Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life Update

I realize it's been almost two months since my last blog post- life took quite the busy turn towards the end of summer and I've been finding it difficult to find the time to post. Now that I'm back at university though, I'm going to be making an effort to post more often!

So I figure I'd start off with an update on where my life has taken me the past two months. God never ceases to amaze me! He has been continuously changing me and giving me the tools I need to live more for Him.

I found a solid biblical church back at home and the pastor there set me up in a discipleship program with one of the women in the church. It was a very enriching experience to be able to talk to an elder about my walk with Christ and all of the changes I've experienced. She encouraged me to continue running toward Jesus with everything I have. At first I struggled letting the part of me go that was so concerned with how others percieved me. But I came to realize that it is foolish of me to be ashamed- to be concerned about being too "out there" about my faith. I was reminded of the song Unashamed by the band Starfield: " I know I'm unworthy to call upon your name, but because of grace, because of your mercy, I stand here unashamed". I want to be unashamed- I want to live completely for Christ and cast aside my worries about others' opinions.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

When I returned to school, God continued to amaze me! All summer I had feared the temptations I would be facing when I returned to school, despite all of the changes God had done in my life and the strength He had given me. I knew that I would be thrown right back into the lifestyle I was trying to get away from and, to be honest, I wasn't sure it was something I'd be able to handle. But God gave me the strength to not only turn away from my past lifestyle completely, but live in an even closer relationship with Him. It was as if to say "Why didn't you have enough faith in me? Look at what I can do!". Since returning, I've joined a great church close to campus that's part of the Harvest Bible Fellowship and I've become involved in some Christian groups on campus, including Campus for Christ, to help me connect with other Christian students during my time here.

During my first week back, a good friend of mine sent me an encouraging email regarding the difficulties I would be facing: 

Concerning your time at college, I would like to say one thing on a very realistic level; I honestly hope you do not give in to the temptations that will bombard you throughout the next school year, but if you do give in to pressure and fall into sin one or two times, do not let the shame that you will experience as a result cause you to turn away from God and hide from Him. That is the worst and most dangerous thing a Christian can do. God is the first one we run away from after we commit sin, and yet He is the only one with the love and grace to pick us up and forgive us and cleanse us. Let the guilt that comes from failure cause you to turn and literally run into the compassionate arms of Jesus with a spirit of deep and genuine repentance, and He will never cast you aside. "If you repent, I will restore you, that you may serve me... for I am with you to rescue and save you,' declares the Lord." - Jeremiah 15:19-20

As great as things have been since my return to school, I need to ensure that I am prepared to handle the challenges that I will inevitably face during the year. My friend reminded me that, even in the most difficult times, we have to continue to lean on Jesus to get us through. On a side note, this friend just recently started a great blog of his own which I really encourage you to check out: Ponderings of a Pilgrim

Well I guess that's a sufficient update for now! I've already been to two classes of the Introduction to the New Testament course I blogged about here and so you can expect a post about that in the near future. I've also enrolled in an intensive/condensed theology course taught by one of the pastors running a student church here on campus, so I'll be sure to give more information about that as well once it starts up. Thank you to everyone who continued to check my blog throughout the summer, despite the lack of posting! God bless!

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