Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 Ways to Make Christian Friends in College

Today I will share my first five tips for surviving your freshman year of college.  Class of 2016, this is for you.  (Also, I am having another College Q&A Day soon, so leave your questions in the comments below.)

For those of you who will be attending a private Christian university, finding Christian friends should be less of an issue, but for those of you who are going to attend a huge university like mine, the idea of finding like-minded Christian friends can seem daunting.

1.) Get involved in places where fellow Christians will be.

As overwhelmed and shy as you might be feeling, you'll need to work hard to get involved.  If you attend a big secular school, you are the minority.  You're going to have to actively seek out on-fire Christians.  And guess what?  The other Christian freshmen are feeling just as scared as you are.

So how will you find other Christians on-campus?  At specifically Christian events.

Visit a church your first week of college.  If there is a potluck or small groups right after the service, attend.  If they let you sign up for a Bible study or life group right then and there, do it.  The church can be the best way for you to get involved with the Christian community at your university.

Ask any upperclassmen you might know about Bible studies... and if you don't know anyone, check out Facebook.  All campuses have some sort of Campus Crusade, InnerVarsity, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and church small groups that you could visit.  The sooner you start to get involved, the sooner you will meet people. 

Also, if there is any sort of Christian fish camp where you're going before school begins, attend that.  No matter what.  Texas A&M has Impact, Texas University has Ignite, and Texas State University has Rise, Southern Methodist University has CrossRoads, Texas Tech has Foundation, and University of Missouri has Rooted.  These Christian retreats will help you to get involved with a group of Christians before you even start school.  It's fantastic.

2.) Be friendly and open to new conversations.

The more friendly and approachable you appear, the more people will feel comfortable talking to you.  Be sure to wear a smile and open body language, even when you're feeling stressed out and overwhelmed.  Stretch yourself socially.  Get out of your comfort zone.

If you live in a dorm with a meal plan, challenge yourself to sit with someone new every meal.  As terrifying as that may sound, people are actually very responsive to this and it's an easy way to make friends.  I actually met a group of some of my best friends in college by asking to sit with them at their table.  Don't hesitate to bring up your faith or ask about church and Bible studies.  If they're a Christian, then great!  If not, you can be a witness.

Use the opportunities around you to make friends.  Talk to the person next to you on the bus, the person in the seat in front of you in class, the person waiting in line behind you to purchase books...  The first few weeks of college are packed full of freshmen hoping to make friends.  The more conversations you have, the more friends you'll make. 

3.) Wear Christian t-shirts and symbols. 

In a place where Christians are a minority, if you wear a Christian t-shirt, you'll stick out a little.  I often wear simple things like a cross necklace or shirts with Bible verses or "Jesus Saves" written boldly across the front.  Not only are these things conversation-starters, but other Christians will see them and identify with you. 

4.) Plug into a church quickly. 

I made the mistake of not settling into one church for the first month or two in college.  I wanted to find a church that was just like mine... and that's not going to happen, not for me and not for you.  No church will be as homey as the church where your family and friends attend.  Look for a church with friendly and warm greeters, with an engaging pastor, with opportunities to serve and get involved, and with doctrine that matches up with yours.

No church will be perfect.  Believe me.  But if you search and search and search for the "right" one, all that will happen is you'll end up feeling disconnected and frustrated.  If possible, try not to visit more than three or four churches over the course of a semester... and even that is pushing it.  Find a church, stick with it, and commit to getting involved.

5.) Bring up Christ in conversation.

If you're searching for a group of like-minded Christian friends, you must be open about your faith.  I challenge myself to bring up Christ in every single conversation I have, no matter who I'm talking to.  In fact, I've ended up talking about Jesus to a professor in a student-teacher meeting.  And it was great.

If you strive to shine for Christ and speak openly about Him, people will see your heart.  You'll be a witness to unbelievers and you can find Christian friends this way as well.

At times, I'll be sitting with someone new at lunch and I'm not sure if they're a Christian or not.  They seem nice, but it's hard to tell what they believe.  So I'll bring up my faith.  "Yeah, the message at church on Sunday was..." or "Did you go to Breakaway (a huge student Bible Study) last week?" or "Hey, what church do you go to?"  If they're not a Christian, they'll usually shrug it off and either ask me a couple of questions about what I believe or change the subject.  If they are a Christian, they'll usually start smiling and a connection is made.

Bring up Christ. 


And be sure to start praying for the Christian friends you'll make, right now.  God will be there with you, so be sure to ask Him to work on the hearts of the kids who will be your friends next year.

If I could sum all of this up into one piece of advice, I would say: get involved.  It takes a while to make friends, but the best way to do so is to get involved in organizations and stick with them, even if you feel awkward and shy.  The more you get involved, the more people you'll meet and the more friends you'll make.

You can do this.

That's right, men.

Day 29: A song from your childhood 

This is the last day of my "song-a-day" challenge.  It was fun, but I'm happy to move onto other things.

A song from my childhood is by Shania Twain.  I grew up listening to her music and as a three-year-old, my absolute favorite was "Any Man of Mine." 

At three years old, I knew every word.

My parents still tell me about how I would happily sing the song to anyone who asked... and how my personal favorite part was "and when I'm cookin' dinner and I burn it black, you better say, 'Mmmm, I like it like that!'"


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Class of 2016, READ THIS.

For the next month or so, I am going to begin a series for the upcoming college class of 2016.  That's right, high school seniors, I'm writing to you.  Every Wednesday for at least a month, I am going to share five tips for surviving your freshman year of college that I wish someone would have told me when I was a senior in high school.

Now, I'm only on my second semester of college, so I'm certainly no expert, but I do know this:

I started college feeling absolutely miserable and homesick and friendless.  And now I am growing in the Lord more than I ever have before, I am surrounded by loving and amazing friends, and I am plugged into organizations that fit me perfectly.

I love college, but I also know that going to college is scary and hard at first.  As your sister in Christ, I want to help you out.  So if you are a member of the upcoming class of 2016, keep an eye out for something new for you every Wednesday.  (Also, if you're a sophomore or junior in high school and you're thinking about college already, perhaps this can ease some of your fears as well).

