Due to the threat of severe weather and in keeping with our policy of following the university’s lead, all activities including Monday night prayer are cancelled today, March 19. Additionally, the Wesley building will close at 6:30pm.
by Ruth Hallstead
Who/what is the king of your heart? Is it money, stuff, reputation? Perhaps it’s an actress, athlete, your followers on social media? There is a lot of talk about idols in the Bible, but it can be hard to translate that into today’s terms… People rarely bow down to worship literal idols today. Idols come in many forms though, and we often face pressure both internally and externally to put someone or something above the Lord in our hearts. Let’s focus on external pressure today. From commercials, to social media, to friends, pressure is everywhere. Do this, buy that, post these pictures, be more like that person… What should we do in situations like this? How do we bring our focus back to the Lord, the true king of our hearts? Let’s go to the Bible for an example. Rack, Shack, and Benny were happy employees of Mr. Nezzer’s chocolate factory, when suddenly Mr. Nezzer announced that all employees must worship a giant chocolate bunny and sing the bunny song every day. They refuse over and over again because they know that this is wrong, so Mr. Nezzer throws them into a furnace, where surprisingly they survive! They explain to Mr. Nezzer that their God is the only person they can worship, Mr. Nezzer realizes his mistakes, and they all live happily ever after (ok, that may not have been the Daniel 3 version… fun fact though, this VeggieTales episode starts with a letter from Tuscaloosa). Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego showed us a valuable lesson. Stick close to the Lord, stand by His word and teaching, and you will be protected. It may not be fun, it certainly won’t be easy, and it could be lonely. But these three were willing to die; they told the king they would never bow down to anything, even if their God didn’t deliver them from the fire. No matter the pressure from others, they knew their God was behind them, in this world and the next. Their God is our God, and He will stand with us when we stand up for Him. The next time you face pressure to put someone or something above the Lord, remember that “God made you special, and He loves you very much” Enough to protect you from a fiery furnace, or simply help you keep Him first.
by Paul Selden
As Hannah mused on the teachings of Queen Bey on Wednesday, we learned how Jesus is always there to support us and guide us through troubling times. I am going to look on the other side of this tune by Miss Knowles. In our life we often like to take pride in our status, such as having nice clothes, good health, or even a rocking GPA. While in many situations we may have worked long and had to attain these different things, ultimately we can get very distracted with these different things. Beyonce says this to us
“Just when you think we had it all
Big ends, condos, collecting cars
Picture your life elevating with me”
Although in the context of the song this might have a little bit of a different meaning, I would like to consider this as something Jesus might say to us. We can spend our time chasing status, wealth, beauty, and different achievements, but without our focus on Jesus above all these things it can be fruitless and very temporary. “Picture your life elevating with me”: a relationship with Christ is the most rewarding and powerful of all things, and elevating with him to the Kingdom of heaven is incomprehensibly better than all things that could possibly attained on earth.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Ultimately, realizing that our accomplishments are through the providence of God humbles us. In order to appreciate these things we should strive to give back: if it is money we have then give freely to help others, if it is intelligence we have then teach others and help them grow more wise, if it is physical ability we have then serve God through work. These gifts have been freely given to us by the gifts of God, so let us use love to help pass the fruits of these gifts onwards to others so that we may “elevate” with the Lord.
By Hannah Alford
Often times, when I get overwhelmed I continue trying to do everything myself, oblivious to the people around me who want to help me and ease my burdens. But more than just friends, I find that when I get stressed my involvement with the church suffers, my relationship with Christ suffers. However, stress is not an excuse, for it is in these times of unease and turmoil that we must come to God with our burdens and he will grant us grace and peace in our times of need. Queen Bey said in a song called “Upgrade U”
“Don’t doubt yourself, trust me, you need me
This ain’t a shoulder with a chip, or an ego”
How does this connect to Jesus? Well I’m glad you asked. In Isaiah 41:13 it states, “For I, the Lord you God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ’Fear not, I will help you’.” God will always be there to support you through hard times, holding your hand. It is important to remember that God will not always rescue you by making your problems go away, but, instead giving you the strength to conquer it. So just like Beyonce will be there for Jay-Z, Jesus will always be there for you with no judgement or resentment, and trust me, you need him!
by Ruth Hallstead
Paul (Selden, not the apostle) reminded us on Friday to rejoice in the joy of the Lord. With spring break coming up, bringing with it thoughts of sunshine and beaches (or at least no classes), it’s a good week to continue in that theme. Joy is a powerful emotion, and one of my personal favorites. There is no better feeling than smiling until your face hurts and laughing until you cry. However, with homework, sleep deprivation, work, rain, bills, taxes, life… and everything else piling up around us it can be easy to slip into negativity. Complaining is a major part of our society. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In the movie Pollyanna, the town preacher is one of those fire and brimstone, eternal damnation every Sunday preachers. One day, Pollyanna comes to him and asks whether he likes what he does (since he’s so negative all the time), and they begin to talk about his job. Pollyanna tells the preacher there are over 800 happy texts in the Bible, and “if God took the time to tell us 800 times to be glad and rejoice, he must have wanted us to do it”! This sparks a spiritual awakening in the preacher, and changes his entire life. Now I have no idea if that number is correct, but I do know there are a lot of passages about joy, gladness, and rejoicing! Across 13 translations, the word joy is found 470 times in the bible, while sadness is only found 29 times! After the resurrection, we were upgraded. We were transformed from hopelessly lost, broken people into God’s people, His masterpieces! If that isn’t something to rejoice about, then I don’t know what is. Truly joyful, positive people are some of the best people to be around, and as Christians that’s what we should aspire to be. Life won’t always be sunshine and rainbows… but we will always have Jesus and for that we can be happy! Give it a try today– read some glad verses, and find something to be joyful about in every situation throughout your day. Whether it’s that a really boring class got out ten minutes early, or simply the sun was shining on your walk across campus, you can (and should) find something good in every situation.
by Paul Selden
Ah Snoop Dogg (also known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Bigg Snoop Dogg, Uncle Snoop, Snoopzilla, DJ Snoopadelic, Doggfather, Coach Snoop, and Snoop Lion), what an interesting artist. As mentioned earlier this week, the Lord uses many different kinds of people to spread his gospel, but let’s look at a specific song that Snoop has used for this purpose. One song off his new album is called “Sunshine Feel Good”. It goes like this:
It’s just another, just another day that the lord has
It was no goodness of my own
It was you and you alone
You deserve all the glory
This song reminds me of another verse (which is also a song): Psalm 118:24
“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it”
Essentially, this song highlights the joy of life that we can experience because of God’s wondrous love for us. I find it so important that Snoop says “It was no goodness of my own” which conveys the nature of Jesus’s love for us. Jesus loves us before we could have ever loved him, continues to love us each and every day, and will always love us no matter what we do or how far we stray from him. I like to think that Snoop realizes that, because even with an interesting past, there is always time to embrace Christ and let him into your life and praise God in this way (as Snoop says “You deserve all the glory”). That being said, it is another day that the lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it.