Take Me To The King!

Every week, I watch NBC’s The Voice. If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably figured that out by now. And every week, I am amazed by the talent that these artists have. Last night was far more amazing than usual. Last night, two artists took me to church in my own home as I watched them perform on television. Hearing their music reminded me of how awesome our God truly is. I will come back to that in this blog post in a bit.

So. It’s been five months since my last blog. Since I started blogging, I have never gone that long without posting. So much has changed in that short amount of time, including the fact that I am now a college graduate from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor! Go Cru! My last blog post was about being denied entrance into seminary and how God continues to radically change my plans. I’ve come to realize that He always has better plans for us than we could possibly imagine. Having said that, as God continues changing my plans into His, I have decided to go straight into teaching and mentoring young people in the public school system. More details to come in a later blog post.

When the semester started, I was getting ready to begin a career of teaching through my role as a student teacher from the same school I graduated from in 2012! Not knowing what to expect, I went to Office Max, purchased more supplies than I could count, and started lesson planning for World Geography and World History. The time finally arrived. I now had the opportunity to do what I always dreamed of doing, teaching history and mentoring young people. The kids were amazing and life was going great!

Then, in mid-January, came the word I never ever wanted to hear again. Cancer. For the third time since my sophomore year in college, Dad had cancer. By the grace of God, he beat colon cancer not once, but twice. This time, the third time, it wasn’t in his colon, but in his lungs. Thoughts raced through my mind as I tried to grasp, “Why?” It was the same question as the first two times. Why?

I remember leaving a few hours after Dad told me the news to go to UMHB for Worship in the Quad, a ministry I had been blessed to help lead for the past 4 years. Before going to the quad to set up for worship, I went to go see Shawn Shannon, the Director of the Baptist Student Ministries and the most wonderful lady on campus. That night she prayed over me as tears streamed down my face, and then she showed me funny YouTube videos. She is without a doubt one of my favorite persons in this world.

After worship was over later that night, having cried during half of the songs, I shared with four of my closest friends, Katie, Mike, Taylor, and Alexis, the news. One by one, as I struggled to not get too emotional, they laid their hands on me and prayed right there under the stars. I will never forget that moment as I realized, as I have noticed time and time again, that we never ever walk alone.

Weeks later, after a number of radiation treatments, Dad got to ring that bell once again to signify that he was done with radiation. Although he has not had recent scans, I declare in my heart and with every fiber of my being that he is cancer free, and I can’t wait to blog all about that when it happens.

MyDadIsSuperman

My Dad is Superman!

As my Dad, a.k.a. Superman, battled cancer, along with so many other things going on, I noticed my faith drifting away from God somewhat. Living off-campus for the first time in my 5 years at UMHB, along with all of the other newness, I was overwhelmed with the drastic change of pace. I was not in the same environment any more. And while my family continued show their steadfast love for Christ and others, and while the many students, teachers, and college professors brightened my days, my faith was still struggling. Every time I did anything the least bit sinful, every time I fell short of God’s glory, I felt as if God was ashamed of me.

This lasted until UMHB’s Spring Revival, where for the first time, God revealed to me that He was not, has never been, and never will be ashamed of me. How dare I, even for one second, assume that what I think of me is exactly what God thinks of me!? Even though I have more shortcomings than I can count, Christ loves me, and He constantly yearns for me to turn back to Him.

I began feeling renewed. I felt His overwhelming presence sweep over me. While I still struggle with my faith from time to time, the Lord is still working in me, and no matter the sin in my life, no matter the trials my family and I face, God is still in control, and I should give Him my everything. My life should be for Him, about Him, of Him, and with Him.

When thinking about renewal, a couple of verses came to mind:

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)

In all of life’s many circumstances, Christ renews us. He loves us. He changes us and molds us into His image. And He uses us for His glory. He uses every part of us even when we don’t realize it, which leads me back to watching NBC’s The Voice.

As the program started at 7PM Central time, I would not have imagined that I would eventually be lifting my hands high and praising God in the middle of watching a talent competition, but that’s what happened. And throughout the following day, I have been listening to those songs over and over. I’m still amazed.

At the end of last night, Aliyah Moulden performed an amazing rendition of MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.” While I strive to serve King Jesus in all I do on this Earth, one thing is for certain, I cannot wait to see Him face to face. It will be so amazing and breathtaking that I truly “can only imagine what it will be like” when I see His face.

Surrounded by You glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine!

What a day that will be! Aliyah certainly gave me goosebumps as she sang that song, as I was reminded of how awesome Christ is and what a wonderful day it will be when I finally get to see Him face to face. I can only imagine!

The other song that made a huge impression on me and brought me closer to Christ last night was Chris Blue singing, “Take Me to the King,” by Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. Earlier today as I listened to it again on the way home, I felt tears stream down my face. God was reminding me as He always does, “No matter what, I LOVE YOU!”

As I listened to the words, I realized that this song illustrates my thoughts perfectly. In the midst of the joy and pain, ups and downs, good times and bad times, my ultimate desire is to follow my Savior, my God. And so these lyrics are lyrics I cry out to God.

Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn into pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon your glory
And sing to you this song
Please take me to the king

Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn to pieces
It’s my offering

Take me to the king!

And so with every part of me, with all I have, with these broken pieces, I give myself to God, my Lord, my Savior, my King. I want every part of me to be about my Savior, the King of Kings. I can only imagine what that day will be like when I see Jesus face to face.

Lord, until then, take me to you, lay me at your throne so I can gaze upon your glory. And use every part of me so that everyone may know that you live inside of me.

TAKE ME TO THE KING!


MercyMe. I Can Only Imagine. By Bart Millard, 1999. Google Play Lyrics. Web. 16 May 2017.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 16 May 2017.

Tamela Mann. Take Me To The King. By Kirk Franklin, 2012. Google Play Lyrics. Web. 16 May 2017.


“I Can Only Imagine” by Aliyah Moulden

 

“Take Me to the King” by Chris Blue

I was just told no, and I’m okay with that!

If you have been around me at all the past several months, you have probably heard me tell you about all the exciting plans I have. I just finished my last semester of classes as an undergrad at UMHB, I’m about to student teach back home in Florence, and then my plans were to go to seminary.

