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Today is Memorial Day. This day was officially proclaimed on May 5th 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed on May 30th 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The purpose and true meaning of Memorial Day is not to have a three day weekend or to be able to have a BBQ and hangout with friends. The reason for the founding of Memorial Day is to honor of those who died serving the nation during war.

We are reminded of those who are serving all around the world, separated from their families on maybe one day a year. Their 365 days a year are spent fighting for the freedoms we wake up every morning to take for granted. Our heated homes, hot meals, running cars, jobs, schools, colleges, etc. Every day we wake up to take for granted the breathes we have to breath and the fact that America does not have war in our cities and in our homes. We are the land of the free and home of the brave. However we forget that very concept almost everyday, except for a moment a year when we bow our heads in silence, remembering why we are able to be free. Men and women all over the United States and the world are serving in the Armed Forces so that we can go to church, sleep soundly in our beds, and wake up every morning without even thinking about being in danger.

So lets take more than a few moments today and remember to keep those who fought, those fallen, and those still fighting for our freedom. However, don’t just keep them in a moments thoughts, instead keep them in your prayers to persevere and to be honored. We look to celebrities and famous people to be our idols, all the while there are soldiers fighting for YOUR Freedom. So lets not put soldiers on the sidelines, but thank them with every opportunity for being the ones who make our country what it is and that we can say Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice of His life so that we may life, so these soldiers in the Armed Forces also give up their lives and time to fight for our freedom, offering to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our comfortable lives.

So thank God everyday for the freedom you have and for the men and women who are fighting for you. You do not have to support the war, but you do have to support the troops because they are ones who give you the opportunity to live in a free nation.

God Bless America. Thank you to all who those serving in the Armed Forces. We salute you.

Happy Memorial day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qqPqHGX7q4

History source…

http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html

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Not Just Another Year

This is a new year… 2012. Sounds so daunting to start a new year fresh, but at the same time so exciting. I know that there are going to be a lot of amazing things accomplished during this year in God’s name.

The purpose of this blog is not for me to express how religious I am. The purpose of this blog is to just express things that God has put on my heart and has convicted me of. It is also a place where I will be sharing how God is shaping my life this year and my thoughts on the things that I am learning about God and the adventure of following Him.

I know that God is working in everyone’s lives and we all have a “unique” God story, so this is my small way of sharing bits and pieces of my growing God story. God enters into the stories and the lives of His people because that is how He interacts with those who are the most precious to Him.

So, as I am in this spring semester of college, I invite you to experience God with me. I am challenging myself to discover God and not just play the part of a Christian any more.

Let’s make a splash out of 2012, but a splash that shows the glory of God.

Blessings!

-Mary

Is It Just Words?

Most of my life I have always said the typical prayer at the dinner table or before I went to bed of… “Dear Jesus, Thank you for this day, bless this food to our bodies. Amen.” or “Dear Jesus, Thank you for this day. Help tomorrow to be a good day and help me to sleep well. Amen” or something like that… It wasn’t till recently that I began to realize the gravity of prayer and the power that it holds. Prayer should be a changing point of view, instead of side note to life.

Over the last 3 months of college and most of my life I have come to realize that my prayers have been out of routine and not out of an expectant heart. Does Jesus want us to even pray if we are praying half heartedly and expecting nothing from prayer? It says in the bible that if you call upon the Lord then He will give you the desires of your heart. Desires of my heart… What are the desires of my heart? I recently had to learn this the hard way. Last semester I prayed for great grades and that school would go smoothly, but the fact is that I have always struggled in school, because it is something that I have to work really hard at. However, I realized towards the end of the semester that school is not going to go smoothly and that I am going to be challenged and tested. I broke down after realizing this and I cried out asking God why He would ever do that. College during last semester was probably the biggest challenge for me that I had ever experienced. I countered this realization with, God, you said that you would grant the desires of my heart! The fact I look back and realize now is that God does not grant the desires of YOUR heart as you chase after your wants. He grants the desires of your heart after you are chasing after His heart and wanting the desires of HIS heart over yourself. So I dare you to ask yourself, as I have asked myself, what are the desires of my heart that I have to put down before God? What are the things that are pushing the desires of God’s heart out of my view and distracting me from His heart?

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to hear Francis Chan speak during a chapel. He spoke specifically on prayer and what it was suppose to be. To be honest, I have never really thought of prayer as a action changer till I came to college. Two of the girls on my hall really stuck prayer into my head from the beginning, praying over me if I was stressed, crying, or anything. They clearly showed me what prayer was supposed to be. I recently have asked myself many questions, but one of them is, how am I praying? Francis Chan spoke on praying expectantly with those desires that are from the Lord. Praying specifically that the Lord will show up in certain situations and provide deliverance for people. I have come to realize that I am not praying in a manner that is expecting God to show up. Am I praying in such a way that I believe God will show up and change me? Am I even wanting to be changed or am I praying out of a habit in this life I call religious? Or am I wanting to live a life full of faith and a love for Jesus Christ that is exciting? Am I willing to praying and step out into action expecting God to show up? Will I outreach to the poor, widowed, and orphaned, praying that God will show up, and stepping out in faith expecting Him to answer my prayers?

I think that as the American Church, we have come into place of being comfortable instead of developing a people who wait on the Lord in prayer and action. So where is your heart? And what are you willing to give up in order to follow the Lord in prayer and lifestyle? Are you expecting God to actually answer your prayers? Are you wanting and willing to dream and pray prayers that are far beyond anything you can imagine being possible? Recently, I went to a church service at Solid Rock in Portland, OR, and the pastor said I challenge you to dream and pray things that are impossible to man, because God is in the business of going beyond impossible and overcoming man.

Am I willing to allow God to show His greatness out of my weakness? Am I wanting to pray prayers that could change my life? God says that the life of following Him is supposed to be one that is exciting and life changing, are you going to pray for a life change?