Random Ramblings

Just a few of my thoughts on the world around me

New Devotions

Do you ever just have  a bad day? Maybe you try to brush it off, and try again the next day. But what if that’s just as bad, even worse? and the day after that? Well, that’s been me this week. Only after missing my alarm this morning, struggling through the delivery of a speech, and trying to take a test while fighting physical pain did I remember what I had been skipping all week. My devotions.

Now I’m not saying that I was having trials because I missed my devotions and if I do my devotions I won’t have trials anymore. No, God allows trials in our lives so that we will grow. He guides us along the way with His Word. Because I had been neglecting reading my Bible, I had no ammo to combat the trials I faced, and instead allowed them to bog me down. I could see my attitude towards little things getting out of hand. As the semester finished, my classes are getting rough and just plain frustrating at times as teachers attempt to cram the last of the content before giving the final exam.

Today I started a new devotional booklet I received as a graduation present last year. It’s called Gospel Meditations for Prayer and the first reading is from Psalm 127. When I opened my Bible to read the verses, I instantly remembered highlighting them last year when I was facing a struggle of tiredness and the feeling of trying to do everything myself. This is basically the situation I’ve thrown myself into lately with allowing myself to be consumed with worry for deadlines approaching and my future.

” Except the LORD builds a house, they labor in vain who build it; except the LORD keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil – for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.”

Psalm 127:1-2

I have nothing and can’t do it myself! It is God who gives me the ability to face each day for His glory. Obviously not all of my problems are magically fixed, but I can stop worrying so much about them and trust God cos He’s got everything under control.

I’m gonna sneak a page from Christy’s blog today and list some blessings God has shown me today 🙂

1. God has everything under control.

2. A call from my dad that the company he works for wants me working for them again this summer, and at a possibly higher rate.

3. Technology that allows me to connect with other believers to glorify our God and share His blessings with each other!

~jojo

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God’s Not Dead

Okay, so I saw this movie was out and I said to myself “Oh, that’s cool, I hope it’s a good movie” and moved on. I never really got excited about seeing it or even intended to go see it. Thursday night as I was headed up to my room, a friend passed me and invited me to go with her and some friends to go see a movie. I hesitated but when she said they were seeing God’s Not Dead I decided to go.

Now I went with 5 girls who live in a kind of prosperity gospel environment, one where sin isn’t a big deal it’s all about feelings. This and their actions have caused me to wonder about their salvation status. As we drove to the theater, I prayed that this movie would open a door that would allow me to share the true Gospel of Christ with them.

On a side note, I heard an interesting conversation between two of the girls and an atheist student in the dorm lobby. They invited him to join us and he gave his reasons for not going, namely it was a cheesy movie that ended with a stupid Christian rock concert. I was watching for our ride to pull up and didn’t join the conversation but noted how weakly the girls defended their reasons for going. They tried to win him over on feelings, which of course didn’t work. Once they got in the van they started talking about how they couldn’t believe he wouldn’t go with us. I gave my opinion, which involved several verses (John 14:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:14 are some), which I hope God can use in some way in their lives. Anyways, back to my review of the movie.

The movie started off okay. Being a Christian movie, there was of course no sex or cussing, which may have contributed to it’s cheesiness. That probably sounds really shallow, but in my experience, atheists and other unbelievers usually don’t argue with Christians or even converse normally without some colorful language in between. This is not to say I didn’t appreciate that it was a clean movie, in fact, that’s one of the highlights.

Okay, now obviously there were some Christians, and some non-Christians in this movie. Basically all the Christians were great people (except the girlfriend, but I’ll get back to her later) and all the non-Christians were very not nice people! This is my first issue with it, though I’m not sure that there was really a way to fix it. The fact is, there are a lot of nice people who are on their way to hell, not all of them are hateful, violent people like we so often think them to be. Plugged In Movie Reviews put it this way: “Pretty much everyone who’s not a Christian in this story is villainized for being mean, abusive, grouchy or narrow-minded. Several such sinners are condemned to either death or terminal illness, as if they’re being punished for their attitudes.” If life were this way, it would make things a whole lot easier when it comes to evangelism. Unfortunately, it’s not and personally I think it’s one of the challenges the devil throws at believers.

