Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Is He Up To?

So the hectic schedule returns and my summer is quickly coming to an end. In the past week I've gotten new roommates, went on a retreat, and volunteered at a 5/10k run. Sounds simple, but much work went into each event! The highlight was most definitely retreat, also known as Summerfest 2012...

My school, James River Leadership College, has a retreat at the beginning of each semester to take time away from the busyness of life and get with God. Every night was filled with incredible worship and during the day we competed in tribes all while getting to know one another better. Boy, did God do some great things. I'm already beginning to see some prayers answered I lifted up to him during my summer. He spoke to me about my year ahead and built my faith for the great things to come.

I can have my moments of struggling with fear. I never want to fail and I'm always determined to succeed. But sometimes, life doesn't always happen that way. I've had my moments of, what felt like to me, defeat and those moments have scared me. But I know fear is not of God. And at retreat, it was as if God whispered right into my ear, "I'm going to deal with this right now." Scripture after scripture kept revealing itself before my eyes. His word says in Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you."

He is with me. He is with me and he is for me. His very word says I can pass through rivers without drowning and not be burnt by fire. He is holding my hand in protection. My mind would then go back to a verse in Songs of Solomon which declares "...You have thrilled my heart..." God is constantly winning over my heart everyday! His word is speaking truth into my life and I am declaring it! I need not to be fearful because God is with me and no matter what he has a plan specific for me. This plan has been designed perfectly with every little detail worked out before I was ever conceived.

One of our wise professors stated, "Opportunity is from God." I'm always on the prowl for opportunity. And when it doesn't come my way, that fear settles in. That fear of not being good enough or not ever getting the opportunity to shine. But that is not the truth! What I learned at retreat is that I shouldn't be chasing down the people who I think will sprinkle a bit of opportunity my way. No. Opportunity is from the Lord, and whatever is placed before me I should work diligently at to complete giving God the glory. Then in his timing that opportunity, I believe, will truly come. Matthew 6:33 mentions to seek God and his kingdom first above all else, then everything else I need will be given to me. Besides my cravings for opportunity, God also spoke to me that it's not just about Ariel. Ultimately, advancing the Kingdom of Christ is the goal and I do not need to place all my efforts on finding opportunity for me to shine. Isaiah 42: 6-7 claims, "The Lord says, 'I, the Lord, called you to do right, and I will hold your hand and protect you. You will be the sign of my agreement with the people, a light to shine for all people. You will help the blind to see. You will free those who are in prison, and you will lead those who live in darkness out of their prison.'" I remember learning last semester in my missions class that 40% of the world have yet to be reached. That's 40% who have yet to experience Jesus setting the blind free, releasing those who are in bondages and prisons, and for them to see the light! Yes, God will use me and he will use you, but it'll be for his glory and his kingdom. I don't need to worry about if I am being seen because it's Jesus who needs to be seen. I understand better now I must work for Jesus to be seen and that opportunity will eventually roll around, and it'll be in his timing and for his glory. The verse even says that I will be a light; I don't need to strive to make myself a light because the Lord will do it as he works through me. I am not to ready myself for man, but to let God ready me and when he wants to reveal me he can do so.

There's just so much more I could say about all that God has revealed to me during retreat. But hey, I'm still trying to meditate on it all of it because it is just so good! Just like Papa... so good.

Glory to God for all that he has done, is doing, and is going to do!
❤ Ariel Christine

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Look at Joshua: Part 2

In my last post about Joshua, I discussed the words God had spoken to him; that he would never leave or forget Joshua. His words were so reassuring and empowering to Joshua (as well as myself!). God even spoke to be brave and strong and everywhere that Joshua would go, so he would follow. How true that still is today for every one of God's children. I just love it! But this book gets even better, and I'm no where near halfway through.

Chapter 3:7
Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to make you great in the opinion of all the Israelites so that people will know I am with you just as I was with Moses."

Here God makes a promise to Joshua to make him great in the eyes of the Israelites. Then God tells him instructions of how to cross the Jordan river. All Joshua has to do is listen to God's every word and trust him. The priests carry the Ark of the Lord into the river where the flow stops completely. Then the Israelites safely cross the river without so much as a drop of water touching them. In chapter 4, it mentions around 40,000 soldiers crossing the river! This happened simply because one man listened to the Lord and obeyed. Chapter 4, verse 14 then says, "That day the Lord made Joshua great in the opinion of all the Israelites. They respected Joshua all his life, just as the respected Moses." God's promise to make Joshua great among the Israelites had come to pass. And how? Because he simply obeyed. He knew God was the God of the impossible and his ways are greater. Who better for Joshua to place his trust in? I think this small snippet is so great; he simply trusted and God came through. He makes it seem so easy to trust God for the most miraculous of things. Surely if Joshua can trust God to stop a river from flowing, I can trust God with every detail of my life no matter how big or small. And the promises God has spoken to me through out my life, I believe in them so much to come to pass. The key is simply to obey. The proof is in this very story and even in past events of my life. God is so faithful! He just wants simple obedience. In my study of the Old Testament, I noticed some thing it constantly said through out: God wants obedience more than animal sacrifices. My conclusion: what seems to me like my most complex, challenging dreams... simple obedience and trust in God unlocks.

