By Brook Ault
Sometimes, when life has us down, joy seems pretty far away and rejoicing in the Lord, although we know he is worthy of our praise, can be pretty exhausting. However, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, rejoicing can impact the vibe of our entire day. Reserving time to praise God in the morning reminds us of his unexplainable love for us. When we take the time to stop, reminisce, and bask in the presence of the lord, we are reminded of the amazing things he has done in our lives. In times of struggle, turmoil, confusion, or just plain exhaustion, rejoicing in the Lord reminds us that, even in these exasperating times, we stand in victory when we have Christ by our side.
With second semester coming to an end, this has been a huge struggle for me. Call me crazy but, when I’m knee deep in research papers, running on 3 hours of sleep, and cram studying for a huge test I have in just an hour, my first thought in the morning isn’t always to rejoice. However, being so consumed with worry and waking up every morning with no objective other than to check off a never ending to-do list isn’t honoring the father and it definitely isn’t benefitting me.
Colossians 1:11-14 says, “And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light.”
Like me, maybe you’re struggling to find the motivation to rejoice in God’s glory. This week, I encourage you to take little steps to make this a priority in your day. Whether it’s waking up in the morning and saying a prayer of thanks or just simply basking in the glory of the Lord, I encourage you to rejoice in him, remembering that he is worthy. Start each day reminding yourself that you are a child of the one true king, and see how this effects your mentality and intimacy with Christ!
By Sarah Breinig
1) Visit the Field Museum
The Field Museum is offering free days April 5-7 for all Illinois residents. Make sure you bring a state ID. (ONU students- you can bring a piece of mail with your campus address, but it is not always accepted.) Make sure to check out Sue (the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found), the Ancient Egypt exhibit, and the Hall of Gems. For more information on exhibits and the Field, go to https://www.fieldmuseum.org/.
2) See SHAZAM!
DC Comics’ newest film features Zachary Levi as the title character, a young boy who revives the superpowers of history’s strongest heroes and uses those gifts to fight crime on a hilarious adventure.
3) Go to the Chicago Riverwalk
As the weather is warming up, take a walk up and down the Riverwalk and see the stunning Chicago River. If walking is not your speed, rent a Divy Bike (https://www.divvybikes.com/) and bike the path instead. For more information and a map of the Riverwalk, visit https://www.chicagoriverwalk.us/.
4) Visit the Garfield Park Conservatory
If the weather is not quite warm enough for you to hang outside, enjoy nature in the indoors at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Visit the Tickled Pink gallery and see all of the other galleries alongside it. Visit https://garfieldconservatory.org/ for more information.
5) Attend a Concert at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Enjoy a nice convert at the CSO with student discount rates. To purchase tickets and see the concert lists, go to https://cso.org/ticketsandevents/student-tickets/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1pblBRDSARIsACfUG111vy8ChApJje0VJ4iAKAoizVhahUjPSBeFvuvj1BMUhvM3JGt8N1caAn8rEALw_wcB.
By Brook Ault
Worrying God Away
If I’m being completely honest, this past week has not been the easiest. From juggling what feels like 900 courses, frantically running from meeting to meeting, struggling to fit in even an hour of study time, planning for next semester, and figuring out what direction I want to take with my life, I feel beyond overwhelmed and want nothing more than to curl up in my bed at a reasonable time of night with the peace that passes all understanding.
As a college freshman, I luckily have many years to toy around with what I want to do with my life. However, for someone who takes 20 minutes to decide what cereal I want to eat in the morning, even registering for classes and determining if I should stick with my major can be a monstrous decision. It’s at times like these that I feel such an overwhelming anxiety that turning to God can seem as taxing as running a marathon.
God’s unconditional love for us is proof that he will never leave us. However, sometimes we push him so far away, that it seems like he is nowhere to be found. Why do we do this? Why do we create so much distance between us and the lord when all he wants to do is give us peace? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty guilty of this myself. Sometimes it’s so easy to blame God for the chaos happening in our lives, rather than lean on him for comfort and strength. It’s even easier to become so consumed with the worldly chaos around us that we completely forget to turn our attention to Christ.
Casting our cares unto our father is such a hard concept for us to grasp simply because we are so hard headed! Trust me, I’m speaking for myself when I say we love to have control. Many of us worry about things like what we will wear, what we will eat, and how are we going to pass that chemistry class is totally kicking us in the rump, or what our future will hold. It’s scary to wander what life outside of home or college will look like. We always want to know what’s next, what’s in store for us.
