Tuesday, August 20, 2013

End of Summer

      I can't believe that summer is already coming to an end. I start my third semester of seminary classes in two weeks - these 4 months off have flown by! After a year of living in New York, I finally feel like I am settling in. This summer I: 

- Started a new job in the Bronx, which I am really enjoying.

- Bought a table from Ikea (the first big piece of furniture I have ever purchased) and got rid of the dorm desk I've been using for the last year. I also purchased a futon - I now have seating space other than my bed! 
With the futon and table, my little apartment feels much more like a home than a dorm room. I can now entertain like a grown up! 

- Drank lots of coffee. I had to throw out the brewing basket from my drip coffee maker because it was growing mold and it grossed me out, so I exclusively use my French press. Mmmmm!

- Fell in love with Trader Joe's. I've started making weekly trips to get coffee and yogurt, which are cheaper there than any place I've found in the area. There's also a super cheap gas station right next door (the only good thing New Jersey has to offer), so it makes for a productive once-a-week trip. 

- Started thinking about becoming an extreme couponer. Okay,not extreme. Maybe just a couponer. I went to a seminar at my church last week and started getting super excited about it, although it's all quite overwhelming. Josh bought me a paper on Sunday so I could start "clipping." We'll see how long my enthusiasm lasts! 

It really has been a wonderful summer, but I'm also ready for fall. I'm excited about my seminary classes and the wonderful things that the change from summer to fall brings: beautiful colors on the trees, nip-at-your-nose evenings, apple picking, cardigans and boots. Each season has so many beautiful things to offer - enjoy the rest of summer, friends! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reclining with Jesus

      At church on Sunday, my pastor, Tim, spoke about the Last Supper, found in Matthew 26. He focused on verse 20: "When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve." He explained that reclining was a sign of royalty, was a sign of freedom. There Jesus was, the night before His death, reclining at the table, inviting His disciples to do the same. The twelve weren't perfect; one would betray Him that very night, another would deny that he knew Him.  Yet Jesus wasn't worried. He didn't expect them to be perfect before they joined in the meal with Him, before they reclined with Him. Tim then went on to say that for some of us, Jesus is reclining and we are running around Him in circles. He calls out to us, "Slow down! Recline with me!" This hit me really hard. I know I run around Jesus in circles, and sometimes I even feel like I say to Him, "Why aren't you doing anything? Aren't you worried?" To which He replies: "No, my child. I'm not worried at all. Come recline with me."  

      About two years ago I started reading A.B. Simpson's daily devotional on the Christian & Missionary Alliance website. Now, A.B. Simpson is no longer living, but every time I read one of his devotionals, I am encouraged and challenged, which never ceases to amaze me. Today's devotional goes along with the thoughts above: 

The blessed Holy Spirit is our Guide, our Leader and our Resting-place. There are times when He presses us forward into prayer, into service, into suffering, into new experiences, new duties, new claims of faith and hope and love. Then there are times when He arrests us in our activity and rests us in the secret place of the Most High. He teaches us some new lessons, breathing into us some deeper strength or fullness and then leading us on again, at His bidding alone.
       I have entered into a new season of my life this past year, and I feel like I'm in a different stage of the new season with this new job that I started a few weeks ago, a job to which I felt specifically called by God.  At each new stage I feel that God has been pressing me deeper, into more challenging things than the stage before, yet at the same time calling me to recline with Him. With each new experience comes the temptation to worry, to stress, to fret, but each time God's voice calls out to me above the noise, calling me to trust Him, to rest with Him, to enjoy Him. Each new stage brings more freedom, more joy, more confidence. Reclining with Jesus at the table today....