Isaiah 61:1-3

 “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zionto bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.”

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Peace in the Storm

lighthouse-keeper

“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, ESV

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -John 14:27, ESV

“Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” -I Peter 5:7, ESV

I have a confession to make. This is the last week before finals, and I have been worried sick. About what? Well, a lot of things, honestly. About money, because that’s fairly tight right now (I am a college student, after all). About the two papers, two projects, three quizzes, and two tests that make up this academic week for me. About the six finals I have next week, and the two lectures I have to somehow find time to listen to before then. About that one class in which my grade teeters on the brink of two letters, and about how much I’m going to have to study to push it up.

Honestly, I have a lot to worry about. But then again, who doesn’t? If it’s not exams, it’s money; if it’s not money, it’s your job and that promotion you’ve been dying to get. If it’s not your parents, it’s your husband; if it’s not your husband, it’s your boyfriend and whether he’s going to propose at Christmas. We’ve all got something to stress over.

But what does God have to say about it? Does He say, “Hey, guys, I know you’ve got a lot to worry about, and it’s totally cool if you want to throw a pity party and stress so much you make yourself sick”? Does He say, “Go ahead and waste your time watching stupid YouTube videos to distract yourself from your problems”? No, He doesn’t. But what is His solution, if they aren’t my our solutions? “Do not be anxious about anything”-what??-“but in everything… let your requests be made known to God. That’s His solution. Crazy, I know, but instead of stressing out of our minds, we’re supposed to talk to Him. We’re called to pour out our hearts to the One Who made us. Why? Because “He cares for you.” What? He cares about me? Yeah, He does. He knows you’re stressed out and anxious, and He wants to help, because that’s Who He is.

So is that it, then? Tell Him about it and go back to freaking out? No. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.” He’s promised us peace, beyond compare and beyond understanding. That’s what you get when you trust Him: incredible and perfect peace in the storm.

It is well, it is well-
Through the storm, I am held!
It is well, it is well with my soul!

Photo credits: https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/a-storm-at-la-jument/

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II Corinthians 12:9-10

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (ESV)

This morning, I woke up, and I was about 99% sure I was going to die. Of course, I tend towards the dramatic side, but it was bad. I had the migraine of the century, a fever, nausea – the whole nine yards. And I thought, There’s no way I can survive today on my own. All day, all I could do was push for a little more at a time. Just make it through this class, I repeated to myself over and over and over again. And somehow, miraculously, I reached the end of the day.

But it wasn’t me that got me through today. It wasn’t my strength, because I’m weak. I’m not strong enough to support myself. But I have a Refuge Who is. I don’t have to be strong enough, because He is. I don’t have to support me, because He can. His strength is made perfect in weakness, and He loves to come alongside and support the struggling.

So, friends, remember: no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, you don’t have to be strong enough – you just have to lean on the One Who is. When you are weak, He is strong.

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Just Be Held

 

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Come As You Are

I was back in my college group at Heritage tonight, and it was like coming home. I felt like I really met God there. I’ve been going through a really rough time spiritually this summer, and being back at Heritage was a huge breath of fresh air for me. We sang a few of my favorite songs. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried. Something that was said really resonated with me, even though I’ve known it my whole life: “You can come as you are to the cross.” So, as I typically do, I wrote a poem about it. I’ve written something similar before (As You Are); but while that sprung from a lyrical-sounding phrase, this one came from a place of brokenness in my own heart. “As You Are” is more from an outside perspective, while “Come As You Are” is what I needed to hear tonight.

Come with your weakness,
Come as you are
Into the light of His grace.
Come with your brokenness,
Your sin and your shame –
Come and meet Him face-to-face.

He’s ready to save you;
He’s waiting for you
To come and meet Him in this place.
He wants to know you,
To share in your pain,
To shower you with His grace.

There’s nothing you can do,
Nothing you are,
That can earn His forgiveness and love.
You’re broken and dirty;
Your goodness is rags –
You don’t deserve grace from above.

It’s all about Him;
It’s only Who He is
That allows you to boldly come.
His love and mercy,
His sacrifice
Allows you to call His house home.

He loves you, He loves you,
In spite of yourself;
He invites you to call this place home,
So come as you are,
With your guilt and your rags –
Lay it all at His feet and come.

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My Story

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Selections from Psalm 18 (NIV)

“I love You, O Lord, my Strength. The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God is my Rock, in Whom I take refuge. He is my Shield and the horn of my salvation, my Stronghold. I call to the Lord, Who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies… (v. 1-3)
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him into His ears…
(v. 6)
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me on the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me…
(v. 16-19)
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light
(v. 28)
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a Shield for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?…
(v. 30-31)
The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!”
(v. 46)

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