Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mercy and Forgiveness

Lydia is a sophomore majoring in biotechnology. She loves being with her family and friends, cross country skiing, and cuddling with her cats when she's home."

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Matthew 5:7

            God repeatedly shows us mercy. It was out of mercy that he sent his only Son to save us and each time we sin, he shows his mercy through forgiveness. It is easy to become angered by the actions of others, but we must remember to also show them mercy and forgiveness, just as God does for us. If He can forgive us for our sins, then surely we can forgive others for their wrongs. By imitating Him and showing mercy to others, we glorify Him. If we forgive others for their mistakes, God will show us mercy in return for our sins.

Lyrics to “Forgiven” by Skillet

Forgive me now 'cause I have been unfaithful
Don't ask me why 'cause I don't know
So many times I've tried but was unable
This heart belongs to You alone

Now I'm in our secret place
Alone in Your embrace
Where all my wrongs have been erased
You have forgiven

All the promises and lies
All the times I compromise
All the times You were denied
You have forgiven

Forgive me I'm ashamed, I've loved another
I can't explain 'cause I don't know
No one can take Your place and there is no other
Forever Yours and Yours alone

Now I'm in our secret place
Alone in Your embrace
Where all my wrongs have been erased
You have forgiven

All the promises and lies
All the times I compromise
All the times You were denied
You have forgiven

I get down on my knees
Feel Your love wash over me
There will never be another
You're the only one forever
And You know, I'm Yours alone

I'm in our secret place
Alone in Your embrace
Where all my wrongs have been erased
You have forgiven

All the promises and lies
All the times I compromise
All the times You were denied
You have forgiven

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More on Being Patient

Rachel is an English major who is always singing. She likes to be active and talk to people (:

“Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses.” –Proverbs 25.15 The Message

“There’s more to come: we continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling short-changed. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 5.3-5 The Message

“You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong.” James 5.7-8 The Message

“What a gift life is to those who stay the course!” –James 5.11 The Message

Patience is something our generation struggles with. But possessing patience would make life a lot more laid back and enjoyable. When I’m waiting in the line at Saga at 12:30 for lunch on a weekday I wish I were a more patient person, so I could just talk with my friends and not feel so rushed.

Let’s be honest, Alma College does not set us up to be patient people. We all are involved in many different things and so we want to be as efficient as possible in all realms of life in order to do it all!

Why is it so hard to wait? What’s the rush? We all have a lot of living ahead of us, but we refuse to wait for five minutes for a video to load on YouTube! We live in a culture of instant gratification. But, God is telling us that anything worth waiting for, like oh I don’t know Heaven or your dream job or a friend’s forgiveness will come with “patient persistence”. This doesn’t mean you can go sit on your couch and complain about not getting that job. You have to actively seek out these things. God wants us to know that if we are patient, we will notice all the fabulous things in our lives, our own potential; we will realize what we are capable of.

I’m going to try to be more patient with people over Lent because, “what a gift life is to those who stay the course!” I’d rather enjoy every minute of this life than impatiently give up on anything I’m passionate about! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Light of My Life

Erin Chon is a freshman in high school and has been involved with her church ever since she was born. Born into a Presbyterian family, with a pastor father, her life was heavily influenced by the ways of Christ. Today, she continues her faith journey at Alma College and participates as a member of Alma Chapel's Host Team

"Come to me, all you that are weary and care carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
During the course of our life time, we experience many things, both terrible and wondrous. But it is during the times of struggle when we must look to God and entrust our burdens to him -- Burdens of both the present and future. as long as the Lord is in control, there could only be blessings.
            The Lord goes on to say, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me". So as we come to trust the Lord with our burdens, he trusts us with his. "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30).  But what is it that makes his burden so "light"? The answer is that you never have to carry it alone, because Christ will always be with you every step of the way. Also, never forget your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who also carry his burden.
            So, as you carry the Lord's yoke, do so with a strong heart and living not by sight, but faith. He will lift your heavy burdens and lay upon you his humble and merciful heart; For his love is his burden put onto you.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Peace from God

Here are two new post for Saturday since I forgot on Friday!

Annalise is a Junior from Grand Rapids who loves friends, art, laughing, dancing, and Disney movies.    

2nd Thessalonians 3:16: Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with you.

“God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there.  There is no such thing.” –CS Lewis

There are a lot of things in this world that fight to take our peace away from us—stress, relationships, sickness, money, the day-to-day struggles of living on this earth.  Everyday there is a new challenge to face, and it is easy to let the inner conflicts take over and begin to build walls between you and God.  But that isn’t what He wants for us.  God wants us to be free from worry and anguish, even in the darkest hours, He is always there.  He is there guiding and protecting you, loving you.  From the very moment you were created.  And He has a plan.  That plan is grace and peace and love.  No matter what happens, God is still loving you, his grace will reach you, and his peace will fill you.  There will be days when it will feel harder to find, but if you open all the doors, He will come in.   Psalm 34:14 says “…seek peace and pursue it.”  We have to pursue it because it is an ongoing fight in our time here, but God will greet you with new peace every morning, so just keep going back for more. 

