Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Back and I'm Stuck.

Yes, I am back after an 11 month hiatus. MUCH has changes in my life since my last post. Probably the biggest change is that I am living in Mobile again. (Instead of boring you with exciting details, I will assume that since you are reading this blog, you know how and why I am back.)

Now, I know what you're thinking right about now. You're thinking, "Self, I know why and how she is back in Mobile (and I'm glad she's back on the blog), but what on earth is Ashleigh stuck on?" (Now you're amazed that I can read your mind, huh? Maybe I'll post a blog on mind-reading soon.)

I'm stuck on 1 Chronicles 14:2.
Read it for yourself:

"And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel,
and that his kingdom was for the sake of his people Israel."

Stuck yet? It's okay. I wasn't stuck on first, second, or third read either. I was stuck after being reminded of this verse by Priscilla Shirer in "Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed: A Study of David." It was almost 3 weeks ago I got stuck on this verse for several reasons, I'll spare you and not share them all. (If you want the whole explanation, well, call me.)

"And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel..."

Wow! David KNEW that the LORD, who happens to be the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, is who established him as king. If you know something, you're aware of it. David was aware that the reason he was chosen as king (1 Samuel 16) was because God placed him there. I think we would all agree as well that it was only by God's sovereignty that David was called to this position; afterall, he was just keeping the sheep when anointed as king. I use the word place lightly because Scripture tells us David knew he was established in that position by the LORD. Now, I'm not your ideal seminary student who takes Biblical languages, but I do know (after a little investigation and help from Priscilla's resources), establish in its root meaning means to bring something into being with the consequence that its existence is a certainty. The same root word of establish is also used in Psalm 119:90 when the psalmist references the earth's establishment. When God established the heavens and the earth, I'd say I agree that its existence is a certainty. I mean, we're on earth aren't we? Keep this in mind...we'll bring it full-circle in a minute.

"...and that his kingdom was for the sake of his people Israel."

David not only knew how he was established as king over Israel, but he knew why he was placed as king over Israel. (Now, this is a can of worms! We can discuss so much about God's plan for David and his lineage, but let's just focus on one little thought. I don't care to write a thesis on his life or kingship tonight.) He was established as king and that kingdom--Scripture tells us--was for the sake of [God's] people Israel. For the sake of his people. For the sake of his people. This is where I get excited! For the sake of his people... David was established king for the sake of his people. Yeah, I know, you get it...the sake of his people. Stick with me.

Moses...God used him to lead His people out of Egyptian slavery. (start reading in Exodus 3)
Esther was positioned as Queen of Persia for such a time as this to save the Jews, her people, from being annihilated. (Read the book of Esther)
Saul (who becomes Paul) had quite the divine appointment on the road to Damascus, causing this persecutor of Christians, to accept his calling to be the chosen instrument to carry [God's] name before the Gentiles..." (Acts 9:15) Paul even references his call to minister to the Gentiles in his letter to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 3. (Wanna read more about Paul? Start in Acts and read almost half of the books in the New Testament!)

I could continue on listing Biblical characters and who God positioned them to minister to for the purpose of spreading the name of the Lord, but I won't. My point is, God established David for the purpose of the people of Israel. God established these 3 people referenced above for the purpose of a specific people. We'd be blind (and we are according to our actions) not to realize that God positions us where He does for a purpose. Each of these people had something in common: they were positioned around a sphere of influence. God positioned them in just the right place to influence/help/lead/whatever a specific group. We each have a calling. God has placed us each where we are, even for just a short time, for a purpose. Would you agree with me that one reason you are placed where you are is because God has a purpose for you to make his name known in your own sphere of influence? I'd say, yes. It doesn't matter if you work in corporate America, if you teach 4th grade, if you answer the phones at 911, or if you are a stay at home mom, God has established you in that position for such a time as this for the purpose of making His name known. What are we waiting for? Why aren't we realizing that what we think is an "insignificant" job or "stressful workplace" is actually our mission field?

