Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Degree Purpose

If you are a college student, then you have mostly likely encountered the following question from well meaning friends or relatives, "So what do you plan to do with your degree?" I like to rephrase that question. Instead of answering to what I will do with my degree, I would like to answer, "I like to think of my degree, not in terms of what I will do with it, but what it has done and is doing for me." At this point you will get puzzled looks, in fact you may have a puzzled expression on your face now. Let me explain.
I began the process of earning my degree through CollegePlus as an exercise in trust. I was scared by the phrase, "Credit by examination." I have always had to work hard to maintain a good grade. Studying and testing has never come easily for me. The idea of gaining my whole degree through distance learning was so daunting that I very seriously considered attended a brick and mortar college, because for some reason that option sounded far less frightening.
For reasons I may explain in another post, God really convicted me that leaving home and going several hours away to college was not a good choice for my spiritual growth, and that I needed to remain at home and involved in the lives of my family members and friends. For months I sat staring the option of starting CollegePlus in the face. "But Lord, I don't think I can do it. You know that testing isn't my strong point. I might fail…" The argument when round and round, and finally I remember the question that changed my life. "Katy, you have always told God that you would go where He led. How you would leave all behind and follow Him anywhere He asked you to go. What if He is not leading you to go anywhere? What if He is calling to serve here? What if He is asking you to trust Him in this journey of earning your degree? Will He be with you any less in passing exams than He would have been if He had called you to Africa? You said you would trust and follow Him anywhere, what if this is where He is leading you? Can you trust Him?"
That was the beginning of my journey to earning my degree. Since then there have been many faith stretching moments, many fears to overcome, and I know that there will be more as I continue forward. The question for me is not about what my degree will do for me, or how I will use it, it is, "How will God continue using this process to build character and ultimately draw me nearer to Him."
I have learned what it means to persevere. What it means to fail and try again. I have learned how to better manage my time and how to trust that He can help me overcome seemingly impossible odds. I made friends through CollegePlus who challenged the very core of everything I believed, causing me to seek the truth through His Word. Consequently I have grown by leaps and bounds spiritually. I could probably write a book on all that the Lord has taught me since I took that first step of faith and enrolled with CollegePlus.  The decision to begin CollgePlus really was a life altering decision.
For me college has never been about earning a degree that will give me better career opportunities, it has always been about trusting the Lord and following where He leads. The question is not always, "What will you do with your degree?" but rather sometimes it is, "What will your degree do for you and how will the Lord use it to grow you in ways that glorify Him?"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 34

“You shall fear the LORD your God, you shall serve Him and to Him you shall hold fast” (Deuteronomy 10:20).

What does it mean to fear the Lord? In this day in age you hear over and over that the Lord is a God of peace, a God of love. In many cases you get the impression that He is your buddy. He wants you to always be happy and He is there when you need Him. There is not a big emphasis on fearing the Lord, in fact it is a term that many do not fully grasp. I am not sure that I even do, though I am seeking to understand it more fully.

The Lord is a God of love. He is the originator of love. He is love in its deepest sense. He loves us unconditionally, yes, but this love is like the love of a Father. He chastens us, He shows us where we are wrong, lovingly correcting us and calling us to a higher way of life. He is a God of Love, but He is also a God of justice, His wrath can be awakened toward those who displease Him. He is not our “buddy” He is God. Creator of the universe, Savoir of the world, He is to be stood in awe of, worshiped, reverenced. These are a few things I have been learning about what it means to fear the Lord.

Not only are we to fear the Lord, we are also to serve Him and to hold fast to Him. Serving Him should be easy, but often times it isn’t. We are selfish and we want to go our own way. We have goals to meet, but how often are these goals our own and for our own gain? Do we serve for the Lord, or to gain the praise of others? Do we truly serve the Lord from hearts filled with unselfish motives? What does it mean to you to serve the Lord? What does it look like in your life.

In my life right now, serving the Lord is first following His commands and doing those things which He asks of us, like prayer and seeking to know His Word and hiding it in our hearts. Then it is serving those whom He has put in my life like family, friends, and even those at the grocery store or wherever that I come in contact with. Serving the Lord means doing things for His glory and not my own. This means heart checks on a daily basis. Why am I doing this? Is it to impress others, or is it to bring honor to the Lord? Often times serving the Lord means laying aside what I would like to do to do that which He would like for me to do, and honestly, I really struggle with that. It is something that I seek His strength in daily.

“And to hold fast to Him.” Why hold fast? Well, I’m sure there are lots of reasons, one being that if we do not hold fast to the Lord and His Word we will surly grow week and fall. We will get lost in the darkness of our sin, loaded down in guilt and shame. We will become distracted by worldly gain, by the promises that we will gain the praise of men. If we do not hold fast we will fall away until we no longer see what it is that He put us on this earth to accomplish and that would surely be heartbreaking.

I do not have it all together. There is so much I do not yet know, but I pray that the Lord will help me to remain faithful to reading and studying His Word and that daily He will help me to understand who it is He is calling me to be. I want to get to the end of this life and be able to say that I strove with all that was within me and by the grace of the Lord I served Him above all else. Above man, above wealth, and mostly, above self.

