Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jehovah Rapha

Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
John 5:8-9

Nearly every day I walk into this precious building I get a little teary eyed. Pat, a wonderful lady who has worked here for many years, has one of the greatest faiths I've ever encountered. It is so beautiful, it is suffocating. Today, when I walked into the office, we started chatting about some of the sensitive wounds in our lives.

I was speaking to Pat about my plans for the future, and how it looked as though graduate school at Regent University was going to work out. Somehow this led to me telling her about my cousin who is spending his fourth year in a vegetative state.

When I was a senior in high school, he fell into the pool in their backyard. He has been in a coma ever since. My aunt has the most convicting faith of anyone I know. I remember her saying that he will wake up one day and ask her for ice cream. Praise the Lord.

Pat related my family's tragedy to the story in John. Jesus says, "Get up." According to scripture, the man had been an invalid for 38 years. This man had lived most of his life, day-in and day-out as a sickly citizen. All of a sudden, this Christ swoops in and demands he get up. He did. Pat says that she says that to herself when she's feeling a little slow, "In the name of Jesus Christ...GET UP!"

Lately, I have been in the need for emotional healing. I could feel God saying to me through Miss Pat this morning "get up."

God is Jehovah Rapha, the healer.

Bless the Lord! He wants you to "GET UP!" from any emotional or physical pain you are in today. Do not, for a second, believe that you are too ill for His great healing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Love, Joy, Peace and...

"Be patient, then, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near...as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." James 5:7-8 & 10-11

In an era of instant gratification, patience is no longer considered a virtue. We are prodded by our media to buy, buy, buy, things we want or need (or one day think we'll want or need...). Traffic drives us crazy. Fast food never seems "fast" enough. I even find myself getting very frustrated with my computer's internet connection: heaven forbid a video or webpage takes longer than 30 seconds to upload.

Patience is a difficult thing to obtain, especially when the "you need it now" philosophy has been beaten into your mind from the moment you were born. However, patience is what the Lord calls us to have.

My youth pastor at St. Giles spoke on this passage last night. Lately, I have really struggled with turning over some difficult decisions over to God, and letting Him lead me. I tend to (as many of us do) like to take the bull by the horns when it comes to my big, scary, life decisions. God has been whispering to me to let Him have control, instead of the other way around.

Well, this message (like most from my youth pastor do) hit me like a swatter after a pesky fly. Dwight (my youth pastor) challenged us to have a "patient urgency" when it comes to our lives. In other words, when it comes to sharing the gospel with our friends, in the office, or just straight-up living our lives for Christ, we should do all we can today, while still waiting for the Lord to give us opportunities, or even answers about where He is calling us.

I think that is a message we all need to be reminded of: not getting caught up in the small stuff, living out loud for Jesus Christ, doing what we can today, and waiting patiently for his answers tomorrow.

Furthermore, thank you, readers, for being patient with my postings. I have been out of the Outlook office for a week, and have not been diligent with keeping up with the blog!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Who am I?

"You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great."
2 Samuel 22:36

I am currently on hold, ready to pounce on a potential advertiser for the PO - and the song by Casting Crowns "Who Am I" keeps running through my head. I am definitely the type of person who sings all day long, and probably drive my c0-workers in the office very crazy. This song has been on repeat in my office, all day, also driving my co-workers crazy. It has played nineteen times since 9 am. It's a good song, what can I say?

At St. Giles, my home church, I and 21 others are preparing to go on a mission's trip to the Dominican Republic. Since only a handful (2-3 team members) of us speak Spanish quasi-fluently, and others (including my French-speaking self) can barely utter a broken "hola" when it is required of us, we rely greatly on musical dramas in order to get the message of the love of Christ to the Dominicans.

One of our dramas is to the song "Who Am I." If you haven't heard the song, I strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with it. It is powerful. Click this link to see a youtube video example of the drama we are going to perform in the DR! It is seriously cool - I just hope that we can get the black lights through security!

