It’s Friday!

It’s Friday! Ready for the weekend…well at least I am!

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It’s All About Me

I have a devotions book that I have been doing by Paul David Tripp called New Morning Mercies. My devotion today was on being selfish. Let’s be honest, we are all selfish. I certainly am at times! Sometimes we just want life to be all about us. When we trade God being at the center of our lives for us being at the center of our lives, then our hearts become consumed with me, me, me. How can I make life easier for myself? How can I be more comfortable? How can I be more successful? How can I get this thing that I really want?

We begin to deny “the need to serve others, the call to persevere, the inescapable reality of suffering, the requirement of daily labor, the call to engage myself in the work of a bigger kingdom than my own, or the moral requirement to use my gifts for the glory of someone other than myself.” We forget that our purpose is to glorify God through serving His people and advancing His kingdom.

I pray that the Lord would continue to remind me to stay outwardly focused. I pray that He would continue to make me aware of the needs surrounding me in the City of Richmond and throughout the rest of the world, so that I can respond to those needs. It is not about me. It is about Him.

Much love, B

Tattoos

Most people know by now that I have four tattoos. I never thought I would have even one of them, but here we are! I love my tattoos because each of them has a specific meaning that is connected to my relationship with God. I also love having them because people ask me about them all the time, and it gives me an easy opportunity to share about how God has impacted my life. Many conversations with strangers have begun with, “Hey, I like your tattoo, what does it mean?” Then I get to share about the meaning of each of them.

One of them says, “My peace I give you, I do not give as the world gives.” This is John 14:27, and I got this one when my dad left. It is a reminder that God can give you peace in any situation. He can do things and provide things that the world cannot.

Another one says, “In you I find freedom.” This tattoo reminds me of all the times God has broken the chains that bound me and set me free. He set me free from my eating disorder, from anxiety, and from severe depression. He transformed me.

“Surrender” is my next one. This reminds me that I have to surrender my entire self to God. I want for God to be the center of my life, and I want my life to reflect my relationship with Him.

“Brink of eternity” is my last one. This reminds me to make the most of every day. I have to seize each day, because I am always on the brink of eternity.

Much love, B

Does it Really Say That?

Well I’m tired. Really, really tired. My brain is not functioning at 100% today, but I’m pushing through.

I am reading a book this week called How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. If I’m being honest, so far a lot of this book is pretty boring. However, I like the part of the book where it talks about good interpretations of the Bible, and why this is so important. This book describes a good interpretation as one where the author’s original meaning for the text is the primary focus. Now you might be thinking yeah, that’s obvious. However, often times we take passages out of the Bible and try to create some unique interpretation of it that actually has nothing to do with the original purpose of that passage. We probably don’t do this on purpose, but it happens because we are reading the Bible with our own background, culture, and experiences.

I agree with this book that it is important when reading the Bible that we learn about the context surrounding the passage of scripture we are working with. Why did the author write the passage at THAT time? What was the point that the author was trying to make to the audience back then? Once we learn about the context, we can then use that context to apply the scripture to our lives now. If we do not do this, we run the risk of taking scriptures way out of context, and making up our own meanings that do not align with God’s intended message.

I will definitely be challenging myself to make sure I study scripture in the context in which it was written.

Much love, B

Getting my hands dirty

Today we were tasked with scraping gum off the sidewalks and picking up trash from the surrounding street downtown. This is a part of the Love Your City project that we have at Hillside. The goal of Love Your City is to do just that….love the city you live in. Today that meant getting down and dirty!

It was amazing to hear the response from people walking along the sidewalk as we were completing these tasks. People were instantly asking questions about why we were scraping gum off the sidewalk. We constantly had people walking by and just thanking us for helping to clean up. It was pretty cool to see how people were noticing the little things, but even if they didn’t we would still be doing it anyway! A kind man from the convenience store next door even offered each of us a free drink for helping to clean up the street.

Typically I would complain about doing tasks like this or just not want to do it, because lets be honest who really enjoys scraping other people’s gum off of a sidewalk? Probably not most people. But I was actually happy to serve in this way. We don’t have enough people to scrape gum and clean up the trash on every corner in Richmond, but it feels good to be able to serve a small portion of the city. Hopefully this can inspire others to get involved in similar ways!

