Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let Me EXCLAIM Something!


“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!’” Luke 1: 41-45

I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite passages in the New Testament that leads up to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I absolutely love how Elizabeth greets Mary. I mean, to me, this was the ultimate greeting. It’s always exciting (well, sometimes) to see a relative that you haven’t seen in a long time, and the first greeting can instantly make up for the lapse in time since the last visit. However, this specific greeting, between Elizabeth and Mary, was more than just a gentle hug and a kiss after a prolonged absence. This greeting filled Elizabeth with the Holy Spirit, and caused baby John to leap in her womb. It’s so refreshing to hear how that little baby just jumped for joy because he knew that his Savior was being developed in Mary’s womb. Wow. That just gets to me. I can only imagine the joy Elizabeth had when she felt her baby kicking up a storm at the sound of Mary’s voice. I’ve never been pregnant, but because it doesn’t specify in the Bible that Elizabeth immediately ran off to the little girl’s room after John’s burst of excitement in her womb, I’m sure that means that God had spared Elizabeth’s bladder for this holy greeting. *wink*wink*

It doesn’t stop there for me though. I just love every piece of this passage. I love how it says in the NIV that Elizabeth “exclaimed” when she spoke to Mary” That’s right…exclaimed…as in ending with an exclamation point! She was absolutely thrilled that “the Mother of her Lord would come to see her.” Who wouldn’t be? If it were me, it would have been one extreme or the other. I’d either be super-hyper and bouncing all over the place or I wouldn’t be able to talk at all. But with Elizabeth, I can just picture her shouting with a big smile on her face and rushing up to Mary’s side and putting her hand over her belly while saying, “ Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” I just figure she put her hand on Mary’s belly, because that’s what we women do. If we see a girl friend or family member who is expecting, that’s the first thing we do…we touch their belly. It’s like some kind of magnetic law or something. I mean, who doesn’t want to touch the tummy that holds a growing baby? Anyway, maybe it’s just a southern thing, but that’s still my theory.

Let me get back to the point (of the exclamation, ha!)…Elizabeth was tremendously excited!! Wow. I am not sure what kind of excitement could top being able to have one of the first encounters with Christ… the Messiah... .the Savior of all. The cool thing though? Although we weren’t able to encounter Mary while she was pregnant with Jesus, we are still able to have that kind of excitement in our lives when we encounter Christ on a day-to-day basis. I heard Beth Moore say one time in her “Living Beyond Yourself” bible study that she is an exclamation point for Christ. It was so funny when I heard her say that, because I AM TOO!! I’m always saying that the Lord has brought me to exclamation point living. However, you have to be careful treading on those words, because it doesn’t mean that my life is without sadness or tears. The thing is, being in Christ, there is a certain joy wrapped around the hope that you’re able to hold through everything…even the trials. I told a friend of mine one time (when I was going through something,) “once you get past the fear, it’s kind of exciting to see what God is going to do.” If you stop to think about what God may be “working out” in your life, it is definitely exciting. If you allow it to happen, there can be joy through the tears.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says, “ Now faith is being sure of what we hope and certain of what we do not see.” We have faith to know that things are going to work out for our good. (Another promise, Romans 8:28) Now listen to the same verse, in Hebrews, from The Message, “ The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” Do you see that? Life worth living is also known as the firm foundation that brings us to exclamation point living.

Elizabeth already knew this when she made her exclamation; John knew this when he leaped in her womb. The moment that they heard Mary’s voice, as she carried baby Jesus, they knew that the world was about to change...their world was about to change. It was about to change for the good of sinners. One little baby changed the world. One little baby changed my world. This Christmas, won’t you greet the Lord, and let Him change yours?

“His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.” Luke 1:50

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I really should be cleaning and organizing things to get ready to pack up and leave my college town of Augusta. However, there's a specific verse that has been laid on my heart for a few days now. It’s one that we’re all familiar with, but this time I was able to relate it with something new.I also was able to share my thoughts over the verse with a professor, who I’ve grown to love as a friend and sister in Christ, and we were able to shed some light over it's encouragement value. It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself, so I want to share. This is the verse that has been playing in my mind over and over again:

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish thing. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Cor. 13:11-12, NLT

It is so cool how a verse can theologically represent one thing, but then God can totally use it to relate to specifics in your own life too. For example, I’ve never graduated college before…this is my first time. (HA!) It’s also the first time for our family. So you can see that this is an entirely new experience. It is the most thrilling and nerve-racking occurrence I’ve ever gone through. Thrilling because I finally made it, and I’m going to have a college diploma with my name on it. Nerve-racking, because I have no clue what the future is going to hold for me, and I’m not sure what to expect. I am SOOO nervous! However, I can find rest in the arms of the One who has gone before me, because He has already laid out the path that I’m to take. Yes, there is one that has my name on it! The only thing that I have to do is to trust and have faith in Him and His will for my life.

That takes me back to my perception of 1 Corinthians 13:11-12. I am 23 years old, which classifies me as an adult. I am a woman. I am not a little girl any more, so it is time to focus. You could say that this verse is implying that it’s time for me to put my big girl panties on and cowgirl up. *wink*wink * Yep I said it.

What really touched my heart, though, was the part that speaks over seeing things imperfectly right now. That is totally true, because I see an image in my mind of who I want to be and what I want to do…it’s all still a dream. However, it’s still just a cloudy mirror I’m looking into. I am not able to fully understand what it is God really has in store for me in my life until I go out there and pursue it. If I just continue to walk side-by-side and hand-in-hand with Him, then one day I will see it all clearly. He will fill my life up with the opportunities that He has created me for, there will be no void….it will be complete.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Dream is Coming True!!!

I can’t believe that I have finally finished my last final of college today. I can’t believe this is what that feels like. All butterfly flutters, happy, giddy, nervous, and disbelief all at once. I can’t believe that next week, on December 15, 2009 (if all goes well *wink*wink*) I will hold my very own Augusta State University diploma.

My diploma.



My diploma that I earned with my own hard work and determination.


I’m gonna have a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Television and Cinema. That just blows my mind!!! This is so incredibly cool, because I’ve really accomplished this. This first generation college student has raised the level of education within her family! I’ve kept with it and persevered through the chaos and now I’m finally graduating!!!!! I didn’t quit! I did it!!!!! I made it!!!!

I’M GRADUATING!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’M GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!