Knowing Jesus

If I could travel anywhere in time, it would be to travel when Jesus walked the earth. How wonderful would it be to stand in the presence of my good, good Father? How amazing to see Jesus rob the grave, and better yet break bread for His disciples. It would be amazing to see the same Christ that robbed the grave, the same Christ that lives in me, face to face.
If I could travel anywhere in time there is no doubt in my mind that I would be walking with Jesus and the two men the day of His resurrection. In Luke 24, it says that the disciples knew it was Jesus once he broke the bread and gave thanks. Could it be that they saw on his wrists where the nails used to be? How thankful they must have felt to be redeemed through Jesus Christ.
Another moment I would want to travel in this time zone is to be alongside Jesus when he was tempted by the devil. I feel as though these things would make me stronger. Matthew 4:1-11 is when Jesus is tempted in the wilderness. Jesus lasted 40 days and 40 nights and everything the devil tempted him with He struck back with a powerful verse from the Bible. I would like to go here to walk alongside Jesus in His own struggles, just as He does for me every day. It must seem so very powerful to remember the Bible so perfectly that everything the enemy says Jesus has a verse to say back. It shows us a power we have in everyday life also if we memorize scripture as well as our King has.
A key story in the Bible that I would like to witness from afar would have to be the story about the Prodigal son. Even after the son sinned against his Father, even after he thought he was too far gone, even after he thought he could not be called the Fathers’ son anymore our good, good Father proved him wrong. I would love to see the Father celebrating because of the lost son once being dead in sin, and now being alive in Christ! It would be so cool so see the love and celebration happening for the redemption of this son who was once lost, but now found!
If I could choose any time frame to go back to it would forsure be when Jesus walked the earth. I would get to see His unfailing, steadfast love that endures forever happening right in front of my face! I would have the chance to see Christ rescuing sinners hearts, and claiming them as His beloved. For when Christ was on the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Even in the midst of the prodigal son, our Father still wanted him to know that he was so loved, pursued, and that one would not face anything alone. We are His, and we are called for, pursued, owned and chosen every single day, and I think that seeing that in person would be pretty cool.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not “forgiving and forgetting,” a weakness, or a feeling. To forgive is defined as to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. The root of “forgive” comes from the Latin word “perdonare” meaning “to give completely without reservation.” Being a Christian, I believe that my sins are forgiven by the grace of God because the power within me is stronger than any power or temptation I may face (1 John 4:4). Others forgive because they think it is the morally right thing to do.

Forgiveness and the extent of being forgiven may be different for everyone. Some people forgive and forget immediately, while others hold grudges or don’t let the problem pass. I forgive because of what Jesus did on the cross for me. Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross so that we could have eternal life, and later, when we made mistakes, we could be forgiven by his loving grace. While Jesus was on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Forgiveness isn’t forgiving and forgetting. The term “forgive and forget” can be threatening for both parties involved. Forgetting about the situation that caused the problem will not help a damaged relationship, it will only build up negative emotions. The situation that happened may always reside in the back of one’s mind, but forgiveness will help repair and restore the relationship. Forgetting right away builds anger and can make the other person think what they did was okay.

Forgiving someone is not a weakness. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -(Mahatma Gandhi). In Matthew 11:28 it says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Forgiving someone will lift the weight off of your shoulders, and push the negative energy out of the body. Life is too short to not forgive, and one never knows when a bump in the road will turn your life around. Let go of the burdens that simply aren’t yours to carry. Holding onto a burden will only hurt you and build up negative feelings within you. In no way is the power of forgiveness weak. To be able to forgive someone makes you stronger than you will ever know.

Forgiveness is not a feeling, forgiveness is a decision. I have grown up in the church always learning to ‘forgive others who trespass against us’, no matter how badly I may not want to. When I was made fun of countless times for loving Jesus, I forgave them. I chose to forgive when my “bestfriend” chose to leave me for alcohol and boys. Forgiveness is in no way a feeling, forgiveness is a choice. “To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -C.S. Lewis   

So what does forgiveness mean to me? To me, it’s forgiving even when it is hard, and even when I do not want to do it. Forgiveness is letting go of grudges because life is’s too short. Forgiveness is a choice I will continue to make day after day, just as Jesus does for me.

