Friday, September 21, 2012

Awakening by Hillsong

Today, I am going to blog about another song I like that I discovered recently. It was sung at a church I recently visited, and I'm visiting a new one this Sunday again, because I haven't decided where I want to go yet. This song is called Awakening and it is by Hillsong (love them).

[Verse 1:]
In our hearts Lord
In this nation

[Verse 2:]
Holy Spirit
We Desire

For You and You alone
Awake my soul
Awake my soul and sing

For the world You love
Your will be done
Let Your will be done in me

[Verse 3:]
In Your presence
In Your power

[Verse 4:]
For this moment
For this hour
[ From : ]

Like the rising sun that shines
From the darkness comes a light
I hear Your voice say
This is my awakening

Like the rising sun that shines
Awake my soul
Awake my soul to sing

From the darkness comes a light
Awake my soul
Awake my soul to sing

Only You can raise a life
Awake my soul
Awake my soul to sing

This song reminds me of Saul and how Jesus blinded him and them physically and spiritually awakened him to the world. Acts 9:1-19 (NIV) 

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsusnamed Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul is a wonderful example of being saved by grace and how God is our light in this darkness, how we are not alone in this world. He was blind, but when God revealed His light to Saul, he awakened him, reconciled him. Saul recognizes that God is in control as Lord of everything. He goes on to get baptized, begins to follow God as a disciple, and becomes Paul.  

I used to be blind too, used to be in the darkness, but I was awakened to God's love and light too. Then I started following Him and that's going to be my whole life now. That's the only worthwhile way to live, is to follow Him. I've come far since my Redemption Moment (the moment I was saved), and I look forward to where I am going with God. It's such an adventure! 

This story (and song) reminds me that I am also becoming and that God has a wonderful purpose for me. I'm not sure what it is yet, but one day He'll let me know. I haven't figured out where my life is going, but it's okay, because it's out there for me.  Until then, my heart sings the words of the song, "For the world you love, your will be done; you're will be done in me." That is how I would like it to be, for God's will to be done in the world and in my life and in your life. What a beautiful thing that would be. 

I leave you with these words of encouragement. God loves you and me and He has the whole world in His hands. Be awakened to His love and grace. Believe and live faith and have a wonderful day. Love, Rachel 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Your Love is Strong

So I've been going to CRU (an inter-denominational ministry on campus) and I am now going to write about a song that we have sang every week for the past month. It is a very powerful song and reminds me that God will come through for me in the midst of transitioning to college.


Heavenly Father, you always amaze me
Let your kingdom come in my world and in my life
Give me the food I need to live through today
And forgive me as I forgive the people that wrong me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window the birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune or out of place
I walk to the meadow and stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl on her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens is now advancing
Invade my heart, invade this broken town
The kingdom of the Heavens is buried treasure
Would you sell yourself to buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

Our God in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons


This was my first time hearing a Jon Foreman song and I really like it. Last week, I had a math test on Friday and homework due by midnight Sunday. Suffice, to say I also had two meltdowns over all of it. The test went terribly. I enlisted the help of 4 or 5 girls on my floor during that week to help me with the homework. It was an awful, extremely stressful week and I was so stressed out that I didn't really focus on anything except my stress.

This song ultimately reminds me that God's love is strong and it is a lot stronger than me. I can't do anything on my own and I need Him for everything. This is what I've realized the past couple of days, that my focus has been more on what I'm doing and less on what HE is doing. Whenever I feel like I am drifting away from God--and I think this is normal I did just start college and so my attention has been on adjusting, managing my time, studying, having fun, and participating in clubs--I always go back to John 15:5

"I am the Vine. You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing."

This is so true! I cannot do anything with God. I am weak, insufficient, and incapable of doing life on my own, but He comes through for me. He is El Shaddi, all sufficient and His love is strong. He loves us so so so so so so so much!

I am working on remaining in God even though it is a lot harder here at college than at home! I know I am here because God wants me here. I know that I can trust Him and that is where my life is going, to be a life that completely trusts Him. I'm going to get there one day and my whole life is that journey, but it will all be worth it because God is worth it. And one day I will get to spend eternity with him!

