James 3: 9-12

I read these verses the other day, and it caught my attention because of the boldness of these words.

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

This challenges me to think about the way I am speaking throughout my day. I should not be praising God one moment, and then turn around and snap at someone or say something unkind later on. This verse says that praises and cursing cannot come out of the same place, just like fresh water and salt water cannot come from the same spring. That is such a bold proclamation, and something that I definitely struggle with. How different would my life look, and how much more would I impact the lives of others if I only allowed blessings to come from my mouth? Now, this is not something that I can do by myself because I make a lot of mistakes every day. I mean people can really annoy or irritate me sometimes. So I have to pray for the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf and to help me with this!

Much love, B

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Sick Again

This winter has not been kind to me, and I am getting sick more frequently then I ever have. I was a teacher last year and rarely got sick, but this year when I am no longer around kids 24/7 I have been sick about once a month. Clearly they were keeping my immune system strong. What is super annoying is that I have been coming down with the same thing over and over again. I have no idea how to prevent it from coming back. I’m sure everyone feels this way, but it is really inconvenient to be sick. I have so many things that I have to do and no time for all of this. Let’s hope that I am healthy again ASAP!

Much love, B

Learning more

Over the last two weeks I have been reading the Qur’an for my internship, and it has caused me to recognize the importance of knowing the details of Bible stories. The Qur’an recognizes a lot of people in the Bible as prophets or messengers. The Qur’an talks about Jesus, Moses, Lot, Abraham, Jonah, Adam, David, Isaac, Ishmael, Job, Joseph, Noah, Solomon, and more. The Qur’an provides stories for these people as well that can seem pretty similar to the ones in the Bible, but there are often key details that are different. If you do not know the specifics of the Bible story, then you might not recognize where the stories differ.

Take for example the story of Adam and Eve. In the Qur’an, God created Adam from dust. He taught him all of the names of the plants and the animals. Then he created Eve as a partner for him. They were in the garden and God told them not to eat fruit from one tree…sounding familiar? Then Shaytan comes along and convinces both of them that the tree will give them eternal life and power. They both eat of the fruit (Eve wasn’t first), and after they eat the fruit they feel ashamed. God expels the two of them from the garden. But after a while, God has mercy on them and forgives both of them. Their sin is erased. That is not the same as the Bible story and is a very key different detail. This detail means that there is no need for Jesus to die on a cross later on down the road because people can just ask for forgiveness themselves from God (Islam does not believe that Jesus died on a cross or that he is the son of God. He was merely a human prophet that God granted special privileges to). So that detail being changed is actually really big. It takes away the need for Jesus as a Savior, which is a pretty key part of Christianity.

That is just one example. There are other stories where the details are changed and are not as easily recognizable if you do not really know the specifics of the Bible story. I know sometimes I’m like wait that doesn’t sound right, so I have to go back and look at the Bible story. This has shown me the importance of me going back through and making sure that I have my facts straight.

Much love, B

Serving & Glorifying God

God is the creator of the Universe, and everything that He created brings glory to Him. That includes us. We were created to bring glory to God, and our purpose on Earth is to serve Him. Something I have been reminded of lately is that I am not here for myself. I am here to be a servant of God, and I want my life to be a representation of who God is. My life is not my own, and that is a great thing. It means I have a greater purpose than to serve or live for myself.

When I think about this concept, I can’t help but think about my grandparents. My mom’s parents’ lives definitely represent this. They spent time abroad working with a mission organization called YWAM when they were younger. My grandmother is a nurse and my grandfather is a counselor/social worker. They are the type of people that are extremely giving of their time and money to people in need. They counsel and care for people. They put others before themselves. They are very hospitable and their home is always open to others. It brings them joy to do the work that they are doing…to serve and care for other people even if it is super inconvenient. They are grateful for the things they have, and they are constantly praying over people and situations. Their marriage is a representation of who God is, and their lives individually are representative of who God is.

They are an example of what I want my life to look like. I want for my marriage (in the future) and life to be representative of God. I want for everything that I do to point back to my creator and to bring Him the glory. I refuse to live life for myself.

Much love, B

Worship

I sang a song called Grace to Grace by Hillsong at church yesterday. Leading worship is easily my favorite thing that I am able to be a part of, and I really connect with the lyrics to worship songs. I really love the lyrics to this song so I figured I would share them!

“If love endured that ancient cross
How precious is my Savior’s blood
The beauty of heaven wrapped in my shame
The image of love upon death’s frame
If having my heart was worth the pain
What joy could You see beyond the grave
If love found my soul worth dying for
How wonderful, how glorious
My Savior’s scars victorious
My chains are gone, my debt is paid
From death to life and grace to grace
If heaven now owns that vacant tomb
How great is the hope that lives in You
The passion that tore through hell like a rose
The promise that rolled back death and its stone
If freedom is worth the life You raised
Oh where is my sin, where is my shame?
If love paid it all to have my heart
How wonderful, how glorious
My Savior’s scars victorious
My chains are gone, my debt is paid
From death to life and grace to grace
When I see that cross, I see freedom
When I see that grave, I’ll see Jesus
And from death to life, I will sing Your praise
In the wonder of Your grace”
This song reminds me of the power of Jesus dying on the cross for me. God’s love for us was so great that it was worth it for Jesus to take our place on the cross so that we could live in freedom. Our chains are gone! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that lives in us. Our response to all of this is to cry out in praise to God.
Much love, B

NYC

Yesterday we were in New York City for a meeting, and I was reminded of how crazy the driving is there. It is so crowded and people are so aggressive. Even if you can’t move because you are boxed in, people are beeping at you. Everyone honks their horns just because. It is kind of comical to be honest. I know in other parts of the world the driving can be really crazy and way worse than New York City, so I am interested in experiencing that when I go abroad!

IMG_1693

In this photo we witnessed a truck running straight through a sign. He hit the sign, the glass shattered everywhere and then he just kept on moving. The sign was destroyed by the time he was finished with it! Plus he almost hit us as well. That’s some solid driving folks. Watch out for those trucks in New York City.

Much love, B

The Word of God

Today I read 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

These verses show the importance of God’s word for us as his messengers. The words in the Bible come from God, and these words are meant to teach us, to train us, and to correct us. God’s word is given to help us so that we can be complete and prepared for our work on Earth. In our class, we talked about how scripture is not meant just for learning. It’s meant to change us…to prompt a response in us. If all we do is read scripture but it doesn’t do anything to change us, then what’s the point in reading it? These verses in Timothy challenge me to make sure I am reading scripture every day, but they also challenge me to make sure that I am practically taking things away from it. I need to think about what my response is going to be because of the things I am reading.

How might our lives be different if every time we read scripture, we chose something that we could practically do in response to what we’ve read?

Much love, B

Genesis 1:1-25

Today in class we used the Discovery Bible Study Process with Genesis 1:1-25. I’ve only included a snippet of the passage.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good,and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it.And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

We talked about what this passage revealed about God’s character. I think this passage reveals that God is creative, He is intricate, He is good and therefore creates good things, He is proud of His creation, and He is caring. After each thing that God creates He says, “It was good.” This passage reminded me that I need to take more time each day to appreciate God’s creation. I often do it when I’m on a mountain top or I see a sunset, but I should learn to look for and appreciate even the little things of God’s creation. If God created it and said that it was good, then I should look at it and also say, “This is good.” God’s creation is meant to point back to Him. It is meant to bring glory to His name as the author of the Universe. I am going to take a few moments each day to make sure that I am appreciating God’s creation more.

Much love, B