Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bountiful Blessings

When taking a step back and viewing my life over the past year I've seen I have so much for which to be thankful. I'm overwhelmed by the blessings, both small and great, that have been given to my by my loving Heavenly Father.

First and foremost I'm thankful for a God in Heaven Who I know loves me unconditionally. He sent His only begotten Son down to this earth long ago to die on a cruel cross for me.Every time I stop to think about that I'm overwhelmed that a holy and just God cared so much for the human race that He gave up His most precious possession so that we too can be heirs of the Kingdom of God.

Next, I'm thankful for my family. This year I've experienced them in a way that I've never known before and seriously, they are the best. I don't know what I would do without their constant source of prayers, encouragement, laughter, and so much more. Over the summer we were able to spend a lot of quality time together. So many memories were made...I wouldn't trade anything for them. I love them so much.

Another amazing aspect in my life are my friends. I honestly have the best friends for which anyone could ask. They have proven to me over and over again that they will be there for me no matter what. From doing crazy things together at all hours of the day and night to holding me when I cry, from standing up for me when someone is being a jerk to telling me to my face when I need to straighten up I have been blessed with a lineup of friends who are some of the craziest, serious, God-loving people in the world...I couldn't do it with out them.

Finally, other than Salvation, the thing I am most grateful for is the fact that my roses have thorns! This past year has been pretty rough with relationships, medical problems, school, work, and on the list could go. But through it all I've learned that even in the worst times of my life there is always someone who has it worse than I do, and even more importantly, I've learned that there is always a bright spot, even in the darkest hours.

"Some people complain because the roses have thorns, others give thanks because the thorns have roses." ~Unknown

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A New Disease: Junioritis!

I am sure all of you have heard of "senioritis." You know, that's the feeling that seniors (in college or high school) get when it's close to the end of their respective schooling, and all they want is to be out of school. FOREVER.

Recently I have discovered this new disease, "junioritis." This terrible bug has bit me quite hard. You ask, "What is junioritis?" I'm glad you asked! Junioritis as defined by Hannah's Dictionary of New Terms is when one is in his or her third year of school (in my case in college). The freshman excitement and newness has long since worn no longer fascninates a junior, rather it has become quite dull. A person afflicted with junioritis knows that somehow they have made through more than half of their schooling, but alas! it seems as though the end is still not in sight! That senior year seems oh so far away! Ah yes! they see a light at the end of the tunnel...they think...but they're not certain if it's the end of the tunnel or a train about to run them over!!! The cure for junioritis is not simple at all. The recommended course of action is to stick to the stuff, keep going no matter how hard, and most importantly rely on God for strength. A few things that may help are chocolate, caffeine, lots of sugar, and sleep, and don't forget those wonderful friends that make one laugh and relax when the stress is beyond belief.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just Peace

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
~Philippians 4:7~

"The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."
~Exodus 14:14~

"Then Eli said [to Hannah], Go in peace: and the God of Israel shall grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him."
~I Samuel 1:17~

"The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace."
~Numbers 6:26~

"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."
~Psalm 119:165~

"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."
~I Timothy 1:2~

"Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee."
~Job 22:21~

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
~Romans 5:1~

"And [Jesus] said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace."
~Luke 8:48~

"Then Jesus said to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."
~John 20:21~

"And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
~James 3:18~

"Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all."
~II Thessalonians 3:16~

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
~John 14:27~

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Position!

Recently a managing position came up at my job at LEE's Famous Recipe Chicken. I had thoughts of the possibility of being chosen for the job, but I wasn't going to really pursue the matter. The other day I was working with the assistant manager and out of the blue she said, "Hey Hannah! Have you ever thought of being a manager?!" I said, "Well, I had, but I didn't know what the plans were, or who was in the running for the job." Her response was that they really didn't know who to have fill the spot because most people weren't eligible for various reasons. She talked to the GM who spoke to me about it today. I was offered the job and I start training on Saturday! I'm sooo excited! The only bad things are that other than being home for a couple of days over Christmas, most of my break will be spent down here; also, tomorrow is my last day at the ammunition factory - I can't swing a second job along with managing. But it's ok, because this is an excellent opportunity to not only make some good money, but it also looks great on my resume. Please pray that I'll be able to learn my new responsibilities quickly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not My Will but Thine

