Open the Eyes of My Heart

So recently I did a ‘How to’ post on how to survive a modular course in college, but today I wanted to talk about a more serious side of my Modular course where my eyes were really opened to God’s work in my life. This really impacted me when my eyes were opened to an absence in my life.

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So the week of February 28th/March I took a modular course called Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom and through it, God opened my mind and my heart to the realization that I didn’t and don’t know as much of the bible as I thought.

That hit me HARD.

I mean, in the first place, I’ve never really been someone who has boasted on their knowledge of the Bible and perfect relationship with God but I definitely thought I knew more than I did.

This course I took went over Old Testament Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom Literature (hence the name.) which were the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon. Taking this course made me realize how little I knew in general but out of the five books of the Bible we looked at I have only for sure, as far as my memory serves me, read ONE of them to completion.

ONE. 

Up until coming to school I realized how much of the Bible had gone unread by myself. Even now there is still so much of the Old Testament I haven’t read and even more of the New.

With this realization I was left shocked. I, someone who grew up in a christian home and attending church regularly thought I knew all there is to know about God and the Bible but I was proved wrong.

Put in my place.
Hit in the face by my own lack of knowledge – my own ignorance to this fact.

From there I realized how much I’ve been missing these hints from God that I need to be spending more time with Him and in His word. That being at Bible College is going to teach me things bit if I don’t know God and what His word says, then what is the point?

I strongly encourage you to sit back and take time with God. Talk to Him. Ask Him to reveal to you what you know or don’t know. Grow in Him. Grow in His word. Run to Him with arms wide open and dive into His love -gain knowledge and understanding in Him.  It’s not always going to be easy and there may be days where it’s not going to be easy or you won’t want to take that time in your schedule to dive in God’s word (trust me, I know. I get that sometimes) but in the end I assure you it will be SO rewarding.

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How to Survive a Modular Course

For those of you who don’t know, Modular Courses are essentially a semester long college course condensed into five days of classes. So instead of taking a reading week break I decided I’d be one of the crazy people who would take one of these courses. Because I took one of these courses I wanted to make a list on how to survive one of these courses and get the most out of it!

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I also want to note two things before I start. 1) In regards to Mod courses, the one I took was easier in workload (assignment and reading wise) than most. and 2.) All professors teach different and approach mod courses differently so I will talk specifically about some things in my class that may not happen in your course should you take one.

NOW. With that said, lets start the post!

How to Survive a Mod Course in 7(ish) Steps

  1. Take time beforehand to do any prep work

It is SO important to make sure you do any required reading needed before classes start (if any) and any assignments that might be due the first day of classes. On top of that take a few minute to look over the course syllabus and familiarize yourself with what will be required of you in the course.

 

        1.5. But also be sure to take some downtime you are going to need before classes start.

This is also important. Give yourself time to do any preparation work, of course, but also take time to relax before your mod course if you can because if you are taking a mod it is a semesters amount of material in a week so that means LONG days in a classroom and lots of learning to be done. So don’t exhaust yourself before the course even begins!

 

2. Make sure you show up to class prepared!

Obviously you will need some pens or pencils as well as paper or a laptop to take notes (i personally find it better for me to focus if I’m writing my notes on paper) Though even if you do write notes on paper bring your laptop if your professor has made the powerpoint slides they will be using for the class available to you so you can follow along that way or if you are slower at writing it will be great to keep up with the slides and note taking while going at your own pace and not being too rushed either. This also is solely dependent on the class but you may also need to bring your bible with you. I attend a bible college and this course was specifically studying books of the bible so thats kind of important. Which leads to a quote from my roommate and her words of wisdom: “Bring your bible. Even if it’s not a biblical course, because you need to pray to Jesus to make it through.”

 

3. Bring Munchies and a Water-bottle

For my mod course we were in class from 8:30AM until 4-4:45PM daily (with a 1 hour lunch break) and I’m someone who loves her snacks so if you are like me make sure you bring something to munch on. The healthier the better but I mean whatever you want, go for it. But yes. Snacks and water are a must because its a long day.

 

3.5. Also coffee/tea and energy drinks will be your friend

On top of bringing water every morning to class I had either tea, coffee, or a red bull with me to keep me awake… which leads me to my next point.

