Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Romans 1:1

I graduated college and got mono, which has been the biggest blessing in disguise because I've had time to do things like this, a close study of the book of Romans. Below are some personal notes I figured I would share. The underlined terms are stated as they were defined in the ESV footnotes of my Bible, the italicized portions are my own notes which are up for complete debate.

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God"

A bondservant, a slave
Paul, a bondservant, a slave of Christ Jesus

Twelve men chosen by Christ, who had seen Christ, to establish and govern the Church with the authority to write and speak the words of God. 
Paul, a vicious human being before his conversion, was made an apostle. Paul, a man who had formerly sought out to kill Christians, was made equal with the men who dedicated their lives to and literally walked alongside Christ during His time on earth, and given the authority to establish and govern the church and communicate on behalf of God. 

The Gospel
The "good news". This included not just a call to initial saving faith, but how Christ's saving activity transforms all of life and all of history. 
Paul, a bondservant, a slave to Christ, called to establish and govern the Church, set apart to be transformed by Christ throughout his life. 

There is a reason why the ESV footnotes did not put transform in the past tense. If it was, Christ's work would have been complete. He would have transformed all that he was going to transform, he would be done with his transformation of life and transformation of history. Through a call to the saving faith, your transformation would happen and end. 

But the word is not in the past tense and there is much grace to be found in that, because even in the small things, like the tense of a word, we see Christ whispering that he is not yet finished transforming me, or you, or the world. He is still at work and there is plenty left to be done. That, my friends, lets me breathe a little easier. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

The New Year

"These are whole-hearted people, living from this deep sense of worthiness. 
These folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. 
They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, 
because, as it turns out, we can't practice compassion with other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly. 
And the last was they had connection, and this was the hard part 
as a result of authenticity, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were"


My last semester of college starts in two weeks and what a journey it has been.
The nostalgia has opened my eyes to evaluate it all.
There's been lots of good and there's been lots of bad, but thankfully my regrets are few.

I wish I had stayed in some of the nights I decided to go out. 
I wish I had loved the people in my life better.
I wish I had loved myself better.

But most of all I am filled with so much thanks. 

Thankful for the people that have been put in my life
Thankful for learning that it's okay to not have it all figured out
Thankful for God being so incredibly gracious among all of my mistakes
Thankful for all that I have learned about myself through those mistakes

and the thing is, there is not one wish or one regret that I have that has not taught me something. 

Going out on the nights that I should have stayed in showed me areas in my heart that needed major work. It showed me a facet of life that I did not want to be apart of. 

Not loving the people in my life as well as I could have showed me how valuable it is to treasure your friends and your family and how terrible it is to push those people away. 

Not loving myself showed me how important it is to be patient and gracious with yourself so that you can be patient and gracious to others, because without that it is a miserable existence. 

Above all, the regrets and wishes pointed me back to the path that I strayed from. They pointed me to God's mercy and His grace in a way that I did not previously understand. When I would give up on myself, God never gave up on me and carried me through things and situations that I should not have been able to get through.

 I look forward to what this last semester holds and the fresh perspective that I have gained.
I look forward to staying in more nights.
I look forward to finding ways to show the people in my life how much they mean to me.
I look forward to finding the courage to be true to myself, to be authentic.
In the words of Brene Brown, I look forward to learning how to let go of who I think I should be to be who I am

And today, I am thankful for the regrets, for the lessons, and for the looking forward to's

Cheers to the New Year!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Powerful Play

What’s the only thing in Heaven that’s the same as it is on earth?

 The wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet


Easter weekend I was able to see the film adaptation of the book, "Heaven is for Real". I was not particularly interested in seeing the movie, but that day I walked out of the theater asking myself 

"is Heaven for real?"

If I really believed in Heaven, then my current approach to life was going to need some serious rearranging. 
God doesn't care about whether or not I have a prestigious job, 
how well I am liked among my peers, 
how "good" of a church member I am, 
how much money I make. 

Everything that I  am told to attain, God could care less about. 

So is Heaven for real? Because if it is, then all of these mile markers I have for myself seem pretty useless. My job is not going to get me into Heaven, my faith is. And what does that even mean- "my faith"? My faith in Jesus? My belief that He is God and He is in control? That's not looking so strong considering that I consistently freak out when all of the little things in my life go the least bit wrong...but I know I am a Christian and that I love Jesus. I know that I do. I think I am so used to giving the sunday school answer about Christianity to myself and others that I have forgotten what they really mean. 

If Heaven is real, then that is what I should be working towards- not my education, not where I want to live, not trying to lose weight, not even trying to make friends because none of that is going to help me get there. 

Deep breath, wide eyes... 
What am I doing then, God? 
Because everyone else seems to think that all of these things are pretty damn important. 

They are important. 
It's important to be engaged in the world. 
It's important because it gives you experiences that teach you about yourself, 
teach you about God, 
and teach you about why you need Him. 

It's important because without all of these different interactions you would not have the exposure to all of the people that you are now able to call your friends. 
It's important because it gives you a chance to care about people and care about their souls. 
It's important because it ultimately gives you the chance to impact the maximum amount of people for the better. 

I think the problem is when I focus on the little things and that's when I forget about Heaven. 
That is what causes me to ask myself, "Is Heaven for real?". 
This moment, 
today's frustrations, 
tomorrow's expectations-
they are all a chance for us to see God and share His love. 