“…seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14


Author:  Marta is an active participant in CSO and studies as often as she can!

I was born and raised in a Catholic family.  We went to church every Sunday, we prayed before we ate and went to bed, I attended a youth catholic ministry group that met every week; I was in the perfect environment.  In spite of all that, I had no clue of God’s goodness.  I never fully paid attention to the beauty of His works or even really knew how to love Him.  As I entered my third year of college, I met some people that changed my entire life by introducing me to the Rosary, Confession, and most of all… The Divine Mercy Chaplet.  This prayer is said at the 3 o’clock holy hour, and should be especially blessed on the first Sunday after Easter.  These were Jesus’ words to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: “My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (Diary, 699).  What makes this feast so wonderful is that the Lord attached an abundance of promises to it.  If we take the time to worship God, He will pour out His infinite and merciful love upon us.  It will light up our soul and lift us up to where our spirit shines out on the whole world, so that others may be witnesses to his great glory.  It is a time of grace for all people, no matter how awful are sins may be.  I spent the last 20 years of my life completely ignoring God, who is so infinitely good.  As soon as I realized that, I put Christ in the center of my life.  He still forgave me after rejecting Him for so long. That is true love.  I now know how to love Him.  I love Him more than myself.  Our Lord wants us to trust and believe in the goodness of His love, and this is how we can start, by saying The Divine Mercy Chaplet.  It is truly wonderful!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Opposition to Your Rebuilding

Christina is a junior who loves to cook and spin in color guard.

I’ve come across a lot of opposition in my life; whether it is from church, friends, school, family, or elsewhere. But I’ve got to say that the strongest opposition usually comes from me. When I come across something new, fears from within leave me apprehensive, even when it’s something good. This fear feeds on my discouragement and fills me with nerves which make me more fearful and more discouraged which gives me more nerves, and, well, you get the picture. It’s just one long arduous cycle. And the way to stop it? Well you can’t. At least not by yourself. You see, when you fall into a cycle like this, you become so enveloped in the emotion of it all that the only parts you can see are the parts that are keeping you in. And when you finally get to the spot where you can see a way out, you’ve felt this way for so long that removing yourself from the cycle is new and scary enough to spin you further or make its own apprehensive cycle. The good thing is that God created us to be social beings, to desire to help each other and to distaste when others are unhappy. This means that even if you’re not comfortable reaching out for help He’ll send someone to your life that is comfortable reaching out to you. Now be careful, this doesn’t mean that once this person comes you get to forget about everything and the cycle just magically ends. You have to be willing to reach for the hand they give, accept their help, and be willing to work. And this is hard stuff.  To do all this you have to be vulnerable, you have to be open-minded, you have to be willing to help them as well, and you have to be willing to continue working, even when it’s painful, exhausting, and seems pointless. I’m not saying this to discourage you; I’m saying this so you know what’s coming. And I can say from experience that even though this way takes the longest and hurts the worst, it works the best. When you work through opposition this way, you know that once you’re done, you’re done. There’s nothing left to haunt your future, everything is in the open, and you’ll have courage and strength to move forward.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent Devotions

Hello friends!  Happy Lent!  We wanted to encourage you to be devoted to walking with God through this period of preparation before Easter, so we have been working on having students write short Lenten devotions on many different experiences, topics, etc.  The plan is to post one each day so you can read it and reflect on how God is working in your life.  We are also going to make some hard paper copies which you can pick up in the chapel if you would prefer that!  We hope that you will check back each day.  Each devo is unique some have links to youtube videos, others come with song lyrics, or references to a book.  At the beginning you will find a short bio about the author, you can email them if you want to share your thoughts, or better yet, post them to the blog!  

Here is our first blog :) Enjoy!

Author: Elisabeth is super creative and passionate senior! She is doing her student teaching right now for Art Education. If you are looking for new delicious treats, just stop by and try one of her culinary creations!

Ash Wednesday is something I never really observed when I was growing up but was just always that day when some people had gray smudges on their forehead. Last year I went to a service in town at night.
I guess I hadn’t ever seen the stained glass windows back lit from outside; they are beautiful. Some of the songs I had never heard, but I sang them anyways. I liked the dimmer lights and candlelight. When it came to the part of the service for the imposition of ashes, I liked that the pastor explained them: where they came from, what they symbolized. I was one of the first pews so I heard many repetitions of out of ashes you come and into ashes you return. Somehow it was almost comforting to hear. It brought to mind how everyone will die some day and return to the dust from whence we came. I noticed that each person returned to their seat with a large, distinct cross on their foreheads, unlike the smudges I had seen on most people in classes. 

It made me think about how most of the time, our faith is invisible, but for one day a year, we very clearly show to the world our faith. I thought that was interesting, but kind of backwards; we should always be showing our faith to those around us. I don't think we should all get tattoos of crosses on our foreheads, but maybe that we should be more concentrated in living out what we believe and showing it to others.