Monday, July 16, 2012


One of my favorite bloggers, recently posted this quote in her article "Guilty As Charged."
"In our sufferings, we need to be more concerned about our duty than our deliverance. We should seriously consider what it is that God desires in our present dispensation. There is no condition or trial in the world but we have the opportunity to exercise some special grace or duty. To desire deliverance alone is self-love and quite natural to man. In affliction man seeks to be delivered and released from his burden. Men make more haste to get their afflictions removed than to be sanctified in them...Let us search and try our ways, Let us consider that the present condition is best for us, and learn in whatever state we are, to be content (Phil. 4:11). Let us rejoice in tribulation (Rom. 5:3) Let us lift up Jesus Christ and make Him glorious by our afflictions. Paul studied more how to adorn the cross than how to avoid it. If he must suffer for Christ, O that Christ might not suffer by him! May Christ be exalted, and let us entrust our souls to a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19)." Thomas Chase, Select Works, A Treatise of Afflictions, pp. 65-67

"Men make more haste to get their afflictions removed than to be sanctified in them..." How true this is. Recently in talking with a dear friend I was reminded of this very thing. How often have I wished for the trials in life to just be gone. How much easier it is to pray that God will set us free from our afflictions rather than to sanctify us through them. My friend has challenged me to not pray, "Lord, lift this burden," but instead to pray, "Lord, make me broken before You if in my brokenness I may be sanctified and You glorified." When you are in the midst of some hardship that is the last thing you wish to pray for from a selfish and human perspective isn't it? But when you look at life as means of glorifying the Lord, and if that means be sanctified through pain, then would you not pray it?
Not so man may see,
But that I may be
Fully surrendared to You
In everything You call me to do
Humbled and broken
That Your glory be spoken
In word in action for all to see
Lord, be glorified in me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


"Those of us who are single face a danger of becoming self-absorbed. Free from the constraints of family life, it is all too easy to become preoccupied with fulfilling our own social needs or consumed with our jobs or with making money. Now there's certainly nothing wrong with having friends or careers or making a living, but God is concerned about the heart motives of His children. Rather than devoting their lives to furthering the Kingdom of Christ, many Christian singles have been caught in the trap of self-seeking and self-fulfillment." ~ Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Reading this was one of those "ouch" moments. It gave me food for thought and prayer. What are my heart motives and what are some things that I may need to change?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 c. water

1/2 c. uncooked rice (or orzo)

2 T. olive oil, divided

1/8 c. minced onions (or substitute with carrots)

6 bell peppers, stems and seeds removed (blanched)

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/4 lb. pancetta, or lightly smoked bacon diced

1 1/2 c. prepared marinara sauce

1/4 c. red wine, optional

1/2 t. red pepper flakes

1/3 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. grated parmesan, divided
Preheat over 375*. In saucepan bring water to boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and fluffy. Set aside. Heat 1 T. oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add carrots and onions and cook, stirring, until tender. Add beef and pancetta and cook until browned and crumbled. Drain. Return to heat. Add marinara, wine, and red pepper. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cream 1/2 of cheese and rice. Simmer 5 more minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stuff the peppers. Drizzle with remaining oil and top with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Love the Bride, Love the Savior

"If you do not love the bride, you do not love the Savior." ~ Voddie Baucham

Time management is something I have always struggled with. Truth be told, it is probably something everyone struggles with to some extent. This morning I was listening to a sermon by Dr. Voddie Baucham and the line I quoted above really stood out to me. "If you do not love the bride (speaking Christ's bride, the church), you do not love the Savior. He spoke of how it isn't enough to just serve Christ in your little closet. You must also love the bride as He loves the bride. Your top priority is not only to serve Christ, but to see Him worshipped among the nations.

I personally want that to be my first priority, but sometimes in the midst of everything I loose sight of that top priority. Thinking of it in terms of if I don't "see Him worshipped among the nations" and show concern for His bride thenI do not love Him...that really changes the way I look at life. At what I want to do, versus that which I have to do.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about marriage. Having just seen my older brother marry and having friends preparing to make that same commitment, I have begun to look a marriage in a different light. I see it more and more as it was meant to be seen, as a reflection of Christ's love for His bride, the church. As that reflection, marriage is a union that calls both parties involved to become more selfless, to be more concerned about the needs of the other than about their own wants. Marriage is a reflection of Christ's love for His bride. He was selfless when He died on the cross to redeem us, so stands to reason that I, as His child, am also called to be selfless.

After all, you do not just get married and all of the sudden become selfless. Selflessness is something that must be nurtured throughout our lives. How does this apply to the topic at hand? Well, it means we are called to be selfless or Christlike. When we are Christ-centered we will want to be about our Father's business. We will desire to serve Him in every area of life, but we will not stop there. Our desire will also be to see Him made known to the nations and worshiped by all. Once this longing fills our heart, we should not let it get pushed aside for things that we may want to do, or even what others may want us to do. This is not a choice that is left to us. We are not to serve Christ only if we want to, and to see that He is worshipped among the nations if we want to. No, we are called to do this. It is something we have to do. If we do not do it, then we are walking in rebellion and sin.

The next time I am tempted to push aside the importance of loving Christ's bride, I pray I remember to keep my priorities straight. First, I do what I have to, and then when I have done that and as He provides I can do those things that I want to do. Those things that may be good, but are not best right here and right now. There is no joy in serving self, but there is unfathomable joy in serving our Savior and "singing" His praises to the nations so that they may join in the song and lift their voices in fervent worship to He, who alone, is worthy to be praised.