The Hope of Later//Heather

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrew 12:11

I love the contrast in this verse—in the moment BUT later.

We so often forget about later and just focus on this moment. It’s not surprising though, is it? We’re surrounded with Carpe Diem, eat drink and be merry, and of course YOLO.

But living for the moment leaves little room

for the difficulties and experiences that seem unpleasant. And discipline? No thank you.

This verse so eloquently and concisely explains why read the Bible more, spend time in prayer, exercise, finally share with that friend, and so many more are on our New Year’s Resolution list every single year. It’s because these things are painful.

You might be thinking, okay obviously exercise is painful (at least when I do it) or maybe even sharing the Gospel with a friend can be painful in a socially awkward kind of way but praying or reading my Bible more? I don’t know about that.

Here’s the thing though, for these things to actually happen we have to give up something else. Something in our lives has to change if we want to change. Maybe it’s more sleep—getting up earlier so you can have time to read and pray before class. Maybe it’s time you usually spend relaxing and watching the Flash (okay or your TV show of choice). Maybe it’s the long trek to the gym when it’s ten degrees outside and all your roommates are still warm in their beds. Discipline is painful because it costs us something. You and I will not change and grow by continuing in the same habits as before.

BUT later.

Discipline is unpleasant at the time but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. As Christians, even though it is easy to forget, we are living for so much more than this moment. We have the hope of eternity. We have the hope of later. This has the power to shift our eyes from just this moment to the grand scope of God’s plan. With the Holy Spirit, this has the power to move us from who we wish we were to more of who God has called us to be.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

How is God calling you today to look past this moment and live for later? How will you let discipline yield its peaceful fruit of righteousness in your life today?

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.

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:

  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.


Happy Friday! Stay awake. Be free. xoxo

Jesus in us//Nita//Cru Valor

Lately I have been reading the Gospel of John for my quiet times.  I love reading the gospels and wondering what it might have been like to follow Jesus during His time on earth. Would I have joined the group of helpful women who followed the band of disciples and Jesus?  Would I have sat with Mary to listen to Jesus teach? Would I have been brave or desperate enough to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe to be healed?
This Jesus lives now in every believer.  Do I remember that often enough?  Probably not, but I want to.
But back to John.  Chapters 13-17 are the final teachings that Jesus gave to His disciples before He was arrested, tried, and crucified.  I imagine that for years to come the disciples thought back on this time with their Savior and His last words to them.  Last words are indeed important to pay attention to.
 While reading chapter 14 I was struck by the number of dramatic, eternally valuable statements that Jesus makes.  I will share a few things that particularly stand out to me – they are part of my story of finding Jesus as my Savior.
John 14:1-3 Jesus promises to prepare a place for us forever, He promises He will come again, and we will be with Him for all eternity.  Until I got involved in Cru during my college years, I always hoped but was never sure I had eternal life. 
John 14:6 This is a bold statement by Jesus and so important for us to understand.  Why is Jesus the only way to the Father?  As a student at VA Tech many years ago, I asked God this question very sincerely.  It was in reading John that I found the answers.
John 14:12-14 Read these verses slowly and believe that Jesus truly wants to live His life through you and me.  Amazing! Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit in me!
John 14:16-17, 26 The promise of the Holy Spirit to live in us, to help us, to teach us.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, not let it be afraid.”  I was so afraid as a freshman: would I choose the right major? Would I have a job when I graduated?  Would I meet the right man and get married? Would I ever stop being anxious?  This peace that Jesus gives is stronger than all those fears.  He changed my life.

 Growing up in a wonderful Christian family, I left for college thinking I had a strong faith in God.  During my first two years at Tech I realized that my knowledge of God needed to become personal; I needed to really know who Jesus is and the ministry of His Holy Spirit.  Someone challenged me to read the Gospel of John and ask God to show me about Himself and what is true.  I did read John then and He did show me!  My life has never been the same. I still love reading the Gospel of John.

Nita is a graduate of VA Tech, joined Cru staff in 1972, and has served with Cru in New England and several areas of the world as well as with Cru Military.  Presently she serves with Cru Valor as a part of the National Leader Team.  She loves family, reading, gardening and her dog Lucy.