I also thought the movie was a little doctrinely unsound. People who are not saved are coming to see this movie because the title is interesting to them. You’d think the producers would have this in mind and have a stronger Gospel message or plan of salvation. There are two individuals who (I assume) become saved during the course of this movie. One is literally on the brink of death and the other has received word that she has cancer, been dumped by her boyfriend, and, not surprisingly, an emotional train wreck. Now admittedly, my memory isn’t the best, but I didn’t really remember hearing anything about acknowledgement or repentance of sins or that Christ and Christ alone could bring forgiveness of those sins and salvation. I can’t help but wonder if I, a Christian very familiar with the topic of salvation, can’t remember hearing that, how many unbelievers will? Salvation is not “fire insurance” against hell either! It is coming to the realization that you are a sinner, deserving only of death. The only way out is through Christ Jesus, who took on the consequence of sin by dying on the cross and obtaining for us life everlasting with God. This didn’t really seem to be addressed in the movie. Instead, the arguments for salvation was that it makes live better and that if you are unsaved you need to be saved (okay yes, that is technically a reason, but really?). Overall I was really uncomfortable with how much the feel-good and prosperity gospel tone seemed to be present throughout the movie.

Two more short deals and then I’m done, promise 🙂 . The main character, Josh has been dating his girlfriend for 6 years (meaning they started when they were 12?!). She gave up going to a better school to be with him. They are a little too touchy for my taste, but I don’t think they’ve done anything. As soon as he decides to go up against his philosophy teacher and prove God exists, she tells him not too and basically threatens him with ending their relationship. Uhm, she’s supposedly a Christian, yet she doesn’t want him defending God? and she’s willing to sacrifice a better education but not her boyfriend debating God in a classroom? Not the best picture of a Godly young woman, that’s for sure, though I can understand the need to present some adversity for him.

The finale to the entire movie is this giant rock concert by the Newsboys which nearly all the characters attend. Now, I don’t want to make a blanket statement here, but a lot of Christian rock music has very little doctrine in it (not all, mind you, just most). I do on occasion listen to this music, but only as entertainment, not as a main part of my worship. A comment is made about this concert where people “are worshiping the Lord”. I’m not entirely sure that’s what was going on there, but the movements of the audience members and the lead singer were very similar to the movements of secular rock music, which are very often full of vulgarity and anti-God sentiments. At a glance, which do you think an unbeliever would assume the concert to be? (Romans 12:2)

Lots more I could say, but won’t since I guarantee I’ve definitely  stirred up the pot already here. Final thought is what was the whole purpose of the movie? Consider this passage of Scripture:

1 Corinthians 2

English Standard Version

Proclaiming Christ Crucified

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Wisdom from the Spirit

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit,interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

~jojo

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Blessings in the Night

So yesterday was a pretty okay day (my birthday) and I went to bed at around 11, feeling good.

As I was drifting off to sleep at about 11:30, I was thinking about the next day (today) and the Chemistry test I had. Then with a jolt I woke up, remembering some pretty important online homework that was supposed to be due Monday at midnight. I looked at the clock and saw I had just under 30 minutes to complete and submit the homework. The previous homework in this class has always been difficult and time-consuming. I got on my laptop and of course, the internet was pretty much non-existent. By the time I got to the homework page I was very worried, which worsened as I saw it was actually due at 11:55, giving me even less time.