 

4. SLEEP IS IMPORTANT

This is solely going to be a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” because honestly I was up until around 1-2AM each night this week watching Ouran High School Host Club so please don’t do that and PLEASE get sleep. Sleep is going to help you so much with being attentive and awake during your classes.

 

5. Dress Comfortably

I cannot stress this enough! You will be in a classroom ALL day and not moving much so dress comfortably.

 

6. Take Time to Study

I know, I know. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is study after being in a class all day but if your class was like mine where at the beginning of each class there was a quiz on the last day’s lecture then you are going to want to study for that quiz.

 

7. Have fun!

Think of it this way, the course only lasts a week and even though it might be a lot of work just have fun with it! Enjoy the opportunity to learn! I found that not allowing myself to stress over the course that I came to really enjoy the course and learn so many things I didn’t know before.

 

I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

You can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree. I’ll be home for Christmas!

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So the reason for my being MIA is due to my being at college. (In case you didn’t know due to my forgetfulness to mention things or you are new and visiting the blog for the first time.) For some reason, I thought my first semester was going to be so chill and easy and…while it was easier than I had initially thought I’ve been so busy on a daily basis it’s not even close to funny. Penpals haven’t received responses (but they have not been forgotten), Bookstagram hasn’t had very much TLC, My blog has been abandoned and while I have been able to keep up with a bit of reading (textbooks aside) I still haven’t had much time for downtime.

Experiencing now, my first ever semester of college, I can look upon the semester with some stress, confusion, and frustration, I’m also really proud of myself. And no, not in the ‘oh wow I’m so amazing and better than everyone else!’ proud but just proud of my accomplishments and that I even made it this far. Because if you had asked me last year if I was going to college I may have said I was going to try as I was upgrading high school classes at the time but it’s still quite surreal that I’m even here right now and a week and a half away from going home for Christmas break! Being here at Bible College has been such an eye-opener for me and an amazing experience…well, amazing as long as we ignore and forget the caf food here is the worst. Caf food aside this college has been a huge experience for me with so many learning curves and trying new things to help me grow not only academically, but spiritually. One of those things was in my Spiritual Theology class where we had to spend 24hours fasting and in complete solitude. While it was something I’m not sure I’m too keen on doing on a regular basis it was still an amazing time and wonderful experience to be able to connect with God in a new way. And now I actually know from experience what it is like to be in prayer and fasting for 24 hours and spend one on one time with God in such an interesting and intimate way. ( I am hoping to write up a post or two over Christmas break about my classes and what I learned and more about what I’m planning to do here at school.) I’m actually quite sad my last day of that Spiritual Theology class is ending but I know that its time to move on to other classes and get other things done and just keep learning!

Within the next week and a half before heading home I have 3 final exams to complete and while I’m slightly nervous I know I can and will put my best work into studying and prep for these exams and make sure I’m ready to take them on and pass them. Despite that, these last few weeks the words from the Christmas song, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ has been stuck in my head. This year especially has had that song as my #1 favorite because it’s true! I’ll be home for Christmas! Last year I spent Christmas in my apartment 6 hours away from my family. While I spend Christmas day with some relatives in the area I still missed my parents and siblings and grandparents. The homesickness was even worse when I got a phone call from my dad later in the morning on Christmas Day saying my Papa was rushed to the hospital due to having a stroke. It made Christmas so hard for me because I was scared I was going to lose my Papa. One of my best friends for these short 20 years of my life. I thank God every day, especially as Christmas nears, that my Papa has fully recovered and is still here with our family. But that makes me all the more anxious to be home this time for Christmas. To see my family and spend time with them, hug them a little longer, lose sleep staying up late to spend time with them, and just being home with the people who love me most even though I’m not home right now.

Merry (Early) Christmas Everyone! ❤

Loving People Like Jesus

Hello there!

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. My priorities have been to focus on my upgrades for college and now that those are done it’s a waiting process to get my marks back. Since that’s done I’m hoping to be able to put a bit more of a priority on my blogging and novel writing. But today I’m gonna work on writing up some posts and finishing up ones I started so today my friend Cori has written another guest post so I’ll let her share what she’s written.

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Growing up I learned that people are not always the easiest to love all the time. I was taught that you have to love everyone, even if you don’t like them.

