A Saturday Story- Ting, ODU

Happy Saturday to you!  Meet Ting a doctorate student studying at Old Dominion University.

 “When I came to Norfolk, various Christians filled my life. My landlord is a Christian, my roommate is a Christian, my teacher is a Christian. I participated in various activities organized by Christians (like Cru).  The environment is so very much different than growing up living in a secular environment. This makes it   difficult for me to change or to believe. There were pieces of my own hard heart that I refused to change because I was too proud. But the Christians were so nice and loving, that I began to experience a lot of  life. After some time God revealed Himself to me in a dream. I was having a nightmare, but was being told to call upon the name of the Lord. After I did, my nightmare was gone and I slept. Good Sleep. I also dreamed some verses like, “You anoint my head, so my cup runs over.” Soon after I talked to some of my  Christian friends and they told me more about Jesus. I really appreciate these good Christian friends.  I  have decided to become a Christian too. I now see Jesus’ love as absolutely beautiful. I now know a love  from God, a love that only He can give me. I now want to bring God glory in my life. I want to be closer to God. I want to live out the Christian presence to my non-Christian friends.”

::r e d e m p t i o n:: (Brooke)

Hello friends.  I truly hope you are having a good week.

For the past couple weeks I have been using a devotional called “Seek God for the City” to guide my morning times with the Lord.  It is very good.  Each days entry starts off with a simple prayer– but this past Sundays prayer stopped me in my tracks:

{Fill our minds with knowledge.  Fill our hearts with wisdom. Fill our agendas with redemption.  And fill our city with peace like a river.}

The thought of filling my agenda with redemption makes me want to cheer! It’s what it is all about. I have been praying that thought over and over again to the Lord this week.

I love the word redemption.  It’s so full, beautiful, painful & packed with a grand story.

Redemption means deliverance from some evil by payment of a price.  The cross of Christ is the price paid to release the slaves, to let the condemned go f r e e.   It’s the process of freeing but by payment of a price.

The price is the blood of Christ.

Christ redeemed us by taking our place, by bearing our curse.  Redemption not only looks back to Calvary, but forward to the freedom in which the redeemed stand. (thoughts from New Bible Dictionary by Inter-Varsity Press)

—> You were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20  

What does it look like to let redemption fill your agenda?  I’m not exactly sure but here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Ponder{consider deeply} the cross & the sacrifice of the perfect Christ.

          There is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross— He made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God. He made redemption the foundation of human life; that is, He made a way for every person to have fellowship with God.   

-from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

2. Speak words of liberation over the people in your life that are believing lies that counter was is true in the Bible//God’s heart.  We need each other in this battle.

3. Pray, really pray, for your friends that are hurting and ache because of the pain that this world is filled with.  Pray with them on your own.  Pray with them over the phone.  Meet them and pray for them.

4. Make the most of the daily opportunities that the Lord gives us to point people to Christ, the Redeemer.
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Have you heard the song “When my heart is torn asunder” by Phil Wickham?  It’s the best.  It’s a song of redemption for sure…I love every single lyric in the song but my personal favorite right now is, “I have found redemption in the blood of Christ—my body might be dying but I will always be alive!”  If you don’t have this song on Itunes– comment below by midnight tonight with your email address.  It’s too good to not have. I will randomly select a winner tomorrow morning & email you! hugs and loveee.

Joy Comes in the Morning (Maggie)

Psalm 34:18“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

         Jesus hurts when we hurt. This is something I have been reminded of over the past few months since the relationship I was in ended back in December. Jesus is in the midst of our suffering and wants to bring us comfort. He is there to help us up after we have fallen. I have only been in two serious relationships in my life, both in the past 3 years, and I have learned more about the character of God and about myself in that short amount of time than ever before.
            God uses our tough circumstances to bring Him glory, and to bring us closer to Him. He uses these hard times for good. God’s love has pushed through all the darkness and pain and has washed over me again and again like waves in the ocean; constant and strong.
            I have had vivid dreams ever since I can remember, and most of them haven’t been good. They are mostly scary or painful, and the night we broke up, I figured I wasn’t going to sleep well. I cried out to Jesus pleading for peaceful dreams. He gave me something better. Jesus was in my dream that night. He came out to where I was sitting and told me everything was going to be okay and I just needed to wait and trust Him. He told me He loved me and was there for me. If I close my eyes, I can still picture the dream, and that gives me joy and peace.
            A very literal representation of God’s love for me was shown through my dad. The next day I called my dad to tell him what had happened. My voice broke over the phone as I choked out “Daddy we broke up”. The compassion and sadness in my dad’s voice was so strong as he cried with me on the phone.  That is how God feels when we hurt. In John 11:1-35 is the story of Lazarus. Many focus on how Jesus raised him from the dead, but something significant to me in this passage is that Jesus had compassion on the family who was mourning the loss of their brother. Jesus cried with them even though he knew he was going to raise Lazarus just moments later. He hurts when we hurt. He cries when we cry. He is there sitting with us when we feel like we are all alone. But the pain doesn’t last.

Revelation 21:5“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” 
            Healing isn’t instantaneous. It doesn’t happen overnight, but God does heal us and make us new in time. About a week after my first break up my junior year, I got probably the worst sunburn in my entire life after studying out on the Great Lawn. Now if you know me, you know I am a very pale, freckly Irish lass. So I basically looked like a lobster. It was the MOST painful sunburn and I was so upset at myself for letting it happen. Then during the second week of this sunburn that was still not healing and me still being upset about it, God gave me an analogy. The pain felt from healing from a broken relationship can be compared to the process of healing from a bad sunburn. At first you are happy where you are, out in the sun, having a wonderful time and soaking it all in. You know there is a risk of getting burned but you don’t worry about it in the moment. The end of the day comes and you realize how much sunburn you got, and how much it hurts. The first few days are horrible. You can’t move, it puts you in a horrible mood, it makes you cry, and you are in the most pain you have experienced in a long time. People can tell you are hurting by how red your skin is, they know something is wrong, but sometimes can’t tell the cause. It’s easy to cover-up the burn with a shirt and a smile… The pain is too much to bear so you try to fix it and fix it fast. You try all different ways of making the burn feel better, lotions, aloe, and cold showers, but it still isn’t healing fast enough for you. So you get impatient that you aren’t better yet. You then try and quicken the healing process by peeling off the dead skin that is only just starting to peel. Gross right? But the new pink skin that is underneath isn’t ready to be open to the air and you end up being in more pain than you were the day before, and then the lotions and aloe hurt too much to put on your skin. What you need to do is be patient, and give yourself time to heal. It’s a long process that goes in steps that have to be taken in order, and slowly. After your skin is fully healed, you will get “new skin” and it will be tender for a while, but definitely better than before. Having your heart broken is similar to having the sunburn. You try to fix it by distracting yourself, covering up the pain, or just plain ignoring the pain. Healing takes time and patience, and faith that the Lord can heal you if you just give Him the time and have faith that you will eventually be better in His time, not yours. He will make you new again.