Recent Blessings, Lessons, and Opportunities.

beachHello, dear reader. I apologize for not posting on my blog in such a long time. There is no excuse, but I wanted to update you on recent things in my journey. The end of my first year at Bible college is approaching, and I can not believe how much time has passed. But most of all, I can’t believe the amount of growth in God that has occurred in my life. .

As you know from the news and my post titled Snowmaggendon 2015, the semester started off rocky. Despite this, the semester has gone very well. I had a lot more time on my hands going from taking 7 classes last semester to taking 4 this semester. The overachiever in me wanted to take more classes, but God held me back from that, telling me this would be a season of rest and growth. And I am so glad I listened to him! I have learned to forgive long held grudges, to believe in God’s plan in my despite where I have come from, I have learned to love the way God created me and see the beauty He has given me, and I have been delivered from the spirit of anxiety. (I will post on these at a later time.)

However, spiritual growth is not the only blessing I have received this semester. God has been teaching me to trust Him with providing for my needs, from small to large. It started off with quarters needed for laundry- whenever I ran out I started finding them everywhere. Whenever I ran out of a toiletry, a friend would randomly bless me with what I was needing. I have starting giving my needs to God, refusing to buy what I needed and let God provide. God hasn’t failed with it yet.

Then God provided for me greatly as well, and this is where opportunity has arrived. The US Missions of the Assemblies of God was offering internships across the country here on campus, and I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to apply. I did and I was accepted, and I will be working my dream job this summer. I will be interning in Michigan with Youth Alive, a program which teaches teens to be missionaries in their public middle/high schools. I will teaching teens to evangelize to their friends and peer at different summer camps. All these things have been dreams of mine! Not only that, but in exchange for my work this summer, I will be receiving a grant of half my tuition for next semester. And I am blown away by what God is doing. He is so good!

This summer I will be keeping you up to date on the work I will be doing and all the things God will be showing me. I hope you enjoy these posts and I am looking forward to showing you my adventure even further! And please pray for my travel and what I will be doing this summer!

God bless!

Lillian ❤

Who Do You Seek To Be?

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You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 
~Matthew 5:13-16

What Are You Doing With Your Weakness?

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Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

Thank You, God.

downloadI think if anyone deserves a thank you today it’s God. I feel like most people don’t realize how much God does for them. Everything good comes from Him (James 1:17). He is always constant (Malachi 3:6). He will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:8). He gave us salvation (John 3:16).

God thank you for your constant love and grace. Jesus, I thank you for always being there for me. My Father, thank you for your Son, who died for us, so we can be with You. May I never stop praising you!

Making It Beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 NIV)

10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes is another book by the wise king Solomon in which he examines what he has learned over his life. Solomon is known as the wisest man ever and towards the end of his life he tries to analyze big questions like why bad things happen to good people. The scripture above is one of many wise conclusions he comes to.

The first thing Solomon states in the passage is that life is hard. The people of earth deal with a lot in their lives, and he addresses God as the origin for many burdens of life. This is often true. However, a lot of trouble in this world and problems in our lives come from the enemy or even our own mistakes. Still, it is undeniable that some struggles in our lives happen because God lets them happen, but why?

Next, king Solomon instantly shifts to explaining that God makes everything “beautiful” in His own timing. Life is hard and it may seem like people are drowning in trouble, however we may not be able to see it, but our situation will turn out for our good because of God. The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God often uses bad situations or seasons of our lives to teach us something, make us stronger, and for many other reasons, even ones we can’t understand and won’t know until we stand before Him. One example from my own life is the suffering I went through in middle school when I was bullied. I was harassed and abused by my peers through out middle school and it created me into an angry, depressed monster. However, this event brought me to Jesus and I found myself in Him. This awful season of my life made me who I am and brought me to Christ. This shows that even the darkest days can bring light into my life later on, but only by the power of God.

We can have faith in this because God “set eternity” in our hearts. This means that everyone, no matter who they are, have a feeling or belief in eternity in their hearts. So, with this internal belief in us, we can use that to believe that God has a plan and He will succeed because we can feel it. We can know that God will come through and bring good out of the bad in our lives.

