Monday Minute. On Tuesday. {Meg}

It’s a cozy day. It feels like fall today.

There are raindrops on my windows and I’m sipping on Starbucks [not coffee, although it is national coffee day apparently… I like their ice tea lemonades. Passion tea. Sometimes green. Sometimes both. Sweetened.]
It’s cozy and it feels like fall and on my mind is this continual topic of prayer.
What if surrendering my life looked like spending more time in prayer than I do worrying or over-thinking or trying to control every aspect of my life?
What if being free looked like saying, “I am not but Jesus is better”?
What if spending quiet moments of rest looked like brief yet necessary dependence on God, rather than attempts to earn or compare or prove?
What if, in the quietest parts of my heart, God is speaking to me, but I can’t hear him above this noise?
“Prayer is the essential activity of waiting for God – acknowledging our helplessness and His power, calling upon Him to help, seeking His counsel. Since His purpose in the world is to be exalted for His mercy, it is evident why prayer is so often commanded by God. Prayer is the antidote for the disease of self-confidence, which opposes God’s goal of getting glory by working for those who wait for Him.” {Piper}
Consider this:
·        What are some verses that move you to pray? Meditate on them.
·        What are some characteristics of God that draw you to Him? Write them out in your journal and p r a i s e Him.
·        What is one thing that you want to trust God for? Pray. Seek. Ask God. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to resist fear of what He might say or lead you to do. And ask again.
·        In what ways does your heart bend away from God today? Remind yourself of the gospel: “For God did not spare His own son…” Repent. Seek the Holy Spirit to change you. Rest in God’s grace.
·        Does God have something for you today? Quiet yourself. Ask. And Listen.

“Prayer is the antidote for the disease of self-confidence…” Wait for Him. Soak it all in. Jesus is better. Talk to Him about it.

The Bondage of Approval and the Liberty of Christ (Heather)

Motherhood has revealed my desire for recognition and approval from others. This desire is not caused from being a mom—just exposed by it. I don’t think it is wrong to want to be recognized or thanked for our work, but it becomes a problem when we base who we are on what other people are saying [or not saying] about us.

I started to see this a couple of weeks ago after a long day of feeding, changing diapers, and trying to contribute to a meeting in a meaningful way while entertaining my four month old. [Please don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE being a mom.] Then I came home to cook for some people that were coming over later that night. I started to wonder if everyone knew the work I was putting into that day. Would they all thank me for it and tell me what a wonderful cook/mom/person I was? Not only that but was all this work in vain if they didn’t? A lot of them did thank me, but it didn’t feel like enough.
My identity, my self worth, and my whole day depended on how others received me. If I wasn’t noticed or thanked, I was down all day. If I was recognized, it was never enough to satisfy my need for it. I couldn’t ENJOY the compliments because I was dependent on them for MY JOY.
Forget confessing my struggles and sins to any of them. I couldn’t allow myself to be seen in an unfavorable light—they wouldn’t approve of me and I needed their acceptance so badly.
I wasn’t serving others selflessly because I needed something from them. All the world’s acceptance and approval couldn’t carry the weight of my identity.
So I was striving to fill myself with any acknowledgement I could get, and I was left wholly unknown and empty.
That is not freedom. It’s bondage to man.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1

Paul is speaking to the Galatians about finding their righteousness in circumcision, but I think this verse also applies here. Living for man’s approval is a heavy yoke, but Jesus has brought liberty through the cross.
The truest thing about us if we have accepted Christ is that we are His. This is our real identity.
I hope you and I live in this truth today. {We are His.}

The intentional kind of love (Brooke)

Yesterday I was sitting across the table from an ODU student/dear friend and we were talking about goals/hopes/dreams for her upcoming semester.  Right away she said  —->I want to really love people this year. The intentional, living life with love.  And, I want to do this with people that haven’t experienced this. She started sharing about the girls in her human services program and the steps of faith she wants to take with them. 

“love your neighbor as yourself.” -Jesus

I was inspired.  
What a way to spend a semester.
And it just starts with one little step every day/every week.
Oh but warning: this is hard. intentional love requires a dying to self. a putting down the phone. a listening ear. a moving towards a person. a putting aside of your agenda & your schedule.  
real love always requires sacrifice. 
& will always be worth it.
It’s a long journey….and the best journey.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7  (consider memorizing this over the weekend)

break out your journal today & answer these two questions.
1. Over the next 4 weeks who do I want to show intentional love to?
2. How will I do it—have a huge brainstorm session here…write down anything and everything that comes to mind…{bringing them coffee in class, praying for them every morning when you get up,  listening well to them…etc etc etc}
::thank you for living for eternal things on your campuses.  You are making a huge difference. I love you::