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Song of the day

Love this song. Sang it all morning!

Brother Stephen and Cousin Lisa, be prepared to hear me sing it multiple times during our road trip tomorrow! ūüôā

Listen up, yo!

 You took our sin

You bore our shame

You rose to life

You defeated the grave

A love like this

The world has never known

Be lifted higher than all¬†You’ve overcome

Your Name be louder than any other song

There is no power that can come against Your love

The cross was enough

On the altar of our praise, let there be no higher Name

Jesus, Son of God

The gospel preached in a song: LOVE it!

God’s grace in my life today:

He’s placed awesome friends in my life.

I had the privilege of catching up with my dear friend Jasmine at school

¬†…and I’m going to catch up with my high school friend Paula tonight!

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“Not my thing”

I often hear people say, “Oh, patience (or mercy/evangelizing/love/kindness/compassion/etc.) isn’t my thing. I’m just not a patient (or merciful/outgoing/loving/kind/compassionate/etc.) person.” I’m sure I’ve probably said something like that at some point. But it’s one of my biggest frustrations/pet peeves. Not because I expect everyone to be perfect. That’s a totally unrealistic expectation, and certainly one that I could never meet either.¬†

That type of statement drives me nuts because it’s such a subtle way to excuse sin. Since compassion isn’t “my thing,” that somehow excuses my inconsiderate behavior. Patience just isn’t my strong point, so that gives me an excuse to get irritated.¬†

Here’s the problem with that kind of thinking:

The focus is on me instead of Him.

As a Christian, I know that God isn’t just WITH me (although that in itself would be amazing enough), but He’s IN me. I have the Holy Spirit living in me. And He changes everything.

Regeneration is that miracle of Divine grace wrought in the soul which enlists the affections Godward, which brings the human will into subjection to the Divine, and which produces a real and radical change in the life…from worldliness to godliness, from disobedience to obedience.” (1 John 2:3, 3:9, 4:7, 5:18)
– A.W. Pink

To put it simply, my life must be radically different because of the Holy Spirit. Sure, on my own I may not be a patient/merciful/loving/etc. person. In fact, on my own I’m dead in my sins (Eph. 2:1). So clearly there’s nothing inherently good in me. But I’ve been regenerated. And regeneration leads to radical transformation.

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.¬†But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life¬†because of righteousness.¬†And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of¬†his Spirit who lives in you.” –Rom. 8:9-11

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” –Gal. 2:20

It’s no longer me living. Christ is living in me. I’m radically different because I’ve got the Almighty God living in me! Seriously, think about that. How can I say that and NOT be radically different?!¬†

People tell me all the time that I’m such a nice person. And many times, I think “Are you kidding me? You don’t think that person annoys me too?” or “You honestly think I would WANT to drag myself out of bed to serve?” and so on.¬†
Anything good in me is just proof that Christ lives in me. I’ve said it many times already and I’ll say it many more times: I have been radically transformed by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.¬†

My human nature wants to serve me, but when I give God complete control and know that Christ lives in me, my attitudes and desires radically change.

When my flesh wants to be rude, Christ in me is patient.

When my flesh wants to be bitter, Christ in me offers forgiveness.

When my flesh wants to be weak, Christ in me is strong.

When my flesh wants to be harsh, Christ in me shows mercy. 

So let’s stop using the “that’s just the way I am” statement to excuse sin and start letting Christ take over every single area of our lives. When I notice an attitude/behavior in me that isn’t Christ-like, I need to step back, repent of my sin, and commit that attitude/behavior to Him so that in time, I’ll see a radical transformation.¬†

The Bible is full of transformation stories: people who met Jesus and were radically changed. For example: brash, cocky Peter became loving, humbled Peter; doubting Thomas became filled with belief; Saul the persecutor became Paul the persecuted.

I want to be another transformation story. 

And by the grace of God, I am.

Thank You, Lord!

God’s grace in my life today:

I had a great time discussing stewardship in my core group and am excited to watch God use more of my time and money for His glory!

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Ordinary goodness

Today was a very good day.

I had a great night of sleep.

Let me back up: last night was a great night.

I went to church and heard a sermon on failure.

Ironic, isn’t it? I had just posted on failure the night before!

Here’s a quote from the message:

“The fact that Peter was clearly forgiven by Jesus and given new responsibilities, amounting to apostleship, despite his total denial of his Lord, can give genuine hope to Christians today who feel that they have denied Jesus and that this is unforgivable. He calls only for our repentance and for our love.” -D.A. Carson

Good stuff.

