Saturday, December 24, 2011

Night Bikes

I have to have one.
Coolest thing I've seen in a long time.
(the bike, not the phone)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Radical Generosity

I was just going over the notes from the past two weeks of the Radical Generosity study.  I couldn't not share this on my blog.  It has been on my mind constantly since we first started.  It's so good.

In the study, we're walking through 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.
Luke 16: 10-13 -- One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.  If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the otherYou cannot serve God and money.

2 Corinthians 8
1. Radical generosity reveals the grace of God
       2 Cor 8:1-6 -- We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.  For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints - and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord then by the will of God to us.  Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.
       Generosity is a matter of the heart.
2. Radical generosity is a spiritual discipline
       2 Cor 8: 7 -- But as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you - see that you excel in this act of grace also.
3. Radical generosity reminds us of the cross.
       2 Cor 8: 8-9 -- I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
       Jesus had everything in heaven.  And he gave it all up to be a homeless wanderer so that we may be rich.  If you don't get anything else right, make sure you at least take care of the widows and orphans.
4. Radical generosity is something everyone can participate in
       2 Cor 8: 10-12 -- And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.  So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.  For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
       Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to raise the standard.  Now it's about the heart of the matter instead of just the act alone.  For example, not only adultery, but lusting in your heart is wrong.
5. Radical generosity uses our abundance to care for the poor
       2 Cor 8: 13-15 -- For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness,  As it is written, "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack."

2 Corinthians 9
Radical generosity is:
    First: Contentment in Christ
    Second: A response to God
Luke 21 -- Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.
6. Radical generosity positions itself to give anytime, anywhere, anyplace
       2 Cor 9: 1-2 -- Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year.  And your zeal has stirred up most of them.
       God is glorified by your giving.
7. Radical generosity is contagious to others
       2 Cor 9: 2 -- for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year.  And your zeal has stirred up most of them.
       Be imitators of Christ.
8. Radical generosity puts its resources where it's mouth is
       2 Cor 9: 3-4 -- But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be.  Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated - to say nothing of you - for being so confident.
       Let your actions reflect your words.  And the Word.
9. Radical generosity is intentional
       2 Cor 9: 5 -- So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction(*a gift expecting something in return)
       Pray about what the Lord wants you to do with your giving.
10. Radical generosity is about harvesting righteousness
       2 Cor 9: 6 -- The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
       It's about the attitude, action, and motivation behind your gifts and your heart.
11. Radical generosity is individual but it is not optional
       2 Cor 9: 7 -- Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
       It should be a characteristic of your life.

God blesses so that we can be a blessing to others.  And therefore, the needs of the Saints will be supplied.
2 Corinthians 9: 8-14 -- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.  By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

His inexpressible gift is Jesus alive in us.

It's all about your heart.
It's all about glorifying God.

Sporadic Thoughts

We're getting closer and closer to the end of this semester - I'm so ready for it to be over.
I've had a very heavy heart the past two weeks.  So many of my friends are hurting.
My body feels gross inside.  I need cookies and chocolate.
I'm working a lot this week to compensate for next week.
I want to be a runner.  I want to be a distance runner.  I'm going to work on it harder.
I really don't want the Christmas break to be stressful.
We're going hunting this weekend.  I'm very excited.
My mind is everywhere.

Check out the Radical Generosity link on the left of my blog if you want to join us in changed hearts.  I'm going to try to do these daily.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

peas and carrots

Last night in my dreams, I was on a road trip with my mom and Chris and some other people I cannot remember.  My mom was in a separate car but every time we talked she was unhappy and disappointed in me.  The car Chris and I were in was full of a single line of bikes that Chris had recently put together.  They were all connected because the purpose of them was to ride in a line during races - you know, to draft.  They were all different bikes; some were awesome and some were dumb.  On our road trip, we stopped at some sort of bike spread.  There were people everywhere - mainly kids - who were riding bikes and doing tricks.  Chris spotted one boy sitting down and went to talk to him.  I immediately knew he was going to give or sell him a bike, so I proceeded to comment on how sincere and thoughtful my boyfriend was.  We drove around to the back of the place and he unloaded the bike that he wanted to sell the boy.  After I looked at it a minute, I realized it was my racing bike that we had agreed we would never sell.  I looked at Chris and he was acting like a salesman trying to sell it to the boy.  I pulled him to the side and started begging him not to sell my bike because it was mine and it was special to me since it was my first racing bike.  Chris wouldn’t listen and continued to try to sell it.  So I unwillingly busted into tears and started explaining to the boy that it was mine.  I begged him not to buy it and Chris said to me that he wasn’t even the one buying it, that the woman in the corner working in the flower bed was going to buy it for him.  She looked very stern but I begged her not to buy it and she eventually said that she wouldn’t.  I hugged her for such a long time, then we loaded the bike back in the car.

