Saturday, January 23, 2010

the Truth about God found in Philosophy 1101

So here is where I'm at today. I am taking a Philosophy class. Some people warned me against taking this class. They said it might challenge my beliefs, or make me challenge my faith. I took it anyway. My teacher is a Doctor of Philosophy and I am pretty sure there are a lot of non-believers in my class. I cannot tell what my teacher believes, which might be good, since it is her job to educate us, not influence us. Props Dr. K. But anyway!
So far, we have discussed the meaning of philosophy. My teacher started by asking us our basic beliefs. Now, the definition of a basic belief is what we build our lives on. It is an innate part of who we are and why we do what we do. The problem was, most of us could not tell her our basic beliefs because they are so much a part of what we do, that we do not even notice them. This is what I got from that:
As Christians, our faith and our relationship with Christ should be so much a part of us, that there is no way to separate our faith and our identity. There should not be a line between us and our faith. We are so much a part of our faith, that it IS WHO WE ARE. We are believers in Christ. Period. There is no us without him. No dividing line between our faith and us. 
Philosophers thought that we should be constantly pursuing the Truth. The capital "T" absolute truth. Always pursuing, always learning, never being satisfied with what they already knew. Here is what I already know. God is the Truth. The Bible is the Truth. Therefore, we should be constantly pursuing God. Constantly reading and learning the Bible. We should never be satisfied with how well we know God, and we should always be striving to know him better! Gosh, another GREAT day of Philosophy class. One more history lesson for you...
There was a Greek  philosopher named Xenophanes. He was banished from every Greek state that he lived in, and this is why; he DENIED the existence of the Greek gods. Through constantly learning and constantly pursuing the Truth he realized there was no way possible there could be more than one god. He also realized the Greek "gods" went against every quality people believed God held. (omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, perfect, immortal.) To have more than one god would cross off omniscient and omnipotent. How could more than one god be ALL powerful and ALL knowing? Wouldn't they have to share that? Also, greek gods were born. This means, at one point in time, they did not exist. If they did not exist at one point, how could they be immortal? Nope! And perfect? Absolutely not. Greek gods were jealous and revengeful and spiteful. They lusted and cheated and killed. That does not sound perfect to me. 
Once again God has revealed himself to me in a new way. He reaffirms my faith and my trust in Him every single time I sit in philosophy class. I could never deny who He is, or what He's done in my life, and I never thought Philosophy class would make that even more obvious!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adulthood 101

"...God has said, 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you'..."- Hebrews 13:5
"Consider it pure joys, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." - James 1:2

I spent my first day at "Big girl College" and felt more overwhelmed, out of place, and lost than I have felt in a long time. I didn't know anyone or any teacher or even where my next class was. They talked about clickers and drop boxes, and they may as well have been speaking Chinese because I was lost. I've thought about dropping some classes, changing some things, and even if I might could get in at Southwest again, but then I slapped myself back into reality. Here's what that slap did for me... 

In life, just as in class, you have to be flexible. 
There will always be things that require adjustment and coming out of your comfort zone. You will have to readjust and rearrange and ask questions. You will have to schedule and reschedule and plan and cancel plans. You will have to email and call and email and call and park far away and carry lots of heavy things and be okay with not knowing exactly what's going on. Flexibility is key.
In life, just as in class, you have to be humble. 
You have to be okay with not knowing what is going on. You have to have enough confidence to ask questions and the ask for help, and you have to be okay with not having all the answers. You have to get comfortable on the bottom sometimes, and be willing to work your way to the top. You have to realize that someone will eventually know more than you, understand more than you, and that someone will probably be liked more than you. This has to be okay. 

In life, just as in class, you have to be disciplined. 
You have to be willing to put aside the computer and the cell phone and One Tree Hill and devote time to more important, more rewarding (even if you don't think so now!) things. Be it work or school, both deserve your undivided attention, even when it is not willingly given. You have to make sacrifices and compromises. You have to grow up a little, even when whining and crying and putting it off seems to be the best solution. You have to make yourself do the work, and do it well. 

In life, just as in class, you have to show care and concern. 
You have to let your teacher, boss, parent, know that you put your whole effort into the task at hand and did your best work. You have to show that, even if it isn't your favorite thing, you are willing to work just as hard and put just as much time and thought into whatever it is, as if it was your favorite thing to be doing. You have to be concerned and caring and show that you are glad to be there and thankful for the opportunity, even if at the time this might not be true. 

And in life, just as in class, you have to remain optimistic. 
Optimism, I have learned, is the real key to success. You have to remember, as your computer crashes with your 12 page, unsaved paper, or as you get grounded and your keys are taken, or as your boss moves you back to the cubicle and tells you to come in on Saturday, it could always be worse. You are never so far down or behind or confused that you cannot reach the top and you are never not good enough for whatever job needs to be done. Things could always be worse and your job or your class or your life could always be harder. You are never alone and you are never without. Although you might not realize it at time, you are never alone and never without; you are never left or forsaken. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to hold on long enough to see it. And hey, once you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. :)    

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I wish for you

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. -Psalm 

Life is hard. Everyday is filled with ups and downs, and eventually we are faced with heartbreak and disappointment. Even those we look up to might let us down, and things we thought were set in stone might fall apart. We press on though, fighting and praying and reminding ourselves that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and God has a plan for us; a plan for our lives and a plan for all the ups and downs and disappointments and failures we've experienced along the way. We remind ourselves that this is why our joy and strength is in Him and not things of this world, and we find comfort in Him. The hardest part is waiting for God to take us out of the pain and into the light where we see how He is going to use all of those times that were less than perfect, but in His own time- the perfect time, He will. We will be happier and stronger and more faithful for it, too. 