Not one bit of me will question God’s judgment in the plans He has for my future. Earlier this semester, He dramatically changed my desire from wanting to pursue a PhD in Political Science to a MDiv at Seminary. I thought that perhaps I finally discovered God’s will in my life. I am learning however, that I still don’t know for sure what my future holds, but His ultimate will for my life is to continually follow Him down any path He takes me.

Earlier today, I finally received feedback on the admissions process from Truett Seminary, where I thought I would be going after graduating from UMHB. In their discernment, the answer was “not at this time.” For a few minutes, I was overwhelmed with disappointment as I thought that it was certain, with my GPA, ministry experience, and my passions, that I would be accepted. As of now, however, seminary will not be in my immediate plans after graduation.

Although disappointed at first with their answer, I quickly became okay with it. As I did when I was pursuing the idea of a PhD in Political Science, I thought I knew what my plans were. I thought this is where God called me to be. And perhaps, He will at some point. And maybe He won’t. I can’t say for sure. What I can say is that I fully trust in whatever plans He has for me.

While I may not be going to seminary in the Fall of 2017, this doesn’t mean I can’t serve God by serving others. I have learned over time that God was calling me to ditch my plans for grad school in Political Science, as I have fallen more and more in love with in engaging and ministering to young people. God has blessed me with so many opportunities during my time at UMHB. I have been able to help organize Worship in the Quad for the past 3 1/2 years while encouraging students to share their testimonies as living examples of God’s great love, power, and grace. I have also had the opportunity to be a Cru Leader for the past 2 years, as I have been able to mentor these students, and now as I see them become excited about their success, my heart leaps for joy with them. These experiences and others have established in me the desire to uplift and encourage young people on a full-time basis.

When I was pursuing the Political Science PhD option, I had the desire to bring with me Worship in the Quad to any campus I went to. I also wanted to get plugged in with the BSM and other local ministries so that I could engage and pour into college students. It wasn’t until several years of these ideas that I realized that a PhD in Political Science was not for me.

The desire to engage young people is still a desire deep within me, and while I thought I would be doing this through going to seminary next year, I won’t be. As I am praying and discerning about my future plans, God may still have me going to seminary at some other point in the future. Yet if He doesn’t, I will be content with never pursuing seminary as long as I am pursuing Him.

In the meantime, I will student teaching next semester in the school district I spent 12 years of my life in. After I graduate in May, I will be certified to teach Social Studies anywhere in the State of Texas. And you know what? I couldn’t be more excited. Why am I excited? I don’t know what my plans are at this point, but I am excited because I know God will direct my steps. I will give everything I have in student teaching next semester, and if God blesses me with a teaching job after graduation, I will dedicate all my energy into pouring into the lives of my students. I want them to know how much I care for them. I want them to know that no matter what they set their hearts and minds to, they can achieve their wildest dreams.

To my future students, you may not know me yet, but I am here for you. I love and care for you. Whatever goals you have in life, pursue them and never let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve your dreams. I am achieving my dreams, because my dreams are to pursue God and to encourage and lead others in knowing how great the God I serve truly is.

And to my beloved university, I do not have sufficient words to describe how much I love the support you have given me. I love UMHB. I love the faculty, the staff, and the many friends I’ve made.

So with God in my corner, into the future I will go, with faithfulness and devotion, to you my Purple, White, and Gold!


Some words of encouragement:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace! – Acts 20:24

Thank You Lord for When I Suffer (A Poem)

As I sit quietly with my Master

My Savior

My Lord

My God

I realize that I don’t thank Him enough

And how could I?

Through His infinite wisdom and matchless grace

God has given me everything

Why don’t I thank Him?

Why am I not on my face, bowing before Him every waking second of the day?

Why am I not thanking Him with every word I say?

With every song I sing?

With every breath I breathe?

If I were to praise Him and thank Him every fraction of every second

It wouldn’t be enough

And that is the beauty of my God

He is so powerful

So amazing

So wonderful

So sovereign over all

That I can never thank Him enough

He has given me everything

So I thank Him

Right here

Right now

I call out to you Lord Jesus

Giver of every breath

Creator and great Redeemer

And I thank you

Thank you Lord for all of the small things in life

Thank you for the conversations with friends

Thank you for the laughter

For jokes, the puns, and the harmless pranks

For the shoulders on which we cry on

Thank you Lord for the birds that sing sweet, melodious sonnets

For the flowers in bloom, dotting the landscape with the colors you created

For the wildlife on land and sea

And for the stars that dance across the midnight sky

Thank you for the green lights that allow me to get to my destination even faster

And thank you for the red lights as they give me a second to focus on you

Thank you Lord for late night movies with Dad

For the comedy shows with friends

And of course, for college football on Saturdays

Thank you Lord for all of the little things in life that amaze me and bring me so much joy

Lord Jesus

The Messiah

The King of Kings

Thank you for the answered prayers and the big things

Thank you for grandparents who love and care for me

For their passion

Their grace

Their wisdom and guidance

Thank you for the amazing kids they adopted as their own

For the smiles they bring

The stories they have and the jokes they tell

Thank you for allowing them to encourage me daily

Lord Jesus

Thank you for giving me a superhero Dad

Thank you for all the many ways you have used him to uplift and inspire me

Thank you for giving him the knowledge to go back to school

Achieve his degree

Become a special education teacher

And to defeat colon cancer

Not once, but twice

Thank you for the all of the memories we share

Thank you for allowing us to see the beauty that is your Grand Canyon

Lord Jesus

The bright Morning Star

The Alpha and the Omega

The source of Living Water

Thank you for when I suffer

Thank you for when things don’t go my way

Thank you for when people hurt me

When people betray me

Thank you for the pain

For the heartache

For the many obstacles in life

Thank you for my life as someone with Crohn’s Disease

Thank you for the stomach pain

Thank you for the limited diet

For a life without cake and ice cream

Thank you for the tiredness

For all of the symptoms I endure daily

I thank you for these things

Because in them, I can encourage

I can inspire

I can uplift someone also struggling with pain

Because in you, I find hope

In you, I find peace

In you, I find strength

In the midst all of my weaknesses

You are strong

You are sovereign

Though I may be weak, in you, I am strong

Though I may get depressed, in you, I find joy

Thank you for giving me trials in my life

For these trials produce in me a longing for you Oh mighty God

I thirst for you

I hunger for you

I want to draw myself nearer to you

Wrap me in your loving arms Oh God

Never let me go

You are my Rock and my Fortress

You have brought me up out of the dominion of darkness

Into your marvelous light

You have called me your son

You have saved me

You have redeemed me

I cry out to you my God

For you have restored me

You have taken my brokenness

And have made me one in you

I can’t fathom your love oh God

Why do you love me so much?