This may sound overwhelming, but let's not forget that we're not alone. 1 Samuel 16:13 tells us that as soon as David was anointed the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him. As believers, we have the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 14). We also are part of the body, and if the body behaves as it should, that means we have people living life around us and with us praying for us.

I have been challenged to remember that whether I am at work, teaching my 8th grade girls in Sunday School, or hanging out with my friends, I am here to spread the Gospel to the people God has placed me around, or, you got it, my sphere of influence.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

August 2009

Contrary to Hilary's belief, I did not get sucked into a black hole after moving to North Carolina. However, I think my blog did. I promise that I will be more consistant in keeping y'all updated as promised in the first blog.

So much has happened since I last updated so I am going to touch on a few of the high points.

1. I went through New Student Orientation and matriculation in early August. Thse 2 days can be compared to drinking out of a fire hydrant because it is information overload. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was learning to trust God for his provision. Well, I am sure that you all will be happy to know that when I reached the point in matriculation where I had to pay for my classes, I had over $500 credit! You heard me right, not only was my semester completely paid for, but I had extra money to save and apply towards next semester. I sat there at the registrar's table and cried. I am so thankful for the Lord's provision financially for me to be a student at SEBTS. I have already learned so much in my classes and in chapel.
2. I have made some wonderful friends. We call ourselves "The Seven" because, well, we are 7 girls who hang out all the time. "The Seven" are a blessing. It seems as if everyone is married and having babies...I love married people and children, but I am not at the 'wife and mom' stage in life. It is so nice to be around other single young women pursuing a seminary degree and the minstry God has called her to.

"The Seven"

(Ginny can never keep her eyes open.)

3. My Papa passed away about two weeks ago. He died on his 96th birthday! Papa lived a great life. Although it was because of a sad circumstance, I was very excited to see my family. I have missed my parents so much. I also got to see extended family and I haven't seen some of them since I was "knee-high to a grasshopper."

4. I had two sweet visitors this past weekend. Elle Biffar and Melissa Reeves ventured up with Stephanie Archer and Adam Morris (visiting my roommate Danae) to North Carolina. We had a very relaxing weekend catching up on these past 5 months. We shopped in historic Wake Forest and went wedding dress shopping at an outlet store in Burlington, NC. No, I am not getting married--Elle is. I am here Maid of Honor and was thrilled to watch her try on a few dresses. :-)


Sweet Melissa

5. I love my job more and more everyday. I work with some very fun people. They are so encouraging and patient as I learn the "in's and out's" of my position. They also have taken me in as family since I am so far from my home.

6. My car battery died while I was in Burlington wedding dress shopping. As it turns out, my battery was under a warrenty until next month. Praise the Lord! Today I got a new battery free of charge!

Those are the big things that have happened this past month. Please keep checking back as I will be updating at least once a week.

Here are some things you can be praying for me about:
a. Pray that I will find a home church soon. I am beginning to get discourged searching for a church.
b. Pray that I will manage my time well as I balance work, schoolwork, class, and life in general.
c. Pray that I will continue to make friends.
d. Pray for continued good health. The flu, H1N1, and sinus infection is going around. I have stayed healthy thus far and hope to keep that up.

Blessings to you all until next time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's Kickoff Time!

No, I'm not talking about football or soccer...but I am talking about this new chapter in my life! Everything is kicking off or will be in the near future!

Friday, one of my first college friends, Gene, moved up to SEBTS to pursue his M.Div. Although I am very excited about Gene being here (living directly across from me in our apartment complex), I was most excited about his move because his girlfriend, my college roommate and good friend, Amanda, was coming with him to help get him settled. I had a wonderful visit with Amanda and am excited to see what the Lord has planned for her future! I sure hope it involves attending graduate school in the Carolinas.

Yesterday was my first day at work. I am working at Nationwide Insurance at one of the country's top 10 agencies! I had a wonderful first day of work and even had flowers delivered to me during the afternoon from my mom and dad!

After work, Gene and I ate Chick-fil-A. My chicken sandwhich took extra long to cook, so they gave me a coupon for a free meal! Score! I don't mind waiting everytime if it involves getting free food coupons!

This Thursday a friend from my elementary school days is going to be moving up to SEBTS. Saturday my best friend and new roommate, Sarah Beth, will be moving in with me. The following Friday, my other roommate and college friend, Danae, will be moving in! New Student Orientation is the next Monday! I am excited about all the new things kicking off!
You might be wondering why I have a picture of a washer and dryer on the top of this blog...well, it is because Sarah Beth is bringing up our washer and dryer! I am excited to being able to do my laundry in my own apartment! :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

God Provides

I am a guest blogger once a month on Hilary Taylor's blog. Below I have copied and pasted a blog wrote 2 weeks ago about God's provision. Since I have written this blog, I have gotten a job working in an insurance office (I actually was offered the job yesterday.).

Rent goes up almost $20 a month before you even move in…scholarships come back awarding less money than advertised…the car needs to go in the shop…you still need to buy a bed, couch, and other necessary furniture…

…this all leads one to wonder, “How will I pay for tuition? Will I get a bed to sleep on? Will my car make it from point A to point B without falling apart? How will I pay for my books for class at almost $100 a piece?”

These are just a few things that may go through a seminary student’s head as they begin their new journey on their own.

Growing up is different for everyone because everyone was brought up differently. I have been very blessed to grow up in the home that I have, with loving and supporting parents who found it as one of their parental duties to financially support me through my first college degree. However, I have earned that first degree and am now at seminary going for the second. This time is a lot different than the first. I knew going to a private Christian college for undergrad that my family was relying on the Lord’s provision to be able to afford my education at that particular institution. However, since I was instructed to “not worry about the money” but to “have fun and earn my degree,” I never truly understood how much we were relying on the Lord to provide until now. I am learning first-hand.

As I have asked myself the very questions at the beginning of this blog, I have had to constantly remind myself that it is not up to me to figure it all out. The Lord is going to provide. He provided for my first degree, he will provide now.

I think back in time to when the Lord was first called upon as Jehovah-jireh, “The Lord will provide.” It was Abraham who coined this term for the Lord in Genesis 22 when God provided the ram for his offering. You see, Abraham, in obedience to God, had his one and only son strapped to the wood on the altar to be sacrificed when an angel appeared to Abraham. When Abraham looked up, a ram was caught in the thicket. This ram was provided by the Lord. THIS is when the Lord was first called Jehovah-jireh. Kay Arthur explains the meaning of this term best in her book, “Lord, I Want to Know You.” Kay explains that jireh (the word for provide) means “to see” in the Old Testament. She continues to explain that since God is God, “when He sees, He foresees…the word see denotes provision.” Abraham proclaimed in Genesis 22:14 that “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” This literally means, “It will be seen.”
The Lord sees our needs long before we see our needs. Think about it. Long before we were even born, the Lord saw the need for a Savior. So, he sent his one and only son (see any correlation from Abraham’s little adventure??) to be the sacrifice for our sins. If God can see and meet our need for a Savior thousands of years before we step foot on this planet, don’t you think he can see and provide for our needs in day-to-day life?

As I begin a new chapter in my life—a chapter that involves growing up—I am constantly having to remind myself that the Lord is providing. Even today as I went searching for a job and had the words “hiring freeze due to the economy” thrown at me several times, I can have confidence that he will provide just the right job. As I try to figure out how I will pay for classes and books, I can count on my God to provide even when scholarships were less than expected.

Let me encourage you that when you are waiting on the Lord to provide, remember those He has provided for in the past (in Scripture and people you know). Remember all the He has provided for you in the past—thank him for that provision. And remember Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Additional Scriptures to read:
Genesis 22:1-19
Romans 8:32
Matthew 6:33-34
Matthew 7:7-8

The Inaugural Blog

Greetings from The Tar Heel State to my friends and family!

I am going to use this blog as a way to keep you updated on what is going on in my life. Sometimes I will write about my day-to-day life, other times, I will write about something I am learning about.

I am still trying to figure out the "ins" and "outs" of making this blog cute, so expect some improvements in the future!

I miss you all and don't forget to visit my blog often.