As Solomon finishes, I finish saying that no one can understand the full grasp of God’s plan. Why is this? It’s simple: we are not God. We can not see everything that was and is and is to come. We can understand the story of every person we meet. We often can’t even understand ourselves fully, but God can. God sees and knows anything and everything, and He’s also in control of all. So have faith in God’s plan for you, even when you don’t understand it, and be comforted that the perfect God that can do no wrong has in all under control.

 

5 Things I Learned From Being Dolly

unnamed (2)As some of you may know, I was recently in my school’s musical production of Annie Get Your Gun. In the show, I played the lead role of Dolly Tate, a middle-aged show woman who was a Frank Butler’s, a shooting champion in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, assistant.

As the musical was originally written in the 1940s and rewritten in the 1960s, there were a few racists themes (and not to mention atrocious harmonies!!!) throughout the show, pertaining only to Native Americans. These theme’s were carried out by none other than me, oddly enough.

So overall, my character was an old, racist hag who was hated by everybody. Hopefully needless to say, the character was very much not like me at all. However, from day one Dolly and I got along pretty well and apparently my acting job as a rotten and snotty woman was 100% believable. I had fun being Dolly, and it was amazing how quickly I could go from little, smiling lily to racist and crazy Dolly. Nonetheless, I loved Dolly and being this racist old hag taught me a lot about me and about life.

5. If You Feel Ridiculous, Don’t Stop. 

These are the leads of AGYG on our last dress rehearsal night.

These are the leads of AGYG on our last dress rehearsal night.

Both the stage and life are about having fun and giving it your all. When I first stepped on stage as a freshman, I was scared and timid and I hid in the ensemble. But I didn’t have as nearly as much fun as I should have. Dolly was a very over-the-hill and she flailed her arms a lot to get the attention, so as I was acting, giving it my all and not being scared of looking silly was important. And that proved to bring the audience a great performance and I had a lot of fun. So it is with life, giving everything I got is essential and not being scared to look a little silly let’s me do that.

4. Hard Work Pays Off

Some ensemble members during one of our late night dress rehearsals.

Some ensemble members during one of our late night dress rehearsals.

The musical took 3 months to put together, and although it sounds like a lot of time, it didn’t feel like enough. In the last month of rehearsals, we had to pack in extra hours and extra work. Two weeks before the show I was at the school till 8 PM rehearing, and during school I was painting the set during my study hall hours. This left me tired and worn out, however show weekend was well enough a reward! I was so happy that my friends and family came to the show and the feeling you get after you pull off an amazing scene is unlike any other. The chaos of tech week taught me that hard work really does pay off it you allow it.

3. The Show is a Team Effort 

Many people who are leads often forget how important each person on stage is. From the smallest middle schooler to the most annoying techie (my brother), each and every person is important to the show! When I was an ensemble member, I did not realize my importance because no one every made me feel like I was important to the show. This year, as a lead, I made sure not to exclude myself from the ensemble. The director also made sure to emphasize the

The cast during our bows

The cast during our bows

importance of the ensemble’s acting. The cast was amazing with this, I’ve never been part of such a fun and active cast, and the audience noticed. The group, in any environment is important, and it’s important to realize that.

2. Time Flies

My friend and fellow color guard member Sam and I, who I will be very sad to leave this year!

My friend and fellow color guard member Sam and I, who I will be very sad to leave this year!

So my school has the tradition of a senior speech the last night of the show to the rest of the cast as we get ready for the curtain to open. Needless to say, I was in tears. I couldn’t believe that it was my last year. The past four years were only possible to live through because of things like the musical. And this year with the cast was the best of all time. My last show was just another reminder of how high school is ending, and I’m excited for what’s to come, but I’m also sad that it’s all going to be over.

1. Dreams to Come True (As corny as it sounds) 

I remember being little and wishing I was a lead in a musical at my school. As a freshman, I thought it nearly impossible, but it actually happened! I feel that God has blessed me my senior year because all my little high school dreams are coming true: I am color guard captain, I

Me as Dolly in my favorite costume, my Act II gown.

