End of the Semester

Sorry about the delay!  I was taking a much needed break at the beach- one which happened to involve an unusual lack of Internet access.

Well, we’ve made it to the end of another school year.  My current attitude is that It’s behind us now, and we’re onward and upward.  Some things went the way I wanted- others didn’t.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and the amazing people around me.  I’ve learned a lot about my Savior.  And, again, I’m excited to see what’s coming.

It’s blowing my mind a little bit that we’re here already.  “A senior in college” can’t possibly describe me.  But the other “seniors” already graduated, I’ve got a huge number of credits, I’m getting ready to apply to grad school, I have friends contemplating marriage, people close to me are moving all over the country to start their next chapters, and I’m registered for a final fall semester, so I guess this is actually happening.  Whoa.

Well, the Lord has brought me safe thus far, so I can only suppose that He safe will lead me on.

I’ll be taking my summer break from Parakaleo, though post ideas are swirling about in my head and there may be a few spontaneous posts throughout the summer, so check back!  I’ll pick up again on a weekly basis in September.

Feel free to review the year (or posts from the year before!) in the meantime.  Here’s a little list of my favorites from each month:

January: Reminding Myself

February: A Sad Little Offering

March: When I Reach the End

April: Sorry.  For myself.

May: Keep Watch

Have a wonderful summer!

Past and Present Tense

The other day, God brought me to a verse in Psalm 34.  It reads:

I sought the Lord, and He answered me;

He delivered me from all my fears.

For some reason, I found this extremely comforting.  Reading it again, I wasn’t sure why.  This particular verse doesn’t say that God will deliver from all my fears, it just said that He has.

I think it’s because I can’t look back at all that God has already done for me and not trust Him.  Seeing this passage reminds me of all of the other ones that say, in the present tense, “do not fear, for I am the Lord, your God.”   And it reminds me that I have so very much to be thankful for.

God has brought me so far, and there’s still so much further to go.  What an incredible God we have.

First and second Chronicles have a bad rap as being the “boring books,” but 1 Chronicles 16: 8-13 actually describes what I was thinking perfectly:

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done
,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
O descendants of Israel his servant,
O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.”

Amen!

Finals… Not Actually the End (of the World)

Ahh, finals week.  So oddly relaxing.

The last two weeks of class were absolutely ridiculous, making this week of exams a pleasant relief.  I’m studying constantly, and don’t feel like I can just smile out the window, but I’m super calm.

Nevertheless, I have occasional moments of nauseous panic when I think “OH MY GOODNESS.  This final is in FIVE DAYS.  I’m NOT READY.  If I don’t do well enough, I won’t get a good grade, my GPA will fall, no grad school will accept me…” and then I can’t even continue, as if the world ends after that.

First of all, panic does no good.  Secondly, it seems I should have learned by now that I will end up exactly where God wants me.  So I needn’t fret.

Last semester, I wrote a series of little encouragements for finals week.  I’m going to go ahead and steal from myself because I can’t use them for the same source this semester, so why not pull a helpful one out now? =)

It’s easy to begin to identify ourselves by our success or failure in classes or activities.  We are students, after all.  But more than being students, or anything else, we’re children of God.  He loves us more than we can imagine and wants to be our guide, hope, and refuge.  The verses below are some of my favorites because they remind me of where my truest identity lies.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about your performance on an exam or if you’re concerned that life isn’t going exactly according to plan.  Your relationship with your Lord and the strength that you find in Him will be around for a lot longer than any remnants of your worldly struggles will be.  =)

“When my heart was grieved, and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and arrogant; I was a brute beast before You.

Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?  And earth has nothing I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

– Psalm 73: 21-28


Happy Finals Week!  (And happy summer to those of you who already finished!)

Keep Watch.

There’s a group of people who say that the Bible says that the end of the world is coming on a particular day, specifically May 21, 2011, (though I’ve heard other dates from other groups).

Okay, I just have to address this.  I’m not sure what specific verses this group is referencing, but I believe, based off of Matthew 24, that we can’t predict what day Christ will return.  He could come tomorrow.  He could come in 50 years.  But we don’t know when the actual date will be.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Matthew 24: 36, 42-44

I’ve talked about “the end” on Parakaleo a couple of times in my posts “When I Reach the End” and “Saved!”.  Feel free to take a look!

All Over the Place

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!  =)

Today is also the day of another coffeehouse (though I’m not shaking terribly this time!) and almost the end of a list of dreadful due dates and a crazy two weeks.  I’ve been running all over the place.

At some point I realized that I wasn’t contained in one place.  I could walk into at least three different friends’ houses, plop myself down in a familiar spot, and access their Internet (having gotten the password from them at the beginning of the semester).  I keep finding pencils of mine that I’ve left in one of the labs that I worked in.  A friend is holding on to a couple of movies I let her borrow.  An anklet that I made from grass while lounging with some friends fell off and is now somewhere in the hallways of my apartment building.

It made me wonder what I’ve mine I’ve left in the hearts and heads of those around me.

I’m not contained in one place.  I impact those around me constantly.  Some friends and I spent a while trying to think of any sins that don’t have some effect on others.  We couldn’t think of one.

Did I leave a couple drops of bitterness behind with someone I was talking to while I was grumpy this week?

Did putting my pride first hurt someone I love?

Did my jealousy ruin an opportunity to talk to someone about Christ, or just about life?

It’s not all bad.  The Bible says that people should know us by our love.  As Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  What positive things- what love of God- have I left in others’ hearts?  Do they know that I know that I am a follower of Christ?

Maybe when I smiled at that person today, it lifted their spirits.

Maybe when I kept quiet instead of making that remark, I kept from worsening someone’s day further than it may have already been.

Maybe that half-hour of devotional time that morning refocused me on Christ and a good attitude more than a third of a sleep cycle would.

It’s something to consider, and not just at the end of the day when I sometimes can’t do much but feel bad about it all.  I have to consider it within the day-to-day.

I know I’ve been a grump for a good part of the past two weeks.  I can blame a lack of sleep, or stress from school, or others’ grumpiness encouraging me in my own, but none of those seem like good enough excuses when I recall that God is stronger than them all.  It seems that if I recalled His grace, His love for me, His love for others- His life – more frequently, His perfect love would out the fear and frustration behind my negative attitude.

It’s my prayer that Christ would shine through me, and that the beams of His light would radiate so much more than any darkness within me would.