My fears are drown in perfect love

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2

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We live in a negative world. A draining, greedy, judgmental, and negative world. Did you know that it takes 9 compliments to heal one insult. Nine compliments before that one person will start to feel good about themselves after hearing just one insult. How can we follow truth and joy with all of these insults? We praise the King of all kings, the One of most highest, the great I am. The devil comes in so many different forms in this negative world, that we might not even realize it. The devil is not going to present himself with red horns, and a red pitchfork. The devil will present himself as those insults, greediness, jealousness and temptation. Many of us hear insults such as; you will never be good enough, or you will never add up. But, The Lord is my Shepard, I lack nothing! (Psalm 23:1) The world tells us that we are to skinny, to fat, our smile is weird, or we just don’t make the cut. Oh world! Don’t you know that I was perfectly and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14) and God made me in His image!! (Genesis 1:27)

Jesus paid it all for us guys, for a very high price, because our God loves us! As I fall short of my God, or when I sin, the devil taps me on the shoulder asking me why I even try. But when I am not strong enough, my God is my strength. My God will strengthen me and help me, and he will uphold me with his righteous hand. (Isaiah 41:10) My Lord will cover me with his feathers, and I will find refuge under His wings!! (Psalm 91:4) When I am in the face of the devil, eye to eye with temptation, I will fear no evil for the Lord my God is with me and His rod and staff will comfort me. (Psalm 23:4) I am here to tell you today that you are worthy, and no negative thing in this world can tell you that you aren’t, because Jesus paid the price on the cross. He shows you truth. You are beloved. You are a world-changer.You are enough. You are pursued, and you are His. It is finished. It is done!

Identity in Christ

Every day should be a new day to live for Jesus, and live a life more like Jesus. No matter where we are or what we are doing we should do it all for Him. Growing up in the technology advanced world we live in today its so easy to “plug in” to our cellphones and our social media and “plug out” of our one true King. Everyone gets caught up in looking a certain way, or acting a certain way because its what everyone else is doing. We get so caught up in trying to be like someone else, or doing what others are doing that we loose our identity. We all have amazing talents, but how are we supposed to find those talents if we have lost out identity?

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When we plug ourselves into Christ and live the life that Jesus wants us to live, we find our true identity in Christ. Finding our true identity can be a rollercoaster, a mighty and powerful one at that. We might face bumps on the road, and our plan for our life might not match His plan for our life, but thats why we are living every day for Jesus. No matter where our path goes, its in his control. No matter if your talent is being a doctor, a teacher, a janitor, or a chef all of these are equal talents in the kingdom that we are serving for. Isn’t that such an amazing feeling?

A common ground

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”-psalm 94:19

Sweaty hands, a trembling voice, dry throat, and a queazy feeling in my stomach. These are all things I have come to know like no other. Whether I was reciting a speech in front of a group of people, or reminiscing on something I said or a choice I had made, the anxiety would find a way to creep up on me and control my life. I struggled with this throughout high school, and in a way my anxiety held me back from doing things I may have otherwise enjoyed.

you’ll look silly doing that”
“what will people think”
don’t do it
These thoughts rolled around in my head, day after day, year after year, finding a common ground within me. I tried many things to “cope” with it, but the only thing that really worked was worship. Singing the songs filled me with happiness and Jesus, and pushed me to my biggest decision, joining the worship team at my church.

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picture-(like success.com/topics/6694/trust-in-god)

I had to put my full trust into Jesus, which can be nerve-racking at first, but lead me to do wonderful things. Putting my trust in Him inclined me to going on a mission trip with 12 people I barely knew, which would have been difficult for me to do before. I also joined worship team, and now have the amazing chance to worship and praise Him with so many phenomenal people by my side, living for Jesus.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 peter 5:7

Even though I still struggle with anxiety here and there, it is not as terrible as it was, and never will be that bad again. No longer having to worry about what people think, because that is insignificant, has made me happier, confident, and my faith is now stronger than it has ever been. God is first, I am second.

