When you come off the mountain top

I just got done with 24 hours of prayer at ABS. We decided to try and have one person praying at ABS every hour for a full day. While we didn’t quite accomplish our goal, the overall experience was a great one! I can’t wait to upload all my pictures from it!

And then the prayer day ended. It seems like the second I stepped out of the doors at ABS to go home I had this seething anger inside of me. I had given a girl permission to park her car on the ABS property until midnight (it was close to 1am when I left ABS), so as I was leaving I drove down to the back to check to make sure her car was gone. It wasn’t. I felt taken advantage of. I felt used, and we were used. We were used because the house party she was going to was semi-close and they’re parking was already full. Y’all I was mad. So I left a note. Nothing nasty, just that she needed to move her car because she was on private property and only had permission to park there until midnight.

After this little jaunt, I drive back up to the front because Tyler insisted on following me home. When I told him I would prefer going last so I could check the mail he told me that he would check it, if he remembered. Y’all, we live <5 minutes from the ABS House, probably less than 3 at 1am with no traffic. There was that anger again. He volunteered to check the mail so he could follow me home (which was all ridiculously nice- in a right mind I would have been thankful for this), but thinks he might forget in the 2 milliseconds it takes to actually get home? Are you kidding me? And then the thought goes through my mind, “This is why I just do things myself”.

Y’all I am so ashamed of that thought and the anger that was washing over me. I’m currently sitting in our living room crying and typing while Tyler gets ready for bed (by my request). The prayer experience was such a wonderful thing! Tyler and I even found time to pray together for our future and some very dear friends and family that were on our hearts. The mountain top was so beautiful and awe-inspiring! But then I started back down the mountain and the devil struck. I allowed Satan to bully his way into my tired mind and to make mountains out of molehills. Now the girl that parked at ABS, maybe I could be a little upset about it, but being mad at Tyler for trying to look our for me? I have no right.

Now I’m bawling in my living room pouring out my heart on this blog because that’s what I do when I’m upset: blog and pray, & pray and blog. *Side note: My cat literally just ran down the stairs and then hit the door stop thing (the one that makes the spring noise when you hit it) and scared the tar out of himself!* I’m reminded that God is still good. And as silly as it is, Benson scaring himself gave me something to laugh at and broke the tension in my mind and heart. No matter how high up the spiritual mountain I climb, I will always have to come back down the other side (at least this side of Heaven I will). I have to remember that when the mountain turns into a avalanche that I still have to trust in God. I am reminded of the verse, “Submit to the Lord. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” [James 4:7, paraphrased]. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen War Room twice in the last 24 hours that this verse pops into my head, but maybe it’s also because that’s exactly what I should be doing. Instead of just allowing things to happen to me, emotions included, maybe I should start being proactive about it. Maybe I need to start playing offense and not just defense. So I’m going to start with a strategy, a strategy that I talked about in a previous post, but will now actually will start using.

But for tonight, I will leave you with this- if you’re coming off of a spiritual mountain too you’re not alone. I’m right there with you, and if you want a little extra encouragement, check out 1 Kings 19 about Elijah. No spoilers, but after he defeats some prophets of Baal in a huge miraculous event (chapter 18), he flees and begs God to take his life. The bible is full of spiritual celebrities that come off the mountain feeling less than, feeling defeated, and ultimately letting their emotions get the best of them.

Tonight my prayer is this: that we take “Submit to the Lord. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” as a life motto. That we remember that the devil has already been defeated! Jesus has crushed his skull and there will be no life left in him soon enough. Until the time of his complete defeat, I pray that we Submit only to the Lord, not to our emotions; that we resist the devil because we are a chose race and a royal priesthood- we are children of the one true King; and that we remember God is living inside of us if we are his and that’s enough to make even the biggest rotten devil helpers flee. God is enough, and He has already won.

Prayer Experience

Over the past 24 hours, ABS has put on a day of prayer. It has been an interesting 24 hours to say the least. We put up various stations so students could practice “adoration, supplication, thanksgiving, and confession”. We also made posters that showed the top 100 un-reached people groups of the world.

We chose to have our day of prayer on St. Patrick’s Day because St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland and was responsible for converting the Irish to Christianity. You can read more about the history of St. Patty’s Day here.

We encouraged the students to stop by for an hour out of their day and spend it in prayer. We provided them with a 40-day prayer challenge for the un-reached people groups that can be found here. The Joshua Project group that created this prayer guide also created an amazing app that encourages you to pray for a different un-reached people group every day!

