Brand New


Hey there! So, today felt brand new. This has been my fourth day on Spring break and, lest I become complacent, today came with a sudden change of pace. I had to leave the house actually because my mom was doing childcare. Anyhow, I decided to walk to the Bayside Church Cafe (because I don’t have a car) and work on homework. So that’s just what I did. I left the house at 9 AM and made it to church at 9:45. I even finished a whole paper while I was there! Then I left around 2:15 PM and as I was walking home, I stopped to take this picture:

Power Lines
I really love man-made objects.

I don’t know why, but it struck me as particularly picture worthy. It’s just so expansive. I like wide-open spaces. At this point, I was almost home, but instead of going home, I decided to walk through Maidu park nearby and I ran into a guy I know from school who I had no idea lived there! How cool. Then I saw these clouds and just had to take another picture:

Another "Wow" moment. This scene caught me by surprise.

You might be wondering at this point why I’ve bothered to tell you every little detail of my day. It’s because I never used to think this way. Something in me has changed. I don’t really know how, but living at school for nine months out of the year has caused my perspective to change a little bit. Honestly, I don’t like being back at home. I wish I was on my own. I wish I had a car. I wish I had lots of friends that I could go do things with. I wish I had a steady source of income. But that’s the wrong way of looking at things.

I used to be dominated by routine. No longer am I stuck in my circumstance. Somehow, all of the lessons I’ve been learning about seeking Jesus every day has caused me to see that it is possible to live above my circumstances. This whole time that I was walking, I was also praying. What I noticed about today is that, although I am in a familiar environment, my interactions in it have changed. Maybe there is hope after all that change can happen. Maybe there is hope that I bring a little bit of the kingdom of heaven to the world around me as I renew my mind. Maybe there is hope that good things will come of all my desires. It’s a little change, but I’m beginning to feel as though that’s a misnomer because even a “little” change takes a great deal of effort, sometimes more than we can humanly exert. That must mean that God is moving!!! Thank You, Jesus!

All Things

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” —Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

I woke up this morning to a ray of sunshine through my window, and I couldn’t help but smile. After a busy week of school during which it was mostly cloudy and rainy, I needed the encouraging brightness of sunlight. It brought to mind, one of the life lessons I have been reflecting on this week: renewing your mind.

There is a reason that the Bible says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are constantly being shaped by what they receive through our senses and perceive spiritually. I have found that by constantly reminding myself throughout my day that Jesus is present with me in each moment and verbally expressing my trust in Him, I have greater peace about my circumstances and a purity of thought that I had never experienced before.

This caused me to wonder why I found it so hard before this to keep my thoughts pure and focused on Jesus at school. I have so much opportunity on campus at school to latch onto sources of negative thought that, unless I am constantly reinforcing holy thought patterns and reminding myself in every conversation to keep my eyes on Jesus, I will quickly find the fruit of God’s Spirit in me drying up and withering. It harkens back to Psalm 1, where we read of the blessedness of the man or woman who delights in God’s law. It is explained in Romans 6, where Paul reminds us that grace means we are free to choose righteousness. It is given expression in Lamentations 3:40-42 where the prophet cries out to “lift up our hearts with our hands to God in heaven” acknowledging that we are full of evil and that God is just in His judgment.

But as Paul says in Romans, we now live under grace. God has not judged completely as we have deserved, but allows us to choose to identify with Jesus, the Messiah’s, death, and to accept His life to God as our own pattern of living. I choose to live to God. I choose to accept the deep, abiding life that flows from the presence of God. I choose to renew my mind. I choose to live in the light of God’s presence.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” —James 1:17