Sunday, October 31, 2010

all my devotion

This has been on repeat for me this morning:
All My Devotion
Kristene Mueller

Beautiful Man
Beautiful God
You're more than worth my time
You're more than worth these longings of my heart
Left unfulfilled
Just for a time

Beautiful Man
Beautiful God
You're more than worth my time
You're more than worth these longings of my heart
Left unfulfilled
Just for a time

And I know You don't come as easy as some
But I will watch and pray
I will watch and pray

Beautiful Man
Beautiful God
You're more than worth my time
You're more than worth these longings of my heart
Left unfulfilled
Just for a time

And I know You don't come as easy as some
But I will watch and pray
I will watch and pray

Take it all
Take it all
Just give me Jesus
Just give me Jesus

Take it all
Take it all
Just give me Jesus
Just give me Jesus

I don't want any other Lover
I don't want any other Lover

All of my devotion
Belongs to this man

Click on the picture above to listen to the song on youtube
 

Monday, October 25, 2010

an impromptu poem

One month from today
It will be CHRISTMAS DAY
Lord willing I will be with my family
Opening gifts in the light of the tree

My heart will be full
Tears may stream down my face
For my God has made me grateful
And He has covered me with grace


Norman Rockwell A Christmas Homecoming 
I've always loved him.







it's the little things...

This morning, I got to school and was getting ready for the day, when all of sudden, out of nowhere, the bell rang. At 7:50. It rings at this time every day, telling the kids that they can go to their classrooms and the teachers that they better get their game face on. And this morning I was a tad discombobulated, so I didn't really have my game face on. 


But then, one of my sweet fourth grade boys pulled something out from under his shirt. What was that something, you might ask? A bag of Sour Patch Kids. For me. His family went to El Paso this weekend to do some shopping, and he thought of me. How sweet is that? I just love it when the Lord shows me how much He loves me through others. This kind gesture just about melted my heart and put the biggest smile on my face. Pass on a bit of kindness to someone today and just see how it makes you feel and what it does for their heart. 



Sunday, October 24, 2010

song of the moment

We sang this song this morning in church (in Spanish!) and the lyrics have been on my heart and mind all day. What if I really lived this way? Enjoy.


Where You Go I'll Go
Kim Walker-Jesus Culture

Where You go I go
What You say I say
And what You pray I pray
And what You pray I pray

Cause Jesus only did what He saw You do
And He would only say what He heard You speak
And He would only move when He felt You lead
Following Your heart following Your spirit

So How could I expect to walk without You
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I will not begin to live without You
For You alone are worthy and You are always good

Where You go I go
What You say I say God
And what You pray I pray
And what You pray I pray

Where You go I go
What You say I say God
And what You pray I pray
And what You pray I pray

So How could I expect to walk without You
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I will not begin to live without You
For You alone are worthy and You are always good
You are always good
Oh, the beauty of Your name will be seen upon my face, Oh, God

Though the world sees and soon forgets
We will not forget who You are and what You've done for us
And what You've done for us
And though the world sees and soon forgets
We will not forget what You've done for us

Where You go I go
What You say I say God
And what You pray I pray
And what You pray I pray

I will follow You yeah,
In this desert life, I will follow You
Whatever comes my way
Through every situation, I will follow You
To the unknown, to the unsaved
Give me a heart of no compromise

And to see the amazing video, click on this little linky-poo:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

bad days better

I have come home the past few days feeling frustrated, defeated, tired, overwhelmed...all of those negative and yucky adjectives people usually use to describe teachers. But then I checked my email and received a genuine answer to a prayer that has been on my heart for years. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever.
 
