Tuesday, April 29, 2014

{Bilgewater || Brown Bird}

Today's Song of the Day

There's just something about this song that works well as background music to my homework tonight. This one, and their other called Down to the River. Americana. Good stuff.
What songs keep you company while you're working?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

{Through Rustic Red Doors: Jr./Sr. 2014}

We mostly danced and talked and reminisced about the past four years of college. So not many pictures were taken. But we have a few that captured the fun we had!  This was a beautiful venue, and so many nicely dressed people, and good food, and good music, and lots of ballroom dancing... and trying to convince Gentry why he should dance with his wife... I love these events, shared with people we know and love. Especially when these events are meant to celebrate our time together. Through Rustic Red Doors.  Another rustic theme for the school year, but beautiful, happy memories for life (cheesy, right?).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{Glory and Gore || Lorde}

Today's Song of the Day

This is on replay as I do overdue homework.  
It makes me feel like I'm fighting my work and winning!!
What gets you feeling tough and motivated to take on tasks?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

{Wait For Love || St. Lucia}

Today's Song of the Day

Jammin' to this at work makes everything seem happy and faster than time goes by!
What music or songs keep you going while you work?

{Trusting God}

Lately life has been uncertain for me.
I'm not sure what to do next, or where to go next, and my circumstances are changing rapidly.
This happens all the time though, and every time, the Lord has shown His faithfulness to me.
Each time I have struggled with uncertainty and I have not trusted God, things didn't go the way they were supposed to, even though He still used my circumstances for good.
Each time I have struggled with uncertainty and I have trusted God, He has shown His faithfulness and life happened the way He intended for it to happen.
God is faithful, and He always is; why is there a reason to doubt and not trust that He has everything under control?
We are stuck in this moment; we are stuck on this page of the book in life.
God is outside time and space; He is looking at all eternity as one big story in front of Him, and all we can see is today.  So why do we still doubt and have trouble trusting Him?
I believe it's a) because of our fallen nature, and b) because the only other beings we trust are human beings, and they fall short of our expectations every time.  So naturally, we believe that if we can't trust anyone around us, how are we expected to throw all of our trust at God?
It's understandable, as a human looking at another human.
However, God, being outside of our circumstances, and is already present at the end of our struggles, should not be doubted, should not be not trusted. You cannot say, "Trust God, He will provide your path and all that you need," but then turn around and worry about how you're going to pay for it, or doubt that you really know where you're going. You cannot trust and doubt God at the same time.  James says in James 1:6, "When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."  When you ask God for help and for His faithfulness, do so and mean it. If you doubt God, you are easily swayed by the logic of man and by what the world has to say about your circumstances and who you should trust for direction. The authors of Proverbs warn us against trusting ourselves and the world with the very popular verse, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight," Proverbs 3:5-6.  So you may have heard that quoted to you before, but really listen to its message: don't trust your personal understanding of time and your situations, but submit to what the Lord is calling you to do, even if it looks reckless, because He will make your path clear and full of growth.  
If you can't trust God completely, how will you ever grow in your relationship with Him? He uses good and hard circumstances to draw us nearer to Himself, and the first step to growth in our relationship with Him is trust. Stop yourself from two-timing your trust in God: you cannot say you trust Him, then worry about what's going to happen next, or worry about what you should do, or worry that everything will go the way it's supposed to. We are not meant to be problem-proof and we cannot avoid hardships by making what we think are good decisions; we are meant to trust that God is already present at the end of every single circumstance, He's just waiting for us to trust that we will get there by His strength.

Trust God, do not doubt, even when times are uncertain.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 6:25-34 -

Sunday, April 20, 2014

{Easter: Christ is Risen!}

Jesus is Risen!

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Luke 24:13-49

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

John 20:19-31

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas
One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Purpose of the Book of John
The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

Our Great Commission

Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

...and Jesus ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God.  He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom shall have no end.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

{Isaiah 53}

Seven hundred years before Jesus came to earth, the prophet Isaiah prophesied over Him and His sacrifice for our sins.  He told almost in detail how Jesus would be treated and how we would respond to His sacrifice.  This was the prophecy made over Jesus' life 700 years before He ever came:

Isaiah 53

Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

Friday, April 18, 2014

{Good Friday: The Road to the Cross}

Last night, Jesus washed the feet of His Disciples.  They did not deserve to have their feet washed by the Lord of the Universe, but Jesus showed them love and the meaning of a servant.  Last night, Jesus and His Disciples had the Last Supper.  Jesus shared that He would be betrayed by one of them, and showed how His blood shed and body broken would make the way for them to have communion with God. This has been the promise made since the Fall of Adam and Eve.  Jesus loved them despite their doubt, rejection, and betrayal. Why? Because that was His purpose in coming to the Earth: to love us, to serve and not to be served, to die for us though we don't deserve such sacrifice. All this for us to have the chance at knowing God, face-to-face, without blemish of our brokenness.  This morning, Jesus was taken out of the Garden of Gethsemane after telling His Father "...Lord, if it is possible take this cup from me! Yet not my will be done, but Your will be done." And with this, Jesus sealed His fate, His purpose for coming to earth, and sealed our victory through His sacrifice.  All this morning, Jesus was beaten and mocked, and bruised, and spat on as He knew that taking this slow death was the price to pay for us to know God again.  Today, as we go about what we have to do God, who is all space and time, is experiencing His only Son dying on the cross right now as much as He is experiencing our greatest sins right now and experiencing our greatest joys.  Right now He is present with us as He is right now present at the cross.  Think about that.

The Road to the Cross

Matthew 27

Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.
While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.
Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Today, Jesus is hanging on the cross, being mocked and shunned and persecuted.  All for His love of us.Soon He will be placed in the tomb so that the Pharisees don't work on the Sabbath to bury Him. This was Jewish custom: don't do work on the Sabbath.  Jesus dies today and is buried, but He promised He would rebuild the Temple on the third day.  We have this hope to hold onto for now.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

{Maundy Thursday: The Last Supper}

The Last Supper

Matthew 26:17-30

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”
Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


Matthew 26:36-46

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Jesus Prayed for You. And He Prayed for Me.

At the Garden of Gethsemane, Before He was Taken Away

John 17

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

What more can I say than this?

{Maundy Thursday: Foot Washing}

Today is Maundy Thursday.  It is the Thursday before Easter during Holy Week that commemorates the Maundy (or foot washing) Jesus gave to the Disciples which was followed by the Last Supper.  This was one more reminder He gave to us as followers that we are here to serve and not to be served, just as He came to show (Matthew 20:28).  In those days, washing feet was a pretty big deal; think about the context of today: would you wash someone else's feet? And if you did, there's a high likeliness that their feet would probably be clean, despite wearing socks and shoes all day.  When Jesus lived on earth, people wore sandals.  No big deal, right? Well they also walked everywhere, for miles and miles, through sand, and dust, and mud, and camel poop, and goodness knows what else. Everything got on their feet.  The only thing their sandals were really there for is to protect their feet from being scorched by the hot ground.  Understanding this, their feet were probably pretty nasty.  It was custom that the host of a house would have his guests feet washed by his servants; this was just proper etiquette.  In John 12:1-17, we read that Jesus, who was a guest, and an honored guest, got down on His hands and knees with a towel wrapped around His and began washing the feet of the Disciples.  He served them in this way to show them that it is greater to be a servant, but neither servant nor lord are greater than the one God sent (Jesus).  If Jesus serves those who are not worthy, we not only serve Him, but serve others who we deem as unworthy.

At a certain point, Simon Peter asked if Jesus was really going to wash his feet.  Jesus replied, "You do not realized now what I am doing, but later you will understand."  Simon Peter, understanding the foot washer as being the servant of the household said, "No, I will never let you wash my feet."  Jesus then replied, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Although Simon Peter probably took that as Jesus saying, 'then you can leave' or something to the effect, Jesus was foreshadowing His purpose for coming to the world. Unless we are washed by Him, we have no part with Him; unless Jesus is the one who covers our sins, we have nothing to do with Him.

Jesus came to serve, not to be served.  He came to live a perfect life, and to show us how to live in order to please the Lord.  He came to show us how to love God, and how to love others, and how to put others before ourselves in service. Jesus cleaned the dirt and gunk off of His Disciples' feet; He is the Lord of all creation and is worthy to be praised, and foot washing is not below Him.  This is one of the last examples of love Jesus portrayed to us before dying on the cross.  Take this to heart today, and really think about your purpose as a Christ follower.  Who are you choosing to serve versus who you ought to be serving?  Thank God for the life of Christ and the lessons He taught us, and love God by serving those God loves.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
~ John 13:12-17

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

{Palindrome Times}

This week, no matter what date it is, you can read it one of two ways: backwards and forwards.
This, children, is what we call a palindrome.
Take a looksy:

4 12 14
4 13 14
4 14 14
4 15 14
4 16 14
4 17 14
4 18 14
4 19 14

Here are some words that I know of that are palindromes:

How many palindromes can you name?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{Andy Kehoe}

Splash Image
"Roamer of the Subterranean Forest"

Andy Kehoe. Very talented.  His work is much different from what we are used to seeing, filled with strange antler people and large contrast.  Observing his work makes me feel small, like a child reading Where the Wild Things Are for the first time.  I sometimes get a sense of being human compared to the One who made me; who am I in comparison?  I am also encouraged by these images to pay better attention to my imagination; if you don't use it, you lose it. Take a looksy at some of his work, and tell me what you think?  What do you feel when you look at it?

"Summoning the Dusken Wanderer"

"All Turns to Brilliance"

"Profound Encounters Amid the Forest Deep"

"Relish Moments of Glory"

"Together at the Threshold"
Who are some of your favorite artists?

Friday, April 11, 2014

{American Blogger}

So I just learned about a film that is coming soon about  ...well... American bloggers.  I am stoked! And so interested to see what advice and inspiration I can get from these creative writers.  I hope you see it too, so that maybe you too will be inspired to join this magical blogging world to captures the human experience ;)


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

{Eye Color}

Have you ever wondered why everyone's eye color is different from yours?  Have you wondered why your eyes are brown, while the next person's eyes are blue? There is a reason.

Brown Eyes

Peoples of the earth for a very long time lived near the center of the earth where the equator is closest to the sun.  Being closer to the sun means that there is more direct sunlight on your skin and face, coming into your eyes.  If you look around in nature, you will notice animals, namely predators (i.e. cheetahs) who have dark rings of fur around their dark eyes.  This is to help absorb both short and long wavelengths so that they are not blinded by the light bouncing off of their lighter fur.  That is what helps them see their prey so well.  Dark eyes are meant to absorb sunlight so that it is easier to see past all of the rays shining down.  If peoples in the belt of the earth had brighter colored eyes, they would have a harder time seeing because their eyes would be refracting that light back off.  The closer to the middle of the earth you get, you will notice, the darker the brown gets to be.  Thousands of years ago, when peoples were still hunters and gatherers for survival, it was necessary for them to see in large amounts of sunlight - they did not have sunglasses; their eyes served as their sunglasses.  This given-ability occurs because of a high concentration of melanin to the front of the iris, known as the stroma.  Dark brown eye color is actually the dominant eye color in the human race, and more people in the world have brown eyes than they do all other colors combined; all other colors are recessive by nature.

Blue Eyes

So what about blue eyes?  It is estimated, through genetic coding and understanding of iris pigmentation, that roughly 10,000 or so years ago, the first person existed on earth with blue eyes.  He seems to come from an area above the Baltic Sea (Sweden, Finland, Norway, etc.).  In that region of the earth, sunlight exists, but moreso does night take reign.  It is not uncommon for people in that region to experience 8 months of 20 hour nights, and 4 hours of daylight.  Daylight is not uncommon, but is very scarce in the winter months; this becomes the furthest point from the sun.  There, thousands of years ago, it was a hindrance for hunters and gatherers to have dark-colored eyes.  They did not need to absorb light so that they could see past it, they needed to reflect light so that they could see through darkness - the reverse of brown-eyed people.  Over time, the genetic mutation occurred, and brown eyed peoples became blue-eyed peoples.  This mutation is possible as the body learned to deposit small amounts of melanin into the stroma.  Longer wavelengths are absorbed into the back of the iris (called the epithelium) and shorter wavelengths are scattered by the stroma for clearer vision.  The color of blue eyes is not a pigment found in the iris; this is the same scattering (Rayleigh scattering) that makes the sky appear to be blue.  If you think about it, it makes sense that people who live in the middle parts of the earth, or whose ancestors are from the middle parts of the earth, have darker or brown eyes.  This also makes sense in explaining why people with lighter, or blue-colored eyes are mostly descended from the northern-most parts of Europe.  As for gray eyes, they are another pigment of blue; they refract light, but absorb color waves.  People with gray eyes can sometimes be told that their eyes look more green on a particular day, then blue on another day, and gray on the next.  Blue eyes have a thin stroma and a dark epithelium.  The difference between blue eyes and gray eyes has to do with a larger deposit of  a pigment called collagen to the stroma in the gray eye.  Because of the collagen deposits, the light hitting the stroma in the gray eye undergoes something called Mie scattering, in which longer wavelengths are scattered more than short wavelengths, as in blue eyes.  

Green Eyes

Green eyes are a bit more difficult to understand:  green eye color comes from a pigmentation of light brown or hazel in the iris, paired with a dark epithelium, and blue light through Rayleigh scattering in the pigment.  I like to think of green eyes as a good mix of every eye color; it has iris pigment, reflects short and long wavelengths, and absorbs short and long wavelengths.  Out comes a beautiful green that many people have. Because of the prevalence of green eyes in  Northern and Central Europe, mostly of recent Celtic descent, I believe it is possible that green eyes are another mutation of blue regaining brown pigmentation to handle the longer days of light.  I could be wrong, but it makes a lot of sense!

Obviously, there are sundry eye colors that are not mentioned here, but take this knowledge and go find out more! Think differently when you see people; if they have blue eyes, they have an ancestor from the Northernmost parts of Europe; if they have brown eyes, they have ancestors from sunnier climate, near the middle of the earth.  It's fascinating to know that we were built with bodies that could mutate our genetic code to meet our needs for survival: giving us our own personal sunglasses, or mutating to be a mobile, personal, quasi-flashlight. What color eyes do you have?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

{Hey Mami || Sylvan Esso}

Today's Song of the Day

Rockin' out to this one the past few days.
Happy Thursday!
What are you doing this weekend to have fun?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

{Cups || Lulu and the Lampshades}

Today's Song of the Day

Loving this song this week.  This is my theme for this beautiful day - my pace is peppy!
What songs are you playing today?  Are there any songs that you associate with simply fantastic weather?
Happy Wednesday, life lovers!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

{Burned. Out.}

I am burned out.
I'm not typically one to take "selfies" - or at least not share the selfies I do take - I find it a bit self-absorbed.
But today I took this little selfy (instead of studying for that Philosophy exam tomorrow) and I felt in a small way that it captured me as I feel.  Sorry guys, this one is going to be a little over-analyzed, like symbolism in the Scarlet Letter.
I have what I need to keep going right in front of me.  But I feel so distant and not motivated to do anything I need to.  I'm sad; I love all of my classes, and I'm learning a lot while I'm attending, but I cannot connect outside of class this semester.  I don't even have a whole lot to do outside of class, and I still don't feel like I can't get myself together.  I feel like a shell; like a ghost of someone I usually am, but I'm not right now.  I'm just... there.  And not connected to what's going on around me.  It's by the grace of God that I am still connecting with Him and with people, but with life outside of human and God interaction is throwing a party that I am not attending.  Right now, I really do just want to sit around and do absolutely nothing.  I want to sit outside with a Harry Potter book and a laptop, soak up some vitamin D, blog, and check Facebook.  Horrible way to spend life day-to-day.  But that's really just what I want to do.  I'm tired of memorizing things, I'm tired of discussing things, I'm tired of reading things, I'm tired of coming up with better synonyms of the word "things" - I just want to quit for a little while, let my brain heal, recuperate, then start out again, but slowly.  I want to sit and stare, look away from everything I'm supposed to be looking at.  I am running on fumes.  For this and other inner reasons (which will remain undisclosed) I have attempted seeking comfort in the Lord.  I found a passage that I want to share which most have heard - I've heard it before - but I never knew where it was.  I happened to come upon it at "random" the other day and it was really speaking for me:

"My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise."

~Psalm 51:17

And it speaks for me.  The whole of Psalm 51 speaks for me daily: a sinner, fallen and broken, but in desperate need of the Lord and His love, grace, and compassion.  I don't deserve it, but He freely gives it to me.  Right now, I want to ask Him to heal me, but for some reason have not.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's because I've been out of His rest for so long that I don't know how to go back into it; I've been giving myself rest, and now all I can think of is a time when I will be dead and have eternal rest.  Growing is hard.  Allowing God to grow me is even harder.  I've got to let Him cultivate me, especially in this time of exhaustion and distance.  I'm so burned out, I don't even know how to ask.

So there you have it: over-analization of a "selfy", and the contents of my spirit at the time being.
In the end, the Lord is good.  He fulfills and comforts, and He heals and loves.  He is what I need.

How was your April Fool's Day? Any good ones?
Rely on Him, life lovers - He knows what you need!