And then I got home, ate Thai food while watching TV (that almost NEVER happens b/c I rarely have time to be a relaxed couch potato), got an email from one of the girls I’m discipling that was such a reminder of God’s sovereignty (one of those strange “coincidences” that actually are, as somebody once phrased it to me, “God incognito”), and went to bed with my puppy keeping an eye on things until my parents came home ūüôā

Back to today. I’ve been overwhelmed this whole day with how great God is to me. Nothing extraordinary happened. Except for the fact that the God of the universe joyfully takes time to bless me, a sinner saved by grace, abundantly. He’s blessed me more than I could ever have imagined. I have so many great people in my life, many of whom I got to see today. And I love them all.

I have hope. I have peace. I have joy.

I have Jesus. 

What more could I want?

You’re more than enough for me, Lord

God’s grace to me today:

I got to see/talk to/hang out with some of the wonderful people He’s placed in my life who love Him and love me.¬†

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Before the Throne of God Above

I went to church and we sang the following lyrics:

“Because the sinless Savior died,

My sinful soul is counted free: 

For God the just is satisfied  

To look on Him and pardon me.”

love this song.

To listen to the full song, click below: 

hallelujah

God’s grace to me today:

I am pardoned b/c of Jesus’ sacrifice.

His death gives me life!

Still takes my breath away.

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Watching over me

Thought for the day…

I think sometimes God allows me to make mistakes and fail at things I thought/hoped I’d succeed at so I can see that He loves me anyway. In spite of all the failures I have, mistakes I make, disappointments I cause, He still loves me.¬†

He loves me.

He LOVES me.

HE LOVES me.

And since I did nothing to earn His love, there’s nothing I can do to lose His love.¬†

Amazing.

truly amazing

God’s grace to me today:

He protected me from a near accident on the way home tonight.

And He loves me through my failures.

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Simply trusting

The song below (all the way at the bottom) basically sums up my day today.

Fun fact: this was also Hudson Taylor’s favorite hymn.

Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China

The secret of his [Hudson Taylor’s] own strength was not far to seek.

“Whenever work permitted, Mr. Taylor was in the habit of turning to a little harmonium for refreshment, playing and singing many a favorite hymn, but always coming back to‚ÄĒ

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.

One of the eighteen evangelists, Mr. George Nichol, was with him on one occasion when some letters were handed in to his office, bringing news of serious rioting in two of the older stations of the Mission. Thinking that Mr. Taylor might wish to be alone, the younger man was about to withdraw when, to his surprise, someone began to whistle. It was the soft refrain of the same well-loved hymn:

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art . . . 

Turning back, Mr. Nichol could not help exclaiming, “How can you whistle, when our friends are in so much danger!”

“Would you have me anxious and troubled?” was the quiet reply. “That would not help them, and would certainly incapacitate me for my work. I have just to roll the burden on the Lord.”

Day and night this was his secret, “just to roll the burden on the Lord.” Frequently those who were wakeful in the little house at Chinkiang might hear at two or three in the morning, the soft refrain of Mr. Taylor’s favorite hymn. He had learned that, for him, only one life was possible‚Äďjust that blessed life of resting and rejoicing in the Lord under all circumstances, while he dealt with the difficulties, inward and outward, great and small.

‚ÄďHudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, (Moody Press: Chicago, orig. published 1932), 208-209

If you’ve never heard this song before, here’s a version of it ūüôā

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the Joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O how great Thy loving kindness.
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvellous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings;
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting;
Fill me with Thy grace.

I will trust You, Lord

God’s grace to me today:

He’s given me the faith to trust Him completely in every area of my life.

Verse 4 (the one completely bolded) perfectly describes my heart today!


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Panera Blessings

Earlier this week I was reading in John 4 and came to verse 34: 

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”

If you can see from the blurry picture of my Bible that I just took with my cell phone, I had written a little bit on the top margins. If you can’t read it, here’s the first part of what I had written:

food–> energizes, satisfies, brings pleasure

(vs. 34)–> I want to echo Jesus’ words

God is so good. I was studying at Panera and happened to run into someone from school. We had that “I think maybe we know each other because you look vaguely familiar?” moment and realized we’re in a class together. Long story short, the Lord was so good to me tonight (as always) and interrupted my MCAT studying to give me the chance to tell my story of how Jesus has radically changed my life.

I had yet another opportunity to experience firsthand the energy, satisfaction, and pleasure that comes from doing the will of my God by sharing the gospel and testifying to His grace. As you can see from my Bible, I had the desire to be filled with the same food as Jesus.¬†On top of that, since one of the sessions at the Passion conference, I’ve been desiring a life “continually interrupted and inconvenienced for Your glory and justice” (that’s what I wrote in my notes from Christine Caine‘s talk).¬†

My wonderful Lord took my desires and made them reality.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.¬†You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14).

My God keeps His promises: if it will bring Him glory, He will do it. 

And He did. 

He is so faithful

God’s grace in my life today:

He divinely orchestrated an interruption to my MCAT prep so I could “testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24) and truly echo the words of Jesus (John 4:34).