And then I put on some music and started allowing the Lord to remind me of His truth through the words of the amazingly talented duo Shane and Shane. I made a playlist of Shane and Shane on Grooveshark and then put it on shuffle. The first song that "randomly" played, "Bad Days Better" has now been on repeat for the last ten minutes. And the Holy Spirit just reminded me, once again, that my heavenly Father sees everything. He hears my every cry and catches every single tear that falls from my eyes. But get this. It started raining. For the first time in probably 3 weeks. The heavens opened up and brought forth beautiful refreshment. What strikes me is that the sky didn't even appear to be full of rain clouds today. The clouds were strikingly beautiful, actually. But the scent of the rain coming through my window and front door is intoxicatingly (Yes, I just made up a word.) good.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever.

Over and over again, the Lord has whispered to my heart, "Rest in me, for the seasons of refreshment are coming." And this afternoon, He gave me a little taste of just what that refreshment is going to look like. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever.

I don't know what you might be going through or if life is just a cakewalk for you right now, but be reminded of this: The Lord is good, and His love endures forever. 


"Bad Days Better" 
by Shane and Shane

You have made my day
Even in stormy weather
I’m dancing in all the rain
Cause you make bad days…

Great is the way
When you come to mind
I am smiling ear to ear
Sweet thoughts of you
I’m always in the mood
To twirl around with you
While it’s raining
Even if it’s a dream

Great is the way
That I am unafraid
When I see you
All my fear goes away

Bad days are coming
Rainy days are always around
But if I can see you
One glance upon you
The sun comes out

I’m dancing in all the rain
Cause you make bad days better

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

thank you Lord

I really needed a laugh today. And wow, did this deliver:



It just might be the funniest church marquee sign I have seen. Ever. I literally laughed out loud.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

my story

Each month, the ladies of the mission here in Mexico get together for a meeting in which we sing worship songs and someone shares what the Lord is teaching her. We also share prayer requests and listen to how the Lord is working in the lives of the people around us. It is a wonderfully encouraging time. Since I am the newbie here, I was asked to share my testimony and how I got here at our last meeting. Some of you know bits and pieces of this story, and some of you know it all. It's a bit lengthy. Nevertheless, here it is:

For those of you whom I haven't yet had the chance to meet; my name is Jessica Miller. I am twenty two years old, and I just graduated from the University of Georgia in May. Two days earlier, I had just been approved to come down here as an associate teacher. Wow, God is good.

Here is a little bit about me and how God brought me here. I was born and raised in a Christian home. My parents both grew up going to church, but they did not know they were in need of a Savior until after they were married. My mom accepted the Lord a year after they married, and my dad followed a year after that. My parents are both from South Carolina, and they both attended the University of South Carolina and graduated with pharmacy degrees. They lived in Atlanta for a little bit, then moved to Nashville, where both my sister and I were born. We moved to Indianapolis one month prior to me turning six, and this is where I accepted Christ. At that young age, I prayed a prayer, and I know I didn't understand the implications of my words. I know now that the childlike faith the Lord gave me then was at least a springboard for what He would do in my heart years down the road. At that age, I only knew that I wanted what my parents had, whatever that was. I knew that they were different. So I wanted to be different, too. But this desire to be different and set apart was founded in legalism as a child. I didn't understand what it meant to follow Jesus; I only saw Christianity as a dichotomy between what I did or did not do. I was often paralyzed with fear and prayed the "prayer of salvation" whenever pastors gave an invitation at the end of a service because I was deathly afraid of hell. It wasn't until I was about 12 or 13 years old in the youth group that I really allowed the Lord to grab hold of my heart.


I remember a friend of mine saying in fourth or fifth grade Sunday school class that she read her Bible, and I thought to myself, "Why would she do that? That is for adults. We're just kids. We can do that later. " In seventh grade, I was finally promoted to the youth group, and we were challenged and constantly told the importance of our "quiet time" with God. So I gave the whole Bible reading thing a chance, and what do you know, God used His word to really change my heart and mind! In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul writes that "All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Throughout middle school and high school, the Lord really used His word to illuminate the truth in my life by giving me a burden for my friends who needed Him. He also showed me my sin and asked me what I was going to do about it. In Romans 6 (my most favorite book of the New Testament. ever.), Paul writes, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (verses 1-4) I was constantly challenged to remember that I have a new life in Christ. Through the years, God's word has also showed me my need for a Savior and reiterated time and again the simple truth that I cannot do anything to save myself. He loves me because He loves me. And the only proper response is to love Him back.

