Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Psalm 66

"Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious" - Psalm 66:1-2

I only have thirty minutes until lights out, but I really just wanted to express the joyfulness I have been feeling. I can't explain this, it is a "peace that passes understanding". I have never felt so content to be where I am. That sentence doesn't make much sense, but read it again and maybe you'll get it. I just know, I know, that I am where God wants me to be. Anyone today who has causally asked me "How are you today?" has received a ten minute response on how great I feel. I feel purpose.

Yet, I still see the enemy working. Against me and others. I almost feel bad when I talk about how joyful I am when I know I am talking to someone who has had a hard or sad day...but I can't really feel bad about it, nor do I want to. I want to spread the joy!

So, "Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul" (66:17) "Come and see the works of God, who is awesome in deeds towards the son of man" (66:5) and "Bless our God, O peoples and sound His praise abroad!"(66:8)
Stork Nest

I got a package in the mail!

Laundry day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Let me clarify, the other day I said "it snowed" but that was in the middle of the night...I didn't actually see it snow....

but today!

IT'S SNOWING! The first time in my life that I have actually seen real, white, fluffy snow...falling from the sky! I  feel like a little kid, but it's so exciting! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

Jesus is so amazing! Thank you Lord for snow!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Expectations? Exceeded!

Yesterday my brother pointed out that I had been gone exactly 11 days (now 12). It feels like more and less all at once. I am very glad to have week one over and done with. It's nice to have a basic understanding of what a typical week looks like, how much homework to expect, what meals are like, etc. I have finally finished making a nice little schedule for myself, which I am really going to need to use to remind me of everything. When I've been able to skype family this last week, it seems like there are some basic universal questions.

What is the food like? Are you making friends? Do you like everyone (in other words, is there anyone you can't stand)? What are your classes like? Is it what you expected?

Well, let's just get all these items out of the way, shall we?

The food is pretty good. Not exactly what one could call healthy, but it's possible to eat healthy if you make an effort. We have a salad bar, which I have been SO thankful for! They serve lots of pork and beef, which isn't really my favorite, but we do have chicken every few days. The bread and desserts and wonderful. Most of the girls complain that they've gained weight from the menu, so I plan on being very careful...I want to come home slenderer (slenderer is a word right?) than when I left.

The people here are wonderful! Mostly American students, but it's amazing how many cultures are represented here, I think it is about 15 different countries. I have have such a hard time with names, so I am working on remembering everyones, but I am getting much better! I have really been able to connect with so many different people at different times in different ways. It's so wonderful to be surrounded by people to love Jesus. My new friend Paula (pronounced with a Spanish accent like "powla"...I think :P) said something the other day that has really stayed with me..."When you become a Christian, you make many friends." What a wonderful thought! As Christians, we have friends all over the world that we don't even know. We have many  activities that allow you to get to know different people. I have a prayer partner for Apologetics, a weekly prayer group, my roomies, my home fellowship group, the MTP group plus out reaches. Different people in each the time I leave I should really know and be friends with everyone here!

The classes are AMAZING! I have only been here a week and I have already learned so much! Although, they are harder that I expected...I think I just conveniently took the "College" part out of "Bible College". So no, I was not really expecting to be academically challenged, but I am SO glad that I have been! I love studying my bible like a text book, and am very excited because I know I have so much to learn. All my classes are really wonderful, but my very favorite is my MPT class. We meet every Thursday morning at our teachers house and pretty much have a bible study/tea party. Last week our regular teacher, Pam Markey, wasn't there, but I keep hearing wonderful things about her, so I know she will be great.

So last Thursday I was sitting in Pam's living room, crowded together with everyone, drinking tea and all of the sudden I just wanted to cry. I felt such peace, contentment, and excitement just to be where I am. I am overwhelmed by this opportunity God has given me and I am so excited to see where He plans to lead me from here. I know that God has a purpose with my life, and I just pray that I would be willing to surrender all for His glory.

So is it what I expected? No, not at all. It's harder, it's stranger, it's different, but it's so much better!

Photo by Sara Blackwell

A Taste of Bible College Homework.

How does one determine truth? Most Christians are faced with this question often. “How can you really know that God and the Bible are true?” Then they proceed to tell how they know it is not real. I am reminded of what Dr. Del Tackett asks in the well known series “The Truth Project” by Focus on the Family. “Do you really believe that what you say you believe is really real?” This is a profound question that all Christians must ask themselves. So how then do you determine the answer? What is absolute truth? Simply, God. 

Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.”
It is not up to us to decide what is real, what is true. The Truth has existed for all eternity and will continue existing for all eternity to come. According to Romans chapter 1, we don’t decide get to decide what truth is, but rather we are compelled to believe it. Evidence to the truth is all around us, in every aspect of our created world. But, because of the sinful nature of mankind, we want to determine that there is no absolute truth. If then, there is no absolute truth than there is no guilt and no condemnation. When we deny the existence of Truth, we deny the existence of heaven and more importantly, the existence of hell. 

Charles Darwin once wrote “I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now small trifling particulars of structure often make me feel uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!”
Even Darwin, when confronted with the beauty of intelligent design, could not help but doubt his own theory of evolution. He could not look at the majestic design of a peacocks tail fathers and believe that what he said he believed was really real. God speaks of Himself to us through nature, Psalms 8:1 says “O Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is your reputation throughout the earth! You reveal your majesty in the heavens above!”

As our world searches for answers, ignoring the message given by God, it falls further and further away from truth. In a quest to find truth, the world has hidden truth and seeks to destroy it. If we cannot believe what every fiber of our nature tells us is true, then we cannot really believe in anything. The world becomes a place of doubt, confusion, and darkness. If we decide that what appears to be true is false, then we can no longer trust in anything. You see this lack of trust tearing apart friendships, families and cultures alike. As a society, when we decide there is no absolute truth, we choose to live in chaos. 

Unfortunately, the world around us has rejected truth and chosen darkness. All you have to do is turn on the news and see the reality of the chaos that consumes nations. Romans 1:28 “and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” In denying the truth that God has set into place, the world has “been given over”. In denying light, we’ve exchanged it for darkness. This darkness consumes our nations, revealing itself in abortions, homosexuality, murder, child abuse, homelessness and starvation. These things in themselves prove the absolute truth of God and that man is hopeless without Him.


Feeling homesick.

Mail boxes...SEND ME LETTERS!

The Counts "secret passage" to his wifes chambers.
That we use as our classroom! 

                                                      My favorite room in the castle!

Saturday, February 12, 2011