Happy weekend!
❤ Ariel Christine

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Adventure Awaits

I'm sitting here. Resting. Finally finished packing EVERYTHING to go back to college. Oh boy, was it a job. Thank God for wonderful parents who help out a ton! There's so much running through my head right now... Emotions of excitement, nerves, sadness, joy, expectancy, rushed, flustered, and more! This year ahead has been something in prayer for such a long time and it's finally here. It's finally here and it's somewhat nerve-racking because I'm thinking, "God... it's the moment I've been waiting for... Is everything going to pass I've prayed for?" This whole summer was like a giant process of growing in faith for this one moment. It felt as each day I prayed for this year ahead during my summer, I felt more confident. The next day would come and I'd get before God with the same prayer requests and yet again I feel even more confident than the day before; like God was building this reassurance in my heart that his promises are true and he is always faithful. I'm so confident in God and what he has ahead for this semester. He's so good. I love him so much. The Scriptures say that God cannot be false to himself. If God says he is faithful, then he is faithful. He does not lie. Midnight is slowly approaching and then Monday hits! My parents and I are leaving at 5:30 A.M. for the great 417. I just wanted to take a minute to declare a scripture that has been coming to my heart. This occasion feels so right for me to declare it over. And as I sign off now to finally obtain some amount of sleep I leave with it:

Joshua 3:5
Then Joshua told the people, "Make yourselves holy, because tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you."

Oh, he's good.
❤ Ariel Christine

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Look at Joshua: Part 1

Joshua 1:5
No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you.

What could I say to further explain that verse? It's pretty self-explanatory. God won't leave; He won't forget. He's committed to me as I am to him for life. It's just so good to say over myself at the start of each morning, "Just as you, God, were with Moses, you are with me," Moses! The very man God spoke to about leading his people out of Egypt into the promised land. As God was with Moses, so he is with me. It's almost comical cause it's like I know a guy who knew Moses personally. Crazy, right? There's that familiar song, Our God, which says,

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?

Just as the scripture says, no one will be able to defeat you in all your life. God is the ultimate fighter, and there is nobody greater who can beat him. Doesn't that sound reassuring? The enemy has no place in my life. Every place he could fill in my head or heart God has already won over. My heart belongs to the Lord; the One who it rightfully belongs to since the beginning of time! Further along in chapter 1 of Joshua, the Lord says 3 separate times to him to be strong and brave. Then Joshua goes to tell the people all that the Lord has spoke to him, and even the people tell him in verse 18, "... Just be strong and brave!" In a way, it's like a small conformation of what the Lord has been telling Joshua. To be strong and brave! His trust must be in the Lord because that is the one who will not leave or forget him. I feel like the Lord says that over each one of his children. To be strong and brave; to trust him because he is faithful. I know God is for me, and he is with me. He walks in front of me and I follow. I heard a wise man say the other day, "God will not lead you anywhere he has not been yet." There's no situation or circumstance he can't handle or doesn't know the outcome. And as I look forward to the future, I look without fear and with a smile (just as in proverbs 31) because there is nobody who could ever defeat me. Only a God who is my biggest cheerleader. 

Can it be Friday already? Have a great day!
❤ Ariel Christine

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Trust. Simply trust.

Psalm 37:3-8
Trust the Lord and do good.
    Live in the land and feed on truth.
Enjoy serving the Lord,
    and he will give you what you want.
Depend on the Lord;
    trust him, and he will take care of you.
Then your goodness will shine like the sun,
    and your fairness like the noonday sun.
Wait and trust the Lord.
    Don't be upset when others get rich
    or when someone else's plans succeed.
Don't get angry.
    Don't be upset; it only leads to trouble.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust the Lord with all your heart,
    and don't depend on your own
Remember the Lord in all you do,
    and he will give you success.

Hosea 12:6
You must return to your God;
    love him, do what is just,
    and always trust him as your God.

Philippians 4:6
Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.

Good morning readers! Lately many verses have been revealed before me about trusting the Lord. And while it's easy for me to wake up everyday and claim, "I trust you today, God!" Am I REALLY trusting him with every single, little detail? He cares for the greatest to the smallest of problems in my life. He cares when I have bad hair day and don't feel pretty. He cares when the slightest headache comes on at work, and I think nothing of it except to push through. So I know: He cares. It's simple. Now I must: trust. His very Word says to trust him with my whole heart, to depend on him, to wait on him, to remember him, and even enjoy serving him. Yes, that begins a list of things to do, but look at the outcomes: I get to live in the good land of my Father and feed on his truth, be taken care of daily, for success to come, and the desires of our heart! Who better to put my trust in then the one who created me?

Within less than 2 weeks I leave to go back to school in Missouri. I attend James River Leadership College and this will be my sophomore year. Last year was such a tough and challenging year, but who I developed into was so rewarding. Going back into this year, I know there's going to be more challenges and circumstances to work through. I have been diligently seeking the Lord all summer with a huge list of prayers for the year. I've been praying for favor, opportunity, declaring success, and coming against any plans the enemy has to throw heartache into my path. Leadership college is definitely a huge time of growth and to be pushed to the extremes. Though God was so faithful to me last year and brought me through some of the craziest situations. During the moments it was so hard to hold my head up, God placed his fingers under my chin and lifted my head for me. I look at freshmen year as a launching pad for this sophomore year! I'm so excited for this year ahead, and I truly believe the scriptures I wrote out he has been revealing to me as I go back to Missouri. It's all about trust. I have to trust God; there is nothing better to place my hope in. In Jeremiah 17 verse 5, it states that whoever places their trust in human strength and ability is cursed. God is able. Reading his word and seeing his heart for me revealed makes my faith and trust in him so much greater. I cannot wait to get back to school and I am really believing for an incredible year ahead full of victories and success, in the name of Jesus! Haha, yes! My hope is in the one who has promised to never leave me.

Let your trust in the Lord be ever growing.
❤ Ariel Christine