Me as Dolly in my favorite costume, my Act II gown.

got a lead role in my musical, and I was just asked to sing the star-spangled banner this weekend! These little dreams from when I was a young girl are actually happening, and it’s crazy! Praise God for all these blessings 🙂

Get Wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-7)

5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

~Prov 4:5-7 NIV

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom, and rightfully so seeing it was written by the wisest man in history, King Solomon. The first eye-opening thing I notice about the passage above is that Solomon writes to “get wisdom” instead of “be wise”. To me, this shows that wisdom is something you attain and earn, not something you are born with. Being unwise is not part of who someone is, no matter how often they choose to make unwise decisions. It is up to each of us to develop wisdom.

Another distinction Solomon shares with us is that wisdom is not knowledge or how smart you are; wisdom is “understanding” or “good judgement” (as the NLT translation puts it) and is making good decisions.

So besides understanding, what is wisdom? Well James 3:17 describes it like this:

But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Wisdom is something from Heaven, not from anything worldly or made by man. Wisdom is pure and peaceful with others; it is also considerate of other people but also willing to be humble and submit to correction. Being wise means being full of mercy and carrying out good for the Lord. Wisdom is unbiased and sincere in its view.

Where can we get this amazing wisdom? First, we can go to the Word of God. David says in Psalms that God’s Word “is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” This means that the Bible will guide us and light the path ahead for us. Also, the Bible is the Word of God so it will always give us holy wisdom that will not fail us. 

We can also seek wisdom by praying to God for it. James 1:5 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

If we ask God for wisdom, just like Solomon did, God will gift us with wisdom through the Holy Spirit that is inside you (1 Corinthians 12:8). Solomon was given one wish from God and he wished for wisdom, and God made him the wisest man on earth. God can give us wisdom as well, as long as we pray for it and seek it.

I close with this thought: why is wisdom so important? Well, Verse 6 above states that wisdom will protect us. I take that to mean that being wise will keep us from making decisions we will later on regret. But also Proverbs 3:13-18 says that wisdom is much more valuable than anything on this earth. So go and ask God for wisdom, and see how you and your life will change.

Why Them? (Psalm 37:1-4, 7-9 NIV)

Last week was busy for me, with Friday being opening night of the musical I was in, but with God’s help I was able to find time with Him. I often read Psalms to de-stress and help me calm down after a long day. One of these Psalms was Psalm 37 of David, which I am going to share my thoughts on a portion of the chapter with you.

One of the things I like about Psalms is the fact that it’s poetry or lyrics that are organized into stanzas. Breaking the passage up helps me process it better, so I am going to share one stanza at a time.

Do not fret because of those who are evil

or be envious of those who do wrong;

for like the grass they will soon wither,

like green plants they will soon die away.

This stanza reminds me that sometimes life is unfair. There are plenty of people out there that are attaining success by the wrong means and are getting away with it. I know for me in high school it seems like a lot of my peers are having fun going wrong things, yet it doesn’t seem like they feel guilty at all. As Christians, we may be trying to be righteous for God but it looks like the “wicked” are reaping all the blessings. But this passage tells us to not focus on those people and remember that God will take care of them. It is not our job to judge but instead we need to stop being envious and stop worrying about it.

Trust in the LORD and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the LORD,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

We need to trust God, even when it feels like we are not being blessed for our hard work. God promises us blessings for the good we do, so we need to trust Him and keep going. Remember, that God is keeping us away from hurt and danger with His law, like a parent who forbids their child to run in the road. It may feel like we are only suffering, but go to the Lord for joy! Be comforted knowing that God will have His way with both us and those who do wrong. When we keep trusting Him, no matter the situation around us, He will give us the desires of our hearts.