My favorite part of planning was getting to create an example prayer strategy for the students to take and make their own. I’ve struggled with prayer so much over the past year or so and this really helped me to think about how my prayers could best be used. I used the book Fervent and a prayer journal as a guide to help me draft what would best fit a college student’s life. You can find a copy of the sheet I created below.

Handout for Prayer

I hope this helps in your prayer endeavors! Let me know if I can answer any questions for you!

1 Peter 2

This morning in bible study our group went over 1 Peter 2. Tyler got me a journaling bible for Valentine’s Day so I’ve been using it and taking notes in the margins. (If you live off notes, I highly recommend a journaling bible! I’ve been able to add in my own commentary, ask questions and then go back and answer said questions, it’s just wonderful!) Anywho, we got into 1 Peter 2 this morning and immediately I was drawn to the second and third verses in the chapter.

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Even in my limited experience around babies, I know that when it’s time to eat it’s time to eat. If mommas not there someone had better be finding a way to get that baby some milk! Newborn infants long for milk, they need it- and that’s what helps them to grow. That is the first thing that popped into my head this morning as I read vs 2. Then I started to think about the phrase “by it you may grow up into salvation”. I’ve been talking to my CalFay girls about salvation a lot recently because they’re right at the age of beginning to understand and ask some really good questions. (Yikes!) So this phrase really made me wonder, what does grow up into salvation mean? Don’t we just ask Jesus into our hearts, badabing badaboom and it’s done? Well, yes and no. In my personal opinion, I think salvation is directly tied to sanctification. So yes, we are “saved” and “redeemed” and “brought back into the flock” the day we decide to follow Jesus and have faith that he really is who He says He is and really did/does what He says He really did/does. HOWEVER, if you never truly surrender your life and start acting according to God’s will instead of your own, I believe your “salvation experience” was just a show. For the rest of our lives after we decide to follow Jesus we have to fight against our sin nature. For some of us, that’s fighting against sexual sin, or fighting against pride, or lying, or idolizing money, celebrities, and even ourselves over God. The list could go on forever- but the point is, we have to be intentional about aligning ourselves with God if we are truly in it for the long haul. James 2:17-18 says:

“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.'”

Now this is where things start to get prickly. We are not saved by works, we are saved by a faith in Jesus Christ. Period. But if you are truly saved, others will be able to see it by how you behave. We are called to stand apart from the world. See John 15:19, Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17. We are also told to be sanctified which means to continually grow in Christ, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)   So to me, to “grow up into salvation” is another way of saying sanctification.

And now verse 3 “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good”. Y’all God is good and we are not. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. This part of the verse throws us back to Psalms 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” This Psalm was written by David, a man after God’s own heart. He was also a man that committed adultery, had the woman’s husband murdered, and did various other questionable things. David wasn’t perfect, but his pursuit of God was pretty darn close. David laments in his Psalms after committing his “big sins” listed above, not because he hurt other people, but because he went against God and it literally pained him. It broke him to the core because he messed up against the one person that had always been there for him. By the world’s standards, he blew it BIG time. But by God’s standards, when David repented all was forgiven. David’s heart was pure in his repentance and the motives that lead to his repentance. He was so enthralled by God and His mercy and grace that he could say “taste and see”.

Think of your absolute favorite food. For me it’s Pasta, but specifically pasta with Catalina dressing a lot of shredded cheddar cheese. It’s delish! Everytime I make this pasta, I can taste it and know exactly what it is without even seeing it. It doesn’t always look very pretty, but the flavor- out of this world! I know this pasta so well and have made it so often that I can tell if anything is off about it. If someone used a different brand of Catalina dressing, or a different fineness of shredded cheese, I can tell. So think of a food that you know backwards and forwards- maybe ice cream, maybe spaghetti, maybe chicken. Now imagine knowing God even better than that. You see, I think David chose to use the words “Taste and see” because a lot of our fellowship takes place around food, and quite honestly a lot of our lives revolve around food. David was able to use this wording because he knew God. He knew how merciful, how full of grace, how loving, but also how just God was. David knew that even though he had screwed up royally, that God was still in control and God is still good even when we are not. Even when we mess up our favorite recipe, the recipe in itself is still a good recipe. It doesn’t stop being good just because we muddle things and have a user error. God has been, is, and will always be good.

Once we grasp the fact that God is good and we are not, we realize how desperately we need salvation and how important sanctification is. After all, we were never made to live on bread or milk alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Paraphrased from Matt 4:4)