If you have any specific questions you'd like me to answer, go ahead and leave them in the comments or send me an email at  I'll answer them.

In a few weeks, I'll go ahead and have another College Q&A Day.  I had one at the beginning of last semester when I still wasn't quite sure about everything that was going on.  I hadn't made a lot of friends yet and I was still homesick.  You are free to ask me any questions about college life: dorm life, food, money-making, how I made friends, how I picked my school... anything like that, and I will do my best to answer them.  If I don't know the answer, I will ask someone who does know.

I am here for you in prayer (class of 2016, you have no idea how wrapped in prayer you are right now) and I am here for you to answer questions the best I can.  I want to encourage you and love on you as you make the huge decision about which university you will attend.

So leave me questions about college.  I will answer them over the next couple of weeks.  And keep an eye out for Wednesday college tips.

Have a lovely day, friends.

Hold up, gotta see the beauty. Hold up, gotta let it move me.

Day 28: A song that makes you think

So many songs make me think.  Lyrics are amazing.

One song that has always made me think, ever since I heard it for the first time, is "Say It" by Britt Nicole.  Check out the lyrics below and take a listen.  They always make me think. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

One day, I'll learn this.

Day 27: A song that you wish you could play

This is a tough one because usually, if I want to learn how to play a song, I'll figure it out.  However, there are songs that are way above my level of skill that I hear and think "Wow" and have yet to learn.

One of these is a song from the movie "Pride and Prejudice."  It's called "Dawn."

I would love to learn how to play this on the piano one day. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm having a bad, bad day.

Day 25: A song that makes you laugh

Hmmmmmm, a lot of songs make me laugh. 

A song that I love and that makes me laugh is "Despicable Me," you know, from the movie?  I always sing it, even if I'm not having a bad day.  It's so much fun.

I'm having a bad, bad day. If you take it personal, that's okay...

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Challenge

Hello, friends.

A few days ago, I wrote about how I've been convicted recently about the importance of prayer.  I want to write a little series about this soon, but today I'd like to challenge all of us to begin praying together over a certain issue. 

Human Trafficking is a huge issue in the world today.  More than 32 million people are currently enslaved; more than 80% of those are sex slaves.  Many of these sex slaves are young teenage girls who have been forced away from their families.

I am going to commit to pray about this issue every single day at 5:00pm Central Standard Time for at least two minutes.  I ask you to do the same.  Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them."  Imagine what can happen if hundreds of people commit to praying together each day. 

I know two minutes isn't very long, but I didn't want to pressure people into making overwhelming commitments they won't keep.  Two minutes is easy.  You are very welcome (and encouraged) to spend longer amounts of time in prayer about human trafficking and the sex trade, but two minutes is what I ask.  Two minutes a day. 

The Lord will hear our cries.

Although I want to emphasize on the power of prayer, I also believe we should stand up against the sex trade.  

James 2:15-16
Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 

Although our prayers are important and the Lord will answer, it's important that we do not only sympathize with those trapped in the sex trade.  We should ask the Lord how He wants us to fight against this.  Throughout the month of March, I will share with you different ministries and organizations who are currently fighting against human trafficking.

We can make a difference, through prayer and action.

 This month, I ask that you pray specifically for:
  1. Those who are being trafficked.  
  2. That the Lord will soften the hearts of those who are involved in human trafficking.
  3. For those who are actively fighting against human trafficking.
  4. What the Lord is asking you to do about this issue.
At 5:00pm CST every day for the next month, I will commit to spend time in prayer about this issue for at least two minutes.  I'm setting my phone alarm right now. 

Will you?

What I leave behind.

Day 24: A song that you want to play at your funeral

I give this idea occasional thought, but now that it's time to share one of these songs, I forget them all!  One song I'd certainly like to have played at my funeral is "Legacy" by Nichole Nordeman.

It's such a beautiful song.  When I die, I hope I leave a legacy behind me.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm so clueless about these things.

Day 23: A song you want to play at your wedding

This is a hard one because I have no idea.  When I listen to songs, I don't usually think about whether or not I'd like them at my wedding... and I never really think, "Oh, this would be a good wedding song."

So....... I'm not sure.

A cute love song that would be a possibility is "One Boy, One Girl" by Collin Raye.

Here, I'm sure you guys can help me out.  What's a good wedding song?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'll Try.

Day 22: A song that you listen to when you're sad

Sometimes when I'm sad, I play the happiest music I can think of.  Other times, I feel like dwelling in my emotions a little.  (After all, emotions are from the Lord!)

One sad song that also carries a little hope along with it is "I'll Try" by Jonatha Brooke.  It's a super random song, I know, but I love the lyrics.  And I love Peter Pan and the song is from Peter Pan: Return to Neverland. 

All of you seniors in high school, listen to this song.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where two or three gather.

Something hit me today.  I don't know why this hasn't dawned on me before, but it hit me hard today for the first time.

Recently, I've gotten a few comments from sweet readers who have said they are in prayer for me.  The Lord has been showing me over the last month or two the true impact of prayer.  I've been reading in Matthew over the last few weeks.  Jesus often emphasizes on the power of prayer and talking to our Father.  It's important.  Prayer is discussed a lot in the Bible.  It means something. 

Mathew 21:22
"You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it." 

God hears the cries of our hearts.  When people who read my blog write me and tell me that I've been on their hearts, that they've been praying for me, I feel so thankful and blessed.  Prayers mean something.  God hears them.  He answers them.

And for those of you who have been in prayer for me, I can't thank you enough.  You encourage me more than words can say.

Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them."  Jesus spoke those words. 

Prayer is important.  It brings us closer to the Lord, and it also brings change because He answers.  He hears us.

So I was thinking today... what if we agreed to pray for things together, as a fellowship of readers/writers/commenters/friends on this blog?  What if we agreed to pray for something specific at the same time every single day?  Jesus said if two or three gather in His Name, He is there... and this blog receives around two thousand views each day.  What if thousands of us gathered in His Name, each day?  Each day, spending time in prayer over one common topic.

Great things could happen.

In a couple of days, I'm going to share an issue.  It will be a global problem and a significant issue in the lives of many people.  On Friday, I will challenge you to commit to pray for at least two minutes every day at 5pm CST for this issue.  Together, we can cry out to the Lord and He will hear us. 

