Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Prayers for You

Well I was planning to get to school at 8am this morning and get things done, but that totally did not happen as I slept in till 8:15. I needed the rest, though . . . and I can get back to my agenda soon enough. I've been reading this book by Mark Batterson called The Circle Maker , and it is amazing! He is the pastor of National Community Church in the DC area, and the book is about prayer, but it's unlike any other book on prayer I've ever read before. It is so full of Biblical truth written in such a fresh, insightful, inspiring way. I couldn't recommend this book any more highly. I have a feeling that as I continue to read it, I may have to post some more quotes from it, but this is a part I read last night that really spoke to me:

"Long before you woke up this morning and long after you go to sleep tonight, the Spirit of God was circling you with songs of deliverance. He has been circling you since the day you were conceived, and He'll circle you until the day you die. He is praying hard for you with ultrasonic groans that cannot be formulated into words, and those unutterable intercessions should fill you with an unspeakable confidence. God isn't just for you in some passive sense; God is for you in the most active sense imaginable. The Holy Spirit is praying hard for you." --Mark Batterson

What an amazing reminder of the truths of Romans 8--the Holy Spirit constantly intercedes for us!

Friday, April 20, 2012


Isaiah 58:11-12: "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. . . . you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."

I stumbled across this passage this week and I thought I would share it. It promises that God will give us guidance, provision for our needs, strength, and refreshment--so that we can begin to refresh, repair, and restore other people. The phrase in a "sun-scorched land" evokes in my mind images of the dry, desperate places we sometimes find ourselves in. Times and situations in our lives when it seems as if all our passion, enthusiasm, and joy has dried up, leaving us desperately in need of refreshment, whether it be in a physical, emotional, or spiritual sense. I think this image can also apply to times in our lives when we become so overwhelmed with the day-to-day business of life that we become drained, burned out, weak, and fatigued, much the way we would become after trying to make our way through a literal "sun-scorched land."

This passage promises strength for these times and even IN these times. God will satisfy our needs IN a sun-scorched land. Even the desert times of our lives can be a place for God to be actively at work within us. He will satisfy us IN those places and times, not only when He brings us out of them to a place of deeper renewal.

"You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." I find this imagery striking after the idea of being in the desert place, in the sun-scorched land. This is an image of continual, ongoing, always accessible refreshment. If we are compared to a spring whose waters never fail, we are reminded that we carry with us the capacity for continual renewal even when we find ourselves in the desert. In fact, this verse makes me think of Jesus' words in John 7: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." We have the Holy Spirit within us so that living water is accessible to refresh and restore us--not only for us, but also so that we can in turn refresh others.

As the Isaiah passage phrases it: "You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." Because of the grace, refreshment, and restoration which we continually receive in Christ, we have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to minister to others so that they, too, can be repaired and restored. These are roles that we can embrace in our day-to-day lives. The "waters which never fail" are not only for us and our benefit, but for others as well whose lives come in contact with ours...others who may see the peace we possess even in the desert place, the joy and spiritual abundance our lives speak of even in times of scarcity, thirst, and even desperation. We have been given refreshment and satisfaction in Christ so that we can begin to refresh and restore others, to be an unfailing spring of water even to other weary travelers in the desert. We should not fear the inevitable desert times in our life journeys, because if we as Christians, who have streams of living water within us, never walk through the desert, we have no way of helping others in this place of need. And if we abide in Christ, we will find streams in the desert.

If we make it our practice to extend the grace we have received to others through ministry, we can attract others to Christ, the only one who can truly and completely restore broken, shattered lives. He is the one redeemer who can renew our lives completely. So let us seek Him, so that we can share in his work of restoration in the world.

Almost There!

Right now, I am 2 weeks and 6 days away from being able to say this: "I finished my first year of law school!!" So excited! This has actually been a really great year--I love my school and the city where I am, and I've made great new friends and had a lot of good experiences here. It's hard to believe it's been almost a whole year since I graduated from college, and I've really enjoyed navigating the post-grad life and figuring stuff out. But now, even though it's been a great year, I am just really excited to be able to say that I survived that introduction to law school, my 1L year, what is aptly referred to by many people as "1L of a year"! It is tough, no doubt about it, and I know I will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I am actually done.
I am still trying to find a summer job, so that's also something I anticipate getting figured out in the next few weeks (at least I hope!) Right now I'm mostly trying to find work at a firm that practices either family law or personal injury, because those are the areas I have become most interested in during my first year. In fact, as we speak I'm supposed to be writing some cover letters . . . but I'll get there. I know that something will work out soon.
In the meantime, right around the corner, lurking dangerously close, are FINALS. For all my classes except legal writing, the one final exam is worth a casual 100% of my grade in the course, so as you might guess, they're kind of a big deal. In legal writing, I have a memo due Monday that makes up most of my grade, and then I have exams in constitutional law, civil procedure, and contracts. I also have a legal professionalism class that is pass/ fail, and I don't have a final in that class. This is definitely the time of year when law students tend to get stressed, freaked out, and exhausted. And also pretty competitive, because everyone wants to "beat the curve" to be able to do well in classes. This year has made me stop and think a number of times, "I used to think I was smart. But then I went to law school!"
I always make "exam playlists" and "study playlists" that include a very eclectic mix of the High School Musical soundtracks, other movie soundtracks, Costa Rican dance music, Kelly Clarkson, Sugarland, and that old classic, Livin' on a Prayer. Then I try to keep myself motivated with inspiring music when I'm knee-deep in outlining and checking citations for my memo.
Here's a song for y'all today from one of these playlists: "Hold On" from the Princess Diaries soundtrack (random, I know, but the lyrics are great and listening to it always makes me happy).
And this website is great for a study break: Only in Law School. It's basically a bunch of law school inside jokes. Some of it's a little over-the-top, but I know my law school friends will totally relate:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Color Run!