So I’ve been having really terrible dreams for what unbelievably is coming on a year now.  The dreams are always very different but they are always about someone (usually Chris) backstabbing or manipulating me in some way.  I am always betrayed by him in my dreams.  I wake up every time so upset about what went on in the dream - because they never reflect Chris’s character.  Sometimes I tell him and sometimes I don’t.  This morning I did.

So once I told him he asked me if I thought it meant anything.  I guess since I’ve been having them for such a long time, I just pushed them off as ‘just dreams’.  So I said I didn’t think it meant anything and he said he believed differently.  I asked him what he thought and thankfully we got into a long conversation about what all these dreams meant and what I need to do about them.

These dreams are from the Lord.  As much as I have prayed against them in the past year and begged the Lord to rid them from me, they have persisted.  He’ll give me breaks when I ask him, but many nights I am troubled by a terrible dream.  These dreams are about myself - my insecurities, my flaws, my doubts, my trust, my confidence.

See, I’ve been cheated on before.  A boy I once dated didn’t think much of it, but it has impacted me more than I never knew it could anyone.  We dated for about two years and toward the end (which was the end because what happened), I found out he had been .. well, cheating.  I immediately ended it, but struggled with what had happened for at least a year after the fact.  I had a hard time truly forgiving him and an even harder time gaining my trust for men back.  I thought I had worked through it all, but Chris and I realized this morning that I still have trust issues.  I still struggle with insecurity.  It’s really hard for me to be okay with Chris studying with girls or having friends that are girls.  When the lies come, I always immediately stop them with truth.  I talk myself through it every time I get even a small thought that something is going on that isn’t.  Chris has the most pure heart.  His motives are always good - always.  It’s really truth.  So I do this thing where I have to fight the enemy every time he puts wrong thoughts in my head; and I thought that was enough.  I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by controlling my thoughts and believing truth.  Well that is right, but it’s not really the ‘right’ thing in my circumstance as of now - for me, personally.

So now I’m facing a giant.  My purpose right now is to find how to get from where I am to where I have been created to be.  I see the product.  I see the present.  So now I’m going to be spending my time on my face before the Lord seeking his guidance to lead me home.  I have no solution because my solution hasn’t worked for the past year.  The only way to overcome this is to get on my knees and dwell in the presence of the Lord - often.  I’m very excited to see what comes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

di da di da di

It's been too long since I've written, but I will skip the apologies and get straight to the update.
Since Thanksgiving I have finished reading Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice.  Both were the most exceptional books I've read in my lifetime, which I suppose was expected beforehand.  I'm awaiting to get the whole series of Anne of Green Gables for Christmas this year.  I decided a couple weeks ago that I wanted to read every classic book I could get my hands on.  So now I am pursuing that.  The first two were a great start!
So now it's almost finals week and things are crazy with school and work.  I've had tests this week and I'm also trying to prepare for finals the best I can.  Christmas break is too near to be consumed in so much work.
Chris and I recently started going to a new church. :) All of our friends have gone there a long time, but we finally felt that we were supposed to be there too.  We love our church in Hattiesburg, but most of our community is in Laurel, so we're going.  Crosspointe has been so awesome since we started attending.  I love being with that community and the message is always right on.  This new series on Radical Generosity has settled into my heart and found it's dwelling place quite comfortably.  Every day this week has been a search for different ways to put into practice what I have recently learned and been inspired by.
I've learned so much in the past couple weeks that I'm not quite sure where to begin, but I feel as though what I have learned will come out with future posts.  One thing is for certain - everyone seems to be in a huge transition period in life.  I know I've been here for quite some time, and all my peers seem to feel the same.  I'm very excited to see what folds out before us all.  Jessalyn shared with me a couple days ago that she heard in a sermon that we are in a season of transition, and the reason we aren't able to seek Jesus the same way we always have is because he is teaching us new ways and new things for the place we are transitioning to.  Don't get discouraged in this time; it is only leading to something better (if you let it).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was wonderful this year! Best yet :) We actually had a large get together on both sides of my family which has never happened before.  Chris and his dad were able to join as well which made it so much more enjoyable :)  We all ate at my mom's house with her side of the family, then Chris and Lorrin and I headed over to my Grandma's house for my dad's side of the family's Thanksgiving.  They had a cute setup outside in the field which was picture perfect.  My cousins from Atlanta were there too, which was amazing because I haven't seen them in probably 7 or 8 years.  We sat around and played music and sang and had a great time.  I love my family so much - both sides of it :)  I'm so thankful for all I have.










Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rise

I’ve been on a plateau for quite some time.  I’m not in the dumps and I’m not on a mountain top - I’m just walking.  I love the Lord so dearly and I pursue him daily.  My life is lacking, because of me.  I want the Lord more and more all the time but I never give him more purely focused time  than a little while each night.  I talk to him throughout the day and I think about him constantly, I even talk about him quite a bit.  I’m just not spending the kind of time I want with him.  I’m not building the kind of relationship I want with him.  So today I’m feeling a little down because I know what I want and I haven’t gone and gotten it.  I haven’t been running.  I had a test today that I could take anytime between 8 and 4, so I woke up this morning and studied one last time and went and got it over with.  Despite the low B I made on it, I hardly have time to care.  I just want to be with the Lord.  I want to be on fire the way he designed me to be.  My mind used to flood with prophetic dreams every night; really this is the first semester they haven’t been present in a few years.  It’s not about the dreams or the actions really, it’s just about my heart and his.  I desire for them to be congruent.  I know he’s just waiting on me and I know he’s been holding my right hand this entire time.  He showed me this today:
Isaiah 32:9-20
Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech.  In little more than a year you will shudder, you complacent women; for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come.  Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones; strip, and make yourselves bare, and tie sackcloth around your waist.  Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine, for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers, yes, for all the joyous houses in the exultant city.  For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks; until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.  The justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.  And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.  My people will abide in a peaceful habitation in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.  And it will hail when the forest falls down, and the city will be utterly laid low.  Happy are you who sow beside all waters, who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.
The transition from low to high is incredible to me.  It’s almost hard to find where the switch is.  But isn’t it interesting that often times our lives are the same way?  At some point we are down and not sure how to get up and once we start seeking the Lord again, we suddenly realize where we are and that we’re out of where we’ve been.  “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high” -  I believe that’s where the transition is. ;)

-------
As I was thinking of a title for this post, "rise" immediately came to mind.  All of you who were at Crosspointe yesterday, it's funny isn't it - how things like this line up?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

personal insight

So I've always known that I'm really different from the majority of the world - whether it be because I never understand why other people do the things they do or because people always look at me funny like they've never encountered someone so weird.  It doesn't bother me at all, and I actually think it's pretty funny.  It's an often occasion of getting really weird looks from people whether they know me or not - really I guess there's only half a handful of people who know me well enough to understand why I do the things I do.  So if I just cut to the chase, I'm an observer. To. The. Extreme.
I'm not really a "people watcher" as some people call themselves; I don't think I care to watch people I don't know.  I sometimes just find myself feeling like a fly on the wall.  It mainly happens when there is a large group of people.  My never wanting to be the center of attention could very well play a large role in this.  I just always end up forgetting that I am actually a person in the room and I find myself listening to everything around me and watching what everyone is doing.  I've always been a really good listener, but I guess it gets out of hand sometimes. :P
So I started laughing to myself last night after I looked at the pictures we took on the timer at our get together.  I noticed that in every single picture I looked the exact same because I forgot that I was in them.  I know it's weird, but I was so caught up in everyone having fun and doing different things that I forgot I was a person.  It really shed new light for me that this could be a reason that I've always been terrible at having pictures made of me. ;) Anyway, you should look at the photos on the post from last night and see what I'm talking about.  It's rather funny, and interestingly enough, it reveals a huge part of who I am that I think most people just wonder about (that is, wonder why I'm so weird all the time).


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

pilgrims and indians

Thanksgiving get together tonight! Pot luck dinner dressed as pilgrims and indians :)



plus ham.






I made hominy cassarole - -
2 cans of white hominy, drained
8oz sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 can chopped green chili's (I didn't add these to mine, but it probably would have been better with it)
- Cook on 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

:)

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 - Prayer


This morning I got on Yahoo to check my mail and like always, was distracted by the world updates on the home page.  The first one I noticed was about a pyramid closing for 11.11.11 due to rumors about this apparently unique day.  So I read up on that one and thought it was interesting then proceeded to find an update entitled "Detroit prayer event puts Muslims on edge".  My first thought was, 'oh great, another group making a bad name for Jesus'.  Judgmental.  So I was hooked by then and had to read what it was all about.  Even as I was reading it, I was so skeptical that I couldn't decide if it was a good or bad move on their part.  I just kept thinking of how offensive the whole article must be to outsiders (meaning people who aren't Christians).  When I told Chris about it he responded with, "yeah, it's weird - Are we supposed to be offensive? I mean, Jesus was offensive.  Do you think we're supposed to handle things the same way today as they did in Jesus' times?"  Dang, so that got me thinking even more.  I've always struggled with this exact case - are we called to be radical or are we called to reach people in our day to day life?  The answer is both, but what troubles me is, what is the extent to which it is still effective?  Should I be starting rallies and talking to every person I see about Jesus?  Many times, I see it being more effective to reach people by being their friend and letting them see your day to day relationship with people and with the Lord, how you treat people and how you handle all your situations.  So then what?  Well, I'm completely in favor of this rally and I wish I could be a part of it.  I love revival and movements of the Holy Spirit - and there's definitely both going on right now in Detroit.  Lord, hear us and work through us - use this prayer movement for your glory in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

birthdays all around

Today is my sister's birthday :) She is wonderful and I love her and I wish all of you could know how great she is.  You should visit her blog to get a peek at her beauty.


