Thanksgiving Blessings

rbtc-sealThanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

It’s a great time to reflect on the blessings of being in Christ—He’s given us everything!—and to recall all the ways His hand is moving in our lives.

Did I mention that turkey and dressing is one of my most favorite meals?

There’s nothing like a good pan of dressing (or stuffing as it is known by my friends above the Mason-Dixon Line) to make the heart happy.

And while I am thrilled that my family is invading Broken Arrow to visit me, I was reminded that many of my fellow Rhema classmates will not be sitting around the dinner table with their natural family.

The good news, though, is that no one will be alone because the Rhema family is huge—and worldwide!

Many graduates add extra dinner plates to their tables.

Many current students bring a passel of people home with them for the week.

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus in Mark 10:29-30:

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

I am so thankful for the friendships that are burgeoning this school year!

My more extroverted personality makes me a social butterfly, so leaving the place where my roots run deepest was a challenge for me.

Jesus’ promise, however, remains a source of constant comfort and encouragement.

I have sat around numerous tables with new friends, both students and alumni, since moving to Oklahoma. Every single person has told me the same thing:

If you ever need anything—and I mean anything—do not hesitate to call.

This one statement illustrates the Rhema family at its best. And it’s one of the many reasons I give thanks for Rhema Bible Training College.

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Kudos to Mother Teresa

I was 7 years old when Mother Teresa died, yet her life is one that has inspired generations. 

She embodied the gospel. 

Loving others like Christ loves them, especially the poor, was something she took literally. 

In fact, the work she started all those years ago is still going on!

I don’t want to be Mother Teresa (because that’s kind of silly don’t you think? To not be yourself–the person God created.)

But I want to take the gospel literally like she did. 

I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and dying world. 

I want to see myself as serving Jesus Himself when I help the poor, the sick, the widow, and the orphan (check out Matthew 25).

Mother Teresa’s example is the epitome of selflessness. 

The coolest thing to me is that she never set out to be famous or to be known world wide as a leader of Christian charity. 

She just started following Jesus. 

And others thought she was doing such a great job they wanted to help her out. 

Mother Teresa’s ideas spread because they weren’t her ideas–they were Jesus’ ideas! 

She decided to take the Bible literally and it changed the world. 

When I say Amen

Prayer is simply talking with God. 

There are no formulas, no secret codes, no tip-toeing around because you’re afraid of God’s lightening bolts.

We’ve talked about the subject before (click here) but recently a thought struck me, which will not leave me alone. 

Go to biblegateway.com and type in prayer. 61 New Testament references pop up!

When I scrolled through the list, here’s what I learned: 

  • Jesus prayed A TON and taught on prayer A TON during His earthly ministry.
  • The early church prayed A TON together and anyone who ended up on their prayer list got prayed for daily.
  • Miraculous things happen when Christians pray.

Obviously, most Christians can’t spend all of their time in their prayer closets. (For all of my non-churchey friends, a prayer closet is not an actual closet, but wherever a Christian talks privately with God.)

And even though the early church gathered a lot in prayer, all of them had everyday lives, too.

This is where my persistent thought comes in. 

I know that praying is simply talking to God and I know that the Bible shows us the how, when, and why of prayer; which is why Christians need to always be in a spirit of prayer.

So why do I say “Amen” every time I pray? I’m supposed to be praying continually…

If I’m talking with God all day long, why not just start the morning with, “Good morning, Father!” and then chat with him all day, ending with “Amen” after our nightly bedtime chat?

It is possible that I am really overthinking this whole thing. 

I just know that being in a spirit or attitude of constant conversation with God means that my every thought, my every action comes out of a healthy relationship.

However, I realized the other day that I tend to treat God as my sidekick when really my life belongs to Him. He’s not along for a ride with me–it’s actually vice versa! 

When I say “Amen” at night–which means “so be it”–I want it to reflect how my every thought and action that day contributed to our growing relationship.

 

 

 

 

Trust is key 

I entered a busy season today. There’s a lot going on at school and work. 

It’s all good stuff, but it could easily become overwhelming if I let it. 

And we all know that stress and worry has never helped anyone. 

I’m doing my best to combat any anxious thoughts immediately by praying about them instead of fretting over them. 

It really works! 

In fact, I am more at peace now than I ever was in the past when facing similar situations. 

My trust in God has increased exponentially and I’m learning to bring it all to Him first–not as a last resort. 

One of the biggest lessons I’m learning at Rhema is that knowing something and doing something are very different. 

Yes, I have known for a long time that trusting God is key to a peaceful and fruitful life.

 I have many stories about how trusting God has pulled me out of many seemingly impossible situations. 

But living in Tulsa has only increased my opportunities to trust God more fully. 

Like Dean Tad says, “If you can move to Tulsa by faith, you can follow God anywhere by faith.”

Assurance vs. Control

  I had an opportunity to interpret tonight! 

It was my first time at Victory Christian Church and my interpreter friend allowed me to help her out during a small group Bible study. 

Sign language is such a part of my life now. Meeting some deaf friends and getting involved in deaf ministry is an important aspect in my move to Tulsa. 

My first priority is being a student at Rhema, of course, but I can’t imagine not signing…

God is faithful, though, and He knows what He’s doing. 

Whenever you’re in a transition period, trust that God is working on your behalf and leading you to the right people and the right places. 

Sure, my involvement in deaf ministry looks nothing like it did back in Birmingham. 

And that’s okay because:

  • God knows my heart. 
  • God knows my gifts. 
  • God has a plan and a place for me. 

This is all the assurance I need.  

Interpreting tonight was fun because God opened the door. 

The biggest lesson I’ve learned since moving is that I like control way too much. 

Just call me a recovering control freak…

My 5th and final goal for 2016 is to stop seeking control over every detail. I don’t have to be a micro manager. 

Being in control is not my job –it’s God’s job.