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

A Poem on Redemption

I am broken

I am afraid

I am tired

I am lonely

I am discouraged

These are the thoughts echoing in my mind

These are the thoughts that Satan tries to tear me down with

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night

These are the thoughts that leave me empty

These are the thoughts that bring tears to my eyes

And then I think of how others define me

You are insignificant

You are unable

You are defeated

You are alone

You are worthless

Why do I care what others think of me

Why do I place so much value in the opinions others have of me

Why do I let others define who I am

When I do, I feel lost

I feel ashamed

I feel abandoned

I feel unworthy

I feel dirty

I feel destroyed

But then God calls me by name

He asks me why I have these thoughts

He asks me why I allow others to define me

He asks me why I feel the way I do

Then He looks at me and says, “Let me define you”

Then He tells me

You are valuable

You are capable

You are a conqueror

You are pursued

You are precious in my sight

When He called me out, He reminded me of all the things He’s done

He tells me

I created the universe

The stars that dot the sky, the sun that shines, the moon that glows

I made that

The rolling hills painted with bluebonnets and daffodils, the trees that stand tall

That was part of my design

The mockingbirds, canaries, and blue jays chirping sweet melodies

I taught them how to sing

All of the animals on the land, all the creatures in the sea

I gave them life

All these things are things I created

And do you know what

You are my greatest creation

When He spoke this to me, I no longer felt lost

I realized I had a purpose

I felt rescued

I felt worthy

I felt clean

I felt brand new

I felt redeemed

He began to say, “trust me”

He began to show me how much He loves me

He reminded me of his unconditional, unwavering love

He reminded me that His son died for me

Oh such agony

The whips and the lashes that ripped His flesh

The crown of thorns that pierced His head

The blood that poured out of His body

The long arduous climb up Golgotha

The nails that were driven through His hands and feet

They mocked Him

They spat on Him

They laughed at Him

Yet He asked God to forgive them

He took on the sin of the world

He died that painful death

He arose three days later

He bears the scars

He did all of this because He loves me so much

No greater love exists

He did all of this because He loves me

This broken, unworthy, sinful, messed up human being

He did this for me

I am at a loss for words

It’s indescribable the love He has for us

The love He has for me

No longer am I broken

No longer am I afraid

No longer am I tired

No longer am I lonely

No longer am I discouraged

God has called me out

He tells me, “Stop letting the world define you”

Define yourself through Me

So with every breath I breathe, I now proclaim

I am redeemed

I am loved by God

I am chosen by God

I am made new by God

I am pursued by God

I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God

I am a conqueror through God

I am strong through God

I am bold

I am courageous

I am protected by Him

Through Him, I am Redeemed

There is nothing I can’t do when God is on my side

How awesome is it to know that I can define myself through Him

So whenever, I feel the least bit discouraged

I will proclaim, I am redeemed

I am redeemed

PRAISE GOD, I AM REDEEMED!

Writing thank you notes to God…

ThankYouNotesToGod

Well, it’s been over a month since my last blog post, and since then my mind has often wandered in various directions as if I were on a roller coaster of stress and emotions. With a smile on my face, I can say that much of that stress has dissipated now that I am a week and a half into Christmas break.

Throughout this past semester, I have been consumed with stress and emotions as I have tried to balance academics, extra-curriculars, ministries, personal and family life, and anything else one might add to that list. There have been times when I have wondered, “Okay God, what next? What am I supposed to do now?” When I look to the horizon ahead of me, I see a future, and that future is with God. He guides my every step, and He will always go before me. But, I wouldn’t be honest if I told you that there weren’t times when all the stress and various circumstances have caused at least some level of doubt in my mind as to what that future entails. And yet, even when our mind wanders, even when we face that scary precipice, that daunting chasm of doubt between us and the future that awaits, even then, God reminds us that He is always with us. He reminds us that He is a bridge of hope and assurance for us to cross all of those fears and doubts, as we travel down the road He has paved for us. And He reminds us to be thankful for the little things along the way.

Sometimes I need to be reminded to stop worrying about everything and to just thank God for the little things. Sure, it’s easy to thank Him for the big things, and we most certainly should thank Him for the big things, such as miracles, improved health, fantastic grades on finals, etc. After all, I am beyond thankful that my grandfather’s health is improving after his heart surgery, that my Dad’s cancer is shrinking, that I managed to pull of another all A’s semester, that I get to spend the holidays with such an inspiring family, and the list goes on. Major things like these are ones we should be thankful for. But, do we stop and thank Him enough for the little things?

About a month ago, the Monday before Thanksgiving, UMHB’s International Ministry held their annual Thanksgiving meal for the community where international students, American students, and others can come, eat, fellowship, and give thanks with one another. I truly enjoy it every year as I get to meet some really awesome foreign exchange students and learn a little about their cultures.