And this is the card I sent her - -

Front (notice pull strap on right)

Inside - four panels (complete with violin and horse sounds)

lovely

The Woman Who Fears the Lord - -     

    An excellent wife who can find?
        She is far more precious than jewels.
    The heart of her husband trusts in her,
        and he will have no lack of gain.
    She does him good, and not harm,
        all the days of her life.
    She seeks wool and flax,
        and works with willing hands.
    She is like the ships of the merchant;
        she brings her food from afar.
    She rises while it is yet night
        and provides food for her household
        and portions for her maidens.
    She considers a field and buys it;
        with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
    She dresses herself with strength
        and makes her arms strong.
    She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
        Her lamp does not go out at night.
    She puts her hands to the distaff,
        and her hands hold the spindle.
    She opens her hand to the poor
        and reaches out her hands to the needy.
    She is not afraid of snow for her household,
        for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
    She makes bed coverings for herself;
        her clothing is fine linen and purple.
    Her husband is known in the gates
        when he sits among the elders of the land.
    She makes linen garments and sells them;
        she delivers sashes to the merchant.
    Strength and dignity are her clothing,
        and she laughs at the time to come.
    She opens her mouth with wisdom,
        and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
    She looks well to the ways of her household
        and does not eat the bread of idleness.
    Her children rise up and call her blessed;
        her husband also, and he praises her:
    “Many women have done excellently,
        but you surpass them all.”
    Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
        but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
    Give her of the fruit of her hands,
        and let her works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:10-31 ESV)

This is my desire.  What I strive for.  Why is it so difficult to achieve?  Sometimes I think I'm doing fairly well.  It seems that every time one week out of the month comes, I am unable to be strong, to remember who sustains, holds, and guides me.  Well this morning he reminded me with this lovely passage that I somehow forget about on occasion.  It's going well right now.  He reminded me of who he made me and who I am - it's truly beautiful.  I don't know why I get so distracted by what I don't have at this time in my life.  All that truly matters is right here and now - the present.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grandmother's 92nd

Chris and I visited Jackson yesterday for his grandmother's 92nd birthday :) It was great.  Any time I get to spend with Grandmother, I love to take advantage of.  You may remember from previous posts how witty she is with her British accent and quick mind.  I love her so much.
We took a few pictures - -

 Only one of the many jokes she made was when she took a sip of champagne - she jumped and exclaimed, "This is almost as good as Scope!"

We were also given three bikes yesterday which is always exciting :)
The one I cleaned up last night is a Fugi.  We also got a Free Spirit cruiser and an off brand cruiser.  They're all in bad shape but I can't wait to see them fixed up :)
This is the Fugi - -




I have to go to class!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween

A few days late, but we had a great Halloween! :) Chris and I dressed as cowboys and indians.  We went to my good friend's house for a get together.  Fire, snacks, friends - it was wonderful.  I took a few pictures, but somehow managed to not get one of Chris and I together.  The smurfs were the cutest ones there :)  However, there was a jelly fish that was pretty awesome - I didn't get a picture of her though.


Open Book

Monday night at work there were two girls editing their videos.  We close at nine and at about 8:45 the one girl who was finished started joking to the other about how she needed to hurry because I was ready to go and "getting mad at them".  They kept putting words in my mouth like I was saying them, but really I didn't mind at all.  This went on for about fifteen minutes with me periodically saying "no no, really, I'm in no hurry, please take your time".  This really wasn't a big deal but was, however, a little disturbing, because I felt like they were making me out to be someone that I'm not.  I'm really not a short-tempered person or even a tempered person at all.  People just don't bother me.

Although this wasn't anything that bothered me more than the fifteen minutes they were talking about it, it really gave an example of how some people make others to be something they aren't - which isn't fair to that person.  I don't do things to hurt people; I don't do things to just be selfish.  I try really hard to be Jesus to people - strangers and friends.  I feel that I am periodically accused of things that I didn't do or say and then I end up having to be the one to fix it.  I'm not upset about this because I don't mind working things out when they need to be, it just hurts sometimes that some people don't see me for who I am.  I'm not the enemy.  My heart is good.  I just don't understand why some people handle things the way they do; if we all just talked it out when something was wrong then we would be much happier people.  This life isn't about being offended and hurt and mad - it's about being joyful and encouraging and helping.  I'm not by any means picking anyone out, it's just what's on my heart today.  I want to be seen for my heart.  My intentions are not the intentions the world has.  I am an open book.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Mind of Christ