Last Saturday, my friends and I did this awesome 5K called The Color Run. Basically, it's a 5K where you start out looking like this:

And you cross the finish line looking like this:

It was so much fun! It was also the first organized run I've ever done, so I was excited about that. Basically, at every kilometer, you get covered with colored paint powder until you are a total mess by the end. Then, you all get your own packets of color powder at the finish line and every few minutes, everyone throws them in the air creating the color run's famous "cloud":

(I've got to give credit to my friend Stephanie for that awesome photo!)
Such a great way to spend a Saturday with friends!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Breaking Up Your Unplowed Ground

So here's the verse that has really been on my mind and heart lately:

"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12)

First of all, I'm not totally sure what the phrase "break up your unplowed ground" means, but I have some ideas based on the context of the passage, which is talking about sowing and reaping righteousness or evil. I think the unplowed ground represents those areas of our lives that we have not surrendered to God. The soil of our hearts that could be bringing forth a harvest of righteousness--but we have let it lie fallow time and time again.

We are not doing the tough work to break up the soil of our hearts. According to statistics, the average American Christian prays for a grand total of only three minutes a day! That number says to me that we have some untapped resources in prayer and in the power of God that we need to be seeking out! It is TIME to seek the Lord. It is time. To pursue God with a fresh tenacity. To get our hands dirty breaking up the unplowed ground in our own hearts--getting it ready to sow seeds which will reap a harvest of righteousness. That means getting into areas of our hearts and lives we might prefer to leave untouched! We might prefer not to "plow" ground in areas of our lives where we don't even WANT righteousness to grow. We often tend to want to keep "sections" of our lives for ourselves, while still working tirelessly to convince ourselves that God is in control of our lives. Yet in a very real way, partial surrender is not surrender at all.

It's very easy to want to sow seeds of righteousness in SOME areas of our lives while ignoring others. But we need to be getting passionate about ALL of it. God wants all of it! The Lord asks a question of us in Jeremiah 30:21. A question which echoes in my mind every time I read it with the raw, barely veiled desire in the words. A desire for passionate relationship with us. He asks, "Who is he who will DEVOTE himself to BE CLOSE TO ME?"

We live immersed in a world of passion and discovery. Of creativity, tenacity, new things happening all the time. We live in a world where people are DEVOTED to a lot of stuff, but where not enough people are devoted to being close to the Lord. The Lord is looking for anyone who will devote him or herself to be CLOSE to him. It is time to seek the Lord. It is time to break up the unplowed ground. If and as we do, the Lord will shower his righteousness on us.

Being devoted to being close to the Lord is characterized by an investment of more than three minutes a day--if you know what I'm saying. To me, expecting to be close to the Lord in just 3 minutes a day is like expecting to be BFFs with someone because you spend 3 minutes a day Facebook stalking them! I spend more time than that every day:
  • brushing my teeth
  • getting dressed
  • checking email
  • reading magazines
  • listening to music
  • etc.
But it is an investment. God is searching for people who will be truly and completely devoted to being in close relationship with him. Can we commit to being those people? It's one decision you definitely can't regret. What would happen if you and I poured our hearts and our energy into being close to the Lord? If we prayed as passionately as we pursue other areas of our lives? If we sought after the heart of God with all that is within us? We could change everything. We could change our hearts. Our minds. Our goals. Our priorities. Our country. Our world. That's what could happen.
And as Hosea urges us, reap the fruit of unfailing love. Just as a side note: the only things in the Bible which are described as "unfailing" are God's kindness and His love. Nothing else. Only His love never fails.

I want to know the Lord and His amazing, unfailing love. That pursuit is worth more than three minutes of my day.
"Let us press on to know the Lord...He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of DAWN or the coming of rains in early spring." Hosea 6:3