Finale

Senior year is like a finale, a closing of a chapter, and a truly bittersweet moment.

Even though my senior year is just beginning, i have already came upon many “lasts”, such as my last first day, my last homecoming, and my last powderpuff game.

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12 years ago, our moms watched us get on a big yellow school bus, with a frightened grin on our face, a backpack on our backs, and a paper with a school bus number in our hands. We stepped on to the bus not knowing what to expect, and then we blinked. We went through awkward middle school years, to being scared freshman fidgeting with out locks to get to class on time, then we were sophomores and thought we had at least a little status. Then, we were finally upperclassmen, and boy did we think that we ran the school. Now, were seniors and that chapter is beginning to close. We have a mix of feelings going on from stress applying to colleges, to scared what life holds next. The memories we have with our classmates will never leave, no matter if its hoco week, pepfests, or a sports team going state. Nothing beats living in the same town as your best friend, and going to prom with your boyfriend. You look around and you see the kid that used to pick his nose in the slide at the playground, who is now going to go college to be a doctor, or the girl you used to give all your halloween candy to, is studying to be a nurse.

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As I close this chapter this year I hope to make more friendships, and instead of counting down the days until graduation, I hope I count the laughs I have, friendships I make, and the memories that keep growing.

Open my eyes to the things unseen

MN -> AL

The beginning of the mission trip was 18 hours of what felt like never-ending driving, countless hours of laughing, playing games, telling stories, sleeping, “how much time do we have left?” and alot of goldfish eating; six states, an authentic Memphis BBQ, a few pokestops,and 2 hotel rooms later and we have arrived at our destination; Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

 

 

Bayou La Batre lies along the Mississippi sound on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It is known to be the “Seafood Capital of Alabama” and was devastated by the hit of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. The water reached up to 16 feet in some areas, damaging homes, schools, and pushing shrimp boats onto shore. About 5 years after Katrina, the small town was hit yet again, but this time by the BP oil spill. The Gulf waters had been polluted, leaving avid fisherman jobless. The seafood production had a huge downfall, and people who had worked on the cleanup became sick.

 

We had several things on the agenda when we arrived at the community center (our home for the next 4 days) in the heart of the Bayou, but the first thing was a vacation bible school. Every morning we had devos, a chance to pray to God and fill out questions about the days ahead of us. We always have free time from 3-5 to talk with others until dinner, and then after dinner we had service at 8 and a group gathering with just our church after that. Since we were often splt apart into two groups within our church it was nice to come together agiain after a long day. Our church chose to end the day with group circle popcorn prayer, which left us praising god and laughing so hard we were crying one night. During the week we held a VBS for kids in the area that might not have stable environments. We sang with them, made crafts, and taught them memory verses, but more specifically John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”. It’s crazy that these kids, who might not have stable lives at home still know Gods powerful and perfect love for us. Every day they went home with big smiles and a full heart. During our stay at the Bayou we also packed school bags for kids in the community, painted schools and homes, cleaned parks, and met with people in the community. Each night we had a free night, on Monday we swam in the gulf of Mexico, Tuesday we went to the T-shirt shop and did a communtiy walk, Wednesday we went to Catalina’s and had an amazing seafood dinner, and finally Thursday we had a community cookout. At the cookout I met the sweetest two girls, Zoey (9) and Karlie (4), they thought it was so cool that i was from Minnesota and they were wishing to see snow someday.


Not only did we meet friends from Alabama, but we met church groups from Louisiana, Texas, and illinois. I am so thankful that I got to serve god with other amazing people by my side, and I am so grateful I had a chance to be a part of this trip. Thank you to anyone that helped with my fundraising, or who prayed along the way. Next year- Denver, Colorado. It was an amazing experience and I cant wait to see what next year holds.