Simple Joy Saturday #37

Simple Joy Saturday #37

Every Saturday I share three simple things that brought me happiness during the week.  These posts may grow or change as time passes.  Please feel free to share your own simple joys in the comments section!

simple joy saturday logo from kats9lifes

1. Village Juice Company and the friends who love it as much as I do

2. The Chronicles of Narnia

Who would have thought that I would get to read children’s fiction in grad school?!  Here’s one of my new favorite quotes from The Magician’s Nephew:

“‘But do not be cast down,’ said Aslan, still speaking to the Beasts.  ‘Evil will come of that evil, but it is still a long way off, and I will see to it that the worst falls upon myself.”

3.  Goggles and a new swimsuit

This week I learned that the right equipment can make all the difference.

Thirty Before Thirty: Land of Oz

Thirty Before Thirty: Land of Oz

Someday I’ll wish upon a star

And wake up where the clouds are far

Beyond me.

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Simple Joy Saturday #2

Simple Joy Saturday #2

Every Saturday, I share three simple things that brought me happiness during the week. These posts may grow or evolve as time passes. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

1. The Kindle App

Current favorite: the Ivy Malone Series

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2. This shipment I received from Blind Spot Nutbutters

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3. Hanging out with college friends

Since I don’t have any photos of us hanging out this week, here is a link to the bad lip reading video that we laughed over.

 

What were the simple joys in your life this week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Student Teaching Bag

Top Ten Tuesday: Student Teaching Bag

This is the bag of a student teacher.

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It is capacious, sturdy, colorful, and (like every good school bag) eats school supplies.

You can tell a lot about a person based off of what is in their bag.  For example, if you were to look into my bag, you would learn…

  1. That I have lots of plans–so many that I have two planners.20170205_182529
  2. That I will be guiding the class through several science experiments this week..and that certain people in my family eat lots of peanut butter (me) and drink lots of coffee (Mom).
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  3. That I lead a lot of guided reading groups.  A lot.
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  4. That I am always prepared for the rain.
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  5. That I am about to teach a unit on the Civil war…
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  6. and that I need to make a lot of copies before we can start that unit.
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  7. That I only have one textbook (although I teach 5 subjects), and it is older than my students.
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  8. That I explained number 7 on the math worksheet very poorly, and I have not determined yet how I will grade it.
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  9. That I color code my lesson plans with different colored pens.
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  10. That I still like to decorate my notebooks as if I was in middle school and that I see student teaching as a grand adventure.
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Not a Savior, Just the Truth

Not a Savior, Just the Truth

Over the summer, I attempted to listen to the audiobook version of Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle.  As I criss-crossed the state of Texas, I quickly lost track of Vivian and Harp’s whereabouts, and I abandoned the book until early October.  Although I am only about halfway through the novel (and I probably won’t formally review it when I am done), the basic premise of the story has left my mind curious.

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This is the summary from the book jacket:

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed “Rapture,” all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivian Apple isn’t looking for a savior. She’s looking for the truth.

That last line haunts me…

Vivian Apple isn’t looking for a savior.  She’s looking for the truth.

Not savior.  Just truth.

Let me give some background information.  This fictional book is in no way Christian nor does it reference true Christianity.  In the novel, the “Evangelical Church of America” is essentially a cult started by a man named Frick who dreamed that God chose him to protect select individuals from the rapture and Apocalypse.  Indeed, Vivian did not need that sort of deceitful “salvation.”

Nonetheless, it is easy to think that we don’t need a Savior, we just want the truth.  Furthermore, we want OUR truth, the truth that works for us personally.  That truth can be anything as long as it makes sense to us and meets our personal needs.

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Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” – John 14:6

Jesus is the truth.  John 14:6 does not say that He “could be” the truth or “might become” the truth or “was” the truth.  He is the truth.  That truth is not relative or changing.

So if Vivian Apple only needs the truth, she needs Jesus.

But,

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We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  – I John 4:14

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – I Timothy 1:15

The truth is that Jesus is also our Savior.  To believe the truth is to believe that He died for our sins, was buried, rose again, and is the Savior of the World.  You cannot separate the fact that Jesus is truth from the fact that Jesus is Savior.

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So if Vivian Apple needs the truth, Vivian Apple needs a Savior.