Be still before the LORD

and wait patiently for him;

do not fret when people succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

When our suffering continues and others still succeed, we need to remain calm and keeping trusting in Him. Hang on to His promises, and remember God will bring your blessing and their punishment when the time is right.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For those who are evil will be destroyed,

but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

This passage is not saying that it is okay to wish bad on our enemies. In fact, Proverbs 24:17 says the opposite. We are not to be angry with them, instead, just forget about it! Trusting God also means letting it go. God has it all under control, don’t waste time by letting it get to you. Remember the last verse above, which is God’s promise to us, and keep doing good having faith that God will being his blessings.

When God Is Silent (Job 6:24 NIV)

Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. ~Job 6:24

Many people know the story of Job very well. Job was a great man of God who was living a blessed life when it all fell away from him in one day. After loosing his family, his livestock, most of his servants, then getting painfully sick, Job was broken and miserable. His friends all told him he must done something against God. But Job had done nothing wrong!

Job turned to God and spoke the verse above. He never cursed God through all of his suffering, but he didn’t understand why he was being “punished” as his friends said. Job was loyal to God even in his suffering;  he was asking Him to speak to him, and submitting to Him humbly. Yet his suffering continued and God was silent.

When people go through suffering and it brings them to God. But what happens when we turn to God and He doesn’t do anything? Job suffered for a long time after he submitted to God. Like Job, sometimes we may pray but it doesn’t feel like He’s coming through.

Whenever I’ve reached a time in my life where God is quiet, I discover He’s trying to teach me something. In Job’s case, I believe it’s possible that God let Job go through this to teach him humility. I think this because Job was a man of great wealth, which means he could have been a business man who needs to control his property and finances. He was a great man of God and God definitely blessed him before, but I think it’s still possible he enjoyed control. Maybe God let the devil mess around with Job’s life to show him that he’s not really in control at all.

God may let bad things happen to us to teach us important things we need to know. Whether its humility like Job, or grace like Peter, or anything else in our lives, God teaches us so we are prepared for what He has in store for us. God never lets bad things happen because he doesn’t care, but instead he cares enough to prepare us for what’s ahead and make us stronger.

Thankfully, Job did not suffer forever. God healed Job and blessed him twice as much as He did before. Likewise, we can have hope that God will come through because the Word says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5). Remember, you don’t plan when the sunrise is. It may feel like the night goes on forever, but you can’t rush the sunrise. In fact, God controls the sunrise! God has perfect timing because He knows everything that is going on around us. We can’t judge when it’s time because we don’t know everything, only He can. And in time He will heal your brokenness and He will restore you like He did for Job. 

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord

~Psalm 27:14

Bringing Others to Jesus (2 Chronicles 9~ The Queen of Sheba)

When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions….Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table…and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “…Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you. ~2 Chronicles 9:1-8

 

At this point of 2 Chronicles, King of Solomon had been busy; he finished building the temple and was follow God’s laws. In return for his dedication, God blessed him and the country of Israel with wealth and food. A nearby ruler had heard the stories of Israel’s rise and their wise king, and she grew interested. So she journeyed to visit King Solomon, burning to ask questions about this wonderful God that has blessed his people so much.

As we grow close to God, our friends begin to notice, just like how the Queen noticed Israel’s change. They will see you showing devotion to God, and curiosity will bring them to ask you questions, giving you the opportunity to share Christ with them. But how can we answer these questions?

The queen of Sheba’s questions were hard, but Solomon had wisdom from God to answer her perfectly. When our friends ask us questions about God, it might be a little intimidating at first. But we can believe that God will give us the wisdom to answer their questions the best way possible.

However, our influence alone will never bring someone to follow Jesus. We plant the seeds but we never harvest the crop, that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. When the queen of Sheba saw the blessings God had given Solomon, the Holy Spirit came and overwhelmed her, and she praised the Lord. The same will happen for us too. When we show our friends the light of Jesus, the Holy Spirit does the rest. He will speak to their hearts in ways we never could. It take the Holy Spirit to bring someone to Jesus, not fancy words or human will power. However, if we shine our light to our friends, the Holy Spirit will touch their hearts and bring them to Christ.

Pray to God and ask who He wants you to shine your light to. Pray for these friends and always be open to talk about Christ with them, and let God do the rest.