Hold onto your hats…this is stinkin’ long!

A Better Way By downhere

I’m not alone, I really believe
You never go, You never leave
Here and now, You always stay
“I love you” could not be said a better way
It’s everything You’ve promised
There’s no greater love than this
From prophets until today
A man laying down His life for His friends
Your sacrifice has spoken, You gave everything
And “I love you” could not be said
A better way

I am forgiven, I clearly see
It’s why You came to do all you did for me
Trading earth with heaven, You took my place
“I love you” could not be said
A better way

Because You redeem, I know what’s to come
Everything I could lose here, You’ve already won
So You have my surrender, with passion obey
“I love you” could not be said
A better way

So, yes, I really shouldn’t be blogging right now because I have a BIG project (for all you TMC people who will understand, I’m supposed to be working on Jensen’s PPT..aah!) plus a few other assignments due tomorrow, a room that absolutely looks like an earthquake hit my school, and a great need for a good night’s sleep, but oh,well. When God puts something on your heart, there’s not much point in putting it off.

When I was home I was so faithful. Every morning, before I even got out of bed, my Bible would be open, and I’d be gleaning from the Word some word of Truth that, despite any conscious knowledge of it or not, would prepare me for and subsequently guide me through the day.However, here at college, everything is a race for time….a battle to see how much you can do in the littlest amount of time possible. Seriously, I’m rather proud of myself. I can get up and get ready to go in a VERY short amount of time. I’ve been up and out of the dorm in 15 min for church…lol..ok..so that wasn’t planned. I accidentally turned off my alarm and rolled over, but the point is still the same. J College life is crazy.To make a few semesters’ story short….I’ve been running around like a chicken without a head…failing in the most important part of my day and that being being in the presence of our Holy God!

My parents confronted me on it – have confronted me multiple times. The last time they confronted me seriously, I responded in a little anger. Lol.. I don’t know if they knew that, but yes, I did. In my mind, I accused them of being legalistic. “Growing in the Lord can be done other ways. I can still be growing and learning of and from Him without being in the Word every day. After all, I’m in church twice a week, in chapel 3 times a week, and growing through fellowship,” I thought. (I shake my head as I write this.)

These past few weeks during and since my attitude was such have been a crazy road. Life’s been seemingly smooth. Things have been going well. I’ve been learning. I’ve been challenged. I’ve been blessed.

In fact, different things about these past two weeks have been a blessing in more than just a casual way. It’s been in the area of relationships that I feel like God has just shown Himself so powerful and amazing…but more about that in a second.

Today at church, my college group pastor Jason was speaking on 1 Thessalonians 4:1 in a message labeled “Living A Life That Pleases God.” He paralleled this verse with Colossians 1:9-14. He spoke on the fact that according to Colossians part of living a life that pleases God is bearing fruit. He also mentioned that bearing fruit is not a one-time action but a continuous one, thus the “ing” ending. He also mentioned 2 Cor. 5:9. This challenged me because I could see that my intentions were not always to please God. Often, I get off-focus and really, honestly, just desire to please myself. God was preparing me for the rug to be pulled from beneath me. His Word was about to rock me.

Then, Jason mentioned Isaiah 64:6 (Now God’s got His Hands around the rug getting ready to yank it..lol) where I was reminded that my righteousness apart from God is like filthy rags. Wow.

What Jason said next really got me. I had no place to go, no alley to scoot through and try to make it out the other side with my own self-righteous reasoning still intact. Caught. Jason brought us to John 15, where Jesus speaks of the vine and the branches.

John 15

The Vine and the Branches

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Then Jason said, if the branch were to snap itself off the vine and leave then attempt to bear fruit, it would be in vain, because it had disconnected itself from the source.

Stop. Read it again.

Then Jason said, if the branch were to snap itself off the vine and leave then attempt to bear fruit, it would be in vain, because it had disconnected itself from the source.

(–…back to PPT.. continued next afternoon …… yeah, I needed to break and finish my homework–)

My heart stops in my throat when I think that for the last four months or so I have been just like that arrogant branch, having disconnected myself from the Word (the source) yet still attempting, in my own self-dependency and pride, to bear fruit.

Over the past semester, I have had the awesome privilege of getting really close with some amazing friends here at TMC. I was involved in a talent show with 10 other really neat people whom I really got the chance to know very well as we kept this surprise performance just between this small group. Through this I have learned a lot about myself and about being a real friend. Lol..yeah, it’s surprising what a silly music video can teach you.

More recently and on a deeper level, I have had the opportunity of getting to know a few people here (some from the movie but others as well) really well. I have been blessed by again by a deeper understanding of friendship as well as the opportunity to be in relationships that involve each of us challenging each other to love and good deeds. I have been amazed as I have watched casual friendships expand until I feel like over this semester I have gained a great number of brothers and sisters. God has graciously shown His might and power by not only allowing fun friends but friends who desire to run after the Lord and are willing to take my hand and take me along.

So, how do these two lessons fit together? First, I am convicted of my own unfaithfulness and pride; and second, the Lord blesses inscrutably with amazing friends.


Last night I realized that I’ve been learning so much more through my relationships than even I knew. Yes, I have learned about friendship, humility, loyalty, honesty, kindness, and selfless consideration of others, but honestly, there’s been so much more at work here….and I had known there was.. .but I guess it hadn’t affected me so much until now. I have been the unworthy beneficiary of the amazing lesson that God is so much bigger than I could imagine, that He has been and is orchestrating my life in a way that is bigger and so much more beautiful than I could ever imagine. I have been so blessed to see how amazing God is to provide the right people at the right time both to minister to me and for me to minister to. Overwhelmed, I was moved to tears as I, in a sense of humble amazement, saw how awesome He is to orchestrate everything…even despite the fact that I’ve been so unfaithful to Him – to be in His Word, to be in His presence. While I was unfaithful, yet He’s been there…caring more for me in my silly areas of my life than I’ve cared for Him in my serious areas. I’ve cared so little – been so independent and prideful – yet He’s been so faithful..beyond faithful..outstanding! lol..I don’t even have a word to describe it.2 Timothy 2:11-13:

11 It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

Check this out: www.myspace.com/downhere

2 thoughts on “Hold onto your hats…this is stinkin’ long!”

  1. Hey Ashley! Thanks for being friends and hanging out tonight.
    I liked you post too. Very convicting. You set a good example for bloggerwannabes.

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