Why have you blessed me so much?

I don’t deserve any of it

What I deserve is death

What I deserve is eternal separation from you God

I deserve to be shunned by you for eternity

I am a sinner

I am unworthy of your love

I am a lowly human being rife with imperfections

But even in light of all my faults, you love me

You went to the cross for my transgressions

The punishment that I deserve

You took it upon yourself

Hanging there on a cross

As soldiers mocked you

As people spat on you

You did this because you love me

How can I ever thank you enough?

You died for me

You willingly died because of my sin

Because of my shame

And so I thank you for not giving me what I deserve

And that is death

Yet death could not stop you

Death could not, cannot, and will not win

I thank you for the victory over death

A victory that allows me to come before you and thank you

Thank you Lord Jesus

Right here

Right now

I thank you

I thank you for the little things

I thank you for the big things

For the answered prayers

For the pain and suffering

For not giving me what I deserve

And I thank you for victory

With every word I say

With every song I sing

With every breath I breathe

I thank you

Lord Jesus, thank you

Lord Jesus, thank you

Lord Jesus, thank you…

When God radically changes your plans…

So it has been about two months since I last blogged, and so much has happened since then. I am currently in my last semester of undergrad classes before I student teach in the Spring. As graduation approaches, the question of what to do next comes to mind. For the past 5 years or so, I thought that this important question was answered. I was going to pursue a PhD in Political Science after my time at UMHB.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love for the fields of History and Political Science. Topics such as Prohibition, the Civil Rights Movement, the American Presidency, among others have gripped my fascination for quite some time. I love studying History, and I love studying Political Science, and the ways in which the two intersect are endless and absolutely captivating. Even before I graduated from Florence High School, I just knew that I wanted to pursue a PhD in this field after I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Mary Hardin-Baylor. I just knew that I would become a high school History teacher and eventually a college professor, conducting research and writing lots and lots of books.

As my undergraduate career began to wind to a close, I started looking into graduate programs. In February, I visited Baylor. I met with a fascinating graduate professor and was given a tour by some wonderful PhD students. I’ve also considered the programs at the University of Texas as well as Texas A&M, all of them with different concentrations, but still, it was in the field I absolutely loved.

At the start of this semester, I began the process. I conducted extensive research into various programs, and I signed up for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which is essentially like the ACT for grad school, except much more difficult. A month ago, I took the GRE, and the week before taking it, I became more and more nervous. It was difficult failing practice after practice, knowing that I had to earn very competitive scores. And then I took the GRE. Needless to say, it was well below the threshold I needed to reach. This caused me to begin wondering, is this really what God wants me to do in life? Over the past month, I have struggled at times about not knowing what I was going to do after graduation, and this sometimes led to mild depression as what I had planned for years slowly drifted away.

Although I knew that I was allowed to retake the exam as many times as needed, and I could improve my scores with much more preparation, I still questioned God if this is really what He wanted of my life. I thought of alternatives. Maybe I would pursue a different graduate program. Perhaps I would pursue Public Policy and Administration, perhaps a Master’s of Education at UMHB, or perhaps I would go straight into teaching after graduation. For the first time in a long time, I was unsure of what I was going to do in life.

Then, a week ago today, I visited Baylor University once more to gain more knowledge about the graduate program in Political Science. As my meeting with one of the graduate professors went on, I thought that this program would fit me perfectly. Then, he mentioned the GRE scores. I would have to obtain super-high scores to even be considered for the program. Leaving that meeting had me thinking, perhaps God doesn’t want this for me. I began to think that perhaps I should visit other graduate schools.

While I was on the Baylor campus, I thought I would meet up with my friend Jake Raabe, who recently graduated from UMHB and is studying at Truett Seminary on the Baylor campus. So, I went to the office where he works and we conversed on a wide variety of things going on in our lives. I mentioned that I was unsure about my future. “There’s always seminary,” Jake assured me. I smiled and in the back of my mind, I thought “Yah sure. Seminary. That’s a good one.” For my entire life, I assumed that one needed an undergraduate degree in Christian Studies in order to attend seminary. He told me that that was of course not the case. Plenty of people go into seminary with other backgrounds, and they learn how they can use their backgrounds in ministry. So I thought, “Why not? Tell me more.” He gave me a book with Truett’s program information, and I took that book and started to leave. Then, wanting to know even more, I went back and asked if anyone would be willing to tell me all about the program. So, I was able to learn a lot about the program that day. I thought, “Wow! This could be an option.”

As I left Baylor to return to UMHB, I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do. I prayed that He would remove all of the desires that I originally had and replaced them with the desires He had for me.

After continued prayer and just really thinking about my options, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I have been called, in some way, to pursue ministry, and to use the knowledge I have obtained thus far in that pursuit of ministry. After my official visit to Truett today, which included getting to sit in a Scriptures class, learning more about Truett, and having lunch with another seminary professor, it has been confirmed to me that my desire is to now apply to attend Truett Seminary for next Fall.

And so, that is where I am at in my journey. As of Wednesday morning of last week, my plans were completely different. Now God has shown me (an example of His continued, never-ending faithfulness) that ministry is what His desire is for me. And that is what I ultimately want. Not my own desires, but His. My ultimate want is His want. My ultimate desire is His desire!

While I am not completely sure what ministry will look like for me (possibly eventually college or youth ministry while working in the public school system), I know that whatever I end up doing, God will be right there every step of the way. God has guided my family and me through so many obstacles, difficulties, sickness, among other things, yet He has always remained faithful. And as a public school teacher, I would still get to show my passion for History and Political Science through the art of teaching students! Plus, the more and more I have thought about it, this would be the most fulfilling option for me. I could pursue a path teaching students while also mentoring others and helping them grow spiritually.

