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Haley Raydo

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March 15, 2015

“The God Who Sees Me”

March 15, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hello friends

I spoke in class chapel last week and a lot of people had asked that I share what I talked about.  So if you didn’t get to hear it, here you go!  This has something that has been on my heart the last several weeks and I am glad it spoke to so many:

I don’t like to ask for help. I will try to find places on my own first before looking it up on my GPS. I never asked my parents or teachers for help in school. I think there is a part of me that really likes being independent and self-sufficient.

I think as humans our relationship with how we view and interact with God is a conflicting battle between two things. Reverence and intimacy. It’s either we grew up seeing God as close by and a comforter but sometimes forget to see Him as the creator of the universe. We forget about the wonderment and amazement. If we aren’t careful we may even make Him and our relationship like one we can relate to (so something of this earth). Than there are some of us who were taught (whether as a child or recently) that God was far away. He was this God who is out doing big things and doesn’t have time for our little things.

I think the best relationships with God have and find a balance between the two. Because its true that God is a big and amazing God, but he also cares about the small things. For me I struggled with God caring about the small things. I felt like I had this intimate relationship with God, but I felt that He was too big to care about the small things in my life. When I have a little fever, or I am beyond exhausted, if I needed to receive a particular grade, or I was really hungry and didn’t have much to eat for dinner. Those are seemingly day-to-day basic and simple things. Than there were a little bigger things like when I was upset and hurt by something had told me, or other broken relationships, a loss of a loved one, or the stage and feeling of helplessness. I always thought God was too big to care or see me and what I was going through.

When I was heart broken I would think, “ok there are 27 million people enslaved around the world, millions of kids are starving to death, I live in such great wealth and blessing. I shouldn’t feel this way, or more that I feel this way but God doesn’t care as much because He has bigger things to do.” Although I don’t necessarily believe that that kind of thinking doesn’t have a place- I definitely thinks it gives perspective and humility- but I think we underestimate God and his character and abilities. We place a limit on who He is and His power.  When we think we will be fine and can handle it, that it is not as big of a deal as some other people’s issues, we rely on ourselves and underestimate God.

One of my favorite stories is the story of Hagar. So we are going to read it Genesis chapter 16

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”

Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,[a]
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.

12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward[b] all his brothers.”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her:“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.”

Part of me reading this story makes me angry. How could Hagar be mistreated like that? But I think we get to see a glimpse of a sweet side of God. I don’t have all the answers of why there is evil and why bad things happen. But God saw Hagar. He went out and found her, increased her blessings. Hagar responds with something so profound and says, “You are the God who sees me.” He sees us. Hagar was a slave, a minor character in the story of Abram later known as Abraham. Abraham! I mean the father of the Israelites. The guy who has the most insane faith- He almost killed his only son because He so trusted God. This Abraham we teach in Bible stories. Hagar isn’t like an Abraham. But God sees her. He saw her tears and her pain.

The God of the Universe sees your pain, he sees your dreams, he sees your daily simple needs and HE CARES.  He knows us and our dreams.  And he CARES.  How much more could God do in our lives than us trying to do it ourselves?  We do ourselves disservice when we think we can figure it out on our home.  Why figure it out ourselves when the God who knows all things wants to be a part of it? What a God what a love.

If you aren’t convinced about a big God that cares and includes us in His story I wrote down some times in the Bible this was true:

  1. Jesus fed the thousands. (He definitely didn’t have to)
  2. God saved Israel over and over and over again. He saw them whining in the wilderness and provided for them every time.
  3. In Matthew 6 He talks about how he feeds the birds, “How much more does he care for us?”
  4. Genealogies- lists out all the people- doesn’t leave anyone out.
  5. Israel asks for a king, God gives them a king.
  6. Jesus reaches out to tax collectors
  7. God sends angels to tell shepherds to tell of Jesus’ birth (could have told a nobler group)

There are so many more examples. Moses and Joseph. I just think it is so cool we have such a big God that 1. Cares about the little things in our lives 2. So desires to include us in His story.  However we have to keep praying and asking for God.  We have to take the first steps and be proactive.