I am a flower quickly fading
here today, and gone tomorrow
a wave tossed in the ocean
a vapor in the wind
still you hear me when I'm calling
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling
and you told me who I am: I am Yours.
- "Who am I?" Casting Crowns

This particular passage has always stood out to me. God cares so much for us, He stoops down to make us great. Where would we be without our God? Thank God, He cares enough for us to shield us, and make us victorious in our battles!

Monday, June 1, 2009

You learn and learn.

So, it has been brought to my attention through several facebook posts that my last entry/verse I posted excluded inclusive language.

Being a woman myself, I completely understand the upset. I am asking you to, please, be patient with me as I learn the ropes in this relatively new industry. Isaiah 17 is one of my most treasured passages in my little pink NIV Bible. I assure you, I meant no offense. I thought men and women alike would be blessed by the words (and hilarious video) God prompted me to write on this beautiful day.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this humble blog, I hope my last post wont discourage you from reading further. I hereby promise to use inclusive language from here on out.

To the lovely, strong, independent women who brought this to my attention via facebook: thank you, my lesson has been learned.

June is bustin' out all over...

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:3

It's the first day of June, it's bustin' out all over - and I am bustin' with happiness and love for the Lord! Such a gorgeous day in the city of Richmond calls for a post with a verse regarding some beautiful analogy of the outdoors.

I love it when passages refer to God's believers and followers as trees. It really is the most beautiful symbol of growth in nature. There is another passage in Isaiah that refers to believers as "...Oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor" (60:3).

Such glorious branches that reach toward the heavens, and offer shade to creatures on earth, an homes for creatures of the sky. Such towers of strength. Such deeply-rooted, and fruit-bearing things we are referred to as. I love it.

With this, I'll leave you all with one of my new favorite clips from youtube. If you're familiar with the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, "Carousel," then you've probably heard/had it stuck in your head many times, the song "June is Bustin' Out All Over." When I was a little girl, I would count down the days until I would be able to sing that song (and it be in season). I've been humming it happily to myself all morning long.

This clip is a little different from the original...I think you'll get a good giggle in, whether or not you're familiar with the song!

Click here for Leslie Uggam's rendition of June is Bustin' Out All Over!

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted...

"Do not think because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:13-14 (Mordecai to Esther)

The story of Esther is an English major's delight. It has everything. Love, irony, war, suspense. What a remarkable story! I long to exemplify the faith and courage of Esther; however, as many of you have read, I can identify more with Thomas (womp, womp, wommmp!).

Sometimes, I think we all need our own personal Mordecai in our lives. Can you imagine if every believer lived with the tenacity and bravery inspired by him? We would all live our lives for Christ as Esther did, with the "...if I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16) philosophy. His encouragement was the finger that flicked the first domino in the effect of protecting the Jews from a bloody and terrorizing obliteration.

If we all lived as Esther did, what impact would our lives have?

I believe those who work at the Presbyterian Outlook are living with the same tenacious spirit and faith of Esther. Though the economic pressures of the country and changing face of the print publication industry have put a - shall we say, dent - on the company's financial resources - that is not slowing them down, and certainly not discouraging them.

Within the past week, we've been working on two grant proposals: one for a redesign for the entire magazine, and another to continue supplying free subscription to Presbyterian seminary students. See? When the going gets tough, the tough doesn't hang its head! It sally-forths with an air of Esther, head held high.

I'm so proud of these wonderful, faithful people! Perhaps I can act as their ever-encouraging Mordecai this summer!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hey, Mom! I'm published!

Remember those two articles I spoke about in my first blog? Here's the link to the first one on immigration reform in the United States and the one-year anniversary of the immigration raids in Postville, Iowa.

Check it out: http://www.pres-outlook.com/news-and-analysis/1-news-a-analysis/8787-2008-immigration-raids-in-iowa-remembered-by-towns-faith-leaders.html

Let me know what your opinions of immigration reform are, I haven't made up my mind yet. On one hand, I see how loving our neighbors applies to everyone no matter what nation they are a citizen of. At the same time, I can see how relaxing our immigration policies and allowing citizens of other nations to work and live without red-tape could cause major problems and be potentially dangerous...

