Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21 Years Young & Redeemed

Once again, it’s been a while since I’ve written. I had a crazy busy summer with an even busier transition back to school this year. But I have been so incredibly blessed! As most of you know, this summer I had the opportunity to intern with our high school ministries back at my home church, Hebron. I could not have imagined a better way to spend my summer! It was truly the best summer that I have ever had. I don’t have the time to type (nor would any of you want to read) all of the wonderful stories I have to share from our high school ministries and my trip to the Dominican Republic. But I would love to personally tell you all about it, so come ask me if you want to hear more! I cannot even begin to explain how blessed I feel to have been surrounded by some truly amazing people! Thank you so much to everyone who made my summer absolutely incredible! If I tried to list everyone who impacted my life this summer, I wouldn't even be able to list them all! Thank you to the unbelievable high school ministries dream team! Thank you to the staff of Hebron Baptist Church! Thank you to all of our volunteer leaders at camp! Thank you to all of my amazing students! Thank you to my Dominican Republic mission team! And most of all, thank you to my precious Savior who continues to bless my life so much more than I will ever deserve!

Then it was back to Athens for the school year! I’ll have to admit, as much as I love my school, I didn’t really want to go back after the summer I had. I wanted to stay at my church and continue the work that I felt I had only just begun! But the Lord quickly reminded me that my missionfield is wherever He places me. As my beautiful friend, Jenna always says, “Home is where your feet are.”  I am blessed to have my feet placed in Athens. God has been faithful in showing me what He wants me to be involved in and where He wants me to invest my time. And I have had a wonderful semester thus far! Of course, my Georgia Bulldogs are doing AMAZING! I’ve loved every minute that I’ve gotten to spend with BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) and Team United (FCA). And I just turned 21 years young. An unbelievably blessed 21 years it has been! Thank you to everyone who made my birthday great!

One thing that the Lord was teaching me at the beginning of the summer is that He alone is enough. There is nothing more important and nothing more worthy of our devotion. I wrote about this more in my blog back in May. I encourage you to go back and read that one if you haven’t yet. But in continuation of learning this lesson, the Lord taught me a lot about redemption.

Redeem: (verb) to free from captivity by payment of ransom

That’s exactly what the Lord did for me and for you. Without Christ, we are slaves to our sin, stuck in a life of captivity. But when we realize that we need Jesus and ask God to forgive us, we are freed from that captivity. Instantly. No hesitation from the Lord. Jesus Christ paid our ransom when He died on the cross for our sins. So it really is that simple. Have faith, reach out to the Lord, and you will be redeemed.

In Mark 5:25-34 and Matthew 9:20-22 we hear the story of Jesus healing the woman who had been bleeding for ten years. She was shunned and dying, but she heard that Jesus was coming and had faith that just touching Him would redeem her and heal her body from suffering. When she does touch Him, it says, “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:29). And when Jesus finds her in the crowd He tells her:
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” –Mark 5:34
“Take heart, daughter… your faith has healed you.” –Matthew 9:22

It’s that simple for each of us: faith. Simply having faith in the power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Faith heals, faith forgives, faith redeems, faith changes lives.

Our value doesn’t come from earthly accomplishments or possessions like sports, honors, or money. (“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:8) We are valuable simply because we exist by God’s creation. Not because of what we’ve accomplished in the past or because of what we will do in the future. We hold value because we were created by God’s hand, and He knows each one of us intimately. Rest assured in that.

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..." -Isaiah 49:16

Your faith has made you well. You are redeemed.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dominican Republic Prayer Calendar!

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and yourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” -2 Corinthians 4:5-6

It's that time again! I am blessed beyond belief to be going to the Dominican Republic again this year! We meet at the church at 3am (which is in 4 hours- maybe I should sleep?)! I cannot wait to see all that God has planned for this trip! I know that He is going to do some BIG things! Here is the link to the video I created in case you want to watch it and see a little bit of what we do down in the DR!
The DR Project!
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me both financially and prayerfully! As of yesterday, I have finally raised all of the financial support. Praise the Lord! And now, I am asking if you would be a supporter in prayer during this week! One major thing we pray for as a team is that God will do something in us, through us, and that changes us.  Below I am listing our prayer calendar. It has something to pray for each day along with scripture to pray over as well!

Saturday, July 21: Safe travels; Romans 10:17
Sunday, July 22: Church planting; Colossians 4:4
Monday, July 23: Baseball ministry; Luke 12:11-12
Tuesday, July 24: Mobile (village to village) medical clinics; Ephesians 4:20-21
Wednesday, July 25: Health and water education program; Ezekiel 22:30
Thursday, July 26: Baseball ministry; John 20:21
Friday, July 27: Mobile (village to village) medical clinics; Romans 15:13
Saturday, July 28: Safe travels; Romans 15:20

Your prayers will be greatly appreciated, and I know that I team will be able to feel the love and support from home as we're there! I cannot thank you enough for being a part of this amazing journey for me! Of course, there will be plenty of pictures and stories to post after the trip! Thanks for being a prayer warrior! I love each and every one of you! Have a blessed week!

"HERE AM I. SEND ME!" -Isaiah 6:8

Monday, May 14, 2012

None but Jesus.

“All of You is more than enough for all of me. For every thirst and every need, You satisfy me with Your love, and all I have in You is more than enough.”