When I was 15, I had the opportunity to come to Mexico with my church. We had a five-year partnership with a church outside of Mexico City, and the last year of that partnership was the first year I was eligible to come. What I saw and experienced in that short week irrevocably changed my life. I had never been outside of my little suburban bubble, and I saw poverty and joy and pain and the face of Jesus all over the Mexican believers who simply clung to Him with all of their strength. Theses people had next to nothing compared to my lavish American lifestyle, and yet they were filled with so much and hope, joy, and faith in the God of the universe. Before the week ended, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, and when I returned back home, eager to share every detail of the week with anyone who would listen, He confirmed His calling. I knew I was coming back to Mexico in one way or another.

After graduating from high school, I set off to the University of Georgia, now the number one party school in the nation. (Don't judge.) In my naiveté, I had no idea about this wonderful claim to fame and was just excited about living in Athens away from my parents. I majored in Early Childhood Education and minored in Spanish (almost) and also got an endorsement to teach ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) so that I could work with Hispanic kids or in a Spanish-speaking country (preferably Mexico!) after graduation. Fast forward to the fall semester of my senior year. It is time to start making decisions about post-graduation plans. At the nudging of my well-meaning father, I was going through the motions of applying to grad school by attempting to study for the GRE and looking at the application requirements online when it me. My heart just wasn't in it. Soon enough, the thought of attending grad school and not realizing the the dream the Lord had laid on my heart years before almost physically sickened me. It was something I knew all along and had been afraid to admit to myself. Add to that a Bible study of the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, which confirmed so many thoughts and feelings I had had for years, and I knew that I needed to be honest with myself and with my parents about where the Lord was leading me on this next phase of my journey with Him.


At Thanksgiving I told my parents that I wasn't going to grad school, and they weren't happy. They've come a long way now and are very supportive of and happy for me, but it took a while. Around late December or January, I "stumbled across" the New Tribes Mission (NTM) website and saw that they wanted teachers here in Chihuahua, but the disclaimer was that you needed at least 2 years of experience. I thought to myself, "I haven't even graduated yet; they won't take me." But I kept coming back to the site, and I finally completed an info form. To make a long story short, after playing phone tag with a staff member at the mission's headquarters in Sanford, FL, we finally talked while I was on spring break in March (the day after I found out that I had been offered a job with Teach for America in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, which is "pretty much" Mexico...) and I found out that they still needed teachers here in Chihuahua. I knew right away that God had something big in store for me. I sent him my resumé, he forwarded it to the principal, who called me that same day, and then I turned down Teach for America that next week, not knowing whether or not this whole Mexico thing was a sure deal. 


But God is faithful. I began the application process with NTM, which took me about a month or so, and I found out that I was approved the day before I graduated and the day after I turned 22. What beautiful timing our God has! This summer was a blur; I graduated, my sister graduated from high school, I went to youth camp, was in a friend's wedding, went on a cruise, went to Sanford, FL for orientation, and basically raised support in a month. I made it here on August 3, and everything here has been somewhat of a whirlwind, too. When I was a junior in college, the Lord constantly showed me just how wonderfully faithful He is. You see, that year I dealt with grief and death. (And this is where I began to ugly cry in front of about 20 women I barely know...) A couple weeks before returning back to school, while working at a camp with one of my best friends, we found out that our friend had been killed in a car accident. In September, my cousin, who was 22 at the time, died of a brain tumor. In October, my aunt died from complications with her kidneys. And on February 1, my paternal grandmother died after battling lung cancer. I was so worn-down that year; I remember thinking that I just wanted to get through each day. But then the Lord told me that He didn't create me to just get through each day. He created me to live. So that is what I want to do. I want to live each day with gratefulness in my heart for His goodness. I want to live with empathy and kindness as His Son did while He was here. I just want His name to be know. The time I have spent here so far has been an emotional roller coaster; I have gone through so many changes. But my God has stayed the same. And for that I am forever grateful.

