Monthly Archives: November 2017

9 posts

Away In a Manger (Wednesday)

toronto raptors applause GIF

by Hannah Alford

During the Christmas season, people get wrapped up and stressed out over the gift-giving and material part of Christmas, but sometimes we need to go back to our roots. In the Christmas carol “Away in a Manger” we see how Jesus came from nothing, just a baby in a stable filled with animals…

“Away in a manger no crib for a bed

The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head”

The Christmas season is not just presents, Christmas trees, and Santa; it’s a day for us to remember all God’s glory that he brought to the world when Jesus was born. It is a reminder of how something so small, has the potential for great and wonderful things. So take time out of this Christmas season, and think about all the blessings you have and really try to see God’s glory around you every day. “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” (Luke 2:13-14) It may not be as obvious as a host of angels singing praise in blinding light (although that would awesome if it was) but it’s there and sometimes it just takes a few minutes out of your day in quiet prayer and meditation to begin to see it.

Away in a Manger (Monday)

by Ruth Hallstead

You’ve eaten the turkey, stuffing (or dressing?), cranberry sauce, maybe some pie… and now you’re back on campus. It was great to see family, or maybe just hang out with friends over the break. But classes resume today and it’s crunch time. Project deadlines loom, finals are rapidly approaching, and before you know it you’ll be home (again, or maybe for the first time since summer). In the hectic three weeks ahead of us, it’s easy to forget why we have a break. The babe is “away in the manger”. While Christmas music, decorations, and sales surround us, we can quickly get caught up in the materialistic side of Christmas. When this happens, it’s time to take a break and bring it back to the Lord. We learned about Bold Prayers a few weeks ago, and how powerful starting the day with prayer can be. When school starts to overwhelm us, or when we lose track of Christ in the flurry of the “holiday” season, prayer becomes increasingly important. Prayer allows us to center ourselves, and bring the focus back to where it should have been all along. So in the next few weeks, as you begin to drown under the stress/excitement of projects, tests, shopping, and seeing your family; swim back to the surface. Take a deep breath, and in that moment, pray. Do that as often as necessary, even if your prayer is no more than a word or short phrase, or a scrap of scripture. Additionally, try to set aside a time (even if it’s five minutes while you walk to class) to pray with purpose throughout the day, and remember, “Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything” (Phil. 4:6)

You’re Welcome (Friday)

disney how far i'll go GIF by Moana

In Moana, the titular character ventures out to the real world, despite her dad’s fears of danger.  Sometimes, when I look into the real world I feel scared of the danger out there.  I mean, the news is overwhelming and, honestly, the world is kind of a mess. (Wade even preached on it at the beginning of the year. Check it out here.)  But, Moana was sent on a mission, much like we are, to try to return love to the world. In that journey, Maui wants her to be thankful for his help.  Unfortunately for her, he also caused all her problems.  Lucky for us, we are a bit more fortunate in our God.  Not only will he guide us, but we get to say thank you for so many things, not the least of which is knowing how the story ends.  As Romans 12:28-29 says, “28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”  SO, yeah the world is in chaos.  Sometimes, it seems like our mission is too dangerous and too difficult and it’s hard to find reasons to be thankful in the midst of that.  But, we know how the story ends.  Disney always has a happily ever after and in the very end our God’s kingdom cannot be shaken – that’s a few pretty good reasons to be thankful.

You’re Welcome (Wednesday)

by Hannah Alford

With only a week leading up to Thanksgiving break, the matter on many students’ minds is, stress, anxiety, and almost least of all these, being thankful. It’s not our fault, when we become centered around school and how many tests  or projects we have, the emphasis on the negatives does not allow us to see how blessed we are on a daily basis. God is working through everyone we interact with on a daily basis, meaning anything can be a blessing. From something as small as getting the door held for you, or maybe something more meaningful like a friend sharing their faith with you. Both of these and anything in between are blessings. Colossians 3:15 states, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

In this time of stress and anxiety it can be hard to find peace, but the solution is simple. Find those things that you are thankful for and use them to give you comfort. God is constantly working blessings and one of the best ways to see them in your life is to just take a deep breath and think (or even write down, I do that sometimes) the blessings God has put in your life. One of my biggest these past couple weeks has been Wesley, the friends and mentors I have gained show so much support to me, it gives me so much comfort to think of their impact on my life. And then just pray, give thanks because the exam will be done in two hours, but God’s love will support you for the rest of your life.

You’re Welcome (Monday)

the rock maui GIF

by Ruth Hallstead

It’s about to be “the most wonderful time of the year”. It’s getting colder, snow is in the air (well, maybe not in Tuscaloosa’s air), stores are assaulting us with advertisements, lights are going up… But wait! It’s only November. There is still one more holiday before Christmas. Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching; promising trips home, piles of homemade food, intrusive questions about your future from well-meaning family members, and a much needed break from classes. Amongst all the craziness (or perhaps serenity if you won’t be spending Turkey day with the family), it’s important to remember why we plan to devour Granny’s special whatever. The holiday is called THANKSgiving for a reason– now is the time to reflect on all the blessings we’ve received in the past year and give thanks to the Lord. Sometimes we get into a rhythm “Thank you for the nice day Lord”, “Thanks for the Bama win Saturday (Although, could ya teach Hurts to throw the ball every once in a while?)”, “Thank you for my family, friends, health, etc”, “Thank you for Wesley WooHoo!!!, how else would I occupy all my time?”. Okay, maybe not that last one. But I think you get the point… our gratitude can become routine. When you find yourself repeating the same old “Thanks”, it’s time to try something new. While The Rock may have been acting as Maui, his words ring true for our God. We should thank Him for everything from the sun in the sky to the grass under our toes. When we become tongue-tied like Moana, we can turn to the Psalms. There are some amazing songs of praise and thanksgiving to be found in the Psalms. Take Psalm 30 for example, “Sing praises to the Lord”, “Weeping may last for the night, but JOY comes with the morning!” and “You have turned my mourning into dancing”. Remember the words of the Psalmist as you go about your week. Sing in gratitude, rejoice in the joy of the morning, and dance in thankfulness and admiration for the Lord and his works!

Kids of the Future (Wednesday)

jonas brothers GIF

by Hannah Alford

One of the scariest things about the future is that by moving forward, you are leaving something behind, and although God is there to hold your hand and guide you, this journey can be difficult. But even the Jonas Brothers knew that holding onto the past only hinders one’s ability to see the future..

“..Come on Lewis, keep moving forward

Hold your head up high

There’s no time for looking down

You will not believe where we’re going now

Here we go, let me remind you

Look ahead, the past is behind you”

God is constantly thinking about our futures, and every step we take, the good and the bad, bring us closer to the future he intended for us. There’s no time to look down and get caught up in the past, so much good is coming our way. Even when we may be in a rut and feel like there couldn’t possibly be a good ending to our story, be patient. God is actively working in your life to bring you the wonderful life you deserve, the future is just hard to see sometimes. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and I future.” God has a plan, and the more we get wrapped up in the small things of everyday we no longer see the big picture, and we may never know for sure just what God has in store, but he will always be there to guide us along the way. The future is not an intimidating void we sometimes make it out to be, the future is hope, opportunities, and the comfort that God’s plan is working in our lives everyday