Just a little bit of James to get an idea of what I'm writing about - -

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


I've been faced lately with the world - mainly by way of television.
I hadn't realized until last night that the Lord had given me what I'd been asking for.  For so long I have been praying for a pure mind and asking for the mind of Christ to consume me.
I haven't had a television since I've been in college and I've never been one to watch videos on the internet; I also don't have any apps or social sites other than blogger, so as you may be able to imagine, it's been fairly easy to not be consumed in the world.
Lately we've been hanging out at our friend's house more, which constitutes watching more movies and youtube videos.  As it has been a blast having community, I am finding my mind beaten up and broken due to the things that have entered into it lately.  By no means is this anyone's fault but my own.
This may seem like a bad situation for me, but honestly it's a joy.  I am reminded of the goodness of the Lord in the midst of this - that when we are persistent and pursuant of him, he gives us what we need and desire to further his kingdom.  I asked for a pure mind and he has blessed me with it in many aspects.  I still struggle with assuming people are thinking certain things that may not be true and judging people unconsciously, but in many ways, I do have a pure mind; I just did not fully realize it until worldly things entered where they were not welcome.
So all this to say that I am taking joy in my trials and remaining steadfast.  I commit to not watching anything that will take away from the purity the Lord has given me.  I asked the Lord for wisdom and he gave it to me.  I asked the Lord for purity and he gave it to me.  I am a doer of the word.  The Lord keeps me unstained from the world.

I plead the blood of Jesus over my mind.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My heart this week - -

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:3-14

There is a plethora of wisdom just waiting to be poured into our heads.
He doesn't just give us what we want, he gives us what we need.
Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.
You have not because you ask not.
Prayer gives us the relationship with him.
Not selfish prayer but kingdom centered.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Being Accomplished

I find it interesting that I only know a handful of girls that truly know who they are and where they are going, who have depth and aren't afraid to show it, who know their place as a woman, who are, in the words of Mr. Darcy, accomplished.  This is not to say I am where I should, could, or want to be; it has just been a reoccurring theme for the day.  In Starbucks today, I overheard some freshmen girls talking about how it is so hard to make friends that are girls in college because most of the ones they meet are shallow in their speech and have so many walls that no human being will ever be able to break them down.  I cannot count how many times in my college career I have spoken of this same issue.  Girls have been hurt and therefore taught themselves how to keep people out, as unfortunate as it is.  Also today, I was talking with a friend about finding a little lady to walk by his side.  This being the second friend to have this conversation with in a couple of weeks, I quickly remembered that handful I spoke of earlier.  Although that handful is amazing, it is interesting to me that the handful in my right hand does not align with the handful in my left, whether it be because of personality differences or some other kind of crucial impairment between the two.  Since I have no answer to this predicament, I write to encourage everyone to break down walls that have been built up.  Letting people know you is a wonderful growth of character and strength.  Getting hurt isn't such a terrible thing once you come out on the other side - it's amazing to look back and see what you could have or maybe should have done differently, and how you grew from the situation.  I would be lying if I led you to believe I have my guard down all the time, but I can stand beside the fact that once I stopped worrying about if people would hurt me and just let them know me, my life got a lot easier and my relationships got a lot better.  It is so freeing to walk in the goodness of the Lord, because everything that is not good is not of him, and having bitterness towards people or fear of being hurt is not good.  I'm walking with all of you who relate to this; breaking down walls is difficult but completely worth the outcome.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Revival

It takes love to speak the truth.

Please receive my words when I speak in truth - it comes from the heart of the Father.

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My life is dedicated to other people.  My mission is to die to my flesh.  I am here to carry others' burdens when they need the help.  I am here to be Jesus on this earth.  I'm serious about my intentions - they are good.  I am a vessel for the Lord to bring life into this world.  It's my entire life that I give to the Lord.  My prayer is for all.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Birthday Week


Cake with Chris, Mom, and Chris's dad :)
Dancing on the way to Vicksburg








Kelly came and surprised me :)
These are just a few pictures from my birthday week extravaganza goodness :)

It all ended with the most amazing night at Char.  Pictures wouldn't be able to do that experience justice.
My apologies for this blog being short and rather impersonal - school and work started, which means no free time.  At least I posted, right?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Day's Aspirations

I want to blog more.  I want to learn to use my camera so I can make it take the kind of pictures I want it to take.  I'm going to practice - today.  My birthday is Tuesday - Chris and I are going to the battlefield to ride bikes.  I'm really excited.  Hopefully I can balance my camera on my back while we're there.  Actually, I'll try to balance it all weekend while we're home.  I'll try to keep this updated.  In the meantime, this is the beautiful cake my beautiful roommate made me :)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

blog

This is Leah.
My roommates have moved in! :) It's so exciting.  I love them.  I love them.
It's been interesting though.  I haven't been around a community all summer, much less just a girl.  I don't feel like I was prepared for this, but I'm really excited that I jumped in.  I'm blessed by the Lord.  Amazing boyfriend, amazing roommates, amazing apartment, amazing school, amazing family, amazing best friends, amazing health.  Blessed.
This is such a random blog.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My New Bike :)


Major blessing.  I'm doing a triathlon in September and was in desperate need of a racing bike, since my steel frame doesn't seem to get the job done the way I'd like.  This one fell in my lap, and I'm so thankful to have it. :) I basically love it.  And although it's amazing, it will look a lot cooler soon - once my boyfriend gets a hold of it.