His love is strong and He loves us. Believe it. Have a good day, Love Rachel

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Stand

For today, I want to blog about this song. Every season, there's a new song for my life, and my summer song was The Stand by Hillsong.

My life the past year has been a journey to completely trust God and it's been amazing and it will continue my whole life. Because I've learned that trusting God is a daily thing, with every action, every choice.

Essentially, faith is trusting God. Trust comes from the Greek word Pistis which means confidence, faith, trust, reliance on, and conviction of the Truth. Faith/Trust also have the same Latin root which is Fides which means trust, confidence, reliance, and belief. A more modern definition is "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of something or someone" (Webster Merriam Dictionary).

For a long time I had a hard time trusting Him. I lacked faith that God was who He says He is in the Bible. I had a lot of unbelief about who God was and what he will do. For a long time, I thought that He was a God who could but who held back from helping us. That He was indifferent and uncaring, but I thought wrong. Once I started reading my Bible consistently, I struggled with who I thought God was versus who He really was, and it was really convicting and I had to deal with my heart.  You can't trust God, if you don't know Him.

After learning and coming to the belief that God is trustworthy, I really worked on my relationship with Him and learning what it means to live for Him. Discovering that it is worth it to follow Him. I went on a church retreat where we talked about going all in for God. How God gives us a life of purpose and obedience to Him. How it takes a need, an emotional response, a risk, and a calling. Jesus had satisfied my need with His Grace at my Redemption Moment (the moment I became a Christian); I had an emotional response and I longed desperately for my purpose.

 I was really afraid of trusting God, so I held back; I held back. But I fear failing Him and failing myself even more. The only way not to do that is to go all in, even though I was so afraid. I don't want to get to the end of my life and regret not living for him. I want to be a reflection of His Love to the world.

After the retreat, I struggled a lot with my purpose. It's still something I struggle, but I do know something. I know that we are here to be in a relationship with God and to love Him with our whole hearts. I struggled a lot with going away to college, because I didn't get in the one place I thought I would, where I really wanted to go. But God loved me so much that He had somewhere better than there. I still don't know what I'm going to major in or what I'm going to be, but I know that it's less about what I am and more about who I am. Right now I'm an undeclared and I've decided that I'm really just majoring in Life. God is doing awesome things in my life that I will blog about in my next song post.

Anyways, in July I started listening to this song, The Stand, and then I went on my church's Mission Tour to Boulder, CO where we sang it all the time, too. It became my summer song, a song of complete worship even though the future is uncertain, a song of trusting Him because He is good and He has good things for us.

One day, we went hiking and I was terrified of standing on top of these rocks on a mountain. So I sat on one and enjoyed the view. It was so beautiful on top, the valley with a dirt path through it, rocks on all sides, mountains with trees, and the city of white, tall buildings, beyond. But it was this experience, that made me realize that I'm still afraid and while I knew it was normal, I didn't want to be afraid. After the retreat, I had written in my journal that I wanted confidence in Christ; I didn't want to stand on my own. I don't have to. I have God and God has me.

The next time, we went hiking, I was less afraid of standing. Colorado is a beautiful state, and I loved looking out at the mountains and being amazed by Him and how we created all of this and all of us. I loved being in awe of Him.  Well done, Creator. Well done, God.

From Mission Tour (besides so many other good things!) I learned what is actually means to stand (on God's Truth). It means believing that God is not going to fail me, that He is the rock, solid, eternal.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. --Psalm 18:2 

It means recognizing my need for Him, because like the song says "what can I say, what can I do, except offer this heart completely to You?" and living out my faith because of this need. It means not holding back because I'm afraid.

This is what The Stand means to me and it was my summer song. Summer is ending (although it feels like summer all the time in Florida) and I'm at a new season of life too, so I have a new song that I will write about next post. My only advice is don't be afraid to trust Him. Have Faith.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie Review

Thumbnail for version as of 11:40, 20 January 2012
Okay so I went and saw Hunger Games the movie last night with my friends and it was really fun. Being in college is awesome.  I saw the movie earlier in the year, too, but I like to watch movies twice before I review them. I read the book like 3 years ago, so way before it became popular. Suffice to say, I did mostly like the movie but there were some things I didn't like, things that were added, things that were in the book but not the movie. So here is where I'm going to talk about those things.

