Thursday, November 11, 2010

True Love

Today I attended the Bible study that a local church has been holding here on campus on the second floor of the science building. I've been going for several weeks now (probably a month or two) and have been enjoying them immensly. Two weeks ago we started John Piper's "God is the Gospel" video series. Today we watched Lesson 3: The Love of God When God is the Gospel. This is what I came away from this session with:

Philippians 1:20-23 "...according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;"

From what Paul says here, true, biblical love become rather clear. Dig into the passage. Read the whole chapter. Pauls says if I live, then I can serve God, which is the ultimate expression of love. Love is sacrifice. Biblical love involves  sacrificing yourself to serve God, and to serve others, and by serving others, we serve God. In the video Piper says something along the lines of, "Love means sacrificing whatever it takes, even if it is at the expense of you or your brother, to give God glory." (he used John 11:1-6 as his basis for this statement, and he said it better than I have). Jesus stayed two more days so that when he went Lazarus he would be dead. Why? So that he could raise him from the dead and give God and Himself glory (v. 4).

Jesus is our example of how we are to be. If Jesus 'sacrificed' the life of his friend by staying that he would die merely so God would get the glory, should we not also make sacrifices? If we truly love God we will seek a relationship with Him and we will seek to always give Him glory. We will not perfectly be able to do this, but that is our goal: "What is the cheif end of man? Man's cheif end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

In our loving of our fellow man we must make sacrifices of ourselves in such a way that it helps and/or encourages those people to glorify God, as well as enables us to give God glory. Let me pose this question. If our love of another (brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, friend, boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse) does not help us and them glorify God, do you think it's true love?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cloudless Rainy Days

For those days when you're just in the mood for a rainy day and there's not a cloud in sight... this is the site for you.

Playing your favorite relaxing music with it makes for the ultimate reading/studying sound! =)

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8, 2009

Day Three:

Excerpt from my jouranl:

October 8, 2009, 10:50 p.m. - Thursday

     After breakfast we piled on the bus and headed for the country side. We drove through Dannybrook's, a section of the city, and learned of it's history.
     Once out of Dublin the scenery was breath taking! Rolling hills, lush fields (with sheep!) and sprawling mountains all green and beautiful. We were headed north to Wiclow County were we visited Gelndalough. It was the ruins of a monastic church, the only one with double arches at the entrance. The old, old cemetery around it was still used to bury people in today. After a tour of the ruins we were allowed to walk down to the lake. Glendalough is known as the "valley of two lakes," which is what Glendalough means, I think.  The ruins were build of stone and most of the structures (the "sacred" ones) weren't built with mortar.
     The lake was absolutely gorgeous! It was so amazing with the mountains and "woods" stretched out behind it!
     Next we headed to Powerscour Gardens, which were in the same county. We ate lunch there and headed out to see the garden. Lunch was delicious (but expensive!) and the gardens... No word exists to describe it accuretly enough. It looked like something from a painting or a Jane Austin movie! It was beautiful.
     After the gardens it was back to Dublin. They dropped us off at the National Museum of Ireland (those of us who wanted to go that is). There we saw many ancient artifacts and the bog people (Jenn, Kim, Kara, myself, and Dr. Watson saw them together). The bog was a place were once things had sunk in to it, they were trapped on the bottom and because there was no oxygen there in the soil, things were well preserved. This included people. They found people who had been killed in various ways. Some of the bodies were whole, others... were in pieces. And by pieces I mean one was just a torso with arms while or or two ere missing legs. They were really gross-- their sking (the ones that had sking) looked like old leather-- but it was cool to see, in a way.
     At seven we went to a traditional Irish dance show. Oh, it was such fun! There were 3 men who played Irish music and another man played an Irish uilleann pipes, which is similar to bag pipes but one uses the right elbow to pump air into it instead of blowing in it. It was a beautiful sound and equally beautiful music. He also played a "flute" type instrument... I forgot what it was called but it was played similarily to a tin whistle.
     Then the dancers were out! There were six of them, 3 guys and 3 girls. They were excellent and the dance was amazing! My favorite part was when two of the guys did what I would describe as "the dueling Irish dancers." They took turns "showing off" to "prove" who was better.
     They they did audience participation where they demonstrated and irish dance (for couples) and took volunteers from the audience. Jenn was selected and did an excellent job!"