As I was arriving back at UMHB today, God reassured me of His faithfulness. K-Love’s encouraging word for the day came from Psalm 100:5 (NIV), which says, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” I am constantly amazed by the Lord’s goodness, by His love, and by His faithfulness. It never changes. It never ceases. He is constantly pursuing us, and will continue pursuing each generation after us. We truly do serve a wonderful and magnificent Heavenly Father!

I would ask that whoever reads this, that you would pray for me. Pray for discernment for me, that I would fully pursue God’s best desires for me. I have never been so excited about my future than I am now. God’s not finished with me yet, and He has so much in store for me.

So, if you ever find yourselves unsure of what your future entails, just turn to Jesus. Ask Him what He has planned for you, because when He shows you those plans, your future can look so much sweeter than anything you could have possibly imagined on your own.

To UMHB, thank you for everything. These past several years have been the greatest of my life. I can never thank this wonderful university enough for all of the love, knowledge, and support that the faculty, staff, and fellow students have shown me.

So soon into the future, I will go, with faithfulness and devotion, to you my Purple, White, and Gold…


New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.


Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets

Thy Will by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family

Then sings my soul!

About one week has passed since Dad and I returned home from the Grand Canyon. After an entire week of reflection, I am still amazed, still in awe by God’s beautiful creation, and am eternally grateful that God allowed Dad and me to take this journey together. Not only was the Grand Canyon spectacular and absolutely amazing itself, words and pictures alone cannot fully grasp the grandeur of it all, but probably the most breathtaking aspect of it was that God has brought Dad and me through so much and has allowed us to witness His creation together.

As we drove to the Grand Canyon National Park for the first time two weeks ago today, excitement increased as we got closer and closer to the Park entrance. Every 5-10 minutes, the inner-kid in my Dad was revealed as he asked me to look at our GPS and tell him how much longer until we reached the Canyon. 50 minutes, 45 minutes, 40 minutes, and so forth. Both of us were brimming with excitement.

When we finally reached the entrance, we became more and more anxious upon seeing parking lot after parking lot full to capacity. We even saw part of the canyon off in a distance as we were trying to find a parking place. Once we did, we got lost trying to find a trail leading us to the rim of the Canyon. Then finally, we made it. We were there. After so many trials in our lives, God finally brought us to one of His most beautiful masterpieces. Needless to say, I was in complete awe.

It has certainly been a long, rocky road that Dad and I have traversed to reach this point to where we could enjoy the amazing vastness of the Canyon. It doesn’t seem all that long ago when I sat in a small cubicle at Scott & White as I watched poison drip ever so slowly into my Dad’s tired body as he battled his second round with colon cancer. It wasn’t that long ago that I sat terrified as heroic nurses, to whom I will forever be grateful, responded to a violent reaction Dad had with his chemo treatment.

Going back even further, I remembered my own struggles with Crohn’s Disease. I still remember my sudden hospitalization and surgery in 2012, just one week before I was set to give the invocation at my high school graduation. I remember being in so much pain, yet Dad was there, waiting on me hand and foot as he constantly encouraged me while I feared missing my own high school graduation. Although I missed my baccalaureate service, Senior Awards, and Senior Trip, by the grace of an amazing Heavenly Father, I got out just one day before graduation practice. I still got to give the opening prayer.

While my battle with Crohn’s Disease continues to this very day, my faith has grown stronger as I have been encouraged by my family, my hometown, and by all the new friends I have made at UMHB. My faith grew even more, by leaps and bounds, as did my relationship with Dad, when he was diagnosed with cancer right before my sophomore year of college.

So many emotions filled my heart with agony and pain. There were nights when I cried myself to sleep. Somehow I wanted to be able to take Dad’s pain away. I wanted for at least one day to endure Dad’s pain so he wouldn’t have to. Yet I know like any father would, my Dad wouldn’t let me, and even though he was battling cancer and chemo treatments, he still had a smile, he still had those corny and sometimes morbid jokes, just to let me know that everything would work out according to God’s plan and that God was using my Dad for His glory in ways that only God could understand.

And so my faith in the Lord grew. Challenge after challenge, my Dad has never given up, even when he had plenty of reasons to do so. The Lord gave him strength, and Dad’s faith in God’s sovereignty in turn gave me the encouragement and strength I needed to face my own challenges. Christmas Eve 2013, Dad beat cancer. The following Spring Break, he finished chemo. In May 2014, he finally walked to receive his degree at UMHB. In the Fall of that year, he beat another painful illness. A year later, he battled cancer once again, only to be declared cancer-free in late-March of this year. And after multiple exams, he has finally met the necessary requirements to be a full-time Special Education teacher starting in just one week. It seems like every single time, God has been telling Dad and me that “Hey. Just wait. I’m not finished with you yet.”

Truly, God wasn’t finished with either one of us. Visiting the Grand Canyon became the very rich, yummy icing on the cake that was everything God helped us overcome. It’s like God was saying, “See. I told you so.”

And so, as I sat on the rocks overlooking the Canyon that first day, I wept. I wept tears of joy. I wept because God not only allowed us to overcome so many challenges together, but He also allowed us to do so in order that we might have the opportunity to enjoy what truly is a GRAND Canyon. When I sat there looking at the amazing depth and vastness of God’s creation, I sang to myself, in a quiet voice…

 
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, 
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made; 
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, 
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

(Chorus)
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art! 

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander, 
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing; 
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; 
That on a Cross, my burdens gladly bearing, 
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, 
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, 
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

(Chorus)
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

I sat there at the rim, absolutely amazed, and as I looked at the never-ending depths of the Canyon, I couldn’t help but rejoice in how far God has brought us. Easy lives without trials were never promised to us, but if we trust God with our lives, there will be moments like these in which we can enjoy just how marvelous and powerful He is. It’s a reminder to me that He has a purpose for each of our lives.