Just a few hours before the meal, I realized that I had not yet bought anything for the gathering. Less than an hour before the event, I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart to purchase a couple of pies for the feast. On my way to FBC Belton for the gathering, I paused and thought, “Thank you Lord for Wal-Mart being just a few minutes away. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” After that thought, I reflected more on Thanksgiving, and as I pictured the importance of the holiday, I thought, “I don’t thank Him enough for the little things like this.” As Christmas soon approaches, I am reminded once again to be thankful. Not only am I thankful for the greatest gift ever given, the gift of Christ, but I am also thankful for the little things.

One thing I enjoy doing is watching clips of my favorite late-night comedians on YouTube. Anyone who watches much of Jimmy Fallon knows that he writes Thank You Notes every week where he thanks random things, giving funny explanations of why he’s so thankful they exist. So that gave me an idea. Relating his Thank You Notes to a faith-based perspective, I decided to write (in this case, type) thank you notes to God (not all of them necessarily in a humorous way), thanking Him for some of the smallest things that have helped me grow in my relationship with Him and with others.

Here are some of the ideas I had as I made the short drive from Wal-Mart to FBC that evening, and as I thanked Him for various things, I tried to start with the phrase, “Lord Jesus,” because of the joy I have in proclaiming that Jesus is Lord of all…

Lord Jesus, thank you for the Belton Wal-Mart. It is especially convenient when you’re in a hurry and it’s only minutes away from campus.

As I approached a green light… Lord Jesus, thank you for the green lights as they help me get to where I am going even faster.

Then I approached a red light… Lord Jesus, thank you for the red lights as they cause me to stop, not be in a hurry, and give me a second to focus on you and be thankful.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the beautiful sky. What a marvelous sight to look at as I think of how awesome and mighty you are.

When I saw a random tree… Lord Jesus, thank you for that tree. I’m not sure why I’m thanking you for that tree, but it’s an awesome tree. And you know what, you’re awesome for making that awesome tree.

Lord Jesus, thank you for that parking lot over there. I’ve had some good conversations and have gotten to know people in that parking lot.

At the Thanksgiving meal, I walked behind my friend Alexia, who was standing next to my friend Michael. I put my hands over her eyes, seeing if she could guess who I was. “Hmmmm,” said Alexia, feeling my hands, “They’re certainly female hands.” “I have female hands?,” I asked in a deep voice. That caused for an awkward moment.

Lord Jesus, thank you for awkward moments with friends. These moments create laughter, help form stronger friendships, and give us stories to tell in the future.

At the meal, as I sat with Michael and a handful of Indian students, I got to learn about their likes, their dislikes, their culture, and what they like about America and UMHB.

Lord Jesus, thank you for this Thanksgiving meal. It allows me to form new friendships with fascinating people from different cultures. And we get to laugh and tell stories. It’s such a blessing to give thanks with new people. And I got to learn more about their holidays and traditions.

Then we started talking about sports, specifically American football and cricket. I mentioned that I’m a fan of Baylor and Texas. “Oh didn’t Baylor just beat Oklahoma State? What a good game. Too bad they lost to Oklahoma. Texas isn’t doing as well.” (This was before Texas beat Baylor!) I wish I knew as much about cricket, their favorite sport, as they knew about American football.

Lord Jesus, thank you for conversations about sports. Especially when it’s with international students. These conversations help form friendships around topics I love (that being sports!) and I get to learn about their favorite pastime, cricket.

After that group of Indian students left, Michael and I, along with our friend Dylan, thought it would be fun to stare at different people, all at once, shifting to different people several times, to make people feel awkwardly uncomfortable.

Lord Jesus, thank you for goofy humor. What a fun way to bond and have good laughs with close friends. Plus, it makes other people laugh too.

StaringAtPeople

Michael, Dylan, and me having fun staring at people…

Since the meal, I have thought of other things to be thankful for, between Thanksgiving and now, shortly before Christmas.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the show Friends. It gives something for Dad and me to bond together and have laughs. It also gives us good conversations as we remember our favorite episodes.

Lord Jesus, thank you for friends that have also seen Friends. It gives me something to talk about and have good laughs with friends (especially Michael, who’s also seen just about every episode and can quote any part of them).

Lord Jesus, thank you for White Elephant Gift Exchange Parties. It’s so much fun giving and receiving sometimes pointless gifts. It’s fun because I get to have good laughs and spend time with wonderful friends.

WhiteElephantGiftExchange

You can’t see it, but I got a flashy ornament and anti-wrinkle cream. Lol. Not sure why I’m the only one smiling.

Lord Jesus, thank you for Star Trek (the movies and the TV shows). Yet another thing for Dad and I to enjoy together.

Lord Jesus, thank you for Candy Crush. It allows me to watch my grandfather have tons of fun playing it. He gets excited when he gets to show me the newest challenge the game throws at him. (He’s probably on level 1300 or something or higher)

Lord Jesus, thank you for Facebook messaging. It allows me to encourage friends and allows friends to encourage me.

The first Saturday of December, my family and I watched the Texas-Baylor football game. Shayla and I were cheering for Baylor while the rest of the family was cheering for Texas.

SicEmHookEm

Shayla and me for the Bears, Jeremiah for the Horns. Horns won!