Matthew 7:7-11
"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents - if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him."

God answers prayers.  He will hear our cries and see our hearts.  If we ask Him, He will answer.

Will you commit to being in prayer with me over the next month?

Oh, Happy Day!

Day 21: A song that you listen to when you're happy

I'm happy quite often, so I have many happy songs on my list.  I even have "happy" playlists. 

One happy song I enjoy is "Hey Soul Sister" by Train.  I know it's semi-old, but since I've taken up the ukulele recently, I've been trying to learn it. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm not angry very often.

Day 20: A song that you listen to when you're angry.

This is a tough one because I'm not angry very often. 

If I'm mad enough about something to blast some music and try to dwell in the emotions, I usually pick a somewhat morose song that won't overly depress me, like "Boston" by Augustana.

But honestly, when I'm angry, I don't usually listen to music.  I usually write.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Earth Song

Day 19: A song that used to be your favorite

I have a new favorite song nearly every day... so a lot of songs have been my favorite before. 

One favorite song is "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson.

He was so talented.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Alpha Asher!

Now it's time for the encouraging news I said I would share yesterday:

I am so excited to announce that I was chosen to be a counselor for Impact 2012!

For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a Christian fish camp for new students at Texas A&M University.  I really, really, really, really, reallllllly hoped my application would be accepted, but hundreds and hundreds of girls apply for counselor and not many make it. 

So I prayed and I tried my best to trust in God that if I didn't make it into Impact this year, that He would show me my place in a ministry at my university.

But oh man, I wanted to make counselor so badly.

It was very much a God-thing.  The Impact staff pray so hard over the applications.  I know it's not anything I wrote or said in my interview.  God chose who He wanted to be a part of Impact this year... and I'm so excited to be a counselor this year.

When I opened the letter that said I made Impact counselor...

I almost had a heart attack.

My hands were shaking and I thought I might faint.  I had spent the last two weeks telling myself, "I probably won't get it.  I probably won't make it.  I'm only a freshman... I'm small and quiet (somewhat).  I don't have a chance... but oh, I want to make it so much!" 

After I found out I made Impact counselor, I went to Rev Night and found out that I'm in the camp called Alpha Asher (our camps are named after the tribes of Israel)!  Asher is light blue/aqua, which is a color I love, if you haven't noticed the background of my blog.

I'm so, so, so excited.  I've gotten the chance to spend some time with my fellow counselors, Co-Chairs, and Prayer Teamers... and I've loved being able to see their hearts for the Lord.  I can't wait to get to know them even better.

Best of all, I can't wait to be able to share the Gospel with and befriend the freshmen in my camp next fall.  I struggled with so much homesickness and confusion when I first started college (like six months ago).  I was just there in my life and the Lord and good friends brought me through those trials.  I am so eager to help the class of 2016 through those struggles as well, because it's possible.

So yes, that's why I have been so busy this last week.  Impact is a huge commitment, but it's totally worth it.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us this year.

Ahhhh, I'm so excited!  Go Alpha Asher!


Day 18: A song you wish you heard on the radio

I actually don't listen to the radio... ever.  It's not like I have something against it; I just tend to keep my iPod plugged into my car and I listen to my own playlist instead of the radio.  I usually get bored with the music different radio stations have to offer.  The secular stations tend to be too dirty and the Christian stations tend to be too generic.  So I make my own.

I'm a huge fan of B. Reith's music, so for his sake, I wish they'd put one of his songs on the radio and help him gain some more fans.  This is a catchy song of his that I love:

"Mess" by B. Reith

Do you listen to the radio?

Friday, February 17, 2012

I make very little sense today.


I have not been posting very often at all... and I'm very sorry.

My excuse is the insanity of my schedule right now.  Some days, I don't get back to my dorm until after midnight.  Busy, busy, busy!  I'll share with you a big reason why... tomorrow.

However, today is a fairly carefree day, at least until tonight, so I will try to write a few things in advance.  (Today's post will also be sporadic and jumbled because that's how my thoughts are flowing right now).

And yet somehow...

Although my "real" blog posts have been few and far between, my blog's views have been shooting up lately.  I am so thankful for the magnitude of support I am receiving through my blog right now.

I am so encouraged by all of you.

More than 80,000 views in less than fifty days.  That's amazing!  I am so touched that people are interested whatsoever in the things I have to say.  If I could hug you all, I would.

Seriously.  I really would give you a hug.  Right now. 

Good News!

My mom and grandparents are coming down to visit.  It's a ten hour drive from my hometown to my college home, so they will arrive tomorrow morning.  I'm so excited!  I haven't seen any of my family in over a month.

Little Life Lessons.

I feel like every couple of weeks, the Lord highlights a new word or phrase in my life.  A few weeks ago, it was "conversation" and it's also recently been "faithfulness."  I often write about what I'm learning in my blog, so I'm sure you can sometimes see trends about what He has been showing me.

These last couple of weeks, the Lord has been emphasizing "encouragement."

I don't see myself as having low self esteem (at least not about my physical appearance), but I do tend to have self-doubt.  Although I realize that everyone messes up, when I do, I beat myself up about it to no end.  And when great opportunities come my way, I often tell myself incessantly, "You're not good enough.  You'll mess it up, like always."  And those kinds of thoughts are certainly not of God.

These last two weeks have been filled to the brim with encouragement.  I feel like the Lord has been showering me with His unconditional love and showing me that although I do and I will mess up, His love is limitless and more powerful than any mistake I'll ever make.

And because He loves me, I'm worth it.

So thanks.

Thanks for continuing to read my blog, even when my posts are as unorganized as this one and as few and far between as they have been.

Thanks for being my friend.


I love the Newsboys!

Day 17: A song that you have heard live

I've heard several Christian songs live because I love attending concerts and I also got the opportunity to attend Camp Electric when I was sixteen.  At that camp, several different Christian bands came and performed and gave music lessons.  It was an awesome experience.

One of the best concerts I've ever attended was with the Newsboys when I was a freshman in high school.  This was back when Peter Furler was still the lead singer and Paul Colman was still the guitarist.  (They are both my heroes.)  I was able to sit on one of the very front rows.  At the end of the concert, I got to meet the band and they signed my electric guitar.  I was pretty amazed!  I love the Newsboys's old songs like "In Christ Alone" and "Take Me to Your Leader."