Sure, it can be unsettling and scary to go through life without an idea of where we will end up. However, when we surrender our lives and hand all control over to Christ, our lives become an amazing example of what God can do. I never imagined in a million years that I’d be here at Olivet studying communications. And if you told me I’d attend a Christian college, write a devotional blog, and actually enjoy mandatory chapel, I would’ve really laughed in your face. However, God has a funny way of putting us exactly where we need to be, if we allow him to. Today, I encourage you to take the worry you have, whatever it may be, and hand it over to God. Watch him work miracles in your life.
By Brook Ault
Let’s face it, we all mess up and fall short of God’s glory. Trust me, I know exactly what this looks like. Maybe we’ve let someone we care about down or stayed out too late with friends and slept through a super important group presentation. Or maybe we talked negatively about someone behind their back or threw somebody under the bus to save our own reputation. No matter what it may be, the truth is, we aren’t perfect.
Although God is calling us to resemble him and encourages us to be kind and loving individuals, we are also human. God doesn’t love us because we deserve his love or because we are loyal servants. He does not love for who we are or what we have done but rather because of who he is. Think back to a time when you did something that infuriated your parents. Growing up, I unfortunately had a lot of these little moments. When I was younger and bed time was still a very real concept, I would always tip toe to the tv area in the middle of the night where my brother and I would stay up until midnight binge watching Scooby Doo, mindlessly munching on hot Cheetos, and drinking an unhealthy amount of cherry coke. It was all fun and games until my parents found my brother and I sprayed on the cotch couch at 6 o’clock in the morning, covered in Cheeto dust and surrounded by enough empty coke cans for 5 people.
Boy, were my parents furious that we had disobeyed the bedtime rules! The remote was hidden and out went the coke and Cheetos. (This was a very rough time for 12 year old Brook). However, even though they were pretty disappointed with my brother and I’s actions, my parents continued to love us unconditionally and eventually, we were forgiven and regained our privileges.
Just like our parents, God loves us unconditionally. He won’t turn away from us or disown us when we trip up. Instead, God forgives us and calls us to forgive others. Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with Each other and forgive one another if you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the lord forgave you.”
Sometimes, it can be hard to get past the things we’ve done or the things that have been done to us in the past. Unfortunately, I’ve made bigger mistakes in my life than sacrificing sleep for hot Cheetos. And for the longest time, these mistakes hindered my relationship with Christ because I wasn’t convinced that God would want anything to do with me. However, God is reminding me the importance of forgiving myself every day.
When we make mistakes, we can often be tempted to lose courage and turn away from our faith, however, if you are feeling that way today, I encourage you to repent, forgive yourself, and turn to God for strength and motivation to stay on the right path.
By Brook Ault
Finding Rest in Christ
We all have our expectations of college- crazy adventures with new friends, educational and academic success, exciting internship opportunities, a new sense of freedom, lifelong relationships; the list goes on and on. But, if you’ve had an experience similar to mine, you’ve probably discovered that college isn’t always easy. As a freshman here at Olivet, I’ve experienced how incredibly difficult it can be to move away from home, adjust to a completely new environment, keep up with an enormous amount of course work while running on about zero hours of sleep, deal with awkward roommate conflict, resist the urge to venture to Culvers’ every night for a large cookie dough mixer, budget your very, very, small amount of spending money, find a job, manage a social life, and drag yourself to your 8:00 a.m. in the mornings when all you really want to do is hit the snooze button and stay in bed all day. The fact of it is, college can be exhausting. However, in the midst of the stressful times in our lives, we can find peace and rest in knowing that the same God who created the moon and stars is walking along side us every day.
Exodus 33:14 says ‘The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”’ These words of truth remind us that, even when we experience stress or doubt, we can find a sense of peace in the fact that God is working in our lives. This truth is incredibly important to remember and can carry us through even the most exhausting times in our life.
Whatever it be, whether you’re running late to class, drowning in homework, overwhelmed with anxiety due to relationship conflict, struggling to plan your future, running on less than three hours of sleep, or busting your tail just to pass a class, the perfect cure could be to stop, take a breath, and allow peace to wash over your body, remembering that we can always find rest in the fact that our God is alive and with us.