End of day three! =)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 7, 2009

Day Two! =)

I woke up to this beautiful sunrise outside our hotel window! It was utterly breath taking.

After breakfast we got on the bus and headed to our first stop... the doors of Dublin!

 They were painted all different colors so it was easy to tell  what house was yours, because they all looked so similar. Ever door was so unique and beautiful, they kept them and now the doors are pretty well renowned.

Next stop was St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Beautiful architecture outside and beautiful on the inside!

Check out those beautiful stain glass windows! And that high, arch ceiling with all the intricate carving!! Very impressive.

St. Patrick himself! Quite the depiction, isn't it? XD

I absolutely loved the floor! Check out the tile work!!

"This was the reconsilliation door; several hundered years ago, there were two feuding familes in Dublin, and one of them started losing very badly, so they took refuge in St.Patricks. Finally, the two heads of the clans realized that they were both Irish, and they both worshiped the same God, so why were they fighting? They agreed to a truce, but in order for the truce to be legitimate, they had to shake hands, only niether one trusted the other enough to leave the safety of his men. So finally they hacked a hole through the door with their swords and shook hands through that. Three weeks later they were back to fighting each other."

Our tour guide, Alley! =)

Our next stop was Kilmainhem Jail!

 On the right we have original graffiti of a prisoner who was held her... I don't know either. XD
 The cells were really small, but this cell block was very open.

This place was full of hallway after hallway of cells, which in the day, contained women, men, and children alike.

I got thrown in a cell!! =O

 We had dinner at the Hard Rock cafe.
They had an upside down car inside!! It was painted all kinds of wacky colors. It reminds me of  a Mondrian painting.

And thus ended day two!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Time Last year...

...I was in Ireland! =D

In honor of my trip last year, I decided to post pictures and maybe an excerpt or two from my journal each day that the trip was on last year. =)

So Day One (Not counting the day we departed): We arrived at Heahtrow Airport to find out that our flight was moved. So instead of a 5 hour layover... we got a 7 1/2 hour layover. Due to two people in our group having liquid/drinks in their luggage (we even passed an area where we were supposed to throw those out!), customs made a big fat hairy deal out of it and Dr. Massey wouldn't let the students leave the airport.

 So we waited... and boy was it a long wait! There were shops in the terminal but after we went through those about three or four times, they got old. Most of us hadn't slept on the flight over the big pond, so we took advantage of the opportunity.

Meredith and Megan were exhausted -- We all were! I had a picture of me asleep that a friend took... but I couldn't find it!

Honestly, I couldn't find it! XD

 We finally arrived in Dublin! And it was raining. But it was ok, the city was still amazing!

 Our tour guide was very nice and sympathetic. Her name is Alley! She got us all on the bus and took us to the hotel where we checked in, freshened up, and relaxed a bit.

 Several of us decided to walk around the city before dinner (we were eating at the hotel that night).  We visited a little art museum just around the corner -- it had these neat stain glass windows and pretty architecture. We weren't allowed to photograph the artwork.

 Walking around town we saw lots of different buildings and store fronts (we stayed fairly close to the hotel). We even saw (Dr.) Massey's funeral home! =)

 Dinner at the hotel was AMAZING! The food was so delicious... they had the BEST tomato soup EVER! I'll never eat cambell's again...

 As you can see, the hotel room was really nice as well.

That bed was so comfy and a sight for sore eyes that night. I fell asleep before I even realized it.

 Thus concludes Day one! =)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Love is Battle-filled

"Love is a battlefield, those who want true love have to fight for it. Beyond differences created by humans such as caste, creed, country, religion, race and culture."  Santosh Kalwar

And thus the wisdom of man flows from his lips. Yet when I look at the first part this quote, "Love is a battlefield," I can't help but think about it's meaning and/or intention. Now I don't know much about Mr. Santosh Kalwar (besides what wikipedia tells me, which is very little), nor could I possibly know what he meant by such a statement. However, "Love is a battlefield, those who want true love have to fight for it" is fairly straightforward. Love isn't easy (to find or 'maintain') and it's (usually) a constant struggle.