Lord Jesus, thank you for family football rivalries. They allow us to have fun, in a competitive spirit kind of way. I even thank you when the team I’m rooting for loses. Because being teased afterwards is also fun.

Lord Jesus, thank you for that feeling college students have after finishing the last final of the semester. One word: FREEDOM!

Lord Jesus, thank you for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I got to see it with Dad and Jeremiah in 3D, and it was such a wonderful experience. The months long excitement and Star Wars marathon before was half the fun.

StarWarsImaxJeremiahMe

Jeremiah and me shortly before the new Star Wars movie…

Lord Jesus, thank you for middle and high school girls’ basketball games. It brings me so much joy to watch Shayla and Mikayla play the sport they love so much.

ShaylaLadyBuffsBBall

Shayla after her high school Lady Buffs basketball game…

MikaylaLadyBuffsBBall

Mikayla after her middle school Lady Buffs basketball game…

Lord Jesus, thank you for the fun Shayla and I have teasing each other. I love teasing my Horned Frog, my Red Raider. (She’s more of a Baylor Bear fan than I am, so she doesn’t like being called that 🙂 )

Lord Jesus, thank you for the long drives I have by myself. I love spending time talking to you or listening to Christian music.

Lord Jesus, thank you for College Football Bowl season. Did I mention how much I love football!?

These are just a handful of to the many things that I am thankful for. While it may sometimes be easy to be thankful for the big things, we sometimes overlook the small things. I constantly need to be reminded, myself, to stop and thank God for these precious little things.

Scripture is filled with verses about being thankful…

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. – 1 Chronicles 16:8 (NLT)

Sometimes I need to be reminded to be thankful for not just the big things, but also the small things. Life is not always going to be a smooth journey, but no matter what, praise Him. Sing to Him. Give thanks to Him. Thank Him for the big things! And thank Him for the little things. In everything, give Him thanks!

Lord Jesus, thank you. Thank you for all your countless and many blessings. Even if I had absolutely nothing, I would still be forever thankful that I will always have you Lord, and that is what I am most thankful for.

With every breath I have, Lord Jesus, I say THANK YOU!


 

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.

New Living Translation. Bible Gateway. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.


 

Thank You by the Katinas

Thank You Lord for Your Blessings by Jeff & Sheri Easter, Charlotte Ritchie, and Vestal Goodman

The news I DID want to hear: His cancer is shrinking!

So many emotions these past couple of weeks, where could I possibly begin? Earlier in August, I blogged with the title, “The news I never wanted to hear: His cancer is back…” This time I will start with the wonderful news my family received last week… Dad’s cancer is shrinking! Tears, smiles, peace, joy, jubilation were among the many words to describe what I was feeling when my Dad gave me this simple message: “PET scans show improvement. God is Good!” Immediately, I called him to ask him exactly what this meant. His doctors told him that the cancer was shrinking!

It seems that for these past few years, my family has been on a roller coaster of emotions with so many things happening. Wonderful news, horrible news; both have come off and on as we strive to keep focused on God and the plan He has for the each of us. As Believers in Christ know, life was never promised to be easy. Sometimes, we will receive news that gives us so much joy, and sometimes news will give us sorrow. I don’t always understand why things happen, but I trust that God is in complete control and that He is and always will be sovereign over everything.

So what do we do when the news we receive is not at all what we wanted to hear? What do we do when the news brings sadness, pain, and frustration? I am not going to act like I have the answers, because I don’t. What I can say is this, “The Lord goes before us and He will never leave us. Trust that He is in control. Trust that He is sovereign.”

In my life, I have faced many trials and disappointments. It seems that every time I do, my family will remind me that God has great and amazing things in store for me. Even when I am not home with my family, my Dad, my Nana, and my BigDaddy will encourage me over the phone and remind me of God’s goodness.

My family has been my ultimate source of inspiration throughout my young life. My Dad has faced more than I could ever imagine, yet he still, even with intensive chemotherapy treatments, finds ways to make me laugh, finds ways to tease me and pull practical jokes, and finds ways to lift me up and reassure me that God is sovereign. When my BigDaddy had heart surgery, and even more responsibilities were placed on Nana’s shoulders, they still never seemed to lose their faith that God would make a way, and that God would provide the answers we needed. The kids too have faced so many challenges, yet they have chosen to trust God with all their hearts.

And what should we do if we receive wonderful news? Praise Him! But also praise Him when the news is not so great. Praise Him in the calm. Praise Him in the storm. For the God that is with us when times are great is the very same God that is with us when times are tough.

In case you don’t know by now, I love adding songs that speak to me in my blogs. Over these past few years I have received good news such as Dad beating cancer the first time, getting his degree, myself getting another “A” on my transcript, Dad’s cancer shrinking, BigDaddy’s heart surgery going well, Shayla and Isaac professing their faith through baptism, the list goes on. But I have also received news I didn’t want: when Dad first got cancer, when it returned, when I faced disappointment or didn’t get that ministry position I wanted, that list could continue as well.