"The powerful play goes on, that you may contribute a verse..."

I want my verse to be one that makes the next life filled with more people than it otherwise would be. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Fight

It's tough. 
Because the struggles are real. The desire is there.
But God is bigger than the struggles and the desires are nothing but a masquerade- 
a lie that the fruit of the tree will be better-
 that God is witholding.
But God is bigger than that lie and He is bigger than the liar it came from
Let me have the strength to believe the truth.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Identity

 my name is madelyn 
& i do everything can't do anything right

&THAT is why i have JESUS
&it's why His love for me B L O W S my mind 
&it's why HE is the BEST THING that ever happened to me


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Expectation

It's hit me before, but I think as girls alot of us get so caught up in looking forward to this fairytale called marriage....and I'm not convinced that it is a fairytale, atleast not the way that we've been taught to view it. I think it's a beautiful thing that God created, but it's not perfect and it's not what makes you complete.

You know, I'm already complete- I'm whole, I'm me, I'm Madelyn, I'm here- I don't need another person to make me complete. Not in a feminist, independent, rebellious, "I don't need anybody" kind of way, but I became complete when I decided that I wanted to live for Jesus. That's when all the holes were filled up for me. And I'm don't want to limit God's plan for my life to just meeting one person on this earth. 

This idea that one person comes into our lives, and then the world is right again. Then we will be whole. It's what we're trained to think is going to make us happy and fulfilled.

But that is not our aim of life, Jesus is. Love Him and love others for Him.

Not that I don't believe in love, or am a cynic, I just think we get too carried away in a worldly picture of love, and portray it as what God intended our life's aim to be.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not saying I'm right. There's just something inside of me that wants to run far away from the idea that I can't just be complete on my own.

I guess if one day I find some man on this earth that I want to be around for the rest of my years (and who can show me the same toleration haha) I'll have a better understanding of all of it. But I'm not hinging my human experience on it. For now it's just me and Jesus and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

"what can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Simple Things

i want to be a bird & see amazing things & land on comfy clouds 
she says,
& if i were a tree, it'd be a christmas one so i could be bright & beautiful
...i'm just a regular little girl

pop rocks & the park & a pup & some soda pop 
made for a wonderful afternoon with this sweet little nugget.

these days it's been lots of fun little things, peppered with some irresponsibility to make for beautiful times. but the way i see it, is there's gonna come a day, if it hasn't come already, when the mountains we face can't be solved by a plate of cookies, an inapporpriate joke, or singing a song at the top of your lungs, and the mistakes aren't always gonna be so laughable. 

So, I'm treasuring these days when the learning from my living doesn't sting so bad & laughter can be the cure all for my problems. 
embracing some youthful naivety, or you may call it immaturity, knowing there's going to come a time when i'm not going to be able to do that as often. I look forward to those new chapters of life, and for now, am making the most of the one that i'm in.

“Why can't you fly now, mother?"
"Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.""Why do they forget the way?""Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.”
peter pan

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Recap

this year has been 
a joy, like no other
laughter of a different kind
an outlook previously foreign

oh man
.this year
my spirit's been broken, real broken and all I can do is breathe out
walls that have been there far too long are crumbling down
the worries are still there, but in a smaller magnitude
a different sense of calm is in me
the reassurance that it's all gonna be alright. 
The promises of God are starting to come a little closer to my heart. 
I can live, I can finally live without reserve 
(most of the time, that is)

Life has become a beautiful thing. 
My black and white has become vivid with color and it's more than wonderful.
I'm not sure what's going on, or who I am or what I want but for the first time it's OKAY.  
It's alright that alot of things go wrong these days and I have no direction and I cry alot more than I used to because the beauty of it all is that it's freedom

I can laugh at the things that go wrong. 
I can cry instead of denying my sensitivity. 
I can breathe a little easier 
knowing that whatever happens, it's alright because I am here for Jesus and the rest is secondary.
I'm a work in progress and sometimes that's gonna be rough,
but everything becomes the forgotten past soon enough

He has made me the way that I am and for the first time I can accept who that is and whether messy or clean, it is a beautiful, beautiful thing. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Smoke

"when everything you know seems so untrue
when I'm lost in a place that I thought I knew 
give me some way that I might find you"

chaos, confusion
they race through like wildfire in the house of my mind,
clouded by the smoke,
ashes of it beneath my feet
bring water to quench these flames
time to clear this haze
to the carpenter from the cross, 
rebuild your house

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Purpose

"I am just here to love and the rest will come with time"
...because I wasn't created to have a social network. I wasn't created to go to events. I wasn't created to have the latest clothes. I wasn't created to eat good meals. I wasn't created to have nice things. I wasn't created to go to church or even the mountains or the ocean. I wasn't created to go to college, get a degree and make loads of money. I wasn't created to get married and have cute kids and live in a cute house.
I was created for Jesus. To love Him and love His people and that is all. 
So next time I'm wondering why I feel empty, and why I don't I have all that I think I need, maybe it's because that's not what I was created for. I was never supposed to have or do all of that. None of those things are in any close proximity to my purpose.
Blessed to have these things, yes. 
But necessary?
essential for a full life?
All that I need. 
ALL that I need, 
resides in the temple that has been built in my heart. 
And that is it. and that is real. and that is where life, purpose is to be found.
Not in the gifts that God gives us, but in God Himself.

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