Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Birthday Update - 2014

Today, I thought I'd update about what's been going on over the past month or so.

I recently finished my third year of university, which is a bit of a relief when you think about things like exams and term projects. Now that I'm done with all of those, I can focus on finding a job for the summer and preparing for my fourth year. Unlike most of my friends who started out in the same year as me, I decided to push graduation aside to 2016 and take lower course loads for the next two years.

Today is also my birthday, and I mostly spent it so far by having walked my sister's dog for nearly 50 minutes and going out for supper with the family. I also decided to take a silly selfie (just 'cause I can...why not?) To those of my friends and family who have given me birthday greetings, whether it was done in person, over the phone or online, thank you; it's been a blessing to hear from you.
This is the selfie to which I am referring.

As I have looked back from when I started university to where I am now, I've come a long way. Mind you, I'm still a little weird (in a good way, as you might be pondering), I still have issues to go through every now and again, but I'm okay with that. Often when I look at my own self-portraits, or portraits of others, I don't really get all nitty gritty about the physical features about a person's face because God has shown me that true beauty lies from within. I think that part of what I'm meant to dos to help show people that they are beautiful and significant in His eyes because they were made by Him.

                  "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
                   your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
                                                                                  -Psalm 139: 14

I find that this verse holds a great truth to me now because there have been times where I struggled to see the beauty within myself due to having a disability. God has revealed to me through the Bible studies of which I had been attend that I am loved and that I do have substance, that I have worth. Now, the whole idea of being a child of the King is deeper. If you haven't felt this way, believe me, it is so good.

I know that there are a lot of people who feel like they don't have value and that they don't feel loved. Let me tell you something: you are loved, you have value and you have a purpose. When we understand and accept that God loves us and gives us value and a purpose, we are no longer the same as before; we are changed. If that is what you're looking for, I'd suggest going into prayer and letting God show you your value.

I hope that this is an encouragement to you as you move along with your life. I know that this is encouraging myself as a reminder of my testament. Thanks again for reading.

-Alex

Friday, March 14, 2014

Moses, Peter & Setbacks

         Lately this semester, my small group and I have been on a study through the book of Exodus and looking closely at Moses’ story and his relationship with God. We looked into how he came to be someone whom God decided to use to present His glory to the world. It was quite interesting as to the kinds of questions we’ve had so far.
         For instance, we were looking at how Moses has been initially struggling with his faith in God and how He’ll rescue His people from the hands of the Egyptians. We had an application question that was asked: what’s holding you back? I find that this question gets asked a lot, but it still gets to the heart of the matter. What IS holding me back from living out what God intends for me to do?
         I guess what’s holding me back is having this sense of doubt, especially when different circumstances arise. It’s so much easier to do what God wants from us when things are going good in our direction, but I still find it hard to go through the hard times every now and then. What I can learn from Moses’ story is the same as with the apostle Peter. By learning to put my faith in Jesus and yielding to His Spirit in prayer, I can overcome whatever troubles me.
         There are other things that I could mention about specific lessons I have learned from Moses’ story, but this appeared to be an over-arching theme that kept popping up. The other great theme for me is to know that I’m not alone. I find that many of us are struggling to be accepted and loved when we don’t know that we were already loved and accepted by a God who chose to die in our place in order to conquer death and offer eternal life. If you are in a situation like this, the same applies to you; you don’t have to be lonely because there already is a place where you belonged before you could even realize such a place; you are loved when you have struggled to find “the One,” or have been told that nobody loves or wants you.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. –Romans 5: 8
         I found that verse to be comforting. For me, it meant that God loved me so much to sacrifice himself so I could be free from my sins. It meant that I mattered, and that there is a reason for my existence. My hope is that this verse will also bring comfort into someone else’s life, like it has for countless others like me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Who's My Valentine?

Ah, Valentine's Day, a day filled with love, romance, chocolate, cards...
But WAIT! WHO'S GOING TO BE MY DATE? This is something that many of us ask ourselves, and for most guys, this often includes trying to have sex. But what if there's more to love?

For me, I believe that God may already have a woman in mind for me to marry, so until it comes to that time (if that ever happens), I will wait and stay abstinent and single. I'm not saying that I'm really giving up (even though I question whether I'll ever be "in love"); I'm just saying that for now, my Valentine's Day date is Jesus. But what do I mean by that?

In John 15: 13, Jesus said to His disciples, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (NIV) Later on, He demonstrated this sacrificial love by dying on the cross so that we don't have to do it. We don't deserve a second chance, but He now offers it to all who seek it. Because I have a relationship that is filled with God's love, I don't have to worry about being lonely.

So, for those of you who are greatly concerned about finding your mate, just know that God has it all figured out and that HE is in control. I find that we are often like Moses, questioning God about our part in His plan, our future jobs, our future spouse, etc. But if we put our trust and faith in Him, then we will start to see things more clearly.

A song about God's love that I find to be very powerful is called, "One Thing Remains." This worship song from Jesus Culture expresses the length and power that His love has. I'd definitely recommend giving it a good listen for when you want to find a way to express your love to Him.


Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lord, I Need You - A Song of Intimacy

There's something about music that draws me more toward God and exemplifies how he makes me stronger in my faith despite how weak I am without him. To me, music is very much therapeutic as well as expressive; it's often how I feel the Holy Spirit move in me. I also find that music has this way of opening me up more to love and prayer. More often, a set of inspired lyrics just hit me at the core, and I just know it. It’s naturally for me to be singing along when I know that deep down, that is what I feel.

“Lord, I Need You” is a song that is initially recorded by Matt Maher, a Canadian-born, contemporary Christian artist who is based in the States. The song’s lyrics are very powerful and intimate, and I find this sense of comfort when I hear or sing it. I feel this nudge in me as though God is saying, “Hey, everything’s okay. We are back and stronger together. Just like how I was with my Son through his death and resurrection and as I have promised the people of Israel many times before, I will always be with you; don’t ever forget that.” This song is among many that bring in this spiritual intimacy within me. Why music does that for me, I can never really say other than that’s just a way for me to be more easily intimate and connected with my Creator. Below, I have added the official lyric video to the song. May God deliver peace and joy within your soul and shower you with grace and love.