Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Broken Swing

Last year, my sister and I went on a photoshoot in our back yard. We found an old tire swing, and so I sat on it and swung back and forth while my sister snapped some shots. "Okay, my turn," she called. Taking a flying leap, she launched herself onto the swing and began to swing back and forth. On her second or third time, however, the swing broke, and my sister found herself sitting on the ground. We both had a good laugh and decided not to take pictures there anymore. 

Today I was thinking though, of how much sitting on the swing is like being out in the world. It looks fun, and it looks tempting, but if you are not firmly anchored onto Christ, you will fall. This has been especially true for me in college, because it's a lot harder to have that firm connection to Him with all of the distractions. I know that unlike the swing, however, if I hold onto Him tightly, I will never fall.

Keep holding on!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Cameras and Chemistry

So, I currently do not know the location of my camera. The picture part of this blog will be picked up again when I find it and begin taking more pictures. :) Until then, I hope you will enjoy reading rather than looking, starting with a devotional I wrote this last week for my chemistry class.


For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
- Colossians 3:3

Hide-and-seek. Just mentioning the name brings up a plethora of memories. Hiding out in the cold, dark woods, squishing into obscured corners, sneaking around for safety, clambering into the dryer... The childhood experience was priceless. I can't count the times that I sat patiently in my hiding spot, waiting to be found. One such time, I had chosen one of our laundry baskets, and had covered myself in laundry. I would tremble with fear as my sister came looking for me, talking her way along, and breathe a sigh of relief when she passed by. Eventually, I would inevitably get bored, sneak out of my hiding place, and try to reappear somewhere totally different. Hide-and-seek was always a highlight of my childhood.

Sometimes, we play hide-and-seek with the world. We are supposed to be hid in Christ, totally obscured by Him, like I was hidden by the laundry. However, we often get bored and come out of hiding, looking for something else to do, and the world has plenty to offer. It's easy to get caught up, and it is often harder to come back in hiding after we have left. It's easy to think that staying in the laundry, hid in Christ, is a lot more boring than being out in the world, but we will be a lot more happy and satisfied when we choose to be hid in Him. When I would try to come out of hiding, my sister would often see me, and then I couldn't hide there again, because she knew my spot. It is the same way when we are hid in Christ – once we leave, it's a lot harder to come back, and it's easier to fall again where we have fallen before.

Hide-and-seek is also a lot like a salt in solution. When salt is completely dissolved in water, you can't see it. All of it is hidden by the water, which represents Christ, the Water of Life. Just like my sister couldn't tell that I was hiding in the laundry, none of us will be visible to anyone looking on. When we are hid in Christ, we do have the opportunity to come out of solution, however – for a salt to stay in solution, it must be pulled apart by the water and become attached to it. If the salt is more attracted to itself, however, then the water's forces are powerless. When we weaken the water's forces, or our relationship with God, by neglecting prayer and Bible study, then we will eventually come out of hiding permanently. The best way to stay hidden in Christ is to strengthen our relationship with Him, today and forever.

- Amaris Benardo

Friday, December 07, 2012

FINALly Over.

Today marks the end, and the beginning. The end of my first semester, of my first finals, my first college classes and advisors and teachers and deans, my first time truly having to make [well, most] of my own choices independently. The beginning of a new part of my life, of being with my family, seeing friends at GYC, and eventually, either coming back to school at Weimar or going to the mission field as a student missionary. These 3 and a half months have brought many trials, times where I needed more faith, times where I saw God's love for me, and amazing experiences in which everything worked out for good. One of the hardest times, however, when I needed the most faith, was this past week - finals week. I knew that I would need more faith, more persevering prayer, and more of God working in my life, more than ever. As always, God was there, He was ready to help - but I was distracted, distracted by the worries of the present and questions of the future.
What to do next semester? What questions might be on this final? Oh, I should definitely study that.... What should I do for PAC time? How can I make sure that I have an A in this class - maybe I should talk to the teacher? When am I going to make sure that I have time to pack?

Questions, problems, and annoyances pressured my mind until I felt sure I was going to blow, and it was only Tuesday night. Completely alone in my room, it was a lot easier for me to be depressed, and my big decision about the next six months were really weighing on me. Being a decision-making type of person, at least with big decisions, I always have my plans set and my choices made, and I almost always carry out those plans. But being undecided about such a massively significant decision was taking its toll, and I didn't know what to do. My roommate was also struggling with decisions of her own, and I had no one else I could talk to about it unbiased and in person. Then, I heard the familiar ding of a new email, and began to read. I started to cry, and I couldn't even finish it, because it was exactly what I needed. In fact, I know God was speaking to me through her, saying, "I haven't forgotten about you; in fact, I love you and I am always here for you."
The email was totally unexpected, but definitely planned by God. Right after it, the same friend sent me another email with a quote that exactly applied to me, and helped me remember where my focus needed to be - on the One who could help me solve my dilemma. I am extremely grateful to the Lord for good friends that have prayed for me, encouraged me, and helped me through the hard times. I am still experiencing the dilemma of my decision, but I have peace that He is leading me, and I am praying that wherever He leads me next semester, I will be able to do what He wants me to, and trust Him even more with my decisions.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Day with God

This morning, I woke up late. Not only that, but I was still tired when I woke up. I tried to read something for my devotions, but I couldn't focus and my eyes kept wanting to close, so I prayed instead, asking God for strength. I should have known better, because any time I do this, I never end up having the best day, but I reasoned with myself that I could come back and read something later, after breakfast, and hurried away.

A little more than halfway through the morning, I was feeling absolutely horrible. I was not comprehending thing in class, making stupid mistakes, and just not having a good time in general. It was then (as it always is) that I remembered I hadn't had my devotions that morning. I crept off in between classes and read from tomorrow's devotional (from This Day with God, November 16). It was such a blessing! God knew exactly what I needed, gave me time to read it, and blessed me with strength for the rest of the day - the strength that I had prayed for! :) Here's what it said:

"We have every encouragement that, if we daily surrender our wills to God, the promise will be fulfilled, 'And of His fulness have we all received, and grace for grace' (John 1:16). Every revealing of the grace of Christ in our behalf is for us. We are to reveal His grace in our lives, in thought, word and deed.... Were it not for the power received through Christ, we would have no strength. But Christ has all power.... Here is our power, our comfort. Of ourselves, we have no strength. But He says, 'I am with you alway,' helping you to perform your duty, guiding, comforting, sanctifying, and sustaining you, giving you success in speaking words that will draw the attention of others to Christ, and awaken in their minds the desire to understand the hope and meaning of the truth, turning them from darkness to light and from the power of sin to God. (TDG 329.5)

Fall Colours