Thursday, August 1, 2013

The past seven months summed up.

Well, it's been a long time since I posted here, and I decided that it was time to post something and let you all know that I'm still alive and kicking. The past seven months have been a roller coaster ride of sorts and I'm not quite sure what the purpose of everything I've had to go through is, but more than anything I know that God can be trusted and he has good plans for my future, so I'm clinging to him. 

When I asked God to show me more of his love and teach me to love others more this year I certainly didn't expect to have some encounters with people that weren't fun or encouraging. They were difficult and they tore at my heart. I have a soft heart for others, and sometimes that means that I let my standards slip because I care about them but that's not loving them like I should. If I really loved them, I would stand up and say something. But sometimes words just don't come and I'm at a loss for how to communicate God's truth with them. 

I've had friendships of all sorts given to me this past year, and they've taught me a lot. Being slandered and called names and asked to do things I believe are wrong are just some of the things that I've faced. My faith has been tested over and over this year, and I've felt it losing strength, but I haven't given up. I haven't been attacked with physical diseases but my own doubts and other people's beliefs have been attacking me and it almost seems worse than being attacked physically. I keep reading Scripture but I'm not getting much out of the passages I read. The Truth is still the same and it resonates in my heart, but God hasn't been revealing anything new to me. 

My time at Cleveland State University has been excellent so far, and I've felt God's peace about attending school there. And spending another summer at PVM Camp as a counselor was great, although it was difficult too. I struggled with not having enough time to read my Bible and pray and I felt the Enemy attacking the precious people God brought to PVM, and yet God's truth prevailed, as it always has. He worked in infinite ways and brought quite a few people to salvation. I'm so grateful that he chose to me to reach out to people and  often times, simply offer them a listening ear and pray with them. I had to really search my own heart when I talked to several of my campers about who God is. It wasn't easy at all and I was left with the deep realization that I can't reveal God to others...only God can and does reveal himself to people, in his perfect timing.

I'm not sure what struggles I'm going to face tomorrow or the next day, etc. on into eternity but I know without a doubt that God is faithful and he has forgiven me. Therefore, I trust him with my life and I will not let the Enemy get a foothold. Satan has no power... and he destroys and kills and lies. Jesus, on the other hand, came to give life, and give it to the full! I choose Jesus forever and always. 110 for JC!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I'm sure you've all been wondering what's been going on in my life these past few months. Sorry I haven't updated this blog much. I've been busy juggling the responsibilities of life and just haven't had time to write a blog post (or at least it's felt that way). You probably remember me mentioning my discontent over having to return to Cedarville University this past semester. Well, I struggled with those feelings throughout the semester and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't locate the source. I didn't feel peace being at Cedarville, not like I used to feel my freshman and sophomore years there.

In October I visited Cleveland State University with my parents when I was home for my fall break and I really liked it. Soon after that I decided to apply to CSU and was accepted right away. Through much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I felt God calling me to attend CSU starting this semester. I felt that he was challenging me to get out of the "Cedarville bubble" and into the world to be salt and light to people at Cleveland State who need to hear about Christ. And to be quite honest, I didn't feel like I was growing in my faith at Cedarville. All of the great speakers and their messages seemed to be pushing around the same stuff and their challenges seemed more for people graduating and going on overseas missions trips. (I know that not all of the challenges were like that, but the majority seemed to be.) To clarify, I do want to go overseas at some point in my life to do missions, but I believe that that won't be for a long time, maybe ten years or more in the future.

There's this itching in my heart to go somewhere where there are few Christians and spread his love there. God is stirring in my heart a desire to dare to do great things in his Name and I'm placing my trust in him and walking by faith. The first step is transferring to Cleveland State and although I'm nervous about it, I know that God has my back and he'll watch out for me there. Those words that I hear in my head saying, "It's not safe there. You could get hurt. Do you really want to do this to yourself? Cedarville is a much safer place to be," may carry some truth, but the real truth is that the safest place to be is in God's will, and since God has called me to CSU, he will provide and care for me there.

I'm stepping out in faith and letting God take the lead. Although it's a never-ending struggle, I am doing my best to surrender everything to Christ. I've found that surrender is the key to living fully for Christ. Take a look at Luke 9:23: Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."

Here's to a new chapter of life at CSU! I can't wait for what God has in store - I'm really grateful that he holds the future and his plan for our lives is for our good.

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Know Who Goes Before Me.

This song has been ministering to me today and I hope you are blessed by it too. These words in particular stand out to me:

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side

God's promise to always be with us and go before us in every situation and circumstance is so encouraging! I know that even on bad days when everything seems to be going wrong, I have nothing to fear because God is fighting for me.

The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Commitment and Interests of Others.

Tonight I've got a lot on my mind, and the recurring thoughts seem to be centered on this: commitment. How committed are we to our friends and family members? Do we take time out of our busy schedules to listen to others or are we too tied up in our own interests to really pay attention to their needs, and much less, their interests that perhaps don't interest us at all?

I'll be honest, it's hard for me to take interest in the interests of others, especially when it doesn't relate to me. For example, my brother Christopher loves playing video games. He spends a good amount of his free time on his iPod and at the TV playing Nintendo games and other games that I don't have a clue what they are. When I come to talk to him, Christopher usually starts excitedly telling me about the latest level that he's just beat or he mentions a new game that he can't wait to buy at Game Stop. I find it difficult to pay attention and listen to what he's saying because it doesn't relate to me, and frankly, I'm lost when he gets into the little details, but as his older sister I ought to at least pay attention to him and try to understand because it shows that I care. Yes, I might come away still as clueless as before, but if I make an effort to listen then I'll feel better about the effort I made to show him I care.