Words in of itself cannot describe just how awesome the Grand Canyon is. Pictures can never help one grasp the vastness of the Canyon. And that’s part of the beauty of it all. How Great God truly is. When I consider all the worlds Thy hands have made. When I hear the rolling thunder, as there was thunder the second day of our visit. When through the woods and forest glades I wander as I walk along the pine trees alongside the trails leading to the rim of the Canyon. As I hear the birds sing sweet melodies and look down from mountain grandeur. When I feel the breeze and see the mighty Colorado River look so small from the top of the Canyon. When I take in all of this marvelous beauty, how can my soul not sing for joy!?

And as I looked at the wonder that is our Heavenly Father, I was constantly reminded by God that while He created all of the awesomeness that is the Grand Canyon, He sent His Son to die and conquer death for me, because I was His greatest creation. After the first two days, it was hard for me to imagine how much sweeter this vacation would turn out to be. Then on the third day, God was like, “Hey. Look what I can do!” The third morning of our time at the Grand Canyon, Dad and I left our hotel (which was about an hour away from the Park) at about 3:45 AM to see the sun rise over the Canyon, and it was well worth it!

If you ever travel to the Canyon yourself, seeing the sunrise is an absolute necessity. As we waited for the sun to emerge over the Canyon, Dad and I could hear people speaking in German, French, and Chinese, among other languages. Throughout our trip, we also heard Spanish, Dutch, Hindi, Middle Eastern languages, and so many others. The diversity of the thousands of people at the Canyon was also a great reminder of how awesome God is. It was a reminder that the magnificence of God’s creation can bring together people from across the world to enjoy His masterpieces. That too, represented the beauty of God.

There are so many other experiences I hope to share with others about our journey together. I love that the Grand Canyon is now a part of Dad’s and my testimony. The Grand Canyon is now part of my life’s story. It’s now a part of Dad’s life story.

This reminds me of one of my favorite verses in the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV) says, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

When we share our life’s story, we share both the Gospel of Christ as well as how He has made an impact in our lives. The Grand Canyon is a part of both Dad’s and my life’s story. And it truly is Grand!

♪♪Then sings my soul, My Saviour God to thee, How great Thou art, HOW GREAT THOU ART!!!♪♪


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Boberg, Carl. “How Great Thou Art.” Trans. Stuart K. Hine. Hollywood, CA. Manna Music, Inc. 1955.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 1 Aug. 2016.


How Great Thou Art by the Digital Age

Great Is Thy Faithfulness/How Big Is God/How Great Thou Art (Medley) by Anthony Burger

The Price of Freedom (A Poem)

The trumpet sounds

The flags are waving

The bands are playing

The children are laughing

The fireworks are bursting across the night sky

The chorus of jubilant masses sing, “My Country ‘tis of Thee”

A celebration of freedom breaks out on this, the 4th day of July

But why can we celebrate freedom?

The trumpets

The flags

The bands

The laughing children

The fireworks

It all comes at a price

It is not a monetary price of which I speak

But a currency of sacrifice

Paid by those brave souls who have gone before us

This blessed freedom has been bought by those who have fought and died on the battle lines

It began with a revolution

Of countless men fighting the oppressive rule of a king miles and miles away

Farmers, bankers, merchants, lawyers, and preachers striving for independence

Among them were the many slaves and free black men serving with their brothers in Washington’s army

This freedom was threatened by the divisions which sought to tear apart the fabric of America

Until stitched together again by a man whose Emancipation Proclamation sought to declare that “All men are created equal”

The purchase of freedom continued with the courageous fighters in two world wars

The second of which defeated fascism while freeing the countless Jews and others persecuted by a madman hell-bent on xenophobia and anti-Semitism

This purchase extended with brave men and women serving in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere

Men

Women

European-Americans

African-Americans

Hispanic-Americans

Asian-Americans

Native-Americans

Protestants

Catholics

Mormons

Jews

Muslims

Sikhs

Hindus

Buddhists

Atheists

Agnostics

Native-born

And Immigrants

All wearing the uniform with honor and devotion

As their heroic families carry on with their loved ones away from home

They all made this freedom possible

And without them, freedom becomes far too difficult to achieve

And while we honor the brave men and women who have served at home and abroad in uniform

We must remember those other heroes who have made this land so great

The police officers, firefighters, and paramedics who come to us in our time of need

The doctors and nurses who care for us when we are sick

The teachers who teach us what freedom truly means

They too allow us to enjoy all the freedoms we know and love

This freedom was also bought by the suffragists, abolitionists, and Civil Rights leaders

All of those who declared with one voice, “We too are members of this American family”

Susan B. Anthony

Frederick Douglass

Harriet Tubman

Rosa Parks

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Caesar Chavez

And countless others striving to ensure everyone’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

From Lexington and Concord to Gettysburg

From Seneca Falls to Birmingham and Selma

Along the Underground Railroad

Freedom was paved

Even from the darkness of the Trail of Tears and the camp at Manzanar

People asked, “Why can’t I be an American?”

Why can’t I enjoy freedom?

And as this freedom slowly extends to all who seek it

The freedom to love

The freedom to pray

The freedom to achieve the American dream

We must ask ourselves

How might we extend this freedom which we so greatly cherish?

We extend this freedom by helping to ensure that every child has the resources to learn

Whether they be in rural, urban, or suburban areas

Whether or not they have special needs

Every child is precious

Every child is fearfully and wonderfully made

Every child deserves a quality education

True freedom cannot be achieved until kids are carried away from violence in the streets

When their weapons and drugs are replaced by a book to read

We also extend this freedom by combating poverty and homelessness

We extend this freedom by fighting against human trafficking and modern day slavery

We extend this freedom by welcoming the poor and downtrodden

We extend this freedom when we say “It’s On Us” as we proclaim that sexual assault can never be an acceptable norm

While we encourage victims by reminding them that it’s never their fault

And that in Christ Jesus, they are victors rather than victims

And we must continue to make this freedom possible to all

So that we can truly be that shining city on a hill

So while the trumpet sounds

With flags waving

And bands playing

As children are laughing

As the fireworks decorate the starry sky

While we celebrate this freedom

May we never forget those who have paid for freedom

And may we never stop marching on until all are free!

Mountains and Valleys

Well it’s been more than 2 months since my last blog post (more than 4 months since my last one that wasn’t a poem), and since starting my blog in February of last year, that is the longest I have gone without posting anything. So, to start, hello again. It’s good to be back.

