My Next Adventure~ My Internship with Youth Alive!

page17_picture0_2Today I am leaving for my internship with Michigan Youth Alive! I recently posted in Recent Blessings, Lessons, and Opportunities about how God has blessed me with this amazing opportunity to minister in the way I have always dreamed of, with Youth Alive.

Youth Alive is a program that trains students to being missionaries on their middle/high school campuses, as well as help students create on campus Bible studies and clubs. I was a campus missionary in high school, and my friends and I tried to start a Bible club at my school.

So long story short, (read more in the article above) I was hired to work with Michigan’s Youth Alive and work at youth camps and such for two months. I am really excited! I get to work with teens and talk to them about evangelism, which is where my passion is.

I am also quite nervous. I have never been so far from home before for such a long time. Especially alone, with no friends or family with me. It will be hard to be away from my fiance for two months too. And driving in new areas petrifies me. But I know that it is out of my comfort zone where God will use me. So here I go!

Please pray for safe travels as I drive from Massachusetts to Michigan and please pray for the ministry that will be taking place. I will be keeping you updated on my adventure! Make sure you follow me! And comment with any questions if you’d like 🙂

God bless!

~Lillian ❤

Advertisements

The Final Bell Has Rung!

On May 23rd, I had my final day of academic classes at my high school. It was finally real- the curtain was closing on this scene and opening up to a new one. Graduation is now not so far off and neither is college or adulthood. A few tears were shed in AP Literature and AP US History, but still I was glad to be leaving, and I still am. I’m excited for my future, and no longer scared. I can’t wait for Bible college especially.

It’s crazy looking back at the 13 years I spent in public high school, because it truly never felt like it would end. The idea of not having to go to school is odd until it’s actually happening.

So I finished all my finals and now it is senior week and come Friday, I’ll have my diploma!

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.

 

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

Be On Guard (Nehemiah 4:21)

So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. ~Nehemiah 4:1

Nehemiah was a man with a vision: to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. He gathered a large group of men to come down with him from Persia to Israel to rebuild the lost city of God’s chosen people. However, Nehemiah soon found opposition and the men working for him had to defend the wall as they worked on it. Groups were sent to attack the city and try to kill Nehemiah. However, Nehemiah’s men soon adapted, half of them guarded the wall while the other half built it, and everyone had to guard the city at night.

This is a great image of how we need to live our lives: by doing our work for the Lord but being prepared for the attacks of the enemy. As Christians we are often are unprepared when obstacles come our way. One day we are growing in God and are doing great works for the Kingdom; the next we find ourselves fallen and off the path. But if we act like Nehemiah’s workers, working with one hand and fighting with the other, we can continue to do good works for God while defending ourselves.

The Bible tells us that each person has a specific purpose in God’s plan: “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” (Eph 1:11). No matter where you are in life, God has placed you there for a reason. Maybe he wants you to reach out to your friends who are struggling. Or maybe he wants you to share the gospel with your co-workers. Pray to God and ask Him to lead you towards this purpose he has for you. You’ll be amazed with the work God has in store for you!

Yet as we work we have to be prepared for the challenges we will face. 1 Cor 10:12 says that we need to be careful if we think we are standing right because we could fall if we don’t defend ourselves! As we work, two things can get in the way: our own human nature and the attacks from the enemy. Sometimes, we stop working or the work becomes hard when we get greedy or lazy. These are things that we as humans have in our sinful nature that we need Jesus to help us overcome. Other times, Satan comes to stop us from working for God and tries to hit us in our weak spots or where we don’t protect ourselves.

To protect ourselves as we work and grow in God, we need to develop the Armor of God (Eph 6:10-18). With the Armor on, we can fight against Satan with the different pieces of armor. When Satan sees us standing for God and fighting back, he will flee from us (James 4:7).

So pray to God to help you be on guard as you grow in Him and work for the Kingdom. Study the Armor of God and put it on, and remember to fight the enemy away when he comes!

Finding Hope After Sin (Ezra 10:1-4 NIV)

1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. 2 Then Shekaniah…aid to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God…But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now let us make a covenant before our God…Let it be done according to the Law. 4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” (Ezra 10:1-4)

During this time, Israel had broken the law of the Lord by intermingling with the pagan people of the countries around them. This brought them to turn away from God and worship false gods, which brought trouble upon the nation. Yet the people did not turn back to God when trouble came. 

Not all of God’s chosen people had forgotten Him. Ezra, a priest of the time, wept for Israel’s sin in the temple. When others saw Ezra’s tears, they began to realize that they had done wrong with God. The Israelites confessed their sin, and turned away from it. Not only that, but the people took action to rid the nation of pagan influence that tempted them to worship other gods.

After we sin we often feel hopeless, as if God doesn’t want us back or that we will never be the same again. However, this is not true! Even when we fall or back slide into the worst of sin, with Jesus there is still hope!

First, we must confess our sins. The Bible says that when we confess our sins to God, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:9). We can tell God what we have done, and He will forgive us. Next, we need to turn away from our sin, or our confession means nothing. Turning away means that we stop our sinning and avoid it (Acts 3:19). We are already forgiven by Jesus, but we need to hold up our part of the deal so we can be forgiven. 

Lastly, as verse 4 says above, take action to avoid your sin. The Israelites took the action to remove the pagan influence from around them so that they would not be tempted to sin again. When something causes us to sin, we don’t want to let go of it. However, the Bible says “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,” (Mark 9:47). Is this thing you are holding onto more important than God? This is what we need to ask ourselves.

If you’ve stumbled on your path with God, remember that there is still hope for you! God welcomes you back and will forgive you for all that you’ve done. Confess to him, turn away from your old ways, and take action to avoid sin.

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. 

Solomon’s Wish (1 Kings 3:7-9)

Solomon is known as the wisest man who ever walked the earth (besides Jesus). But where did this man gain such great wisdom? We discover this in 1 Kings 3:7-9:

7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Solomon knew he couldn’t rule Israel on his own. Solomon saw himself as a child when it came to being king if he didn’t have God’s help. Just like Solomon, we are just little children without God. He needed God’s guidance and wisdom in order to rule effectively and fairly. We are also like children without God, we know so little and without guidance we are doomed. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) and “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19: 26) So in every area of your life, hold tight to God, because no one could do it better than He can.

As Solomon continues, he calls the Israelites a “great people”. This shows that Solomon loves his people, and therefore wanted what’s best for them. However, Solomon knew he could got give the best on his own. He knew that only God could give them everything. We often wear ourselves out trying to provide the best for the ones we love, whether as spouse or parent or friend. But we can’t give our loved ones the very best with our own strength, only God can do everything perfectly. So depend on Him and He will provide guidance and strength to do your best for them.

Solomon asked God for wisdom to know the difference between right and wrong. The new king knew that the One that wrote the Law would be the best person to learn the Law from. Today, we live in a world filled with “deep thinkers”  with theories on morality and religion. But as Christians, we know that the truth is found in God’s Word, not in anyone’s mind! To gain wisdom like Solomon’s, we need to read God’s Word regularly and study it, so we find what God wants to show us.

God wants to grant us with the same wisdom Solomon had, so He gave us His word which is full of wisdom and guidance for us. Through His word, we can learn right from wrong, depend on Him, and give the best guidance to our loved ones.This week, remember Solomon’s wish, and ask God for the same!