They performed some of their older songs during that concert, so I got to hear live:

"Shine" by Newsboys

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Country music isn't my thing.

Day 16: A song you used to love but now dislike

Hmm, I agonized over this decision for a while because I can't think of any songs I loved that I now don't like at all.  I do get bored with songs over time because I tend to play them over and over and over...

I used to love music by a kid named Billy Gilman.  I thought he had the prettiest voice in the world.  I still love the sound of his voice, but I don't listen to his music anymore because I have lost my taste for country music. 

Does that count?

Here's a song by Billy Gilman, one of the ones I used to love:

"Oklahoma" by Billy Gilman

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Crazy 'Bout Elvis

Day 15: A song that describes you

Several people have said to me before, "This song totally describes you," and the first verse does share some things in common with me. 

I know the song is originally by Tom Petty, but I like the John Mayer version better, so here it is.

"Free Fallin'" by John Mayer 

Here's the first verse:

She's a good girl, loves her mama, loves Jesus and America too.
She's a good girl, crazy about Elvis; loves horses and her boyfriend too, yeah.

I do love my mama, Jesus, America, and Elvis.

Is there a song that describes you?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How I feel about Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day.

I'm single, which usually seems to be a reason to brazenly hate on Valentine's Day, so I'm often asked why I love the holiday that's so bitterly called Single Awareness Day.

Why don't I hate Valentine's Day?  I don't choose to look at it as a day that emphasizes insecurities.  Valentine's Day is a day that emphasizes love.  And love is such a beautiful thing!  My singleness doesn't make today any less special. 

Even if I don't have a romantic love in my life right now, my life is certainly filled with love and relationships.  I'll use this day as another excuse to express my love for my friends, my family, and my beautiful Savior.  What is there not to love about that?  

I was reading in 1 John 4 recently, and I'd like to share part of that passage with you today.  I'll be skipping around a bit to highlight my favorite parts, but I encourage you to sit down and read the entire chapter when you have the time. 

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.  Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

...We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love.  God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.  ...We love each other because He loved us first.  

God is love.  

Read that again.  GOD IS LOVE!  He doesn't just have love for us.  He is love.

If Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love, then what better love is there than God?  He is love!  He sent His only Son to die for you and me... and that's the greatest love I could ever imagine.  Instead of focusing on my lack of a romantic love life, I want to spend today basking in the endless love of Jesus Christ.  I am so blessed!  I am so loved!  I am so enriched by the growing relationship I have with the Lord.  

I don't have a "real" Valentine this Valentine's Day, and honestly, I'm not bothered by that at all.  I'm trusting God with the safekeeping of my heart and emotions. 

I love Valentine's Day. 

Today I am filled with joy to have yet another opportunity to share my love with my family, friends, and my precious Savior.  The Lord has put beautiful relationships in my life and I am so thankful for each one of them.

Happy Valentine's Day!

You make me smile.

Day 14: A song that no one would expect you to love

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would go ahead and share a love song I enjoy.  Since I'm not a big fan of chick flicks (books, movies, etc.), most people are surprised if I ever admit to liking anything that involves romance.

But I do like some love songs.  I like this one.

"Smile" by Uncle Kracker.

The words always bring a smile to my face.

Happy Valentine's Day. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who is God?

As a college student, I see a lot of people nervously treading around the idea of who God is.  It can be an awkward thing to discuss when you're sitting in a group with people of other faiths, or people who believe in God but aren't sure what they believe about Him.

Recently I've heard different variations of: "God is __________ to me.  That's how I see Him.  But He can be something different for you.  And that's okay."

God is God.  He is the I AM.  He is unchanging.  He isn't a big, powerful God when speaking to some people and a distant, small God when speaking to others.  He's God.  His characteristics are His.  Nothing can change that.

Frances Chan, the author of "Crazy Love," had something to say about this in his book:

A lot of people say that whatever you believe about God is fine, so long as you are sincere. But that is comparable to describing your friend in one instance as a three-hundred-pound sumo wrestler and in another as a five-foot-two, ninety-pound gymnast... He already has a name, an identity. We don't get to decide who God is. 'God said to Moses, "I am who I am"' (Ex. 3:14). We don't change that.

It can be intimidating to stick up for who God is, especially when you are surrounded by people who don't believe the same way you do.  However, never deceive yourself by thinking that it's fine to have different ideas of who God is and it's possible for them to all be true.

God has many different characteristics.  He has a personality and an identity.  We are discovering more about Him, not defining Him in ways that fit us best.  That isn't how it works.

Here are a few unchanging, Biblical attributes of God I'd like to share with you today.  Feel free to add on to the list. 

  1. God is eternal. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
  2. God is the Creator. (Genesis 1:1)
  3. God is our Father. (Isaiah 9:6)
  4. God is omnipresent. (Isaiah 66:1)
  5. God is omniscient. (Psalm 139:1-6)
  6. God is omnipotent. (Job 42:2)
  7. God is the One true God. (1 Timothy 1:17)
  8. God is compassionate. (Psalm 103:8)
  9. God is holy. (Psalm 77:13)
  10. God is merciful. (Daniel 9:9)
  11. God is faithful. (Psalm 145:17)
  12. God is an honest judge. (Psalm 98:9)
  13. God loves you. (John 3:16)
  14. God and Jesus Christ are One. (John 10:30)

Have you been showing Jesus today?

Day 13: A song that recently came out

I don't buy music while I'm at college and since I haven't been home for a couple of months, I feel a little behind on the latest music.  A fairly recent song by a new artist I like is...

"Show Jesus" by Jamie Grace

This girl is so talented and I love the words to this song.  The video contains all the words, so I encourage you to watch the whole thing and listen to what Jamie Grace has to say.  I'm so encouraged whenever I hear "Show Jesus."  In fact, Jamie Grace's entire album brings a smile to my face.  She's a great new artist.

I like another song by Jamie so much that I think I'll share it as well.  I call it my "Ali" song... because it reminds me of her!  It's called "With You."

