Monday, 17 March 2014

Days 8 through 13

Recent blessings for days 8 through 13...

Day 8: A beautiful day of sunshine to go out and skate on the lake. Was nice to get away form school work and skate away some stress.

Day 9: I found letters of encouragement from my youth leaders in an journal, it was great to read them again. They are a great reminder, and they lifted my mood a lot. 

Day 10: Even though I have stated this before, I love my blanket. It it always there for extra comfort, and after a long day of classes, coming back exhausted, my bed and my blanket were the perfect combination for me to relax.  Being able to just unwind after a long day was great.

Day 11: The blessing of having a single room. Being able to just hide away when I need time to myself. Being able to just escape for relaxing and unwinding. 

Day 12: I was able to Skype with a great friend from high school! We had been trying to find a time that worked, and even through technical difficulties, it ended up that we were able to chat and catch up! Great to re connect and share laughs together once again.

Day 13: Taking a nap. It seems like I always mess up my sleeping schedule when I am at university, and I was able to actually fit in a nap between classes nicely. It turned out longer than I had anticipated, but it was definitely worth it. The extra sleep helps tremendously for the rest of the day.

Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 106:1

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Days 4 through 7

Update for my 40 days of thanking God for these blessings in my day. For days 4 through 7 I am saying thanks for various things that I have been blessed with the last few days.

Day 4:
Loving words - When I was home, I got to see a very special woman in my life, she is my friend, my mentor and my sister in Christ. It was such a gift to sit and talk with her. I can share tears, laughs, hugs and more with her. She is such a blessing to me in more ways than one, I can always count on her wise and loving words.

Day 5:
Church family - Coming home to see those that have been with me throughout my journey, and being able to worship together with them again. Having that feeling and sense of community together. I took this for granted but then when I went away for school I realized that having a church family built is such a blessing.

Day 6:
My pillow - After having it in my luggage in another city for the night, it was certainly a blessing when I was able to retire to bed with it under my head.
Fuzzy blankets - They came in very handy when I wanted that extra comfort, warmth and coziness during the night.

Day 7:
Walk in fresh air - It isn't everyday I get the time to take a walk down the streets. Sure it was for a  class assignment, but it did feel refreshing to be out of the classroom or residence building.
Guidance and wisdom - Being able to share and learn from those who care about you. Even though there are many difficult things in life, being able to talk about it is a blessing. Even more, receiving back advice and guidance from another woman in my life that cares. Having her there to listen and to help on many occasions.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17 (KJV)

Friday, 7 March 2014

40 days

A while ago I heard that when giving up something for lent is meant for focusing more on God as well. Each year that I gave something up I just chose something that was in my life that I used a lot or ate a lot. It never really had much of a connection or reason to it.

This year, I couldn't figure out what to give up so in stead I am doing something a little different. I am going to keep track of the blessings each day he gives me for 40 days. And hopefully continue longer than that. 

These next 40 days will hopefully but a transition for me. From being at university I feel like I have become lost and it took until now to realize just how far. I do not want to continue this way, instead I want to use the little things that I look over everyday and recognize how important they are. Also just to realize that God is there for me in so many different ways and times within my daily life that I do not realize and instead I overlook. It is the little things that can make the most difference.

Day 1:
Snail mail, words of encouragement, God's hand in perfect timing.
I received snail mail from an amazing woman!! Her mail always comes at the perfect timing,... when I need it most!

Day 2:
Music - I was listening to music on the bus ride home, and the powerful words of worship music and the ability to uplift your mood and spirit.
Family - I was able to come home for the weekend even just driving part the way home with my Dad was great to be with him.
Home - When i walked into my house from being away for a while, there was the familiar feelings and sense of comfort no matter how long I had been gone.

Day 3:
Friendships - The ability to meet up with friends to catch up and spend time together. There is the feeling that they love you for your good and bad times, your crazy and quietness.
Hugs - Receiving hugs from family and friends, I know that a hug can say so much. For me it means a lot and just like a picture can say a million words, so can a hug.
Words of wisdom - I received many words of wisdom from various people in my life, all being very important to me and very useful. 