Alice’s Destination

Alice’s Destination

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In Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Chesire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

The Cheshire Cat replied, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

As I enter my senior year, I keep asking which way I ought to go.  I have been in school for 17 years, and I have always known the next step.  Every May, I go on summer vacation, and every August, I head back to school.  This comfortable rhythm has been my solace.  But once I graduate, that schedule is obsolete. There will be no class rosters with my name in the fall; the cycle will be broken.

So what should I do? Which way should I go from here?

Well, that depends a good deal on where I want to get to.

The sad truth is, I don’t know exactly where I want to go. I have no ten-year plan.  I have no career goals. I don’t even have a dream job. Label me lost.

Although I am aimless concerning my future occupation, I do know that I want to be in the center of God’s will. Thankfully, God’s will is not as difficult to determine as my upcoming adult job.  I Thessalonians 4:3a says, “For this is the will of God…your sanctification.”

According to dictionary.com, to “sanctify” is “to purify or free from sin.”  On a regular basis, I find myself ensnared in the Devil’s lies and the world’s desires.  However, God wants me to be free, and sanctification is the process by which He makes me more like Jesus Christ.

This process is not easy.  In fact, I have found that it is usually painful as God chips away my personal desires.  I often feel lost as He leads me down winding paths and through dark valleys.  Even while I am following Him, I sometimes ask, “Which way should I go from here?”  Nonetheless, following Him is always beneficial.  As He chips away my personal desires, He shapes me to look more like His Son.  While I wander down strange trails, I am forced to trust His leading.  When I ask which way I should go, He gives the needed wisdom (James 1:5).

God’s way is perfect; no matter how strange it seems, it is always beneficial for our spiritual growth (Romans 8:28).

All that is to say, don’t be too alarmed if you don’t know which way to go.  Simply know that your destination is sanctification.  God knows the road to the journey’s end.

 

What Would Jesus Do?

What Would Jesus Do?

 

I was born a little late to truly be part of the WWJD movement, but I do have a few recolections of it.  I remember choosing woven bracelets at the local Christian bookstore with my grandma.  I remember seeing similar bands on the wrists of older girls at school.  I believe my mom had a Spanish version of a WWJD band strapped to her “teaching bag.” My brother and I had a book on cassette that told the story of children who always asked the question, “What would Jesus do?”

In truth, this trite phrase has merit.  Verses such as I Peter 1:16 tell us to “be holy” because Christ is holy.  If we actually apply the question “What would Jesus do?,” we will never sin.

Recently, I read the book When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman.  In it, Addie relates her personal narrative of growth in an evangelical family.  Some of the stories she told were shocking.  Consider the following statements that people made to her:

Jesus fasted for forty days.  I think we should try to do everything Jesus did.

One boyfriend told Addie to do 10 push-ups every time she was sarcastic because

Jesus was never sarcastic, and you want to be like Jesus, right?

When Addie was trying to determine where to go on a summer mission trip, she was told to

Kneel on the floor.  Draw a circle around yourself and pray.  Whatever you do, don’t move from that circle until God gives you an answer.

What?!  Is this truly what Jesus would do?

Yes, we should strive to be like Jesus, but not in a cultish, legalistic way.  For a minute, I want to poke holes in these three statements and, consequently, the beliefs of many Christians.

 I think we should do everything Jesus did.

First of all, Jesus is GOD. He created the world (John 1:1).  He healed the sick (Matthew 9:35).  He walked on water (Matthew 14).  He fed 5,000 people with five rolls and two small fish (Matthew 14).  Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again three days later (I peter 3:18). It would be impossible to do everything that Jesus did.

Even if we only focus on those things which are humanly possible, such as fasting and overcoming temptation, we must remember one key point:  Jesus is wholly God.  Unlike us, He retained 100% of His deity when He came to earth.

Jesus was never sarcastic.

Except for when He was.  I think Luke 7 and Matthew 23 both show that Jesus rightfully used sarcasm on occasion.

Don’t move until God gives you an answer.

The biggest problem with this is that it implies that the person praying will hear an audible answer from God.  Addie could have stayed on that floor for years and never known where to go on her missions trip.

So what would Jesus do?

Jesus would spend time with the outcasts (Mark 2:15).  Jesus would fight temptation with verses of God’s truth (Matthew 4:4).  Jesus would pray fervently for the Father’s guidance (John 5:30).

And I believe that is what we should do as well.