Lessons in faith from Fall leaves

Lessons From Fall & God

When a Florida girl visits the mountains...

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I'm a total Florida girl. Other than the one year I lived in South Georgia, I've spent my whole life seeing Santas in flip flops and wearing short sleeves in January. This year we spent "wedding season" in the mountains, and my goodness, I feel so blessed to have had the change of scenery. When you put a Florida girl in the mountains when the leaves are changing, it's a recipe for "I'm not coming back" captions on waterfall pictures.

I was lucky enough to get some time to do some hiking while my boyfriend fished. I realized it was the first time I ever experienced solitude in the woods. It was serene. I've been up in the mountains several times, but I was always with my family or friends. This time it was just me and God. With so much peace and quiet, it was easy to hear His voice. I love those moments.

The central theme of my life lessons the last month or so has been "resting in Him". It's kind of funny to me that God is using one of the busiest seasons of my life to show me this. I'm learning that He uses the most unexpected moments in our lives to show us everything we need is found in Him.

As I was watching the leaves fall, I was mesmerized. Being the Florida girl I am, I don't get to see such beauty often. The Lord continued to speak to me. The leaves can't stop themselves from falling. When it's time, they glides through the air and land gently in the creek. Then they flow through the water until they reach their next destination.

God wants us to put this kind of trust in Him. He wants us to rest in our faith that when it's time, we will separate from what's not for us anymore. We will land again and He will carry us onto our next destination.

I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time trusting in God and free falling. When God tells me it's time to move on, I sometimes try to grab every limb on the way down. I now realize that I do this because I'm not trusting God to direct my landing. I am challenged to believe that the One who decided it was time for me to move on in the first place is capable of placing me exactly where I need to be next.

He is able. No fall is too high and no breeze is too strong to keep us from being exactly where we need to be. God is on our side, working in His mighty way. We can trust in Him.

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A Letter From God To Help You Finish The Semester

God sees your struggles and He's here to give you strength and motivation.
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My Child,

The lack of motivation towards the end of the semester is normal. You are mentally and physically tired, but you are almost at the end. Don’t stop walking down the perfect path I have for you. When you’re going along and you come upon a speedbump, I want you to go over it and keep driving. The paper you have to write and the test you have to study for are just small speedbumps I have given you to make you wiser. You can write that paper and you can gain motivation to study for that test. I am here to give you strength, and am here to open up your mind and give you motivation.

You are so loved. You have such a beautiful mind. The light of Jesus shines through your eyes and your smile brings comfort to the world. There’ll be times you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. There’ll be times you feel like the task I have given you is impossible to perform. But remember this: I would never put anything upon your shoulders that you cannot carry. If I put you in a certain situation, it’s because I know you are strong enough to go through it.

When you feel like crying, cry to me. When you feel like a failure, remember how much I love you. You are not a failure and you are not going to give up. I will hold your hand through every second of your life. I will seek your heart through your darkest moments. I see you, I see your heart, and I see your burdens. And remember that I have your heart which means I also have your burdens. Follow my footsteps and you will be free from the doubt. Remember Mark 4:40-41: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I have the power to calm any storm and wave. I have the power to calm YOUR storms and waves. Set your doubt, anger, and tiredness in my hands and simply be patient.

Romans 8:14-15 says,“For those who are led by the spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again, rather the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” Nothing can separate you from my love. Not even your lack of motivation. You have no motivation because you do not feel good enough. You are more than good enough. You were perfectly made by me and when I look down at you, I think of how proud I am of your heart.

Throughout the last few weeks of this semester, you will stumble upon speedbumps. But hold the hand of my son Jesus and you will be able to go over that speedbump with ease. Go write that paper, go study for that test, and go get an A in that class. I know you can because I have given you power.

Love,

God

Cover Image Credit: Margaret Carnes

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Where Is The Good In Good Friday?

The million dollar question: why is it called Good Friday if what happened to Jesus on this day was so gruesome?

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The name of this holiday and what happened on this day all those years ago just don't seem to add up. Jesus was beaten, mocked, and scorned. He hung on a cross with nails driven through his hands and his feet. He had to struggle for every breath of air up until his last one. This doesn't seem to fit our definition of good, So why do we call it Good Friday?

Perhaps the reason for the name of this day is not because what Jesus had to go through was good, but because what was to come was. When Jesus died on the cross, nobody who loved Jesus at that time perceived that moment as good. There was so much sorrow and hurt and darkness literally fell over the earth. They had no idea that on the third day Jesus would conquer death and raise from the dead.

Good Friday is good in the eyes of Christians because without that gruesome death Jesus went through on the cross, we would never be able to experience life with Him. When Christ died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, thus erasing the separation between God and man. We wouldn't have His holy spirit living inside of us without His death.

Another reason Good Friday is good is because His death had to occur in order for the resurrection to happen. The resurrection happened on the third day, the day we also know as Easter. This is a day of great celebration because we perceive the fact that Jesus defeated death and came back to life as a good thing. It makes you wonder why it's not called "Good Sunday". This celebrated resurrection could not have happened without the gruesome death, which Jesus knew as He was hanging on that cross.

While it's difficult to give a definitive answer to the question of why Good Friday is, in fact, good, I hope this provides a little bit of perspective. On this day, let's remember Jesus' death and celebrate because of what it means. When Jesus died, so did our sin and shame, but unlike Jesus, they did not come back to life. The death of Jesus means the death of sin and the death of the shame that accompanies it.

Let's celebrate Jesus and that good news on this Good Friday!

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