Over the past few months, God has been teaching me a lot about where I have been investing my love and my time. Sometimes, it takes God removing things we think we “love” from our life in order for Him to place our focus back on what is most important. The past few months have been really rough for me because time after time, the Lord has been taking things away from my life that I thought were significant. I could not understand why I had to hurt the way I was or why the Lord would take away these things that I truly loved. My world seemed to be crumbling around me, but the Lord was there to pick up the pieces. And through His word, through prayer, through pain, and through praise, He showed me that there is nothing more important and nothing more worthy of my love than Christ alone. He has truly revealed to me how sovereign He is; He has plans for me that are far better than anything I could even imagine for myself. So instead of asking God why He was taking things away from me, I started praising Him for all of the new things He was revealing to me. He was giving me so many new opportunities and blessing me in so many ways that I had never been open to before. I hadn’t had the time or the open heart to see what else the Lord had planned. And He had to take things out of my life that had been distracting from the path that He was trying to place me on.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” –Psalm 63:1-4

I was fearful to let go of these things that I was so used to and so in love with. They had become so important to me that they were overshadowing what God wanted for my life. I was trying to take matters into my own hands instead of listening to the Lord’s plan. I was scared that life without them would not “work”. But the Lord has shown me that life has room to grow so much greater when all importance is placed on Him. Choosing to love Him the best that I possibly can is all He is asking of me. And through opening up my heart to this call, He has answered my prayers. He has overcome my pain, and He has conquered my fears.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me. He delivered me from all my fears.” –Psalm 34:4

Jesus is better than anything else that we could ever choose to invest in. He is worth giving up things of the world that we love because He is SO MUCH BETTER. We should be fully committed to the Lord at all times. It’s not a halfway, sometimes, maybe thing- we must be willing to give up whatever is in the way of loving God with our whole heart. So in those times when we do fall down and lose sight of this truth, God picks us back up, and by His grace, puts us on our feet to walk in His way again. We have to trust Him with our life. We have to trust that His plan is better than our own. He wants to be able to use our lives for His glory, but we must be willing to give our lives completely to Him- no matter what else that means giving up. Our most important role in life is to glorify and honor God. Colossians 3:23 tells is that whatever we do, we must do it for the Lord.

“There is no one else for me, none but Jesus. Crucified to set me free, now I live to bring Him praise.”

The last thing I want to share is how the Lord is blessing me already this summer. I have been given the opportunity to be the high school ministries intern at my church, and I could not be more excited! I know that God has amazing plans. I cannot wait to see how He works through me with the students and how He works in me through this ministry. This is the perfect place to spend my summer, and I’m eager to see His plans unfold. Also, I am going back to the Dominican Republic in July. This will be my third trip, and I can’t even begin to explain how much the Lord has taught me and used me during these times. I could write all day about His goodness and how wonderful the DR has been to me, but I will let this video speak for itself... The DR Project
If you would like a support letter for my trip, whether it be to give financially or prayerfully, please let me know. I would be more than happy to send you one! 

I pray the Lord showers you with blessings as He has for me, and that in hard times, you would make it through by clinging to His promises…
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012, I Take the Challenge.

During Christmastime, I had been reading through the birth of Jesus in Luke. Luke 1:26-38 tells the story of when the angel appears to Mary telling her that God is giving her a son despite the fact that she is still a virgin.

 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”  38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

In verse 28, the angel tells Mary that she is highly favored and the Lord is with her. Mary was just an ordinary woman that God sought out and favored because He saw that He could use her. In the same way, God handpicked each of us to be His children because He knew that He could use us as well. For some reason, the Lord found favor with us too! How special is that! Then we see that Mary is both confused and a little worried. But the angel explains the Lord's plans for Mary and this child. He says in verse 37, "For no word from God will ever fail." And in another translation it says, "For nothing is impossible with God." Amen! Mary's response after this is simply, "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." Mary's faith in God is put to the test here, but she completely surrenders to His plan. How great would be it be if we too had a willing heart like Mary's. He has called on us and found favor with us, so we too should remember that we are the Lord's servants ready and willing to be used for His glory!

Mary then goes on a little further in the chapter, and we see how she has completely given her heart and her life to the Lord's work.

46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
   of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
   holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
   from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
   he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
   but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
   but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
   remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
   just as he promised our ancestors.”

I know that for me, I desire for my heart to be completely surrendered to God as Mary's is here. I pray that my soul would glorify the Lord and that my spirit would constantly rejoice in my Savior because He is mindful of me, has blessed me, and has done great things for me. He is merciful to me and all His children, and He has done immeasurable mighty things. So my prayer for you all is this too- that you would realize that God has chosen you and wants to use you as His servant to bring Him glory. I pray that your hearts would be like Mary's, acknowledging the greatness of our God and completely surrendering to His plans for your life.
There has been a recent movement going called the Proverbs 31 movement. Their challenge for women is to “Live 31” and take the stance “I’d rather be a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria’s Secret model.” Proverbs 31:10-31 talks about the kind of woman that the Lord desires for us to be. I want to take this challenge, and I want to be this woman to honor my Savior. The following is this passage, and their website is if you want to find out more.

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I received a book for Christmas called One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven from my mentor who is from UGA FCA. Inside the cover she wrote, “Be a woman who impacts eternity!” and cited 2 Corinthians 5:20 under it. This verse says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” Thank you, Jill, for challenging me in this way. In 2012, I want to have a heart like Mary, I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and I want to be a woman who impacts eternity. I take the challenge.