Friday, February 26, 2016

Be Still and Make Time for God

Have you ever been so busy with either work, school, personal situations, and so on that you don't have time for important people in your life? This happened to me last semester in college. It was so hectic with non stop assignments, exams, readings, and after finals, I was finally able to breathe. The weekend after finals, I hung out with some of my close friends and we did not have a care in the world because we were free. We were able to enjoy our time together and not worry about reading for that last minute quiz or study for that exam because we were done with the semester. We could really enjoy each other's presence and sit down to talk more intentionally as opposed to a quick, "Hey, how are you?...Nice to hear, talk to you later, I've got lots of school work to do!"

Unfortunately, this can happen in our walk with Christ. We preoccupy ourselves with so much we have to do that we lose sight of the One that really matters. We give excuses for not spending time with Him. It can start out with a simple "I was too tired to wake up early to have my morning devotions", "I'm too busy to pray because I have more important things to do" or "I had a long week, I'm going to stay home from church to catch up on sleep." Soon enough, these excuses can snowball into an even bigger problem where we find absolutely no time to fellowship with God. There isn't anything wrong with doing our everyday tasks, but if they eventually take over our time with God, that is an issue.

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha, who were sisters. Martha welcomed Him into her home, but was distracted with serving her guests. Mary sat down at Jesus's feet and listened to His words. Martha was annoyed with Mary because she wasn't helping her and Martha complained to Jesus about it. However, Jesus replied and said "Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

How often do we have Martha's mindset, when we really should have Mary's instead? It isn't wrong to serve God and occupy our lives with work, hanging out with friends, hobbies, and so on, but we also need to break away from the busyness of our life and come into God's presence. If we do not rest, our anxiety and troubles will increase and we will not be hearing what God has to say to us. How are we suppose to hear from God and know His will for our lives if we constantly fill our day with distractions? Just stop. Be still. Breathe. Rest in Him. Take a step back and observe. Is what you are occupying yourself with really important? Can it wait? Find a place where you can read God's word and and pray to Him without interruptions. Obviously it can be anywhere, but for me to completely be still and at peace, it is a park by my church. Put aside everything on your mind and invite Jesus to meet you where you are and to fill your mind with Him. Take that time to talk to Him about any thoughts, questions, concerns in your life, in the world, and anything else that may be on your heart. Matthew 11:28 says "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." How comforting it is to know that Jesus is inviting me to lay all my burdens, all my troubles, questions, thoughts, concerns in my life, and just lay them at His feet. All He asks of us is to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). We shouldn't be anxious about anything because He has it all in His control.

- "Here" by Kari Jobe
- "Come As You Are" by Crowder

Sunday, January 31, 2016

God Does the Growing

"It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow." - 1 Corinthians 3:7 (NLT)

We can easily be let down when we tell a family member, friend, coworker or stranger about Jesus Christ, but they simply do not want to hear it; or they listen, but they do not care about a word we are saying. We become discouraged because we feel it is our responsibility to change their heart and thoughts about Christ. Let me tell you something, we cannot force someone to change their heart, no matter how hard we may try. 

Sometimes, our job is to simply share the good news of Jesus to someone.  By doing so, we plant a seed in their heart. The seed may grow fairly quickly or it may take longer, but all we did was plant a seed. Other times, our job is to talk to someone that already has a seed planted, someone that is thirsty for knowledge and has a desire to learn more. However, planting a seed and providing water alone do not cause the seed to sprout into a beautiful plant. A plant also requires sunlight and nutrients from the soil to grow. Likewise, God is the One responsible for growing a person spiritually. So while we can pray for our family, friends, coworkers, and strangers to have a longing heart for God, He is the only One who can change a person's heart to strive and live for Him. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Starting a Journaling Bible

This year one of my goals is to dive deeper into God's Word and learn more about Him. That is one of the reasons why I began this blog: to write what I have learned. Although writing what I have learned helps me to remember lessons that God has taught me, visuals also help to communicate lessons as well. 

Lately, I have been tapping into my creative side and enjoy looking at the beauty of bible verses with a related drawing or picture next to it. One of my closest friends has been bible journaling for some time now and I always enjoy seeing her drawings and pretty letters. She loves being artistic and that has helped her dive deeper into God's Word. 

I had been pondering about joining the journaling bible movement, but was always hesitant due to time constraint and fear of what my drawings might actually end up looking like. However, I put all that aside and got a journaling bible! I'm pretty excited to see what new things I will learn as I read His Word while also expanding my artistic horizons. The pictures I draw will serve as a reminder of key verses that spoke to me at different points during my walk with Christ and one day I can look back at them and see how much I have grown since then. Just to clarify, although the artwork may be beautiful, it should NOT be the main focus. The main focus should be on Christ and desiring to be more like Him as we commune with Him.