So I hope I talked to at least a couple of you today. I know it is a message for myself as well. A couple things I want you to take away is

  1. Start seeing God in a different way. Whether that be with more reverence or if you need to start seeing God as a God who cares. He is both, don’t forsake one for the other.
  2. A mentor of mine once told me “God moves when we pray because He wants us to know that it is Him at work, so His glory can be shown.” If you are hurt and broken, or tired and frustrated, or anxious and scared, or maybe everything is good… give it to Him in prayer.
  3. Maybe you don’t have a relationship with Him, you never wanted one or maybe you didn’t know much about God and never thought anything of it. I might ask if you feel so bold and up for a challenge to read the Word, talk with someone and see if it will change your life. I’ve lived life with God and I’ve lived life without Him (the good, the bad) and I will tell you there is nothing like Him. He is worth it all. A God that is so big yet cares so much, is worth living radically. Life with Him has been anything but boring. So see what learning about Him will do.

Thanks for stopping by

Haley

Mariah McCommon

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January 6, 2015

January 5th, 2015

January 6, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hey guys. This post will be a very serious one and forgive me it’s long. As my fellow bloggers have posted already, the MNU community lost a beautiful young lady who was a bright star shining on our campus.

Personally, I didn’t know her but I have seen through her friends that she was an absolute joy to be around and from her pictures she was always smiling. Although I did not know her, I do know how this goes and my deepest empathies go out to the community.

Today is the day in which we are saying our “see you laters” to the beautiful Quincy and it also happens to be the day after a student from my high school was shot and killed by the passenger while driving his car. The suspect has not been found, but the intense search will not cease until he is found.

During my four years of high school, a total of six students died and since graduation, two more from the school. Freshman year, a girl on color guard and a spritely friend to many was killed in a car accident. Sophomore year, not long after her graduation, the Homecoming Queen, honor student, and Sunday School teacher was hit intentionally by a car and was raped during her final breaths. The summer before my junior year, a girl in my class thought to be at a dead end with her life and ended it. She was so sweet to me in a class we had together and she was much loved by her friends and family. My final year of high school was hoped to be the year without any tragedies… second semester, my best friend and I befriended a sophomore in our gym class. We all sat at lunch together and were always laughing. She was incredibly vibrant and her smile could light up any room she was in. That’s the way she lived; happy and care-free. She was unfortunately involved in a car accident and was instantly killed. Approaching the end of senior year, an intelligent senior was killed in yet another car accident along with her father as they were returning home from enrolling in college. On May 18th, 2014, another student felt like his life was over as well so he ended it. He had just graduated that morning along with the rest of us.

The community is still experiencing these kind of tragedies. A young sophomore this school year lost her battle with cancer. And yesterday, someone I graduated with was shot. It has been difficult to wrap my head around all of this and there are truly no words or answers to express what has been going on. Although my words have been depressing so far, ultimately I want to provide hope to whoever may be reading this.

This life is temporary, I think we all know that. But the sting of pain still remains as we experience loss and various kinds of heartache. It’s alright to feel pain and feel sad, but it’s important to not allow it to consume you. After all, Jesus cried too (John 11:35). Quincy and these other students would want us to be happy. I’m sure of it. The lives they led and faith they portrayed is something we can all learn from and work towards. I believe seasonal depression is a thing and that is something I’m currently trying to overcome. It doesn’t help that everything seems to happen in the dead of winter. The tragedies we experience in life seem huge while it’s happening and maybe long after they happen, but the good news is that God is still and always will be bigger than the catastrophe. Peace rests in my mind knowing that they all are smiling down upon us at the right hand of God Himself. How cool is that? They are with Him right now and we’ll see them again. In all of eternity, we are just passing through this life and it will soon be a simple blink of an eye. God promises us through His word that those who love Him will receive everlasting, life. In Revelation chapter 21 God says,

“God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.” (NLT)

Later in Revelation, God provides us with an epilogue that states,

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me,
and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.” (NLT)

I hope and pray that God comforts those who have been affected by these sudden misfortunes. He welcomes those who are weary and burdened. As for me, my strength comes from The Lord and will guide me through with the help of the two extremely strong communities that I’m so blessed to be a part of. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and continue to express all the love you possibly can to the people around you.

Verse

Haley Raydo

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January 4, 2015

A Bright Yellow House

January 4, 2015 | By | 3 Comments

Hello friends

Well if you are involved or know anyone in the MNU community, you possibly will know of the recent tragedy that has left many people with heavy and burdened hearts.  One of MNU’s dearest went to be with Jesus a couple days ago.  When heartbreak, tragedy, and trials come our way a mix of emotions rise.  There is confusion.  There is hurt.  There is anger.  There is shock.  All of which are logical and acceptable emotions.  In the past I haven’t always thought that my grieving mix of emotions were acceptable to God.  But that is simply not the case.  Scripture says that God is near the broken-hearted.  He is saddened with us.  Remember He once lived as us, and in the lowest of circumstances.

I was driving home from Oklahoma a couple days ago reflecting on the news of the recent passing.  My heart ached for my dear friends who are broken.  I looked out into the empty fields.  Gray sky stretched across the horizon.  The dead of winter made evident throughout the landscape.  Nothing seemingly “pretty” or “happy-looking” appeared in sight.  Until I saw this bright yellow house.  I thought it was kind of interesting, so I pulled over and took a picture.  I mean this bright yellow and cheerful, little house in the middle of no where, surrounded in a storm, in the dead of winter, just sat there.  It seemed resilient. And almost out of place.

That little yellow house would not escape my mind.  I reflected on it as I drove home and I felt the Lord made an impression.  That this house was joy, it was light, it was His people.  In the midst of a storm, in the midst of all things dead, His joy, His light, and His people were set apart.  They were bright yellow houses in the dead of winter.  That as trials come “the house” will not fall.  His people will find joy in his presence (Psalm 16:11), they will find his light, and they will be that light.  So as people drive and pass that little yellow house in the storm, they will be drawn to it.  Because it contains the joy of the Lord, it contains (even in the midst of tragedy and sorrow) perseverance, and it contains overwhelming comfort.

So maybe you are heavy burdened today.  Broken hearted.  I say to you: it is ok. It is more than ok to feel how you may feel.  The Lord draws near to that.  I can’t tell you anything new that you haven’t already heard, but I think the Lord says to you today to strive for comfort and safety in that little yellow house.  In the comfort and safety of our Savior’s arms there will you shine in the midst of the darkness, and there you will find joy.

I didn’t know Quincy as well as I wish I would have. Reading through endless amount of posts of the lives she had touched truly showed a legacy that is inspiring to all.  I urge us all to pray.  Pray for her dear and close family, for her roommates and friends, and for all those who grieve today.  A wise mentor of mine told me once that God moves when we pray because that way we know that it is Him that moves and works, so He receives glory.

Haley

Mariah McCommon

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October 12, 2014

Philippians 4:13

October 12, 2014 | By | No Comments

Today I’ll be talking about something very personal to me and something I don’t normally share with strangers. I’ve never posted the whole story so here it is for the first time!

This past April I was sitting in my Civil and Criminal Rights class in high school watching a movie and noticed an abnormal bump on my neck. I had never noticed it before so I went to the nurses office. She had no idea what it was but advised a visit to the doctor. Naturally, I went to the doctor and they weren’t sure either. The next step was a biopsy and if anyone has ever had one done, you feel my pain. Those suck. They stuck a needle in my neck twice (while I was awake mind you), and let me just say it was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced physically. Lord have mercy.

So then we had to wait a week or two on results and when they finally arrived, we still didn’t have a clear answer. The results came back “suspicious” of something. Now I’m not a doctor, and I don’t even like science, but suspicious is just not a good word. After more waiting, the doctors decided it was too sketchy not to remove. I went in for my first surgery April 23, 2014. Before this, I had never had surgery or even been in a hospital bed so this was all new to me.

Going into the first surgery happier than a clam

IV’s freak me out so that was really the only downside to the whole surgery thing. All went well and a week later they called and were like, “by the way, you have thyroid cancer.” So that was a real shock to me and my family, but it was okay!! It took me about a minute to process it. Cancer doesn’t run in my family all that much and that was the confusing part. Other than that, I wasn’t worried one bit. I spent the rest of that night with my best friend as if nothing changed.

A week after the first surgery, I went in for the second one to get the rest of my thyroid removed. I kept telling myself that I was going to be okay cause I knew I was. The second round was a little tougher to recover from, but I missed two weeks of school so I mean, that’s a fair trade.

Treatment for the cancer wasn’t awful either. All I did was take a radioactive Iodine pill and stay in a hospital for a couple days because I was radioactive. How cool is that! I kept singing that song by Imagine Dragons too. When I got out of the hospital, I had to keep my distance from people so they wouldn’t be affected by my amazing radiation. Beyond that treatment, all I have to do is take a cute little pink pill before bed the rest of my life since I kinda sorta don’t have a thyroid anymore. I have a nice scar on my neck now and whenever I feel it or see it, I’m reminded of how God has worked in my life. It could’ve been a lot worse, but it wasn’t and I’m thankful. I am still here with my family and friends living a great life.!

Moral of the story, nothing is too big to handle when you have an even bigger God on your side! :)

Keep calm and stay strong friends!