In a hurry I picked up my phone and shot off a message to my best friend using the voice recognition option. Of course, I was very hurried as well as worried so the message came out like this:

“Please pray for me I just remembered very important good time it and its to the left in half an hour now I’m not sure I’m going to finish in time”

Of course what I meant was Please pray for me I just remembered a very important homework assignment it and its due in less than half an hour and now I’m not sure I’m going to finish in time”

Some of you may think it a strange request, but school is my life and this class in particular has a bit of a shaky grade, so I need all the points I can get.

I sat there for what seemed like forever answering question, praying and rocking back in forth for the internet to work and accept the answers so I could move on. There ended up being 15 questions. Each question usually takes around 3-5 minutes to complete and grade. There was no way I was getting this done. When the last question was submitted I looked at the clock: 11:43. I had made it!!

This is my midnight blessing:

1. God cares for me and can do something amazing or simple like He did for me in allowing me to finish and submit my homework in time.

2. The best friends aren’t the best because of their personality or how often you hang out with them, but when they can drop everything and pray with you for any request. I am blessed to have many of these in my life.

~jojo

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So True!!!

It costs 5 cents a page to print here (regardless of whether the page has on line on it or a full-page worth!!)

Student.1 College.0

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Easy Bibliography (Works Cited)

My English Composition teacher introduced me to this. I wish I known about it in high school when I had those huge papers!!

It’s a website called www.easybib.com and you can put in a book, or website, or magazine title (and so much more) and choose which format you need your bibliography (works cited) in. MLA is the most common and is free but they also have APA and Chicago/Turabian but those you have to have a paid membership.

Hope this has been helpful!!

~jojo

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Why I Started Random Ramblings

Did you now that you all are guinea pigs for an experiment I’ve been conducting the past eight months? Well, you are, and you’ve behaved wonderfully. 🙂

When I go back to that first post from January 4, I look at how bubbly I portrayed myself. So let’s start there: I am not a bubbly extroverted person. I am a shy college kid who has no idea what she is doing and would rather be left alone with my books than make myself heard. I have always hated writing. I love history, science, and math but I hate anything that requires me to write something. Now here I am at college studying to be a pharmacist and I’m stuck with an English Composition class where all we do is read about writing, then write about what we read, and now we’re writing papers arguing about how students learn to write. On top of that, my science classes require me to write papers as well.

Now you’re probably wondering how this all ties in to you, my few but faithful followers. I started this blog as a hope to become a better writer. I did it on my own and it worked, but it wasn’t my first attempt. I’ve started so many journals at the suggestion and sometimes order of my high school English teachers. I never was able to go more than a week, so I never developed a habit of writing consistently. I just felt ridiculous writing things that no one would ever read. After seeing that a few of my friends had been blogging, I decided to try it. Even though I didn’t have a guarantee that people would read my stuff, it was more likely than when I was writing for absolutely no one. Some of my followers ended up being people I already knew (hi!), others I have never met and likely will never meet. But I try and keep putting stuff out there for you guys because I know how much I hate it when blogs I follow haven’t had new posts in months.

Another goal I had in mind was to make my writing more flexible. Even though I hated writing with a passion, I always good really good grades on papers and teachers would often try to get me to enter into a writing competition. Unfortunately, whenever I wrote, I wrote from a purely academic standpoint. I could write about other subjects, yes, but they would consist of big words and took on a distant, mechanical persona. I was spitting back every grammar and research paper rules I had been taught. I didn’t understand why I never placed. I had no imagination; the paper was boring; and on and on the judges’ comments went. Finally, it hit me when a friend was proofreading a paper for me. She remarked that if she didn’t know that I had written it, she would never have been able to guess. All my writings didn’t have a personal aspect to them because I wasn’t putting my self into them! I looked at my texts and e-mails to friends and even those were dull and boring. They could give an accurate picture of what happened but none could convey the emotions involved.