Have you found any good new artists?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heartbreak Hotel

Day 12: A song from your favorite solo artist 

The only absolute favorite solo artist I have is Elvis Presley.  I've loved his music for many years.  He is so talented and I'll go ahead and share one of his songs with you today.

Isn't he handsome? ;)

Who is your favorite solo artist?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Trail of Stardust

Don't you love it when you're listening to a song and a lyric suddenly pops out at you and strikes you as amazing, even if you've heard the song a hundred times?

That happened to me tonight.

I was listening to some Lecrae and "Background" came on.  So many words of that song are beautiful to me, like: "Let me shadow You.  Let me trace Your lines.  Matter of fact, just take my pen.  Here, You create my rhymes."  I love that!

Anyway, I was listening to "Background" and another of its lyrics popped out at me and brought a huge smile to my face.  Lecrae says he wants to be:

...a trail of stardust leading to the superstar.

What a beautiful metaphor that is! 

God is so amazing.  He is incomparable and indescribable... and I am so, so, so eager to be a trail of stardust for Him. 

And you, friend!  You are beautiful.  You are precious.  You were made in the image of God!  You are a trail of stardust as well.  You are treasured by Him!


Thanks for the inspiration, Lecrae.

And thank You, Jesus, for Your amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring power!

Yes, I'm writing this after three in the morning.  I have trouble sleeping some nights... but it isn't always bad.  Sometimes in the midst of these late night hours, all I can do is think about Him.  He's so amazing.

I can't stop smiling.

Live it up!

Day 11: A song from your favorite band

I don't know if I have a favorite band, but I certainly love Group 1 Crew.  They're a Christian band I had the opportunity to see in concert a year ago.  They're very talented, they create fun and clean music, and I love sharing their songs with my friends.
A few other great songs from Group 1 Crew I like are Manipulation, Outta Space Love, iContact, and Wait. 

What is your favorite band?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sing me to sleep.

Day 10: A song that makes you fall asleep

I don't see this as an insult, honestly.  I actually have a list of songs I listen to when I'm feeling anxious and insomnia is hitting me hard.  They're my relaxing, peaceful, Jesus songs and I love them. 

One of these songs is:

"You Raise Me Up" by Selah

I do realize there are many other great artists who perform this song, but Selah's version is my favorite.  I listened to it as a child when I was feeling scared and it still gives me a sense of peace to this day.  I love this song.  It can always help me to fall asleep.

What song gives you a sense of peace and security?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Deep Waters

I stumbled upon a verse today that reminded me of my favorite verse, Psalm 77:19. 

Isaiah 43:2
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown. 

Our God is so faithful, isn't He?

Through the hardest times of our lives, He is there.  He keeps us strong.  

Before I knew the Lord personally, I felt like I was drowning in a dark world of depression and self-destruction.  Each day, I felt like I was drowning. 

I gave my life to Christ the summer before I started high school.  As I began my freshman year, my heart felt like it was on fire for Him.  I read through the Bible three times, cover-to-cover.  I was so hungry to know more about God.  He had brought me through the darkest time I could remember.  I was feeling joyful and loveable and beautiful... and I was desperate to know more about the One who brought me to a point of peace and joy I thought I'd never reach.

Less than four months after I gave my life to Christ, a friend of mine committed suicide.  This action brought me to a screeching, stumbling halt in my search to know God better.  Suddenly, I was faced with questions like:

"Wait, I gave You control of my life and this is what happens?"  "Is this my fault?"  "How could You let me feel such pain again?"  "Why didn't You stop him?"  "How can I possibly find my way through this hurt?

For weeks, I felt anger at God.  I'd been in such a good place.  Filled with fire for Him, making friends, feeling joy for the first time... and then this happened.  All I could feel was grief, betrayal, and guilt.

The months following my friend's suicide were difficult, but they played a huge role in my learning to trust in God through everything.  During a time when I thought it could never get better, He showed me that He alone could bring my head above water and keep me standing.  As He held me in His arms, I found healing. 

A sweet Christian lady mentored me during this hard time.  Something she told me during the midst of one of our many conversations was: "The depth of your valleys indicates the height of your mountains later on.  God has something big in store for your life, Emily.  I can see it already."

Her words encourage me to this day.

You may be struggling with something right now.  In fact, a lot of my readers probably are.  One of my favorite quotes is: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a difficult battle."  Whatever you're dealing with, I'd like to repeat Isaiah 43:2 as an encouragement to you: "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown."

I don't know what you're going through, but God does.  And even if He feels distant right now, He's holding you tight.  No matter what your struggles are today, God will not let you drown.

He's got you.

Everyone likes to dance a little.

Day 9: A song that you can dance to

A fun Christian song I've enjoyed lately is:

"NY2LA" by Press Play

This song is so much fun.

What song makes you want to dance?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Did you take your wifey on a mission trip?

Day 8: A song that you have memorized

I memorize songs easily, for some reason, so pretty much every song I've shared this month so far, I've memorized.  A song most people don't think I could memorize is:

"Go Hard" by Lecrae and Tedashii

I love rap music.  I very much like this song.  And yes, I memorized it.  (No, don't ask me to perform it because even though I can sing along with it, I was not made to be a rapper.) :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Good conversations. (Don't you love them?)

The past couple of days, I've spoken about a situation on-campus at Texas A&M University.  A man named Brother Jed has continued to preach lies and deceit about the Gospel, causing both atheists and Christians to react with anger.  Some friends and I decided to go and quietly pray for God to show His glory through all of the chaos, but when we arrived, we saw that He already had.

Conversations were taking place... good conversations.  The true Gospel was being shared and people of different viewpoints were patiently listening to each other and ignoring Brother Jed, who continued to shout at passersby and cause a great commotion.

After a while, Rebecca and Lauren had to leave, but I decided to stick around and see if I could engage in any of these fruitful conversations.  I wasn't ready to go just yet.  I was filled with fire and excitement and joy.  For a few more minutes, I stood and listened to what Brother Jed was saying.  Occasionally, he would speak a word of truth, but then he would sprinkle everything he had just said with an outrageous and hateful lie.

"What do you think about all this?" a young girl with brown hair and wide eyes asked me, approaching me with a friendly smile.

"I'm a Christian," I said, "but I certainly do not agree with what this man is saying."

"Neither do I.  I'm a Christian too.  What is it you don't agree with?"  And we began to discuss. 

A few minutes later, we were approached by two more girls who introduced themselves to us with friendly smiles.  They were Christians, but they actually agreed with Brother Jed and supported him.  "He may not be accurate in everything he says," one girl said by way of explanation, "but at least he's standing up and sharing the Gospel.  I'm all for what he's doing.  I think it's great."  We gently debated them, but there was no arguing or quarrels.  When the girls left us, we shook hands and bid farewells with smiles on our faces.  We disagreed, but we respected each other.  There was peace in our conversation, not anger.

Soon after, I noticed a friend of mine from a Bible study, James.  He was having a conversation with a young man named Adam who was wearing a shirt that said "Ask an Atheist."  Instead of preaching at Adam and arguing with him, James was sitting quietly and listening to what he had to say.  "Tell me where you are, man," James said.  "I want to hear your story."  So Adam spoke.

Soon, three more Christian girls, another young man, and another atheist joined in the conversation.  Some sat cross-legged on a brick wall and some stood.  We brushed arms and spoke sincerely... and we listened.  The atheists would ask us questions and we would try our best to answer.

Adam didn't understand the concept of faith.  He could not bring himself to believe in a God he couldn't 100% prove.  He'd read the Bible, he liked the idea of Christianity, but he could not comprehend what faith actually meant.

Soon, it began to rain hard.  The wind was blowing mercilessly and lightening flashed above our heads, but the conversations didn't end.  Umbrellas were opened, and my heart warmed when I saw an atheist give his umbrella to a Christian girl... and when I saw people of different beliefs gather shoulder-to-shoulder under a single umbrella.  We continued our conversations for a little while longer, not ready to say goodbye just yet.  Mostly, we let the atheists standing in front of us know that we were sincerely interested in what they had to say and that we wanted to hear their side of the story.  We let them speak and gently answered their questions.  When they excused themselves from the conversation, everyone shook hands.

As Adam turned to leave, I spoke his name.  He turned back around to face me and I saw a look of wariness enter his eyes.  "Thank you for being kind and sharing your story, Adam," I said.  Relief flooded his face, and he smiled and nodded.

The rain was increasing, so a couple of Christian guys and I fled to a nearby building.  We sat on the stair steps for another half-hour and shared Bible passages with each other.  When I finally had to go, I didn't mind the rain that literally soaked through my hair and clothes in a matter of moments.  The weather was refreshing and rejuvenating.

I felt a sense of great joy.  God had taken victory on campus that day.  He'd turned a situation of anger and hatred into one of peace and love.  Satan meant to use Brother Jed to turn people away from Christ, but instead, his lies were used to create conversations that were used for good

The day was a success.  All I could feel was joy and thankfulness for God's mighty power.

Hey, Jelly Bean... Hey, Belly Button.

Day 7: A song that reminds you of a special memory

This was a tough one for some reason.  I finally decided to settle on a very random song.  The other day, Ali and I were talking about pet names we would or would not call our future boyfriends/husbands/etc... and we began listening to this song for the first time in a long time.

The song is:

"I'm Gonna Love You" by Collin Raye

This song used to be on a tape my mom would put on every night when I went to bed as a child.  Because of this, it will always hold a special place in my heart... even if it is a country song. 

Okay, I have a question for you.

What pet name would/do you call your FH?  What pet names bug you?  (For example, sweetie, boo, baby, etc.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

God took the victory!

Yesterday I shared the story of Brother Jed, a false teacher who has been spreading lies and hatred in the name of Jesus on my campus at Texas A&M University.

On Friday, my friends Lauren and Rebecca and I decided to meet on campus and quietly pray for God's love to shine through all the conflict and judgment.  We asked Him to take the victory.  Before we even began to pray, Rebecca embraced me with joy-filled eyes.  "I've been praying about this all day," she said, "and I feel like the Lord has told me something.  Texas A&M and its students are His.  Satan is trying to win, but all he has is this tiny spot on campus.  We will continue to pray for God's victory, but He has already won.  He will use this for good."

The crowd was large again when we arrived at the plaza.  We sat down at the edge of everything and began to sit in silence, waiting for the Lord to speak and give us words to pray.  I began to listen to Brother Jed again, until I had to block him out to keep from feeling sick.

Several students surrounded the old man, shouting at him and asking him angry questions, but two Christians in particular seemed to be directing the conversation.  Brother Jed shared his "story" about how since he became a Christian in 1971, he has supposedly never sinned since.  Not once.  "You can be perfect!" he shouted.  "As a Christian, I am capable of sin, but I no longer sin... I haven't sinned for forty years!  If you sin, you are no longer a Christian!  If you fall, you will burn in hell!"

A new Christian spoke up and said, "I haven't been a Christian for long, so I haven't read the entire Bible yet, but you aren't speaking what the Bible teaches."

"If you haven't read the entire Bible, you are not a Christian," Brother Jed told her harshly.

I was disgusted by this exchange, but then I began to notice the smaller conversations that were occurring along the edges of the group.  The more I watched these conversations, the more my heart began to fill with joy.

I saw a group of four or five students holding hands and kneeling together in prayer.  I saw a group of eight or nine Christians talking in a lively but not angry way about the truth of the Gospel, not the lies of Brother Jed.  I saw someone who was not a follower of Christ approach a Christian, who said, "Let me tell you the truth..." and the unbeliever listened.  And they talked.  And they were kind to each other.

I saw Christians and atheists engage in conversations spurred by the lies of Brother Jeb.  These conversations weren't angry.  If anything, they were friendly and curious.  Bibles were opened.  Conversations were created.  Satan was attempting to make Brother Jed a source of dissension and confusion, but God had already taken the victory.  God can use all things for His glory. 

Rebecca, Lauren, and I prayed quietly for a while, but the more good conversations we saw, the more joy filled our hearts.  We beamed at each other and began praising God aloud.  "You are so good, God.  You are so powerful, God.  Your love and compassion are beautiful, God.  Thank You for showing Your love and glory in this situation.  Thank You for bringing peace.  Thank You for this victory!"