I liked:
The Reaping Scene, it was beautifully done
Gale and Katniss at the beginning
the love between Katniss and Prim and how Katniss would do anything for Prim
how well done the capital and people at the capital were
Cinna's character
Effie Trinket, she's so hilarious and naive that it's hard not to like her
Caesar Flickman, another hilarious character
The chariot costumes and how cool Peeta and Katniss looked as the rode
The girl on fire dress and Katniss's interview with Caesar
Katniss and Peeta talking on the roof
Peeta's confession of his love of Katniss and her reaction
Katniss shooting the apple of the pig
Katniss's goodbye to Haymitch and Cinna before she goes to the arena
Foxface's mysterious character 
Katniss on the move
Haymitch going to the sponsors for Katniss
Katniss in the trees, the tracker-jacker attack, and her hallucinations
Rue and Katniss's teamwork and the blowing up of the food
Rue's song, the flowers, Rue's death and Katniss's grief
when Katniss finds Peeta and says she won't leave him
The Feast scene, very well done and similar to the book

Favorite scene: When Katniss gets to her room at the capital and clicks on the control for the screen and gets to the forest one  and stands in front of it looking with longing.

I didn't like:
The train ride
Haymitch's character
President Snow
Seneca Crane and all the back story
the training sessions
the mutts
Cato's character
The Cornucopia scene, shows way too much death
Thresh's death
District 11's revolt after Rue's death
Cato's death

I'm sure there's more I didn't like, but I'm just too tired to remember it all right now. 

Things I felt where missing:
Buttercup is not an orange cat
Madge is not in the movie and does not give the pin to Katniss
there's no prep team!
The avox girl that Katniss knew had tried to run away
District 11 does not send Katniss bread, which shows that they support her
Katniss does not yell for Peeta when she finds out they can be together (instead she whispers)
Katniss and Peeta don't pretend to be in love before the games start
Prim and Prim's mother are missing medicine/healer backgrounds
There's no candlelight dress and we don't see Cinna at the end
It's called the Hunger Games and it's about those who have and those who don't have (food) yet no none, even in the games, is shown as starving
the boy with the bread scene, there was no reason for it to be shown 3 times
The training lady (in the movie) says that most of them will die from natural causes in the movie, yet no one appears to be sick/infected, starving, or thirsty
Katniss and Peeta aren't shown to be recovering from the games afterwards

The there main problems I had are elaborated on below.

Where's the love? Katniss does not appear to be pretending to be in love with Peeta. She does not leave him devastated at the end of the film. They do not get to know each other in the cave. Katniss doesn't tell Peeta the goat story or about her family. They don't talk about their lives outside of the games and they don't get to know each other.They don't really kiss all that much. At the end of the book when they are on the air craft and they are separated by a glass window, Katniss bangs on the glass and screams for him. It's one of my favorite scenes of the book and it's not in the movie!

The back story of President Snow and Seneca Crane. Personally, I just felt there was way too much of them and I didn't like the actors and I felt they took away from important elements that should have been in the film. The whole tracking thing seemed really unrealistic, esp with the mutts and the fire scene. Fire balls, really?

And the ending. I just didn't like it, because it seemed so rushed. Peeta and Katniss are a bit shocked after Cato's death and Katniss doesn't draw her bow and point it at Peeta when she finds out only one of them can go home. They don't actually put the berries in their mouths and have to spit them out. There's a weird shot of Seneca Crane being locked in the room with the berries. Then there's Haymitch telling Katniss how angry the gamemakers are and Katniss in a weird dress that looks like a wedding dress. Then they go home and Katniss gets to see her mom, Prim, and Gale and holds her hand up with Peeta's. I would have liked it to end with that shot.

Okay, I've written enough. Time to stop. Have a good night, yall!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Update on the Blog

So as you can see, I've changed the color background from green to a gray-white. Since I changed my blog name/will be changing it to something more permanent soon, I feel like my blog is a little bit less crazy. I do actually have a new blog name picked out, and when my design is complete sometime in the next two months I will share it with you.

Meanwhile, I'm going to ask for advice: did yall buy a design or do your own?