Friday, October 8, 2010

can I just say that I love Beth Moore?

Today I went over to another lady's house in the mission to watch the introductory session to the new Bible study I am doing, Stepping Up: a journey through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore. The group actually meets during school hours, but she graciously offered to let me watch the videos at a time convenient for me. I am so grateful because I can get some good fellowship and some sound teaching from my girl Beth. Anyways, today was just the introduction, but I am already so stoked. I absolutely LOVE the Psalms. I find myself going back them more than any other book in the Bible. So to do an in-depth study on the Psalms of ascent, which are Psalms 120-134, is such a sweet delight. 

Beth said something to me that really spoke to my heart, and I just had to share it with you. She was talking about feeling down, and how sometimes when we feel down, we just can't seem to see our way out of the darkness that seems to surround use. She then went on to share this truth:Psalm 84:5, which says "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." The Hebrew word for "blessed" in this particular verse is asher, which means "happy." Beth went on to say that as Christians, we usually like the word joy better, because happiness is circumstantial. But this is the Biblical promise she shared that stems from this verse: Your circumstances will feel much happier if you allow yourself to remember that you are only passing through this moment.

I was just sharing with my students the other day how God can see the whole picture, and we cannot. (And of course I forgot that little tidbit of truth within a couple days.) Our lives are like a little dot on a never-ending line of eternity. And He sees it all. When we have life in Christ, we can know that this is not all there is. There is so much more waiting for us on the other side. Wow. What freedom there is in His truth!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

exactly what I wanted to say

Today started out kind of rough. I was cranky and frustrated with myself and just feeling down. I didn't want to go to school, but was content (well not truly content) to sit and wallow in the depths of my self-pity. Until the Lord reached out and reminded me, once again, of one of His wonderful promises. This morning it was through a song called "Overcome," which we sang a few times at Watkinsville First Baptist. And this evening it was through the words of another blogger on a site called (in)courage that is just for women who need a little grace. Enjoy both.


http://www.incourage.me/2010/10/these-are-the-days-of-grace.html


 

P.S. I don't know why this video is so stinking big. Sorry I'm not technologically savvy enough to know how to fix it...

Friday, October 1, 2010

hello, October

Today is the first day of my favorite month, October. October is always so wonderfully packed with memories. The past few Octobers were filled to the brim with football, Ride for Christ, pumpkin muffins, dark fingernail polish, pumpkin spice lattes, apple crisp, and cozy sweaters. Oh, October, how I love thee. 


This October will be quite different. I am in Chihuahua, which is the desert. We have just wrapped up the rainy season (I think). So instead of fall leaves changing from green to beautiful hues of yellow and red, the mountains will green for just a little while longer. The bright and colorful houses will look crisp because they just got a nice wash from the rain. While I am eager and excited for this new kind of fall, I know I shall miss the beauty of the fall I came to love in sweet Georgia. 



This is my ode to Athens and all things fall. 
I shall miss studying and reading in Two Story Coffeehouse, where I always felt trendy and inevitably ran into at least one friend. 
I shall miss the quirkiness and Southern hospitality of Mama's Boy and Five Star Day, and the deliciously wonderfully vegetarian fare at The Grit. Snelling's sandwiches and omelets will forever satisfy me in my most hungry state. And of course, leaving with clothes that smell of freshly ground coffee from Jittery Joes will be an experience long treasured. 



The trees that line Cedar street with their yellow leaves in abundance...the beautiful historic homes on Milledge and Rutherford...the green, open spaces of North Campus with the big, shady, Magnolia trees, oh fall, how I will miss you! 



But isn't wonderful how the Lord knows the desires of our hearts? I found apple cider, Milano cookies, and organic raspberry jam at Wal-mart last week. Man, He is good.

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