You Gotta Have Faith

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'" John 20:27 (NIV).

Oh, Thomas. How little faith you must have had. How foolish you must have seemed to all of your peers. From now on the term "doubting Thomas" will be a phrase describing Christians who struggle in trusting the Lord.

Give the guy a break.

Can you imagine the turmoil Thomas and the other disciples must have faced after seeing their Master brutally flogged, needlessly massacred, and meekly hammered into a wooden cross? How could they be expected to believe something that literally was too good to be true? I think over the years, our Sunday school teachers and Christian education leaders have been a little too hard on Thomas.

I read this passage this morning, and was completely convicted. While I stand 100% in the truth that Jesus Christ suffered for my sin and was resurrected, however I have trouble trusting him with other things in my life. Luckily, Jesus is very patient with me (and I know the hundreds of thousands of others who are currently struggling with the same thing in their walks).

Lately, I have been really worried about my school/job/financial situation. I had planned on working at Ukrop's (a part-time job I have held since the summer before my freshman year) along with interning at the PO this summer. Well, come to find out, Ukrop's has laid off all of their college kids, leaving me jobless therefore money-less this summer.

Yesterday, my best friend (who also held a job at Ukrop's) was spouting off all of these really great job opportunities that have fallen into her lap. She's been offered several babysitting/nanny positions. On top of that, she was even offered her job back at Ukrop's.

I didn't understand. I am just as hard-working, have just as many skills and love Jesus just as much as she does. So, why wasn't anyone knocking down my door to have me work for them?

This stress/worry therefore snowballs into something much bigger. I start to worry about my career choice, and graduation and how I am going to pay for graduate school. Then I think about how all I have ever wanted to be was a journalist and how newspapers are folding all over the country, and the entire face of the news industry is being completely turned up-side-down, and I think..."what on EARTH have I been working myself to death for?" From there I begin to question everything. I question my abilities, my talents, my effectiveness in spreading the gospel and even my own worth.

Then I read a passage like this. And I picture Jesus looking me square in the eyes and saying "Stop doubting and believe." Woah. How convicting that must have been for Thomas, and how convicting those red letters are for me today.

What are you having a problem trusting God with? Will you be the "doubting Thomas" and need physical affirmation that Jesus is truly at work in or life? Or will you be the one who will let nothing (even their own self-depricating thoughts and worries) stand in between interefere with your love and passion for Christ?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Little is Much

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12,14

in-tern 2 an apprentice teacher, journalist, etc. - *vi. To serve as an intern.

Webster’s New World Dictionary, found amidst back issues of the Presbyterian Outlook, empty boxes and the UPS machine in my newly commandeered office, defines my position as such. Webster, however, fails to mention exactly what the expectations of an intern is, and does an even worse job of informing an intern what his/her precise duties are.

Being a Media Arts & Design major, I have heard dozens of horror stories of internships gone wild. My peers relish in the ability to one-up each other with anecdotes of the most frivolous tasks they have had to perform eight hours a day, five days a week. They served as their employer’s one-(wo)man chauffeur, coffee-maker, copier, secretary, toilet-cleaner, shoe-shiner, silver-polisher. And they knew better than to expect to be paid for all of their running around…after all, what prepares an aspiring journalist for the crazy media jungle better than an acquired expertise in coffee brewing? These lessons are truly invaluable.

I came into this office on Monday expecting something similar to what my peers had experienced with their internships. Within my first three days I was given my own cup of coffee (which I did not even have to brew), strawberry shortcake, an office, my own two story assignments, introductions to the entire staff, my own e-mail address and lunch at a local restaurant.

Woah. Needless to say, I will never let my peers influence my expectations ever again.

This summer I am really looking forward to serving with the folks at the PO*. This internship was definitely God-breathed, and I really do feel as though, after working with the PO team, I will be better prepared to enter the industry after graduation.

*The Presbyterian Outlook, will be abbreviated “PO” for this blog’s purposes.