Again, I feel like I'm going on for too long.  I will finish this story tomorrow (for real finish it this time)... I know this is a long story, but I am so filled with joy that I can't help but share it all!

Afrika mimi naku penda.

Day 6: A song that reminds you of somewhere

A song that always fills my heart with memories is:

"Africa" by Paul Colman
Every lyric and every note brings me back to the emotions I felt and the things I saw when I went to Africa.  Paul Colman got down the startling perspective-change that occurs after you've spent some time in a third world country.

Africa, I came to change you, but instead you changed me.
And I confess, I came to frame you in a photograph.
But you showed me why and you changed this heart around.
And I see your smile. How can it be so much brighter than me?
And your silent eyes, they scream of hunger and meaning and eternal dreaming.

Africa, we smiled at you from behind the glass.
And without reserve and whiter than snow, you smiled back at us.
And you showed me who and you changed this mind around.
And I see your hands reach out to God, so much higher than ours.
And your silent eyes, they scream of hunger and meaning and eternal dreaming.

Afrika mimi naku penda.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Brother Jed

The last few days on my college campus have been consumed by a spiritual battle.

On Wednesday, an old man named "Brother Jed" set up a chair in the middle of campus and began to speak.  He wore a cowboy hat tied under his chin with a tassle and he carried a staff with a crucifix nailed to the top.  His wife stood a few feet away, holding a Bible and attempting to speak with students who passed by.

Many evangelists stand around campus on a normal day.  We have a regular group of Mormons who pass out tracts, sweet old Gideons who pass out Bibles, the occasional young student who will stand on a pedestal with his Bible and scream furiously at passersby, a few Campus Crusaders who will cheerfully share their faith, and we have a few atheists who set up booths as well.  Texas A&M is a campus of much diversity.

However, Brother Jed was unlike what we've seen so far this year.  His words were filled with pride and condescension.  He threatened passing students with hellfire.  He made claims about his own 'sinless' life no man should ever make.  He accused and judged.  It didn't take long for students to gather around him, filled with anger and confusion.

Brother Jed returned on Thursday afternoon, back with his staff and his wife, back with his accusations.  I was walking to class when I stumbled upon this crowd of people.  I could hear Brother Jed's voice over the crowd, but what caught my attention even further were the signs that were being held over his head as he spoke.

Signs that said things like this:

The closer I approached the group, the more I felt baffled by what was going on.  Upon seeing the signs, at first I thought I was viewing an atheist rally.  Some of the signs had lists of 'Biblical contradictions'; others had sarcastic statements about Jesus Christ and Christians.

But the man speaking--Brother Jed--seemed to be preaching a skewed version of the Gospel.

As I walked up behind him, I heard him say, "Ladies, how many of you are virgins?  Raise your hands!"  Since I was out of Brother Jed's line of sight... and no one seemed to be raising their hand... I didn't want to throw mine up in the air and shout, "Me!  Me!  I'm a virgin!" so I kept silent.

No one raised their hand.  Brother Jed chuckled.  "I could tell just by looking that you girls aren't virgins.  Even so, you can be a born-again virgin."

I was nearly brought to my knees by the hate in what he had just said.  My eyes filled with tears and I stumbled away from the group and headed to class.  I was nearly late, but I didn't care.  I could hardly listen to a word the professor said.  My mind spun.  This was a man who was sharing the "Gospel." 

The sign that had been held over Brother Jed's head spotted my vision: "I was a Christian until yesterday, thanks to this magnificent human being.  You opened my eyes."  False teacher.  Lies.  Deceit.  Hate.

Where was the love of Jesus Christ in this situation?

After class, I passed by the unruly crowd again.  It seemed even larger; perhaps up to a hundred students were gathered around Brother Jed, shouting at him and causing a scene.  As I walked by, a couple of atheists shouted at passersby, "We're going to hell and we're proud of it!"

I could hear Christians shouting at Brother Jed and arguing with each other.

The campus of Texas A&M had become a madhouse.  I couldn't think.  I couldn't breathe.  All I could do was pray and try not to cry until I was alone in my dorm room.  I felt such a presence of darkness that afternoon.  Satan was using a man who thought he was speaking the truth to tear people away from God. 

That was who students now believed Jesus was.  The shouting Christians made things no better.  All I saw on Thursday afternoon on campus was hate, certainly not love.

That night, I went to Life Group and sat and prayed with two of my friends: Lauren and Rebecca.  After we prayed with aching hearts over the situation on campus, we decided to return to that place on Friday afternoon to sit quietly and pray.  The idea filled us with vigor and joy, so we agreed to meet at four o'clock.  Satan would not take the victory.  We knew Jesus Christ could fill even the darkest, angriest place with His love and truth.

This is getting long, so I will continue this story tomorrow.

He's a tramp.

Day 5: A song that reminds you of someone

This is a song that reminds me of my friend Rebekah... and this is not to be meant offensively. :) It reminds me of her because of an experience we shared, not because of the words.

"He's a Tramp" by Lady and the Tramp (the movie)

On New Years Eve this last year, Rebekah and I played a Disney karaoke game on the Wii.  We stumbled across this song from Lady and the Tramp and laughed hysterically while trying to sing along.  I looked for the song on YouTube and found this clip... the song begins at 4:54.  Listen and laugh along with me. If you have time, watch the entire video... it's so funny.  My favorite part is when the chihuahua says, "My sister Rosita Chiquita Juanita Chihuahua!"

I remember receiving Lady and the Tramp on VHS as a birthday gift when I was a little girl.  I loved any Disney movie starring animals, so I watched that movie over and over and over... I hadn't heard the song in years until December 31, 2011.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 

Lately a word that has been sticking out to me is "peace."

On campus, there has been an uproar of conflict surrounding religion and Christianity.  A man who I believe is a false teacher has begun yelling at students on campus, telling students they are going to hell and girls that they look like whores.  He has caused atheists to come out of the woodworks and stand around him, waiting with signs for faltering students to show up and ask questions.  Christians have come out as well, only they've also filled the air with shouting and accusations, both at the speaker and at the atheists.  Everyone has a different opinion. 

There is a spiritual battle waging.  However, in the last couple of days, I believe God has taken a final and beautiful victory in the situation, which is another blog post altogether.  Today I want to talk about peace.

