“If My People”

Some may look down on the environment of Christian colleges because they are not an accurate depiction of the “real world.” (Stick with me. The title and the post connect later.)

But this life is so much better than the real world. I live on a hall with 15 amazing girls, an RA, and two other upperclassmen. Yes, we have homework. But we also take the time to talk and hang out. Last night, about half of us gathered in one room to have tea, jam, and bread. (The Sound of Music: “Tea, a drink with jam and bread!”) The conversation is always so uplifting and encouraging. I am so blessed by all that has happened since I moved on campus a week ago. (I cannot believe it has only been one week!)

One of the coolest things to me since I moved in is hearing about the timeline that led up to today. Our upperclassmen ladies found out that they would have our hall back in February, and they started praying for us then. For me, February was tough. There was a lot of life change and emotional craziness for a couple weeks during that time. God brought me through a painful process of healing and truth and grace, but He gave me great support through family and friends during that time. Looking back, I can vividly see how the Lord used the prayers of these three lovely ladies in my life, starting back in February.

Do I believe in the power of prayer? Absolutely. Without a doubt. My eyes filled with tears when I heard that these ladies started praying for us in February because of all that was going on in my life 6 months ago. God answered their prayers as He worked in my life and gave me a greater desire to know him and pursue holiness.

So… if prayer is so powerful and so meaningful, why don’t I do it more often?

(Pause. Think about it.)

I will never be as disciplined as I would like to be in my prayer life. I will never have that unceasing conversation with God while on the earth. But that does not mean I shouldn’t strive for that.

God is creating in my heart a deeper desire to spend time in His presence, praise His name, and sit in awe of Him. (More on the fear of God later – what a lesson!) God responds to His people and I want to be a witness to His provision in all things.

Here is how God responds to His people:

After Solomon finished building the temple, God gave him an incredible promise. In case the Israelites turned away from God (again), He said this in 2 Chronicles 7:13-15:

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive them their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

Prayer made with a humble and repentant heart is heard by the Father. He hears the cries of His people when they “turn from their wicked ways.” He heard the cries of my heart back in February, and He responded in loving faithfulness as I came to him with a contrite heart. The prayer of three upperclassmen and bunch of other faculty has had a huge impact on where I am today spiritually. Their prayers had an influence on my repenting from sin and turning to seek the beautiful face of the Lord. I hope my prayers have such an impact. I may never see it, but I believe that it will take place!

To wrap up this post, I apologize that it may not flow very well. My mind is buzzing with information; I’ve received all my syllabi for the semester and it is crazy! But with a heart set on prayer and communion with Christ, I know that this semester is going to be so full of growth and lessons and awesomeness.

I pray that you, whoever you are, wherever you are, experience that intimate conversation with the Lord this week. Or whatever week you happen to read this. It is beautiful beyond measure! May you be filled with joy so that you overflow onto those around you! May you turn from the ways of the world and gaze on the face of the Savior! You never know how your prayers will affect others.

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Perfection

Perfection.

Everyone strives for it in one way or another, whether they realize it or not. Finding the perfect college, the perfect job, the perfect car, or the perfect house are a few huge desires for perfection. But what about things like making the perfect goal, writing the perfect paper, running the perfect mile? Don’t we look for perfection in various areas?

I can honestly say that it has been so long since I have blogged because I wasn’t sure how to follow up my last blog post (which got a BUNCH of views). I needed a “perfect” follow-up blog post. (Plus, I’ve been pretty busy.) But is the goal of perfection realistic? I don’t think so.

 

Within Christianity, salvation does not mean perfection.

 

When God declared someone righteous, he is JUSTIFIED. An individual’s first act of repentance and confession is the person’s part of justification, but God was the One who made salvation possible through His son.

 

Believers are set apart – or sanctified – by God at salvation. First Peter 2:9 says that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” and we are set part to declare the marvelous light of Christ. God declares believers holy, now brought to Himself because He has washed us white as snow. This sanctification declares the believer’s position in relation to God – we can now enter into His presence.

 

Progressive sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

The Holy Spirit convicts believers to live a life of increasing holiness, as new creations set apart for the glory of God (Colossians 3:9-10). As spiritual beings, we struggle against the desires of the flesh daily (Galatians 5:16-18). The believer’s desire should be holiness because his Father in heaven is holy (1 Peter 1:14-16). {Click the Bible verses to read the passages on Bible Gateway.}

 

And then, one day, we will see God. His glory will be revealed, and we will be made perfect, never tiring, always praising our Father. We will reach the ultimate goal of perfection. Until then, Paul writes of this goal:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

Philippians 3:12

 

So is it wrong to aim high in our earthly goals? No. Colossians 2:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” But remember, we, as humans, are not perfect. And nothing we do is perfect. But we can “press on,” seeking the God who made us His own.