So much has happened since my last post, and if I could sum up my life since then, using just three words, those words would be “Mountains and Valleys.” Those words, which just happened to be the theme of this year’s UMHB Spring Revival, encompasses the ups and downs I have experienced the past several months, and if God has shown me anything, it is that His grace is sufficient, and that no matter if we are on tallest of mountains, or in the lowest of valleys, He is always there with us.

Probably the biggest “mountaintop” moment for me was March 31st. For about a week prior to this day, my Dad, my family, and I were anxiously awaiting the results of Dad’s PET scans to see if any cancer remained in his body. Then, in the early afternoon of the 31st, I visited with one of my classmates for more than an hour after leaving my International Relations class. As I left our conversation at the steps of Luther Memorial, I noticed the light on my phone going off, signaling to me that someone had sent me a Facebook message. When I saw Dad’s profile picture, I somehow knew exactly what it was about. As I opened it, my heart jumped for joy when I read these words… “PET scans showed absolutely nothing! :P”

Wanting to hear his voice tell me the good news, I gave him a call, and he assured me that there was absolutely no cancer left. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Fighting back tears, I couldn’t wait to tell the world the wonderful news. First I went to Mabee, so that I would have WiFi to share the news on Facebook. I ran into my awesome friend Jesse. I had the privilege of being his Cru-Leader the past year. With his contagious smile, he celebrated the news with me. After I left the building, I knew exactly who I wanted to tell next, Mrs. Cindy Entzminger, my fiercest prayer warrior on campus. As I walked into the Campus Store where she worked, she looked up and said, “You have big news don’t you!?” I guess she could tell by my expression. “Yes,” I said, “My Dad is cancer-free!” She gave me the biggest hug and gleefully proclaimed, “Oh! I’m so excited! Look,” holding out her arms, “I got goosebumps on goosebumps.” I ran into multiple more friends before I reached my apartment, and I couldn’t contain the exciting news, “Dad is cancer-FREE!”

Finally, I got to my room in my apartment, started playing some songs on YouTube, and wept! Tears of joy streamed down my face. I was so amazed by the goodness of my Heavenly Father. Shortly after Easter, God gave me the greatest gift ever (aside from giving His only Son to us), and that was the gift of a SuperDad who can now wear the label of “Two-time cancer SURVIVOR!” I still remember one song in particular as I spent that afternoon weeping tears of never-ending joy, and that was “Worthy the Lamb” by the Gaither Vocal Band (see video below)…

Hear the cries of the shackled from the onset of time,
For the chains of defeat there’s no key.
See the tears of the broken, the cries of the slaves:
Is there no one worthy to set us free?

Then the crying is stilled as the chorus rings out,
The shackled released from their chains.
And thousands of voices are swelling the song:
Worthy the Lamb that was slain.

Worthy, worthy,
Worthy the Lamb that was slain (x2)

Then all the archangels, the saints of all time,
Holding their crowns in their hands,
Fall down before Him joining the song:
Worthy, worthy the Lamb!

Worthy, worthy,
Worthy the Lamb that was slain (x2)

Praise Him, praise Him,
Praise the Lamb that was slain (x2)

As I listened to this song, I knelt on the floor, weeping, thanking God, singing, “Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise the Lamb that was slain! Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise the Lamb that was slain!” As I listened to that song and others, I couldn’t help but cry out, “Lord Jesus, Thank You. Lord Jesus, Thank You.” Emotions overwhelm me even now as I type these words, and I can’t help but say, “Lord Jesus, Thank You!”

A week later, during Revival, with the theme, “Mountains and Valleys,” I felt as if I were at the top of that mountain. I had every reason to celebrate. Life was going great for my family and for me. Sure, I still got emotional, but those were mostly tears of joy. How awesome it was crammed in a large tent with fellow believers as we proclaimed that Christ is King. We ended the three days with the Digital Age singing “All the Poor and Powerless.” And my oh my did we shout and sing at the top of our lungs, leaping, with our hands held high, “Shout it! Go on and scream it from the mountains. Go on and tell it to the masses. That He is God!” (All Sons & Daughters)

Those few weeks I felt like I was on top of that mountain. Yet as my life unfolded, I went back down into the valley. The last few months for me was beyond stressful. With papers, exams, projects, and so much more, there were nights where I only got a few hours of sleep. And in that time, I became depressed. Depression is something that I have always struggled with. Even in its mildest form, depression is something that no one wants to deal with. I couldn’t understand why I had feelings of loneliness and brokenness, yet those feelings were there all the same. I’ve asked God before to give me the strength to not feel the way that I do, and it’s then that I realize that God is already making me strong in Him. Through every single weakness, God is able to move me to be strong in HIM.”

It is then I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)…

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

For when I am weak, when I feel broken, when I am in my lowest valley, then I am strong. THEN I AM STRONG!

I have had plenty more “mountaintop” moments since my last blog post. I got to go to Spring Formal with my awesome friends, Michael and Katie, and my wonderful sister, Paige. I made all A’s, maintained my career 4.0 GPA, had lunch with my best friend Cody, whom I hadn’t seen in almost a year, and I got to enjoy a visit from my Aunt Karen and Uncle Michael and their kids from Indiana. I also got to enjoy hanging out with all the freshmen Alexa, Katie, and I had been mentoring the past year. A few weeks ago, my best friend, Michael, led worship for the youth group at my church, FBC Florence, and I shared my testimony. It brought a smile to my face to see my friend lead worship as so many young middle and high school students raised their hands praising our Heavenly Father. They all cheered and got excited when we began to sing “Oceans: Where Feet May Fail” by Hillsong United.

These past several months, I have been in the valley, but I’ve also been on that mountain. And no matter where I am, there God is with His arms wrapped around me. He is reminding me that wherever I go, He is there!

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Picture 1: A picture with my Superman who has beat cancer twice!

Picture 2: A picture with the Digital Age after Spring Revival 2016

Picture 3: A picture with Kneeland Brown, this year’s speaker at Revival

Picture 4: A picture with Michael, Paige, and Katie before Spring Formal

Picture 5: A picture with my best friend Cody (best friends since the 1st grade!)

