NO IFS, ANDS, or BUTS//Victoria//CNU

Do you use “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts” when praying? I do. I may not directly say it, but the underlying meaning is there.

If you can, please grant me ____”

If you could give me ___”

If you can help me overcome  ___”

Mark 9:14-29 is the story of how Jesus miraculously heals a boy that’s been possessed his entire life by an evil spirit. The spirit has thrown him into fire and water in attempts to destroy the boy’s body. The disciples were unable to heal him, so the father of the boy turned to Jesus, and asked:

  1. 22-23 “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us”

Jesus’ response was “ ‘If you can’. Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Jesus basically responded, as if to remind this boy’s father, “there is no if about my power or if concerning my willingness”. “If” implies doubt; which means lacking faith or not believing.

It’s not a question of God’s ability but a question of our belief.

Instead of ‘if you (God) can do anything’ it should be ‘everything is possible if you (we) believe’.

How can I have such small faith, when I know that He has the perfect track record?

Time and time again, we forget how faithful God has been and how attuned He is to our hearts. During trials, valleys, mountains, joys, pains, sorrows… just life, why do we forget?

We forget because we get distracted by minor things.

Oh but how quickly we can refocus, with a simple humble prayer.

  1. 24 “…Help me overcome my unbelief!”

The boy’s father spoke this prayer, asking Jesus to help him to have a stronger faith. Instantly, Jesus spoke, and the evil spirit shrieked and fled his presence.

God is able. He both can and will. How does this change our prayers? Or the way we view God?

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that works in us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,

forever and ever! Amen.

Read that again.

“…immeasurably more…” : Not just more, because that’s measurable. So much more that it’s off the charts! There’s no measurement. (my little brain doesn’t understand this, and that’s okay)

“…more than we ask or imagine…” : What He does will exceed what we imagine or hope. He will continually provide in more creative ways than we can imagine; after all, He is The Creator.

God will always be able. He will do immeasurably more than we could hope for, or what our brain is capable of understanding. He will exceed our imagination, and will likely answer prayers differently than we ask them.

God’s able.

No ‘ifs’, ‘ands’, or ‘buts’.

I still believe

You’re the same yesterday, today, and forever

I still believe

I still believe your blood is still sufficient for me

-Kim Walker-Smith, Still Believe

{great song, look it up}

thetaylorfamilysession-11

 

Hello! I hope this blog finds you doing well and enjoying the beginnings of Fall! My name is Victoria Taylor. I’m a senior at Christopher Newport University, and I plan to graduate in the spring. I patiently anticipate May, as I will graduate, celebrate my 22nd birthday, and become a Mrs. all in just 1 week! God has given me a passion for medicine and healthcare, so I’m currently applying to Occupational Therapy schools while planning our wedding. I am experiencing many new joys right now, but I am also praying and watching my trust in the Lord grow. Thank you for reading this! I hope it brings as much peace to you as it does me.

 

Five Things Friday // Growing with God {Meg}

One thing I became passionate about in my own life starting in college is the concept of self-feeding & my personal growth in my relationship with God.
I think so many times we fall into the dangerous trap of thinking that our growth in our knowledge of God comes primarily through other people.
God certainly uses other people to grow us – I’m well aware and well acquainted with that – but ultimately, people will disappoint you. Your friends and disciplers and Bible study leaders and [gasp!] even Cru staff members will all let you down you at some point.  It’s just true.
But guess what!? Your walk with Jesus isn’t dependent on other people.

source
Don’t get me wrong – community is SO valuable, and I’ll be the first in line to tell you to invest & plug in & ask for wisdom from older women & share your struggles & pray for your friends & get involved in a church & go on summer missions & pretty much anything else along those lines involving Biblical community, but community with others doesn’t come before community with God on your own. It just doesn’t compare.
A turning point in my life was learning that God created a relationship with me and it wasn’t on my own doing. Sure, he used other people to bring me to himself, but ultimately, He knows me, and He died for me, and He’s a personal God, and it’s good for me to know Him.
It’s always my hope and my dream for college women to embrace the same things. Because as a staff member wisely told me [in the context of discipleship & community, after all that!], the habits you make now – meaning in college, or whenever now is for you – will be habits you continue to hold to after college, and for decades to come.
So, in order to take a step towards equipping you women & challenging you to walk intimately with Jesus in your own personal lives, here’s five things to inspire you to begin, or grow in depth, in that journey – in no particular order:

source
  1. Know God more by reading His Word.  This one seems of utmost importance to me.  If you’re not sure how to do that in depth, read Jen Wilkin’s book Women of the Word.  I think sermons are awesome and I do love a good Christian book but there’s something unique & imperative about spending time primarily in God’s Wordthat is invaluable. Yes, you can learn from others, but God gave us His Word to know Him more (let that sink in)… and so do it. Passionately.
  2. Start a prayer journal.  I love the basic Moleskine or Target journal where I can fill up my pages with prayers to God.  But, I also love a structured direction with my prayer life. Consider Brooke’s prayerjournal guide she shared with us on this blog.  Also, consider investing inone of these or these.  And pray.
  3. Be willing to be sanctified {which means being made more pure, more like God}. One of the most convicting prayers in Scripture, in my mind, is the prayer in Psalm 139 – Search me, Oh God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  {Insert shocked face emoji here.} But yeah, ask the Holy Spirit to show you your grievous ways, and then be willing to pray and ask Him to grow you in that… And, eek, bigger gulp – if you are having a hard time seeing the Holy Spirit’s conviction for you there, consider asking a friend who knows you well to help you to see areas you are doing well in and an area you can grow in.  And then ask them to help you walk more like Jesus in that.
  4. Learn from others, too, but as a supplement to – and not more valuable than – God’s Word.  God uses others to teach us about Himself, which is beautiful. Don’t let that time overpower your time knowing about Him and discovering truths in scripture on your own.  But, learn from others, too.  Podcasts, books, sermons, online articles… soak their wisdom in in.  Take advantage of all that is literally at our fingertips & let other believers sharpen you, too.
  5. Be willing to be alone with God, and connect with Him in ways that are personally meaningful for you. Going on a walk, being in nature, creating art, singing, writing, cooking, running. Fill in the blank.  You do you, but do it with God.  He speaks often loudest when we’re most quiet.  Make yourself available to Him in ways that bring you life.  Be willing to be alone with Him.

Will you take one step towards this this weekend? I am going to. This afternoon. I’m going to take a stab towards walking with God in a way I’ve been abandoning on my own the past few months.  Join me.  I promise – God will use it.

source

Happy Friday! Stay awake. Be free. xoxo

Praying in the Dark // Steph

I’m a multi-tasker by nature. I have several things on my to-do list floating through my head at any given moment. These days I try to multi-task while caring for (or chasing) a very busy almost-one-year-old boy which is major multi-tasking in itself. One thing I like about having a full calendar is it makes me feel more important. How’s that for honesty? Before moving to Norfolk I worked with Cru in D.C. where a friend told me if a person showed up on time to a meeting it showed that they weren’t as busy and therefore less important than people who arrived late. (I wish that was my reason for being late all the time).

I tend to pack in too many activities without thinking things through all the time. That is why it was such a shock one Saturday morning when I had a painful scratch on my cornea and the Dr. told me to “just sit in the dark for 8-10 hours and let it heal.” What!? I can’t remember the last time I sat still for 8-10 minutes let alone hours! Of course as a mom I needed a nap (I think when you’re a mom you just always need a nap) but that could only take up a couple of those long hours. So there I was in a dark room after a wonderful nap feeling rested probably for the first time since I had a baby last June. I couldn’t read or watch TV due to my scratched cornea so I just… rested. I was able to listen to the Bible on my phone and catch up on a sermon I missed at church. Then what happened next was pretty cool. My heart had room to worship and pray. It was so much better than feeling busy and important. When people and situations came to mind I would pray for them. It’s amazing how you stop worrying about someone when you turn the situation over to God.

I guess the point I’m getting at is being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself but some of us are “too busy” to pray and rest. I would encourage you to examine your life and ask yourself if you are too busy. Are there activities that can be cut out? People that have been left out? Who/what in life is most important to you? Does your calendar reflect that? Mine does not always and it’s OK to be a work in progress. God used my scratched cornea to show me the blessings of rest, prayer, & worship. My hope for you is that you learn it in a less painful way 🙂

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.” -Oswald Chambers

 “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”  -Martin Luther

 “Until you are convinced that prayer is the best use of your time, you will not find time for prayer.” -Unknown