not quite as much) is living at our apartment and being able to spend the mornings on the balcony digging into the Word. I'm SO excited. It will be absolutely lovely. 

So now, I will say, I am back :) 

Originally I was going to write about what the Lord showed me this morning and share some truth with you all, but this post is long enough. So I will end this post and then post Scripture along with some thoughts next. :) 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Engagement Pictures!!

My sweet friend Ashlee (Ashlee Nicole Photography) took Matt and I's Engagement Pictures Saturday. She's such a talented photographer and we are so blessed to have her as our photographer. 

Here are a few of my favorites I've seen so far: 

Thanks again Ashlee! :)

I'm blessed to be marrying this man in 146 days!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Well, I haven't blogged in quite some time. I'm not sure why not. I guess because I don't have time. And when I do have time it's because, well, frankly I don't feel like it. So for those of you who actually try to keep up with my life, I'm sorry- I'm trying to keep up with it myself.

I could sit here and write about what's happening in my life, but I'd bore you all to tears and in all reality, there's really too much stuff to include. So instead I'll tell you a brief story...

You know those moments in your life where in one instant something happens and you immediately go back to a prior time and place. Somewhat like deja-vu. Tonight I was sitting in my car with Matt, pouring my heart out to him, which basically resulted in tears (Shocker, I know). Now, this may sound like I'm flaunting what I have, but hear me out. I'm just being honest. My fiance is truly the best. His love for me blows my mind on a daily basis. As I'm sitting there blubbering about the things on my heart, he gently reached over and wiped my tears. In that instant I was back in Garca, Brazil in the year 2005.

Strange, right? Let me explain...

The last day of our trip to the Alpha & Omega orphanage in Brazil, I went into sweet Isabella's room to give her a new pair of sheets and a pillow. She was the sweetest little three year old girl I've ever met. She took me to her bed and as I sat down I realized what I was sitting on. Her bed had one "sheet" on it. It was one of those really scratchy blankets full of little holes. She had me lay down next to her and I sang her a sweet song. She didn't even have a pillow. I began to cry, I couldn't contain it. Everything in me wanted to stay in Brazil with sweet Isabella, and my heart was torn. She realized I was crying and reached over and wiped my tear off my face. In that moment, Isabella was Jesus to me.

See the connection?

Well that's the trip my mind went on when Matt so sweetly wiped my tears from my face, it reminded me of that sweet love that I experienced almost 6 years ago.

I am blessed to have someone who will wipe my tears and comfort me in the midst of restlessness in my heart. Matthew Johnson, thank you for being Jesus to me to tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Lord Provides.

Oh how I've seen this to be true. 
Time and time again the Lord provides for me and I feel His love more than ever. 
The concerns of my heart are important to Him. 
He knows the things that break me, and the things that fill me with joy. 
He provides comfort to my restless heart. 
He blesses me with a joy that is endless. 
Oh how I've seen this to be true. 
Time and time again. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wedding, Wedding, Wedding.

The wedding planning has begun. :)

We've officially found our venue and I'm obsessed with it! It's gonna be fun and classy but beautiful too! I'ts so perfect. Pricing is amazing and I feel SO blessed to have found this place.

And today, is going to be incredible! WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING!

This is not real life :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It is Day One.

Of my Tuesday/Thursday classes.

I'm already stressed.


Monday, January 10, 2011

That Girl.

I've never been the girl who looks in the mirror and wants to cry. 

I've never been the girl who counts her calories.

I've never been the girl who cares what/how much she eats. 

I've never been the girl who has to work out and burn calories. 

But there are days where all i hear 24/7 is...

"I'm gonna eat this because it's healthy" 

"I have to work out soon. I have to." 

"Can I eat this? Is it gonna make me fat?" 

"There's too many calories in that." 

And with all these voices in my head it's really hard to be the girl I've always been.