Monday, 10 February 2014

The words I needed to hear

This year is my first year of university. If I look at how coming here has affected my faith, it is interesting. There are both "ups" and "downs" of going away for school. Although, I would have to say that I haven't really felt close to God when I have been here. That is, until recently. I feel like I have been shifting. My heart is being challenged. Many things have sparked the challenge. Even though I have heard many things before, for some reason they feel different this time. Maybe because I feel like they apply more to me now than before. Either way, they were the words that I needed to hear.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working 
for the Lord rather than for people- Colossians 3:23 

A few weeks ago the Pastor of the Church I attend did a series on Jesus in the Office. He spoke about how we are to work like we are working for the Lord. Currently I do not work at a job anywhere, but I can still relate this to my life. Within my program at school I work on many group projects. Within my work at studio I can take this to heart and act on it. No matter how many headaches the project may be giving me, I need to make sure I am giving it 100%. Not taking shortcuts or the "easy way out". The way that I work should show Jesus through my actions. He should shine through everything that I do, including the work that I do at school. 

In my heart and my soul
I give You control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

These words are part of Joel Houston's song called, From the Inside Out. Yesterday in church we sang this song. It is the first time that I have heard these words for a long time. This time when I heard and sang them they meant so much more to me than they have before. They hold so much more meaning. This time singing them I really felt like that is what I wanted to say to God. I wasn't singing the song just because I was in church, but I really want to have God inside and out, and have him shine through my life for others to see his amazing love.

"Blessings on you this week in all your interactions and the lives you touch"

I received these words, along with some verses from the bible, in snail mail a couple days ago from a very wise friend of mine. Even though I had not told her about certain things that were on my mind and heart she couldn't have wrote more perfect words for me to read at that moment. It caught me and made me think about the previous week, let alone the previous 24 hours. What had others thought about the course of my actions? Did they see Jesus through what I said or did? What impact was I giving?  How can I show more of the Love of Jesus through my daily work at school?

It is amazing how God loves us so unconditionally, and He knows everything about us. He gets our attention in many different ways and at the perfect time. Had all this happened the week prior, I don't think I would have been in the same spot. My heart was being challenged but I did not know where it was taking me and God knew, even though I did not. I knew that I was struggling and didn't know much beyond that, but as the week went on God gave me the words I needed to hear.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The plans I have for you...

Life changes, it doesn’t always stay the same, with the same circumstances. I personally have been realizing that times and areas of life come and then pass fairly fast. Example, I am in grade 12 with less than 2 months till the last exams of my high school career. That is freeing and scares me all in one. I can’t wait to move on to bigger and better things, but at the same time there is the knowledge of the unknown that is ahead of me. This idea of the unknown is probably one of the most frightening things that I will ever encounter. I don’t take it very well. If you have been talking to me recently you might know that I have had a couple bad days, I break down to the point that I can’t focus on anything that I am doing, and all I want is to go home and cuddle into my bed for the next morning to start everything fresh. Mostly this is because of amounts of stress that I pile on myself when waiting upon hearing from schools. I could be going in one of few directions, and right now not actually knowing which one. But then to stop and think about it for a few minutes I need to realize a couple things.
1.      God loves me
2.      God will not leave me nor forsake me
3.      God has it all under control
These are things that I might know, and believe, but I haven’t taken the time in my busy life to think about and to remember. Remember. That is a strong word. I can know how to take derivatives in calculus when I am studying, but then going to the midterm remembering that is vital. I also need to remember these things, that God has a plan for me and isn’t going to leave me. Remembering is important, and goes hand in hand with knowing and believing.
At the beginning of this year at youth we were talking about what Ezekiel 36:26-28 means, and then we talked about turning 180, the old into new. We also said that to be truly happy we need to lead our heart to God. Personally, I want to be able to trust in God completely and be able to know, believe and remember that God had it all under control. I know that if I am to be truly happy then it means that God is a part of my life and that I can trust in him.
So, bringing this all together… trusting in God is something that is important and something that makes life more bearable. I know that the days that I remember and know that God is looking out for me are better days. For example I woke up one morning and listened to worship songs all morning as I was getting ready for school that day was great, and the little things in life were suddenly the things that made me smile all day long. But there are days that I lose track of that, and they are harder for me mentally, emotionally and physically. So I want to end on this verse.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you” declares the Lord.  - Jeremiah 29:11-14