In all of these situations, I have occasionally been reminded by one of my favorite Gaither songs, “God On The Mountain.” There have been plenty of times when I would look it up on YouTube and listen to these words:

Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known
But things change, when you’re down in the valley
Don’t lose faith, for your never alone

For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night

We talk of faith way up on the mountain
But talk comes easy, when life’s at its best
Now it’s down in the valleys, trials and temptations
That’s where your faith is really put to the test

For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley,
When things go wrong, he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night
The God of the day, is still God in the night

How wonderful is it to know that that same God that gives us happiness and joy in the good times is also the same God that grants us peace in the bad times and reassures us that His presence never leaves us? May my heart never cease to praise Him! Sometimes life is easy, and in those moments, when I am up on that mountain, I will praise Him. When I am down in the valley of sorrow and despair, I will praise Him. When the news is good, I will praise Him. When the news is not at all what I wanted to hear, I will praise Him for I am never alone!

Psalm 34 (NIV) proclaims this:

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

Every chance that I get, I will strive to praise His name! No matter what comes my way, good or bad, God is worthy of my praise! Because that same God that I sing joyous praise to when life does go my way is the very same God that I will call out and praise when life doesn’t go my way.

I am beyond thankful that God gave me this news that brought a smile to my face: Dad’s cancer is shrinking! I thanked God and praised His name for this wonderful news. I also praised Him before when Dad’s cancer returned the second time and praised Him in other situations that have left me sad or frustrated. In every circumstance, one thing remains the same, God’s love never fails! He is the same today and tomorrow as He was yesterday.

So praise God in every situation! For the God of the day IS STILL God in the night!

 

Lynda Randle. God On The Mountain. By Tracy Dartt, 1975. MetroLyrics. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

 

God On the Mountain by Lynda Randle

How Can I Keep From Singing by Chris Tomlin

 

 

 

Awaiting the News

As I sit here typing my thoughts into this week’s blog, one question keeps going through my mind, “Does Dad still have cancer?” Last week, he had some scans done to see if there is anything left, and obviously I am hoping and praying that it is all gone. So, as we wait for the news, all I can do is pray, pray with everything in me, that the cancer is gone.

I still remember when he beat cancer the first time. It was Christmas Eve 2013 when I received a call from Dad after he visited his doctor. My heart leaped for joy, tears streamed down my face, as I praised God for the second best Christmas present (second only to the birth of Christ) He could ever give me… a cancer-free Dad. And so that is what I am hoping now. I am waiting for that call, waiting for him to breathe a sigh of relief as he tells me that God has once again helped him beat cancer.

And yet, for some reason, I am not as nervous as I was before. I am not as nervous as most people would be. Sometimes, I even forget that we are awaiting this monumental news. And why is that? Why am I not on pins and needles waiting so anxiously to hear the news? Is it wrong for me to not be too nervous? It’s not that I don’t care. If you have read any of my previous blogs or know anything about me, you know that of course I care. So what is it? Why am I not as nervous and scared as most people would be? After all, this is the question of whether my Superman still has cancer. It’s a pretty big deal!

As I wonder why I am not all that nervous and scared, I think it’s because I know that God is in complete control. He is in control of every situation and every circumstance. He knows what we go through and what is still to come. He is always there to lift us up and always simply be there for us. Every which way I turn, I know I can turn to Him, even when the rest of my world is crashing around me.

This is something that my family has shown me throughout my life, especially throughout the past couple of years. They have shown me that God is in control. As my Dad has raised me as a single, hardworking father, getting his degree, beating cancer the first time, and going through it the second time, he would tell you that God is in control. As my BigDaddy has been recovering from heart surgery, he would tell you that God is in control. As sweet 11yr old Isaac has battled Juvenile Dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disorder that causes his immune system to attack his muscles when he gets really sick, he would tell you that God is in control.

So I guess that is why I am not as scared as some would be. I guess that’s why I am not as nervous as some would be. Because I know that my Lord and Savior has everything under control, and that anything that we go through, no matter what happens, God can use our stories, our examples, for His glory.

One song that has been in my mind quite a bit lately is the song “Good Good Father,” and as I think about the lyrics, I find the answer as to why I am not absolutely scared or nervous.

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching
For answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only You provide
‘Cause You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Cause You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

You are perfect in all of Your ways
Oh, You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
You’re a good good Father

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways

I guess I am not scared and nervous because I am the child of such a good, good father. I know that I am loved and treasured by Him. I know that many times we search for answers, and that only He can provide the answer. His love is truly undeniable, His peace completely unexplainable. He loves me and is perfect in any situation. He is without a doubt a good, good father.

That is why I have so much peace amidst everything that goes on in life, because I have such a good, good father. So why be afraid? The Bible tells me in Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV), “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Therefore I will have peace and not worry, because He goes before me. He has promised to never leave me and to never forsake me. So, I will glorify His name. I will shout His praises. I will sing of the goodness He has shown in my life. If He holds the whole world in His hand, then shouldn’t I trust Him in every circumstance life throws at my family and me? In all that I do, and in everything I go through, I will give Him the glory.