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

Although I do realize Jesus stood up with boldness for what He believed (think about Him in the temple with the whip), I don't believe His actions would be anywhere near the actions of the angry Christians and the lying speaker on campus right now.  He spoke the truth in firmness, but in love.

There are so many passages in the Bible where we are called as Christians to pursue peace and to show peace.  We have the peace of God in our hearts.  We don't have to live in turmoil.  We don't have to be afraid.  We don't have to be bitter.  We are called to peace.

Psalm 34:14
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

There are two kinds of conversations I have seen on campus over the last few days.  One has been full of anger, defensive words, and accusations.  The other has been filled with love, compassion, and patience.

I saw a fellow believer approach a student wearing a shirt that said "Ask an Atheist" in bold letters and say, "Hey, I'm ready to sit down and hear your story.  I want to know what brought you to this place."  In essence, he was saying, "You matter to me.  I love you, even if we don't agree.  I want to listen to you, not preach at you."  The resentfulness on the atheist's face faded and he began to speak with kinder words.  Peace was sown. 

Peace is a beautiful thing.

James 3:17-18
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. 

The Bible is clear about who we should be.  Even in situations where tempers are hot and words are even hotter, we should allow our peace and love to shine through our frustration.  This can cause us to stand out as cities on a hill much brighter than if we shout, "No, you're wrong!  You're stupid!  I refuse to listen to what you have to say because you are wrong."

Listen with sincerity and patience.  Love with grace and compassion.  Sow peace.

The false teacher who spoke on campus these last few days aroused anger in many.  I saw several Christians stand up and begin to loudly argue with him, asking him sarcastic questions and calling him names.  Although I understand their anger because I felt it as well, their actions weren't causing Christ to be respected.  Instead, they were causing a scene.  They were sowing dissension.  Students who didn't know what to believe saw the commotion that followers of Christ were causing and pulled quickly away.

Let's sow peace.

Titus 3:1-2
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 

And if a brother or sister in Christ says something you don't believe to be truth, don't answer in anger.  Don't stir up quarrels and senseless, angry debates.  Listen.  Love.  Speak with self-control.

We are meant to shine with love.

Remember that you are a city on a hill.  People look at you and think of the Body of Christ as a whole when they hear you speak.  Sow peace, not dissension.

Let's be peacemakers. 

Ephesians 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 

Perhaps you are not currently witnessing such an obvious battle as what is going on in my campus right now.  However, remember to sow peace in small, day-to-day situations.

Are you a peacemaker?  Look at the relationships around you.  Is there peace in your dorm room?  Is there peace in your friendships?  Is there peace in your household?  If you are living a life where little peace is to be found, then perhaps you should take a step back and look at what you are sowing: peace or dissension.

Pray for the Lord to give you the patience and love to sow peace.

How have you sown peace today?


Day 4: A song that makes you sad 

I don't listen to this song much because I'm not a big fan of country music, but someone played this for me and it hurt my heart to hear. 

"Why" by Rascal Flatts

This is a song about suicide.  The lyrics are on the video, so I won't write them out below.  Isn't it sad?

Since I lost a friend to suicide four years ago, a broken piece of my heart is touched every time I hear the lyrics to this song.

What song makes you sad and why?

Friday, February 3, 2012

A GOOD Morning.

I've been listening to the Breakaway Ministries podcasts when I get ready in the mornings.  They're on iTunes and free, if you're interested at all.  They've encouraged me so much this week and I totally encourage you to download them.)  One thing that Ben Stuart said in one of his podcasts was that when he wakes up each morning, he asks God to reveal his flaws so he can work on them throughout the day.

I'm all for praying and reading the Bible in the morning.  After all, Psalm 5:3 says, "In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you."  I think the entire day should be full of continuous prayer, but I love the idea of gifting your day to the Lord first thing.

But asking the Lord to reveal my flaws each morning?  At first, I wasn't so sure.  Psalm 30:5 says, "weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

I was joking with a pessimistic friend the other day that while he might wake up and think, "Ughhhh, I wish I could stay in bed forever," I like to throw open my curtains and think, "Today is going to be great!"  The morning truly does come with a sense of great joy.  Even if I cry myself to sleep the night before, I can usually wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and filled with the love of God.  Each day is a brand new start.  The idea of waking up joyfully and then being immediately shown my flaws seemed like something not so joyful.

However, the more I thought about what Ben Stuart said, the more I liked the idea.  The Lord's grace is insurmountable.  He's already forgiven me for those things I am asking Him to bring out.  Of course I need to continue to work on them, but what better time for them to be revealed than the beginning of the day, before I have time to practice them?

Last night at my life group for my church, we were discussing Romans 6, where Paul talks about how we are no longer slaves to sin.  Sin is not our master any longer.  My friend Rebecca said during our small group time, "I was talking to someone with an anger problem.  He was sharing with a friend about this anger problem and how he couldn't get over it no matter how hard he tried, and the friend told him, 'No, God has conquered that.  You aren't a slave to that.  You need to gain more patience, but you are no longer a slave to your anger.'"  I have been dealing with anxiety all week... but I'm not a slave to that.  God conquered my anxiety, He conquered my fears and bad habits and panic attacks.  I need to gain more faith in Him, but I am not a slave to my fears any longer.  And if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you aren't a slave to your sins as well.

We can work on our flaws.  We can trust in God's unfailing love and grace.  And we can grow in Him each day.

So when I woke up this morning, I asked God to reveal my flaws so I could work on them, so I could continue my process of becoming more like Him.  And no, asking God to reveal my flaws and sins didn't dampen the joy of the morning.  See, I already know I'm a flawed and broken human being.  No matter how hard I try, I will never be 'good enough' on my own.  I know that already.  So the knowledge that God has patience with me and loves me with an everlasting love despite my flaws brings me joy that surpasses anything else I've ever felt.

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your everlasting love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

My Heart Responds

Psalm 27:8
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."
I encourage you today to take the time to open your heart to the Lord.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Ask Him to speak to you and share His will for today with you.

Don't surround yourself with distractions and a busy schedule.

Don't fill your prayers with requests.

Take the time to listen.