As for other happenings on the blog, I'm going to go see Hunger Games movie with some friends tonight and will be reviewing that tomorrow. Next week, I'm doings some song reviews, but I have my first MATH exam so I will be studying hard for that. Math is my least favorite subject by the way. I really don't like it. Anyways, I'm off to the movies. Hope yall are excited about the new design, whatever it may be. I'm really keeping an open mind as to where it's going, but I'm excited to actually be designing.

So have a good night and a good weekend, yall!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Being Remade

Hi guys, tonight I want to talk about something personal. But first I have something to tell yall. I've decided to actually change my blog. Like it says on my header, now that I'm in college, I just want something different. I'm still in the process of deciding where my blog is going, but right now I just want to let you guys know that it is changing. It's not going to be just a book blog anymore, because I've realized that there are things I have to say and that there are other things I am doing besides reading. However, I don't want yall to get too freaked out. I'm learning a lot of new things here at college, but I'm not changing as a person. My crazy awesome fun spirit has stuck with me! But I also have a personal side; I have beliefs, views, and thoughts that I want to share. I want to do LIFE reviews not just book reviews with the occasional song review. I want it to be more. 

With all of that said, I am now going to talk about that something personal. Since entering college, I've joined CRU which is an inter-denominational ministry all about loving others and glorifying God. I've been wanting to join it ever since I joined my current church which I miss back home. I had members there who worked at CRUs, so I had heard a lot about it and had wanted to join. Tonight at CRU this guy spoke about being remade and redemption. And that has happened to me. I'm not going to share my whole story tonight, or even how I really became a Christian. But I do want to share how God showed me that I am being remade.

I was a shy, very insecure person in high school who just wanted to fit in. I met some girls who were shy like me my junior year, so I did have some people to hang out with, but we were never that close. At the start of my senior year, I switched churches. I became a Baptist, and I'm very proud of being one. Just like I'm proud to be from the Midwest. The youth there were so welcoming and loving and inviting. I loved being one of them and going to worship and hanging out with them. It was one of the few times in my life that I actually felt like I BELONGED. A place where I could be myself and a place that I longed to be.

Suffice to say I loved it there. It's one of the few things I miss about home. My church and my friends there, my mom, my kitty cat, having a room to my own. I grew a lot there as a Christian as well. We were taught to be in relationships with each other and with God and what it meant to really live faith.

Fast forward almost a whole year to the middle of July 2012. It's Mission Tour, the church's annual summer missions trip. This year we went to Boulder, CO and ran an art camp for preschoolers. On the way there, we did affirmations. And that's how I found out about being remade. I had always thought of myself as the shy, insecure, quiet girl and that she was just who I was. But I discovered otherwise. This is what I was told.

"You're outgoing; you're friendly.
You're beautiful; you have a great smile. You're thoughtful, encouraging, so positive.
You're very outspoken and open. You're very confident about sharing you faith.
You're a nonconformist.
You're a very sweet girl. You're pretty, but you don't know it.
You have ambition and I admire that. You're focused and driven.
You're enthusiastic, energetic, caring, outgoing.
You are confident.
You have a great smile.
You love Jesus; you want to share your faith, and you remind me of Velma in Scooby Doo."

 Later during reflections, I thought about what all my friends had said, and I wrote in my journal:
"Could it be that I am being remade? Becoming a new creation, new. That, in some ways, the woman I want to be and God wants me to be are the same. And he is making me into that woman. That I can have confidence in Christ and shed my insecurities. That I have been leaving behind a girl since my Redemption Moment (that moment I accept God's grace). Being transformed into a woman, a woman of God. And I am amazed to see that the quiet, awkward girl is being transformed. I am amazed."

Mission Tour was one of the funnest weeks of my life. I embraced myself and learned things about being NEW Rachel. I learned that I love little kids and that I love little kid stuff. That I love chalk, and getting paint all over my clothes, and getting wet and dirty from slip and slides and grass. That I love the sun, laughter, waking up early, clay/play-doh, crayons and drawing, running around, camp songs (esp the toti tot). And then as NEW Rachel I got to re-discover things I already knew I loved. Like hiking and mountains and cake and ice cream and worship and just falling in love with myself. It was a wonderful week. This post is dedicated to my church back home. I love you guys.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (King James Version) 

Just be yourself; it's easier that way. So true, Love yall, Rachel