So as I await this news, I will be at peace and remember that I serve a Good Good Father!


Chris Tomlin. Good Good Father. By Housefires, 2015. K-Love. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.


Good Good Father by Casting Crowns

Glory by Phil Wickham

Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.

As I type this blog, I can’t help but imagine what my life would be without God at my side. It’s something that is quite honestly hard to imagine. Saying that life would be dark, lost, and without hope would be understatements. Yet, so many people around the world, and even on this campus, are lost. Either they haven’t built a forever relationship with Christ or they have never heard of him. My heart breaks for them. I can’t possibly imagine my life without God, and I simply wouldn’t want to. He gives me so much joy, and even in the darkest, bleakest of times, I still can this have joy. Even when the world crashes around me and I feel the slightest despair, I know I can always turn to the Light that is Jesus Christ.

For the millions upon millions of people in this world, there is no hope, no joy, and no assurance that there is something greater that loves and cares for people, no matter how broken. So many in this world have never heard the Gospel. And why is that? With the growing ability to communicate through ever improving technology, why is there so many people who have yet to hear the Greatest News of All?

Last week was Missions Emphasis Week (MEW) at UMHB, a week where 40+ missionaries came to our campus to get students excited for missions through special events, seminars, classroom visits, lunches, and simple conversations. It was a week where we discovered the numerous possibilities to be the Light in the darkness that’s in our university, our community, our country, and our world.

During MEW this year, we had a wall filled with the names of all the unreached people groups in the world. Some have millions, some just 100 people or less. Nonetheless, it’s the names of those who have never heard the Gospel. The Samoya people in Mali. The Domari Gypsy in Egypt. The Hani in Laos. The Arapaso in Brazil. The Galoli in Timor-Leste. The Mashadis in the United States. These are just some of the people groups in this world that have never been reached; people who have never heard the Gospel of Christ. By some accounts they make up 441 million people in this world. That’s more than 120 million people than the population of the United States.

It is my hope that one day there is no wall. Just as God brought down the wall of Jericho, my prayer is that He uses us to bring down this wall by spreading His love to the nations.

A picture of Shawn Shannon, our BSM director, and me in front of the Wall of Unreached People Groups

A picture of Shawn Shannon, our BSM director, and me in front of the Wall of Unreached People Groups

When planning for MEW 2015, our committee decided on the theme, Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. in reference to Micah 6:8 (NIV) which reads:

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.

As a body of Christ, we have been called to do these things. We are to act justly in that we oppress no one, to treat everyone with the same dignity as beings who are created by God, and to do unto others what is right. We must love mercy in that we do not envy or have hatred towards one another. Instead, we are to love, be merciful and forgiving. And we are called to walk humbly with the Lord our God by relying completely on Him, seeking what He desires from us.

To me, this passage from Micah illustrates perfectly the call we have to be missionaries in every place we go, whether that is in India, England, Kenya, or Belton, Texas. We are called to seek justice and stand up for the oppressed. We are called to love mercy and have compassion for all of God’s children. We are called to walk humbly. Where He leads us, we must follow.

As I took part in the seminars and special events, my heart ached when learning about all the darkness in this world. So many people are following idols and false prophets. So many people have belief systems based on fear. While we as believers worship our Lord because we have joy and peace in Him, others worship to appease their false gods in hopes that those idols will not harm them. Others try through good works to please their gods. I am more than glad that there is nothing I can do earn God’s grace, for He has freely given it to this imperfect, mortal human being.

Throughout the week, I was more than overjoyed in knowing that so many people are working to tear down this wall, to make the list of unreached names smaller and smaller. If I have learned anything from this week, it’s the reemphasis that everyone needs Jesus, and we must shout from the mountaintops that Christ died to save us all so that we could have joy and peace in Him.

As I learned about more people to pray for, more people to ask God to show them the way through the life of myself and others, I thought about how God can use me. I am so amazed how broken I am, how much of a sinner I am, how imperfect I am, and yet He still wants to use me for His glory. Christ desires to use broken, messed up people, to share His love to the nations.

As MEW wound to a close, we had a cultural worship night during Worship in the Quad (in the BSM because of rain). We sang two Indian songs, listened to a Welsh hymn, heard stories about refugees, and sang “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. It was a night which made me realize that we all, every tongue, and every nation will proclaim the name of Jesus.

We ended, as we do every week, gathered in a circle, with joined hands, singing Sanctuary. As we sang these words, I thought of how we are all called to be a Living Sanctuary as we proclaim His name for all to hear.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You

As believers in Christ, we are all called to be a Living Sanctuary for God. We are to be a body of Christ that spreads the Good News of Jesus Christ so that every tongue can praise His name.