One of the most important commandments is to love your neighbors as yourself. God said that himself. Treat others the way you would want to be treated is something my youth pastor would say often. Although not always the easiest route, it is the way that Jesus lived himself.

Jesus hung out with people that you wouldn’t really expect. He made friends with the liars and cheats. The outcasts. The people nobody wanted to be. I think He did this to set an example for us today. He didn’t have to love on those people. But he chose to show them the love and respect every person needs.

Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus took crap from people either. He would correct them when they were wrong, in a very polite yet clever way most of the time.

Don’t think I’m telling you to hang around a murderer and be best friends with them. But I am telling you to love that person no matter the sins they struggle with because, in the end, his sin is the same as mine. Even if mine seems minuscule in comparison God sees all sin as the same.

When I was in grade school the teachers would always pair the new kids or the weird kids with me because In my house you treated everybody the way you would want to be treated, therefor I was always the nice one in class, even when I didn’t want to be I was paired with them. Now I was a very shy kid. It was pretty hard for me to do this. But I felt the call that God put on my life to follow him at a young age and I knew it was the right thing to do.

There was this one kid who nobody got along with. I’m not gonna share her name but she was a nice kid. Just a bit strange. Once one of my friends asked me why I hung out with her so much. I simply told them that she deserved to have friends too. At the end of the school year, we went our separate ways but her mom came up to me and thanked me for being so nice to this girl. She was a bit hyper and talked A LOT but I did enjoy her company and learned to love her very much.

I wish more kids would give each other a chance rather than judging a book by its cover. It’s so hard for me to see all the bullying and abuse that goes on In schools these days. It’s sad.

I learned pretty young that it’s honestly so rewarding and worth getting to know a person no matter how much they annoy you.

Now I know we aren’t all in grade school here. That was just one example. I have another. Take homeless people for example. I have worked and served homeless people for as long as I can remember. But some people won’t even look in their direction. Some Christians don’t even see them as people.

I’ll never forget the day that I went up to a homeless man and gave him some food and he looked at me with tears in his eyes. He said nobody would even look at him that day. He searches in his bag for a ring he had made and he gave it to me saying that he wishes there were more people like me in this world.

I’ve given people on the streets Christmas presents that haven’t gotten anything for 25 years and they’ve broken down and asked me to watch them open it. It wasn’t much just some essentials and little things and a book but he was so thankful for his gift. He said that maybe there really is a God that loved him all because I treated him like a normal person for a few minutes.

I love these experiences. Ones with people who think they don’t even deserve it anymore. Broken people. I see them as a beautiful creation of God and it’s almost magical seeing these moments.

If people could just open their eyes and see them as people in a bad circumstance the world would be a much more beautiful place. But let’s move on to another example.

Now we’ve all had that one neighbor that everybody hates right? I have anyways. Those people are one of the hardest to love. Just the meanest most annoying people you’ve ever met right? Well God calls us to love even them. I know crazy right?! Well, I know for a fact that Jesus would have gone up to that guy and said: “I love you no matter what the sin you are struggling with.” So we are called to do the same. That’s not always the easy thing to do but sometimes the hard choice is the best choice.

So many times in the Bible the Pharisees would scold Jesus for hanging out with “that guy” like why would a guy like you hang out with a guy like them? Love, that’s the answer. Unconditional unfailing love.

I know these words aren’t really something easy to read but it’s very important. So next time you just can’t stand someone, pray for them. It not only changes them but it changes your heart towards them. I’m not saying you have to like them, but you must love them.

“Lord help me to love like you do. Help me to love my enemy’s and pray for them. Help me to go up to the weird kid and be their friend. I thank you for your love and grace on us. We don’t deserve it but you made us deserve it by dying on the cross for us. Help me to spread love through out the world and shine your light through me. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen”

Loving Who God Made You To Be

Hello there lovelies!

Today we have a guest post from my friend Cori. She was one of the first people to volunteer to write a blog post for this new blog post series I wanna do throughout the year and I LOVE what she has to say.

I hope you all receive some encouragement from this lovely gals words of wisdom.

