"I am a wife to Brian & Mom to our four girls...living in a very loud house. Imperfect & flawed but saved by God's grace. This space is dedicated to encouraging you, our online students, as you pursue your education here at Liberty University. I look forward to connecting with you here."
Monday, November 24, 2014
It's a little quieter around campus this week. On Friday students wrapped up their classes and headed out to spend time with family during this Thanksgiving season.
However, before everyone left, the students and staff spent time at Friday's convocation lifting up praise and prayer to our Heavenly Father. We sang songs of thanks and we sang songs of God's goodness. David Nassar, Liberty's Vice President of Spiritual Development, challenged us with these words. "God doesn't necessarily need our Thanksgiving, but we give thanks to Him because it helps to guard our hearts. Guard your hearts with Gratitude."
So how will you guard your heart this week with Gratitude? It is so easy to see all the things that are going wrong in this world and in our lives. The washer that broke down, the car that will not start, children that won't corporate and assignments that are behind.
Instead of focusing on all the things that are not going right I challenge you to find even the smallest of reasons to give thanks. I challenge you to take the burdens you carry, lay them down at God's feet and choose to pick up his yoke of praise and thanksgiving this week.
I'll start: I thank the Lord for my family and for their health. I am thankful that after 4 long years of illness, my oldest daughter is healthy and strong once again. I am thankful for God's grace and mercy even when I fail Him, fail others and myself. I am thankful for God's unconditional love.
I choose to speak gratitude this week and to have an attitude of praise.
Now it's your turn.
What do you give thanks for? What is an area in your life that you can express gratitude for? Feel free to leave your comments below.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
Photo Credit: Les SchoferPosted at 12:12 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Monday, November 17, 2014
Almost every day I walk the campus of Liberty University, passing hundreds of students on their way to class. Each has a unique story to tell and sometimes I wish I could stop and hear each one.
It's the same with you, our online students. Each of you has a unique story. Stories of why you are here and what you feel God is calling you to do. You have life experiences and lessons learned the hard way. You have those moments that changed you and moments that left you breathless. Honestly, I wish I could hop a plane and sit down over coffee and hear your stories too.
But if we are honest, sometimes it is easy to feel like you are just another number, lost in a sea of faces. Maybe you think your story is not important, that it doesn't really matter or carry any value. But the truth is, it does! You matter! Your life and your story matter.
There is a verse that comes to mind when I began to feel lost in the crowd: "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7
What reassurance to know that even when I feel lost in the crowd that God, in all His Sovereignty, knows me so intimately and cares for me so deeply. The same is true for you. God loves you so deeply and intimately that there is not a day you go un-noticed. Be encouraged that Your Story Matters.
We would love to hear from you and hear a bit of your story. You can feel free to leave a comment below or join the nearly 750 students that have shared with us on our "Tell Us About Yourself" page. Join us and share your story!
Photo Credit: Kevin Manguiob & Joel ColemanPosted at 8:37 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Monday, November 10, 2014
The day dawned bright and clear. I still remember as if it was yesterday. We stood, shoulder to shoulder, waving until the bus was out of sight. We knew that it would be a long time until we saw the face of our loved one again. Yet bravely we stood, tears streaming, as once again we said goodbye. This was my brothers’ second deployment and I prayed it wouldn't feel as long as the first.
As I stood their holding his sleeping daughter, I looked at her and wondered just how many more first he would miss. How many goodnight hugs and sweet morning kisses would he forfeit simply for the sake of protecting what was most dear to him? What more would he and his family sacrifice so I could stand free upon this ground we called home?
He is a serviceman. Called to step to the front lines of the fight for freedom. Over and over the same scenario is played out across our nation, as our service men and women heed the call and bravely step to the front lines.
As this November 11th dawns, we celebrate the men and women who have fought in the past and the men and women fighting in the present. Today we honor our service men and women and extend our sincere thanks for how you have served our country and the people of these United States.
And to all our current students and past alumni of Liberty University who have served and continue to serve, we say Thank you.
Photo Credit: Kevin Manguiob
Posted at 8:32 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Monday, November 3, 2014
The changing of leaves, the cooler weather, all remind me that the holidays are just around the corner. Already our family is making plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers.
I've always enjoyed these celebrations. For me it's time to slow down, to take time with extended family and catch up on the latest news.
But I can't say every year has been easy. As it is for many families, the holidays can sometimes bring just as much pain as they do joy. For some, the loss of a loved one or the distance of family can leave us feeling empty and not ready to celebrate the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas Joy.
I remember the year we lost my uncle, just before Christmas. One day he was just fine, the next day he passed away from a tragic accident. Those were some hard days and an even harder Christmas. His chair was empty at our family table and we all felt the loss greatly.
Maybe you have experienced a similar loss. Maybe, for you, the upcoming holidays stretch forward into loneliness. Or maybe you know someone facing a tough holiday season.
No matter what you are facing, we want you to know that we care.
If you have a prayer need, our Campus Pastors are available to pray with you. You can submit your prayer request HERE.
If you feel you need someone to talk with, we offer counseling resources to help guide you to those who can help walk this journey with you.
I will leave you with this promise from God's word.
"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy….I will trust in the shelter of Your wings." Psalm 61:1-4
Photo Credit: Kevin Manguiob
Posted at 8:24 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Monday, October 27, 2014
Mark 16:15 - "And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”
Last week, on the encouragement blog, we talked about how we encourage those within our personal community - friends, family and co-workers.
"We all have those people in our lives. People we love and are connected too that need someone to come beside them, support them and lift them up in prayer."
This week we want to talk about stepping out a little further, beyond our personal communities, onto a global stage. For many of us, stepping out beyond our own community may push us past our comfort zone. It may raise a lot of questions in us and fears of the unknown, and yet God, while He calls us to live locally, also asks us to think globally.
We all know that there is a hurting and dying world out there. All we have to do is turn on the TV and watch the news to know the truth of that statement. And because of that hurting and dying, God is calling each of us to reach out and share His love through the gifts and talents he has given each of us. For some, that may be teaching, preaching, building, or leading. For all of us that means serving and loving.
So how do we know where God would have us serve? Here are three key places to start:
1. Prayer - Pray and ask God to give you His heart in reaching the larger global community. Ask Him specifically how you fit into that plan.
2. Open Your Eyes - Ask God to help open your eyes to the possibilities all around you. Is it participating in an upcoming cross-culture trip, serving with a global sending agency or is it supporting a missionary through a financial blessing?
3. Serve - Once God shows you a direction, start serving. Sometimes we wait until we think everything is in order, when often God simply calls us to take first steps and just serve. Taking action is the key here.
So now, it's your turn to share - How is God calling you to serve globally? How do you step past your comfort zone and take action to serve?
Photo Credit - David ListorPosted at 8:32 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink