It was an overcast Saturday afternoon and, aside from the casual gust of soft breeze, all was still. I was hiking higher up the mountain, aided with the support of a crudely-shaped walking stick. As I went on, I tried to use the moment I had apart from the group to do some cleanup in my head. Much was on my mind. Aside from the occasional thoughts that pass through one’s head on any given day, my mind wandered from how I was missing swim practice that weekend, to my aching feet, then onto the steaks awaiting my eager stomach at the house. This continued for some time. As I look back on the moment, it is interesting to see how much “me” was in the equation. I tried to move my focus to God and away from myself, but it seemed that nothing was doing the trick. Then I began to pray. I simply told Him “thank you” and gave Him praise. But even then, it seemed that it wasn’t enough.
It had been roughly five miles since I set out from the base of the mountain, and the going was getting tough. The hill inclined sharply and my feet seemed to be giving in, not to mention the increased pressure on my injured knees. I was getting tired. I didn’t want to stop, for I wanted to see how high this trail would go. As I pushed forward, I began to realize that the seemingly never-ending rows of trees were lessening. Sky was in the distance… I was nearing the top. I climbed faster up the slope, and the ground under my feet began to level. It was a good feeling. Then the trees opened out into a field. And as I stepped forward, I felt a soft breeze flow over my face. I looked around. There were trees surrounding the field, except for a small gap about a hundred feet in front of me. Through this break in the trees, I could see mountain after mountain. The rows appeared to extend for miles. The scenery was beautiful.
It was then that I felt His presence. I think it was almost as if God was telling me, “just look at how great I am. Cast all your thoughts aside and look at me… trust in me, love me, live like you love me. I created all of this with the words of my mouth; I spoke and everything came to be…” At this I couldn't help but fall on my knees and worship the only One worthy of any praise.
Many times, I think it is exceedingly easy to fall into a rut… a rut of only going through the motions and not actually living life out as if we really are children of God. Often times, we get so caught up in ourselves and all that is going on around us that we lose sight of our true purpose in life. God calls us to be fishers of men, a city on a hill, a lamp on a stand… He calls us to be imitators of Him, to not be the lukewarm Christian testing out the waters; but rather, He wants us to be a glowing ball of fire for Him. He wants us to be all in; anything less is dishonorable to His greatness and majesty.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” [Col. 1:16]
Caleb is a motion media student at Savannah College of Art and design. Visit his blog below.
Where it goes flowers grow,
when death dies all things live...
Gungor is currently my jam
Hello dear readers,
As of October 1st, I will no longer be posting at this address. We've moved everything over to a new site. Hope to see you over there. As always, feedback is welcome!
As humans, we like to organize our world by placing things in categories. In order to create order, we group things together. Bugs with six legs are called insects, those with eight are arachnids. History is the study of past events whereas math deals with numbers and their relationships. We box things together in order to consider them as one unit and label them for easy reference. This is great for organizing physical things but when we start to do this with people, it can be detrimental.
Granted, the boxes people put us in and the labels we try to portray help shape our identities. But is it really who we are? Personally, I would like to bust out of a few boxes people have put me in because they don’t fully define me. Sometimes I’m proud of the labels attached to my name but sometimes, I wish people wouldn’t view me that way. When other people place expectations on us, we either feel pressured to conform to them or rebel against them. We all know what it’s like to have boxes and labels put on us, but have we thought about it from the other side?
Often, we’re so quick to place people in our categories of stereotypes and preconceived ideas that it hinders our ability to see people for who they really are. George MacDonald writes “We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be. But there is one thing much more necessary—to understand other people.” What if instead of dismissing people, because of the category we think they belong in, we looked for opportunities to love on them and find ways to understand them fully? What if we tried to extend grace to everyone like God did to us instead of being so quick to judge?
Maybe the guy who just ripped you up with criticism really just needs some encouragement and affirmation. Maybe the rude checkout lady has more going on than you can imagine and needs a friendly smile. Maybe that seemingly lazy and annoying co-worker could use a friend.
Let’s break down the boxes, rip the labels off, and try to understand the people around us.
In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~Phillipians 2:3b-4
For you were called to freedom,...through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" ~Galatians 5:13-14
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience...Beyond all these things put on love which is the perfect bond of unity. ~Col. 3:12-14
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. The commandments...are summed up in this one rule. "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. ~Romans 13:8-10
We need to find God
and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is a friend of silence
See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--
grow in silence.
See the stars, the moon, the sun,
how they move in silence
Is not our mission
to give God to the poor?
Not a dead God, but a living, loving God.
The more we receive in silent prayer,
the more we can give in our active life.
We need silence
to be able to touch souls
The essential thing is
not what we say,
but what God says
to us and through us.
All our words will be useless
unless they come from within.
which do not give the Light of Christ
increase the darkness
~Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Instead of going to prayer-meetings to get into a 'good frame,' we should live in a good frame from morning till night, from night till morning, and prayer and praise would be only another form for expressing the love and faith and obedience we had been exercising amid the pressure of business.
Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward
This is just one of the nuggets of wisdom found in Stepping Heavenward. Currently this book is quite high on my list of recommendations. It is a timeless source of encouragement for all women striving to walk with God.
Stepping Heavenward is written as though it were a journal. We follow the writer, Katy, from her 16th birthday until her journal runs out (which I’m guessing is around her forties). Candidly written, the reader is made privy to Katy’s thoughts, dreams, disappointments, opinions, and feelings as though they were her best friend. She deals with issues such as being possessive of her friends, a failed engagement, finding joy in less than enjoyable tasks, falling in love, having a stubborn personality, losing a child, and dealing with annoying relatives. The relationship between Katy and her mother is also developed quite well. Always having a respectful admiration for her, we see Katy’s view her mother go from being a source of frustration to a trusted mentor.
Originally written in 1891, the grammar and syntax take a little while to get used to. Also, the writing and subject matter matures as Katy does; so, the beginning may seem a little slow. The pace definitely picks up as Katy grows and matures both physically and in her walk with God.
Stepping Heavenward is a great encouragement. Through Katy, Mrs. Prentiss verbalizes the struggles and joys most women experience in their walk with the Lord. I highly recommend this book to you, ladies.
"Before we are called to something or somewhere, we are first called to Someone" -Skye Jethani
Author Skye Jethani suggests changing the way we’re relating to God; instead of life over, under, or even for God, he says this generation should pursue life with God.
....Some good stuff worth the watch