Chocolate cake

There has been a lot on my heart about what it means and what it looks like to live fully in God and to let it show that I have been changed by God. I know that there are things that are different about me and that my values have changed, among other things. But then I think about other aspects of my life and how I show my love for Christ. I once listened to a speaker, Swayze Waters, who was talking about showing evidence in your life that you have been changed by God.. He referred to Mark 8:34 which says,...

 "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me for whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the Gospel will save it. "

He talked about two points,

1. Throwing up your hands and Telling God that you want him to take control of your life
2. Dedication and willingness to follow Him and live for Him 

To me, living for God means loving others, loving yourself and showing that God's love is amazing and whole. But if we as Christians aren’t showing others and living out what we believe then how are others to know what is so amazing.

Let's look at this another way... If you had never tried chocolate cake how would you know that it is good? Well you would have to try it right? But how would you know to try it if someone didn't tell you that you should because it is amazing. If you aren't told then how will you know that chocolate cake is so amazing? Or what is your favour activity to do? Think about it, what if the person beside you had never done it or know what it is like. Would you explain it to them and tell them it is great and they should do it too, or let them miss out on an incredible experience?

Here is something… have you ever ran into the ocean on January 1st? No? Didn’t think so. What is your first reaction to doing that? Freezing cold maybe? Crazy? Well I think that it is amazing and so much fun and it gets your heart pumping and it is just such a great adventure! I have done this, I know what it is like and that I enjoyed it so much that I would tell others that they should as well because it was so great.
So the same applies to being a Christian and knowing the love of God,… if people don’t know that God is so loving and true, and when God is present that amazing miracles in your life can come true, and amazing things happen around you then they aren’t going to see why they should or what the reason is that to be Christian. They aren’t going to know that God will protect them and love them, never forsake them or leave them. But you are the one that knows that, you know what God is capable of and how radiant He is. So you are there to show them what they are missing out on.
So I challenge you to now think about what evidence you have in your life that shows others that you are totally in love with God. How would they know the love of God by looking at what you do or spending time with you. If you live for God and want to live for him then you realize how incredible He is, and so why not share it with those around you?

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I can do all things through Christ

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Pilipians 4:13

There are things in our lives that we know we are good at, we always have been, and people have told you that. There are things that we might try and improve in, like your grades, how well you draw, your singing, your memorization, your drama skills, the list can go on and on. I have so much in my life that I focus on and try to improve in or excel in. Even writing this devotional, I wanted to write a good one, and I wanted it to mean something. But I found I had troubles with this one, I wrote one thing and then focused on it, and then decided no, that really wasn’t working, and tried to fix it. Then I stopped and thought about it. Why is it so hard to write this one? Then I thought about my recent conversation with a great friend earlier that day. She had talked about how it doesn’t matter about what the person beside you is going to come up with. They might have something that is so beautiful, so creative, and amazing. But yours doesn’t have to be huge and elaborate. You just have to remember that whatever you do, to let God show through it. So let Him be the light that is coming from your art, or your grades, singing, and so on. Then I thought about this even more, this devotional is for Him, and his glory, not to show that I know my stuff and to sit me on a pedestal, but instead it is about HIM. Then I thought about other aspects of my life, like my portfolio of University. There is a lot of work that is needed to be done for that, and there are things that just aren’t working the best, and so then when I think of the verse in Philippians 4” I can do everything through him who gives me strength” I realize that I just need to listen to Him and see what His plans are for my portfolio.  I see how I am trying to lift up myself and show how talented I am as a person. But maybe if I can change gears a bit and through my work show how amazing God is. He is the ultimate one who can I am trying to delight in and what to show to others, so God and his Grace is what I want to show through my portfolio, and how act, and who I am.

So I am going to end on a question.. what is it in your life that you do to Glorify Him?