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Well, it’s a new year again and our social media is filled with “New year new me” posts and new years resolutions that will last a couple of weeks.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t see anything wrong with trying to better yourself, but when its all about me, me, me I think we might just be missing the point. My resolution is to grow closer to Christ and to love who He made me.
        The world tells us that it is all about you. You do you. You only live once. I agree to make the most of your life but when your life revolves around you and you only that isn’t exactly what God has planned. God tells us to live humbly and to always put your neighbor before yourself. He tells us to give a homeless man the clothes off our backs if he doesn’t have any. He tells us to pray for our enemies and love them no matter the harm they’ve caused you.  That may not be very easy, but that is what we are called to. There is a difference between loving who God made you and being a self centered jerk
        Now my life hasn’t been that easy. I was sexually abused, I’ve harmed myself and did for many years, and I even attempted suicide. Growing up I’ve had major self esteem problems.  I would look at myself in the mirror and hate everything about my reflection. I would cry at night because I wasn’t good enough for society or even myself. It wasn’t until recently, actually, that I realized  I wasn’t living how God had planned. It took a mental hospital being waved over my head for me to finally get my act together.  My point is this: God made you who you are for a reason and you are perfectly and wonderfully made. He planned out every inch of you, beautifully, inside of your mother and God, the God of the universe, does not make mistakes. (Psalms 139:13-18)
        Now I pray that in this new year you learn to love yourself for who God made you. Not for what the world wants you to be. Serve your Lord with all your heart soul and mind and love every bit of yourself because the creator of everything there ever was and is to come made you and that is pretty amazing if you think about it.
    Now I still deal with all of these things today. I am not saying that life is gonna be a bundle of joy on a sunny day. Life sucks, there’s no other way to put it, but it is so much easier to have hope and to love who God made you to be then to dwell on things and to try to be this perfect person society makes the standard out to be. You will never be perfect. You will never be “Good enough” , but you know what? That’s why Christ died for us. So that in Him we are good enough and always will be. God doesn’t look at us for all the bad things we have done.  He looks at us as perfect, just as He made us perfectly.

“Lord help me to love who You made me to be. Help me serve you in any way that i can in this new year. I pray that in the new year i grow spiritually and grow to love others more than myself, thank you for all these blessings, i pray that my self esteem will be high this year. In your name I pray , Amen.”

Yours Truly,
Cori Heck

Man, Myth, Messiah

Hello Readers!

Iiiiiii am back with another book review for you! Today I’m going to be reviewing one of the books I received from BookLook Bloggers and that book is called ‘Man, Myth, Messiah’ by Rice Broocks

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: I first heard of Man, Myth, Messiah in the movie God’s Not Dead 2 and I was instantly intrigued as to what it was about. So I was quite excited to have been able to read this as a review copy. “Man, Myth, Messiah” is a great book that shows you how and talks about defending your own faith and what you believe about God. As well, the book explores the proof behind who Christ is, why Christians believe in him and it backs it up, with proof, from not only scripture but also proof from history. I found it both shocking and amazing how many other sources, aside from scripture, pointed to proof that Christ exists. I mean I myself know that everything in creation points to Christ but even sources that were supposed to lead away from any proof of Christ’s existence still pointed to him anyways.

I would encourage everyone to read this book. Especially if you have questions about who Christ really is and are maybe on the fence about if He exists or not. It is an intrersting and intriquing read and if you are someone who likes books with a lot of facts and helpful information you can use in your everyday life, this is definitely a book to check out!

Standing Out in Your Writing {And What Not to Include}

 

Standing Out in Your Writing {And What Not to Include}

 

Hujambo! (That’s Swahili for hello!)

Thanks to Adriana Gabrielle for allowing me to post on her blog! I feel blessed for this opportunity!

So I went back and forth a few times while debating what to write about. I mean, there’s so many options. But I had to settle on something close to my heart—it’s one of my passions. Something important. Something that needs to be thought about.

But first, so you know where I’m coming from, let’s play a get-to-know-Rachel-game!

I’m going to list five things about me below:

1. I am in love with Jesus Christ, my Redeemer and Creator.

2. I am called by God to make a difference through the written word. A favorite term I’ve heard is Warrior of the Pen.

3. I’m an army brat. I’ve moved about ten times and they’re still racking up. I’ve been to nine schools (and homeschooled for a few years). I’m about to head to my tenth this fall (and hopefully the last…)

4. Jazz is my jam.

5. I could eat rice and beans three times a day…every day. But I don’t.

So today’s post is about standing out in our writing and being different. And, if we want to stand out and be different and make a difference…what we should leave out of our writing.

There’s a lot of popular fiction out there, aye? We’ve got contemporary YA, dystopian, steampunk, apocalyptic, sci-fi, fantasy…the genres go on and on.

And I have a problem.

A lot of popular fiction that people rage about (in a good way) is filled with worldly ways. Chock full of swearing, drugs/drinking, and inappropriate relationships…and these things are viewed in a good light.

I don’t know about you, but this stuff bothers me. Last year I tried to pick up a popular YA book that I really wanted to read. I wanted to see what everybody was going on about.

Let me tell you. I read about five pages and I had to put it down. There had been at least ten swear words (hint: not darn) and a few times where God’s name was taken in vain.

And I found out later that there was definitely some pre-marital inappropriateness going on in the book. I’m relieved I didn’t read it.

But there was a catch in my spirit, y’all. I wondered how my God-loving friends could be reading this and celebrating it. I wondered why they weren’t bothered by this blatant immorality.

As a Christian I’m supposed to be different than the rest of the world. My life is an example. What I read, listen to, watch, and write…should be monitored so that I’m not filling my head with the junk that’s already so prevalent in the world.

Words are influential. They impact people. They can save lives. They can also destroy them. It’s our duty to ensure that our words are full of worth. That our words are full of truth. They should encourage and speak life and love. They should stand out like a lamp on a hill.

Under no circumstance should they blend right in with the rest of society’s words.

That’s a red flag.

We have a responsibility to the people reading our stuff. We have a responsibility to tell them about our Heavenly King. We can’t let them down. We can’t let the lost continue in their brokenness just because we want to fit in and not cause a stir.

Jesus went into the temple with a whip, y’all. He wasn’t afraid of making a stir.

We can save lives.

If our writing glorifies anything on this list…we’re doing something wrong:

 

1. Swearing. Okay, people are already surrounded by this continually throughout their days. Do we really want to give them more? Are we going to look like the rest of the world? God’s Word says to keep our tongues from filthy talk, and to keep our minds on things pure. {2 Timothy 1:16; James 5:12}

2. Sex. Really? Really? Do you need to have inappropriate scenes in your books? Is that going to make anybody feel better? Are you going to stand out and make a difference? No. You’ll be just like everybody else. And trust me, that isn’t a good thing. The Bible has all the answers you need about this one. From staying pure before marriage to steering clear of sexual immorality. It’s chock full of warnings and cautions.

3. Drunkenness. The Bible doesn’t say it’s bad to drink. Jesus drank wine. But it does say we shouldn’t get drunk. Don’t support this in your writing. {Ephesians 5:18}

4. Drugs. Why? Just why? Drugs don’t bring good. Solomon talks about trying all the stuff under the sun and how it came to nothing. I’d say drugs definitely can fall in that list.

 

If your writing portrays any of things, be sure the characters receive consequences from their actions. Be sure the things portrayed are known to be bad. Make sure readers don’t perceive that you are pro these things.

I have characters who partake in lifestyles I am against. But I don’t glorify that. It is known that these things are wrong. There are definitely consequences.

Being a writer means we get to dabble in things we’d never be able to do in real life. But that isn’t an excuse to dabble in things that go against God.

There are ways to express real life without gory details. There are ways to express real life while still retaining the innocence of yourself and your readers.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Basically, if there’s something in your writing that goes against what God’s Word says, there’s a problem. If you’re glorifying something that’s wrong, you aren’t making a difference. You’re just adding to the noise. And I’m pretty sure most of us want our writing to stand out.

If you’re not sure, check your Bible.

God Bless! I hope to hear what you think!

 

Rachel Lester is a daughter of the King. Soon she’ll be off to college to follow God’s call on her life to be a writer and missionary. Rachel has been writing since she was a wee thing, but only during the past few years has she really delved deeper into the realm. She’s fought battles, especially with fear, but Christus Victor! She enjoys reading, almost anything outdoorsy, rockin’ out to jazz, and eating rice and beans. She has a passion to reach those who are broken and tell them the Truth. Rachel loves Jesus Christ, her Author and Redeemer.

{2 Timothy 1:7}

You can find her writing blog here: http://waterandpen.blogspot.com/

And you can find her young women’s Christian blog here: http://nolongerstone.blogspot.com/

Find her on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/waterandpen/