Random Musings #3

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. The past few months I’ve been going through the Matthew devotional challenge for Urbana this year – which btw, I’m stoked for! Because I’ll be part of a sort of hackathon – i.e. thinking about how we can use technology ideas for missions/ministry.

That aside, today I read the first bit of Matthew 13 covering the Parable of Sower:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A1-23&version=NIV

As I finished reading this on my way to work in the morning, I couldn’t help but think of the youth I’m serving in my fellowship. I’ve seen people on the path, I’ve seen people in rocky places. But what hit me the most in this passage, was the seed in the thorns:

“The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
-Matthew 13:22

It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, even longer since high school for that matter. But it just feels like the youth are constantly feeling overwhelmed. Burnt out from life; from school; from projects; from homework; from memorizing and studying for tests; exams; quizzes, you name it etc. They want to grow their faith, they want fellowship, some want to serve, but don’t know how to overcome the academic and time obstacles.

They’re holding seeds of faith that are trying to grow, all while the thorns of worry and concern for the “ideal future” are choking them….Heck, the worries of life choke me too sometimes. ><

And so I come to my struggle, my struggle with encouraging them to stay connected; encouraging them to build their life AROUND God, not fit God in the days/hours/minutes/seconds of “free time”; encouraging them to serve even if they feel uncomfortable/unqualified (I always think of Moses’ story in this case) etc.

Maybe that’s all I can do (i.e. encourage and be there), I don’t know. I can’t help but want to do more, but I don’t know how or what to do….

Welp, now that I’ve word-vomited, going to pray now.

Random Musings #2

“Sometimes being angry isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, being angry means you care a lot about something. I mean look at God, God got angry a lot. But then He came and loved is right back.”

Over the past weekend during my annual youth winter retreat we spent a lot of time/hours just spilling our guts to each other. We had some heated talks, ones that people might think could break friendships. But no, that’s not how I’ve ever felt about talks like the ones I’ve had with these “kids” (oh my, I paused before writing that, geeze that aged me LOL). Yes we’re angry, I get angry and sometimes I hate it because it makes me emotional and I don’t know how to word things together. Oh and because of those 2 things, a lot of the time it makes me cry. And then that leads to me getting more angry because I don’t know how to express why I’m angry.

….At the same time, when I reflect on those moments I can’t help but be incredibly thankful for when I get angry or when I talk to people who get fired up for things they are passionate about and care a lot about. Granted, I’m speaking of positive causes and God things for the most part here….but the weekend made me think again….

I know I hate getting angry, but maybe I should get angry more about some things.

Trusting in God

In the midst of planning for our youth winter retreat atm.

We decided that our theme would be anxiety + trusting in God based on these verses:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Matthew 5:25-34

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

it makes me think and remember: wow, why do I forget to trust and rely on God? Do you know how much LESS STRESSED I am when I do? Seriously.

btw, it’s not that I still don’t worry, but my trust in God, reminds me that I don’t have do be as worried. Which means, more time for God! – win-win!

Thanksgiving

This past weekend was thanksgiving, though I’m a bit late. I wanted to just list a whole bunch of things I felt thankful for in the moment. Most of these things I had said in prayer before dinner several times over the weekend, but I like the visual reminder :)

I’m thankful for:
-God’s love – in every form
-my loving parents and family
-my awesome friends
-the job that I’ve been blessed to still be in for the last 3 years
-every brother and sister in Christ that I’ve met, kept in touch with, still remember from who knows when
-my loving, challenging, encouraging boyfriend
-anything and everything else God has blessed me with always

Amen.
I’m thinking of making/keeping a whiteboard/wall of thankful things. Also a wall of prayers.

Need to get me some dollarstore whiteboards now xD

Reconnect

Wow, I haven’t posted here since the beginning of the year LOL.

Today I feel compelled to blog here due to a conversation I had with my boyfriend after work over coffee. So let’s see, what have I been doing over the last 9 months…..

I read Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and Hosea.
That was a lot of fun, Hosea, I had been meaning to read ever since I started dating last year. It’s both a terrifying and fantastic story of Israel turning it’s back on God, warnings of destruction with the Lord promising redemption in the end (much like how Hosea went and bought Gomer back). Proverbs took longer to read than I thought, but was full of tidbits of wisdom. Ecclesiastes was probably my favourite out of the 3. It basically summed that you can enjoy all there is in this present and short life we have, but in the end it really is meaningless without God.

-Been doing skype bible study devotions with a few of the youth from my fellowship
We read Mark, Ephesiasns, James, John 1–3 and are kinda in the process of reading Esther. I’m trying to convince them that we should do Ecclesiastes after x]

-Today, my boyfriend and I had a brief conversation about prayer
I had him pick up an extra order of Philip Yancey’s “Prayer: Does it make any difference?” books I ordered for my youth fellowship today. We met up for coffee after I got off work and talked for a bit about faith and prayer. He was raised Catholic, and has knowledge about the bible, but is more skeptical about faith because of his parents (so he says). Even though he’s more interested from an intellectual standpoint, I find it absolutely fascinating and enlightening when we have these conversations, and it’s at these times that I learn a lot about my own faith. I pray that we continue to have these conversations and that it may encourage him to seek God with his heart in the near future. And until then, I pray that I could be a worthy witness of God’s glory. \o/

//End unfiltered run-on musing/reflection

p.s. I hope to get back into recording my thoughts on this blog again more frequently lol

All for love…

…is the theme name we decided to go with for the youth fellowship’s winter retreat this year. which is incidentally also on Valentine’s Day weekend. Inspired by probably my favourite chapter in the bible, 1 Corinthians 13:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self­seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

It’s just one of the most amazing, inspiring, uplifting, encouraging, convicting (and other things that words can’t express) piece of scripture out there that I think, describes the nature of God and everything He stands for. love, love, love, love. The God who so loved the world and us that He sent His son to die for us.