Sunday night, at the FBC College House, I heard a song for the first time which I think epitomizes missions. I was moved through the words of the song “Vapors” by The Liturgists. Part of the song reads:

Holy
You oh God are Holy
Trees clap their hands for you
Oceans they dance for you

You are holy
Infinite and holy
A billion suns rise for you
Clouds paint the skies for you
Mountains stand tall for you
Valleys bow down to you
Everything rising to
Sing all our songs for you

Holy
The impossible and holy
Kings become fools for you
Kingdoms to ruins for you
Vapor finds ground in you
Music finds sound for you
Everything rising
Everything rising

Come like dawn
Like waves
Like sunlight
Bring this world to life

Come like rain
Like breath
Like springtime
Bring this world to life

I couldn’t help but be joyous. In the end, everything will glorify His name, everything will proclaim that Christ is Lord of all. Kings will become irrelevant, kingdoms will fall as the trees clap and the oceans dance for the Lord Almighty. What a beautiful picture in that every part of creation will sing praise to God. As believers in Christ, let us bring the hope we have in Him to all the nations. Let us tear down this wall of unreached peoples!

Let us remember to Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly!


New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.

Scruggs, Randy and John Thompson, 1982. “Sanctuary.” SongLyrics. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.

The Liturgists. Vapor. By Michael and Lisa Gungor, 2014. TheLiturgists.com. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.


Vapor by The Liturgists

Sanctuary by Jessy Dixon

When my faith is tested…

For the past few weeks, I have seen my faith tested in various ways. I have seen those I love struggle with so much, and yet they remain steadfast in their belief that God is greater than every situation. I have found it at times difficult to keep up with assignments and other obligations. I have cried and I have laughed. I have become angry every now and then when I think no one is looking, often times at little things. So many emotions have flooded my mind recently as my mind ponders various circumstances. And occasionally, I find my faith to be tested, as if I were questioning God why things were happening.

As many of you know, I often write of my family. They have become the cornerstone of my life as they have encouraged me, inspired me, and have pushed me to always trust in God, no matter the situation. Since Freshman year of high school, I have battled Crohn’s Disease, although I didn’t have the right diagnosis until Sophomore year of college. This has often been a struggle of dealing with constant stomach pain as I try to juggle my health with every other aspect of my life.

Meanwhile, my Dad is going through chemotherapy to treat his second round of colon cancer, and my family has gone through so many other things in addition to that over the past few months. All of this, among other things in life, have caused my mind to wonder, and at times cause myself to lose focus on the goodness of God and His plan for all of us.

As I was on my way to Wal-Mart one day, my faith felt as if it were on a roller coaster. I don’t really have the words to describe what I was feeling, other than simply saying that my faith was being tested. In the back of my mind, part of me was questioning God. The simple question of Why?

And then a song started to play. I don’t exactly remember what song it was, but in that moment, I felt God was asking me a series of questions, the questions, “Why do you doubt?” and “Can’t you see my goodness in your life?” “Can’t you see that I am going to use you and your family to glorify my name and spread my love to the nations?” And in that moment, a calm peace came over me, as if God was saying, “Don’t worry. I’m in control.”

If you were to ask my Dad or my grandparents about their faith in Christ, at any point for as long as I can remember, they would tell you, “He is in control!” And that is what I love about them. Instead of questioning why things happen, they constantly choose to give God the glory. My Dad, my grandparents, and all their wonderful adopted kids, have been the source of my inspiration. Any time I have felt my faith being challenged, they have motivated me to fully trust in God, no matter the situation. They are my superheroes, indeed!

So rather than questioning God, thereby weakening my faith, I will praise Him for all that He has done in my life, and in the lives of those I love. I will never cease to praise Him, to glorify Him, to seek Him in every situation, and to let my light shine for the whole world to see that I believe in Jesus Christ. He is my way. He is my truth. He is my life.

If my family has taught me anything, it’s to praise HIS NAME! Praise Him when times are great! Praise Him when times are not so great! We all face challenges, we all struggle, but He can use us for His glory. So why question? Why not shout His name at the tops of our lungs? I am not perfect, and my faith will most likely weaken again at some point. But I will strive, nonetheless, to see my faith grow, as I sing His praise!

Last week at ONE (a huge, awesome, monthly worship gathering on campus), a song stood out to me more than anything else that was sung or said during the entire service. It was “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. With arms stretched high, I sang at the tops of my lungs as tears rolled down my face.

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken

Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To You only

All the earth will shout
Your praise
Our hearts will cry
These bones will sing
Great are You, Lord
[x3]

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To You only
[x2]

As I listen to this song, how can I not get excited about singing His name for all to hear? Let every bone in my body, let every breath that I breathe sing glory to His name! God is life. God is love. He is the reason I have hope in various trials in my life. When hearts break, He is the only one that can fully restore them and make them new. And because of that, because He is so awesome and glorious, I will shout His name with every fiber of my being, so that the whole world hears how awesome our God truly is!

Psalm 34:1-3 (NIV) says this…

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

In every situation, praise His name. Will you join me? Will you join me in exalting His name, in glorifying His name? He is worthy of all of our praise. He gives life. He gives hope. My family has shown me that in Christ, we can have hope, so why not praise His name!? Why not glorify the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!?

Join me! Together, let’s pour out our praise!


All Sons & Daughters. Great Are You Lord. By. Leslie Jordan, David Leonard, and Jason Ingram, 2014. AZ Lyrics. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.