Obedience

I wait for the Lord. 
I had such an abundance of love in my heart before last week.  What happened, Father?  I want it back.  It's who I am.  It's who I was created to be.  I want it back.
My desire is for the goodness of the Lord to be made known.  In all I do, I desire to bring glory to his name.  In my relationships - in all my actions. 
I know who I am.  My heart isn't quite lining up with what I know of myself.  Something is a little off.  But I can't put my finger on it.  All I can do is give it to the Lord, which is what I've been doing since this time last week.  I keep waiting.  I know there is a reason.  I know there is a purpose.  I will wait until it is revealed - because I am not in control and I do not desire to be in control.
Obedience.  As much as it hurts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Daily Declaration

I expect the extraordinary in my life - I raise my expectation
I expect - I look for - I anticipate extraordinary opportunities for you to use me
This week - my eyes are open - my ears are attentive - my hands are your hands
I expect encounters of the God-kind - I expect meetings - I expect calls - Here I am - I expect you to use me - I expect you to speak through me - I expect to be a blessing
This week - my mouth is ready - to encourage - to pray - to speak a word in due season
I expect divine appointments this week - I look for them - I anticipate them
I will seize them - I will be aware of them - I will not miss them
I expect - to do something - out of the ordinary - and I expect - to see the extraordinary
I expect for you to crown my years with your goodness
I expect to see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living
I expect to prosper and be in good health even as my soul prospers
I am a tither - I am a giver - therefore, I expect my God to supply all my needs
I expect the windows of Heaven to be open - I expect your blessings poured out in my life
I expect to prosper - where there is famine - I expect to prosper because I am in Covenant with you - I am blessed coming in and blessed going out
I expect favor with man - because I have favor with you - I expect God ideas for my business
I expect the Lord - to give me the power to get wealth - I expect plans by the Spirit to prosper
I expect promotion - I expect raises - I expect increase - I am a giver - and I expect to receive
I expect seed to sow - bread to eat
I expect to sow bountifully - and I expect to reap bountifully
I expect you to multiply the seeds I have sown and increase the fruits of my righteousness
I expect God to make all grace abound towards me - I expect to have all sufficiency in all things - I expect to have an abundance for every good work
I expect something good to happen to me today - I expect God to deal with man to give unto me money - favor - and things
I expect God to perform His word with signs following in my life
I expect your protection - I expect your guidance - I expect your grace - I expect your peace to surround my life and my family every day
I expect your wisdom in making decisions - I expect the mind of Christ in my life - to think on things above - to know all things - to understand with your understanding - quick to learn
I expect to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd - and the voice of a stranger I shall not follow
Lord you said - according to your faith be it done unto you - so I expect it - I believe it - I am fully persuaded - I am confident - I believe therefore I speak my expectations
This week - I will do something out of the ordinary - and I expect to see something extraordinary

Psalm 5:3 - In the morning O Lord, You hear my voice, in the morning O Lord, I lay my request before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 40 - I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.  Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie.  You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you!  I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.  In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me and open ear.  Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.  Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written to me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."  I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.  I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.  As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!  For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.  Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!  O Lord, make haste to help me!  Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!  Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, "Aha, Aha!"  But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the Lord!"  As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.  You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Young and in Love

One of my best friends from high school stopped by last night, and in the midst of our catching up she gave me a book "Young and in Love" by Ted Cunningham.  I could see it on her face that the Lord told her to give it to me, but honestly, I was a little skeptical because Chris and I are going through a ton right now trying to figure out this dating thing.  She explained the book to me a little and I felt like it would be dangerous to read since it encouraged young marriage.  I've only read through a little bit, but it actually seems like an accurate biblical-based book.  These are some of the things that really spoke out to me:

Young people have fallen for the lie.  Delay marriage, be independent, finish college, build your career, save up your money, and have sex outside of marriage.  You've been told to wait until you have it all figured out and have found someone who has done the same.  That's why you keep hearing the words, "You're too young." I believe that young age is an unnecessary delay of marriage.  While I am an advocate for marrying young, I'm an even bigger advocate for helping you grow up.  Take responsibility for your life!  Entering adulthood doesn't require that you wait until you're twenty-five years old, the age some researchers now believe is the milestone for adulthood.  I don't want that for you because frankly it's unnecessary.  Satan wants you to stay a little boy or girl because it leads you to focus on yourself and results in prolonged adolescence.  But God wants you to press on to maturity. Cunningham talks about his meeting and marrying his wife - Never once did we think we were too young.  Unprepared? Yes. Too young? No.  Our parents blessed it.  So did both of our churches.  The idea that we needed to wait another five or even seven years, get good jobs, learn to be independent, and then settle down never once crossed our minds.  For us, marriage was a milestone at the front end of adulthood, not the back end, and we genuinely looked forward to marriage and figuring out our lives together. 