Picture 6: Selfies with Katie, Alexa, and our awesome freshman group

Picture 7: A picture with Christopher, Shayla, and Michael after a night of worship at FBC Florence


All Sons & Daughters. All The Poor And Powerless. By David Leonard and Leslie Jordan, 2011. allsonsanddaughters.com. Web. 30 May 2016.

Gaither Vocal Band. Worthy The Lamb. By Bill and Gloria Gaither, 1974. LyricWikia. Web. 30 May 2016.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 30 May. 2016.


Worthy The Lamb by The Gaither Vocal Band

All The Poor And Powerless by The Digital Age

This is the Story of Grace (A Poem)

As I sit in the cool breeze

And hear the birds sing anthems of joy

And gaze upon the beauty of the plants and small creatures

And look upon the clouds in the sky

I think of grace

What is grace?

Grace is the story of someone fully man and fully God

Grace began with God’s creation as His son watched him create the universe

Grace describes how much God favors us

Grace found its way in a manger in Bethlehem

Grace was embodied in the miracles of a Savior

Grace made the lame walk, allowed the blind to see, and raised people from death

Grace welcomed the children

Grace welcomed the poor and the downtrodden

Grace welcomed the widows and orphans

Grace welcomed the prostitutes and the tax collectors

Grace even welcomed the worst of criminals

Grace washed the feet of His disciples

And then grace was arrested

Grace was tried and convicted

Convicted of what?

Grace was convicted of loving everyone

Grace was beaten, spat upon, humiliated, and sleep deprived

Grace was crucified

Nails pierced the hands of grace

Nails pierced the feet of grace

A crown of thorns was worn by grace

Grace carried the sins of the world

This sins of you and me

Grace forgave them

Grace forgave you

Grace forgave me

After so much agony, grace died

Grace was buried

It seemed that grace was defeated

Yet three days later, the grave opened

And grace emerged from death

All the powers of sin

All the powers of darkness

All the powers of hell

Could not defeat grace

Grace won with a resounding victory

Grace bears the scars and the holes where nails pierced the hands and feet

Grace returned to the Father

Grace promised His return to carry us home

And the best part

Grace is still here

Grace never leaves us

Grace is all around us

The story of grace is the story of my Redeemer

Grace is the story of my Savior

Grace is the story of the King of Kings

Grace is the story of the Son of God

Grace is the story of The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Grace is the story of Jesus Christ

Grace is the story of Christ’s redeeming love in us

Grace is the greatest story ever told

Why am I given this grace?

I don’t deserve it

I can never measure up to the one who gives this grace

I am imperfect

I am a sinner

How can this mere mortal

How can someone who messes up every single day

Compare to this majestic Savior?

How can I possibly earn grace?

I can’t!

Nothing I say

Nothing I do

Will ever be good enough to earn His grace

Grace is simply a gift

It is the greatest gift ever given

Although I am a sinner

Although I am imperfect

Although I am unworthy of this beautiful gift

Jesus gives it anyways

Just because He loves me

Therefore I will sing the song of grace

I will shout the chant of grace

I will perform the play of grace

Because Jesus has given me this grace

The greatest gift of all

This grace gives me hope

This grace gives me assurance

This grace gives me joy

This grace gives me passion for the one who gave it

Life will take me down a road with many twists and turns

But grace will sustain me

Grace will hold me in its arms

Grace will protect me

Grace has saved me

My heart aches in pain for those who have never heard the story of grace

And for those who don’t have a relationship with grace

So much pain

So much hurting

So much despair

I couldn’t possibly live life without grace

My hear hurts for those who live this life without grace

Without grace

Life is dark

Life is without hope

Life is without joy

Life has no assurance that greater things are in store

With grace, every obstacle can be overcome

With grace, life is brand new

So let me testify to this grace

Let me share this blessed story with the world

I was lost

I was broken

I was battered

I was in shame

I was without hope

Then grace found me

Grace restored me

Grace forgave me

Grace made me brand new

This is the story of Jesus Christ

This is the story of His love

This is the story of Him living in me

This is the story of Him living in you

This is the wonderful story of GRACE!

An Image of God’s Love (A Poem)

A little boy asks if it’s his fault his parents are divorced

A mother weeps at the loss of a child

A father mourns knowing his son won’t return from war

A kid with special needs is made to feel unworthy

A single mom worries if she will be able to pay rent

A little girl is teased for not being pretty enough

A victim of assault feels ashamed and broken

A homeless man lies awake at night, cold and hungry

A young man struggles with the pain of chronic disease

A woman cries as she remembers her husband of 70 years

Families sob as loved ones are taken by gun violence and drunk driving

Communities are shaken by unspeakable disasters

So much hurting

So much pain

So many emotions

What could possibly change?

How can people be made to feel whole again?

How can one have hope in the midst of suffering?

In the midst of brokenness?

I don’t have all the answers

In fact, I hardly have any answers

While nothing seems to be certain,

There is one thing I know to be constant

And that is beauty of God’s love

One thing I can be sure of is that God’s love never fails

God’s love never changes

God’s love is more powerful than any struggle

God’s love overpowers darkness and hate

His love is breathtaking

I can’t help but think of a number of words to describe His love

Marvelous

Wonderful

Reassuring

Unequivocal

Limitless

Beautiful

Everlasting

Indescribable

Amazing

This list goes on and on

His love is emphasized in everything He made

He loves us so much that He gave us the complexity and the beauty that is His creation

The moon and the stars that shine in the night sky

The sunset tinted with orange, pink, and blue

The clouds that slowly move across the heavens

The rocky canyons of the dessert, the artic glaciers, the savannahs, and the rainforests

Animals both small and large that fill the land

The fish, the whales, the dolphins, the manatees, the frogs

The towering trees and flowing rivers

All of this He created because of His love for us

His love is also painted in the image of the cross

This ultimate symbol of pain and death

He turned into a symbol of everlasting love

His son endured so much pain as they mocked Him and spat on Him

Yet He loved them regardless

He has experienced our every hurt

Our every sickness

Our every pain

He knows exactly everything we are going through

So what can we make of Christ’s sacrifice?

What can we say of all of this beautiful creation?