Great Are You Lord by All Sons & Daughters

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

Lost your hair? Buy hats!

One thing I absolutely love about my Dad is that he always seems to put things into perspective for me. The last few weeks have been full of stress for me, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Stress can certainly be good stress. Nonetheless, it seems like I have constantly been moving the past few weeks as I have tried to manage both personal and academic life.

A few weeks ago, I went home and for the first time in my life, I saw my Dad with no hair. He welcomed me with a hug and a smile, and with his spontaneity and witty sense of humor, he asked me, “Like my new hairdo?” I just smiled and said “of course!”

As he was losing his hair the few weeks prior to this, because of chemotherapy, there were times when he would say, “It’s not a big deal,” and yet the fact that it was different, completely foreign to him, made it sometimes seem like a big deal.

Through all of this, I found myself constantly encouraging him, assuring him that he will still be his same lovable, strong, compassionate self, with or without hair. Then, a few days later, he told me, “You know what? I’m not going to let this keep me down. It’s just hair. In the grand scheme of things, God is bigger than all of this, and he can use me regardless of whether or not I have hair. So why worry over something insignificant like hair?”

Dad has recently shown me that things happen. Life happens. Big things, small things, they just happen. In the midst of all these things, why not praise God and glorify His name? Why not proclaim to the whole world what Christ is doing in our lives? Why not show that nothing will keep us from His love and that nothing will deter us from Him?

After telling me that he wasn’t going to let losing his hair keep him from rejoicing in God, he said, “You know what? I’m going to have fun with this. I’m going to buy really cool caps. Let’s order some right now!” At this point, Dad was turning his outlook around. Instead of dwelling on not having hair, he decided that he would get excited about it since it would give him an excuse to buy new hats!

So that’s what we did. We bought him several caps, a Houston Texans one, a Dallas Cowboys one, a Baylor Bear one, a Texas A&M Aggie one, plus he already had several Texas Longhorn ones. I also bought him one with a Superman logo on it, since after all, he is my Superman. In all the fun of this, I also bought some caps to add to my collection, an Aggie and a Longhorn one in addition to the Baylor one I already had.

I had a blast, in the midst of all the excitement, by spending time with Dad looking at all the options we had for new hats. There were so many! It made me realize this: We can let the small things such as academic stress or not having hair keep us down and keep us from praising God or we can glorify Him and thank Him for these circumstances by finding ways to become positive in the midst of our trials.

Because while things change, while new things pop up in our lives, such as “Boom! You have no hair,” one thing stays the same, and that is the love of Christ. I thought more about this as I returned to school today after a great weekend with Dad, consisting of a Friends marathon (almost done with season 6) and lots and lots of football. On my way here, two songs, played by K-Love, really stuck out to me. One of them was “Your Love Never Fails” sung by the Newsboys.

Nothing can separate
Even if I run away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
You have new mercy for me everyday
‘Cause Your love never fails

(Chorus)
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning

The wind is strong and the water’s deep
I’m not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
Your love never fails

Chorus

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good

Chorus

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

I absolutely love everything about this song, because it speaks volumes of truth. Christ really does stay the same through the ages, for all eternity, always the same, never changing. He has so much love for us. It’s more than love, it’s agape love, meaning unconditional, everlasting, never changing, completely selfless love. No matter what we face, His love never fails. No matter what happens, big or small, even the loss of hair, He truly makes all things work together for His glory!

The very next song was by Stephen Curtis Chapman called “Glorious Unfolding,” a song that reminds me that our stories are still being written. Everything that is happening and will happen can be used for the glory of God if we allow Him to guide us. I love the chorus to this song:

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and SEE and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

Our stories are still unfolding! As new things happen, both good and bad, may we always find ways to use those circumstances for His glory. If He makes all things work together for our good, if our stories are still being written, then why can’t we use the small things such as losing our hair to show others what God is doing in our lives?

All of these new and sometimes scary things can be used to share His love with others. These new things can work for His glory in building His Kingdom! Isaiah 43:18-19 says this: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (NIV).

Don’t let your circumstances keep you from focusing on the Glory of God. Can you not see that He is writing your testimony, that He is going before you, that He will always be there with you, that He makes all things work together for our good!? God is constantly doing a new thing in our lives. Let’s use these things to constantly glorify Him and show others how He is changing our lives!

So if you lose your hair, buy some hats! AND PRAISE HIS NAME!


Chapman, Steven Curtis, 2013. “Glorious Unfolding.” K-Love. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

Newsboys. Your Love Never Fails. By Anthony Skinner and Chris McClarney, 2011. K-Love. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.


Your Love Never Fails by the Newsboys

Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman

I Am Not Alone!

Well, it’s been two weeks since I last posted my blog, and somehow the same thought keeps running through my mind, “I am not alone.”

If I could sum up the last two weeks since my last blog, that is the simple statement I would use to describe my thoughts, “I am not alone.”