The Bible says this about how we are to relate to the interests of others:

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. -Philippians 2:4

The next verse is even more convicting:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. -Philippians 2:5

There is so much that can be said about the above verse and I won't be able to cover all it entails here, but the most important thing to remember is that Christ humbled himself and took on the nature of a servant. If he had the attitude of a servant and we are called to have the same attitude that Christ had, then what should our attitudes look like? They should look resemble the attitudes of servants who love their master. Servants willingly do whatever their master asks of them and take an interest in the hobbies and interests of their master too. As servants of Christ, we ought to be interested in and care about the things that Christ cares about. How interested are you in the things that concern Jesus?

How committed are you to those God has placed in your life? Do you take the time to pray for a friend who's just lost a loved one to cancer? Are you intentional about responding to the needs of others, even when you'd rather not?

If we're going to live like Jesus and really carry out what it means to follow him daily, we're going to need to be concerned about what Jesus is concerned about. I'll give you a couple of hints about some people that Jesus specifically cares about: orphans, widows, the poor, those who are sick, the weak, the lost, etc. (Read the Parable of the Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15 to see how much God cares about the lost.) I've only covered the lost that Jesus cares about, and yet there are many, many more groups of people that Jesus cares about. You can find multiple stories of God's loving kindness towards such people in the Bible.

How will you respond today? Is there someone that you need to write to and let them know you care? Let's show the world how committed we are to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by loving those he's placed in our care.

Love in Christ,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fading Beauty.

Isaiah 40:7 reminds us that everything that is now alive on this earth will die one day, including us. Our days are but a breath, and we don't know how long each of us has. But if we have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior, then we have no need to fear death, because when we die we will taken up to be with our Savior in heaven where he is seated at the right hand of God. Isn't that such a wonderful promise? Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Not even death.

The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD. And so it is with people. -Isaiah 40:7

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

-1 Peter 1:23-35

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Highs and Lows.

Thank you for your heartfelt responses about how God has called you, including missions callings! They were so encouraging and helpful and I'll definitely be spending lots of time in prayer about going into missions. I was so blessed and encouraged when my mom sent me her call to missions. Thanks, Mom! The way God used Scripture to speak to her specifically about becoming a missionary in a foreign country was really neat. God doesn't waste opportunities to speak to us, but often we miss him speaking to us because we're consumed by our lives down here on earth or we're trying to block out his voice. I definitely don't want to do that because I want to live in obedience to him with every step I take so I'll be spending lots of prayer today and in the days to come. Any of you, if you didn't share your calling before and you still want to, you can either comment on this post or send an email to hazzelelponi54 at rocketmail dot com and I'll be sure to read and take to heart what you have to say.

Let me tell you, it's not easy to obey God. Take right now for example. I'm tired and bored of attending Cedarville University and I would much rather be spending the semester at home with my family, but God has made it clear that he wants me here at Cedarville for the time being. He used words of encouragement from friends at my home church Grace this past Sunday to push me in the right direction. I was about to break down and cry numerous times during the conversations I had because I was so emotional and yesterday afternoon I even broke down in tears driving back down to Cedarville with my family. My parents did their best to comfort and encourage me. It helped a bit, but no matter how hard I've tried, I just don't have a desire to be back at Cedarville. I felt better after I cried, but my upset feelings still haven't gone away today. It's been an emotional coaster ride day in and day out and I think it's going to be like this for a while since I believe the Enemy's attack has just begun, and he doesn't give up easily.

But I'm confident of this: God has a reason for placing me at Cedarville this year, and he has a reason for everything that he places in each of our paths. Therefore, in spite of my fickle emotions, I'm going to trust God and his plan for my life (which far exceeds anything I could ever imagine) and stay at Cedarville for now. I'm sensing a rocky road ahead, but as long as I've got Jesus by my side, the road will never be too treacherous to walk on.

Philippians 1:6 says it all:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Another passage of Scripture that has been a comfort to me in times of trouble is Psalm 46:1-3:

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

I'm so thankful that I have a God who comforts me when I need comforting; aren't you?

Love in Christ,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Need Some Advice...Overseas Missions.

Following God's plan for our lives can be easy in theory but much more difficult in practice. I've told God multiple times, "Lord, here I am. Send me!" and I meant it 100%. In those moments, if God had told me to go to Zimbabwe or Iceland, or anywhere else on this planet, I would have gone, no strings attached. But now, in the moment when the rubber actually hits the road and I feel like I'm having to let go of things that are precious to me to cling to God's purpose for my life, overseas missions, my faith is quickly draining away and I'm finding myself questioning God's perfect plan for my life. I want to go overseas to do missions when I want, not when God wants me to, but if I do that, I'm not submitting to God like I ought to. Another thing is that I don't want to have to plan my life around becoming a missionary someday. I would like some "freedom" to choose what I want, (which sounds really self-centered when I think about it) but I feel like I have to plan that way since the choices I make today will have a lasting affect on the rest of my life. The hardest part is that there wasn't one special moment in my life when God told me, "Go into missions," but throughout the years God has made it somewhat clear in subtle ways. I just don't want to go off the deep end, convinced that God's going to send me far across the world to do missions and then find out later that he wants me to stay in the US and be a missionary to friends and colleagues here. Hmm, what do I do?

For anyone who has felt God's call to be a missionary early in life, how did you know that was God's will for your life? Once you were certain that God wanted you to be a missionary, how did that impact the choices you made? What struggles did you have and how did you overcome them? I would really appreciate hearing your stories and any advice you have.

You're welcome to comment here or if you would prefer to contact me privately, my email is hazzelelponi54 at rocketmail dot com. Thank you so much!

God bless,