I tried write short fictional stories, but they always ended before I meant them to. I knew what I wanted to write and how it would end and the story always went faster than i intended not matter what I tried. Finally, when I started blogging I took a different approach. Because this wasn’t something I had to do and I knew there would be actual people reading what I wrote and judging me based on that, I began to put my heart more into writing. Whenever I go to write a post, I think of the general outline beforehand and then type without thought later. I try to do it all in one sitting and edit later as needed. I try to bring in a more conversational tone and so far it’s worked. I actually don’t mind writing so much anymore, which is good, since it seems that’s all I ever do anymore. I sprinkle in some smiley faces just ’cause I can and try to just talk about things that matter to me.

My grades are even better on my papers now and I don’t hate my English class. I attribute this to the fact that people can learn anything so long as they’re interested enough in it to try. I forced myself to write constantly until it became a habit that I enjoyed. If teachers would help their students develop a passion for a subject, they will see greater results. I chose the path to writing that interested me and now I can apply it to the other more important aspects of writing. Don’t misunderstand, I have a lot more to learn ahead of me, but at least I’m on the right track now.

~jojo

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Roomates

Now unless you’re a commuter or have your own apartment, roommates are something you’ll definitely deal with in college.

First, set down the boundaries for what goes on in your room. Do you want to share all your food? Clothes? Accessories? Really think about it. You may think it’s fine now, but what if you change your mind after a few months after your favorite shirt has a stain that you didn’t put there? Or maybe all your snacks are gone? Even if you decide to share, make sure you respect each other’s property.

How about who is in your room? Do you want to have an open door policy and let all their friends hang out in your room when you’re studying for your 8 a.m. exam? And if you do have friends and guests come, decide how late, how loud and how many beforehand.

It would be a good idea to get all these things down in writing (after you’ve worked through any problems and compromises) and if you want, sign it with a witness or two and treat it as a legal document. Hopefully you never have any problems with each other, but this is a good way to identify any problems that may happen in the future and prepare for how you handle them. Remember, you can always bring any problems you have to your RA, but it’s best to work it out between the two (or three) of you first.

Something that students tend to freak out about is if their bedtime or alarm may disturb their roommate. Obviously, you should do your best to not be overly annoying, but it is your room too and if you have 8 a.m. classes and they don’t start until 10, you need to be up and ready, so don’t let worrying about waking them up stop you from that.

Sorry for the haphazardness of today’s post. I’m actually taking a writing class so maybe I’ll get better at organizing my thoughts (ha!).

~jojo

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How to NOT gain the Freshman 15!

So I’ve been in orientation for college this weekend! And I’ve decided to share some stuff that I’m learning with you guys so you’re that much smarter.

So first, how not to gain the dreaded Freshman 15:

If your college has a lot of social activities put on by your dorm/residence hall or something like a Student Activities Board (SAB), take advantage of the free food provided. If you see that there’s a bunch of these events close together, skip the dining common and only eat at these activities. Granted, it’s not always healthy food (for example, tonight we’re having pancakes and Yogurtini), but at least it’s not extra calories on top of your basic three meals. Another great aspect of this is you get to meet new people and save money (most events like these are free).

Don’t be tempted by the soda machines in the lobby! And remember, water is free, so keep a bottle handy to fill at drinking fountains.

I know breads and pastas are cheaper, but they’re not all that great for you. Instead, make sure you’re getting lots of protein, especially if you have a big campus to walk. Veggies are great too, so don’t forget your greens! When staying up at night to finish a report, make sure you’re not just junking out with chips and such (I have a jar of crunchy peanut butter in my room for those nights).

Try and workout at least every other day. Many colleges have gyms that are opened 24 hours or at least late into the night. Even if you’re tired, get moving with jumping jacks, sprints, stairs (I’m sure there’s LOTS of those around campus), or check out the weight room.

Now obviously, I’ve only been here a few days, but this is some stuff older students have told me and also some of my regular diet plans. Don’t judge me, my degree’s not for nutrition!

Of course, make sure you get plenty of sleep and be alert when that 8 a.m. lecture starts!

~jojo

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