It's really hard to date - bottom line.  I want so bad to say yes, that Cunningham's words are exactly right and I'm going to follow them.  For some reason, it's not that easy.  I'm ready to marry Chris; I want to be with him everyday for the rest of my life.  I'm in love with him.  But it's not up to me.  Men work differently than women.  Most women just know when they are in love and it is right; but men have something in them that makes them have to figure it all out so they can provide and be who women need them to be.  Chris doesn't work by emotion - in actuality, he has no idea how to handle them.  My love is not based wholly on emotion - the Lord has much say in the actions I take and the things I feel; I have a sensitive spirit.  Always have.  Chris's spirit is very much the same way in it's sensitivity; but when his emotions start coming, it's a red flag in his spirit because he does not work well with emotions.  It's easy for us to get caught up in being in love and just having fun and living life, and although that is a wonderful and beautiful thing, the Lord is in control.  It is very important for us to be in tune with the Spirit so we can follow the Father in His will and not base any decisions off emotions.  Really, we just need prayer.  For the Lord to do a mighty work that we may know His desires.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Lincoln Challenge

So Grace Temple was amazing today.  Last week we started a series on money which has been really helpful for me because I tend to worry about it more than I should (which should be none).  Today we discussed the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  There were so many things that I didn't know - like that a talent, ONE talent, is 20 years worth of life earnings in silver.  So five talents is about four million dollars in today's earnings for the average person, and one talent is about 800,000 dollars.  So the sermon today was about being a steward and knowing how to invest the money (or insert anything here) that the Lord has given you and make it more.  A steward by definition is someone who manages something for someone else.  In this parable, each servant knew that when the master gave them the money that they were supposed to invest it for him and give it back at a later date; that was their occupation - a steward.  The fact that the third servant who received one talent buried it in the ground out of fear and made no profit is dishonorable to the master because it was not the servants money to do that.  You don't get to decide how many talents you receive - you decide what you're going to do with the talents you're given.  So living out of fear and hiding your talents reaps no profit or growth.  Fear is the weapon of the enemy.  The two servants who invested the money showed their faith in their master by works, but the servant who buried it showed his faith by what he did not do and he blamed his faults on the master, saying, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid".  It was not the servants place to judge the master's acts when the servants job, his life occupation, was to manage the money his master gave him by investing it.  The two servants who did invest the money reaped much benefit from it.

So when the service was closing, Pastor Dwayne gave us a challenge.  He said the elders of the church have prayed and prayed about this and they really feel led to do it.  So they took a couple hundred five dollar bills from our missions fund and passed the offering plates around so each person could get one.  "The Lincoln Challenge" is to find some creative way to invest that money in the next month and bring it back on July 10th with the original five dollars and the profit you made from it and give it back to the missions fund.   He challenged each one of us to really be asking the Lord what he wants us to do with it to invest it and follow what he says.  So I'm going to be praying :) He also encouraged us to share our ideas with one another, so if you do have any ideas of how to invest it, you can leave me a comment :)

This is not only supposed to be done for this one month with this one five dollar bill, it's supposed to teach us how to do it with one hundred dollars, and one thousand dollars.  After all, all money is the Lord's. Why shouldn't we do our best to honor him with it?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summertime

It's been difficult trying to find the time to blog.  I miss it terribly.

In order to graduate on time for the spring, I decided to take a full semester of classes this summer.  It's really been good so far because as hard as it is, I really love learning and being busy with school.  I will admit it gets old sometimes, especially when my friends want to do something and I'm not able to because of homework or studying, but it really is a blessing for me to be able to take this many hours and even out my last two semesters.  Last summer I decided that since I couldn't be a pottery major because it's a four year program, I would just be an Entrepreneurship major so I can one day open my own pottery studio.  I'm still loving the idea and truly wanting to pursue it as early in my life as humanly possible.  This switch, however, has caused a very difficult two years.  I'm the busiest person I know.  Although it doesn't really bother me to be busy, I do wish I had more time to do things I enjoy - like blog.  And read.  I am taking a technical writing class this summer that has required me to create a blog, so even though my blogs are assigned now, I'm still glad I get to interact.

For the first time in my life I'm training for a triathlon.  It's really intense.  I love it.  I've always loved exercising but I think the reason I've never been consistent with it is because I've never been working toward something.  It all began with my boyfriend asking me if I wanted to do it together and somehow I jumped in.  It's turned out that Chris and I have totally opposite schedules this summer so I'm training by myself, but it's been great.  I thought I wouldn't be motivated to train alone, but it's been easy.  So this summer, every single day consists of school in the morning, train in the afternoon, and homework at night.  But it's really good :)