Now, we as mankind long for companionship and to be loved, whether by our parents, our friends, or a significant other. I've never been in love, but I have a lot of people that I love, and I certainly love God. The battlefield of love for me is quite different from how the world would see it. They battle for love of men, seeking true love among each other (which they fail to realize they can't have True love outside of God). The battle I have with love is this:

Seeking to love my neighbors and fellow men, as well as seeking a godly relationship with a potential suitor who could become my husband later on, without letting that love distract me from loving God first and foremost. We are commanded to love each other (Mark 12:31) but  is it not true that we can do so to the extent of forgetting to love God? I know I have. I let the crush I had on a particular person consume me so much that I was seeking and dreaming of a loving relationship with him over furthering and deepening my love for and with God. Since then, I have confessed this sin, and only by the grace of God I haven't fallen into it again (I pray God keeps from ever falling into it again!). But for a Christian , the battlefield of love isn't finding someone to love and keeping that love alive, but it's loving others and not letting it get in the way of the most important love in our lives.

The love of Christ Jesus, our God and Saviour. We are to love others -- but never more than we love God.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nostalgia much?

So it's finally happened. I've begun my Senior year of college. As I look back over the past years, the memories I find are so fresh in my memory that it seems like they happened just yesterday. I can't fathom how three years has passed so quickly, yet here I am, almost halfway through my 7th semester of college. Wow, seven semesters. I remember when it was an accomplishment for me just to make it through my first semester! It all went by in a blur, yet I remember everything so distinctly. As I think about the people I've met, the friends I have made, and the memories that will never seem like they happened more than a day ago, I can't help but feel nostalgic. True, I am looking forward to graduating this coming May, but there are things and most certainly people that I will miss here. 

That being said, I turn to the future, because it does me little good to dwell on the past in such a manner and wish to go back in time (though there are certain parts of my college life that I would NOT wish to relive!). The thought of graduating excites me! It marks the beginning of "a new chapter" in my life, and as the pages leading up to that chapter turn ever so quickly before me, I eagerly await what comes next. But then I think, "What does come next?" I can't help but wonder, and feel a little anxious at the thought. I'm graduating. This is the last time I'll be moving into the dorms. The last time I'll have a fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Spring break. The last time I'll sign up for the next semester! Next Fall I won't be starting school. 

I reflect on my senior year of high school, and recall so vividly thinking, "I can't wait until I'm done with this year, I won't have to do school anymore!" (that was before I had decided to come to college). And now that I'm in the Senior year of college I think, "I look forward to graduating, but what in the world am I going to do after that?!" It's hard figuring out what God wants me to do. I've given thought to grad school, to trying to find a job in illustration (Lord willing) not too far from home so I don't have to move just yet. And of course there is the question of "I wonder when I'll get married?" that I've had for some years and still sits in the back of my mind at times. Even as I consider the seeming "uncertainty" of my future I feel a peace. I know God will take care of me -- He promised he would! "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" Matthew 6:26; "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. 

So I'm not worried about graduating despite the fact that God has not yet made the path he has laid out for me clear. He's led me thus far in my life, and I know He's not about to stop. I must have faith, trust in him, and keep loving and obeying Him; He'll do the rest, which is to say, He'll do it all. He only requires that I obey and love Him. And with those thoughts in mind, I can't feel anxious, I can't worry, and my nostalgia all but vanishes. Because I've seen what He's done in my life in just these three years. I can't wait to see what he'll do for me in the years to come!

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-8 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Starting Over

So, I haven't posted since last February. I decided to start over... I don't know how ofter I'll be posting, but here goes nothing!

Like the title says, I'm starting over. That means:
-New look
-New layout
-New archive.

Yes, I deleted everything I'd posted in the past. that's because I doubt any of you go back and read what I've posted on a frequent basis, let alone at all. So I'm re-doing everything, including posts.