If you tell God that you want HIS will, not your own, you had better be prepared for that decision to be put to a test. This can be incredibly difficult to do because surrendering your will to God involves an amazing amount of faith and trust in Him. Sometimes God will test you to see if you really meant what you said, and then He will give you the desires of your heart. Other times, God truly performs His will, even if it hurts you very badly. There is an example of each of these types of surrender in the Bible. The one is of Abraham and Isaac, the other is Jephthah and his daughter.

Genesis 22 finds Abraham going about his regular routine until God comes to him and tells Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, and offer him as a burnt offering. If that were me, I probably would have said, "Wait a minute God, You want me to do WHAT?! I can't do that....I mean...he's my only son. You promised that Isaac would be the one to make a great nation from me, how can that happen if he dies?" But did Abraham do that? No. Instead Genesis 22:3 says, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." No complaining. No questioning. Just a simple yet strong faith that believed God's will was best. How did it turn out? Well, Abraham went through obediently. He took Isaac and a few servants, went to the mountain that God had told him of, took his son, some wood and fire, and headed up the mountain. Abraham went so far as to build the altar, place Isaac upon it, and raised his hand to kill his son when an angel suddenly stopped him. "And [the angel of the Lord] said, 'Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.'" God then provided a substitute ram to be offered in the place of Isaac.

Jephthah had a slightly different situation. He went to war against the Ammonites who were attempting to take over part of Israel. He vowed to God that if He brought Israel through and made them victorious that when he went home, the first thing that came out of his home to greet him would be offered as a burnt offering to the Lord (Judges 11:30-31). God grants his request, and the enemy was defeated. Jephthah returns home victorious, celebrating his great victory. As he comes down the road to his house, his daughter apparently hears him coming and runs out to meet him. She was the first thing that came to meet him. Was Jephthah expecting this? Not at all. He could have easily said, " know when I made that vow, I wasn't thinking of her! I can't sacrifice my daughter, she's too precious to me." Yes, the Bible does say that he was sad, and naturally so, "And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes and said, 'Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.'" (Judges 11:35) A long series of events lead to two months later when in Judges 11:39 states, "And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow." I can't even begin to imagine the thoughts going through Jephthah's mind as he did what he promised God. Doing God's will, not his own even though it was the hardest thing in the world.

The ultimate example of surrender is shown in Christ when He was sent to the cross. His agony in the garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion shows how human and divine He was in His choice to follow His Father's will. "Then saith he unto [his disciples], 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here , and watch with me.' And he went a little further and fell on his face, and prayed saying, 'O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.'" Jesus went to the cross and died, not because He necessarily wanted to go through the pain and suffering, but because He knew that is what His Father willed and so He uncomplainingly went, bearing our sin and iniquity on His body.

Is following God's will always easy? the answer is a resounding NO. But is it right, oh yes! God will give a peace that goes beyond comprehension to those that choose to do His will. Following Him is the best decision that anyone can make.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

God's been Good

I know it's not yet Thanksgiving, and when that holiday comes I'll write a very lengthy post on how God has blessed and is blessing me this past year. However, it seems that lately I've just been really blessed in almost every area of my life. He is sooooo good to me!! It reminded me of a song that is sung often here at Shawnee, so I thought I'd share the lyrics with you:

God's Been Good

Lately I've been looking back,
along this winding road
To the old familiar markers
of the mercies I have known
I know it may sound simple
but it's more than a cliche
There's no better way to tell you, than to say...

God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times,
I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good

Times replay and I can see that
I've cried some bitter tears
But I felt His arms around me,
as I faced my greatest fears
You see I've had more gains than losses
and I've known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved

For God has been my Father,
my Savior and my Friend
His love was my beginning,
and His love will be my end
I could spend forever trying
to tell you everything He is
But the best that I can say it is this...

God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times,
I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good

Tuesday, November 2, 2010