Monday, October 22, 2012

have faith.

the same word has been recurring a lot in different aspects of my life lately. FAITH. sometimes it just pops into my head or i read it in my Bible, or sometimes someone mentions something about having faith, but it has caught my attention and has caused me to think a lot.

hebrews 11:1 (message) - "the fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. it's our handle on what we can't see."
2 corinthians 5:7 - "we live by faith, not by sight."
2 timothy 2:13 - "if we are faithless, he is still faithful, for he cannot disown himself."

it struck me recently that whenever we have an area of life in which we are not living in joyous expectation of good, it gives the chance for the devil to seize a foothold in our lives. why would i want that?? it is so easy for me to become fearful, especially of the future. i frequently have to stop and remind myself that the Lord is in control and He has already determined each and every one of my steps. His plan for my life is PERFECT and far exceeds any of my wildest dreams or expectations.

the fact of the matter is that faith is the opposite of fear.  the command repeated most often in the Bible is "do not fear." when i fear, it overtakes the foundation of my relationship with Christ - my faith. fear is essentially faith in devil; the doubt that God is as powerful and sovereign as He says He is. faithlessness is the same as fearfulness. my fear and my faith cannot coexist; they work against each other. who am i to doubt the power of God? He is on His throne and is taking care of every single intimate detail of my life. when i pray, everything is possible if i believe that He WILL do it. i so often find myself saying, "i have no doubt that God can answer this prayer." well of course he can, haley.... even the devil knows that God can answer prayer. true faith would be declaring His promises over my life in full expectation of Him answering my prayers. and that is my goal.

"for the one who has faith, nothing is impossible. there are NO impossibilities where there is faith, and there are no exceptions to that." -bill johnson

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

what i'm thankful for today

it's so easy to get caught up in our day to day lives and get stressed out over little things, but there are literally so many things to be thankful for. two big ones stand out in my mind today...

i am so thankful for the Lord's continual grace and for the fact that when i mess up his love never ever runs out. seriously. i do NOT deserve that and knowing that He is constant in my life is always a good reminder when i forget. :)

i'm also thankful for this guy! a year and a half together as of today and still best friends... go us. i think he's pretty awesome.

among the other things i'm thankful for today...
  • naps- seriously, college has made me so sleep deprived.
  • hugs
  • happy people
  • sweatshirts
  • heart to hearts with good friends
  • SKYPE.
keeping everything in perspective and talking about what i love and am thankful for just simply makes me happier than dwelling on what could be better in my life. sure does help keep me less stressed out. God is good :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

the purpose driven life.

it's not about you.

that was my takeaway from our bible study tonight. the leader of campus crusade talked to us about what our purpose was while we were here on this earth, and mentioned those 4 little words - it's not about you. after some pondering and some reading, the first chapter of rick warren's book "the purpose driven life" hit home with me, motivating me to be more selfless in my day to day life and prayerfully work on finding out what my life's purpose actually is.

"for everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, ... everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him. -colossians 1:16

the purpose of your life is far greater than your achievements, your family, your friends, your peace of mind or your happiness. if you want to know why you were placed on this earth, you must go back to God. you were born by and for his purpose.

the question about what our purpose is in life has puzzled people for thousands of years. why? because they always start with themselves. we ask ourselves self-centered questions like "what do I want to be? what are MY goals, MY ambitions, and MY dreams for MY future?"

focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose.

many people will try and use God for their own self actualization, which is turn will leave them feeling empty and dissatisfied. we were made for God, not the other way around. life is about letting God use you for His purposes and His glory, not you using Him for your own purpose. the Bible says, "obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life."

so many of our ideas of success today come from the ideas, "consider your dreams. set goals. aim high. go for it. never give up." while these ideas are good and can lead to great success, being successful and fulfilling your life purpose are not the same thing! you could have all the success in the world and achieve everything you could possibly wish for in this life and still miss the purposes for which God created you.

thankfully, we don't have to speculate about what our purposes for our lives might be and can rely on what the Bible says about life... because the easiest way to discover the purpose of something is to ask the creator of it, right?

God hasn't left us in the dark to wonder about what our life's purpose is. the source of life is found in Him and through Him we find our purpose and can live life abundantly.

1) you discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2) God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about Him. His purpose for your life predates your conception - he planned it before you existed, without your input. you can choose your career or your girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse or hobbies, but you do not choose your purpose.
3) the purpose of your life fits into the bigger purpose that God has designed for eternity.

"it's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we're living for. long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

a constant reminder.

over the past few of days i have seen the same Bible verse pop up on facebook, my instagram and on twitter that keeps catching my attention.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NCV): "Come to Me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept My teachings and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light."

this verse is so easy to overlook because in the back of our minds, we know that God is with us and is our comfort and strength. that knowledge comes as second nature to a Christian which often leads us to forget that the ALMIGHTY GOD of the UNIVERSE has the power to give us REST and remove our burdens. just soak that in for a minute. #boom.

i know i am not the only one when i say that the first semester of college has been difficult due to adjusting to a new routine, managing my time with schoolwork and social events, being away from family, friends and my boyfriend and having to be separated from all that is familiar. it's been too easy to get caught up in the newness and excitement and constant "go go go" of college life, and now that i've been here for almost 2 months, the excitement of it all has worn off and i, as well as the large majority of my friends, are now feeling overwhelmed and want to go back to what we know.

a good friend of mine reminded me the other day that we don't know that the Lord's will is for our lives, but all we know is that the Lord desires us to be sanctified with him and that we need to put ourselves in situations where that is happening. perhaps He is calling us to be uncomfortable so that we learn to to solely depend on Him, or perhaps after a period of time He will call us to a different location. but at the same time, it doesn't matter where we are: the devil is trying to pull us down and tell us otherwise. he does not want us to be encouraged and especially does not want us to be lights in this world. everything that happens is a part of His plan the Lord wills us to become more like Him every day. God is faithful and will provide as we walk on the narrow path, and all we can do is trust His bigger plan.

so that's what i'm doing. despite me being out of my comfort zone and overwhelmed, i am going to grow where i'm planted. i will rest in the fact that He already has the next four years planned out for me and i will pray that the Lord uses me for His purposes and His glory, and wherever He leads me i will go.