One word

And that word is LOVE

Love is found in that moon and in those stars

Love is found in those beautiful sunsets

Love is found in the clouds

Love is found in the canyons, glaciers, savannahs, and rainforests

Love is found in the creatures on both the sea and the land

Love is found in the trees and the rivers

More than anything, love is found in the cross

Love is found in Christ’s sacrifice

Love is found in Christ’s death

Love is found in Christ’s resurrection

Love is found in Christ’s promise that one day He will return

And love is also found when we trust God in all of our pain

In all of our suffering

Love is found in the boy who encourages other children whose parents are divorced

Love is found in the memories a mother has of her child

Love is found in the soldier who risks his life and is killed in the line of duty

And love is found in the father who encourages other families who lost loved ones in war

Love is found is found in the kid with special needs who knows that he can make a difference

And love is found in those who advocate on his behalf

Love is found in the hard working single mother striving to feed her children and send them to college

Love is found in the little girl who knows that God sees her as beautiful

And love is found in the children who build her up

Love is found in the victims of assault who realize that in Christ, they are not victims but victors

And love is found in those who use their trials to encourage others

And love is found in the communities that fight on their behalf

Love is found in the homeless man, who while having almost nothing, gives to those who also have nothing

And love is found in those who seek to empower men and women out of poverty

Love is found in the young man with chronic pain who uses his struggles to encourage others going through similar pain

Love is found in the memories the elderly woman has of her husband of many years

Love is found in the families who forgive those who took their loved ones by a gun or by a car

Love is found in the communities coming together in face of tragic disaster

These are just some of the examples of what God’s love looks like

If love can be found in the midst of so much pain and suffering, then why can’t we unashamedly share the love God has for us

So let us tell the whole world of this love

Love overcomes every painful circumstance

Love transcends color, race, gender, and nationality

Love knows no boundaries

Love knows no obstacles

The love of God is a most beautiful thing

Marvelous

Wonderful

Reassuring

Unequivocal

Limitless

Beautiful

Everlasting

Indescribable

Amazing

This is love! THIS IS LOVE!

I’m A Child of the KING!

Earlier this month, for the first time publicly, I posted one of my poems on this blog. It was inspired by something that I have tried to live by for the past year and a half or so, and that is to remember that I am redeemed by a magnificently wonderful God who loves me beyond all comprehension. I have learned that no matter what life throws at us, we can choose to either be defined by the world and by our shortcomings, or we can be defined through Christ Jesus who gave His life because of His great love for us. Personally, I want to choose to be defined through Christ.

This past month, there have been times where I would occasionally take this for granted or I would forget it completely. The truth is that we all struggle and we all face challenges, and that has certainly been true in my life. So far, although it is just the third week of the semester, I am already stressed with so many obligations and other situations in life. Coupled with various twists and turns that have made my days even crazier, it’s sometimes easy for me to take for granted the fact that God has a plan for me and that through Him, I am redeemed.

Since writing my poem at the start of the New Year, my mind has played one song in particular, over and over and over again. It’s an old gospel hymn that serves as a great reminder that I am most certainly loved and redeemed by the one who created me. As I listen to and read the lyrics of, “A Child of the King,” I am reminded that instead of defining myself through my weaknesses, I should constantly define myself as a child of the Most High God.

Once I was clothed in the rags of my sin,
Wretched and poor, lost and lonely within,
But with wondrous compassion the King of all kings,
In pity and love, took me under His wing.

Chorus
Oh, yes, oh, yes, I’m a child of the King
His royal blood now flows in my veins.
And I who was wretched and poor, now can sing,
“Praise God, Praise God, I’m a child of the King.”

Now I’m a child with a heavenly home.
My Holy Father has made me His own.
And I’m cleansed by His blood, And I’m clothed in His love,
And someday I’ll sing with the angels above.

When I listen to this song, I can’t help but realize that my soul was once dead. Without Christ, I am wretched, I am lost, and I am lonely. Without Christ, I am dead.

This past Sunday, at FBC Belton’s College House, we discussed the fact that without Christ we are dead, we have no life. We looked at three examples of people who had died at the time of Jesus. In one situation, Jesus raised a little girl from death who had only been dead for a few minutes. Another was a man who died the day before, and Jesus stopped the funeral and brought him back to life. The third was Lazarus, who had been dead for several days. In each situation, although they were at different stages of decomposition, they were still dead. You can’t be deader than someone else. If you’re dead, you’re dead. And yet, in every single one of those situations, Christ raised them back from death into new life.

This reminds me that no matter how far and how long I stray from God, no matter how long I doubt His plans for me, He can always bring me back to Him. It reminds me that I was once completely dead, and yet He pulled me out of darkness into light.

To me, this causes for celebration. Because He brought me out of the “dominion of darkness,” why should I define myself by anything other than Christ? If I am alive in Him, why should I define myself as wretched, lost, or lonely? Instead I should define myself as a child of the King.

What a wonderful promise that when we choose to follow Christ, we are children of the King of Kings. Far more powerful than any earthly king, God doesn’t have to pay us any attention, and yet He does. He loves us more than we can ever understand. So rather than defining myself as worthless and lost, I am going to proclaim that I am a child of the King. Because the fact is that, yes, I was poor, lost, and completely dead, but with wondrous compassion, Christ pulled me out of darkness, and into life. The blood that He shed on the cross now flows through my veins.

Therefore I am going to keep singing this song at the top of my lungs. I am going to show the world that I am a child of the Almighty, Everlasting King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am no longer going to define myself as weak, useless, and abandoned. Because I am pursued daily by my Heavenly Father, Abba, my King. I am His and He is mine.

Romans 8:14-16 states, “14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (NIV).

How amazing is it that we are called God’s children!? Too often, I don’t take the time to thank Him for loving me so much. It’s a love that I cannot comprehend. No matter how many times I mess up, no matter how many times I fail Him, I know that I can turn to my Father who loves me so much. Because no matter what, I am His child. So that’s how I will choose to define myself, not by my weaknesses and shortcomings, but as His child!

Praise God! Praise God! I’m a child of the KING!


 

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.

Walker, Cindy, 1961, renewal 1989. “A Child of the King.” hymnal.calvarybaptistsv.org. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.


 

Child of the King by Mike Allen, Tim Duncan, and Brock Speer

Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin