This post is going to contain a random assortment of what God has been showing me the past few weeks/this semester so sorry in advanced that it is really long.
I started this semester with mixed feelings about graduating in May. I was excited to be done, but also nervous about entering the ‘real world’. Now the semester is over half way done and I still have the same mixed feelings. I don’t really know what the next year holds and I have had to learn to give it to God because if I try to figure it out on my own it stresses me out. But I know that God has my future already planned and it is better than anything I could have ever planned. One verse that God used a couple of weeks ago to remind me of that fact is Psalm 139:16.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. ” – Ps. 139:16
This semester has been really crazy, but through it all God has shown me new information about who He is and also areas where I need to grow.
- At the beginning I was struggling with the fact that my life was not lining up with how I imagined it would be when I was a lot younger. What this really meant was that I had always thought I would be married shortly after graduation and that is not what is going to happen. I was able to sit down with a good friend at the beginning of the semester though and talk about what I was struggling with and she encouraged me that God has a plan for my life.
- Family has also become really important to me this semester. Early in the semester my cousin died suddenly and unexpectedly and it really just reminded me how short life can be and how important family is. Since then I have tried to not only spend more time with my family, especially my younger siblings, but also have tried to spend quality time with the youngest ones because I don’t know what the future holds.
- This semester I have also continued to be involved in the Abolitionist Society of Oklahoma. Through my involvement God has given me more of a heart for the unborn, but also for the moms who are scared and feel like abortion is the only option. Looking back it has been neat to see how God used volunteering at a pregnancy center the summer after my Freshman year to begin to mold the views I have on abortion now. (I’ll write more about that in another post).
- One exciting thing that is happening in Oklahoma is that there is an organization trying to get an amendment added to the November Ballot that will change the definition of personhood in the constitution to beginning at the moment of conception. If you would like more information on that feel free to ask me or visit Personhood Oklahoma
- I have also been thinking a lot about what true worship looks like now and what it is going to look like in Heaven, but I have already written a post about it that you can read.
- For Spring Break this year I went to San Antonio for a college retreat over the Trinity and it was mind-blowing. I learned so much and I am still trying to process it, but the two biggest things I learned was that 1) God corrected my thought that there was a hierarchy in the Trinity. All three persons of the Trinity are equal, thus the use of the word ‘and’ when they are mentioned. 2) There are references to the Trinity found throughout the Bible (both Old and New Testament), but I had never seen them. The most surprising one mentioned this weekend was Mt. 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name (singular) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit(multiple names)”. This picture shows that they are three persons in one.
- This weekend I also attended church at Castle Hill First Baptist in San Antonio and heard a great sermon on Brokenness. But it was during the singing time that God really convicted me that I am spending too much time trying to live up to what others expect of me instead of focusing on who God has made me and living like He is the only one who matters. Looking back this is actually something that God has been trying to show me for weeks, but I’ve just not been paying attention to what He has been saying.
I have also been thinking/praying/researching a lot about what I am going to do for a job in the fall, but that will be a whole other blog post. I know there is probably something I have forgotten, but that is enough for now. I am so thankful that even though I constantly fail Christ He is still faithful to show me areas where I need to change even if at first I don’t notice/want to listen.
I would love to hear what God has been showing you this semester.
The past couple of weeks I have been think a lot about worship and what it actually looks like. I started thinking about it when I was at work and the children I was watching were singing Vacation Bible School songs and worshiping God. I often get goosebumps when I hear the two and three year olds singing songs like ‘How Great is Our God’, etc. (On a side note, I still get goosebumps every week in children’s choir when 55-65 kids sing/shout about how they are not going to bow to idols. I pray this is a truth in their life now and for the rest of their lives.) I also love listening to multi-ethnic groups singing worship songs or just worship songs in different languages. Chris Tomlin’s song How Great is Our God (World Edition) is one of my favorites (just a heads up that the song is kind of long, but is worth it). To me it is just a picture of what Heaven is going to be like and makes me look forward to it.
I’ve also been thinking about what true worship looks like. I know that it is more than just singing songs, but that it is the way you live your life. In John 4:24 Jesus says “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NASB) This means that worship is not external, but is something done in the heart. I know that external signs of worship can be faked, especially when singing worship songs. I know I myself have been guilty at times of giving off the impression that I am worshiping, but inwardly I am focused on something else. But I also believe that if real worship is taking place inwardly that it will be visible externally. When I think of real inward worship displaying itself externally I think of other countries where they may be persecution going on. A couple of summers ago I had the opportunity to spend 7 weeks in India and the city I was in is known as the holy city and everywhere you look there is a shrine or temple set up to one of the Hindu gods. There is even a big Muslim population in this town. But I never once saw a church or an obvious Christian building. While I was there I had the opportunity to visit a Indian church service and was blessed and encouraged to hear them worshiping God. Even though I could not understand a word they said you could see in their face and hear in the way that they sang that they were truly worshiping.I have a recording of them singing and would love to share it, but I’m not sure how to upload it.
Those are my thoughts for right now. I am going to continue to look at different passages of scripture to see what God says about worship. Feel free to ask me how it is going.
Sorry if some of this does not make any sense. It is late, but I really wanted to get this down. If you have any questions, if something I have written is wrong please let me know.
I recently attended an open discussion about abortion that the Abolitionist Society of Oklahoma put together. During the evening one of the pro-choice people in the room explained why he is okay with abortions and his reasoning was that the unborn do not have a right to life because they are not able to hold preferences. When asked later if he would be okay with the killing of 14 year olds who were mentally retarded he said yes because they too can not hold preferences about their world. What I understood from that is that a person has value only if they are able to have a preference about the way they live and change it if they are not satisfied. I’m sorry if I am misrepresenting you, but this is what I understood from what you said.
I would like to argue that a person, no matter their intelligence level, has value because God made them and gave them value. Several verses in the Bible speak to the fact that man was created in the image of God.
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Gen 1:27 (NAS)
God said this right before he created man and man is the only thing that was created in the image of God.
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:13-16
In these verses we see that, even before we were born, God knows everything about us and it stands to reason that if he knows everything about us then he knows which of his creations are going to have a mental handicap. God is able to create people so they don’t have a mental handicap so if He creates them with a mental handicap they must still have value because He created them and every human that God creates has value. There are other verses that explain why humans have value, but for me these verses sum it all up.
Aside from the fact that all human value is found in God I know personally that measuring a person by their mental capacity does not make any person a lesser human. The problem with finding human value in mental capacity is that there are many forms of intelligence that can not be tested by an IQ test. I have a sister, Tami, who is mentally retarded, but I would say she has more intelligence than many people it just looks different. We adopted her when she was 4 years old and since she has joined our family she has never put her shoes on the wrong feet (and we never taught her) and she is able to dribble a basketball as good as most people. She also has great musical rhythm and when she hears a song with good rhythm she can not help but drum along. But she is also tricky and is able to do a lot more than she lets on. She doesn’t talk much but every once in a while she will slip up and speak clearly, but then she tries to act like it was a mistake so that she does not have to work so hard. While she may not be able to say her ABC’s or count to 10 without help I don’t care and I can’t imagine anyone who has met her saying her life has no value just because she is not really able to hold preferences about her life. She is my sister and the fact that God has said her life has value is enough for me.
Tami, 12, who joined my family in 2003.
She brightens my life everyday and reminds me that every person is special in God’s eyes.
I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but one thing that God has been challenging me in is the area of integrity. He has also been showing me how important it is. Most of this has been in connection with school and homework. It has frustrated me for the past year or so that some of my classmates don’t actually do the work to complete the assignments, they just make everything up and I’ll do all of the work and we will get the same grade. Of course they don’t tell the teacher this, but they often talk about it with me or other classmates.
It really bothered me, but I just kept telling myself that God saw the work that I was doing and that is really all that mattered. Also, I comforted myself with the knowledge that the hands on practice that I was getting at the time would benefit me later on and some of my classmates wouldn’t have that experience. But even knowing all of this it still bothered me how openly they talked about just making all of their work up or finding all of their answers in the back of the book. But then in class yesterday my teacher was telling us how important it is that we teach our students the importance of integrity and how integrity means doing what is right even if we don’t get a reward for it right away. I heard that and it just encouraged me to hear that the work that I put into my assignments is the right thing to do even though others can come up with the same level of work with out doing the hard work required. Later that evening I talked about it with my roommates and they encourage me even more with the following verse:
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” – Colossians 3:23
As the above verse says we are to do our work for God and not for anyone else. I really appreciated them sharing that verse with me because I knew it, but hadn’t been thinking about it.
If you read this post thank you for reading my ramblings and I hope that it encouraged you to always do the right thing even if nobody else sees.