Sunday, September 25, 2011

September: How Great Thou Art

Here we are again. How in the world did we get to the end of the month so quickly? I'm torn between happy and scared at the same time. There's just so much to do in so little time.

So far this month has been go, go, go non-stop. I don't think I've had a "me" day this month. I've either been doing stuff with my a cappella group or I've been doing stuff related with church and if I'm not doing either of those, I'm doing school work. As much time I think I may have on my hands, time slips through my fingers like grains of sand and before I know it, it's gone. As these deadlines approach, additional projects pop up and new deadlines are added to this crazy and out of control agenda.

Not a day passes by that I don't think about my mama. I've experienced both joy and sorrow. I miss her. I miss her hugs. Her broken english. Her laugh. Her smile. This video sums it up: 
None the less, she is with Christ and I rejoice all the more. My heart is truly glad in what the Lord has given me. May I continue to praise and bring glory to Him, despite my own circumstance. To read the beginning of my mom's journey click here.

This month's song is How Great Thou Art. This song rings true in my heart. The version I'm going to share with you is by Ascend the Hill. You can listen to this version by clicking here. The lyrics are below:

O Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made
I see the stars
I hear the mighty thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed
When through the woods
And forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down
From lofty mountain grandeur 
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze

Then sings my soul
Then sings my soul

And when I think
My God, his Son not sparing
Sent him to die I scarce can take it in
That on the cross
My burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
When Christ shall come

With shouts of acclamation
And take me home, What joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim, "My God, how great you are!" 

Then sings my soul
Then sings my soul

How great your love for us! (Then sings my soul)
You shed you blood for us! (Then sings my soul)
How great your love for us! (Then sings my soul)
You shed you blood for us! (Then sings my soul)

How great your grace for us!
That you gave it all for us!

Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great you are! 
How great you are!
Then sings my soul, 
My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great you are!
How great you are!

How great he really is. Why? 

Ephesians 2:1-10
 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work inthe sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived inthe passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a]and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But[b] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him andseated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

That is why. I feel like that verse is a fair summation of the sing. Despite how quickly or frequently my life is changing, God has remained ever-present and has been the most constant thing in my life. I cannot thank Him enough for all he has done for me. I am unworthy, but I thank Him daily for his grace - that I no longer have to wallow in sin and be a slave to it - living life blindly, arrogantly, ignorantly. He saved me from my sin. I cringe to think where I would be today if it weren't for Christ because I could confidently say that I would not be here in this room typing this blog. I am his. Who am I to be his? Without Christ, I am nothing. Without Christ, my mama wouldn't be in heaven praising Him. Without Christ, life is meaningless.

Then sings my soul: how great thou art!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Struggle for Contentment

I struggle.

I struggle daily.

I struggle daily with contentment.

"What specifically?" you might ask. I struggle to find contentment in my singleness. There are days where I feel that I am content, but then there are other days where I plunge deep down into the desires of my heart, ultimately my flesh. I'm not saying that having a desire for a husband or wife is wrong, but if it becomes of greater value than Christ, then we have a problem. I recently wrote a letter to a friend who was also struggling with her contentment and let me tell you... I was convicted through it all. The letter should've been addressed to me. The letter reads as the following:

Dearest Claire,
            I am so proud of all that you’ve accomplished: your passion for Jesus and teaching the Gospel to little ones and being selfless in all that you did for others. Alongside your commitment to God, you’ve had other commitments: work being one of them. I know you’re a busy girl and ejoy being busy, but let me give you a piece of advice while you’re at college: Enjoy it. Although I’ve only been in college for a year, it goes by so fast. You’ll hear it from others who have graduated. You’ll have time to try everything you want to try. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s okay to say no sometimes. :)
            Now, onto a topic I’m sooooo knowledgeable about: Dating. Okay, I may not be “experienced,” but I can confidently say that I am well equipped (but not really). First of all, you’re at school for a Bachelor’s degree, not an “M.R.S. Degree.” I know we’ve had these talks here and there, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to GUARD YOUR HEART <3. You don’t have to be in a relationship anytime soon. You have your whole life ahead of you. Being single is just as important as being married. Both are gifts from God. You can do things for God when you’re single that you can’t do when you’re married. The same goes the other way. I’ve struggled with this (and still am) and have used prayer to help me. So, pray relentlessly. Pray for contentment in your singleness. Do not squander the time God has given you. Continue to live your life as Romans 12 commands us.
            If there is any lust that you might have for any man, keep your heart pure by going back to scripture and the cross. Remember what Jesus has done for you: “he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24. I know there will be attractive boys and men that’ll come your way and it’ll be crucial to know who the boys are and who the men are. 1 Timothy 3 gives you an outline of what your husband should be like. Also, remember that it is the man who is supposed to seek you out and pursue you. Not the other way.
            Before you enter into a relationship, lets examine your heart. Is your heart content with Christ? Is it completely satisfied in Him alone? Is Christ the focus of your life? I truly believe that until one is completely satisfied in Christ, then he or she can have a God-honoring relationship.
            I love you sooooo much. I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for you. Again, I am so proud of you. Cling to Christ. Seek Him. Love Him.
                Hannah P.

Every time I reread this letter, it's a slap across the face. I struggle with guarding my heart. I often let these "crushes" occupy my mind. The desires of my flesh become overwhelming and I begin to feel discontentment in my life. In times that I should be praying, I thinking about what my life could be like with this other person, hoping that my desires would become a reality. I take away from God's time and squander it on the desires of my flesh. 
Thankfully, I've combatted these desires with discipleship from others and prayer, which has helped me tremendously. One of the things that was hardest for me to pray for was that if this desire wasn't of God that he would take this desire away. God has been gracious and has pointed me to his cross. He has reminded me that he is sufficient. 
I know that if it be God's will for me to get married, he will provide a husband for me. A husband that meets all my needs and more. 

A few helpful videos:
This video with Matt Chandler is a very good reminder and also helpful:
Basically, he sums up everything that I've typed up in this blog.

"Should Women Pursue Men?"

Remember God's love. His love in that he sent his only Son to die on a cross for our sins. To suffer in our place. To feel the wrath that we so very much deserve. Christ has paid for my soul. I need to cling to my salvation, trust in Him completely and continue to preach the gospel to myself and look to the cross daily. This is the reality.

I hope this blog has been helpful to you. Look to Christ, always.
I know I use this Bible verse a lot, but it holds a lot of meaning.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10