Monthly Archives: October 2017

12 posts

Thriller (Monday)

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by Ruth Hallstead

Being Halloween Eve, a general creepiness is descending upon us: decorations, costumes, haunted houses, a chill in the air… For some, Halloween represents a throwback to running through neighborhoods trying to get as much candy as possible, trying to convince your parents it’s warm enough to wear your costume (some of y’all have probably never faced the tragedy of covering up a fantastic costume to avoid hypothermia) without a coat, and eating candy until you descend into a fugue state. For others, October is the season to scare yourselves silly watching horror movies around the clock. Whatever Halloween means to you, it’s coming… and our devotion is getting in the spirit. The first time I saw the music video for Thriller, I was terrified. However, the frightening scene of a boyfriend going lupine or being surrounded by zombies in a dark alley cannot compare to another fear heard in the lyrics “Cause this is thriller, thriller night. And no one’s gonna save you, from the beast about to strike”. No one’s going to save you. Loneliness is a powerful fear, and for those few of us who stayed on campus through fall break, we were reminded how incredible loneliness can be. Campus felt like one of those movies where all the humans have been abducted except for you. Regardless of whether you are on an empty campus or in the middle of the quad on gameday, we’ve all experienced loneliness. The feeling that no one is going to save you from yourself, from your thoughts, from sin, from danger, is painful. Nobody wants to feel that… and here’s where we can all help out. Proverbs 17:17 reminds us of our duty as friends “A friend loves at all times”. All times. Good, bad, and ugly, we are called to save others from their loneliness. The Lord loves and supports us, and it is our job to reflect this love and support onto others. Whether your friend has changed from human to werewolf or from Naomi to Mara, be their Ruth this week; shine the light of God into dark alleys and stay with them no matter what.

Who You Gonna Call/Ghostbusters (Wednesday)

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by Hannah Alford

Now that we have called upon the Lord, we are not afraid, but what’s next? Does it now become our job to save others? Well let’s look at the scripture and see, Galatians 6:2 states, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The ghostbusters job is to save people from the fears and dangers that they may not know even exist. “Who ya gonna call?” Often times we turn to others in our community before we turn to God, because as a people we yearn to be supported and protected by those around us. But even when we are not directly asking God for help, the actions and deeds we do to help those around us is the same light that God gives us to save each other, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

God works in many different ways, one of the most common is to work through people who believe in him to strengthen others beliefs or create new believers entirely. Who are we to say no when God calls us to the task? Yet we are never alone, the ghostbusters were a team and so are we. With God as our backing we have the whole christian community working together to save the people around us from their burdens and fears, it’s our job just to answer the call.

Who You Gonna Call/Ghostbusters (Monday)

     

 

by Ruth Hallstead

Letting go of fear is an incredibly hard thing to do. We know that God has our back no matter what, but relinquishing fear forces us to give full control of our lives to God. Even though we never really have control, acknowledging that is overwhelming… Letting go of fear is the hardest thing I face as a Christian. I often feel as if I am standing on the edge of a cliff. Falling off of this cliff means succumbing totally to fear. It means total mental shutdown, full on panic, perpetual falling into oblivion. At times, the edge is miles away. Other times, I have my toes hanging over the edge of the cliff, and it’s all I can do to stay on top. Every time the edge starts to approach, my natural response is to try and run away on my own. I think that I can distract myself, or just grit my teeth and hold on until it passes. This rarely works, and then only for a moment. I cannot do it on my own. The power of that fear is too much for me to handle. I’ve learned (and relearned and continue to learn) that prayer is the only way to back away from the cliff and stand on solid ground once again. Psalm 23, gives us a promise for when we are afraid and struggling hand it all to the Lord. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” God is with us no matter where we are, but he is especially present in times of trouble. So, when there’s something strange in the neighborhood and you don’t know who to call, call upon the Lord. The Lord knows what we need, and he hears us when we call. Given that, it’s still nice to have a collection of things to say for when your brain is too overloaded to think. Whether your prayer is a tremulous, whispered “Help me”, a piece of scripture, or a thunderous, bold prayer, call upon the Lord. He is our strength and our redeemer, and he will never fail to pull you away from the edge, or to haul you back up the side of the mountain after you’ve fallen.