The Lord has been doing some amazing and unexpected things this summer.  My friend Jennifer is working at camp this summer - the one that changed my life completely, the one where I understood love for the first time, the one where I experience total freedom, yes, Lake Forest Ranch.  I've been so excited for her to be there.  We've been writing back and forth, but earlier this week I got a text from her saying that she'll be home this weekend :) So Thursday night she stayed at our apartment and it was so good to catch up with her and hear about all the amazing things the Lord is doing in her life.  I love the Lord so much; I really don't know what else to say about it.  So right before Jen came over, Gabby came home from Nashville and told me that she's going to move up there for the month of July.  I was really bummed because I love living with Gabby so much, she's so wonderful, but I'm really excited that she'll be in Nashville because I know how much she desires to be there :) It's really going to be so great.  Then she told me that she thinks she may have gotten the Invisible Children internship for the fall that she has been waiting to find out about! :) What a blessing.  It's so awesome what the Lord is doing in her life; I love watching all the little touches he blesses her with.  So, Jen and I talked today about next semester and the possibility of her and our friend Jessalyn moving into our apartment when Gabby leaves.  I was nervous when I first heard Gabby was moving out because I didn't know how I was going to find someone to move in, but I allowed myself to trust the Lord with the situation and he completely provided for me - over the top.  Jen and Jess are going to move in in August which is absolutely amazing because they are so wonderful and that will split the cost of rent by three instead of two, which helps me out like crazy since I don't have a job while I'm in school.  Whew.  It's been another busy week, but so so good.  The Lord is faithful.

That's really all that's been going on this summer.  I went to Jackson yesterday to get Chris's dog, Daisy.  She's the most amazing dog in the whole world - no exaggeration.  She is sweet and cute and polite and so lovely.

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I just feel so overwhelmed with how good the Lord is.  I wish I knew how to express it in blog form.  He is my joy, my love.



My heart aches for You my God; My soul waits for You my God
I've come far to find you here; In this place will I draw near

Your Spirit soars me; To the highest height
From where I'll not look back; I will keep trusting You

For I know You are faithful my God; For I know You are faithful my God
For I know You are faithful my God; For I know You are faithful my God

From the land of the barren; We will cry out for rain
Fill our hearts O God; I will keep trusting You

Your Spirit inside of me holds me close; Your wonderful presence I let go
I cleanse my hands to burn my heart; I cry out for love You set me apart

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brief Update

It's difficult being a business student and managing a blog at the same time.  I obviously haven't posted since this semester started, but I've been missing it like crazy.  I have wanted to blog so many times about so many things, but all my time is consumed with studying and homework.  It's an unfortunate lifestyle in the blog world, but one I must tread through all the less.  I actually should be studying right now, but I had a minute to stop and share with you a verse that has gotten me through everything these past few weeks.
Isaiah 41:13 --- For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."
He is so good to me.


Seek righteousness.
Act righteously.
Please the Lord.
And avoid the appearance of evil.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Romans 8.

26.  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
34.  Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

love

 "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35
The Father has been speaking great lengths to me about love the past few weeks - the love of God, love in the church, loving one another, love for Chris, love for my friends, etc.  Two weeks ago Chris handed me a book written by Craig Kinsley.  I immediately wanted to read it, although I had no idea what it was about.  I don't know Craig personally, but wish I had talked to him more the night he prophesied over my life at a Tuesday night prayer meeting in Jackson.  Craig spoke into me that night. It almost felt unreal.  But it was so amazing.  So I began to read this book and was loving how much truth was in it.  It's hard to find books with pure truth sometimes.  When I finished chapter three I thought there was no more to be said; that this book or any book could not express anything greater than what this man had just written in this chapter.  It was the best chapter I have ever read in my life.  The title: All You Need Is Love.  Craig's book is called Dancing Elephants.
Here is a little bit of my underlining that took place:
"It is not our love and passion for God that tells the world we are His, but our love for each other and the people around us."
"Can you imagine how different things would be if we actually loved each other; a reality in which a stranger on the street was as Jesus in our eyes? Can you imagine the way the world would see us if we were not fighting a war of theology and theory but a war of love? Can you fathom a future in which each and every one of us believed everyone else to be the greatest creation that has ever been; a future in which a gay person was not seen as being a gay person, but just another person deserving of your time and interest?  A time in which our gatherings were not only focused on our love for God, but loving one another in a way that is completely void of selfishness and self-promotion?"
"This is divine love.  This is a love that will drive you to do crazy things and a love that doesn't make sense.  It is offensive in its simplicity and unwavering in the midst of great conflict.  It isn't normal.  In fact, it's really weird."
"Divine love is untamable.  It is wild and cannot be controlled.  In fact, it controls you."
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not covet," and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Love does no harm to its neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13: 8-10
"Through love we take on the nature of the Lover."
"Love creates the nature of Jesus within us."

It is really so simple.  All the questions we have to or about the Lord are summed up in love.  We try so hard to make it some complicated thing, because we seem to think since God is so big that he must be complicated too.  He's not.  He is love.  I'm getting to know my Father more and more each day and each day is more and more about love.  If we simply loved one another; a true love; a genuine love; a sincere love.  What if we loved with a free love?  One that people did not fear.  What if we loved so sincerely, that people did not seek acceptance or feel the pressure of being perfect?  What if we loved with a selfless love at all times?  Would people be more encouraged to seek Love?