By: Jessica Andrews "I Wish For You"
Cry hard, Laugh Loud
Be humble, Stand Proud
And don't be afraid of your fears
Let love break your heart
Just be who you are
All of this 
All that there is 
I wish for you
You can never know which way your world will turn
How the stars are gonna fall
Salty tears they burn
There are lessons you will learn
But you'll be stronger for it all 
Cry hard, Laugh Loud
Be humble, Stand Proud
Hold onto your faith with all your heart
Be careful, Be brave
Be still, but don't stay
In any one place for too long
Remember God's grace
Give more than you take
All of this ,All that there is 
I wish for you

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blessings of abundance

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4

In the past two days I have: settled problems with tuition at school, taught a bible study for high school girls, seen a movie that I have been so excited to see, made plans to go to a basketball game, talked to someone who I would consider a mentor and spiritually encouraging, and caught up on some really great reading. This is what I have learned from those very simple, every day things...

God blesses us in countless ways every day. He is constantly pouring into us from the people we talk to the the things we do. Maybe I am being extravagant to say that straightening out tuition problems is a blessing, but in truth, it is. I did not realize the stress I was feeling until I hung up the phone and felt excited to start school for the first time. I have been teaching the girl's bible study for over a year now, but last night as I was driving away, I realized how much God poured into me as I was trying to pour into the girls. I felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction in Christ and a new joy and excitement for the bible studies yet to come. I did not realize how happy it can make you feel to go to a movie with a dear friend, and how rewarding it is to allow yourself the time to do that. I saw Leap Year (which was so wonderful by the way!) with a wonderful friend, and as we sat there watching, I understood in a new way why God gave us friends and free time- we all need a little time to slip into the world of happy endings every now and then to help us let go of the stress and pressures of real life, even just for 2 hours, and who better to do that with than a really good friend?! I made plans to go to a Memphis basketball game, which of course is always exciting, but even more so, to spend time in fellowship with great friends- this is always a blessing! I talked to a person who has always been spiritually encouraging to me, and who helped me see some things in a new way. God was teaching me through this person and it was so evident. Also, I had time before bed, after phone calls were made and text messages stopped coming, to read some of the book I've slowly been working my way through. The time to spend by myself, relaxed with no need to entertain, talk, satisfy, or even think!, was what I have been needing. 

Anyway, now that I have rambled about my day, I hope you see what I've learned from those things. God blesses us every day. We just have to look at those every day things in a new light. We have to allow ourselves to be blessed by him. He loves us and wants us to be happy. We just have to allow that for ourselves. Let Him in, get to know Him, let Him fill you up again... even if it's just a movie or solving a problem!  

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'll see you in my dreams

"Distance is not for the fearful, it's for the bold. It's for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for little time with the one they love. It's for those who know a good thing when they see it, even if they don't see it nearly enough."

Luke 18:29-30
"Truly I tell you," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life."

My brother left today to go to New Orleans and work for 2 months. I was driving this morning and wondering if he had left yet, when I started thinking about how long 2 months is. I know there are army wives who go 5 times that long without seeing there loved ones, but when you count on that person's smile to wake you up every morning or greet you at the door every afternoon, 2 months may as well be a million years. Now, I'm not married but I do have a wonderful boyfriend that lives 6 hours from me. There are days that I don't miss him too much. I can go hours without thinking about him, or talk about him and not be sad, but there are also days when it seems like the only way I might get through is if he was here with me. Those days, I can't get him off my mind and, even if it's a great day, I am constantly aware of the hole only he would fill. I don't go to sleep at night with Corey's warmth around me or wake up to his bedhead, but it is still so hard to be apart. This only makes my heart break even more for my sweet sister-in law and the men and women who say goodbye to their spouses on a regular basis. The courage it takes to be so far from your best friend is something you may never think about until you're in that situation. It may seem silly or shallow to be sad about a boyfriend, but if you love someone you want to be close to them and it takes a lot of strength to be so far. I am thankful for the relationship God has put me in, and I would not change a thing. I am also thankful that God has used this to make me more appreciative of the few days, every now and then, that I get to spend with my sweet boyfriend, and more so much more thankful for the men and women who constantly leave their families and loved ones behind to serve our country. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm nervous- It's my first time.

So, I have thought seriously about starting a blog for a long time. I have a lot to say, so I figured I could just yell my thoughts at the virtual world and hope someone might be enlightened or brightened or at least entertained at work! I guess I should tell you who I am first.
My name is Jessica. I am a 20 year old dreamer. I have made so many plans for myself and dreamt big dreams for my life. I am in college right now and working on a degree in Psychology; I am completely fascinated by the human mind. I ride bikes, like, road cycling and mountain biking, as a sport and exercise, and I would love to get into racing this year. I love watching movies and get completely lost in books. I love going to Starbucks and think a trip to Target is the cure for anything. I am extremely passionate and strong willed, and I often think too deeply and overanalyze. I also truly believe that a single person can change the world- even if it's just one person's world.
I am a total optimistic and I believe the heart of man really is good. I think my faith in Christ is part of the reason for my constantly positive outlook. God has taught me so much the past few years, and one thing I have really been learning is how God is a lifeline. In this world, we try to make him a guideline, or a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” but that is an incredibly wrong picture of our God. In a world where we are constantly failed by people and life, God is the only thing that is secure and safe and unfailing. When we view him as a lifeline, we know that joy and happiness should be constant, because our joy and strength is in Christ alone.

Nehemiah 8:10 
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 
Psalm 28:7
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

My hope for everyone is that they could feel the joy and excitement and happiness that God has blessed me with, and although I am no great poet or Nicholas Sparks, if my thoughts can be something someone might relate to or laugh at or have an “ah ha!” moment about, then I have accomplished way more than I planned. So read and enjoy, or don’t read, or read and don’t enjoy. Anyway! Love God. Love people. And until next time...