Highway to Hell (Friday)

Listening to this song, AC/DC sounds pretty sure of their destination and the route they’re taking to get there.  Now, for me, the idea of being on a Highway to Hell is a little frightening (I’ve read really bad reviews), but upon further reflection I realized this metaphorical highway is rarely quite as blatant as described.  Instead, it’s more of a wrong turn or accidentally driving going off the east ramp when you meant to go west and not realizing like ever because the name of the road is the same.  When things like this happen while driving, you pull over, turn down your music, pull up Google Maps, and reroute yourself.  In a similar fashion, this is one way to go about rerouting your life.  Unfortunately, even once I’ve rerouted, I have a tendency to beat myself up over the mistake.  I’ll apologize to everyone in my car or that I was late to and feel guilty about it for days, even if they tell me it’s no big deal.  Sometimes, I’m sort of this way with sin too.  I’ll recognize I’ve gone a little off path – I’m not feeling as close to God as I was a little bit ago, and I can see where I went wrong, so I change what I’m doing and ask for forgiveness.  And that should be the end of it, but of course, I often allow the guilt to continue eating at me – leaving me feeling like I am not worthy of God’s love or capable of representing Him.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 God says to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  By dwelling in my shame, I am moving farther from God by focusing on myself instead of His love.  I am saying that my mistake is bigger than His grace and my weakness stronger than His power.  When we trust that His grace really is sufficient, we are able to move past our shame and allow the Lord to truly demonstrate the strength of his love through us and our testimony.  This story led me to check in with my own heart and ask Where was I (or still am I) on the Highway to Hell?  In what areas do I know I’ve been forgiven but still need to fully accept God’s grace?

Highway to Hell (Wednesday)

by Hannah Alford

On Monday, we learned that God is always holding us accountable for our actions, but when we make those mistakes, what’s next? In the song “Highway to Hell” the singer believe that his only option for the actions he’s taken is hell.

But that’s just not the truth, because not only is God a God of judgement, but a merciful and forgiving God as well. Micah 7:18-19 states, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” No matter what we do, God is there for us, to forgive and support us, and with his forgiveness, we can find the strength to forgive others. “Get rid of all the bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32) We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and just as God is there to guide and support us, we must guide and support each other. Even those of us that have made mistakes because God hasn’t given up on them, so neither should we.

Highway to Hell (Monday)

by Ruth Hallstead

The song Highway to Hell makes it sound like life is a blast when you don’t answer to anybody and do what you want. At some level, it seems like “living easy, living free” is a nice way to live. No responsibilities, no worries, nothing… and for a little while, that might be fun. It could even be quite the party. However, living only for yourself gets real old, real fast. No accountability also means that no one cares about you. No one is looking out for you, and no one minds what happens to you. Now that’s a scary thought. There is hope though— we are surrounded by accountability. Even when we try to deny it, God is there. He cares what you do, He is invested in where your path leads, and He will never let go of you. Jeremiah was a prophet amongst nations that behaved as if they were free to act as they pleased. It was a lawless time full of war, cruelty, neglect, and harassment. It seemed like God had forsaken the Israelites as he allowed these nations to rule over them. Of course, they couldn’t have been more wrong and God lets them know that. Jeremiah 46:28 says “As for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the Lord. For I am with you. I will make an end of all the nations among which I have banished you, but I will not make an end of you! I will chastise you in just measure. . .” God remembers what you did, you don’t get a free pass on sin. But He is with you, and he is against the lawlessness that sometimes surrounds you. They don’t get a free pass either. Wait, backup, read that second sentence again. “I am with you”. He is with us always; chastising us while protecting us, loving us, yet reprimanding us. We get the good and the “bad” that come with living under any authority. But the good is so very good that we wouldn’t want to trade it for anything else.