Much love, B

Willing Servant

I have heard the story of Jonah since I was a little girl, but the story took on new meaning when I read it through the lens of the book, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Here are some of my favorite parts…

“And Jonah stalked to his shaded seat and waited for God to come around to his way of thinking. And God is still waiting for a host of Jonahs in their comfortable houses to come around to his way of loving.”

So powerful! How many of us are sitting comfortably at home worrying about ourselves instead of reaching out to those in need and physically serving God’s people? Jonah is someone that constantly refuses to answer God’s calling on His life. He is selfish and does not want to take the Gospel to the places where it needs to be heard. God loves ALL of His people, every last person on this Earth. This challenges me to think about how I can love God’s people to the best of my ability.

“Jonah is father to all those Christians who desire the benefits and blessings of election but refuses its responsibility.”

“If a person draws his lifeblood from the one greater than Jonah and yet declines to spread the Good News among others, in effect, he is sabotaging the aims of God himself”

These two quotes kind of smacked me in the face. Do I just desire the benefits of being a Christian and the blessings that come with following God without being willing to share the Gospel? I hope not, but it definitely caused me to think long and hard on this. I do not want to draw life from God so that I can just use it for myself and not for God’s people. I do not want to ignore God’s call or let selfishness and comfort keep me from doing God’s work. I am willing to be a servant of God, whatever that looks like, and wherever that leads.

Much love, B

Just Life!

In a month I will be moving into the shared apartment for interns! The lease on my current apartment does not end until the last weekend of October, or I would already be living there. There will be 7 girls living in one apartment. Yes you read that correctly…7. It is a pretty big apartment though, thank goodness. I don’t mind living in a space with that many girls, but the hardest part for me will be sharing a bedroom with 3 other girls. It just means I will have to find other places to go to be alone and recharge.

It also means I need to start downsizing my closet! I have far too many shoes and clothes to fit in a room with 3 other girls images. I am excited to move in with the girls though. They are all so much fun to be around, and it will be an automatic way for me to get to know them extremely well. Plus when I move in it means I have the shortest commute to work ever. The office where I work is directly below my apartment! I will be able to say goodbye to 64 traffic in the morning and afternoon. Yay!!!!

Much love, B

Daring in the Face of Opposition

To start off each day, the staff of Hillside does a devotional together. We read a part of the Bible, discuss it, and then pray together. I love starting every day like this because it is a way to stay grounded before the day begins. Today we read 1 Thessalonians 2, and there was something that stood out to me…

“…we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.”

This is something that I am personally asking God to make me more brave about. Did you know that every 6 minutes a Christian dies for their faith around the world today? I think often times we forget that persecution of Christians is still currently happening throughout the world. We get stuck in our little bubble of American culture and forget that there are people suffering because they believe in Jesus. I do not want to be blind to this reality, but I also do not want it to hinder my desire to share the Gospel to nations that have never heard it. My prayer is that I would dare to tell people the Gospel in the face of opposition just like this verse talks about.

Much love, B

Confessions of a Pessimist

The reason my blog site is called the Bright Side of Life and the title has to do with finding joy every day is because that is not my natural personality. While it is true that I am typically bubbly and joyful, my first reaction towards things are usually negative. I am the first to think about all of the reasons why something will not work out, but I am challenging myself to change my thought patterns. Hence the name for the blog and me genuinely trying to find something joyful in each day.

But days like today make this a tough feat. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, and it is Monday! How is that possible? Someone find me a refresh button or a restart button…and that’s when I have to pause and remember that I do in fact have a refresh button in my life. The bible talks about how God can renew our Spirits and do the things that we cannot do on our own. Thank goodness! God knows that I sure cannot do life without Him, and I do not want to. I can come before Him, lay all of the day’s challenges at His feet, and gain His strength, peace, joy, patience, etc. in place of those things. That’s a good deal y’all!

So that’s what I am doing tonight. Laying everything down before Him and asking that He give me some extra doses of strength and joy for tomorrow.

Much love, B