In all the trials and circumstances, I have faced, or I have seen others face, I am left with the reassurance that Christ is always with me and that he will never leave or forsake me. Another thing I am sure of is the fact that as a collective body of believers, we are never truly alone. We all go through something, we all struggle, and we all face hardship. Yet when we join together as believers, we realize that so many people are fighting are battles alongside us and we are joining them in their fights as well through the power of prayer and living life together. I can’t tell you how many times people at school will come up to me and ask how I am doing, how school is going, and how my Dad is doing.

I have learned that other believers truly care what circumstances you are facing, and that’s one of the many things I love about going to a small Christian school in central Texas, people care.

Last Thursday was our second night of Worship in the Quad of the school year, a weekly worship service Michael Baker and I lead every Thursday night at 8:00. The first week, I gave a message on defining ourselves by the power of Christ working in us instead of defining ourselves by our own shortcomings, and last week, I shared my testimony while reminding others that they have a powerful story worth sharing.

I am excited for this year as I have had a couple of people already wanting to share their testimonies at Worship. Over the past few years, as I have helped lead this wonderful ministry, I have seen just how true the statement “I am not alone” truly is. We all have a different testimony, a different story of how God has shaped our lives. Every single one of our stories is unique. I have gathered a strong sense of community by inspiring others with my story and having them inspire me and others with their stories. In this, I have realized that as believers, we are all in this thing called life together. When one person is going through something, we must support him or her through the power of prayer and by simply living life with that person.

I have also learned this truth when I am with my amazing family. Throughout high school and college, I have faced a number of challenges, and every time, my family has been there to lift me up and remind me to always trust in God with all my heart. And when they face trials themselves, I have sought to repay their love and kindness with more love and kindness. That’s what families are supposed to do. They are supposed to lift each other up when one needs support and encouragement, and this truth extends to the greater Christian family as well.

The past few months with the return of Dad’s cancer and seeing him start the process of a long six months of chemo, I have realized that we are not alone. When I am going through something, I know my Superman Dad and my awesome grandparents are there to cheer me up. And as my Dad endures the pain of chemotherapy, I hope he never forgets that he is never alone. I am with him. Our entire family is with him. People he doesn’t even know are with him. Most importantly, Christ is with him!

Dad and I absolutely love football, especially Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M, as well as UMHB games when we can make them. Every weekend, I always look forward to some awesome time spent with him watching football. During halftime of last Saturday’s Baylor game, as Texas and Texas A&M were also winning against their opponents, we watched the tail end of the Oklahoma at Tennessee game.

Early in that game, it looked as if Tennessee was sure to win. With less than 5 minutes left in the first half, Tennessee was up 17-0 when Oklahoma scored a field goal to make it 17-3. With no one scoring in the 3rd quarter, it would look as if Tennessee, having the home field advantage was going to secure the win. Then Oklahoma rallied, scored 14 in the fourth to send the game into overtime. First overtime: both teams score a touchdown. It’s now tied at 24. Second overtime: Oklahoma scores a touchdown and now Tennessee must answer with a touchdown to send it into yet another overtime. After two plays and a false start by the Volunteers, the Oklahoma Sooners intercept the ball to win the game. Both Oklahoma’s offense and defense helped upset Tennessee on their turf.

While the Sooners may have struggled to begin the game, they realized that they had their other teammates to help them when one player had a bad play or when two interceptions were thrown by the quarterback. As Christians, we must realize that like football players on the field, we are never alone. We don’t just struggle by ourselves, we all struggle together, and when we realize that we are in this thing called life together, we are stronger. As the goal of football players during a game is to win the game, our goal as Christians should always turn towards Christ. When we are together in that, we realize that our mission becomes so much easier.

Even a much greater example of coming together in the midst of our individual trials comes in how a nation or an entire global society comes together during horrific tragedy. Last Friday was the 14th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Several thousand people, including those from every continent lost their lives that day. Yet even in the midst of such turmoil, people came together as we realized that we were not Republicans or Democrats or Independents. We were Americans, and in a greater context, we were of the global human race. We came together, and in the midst of our trials, we became stronger, because we were together.

Not only are we not alone as other believers are there with us, but more than that, God is with us! Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV) tells us:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

No matter what we face in this life, we are never alone. In every situation both good and bad, in every happy moment, in every hardship, in every circumstance, God will always be with us. He will go before us.

As I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart this morning, I cried as the radio played, “I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe.

When I walk through deep waters 
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through 
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

I cried tears of joy because I know that I am not alone, I know that Dad is not alone, I know that you are not alone. We are never truly alone when we go through something. For my Dad, of course chemo will be rough, but he will have an army of believers behind him every step of the way, and more than that, God will always be with him.

When we choose to follow Christ, we must realize that we are never alone. We are never ever alone!

Even when I face trials, even when those I love face trials, I will remember these words: I AM NOT ALONE!


Jobe, Kari. I Am Not Alone. By Kari Jobe, Austin Davis, Ben Davis, Mia Fieldes, Grant Pittman, Marty Sampson, and Dustin Sauder, 2014. K-Love. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.


I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe

God With Us by MercyMe