I’m Uncomfortable

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But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. ~Philippians 3:7-9

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  My alarm went off early, and the day seemed to be starting off well.  However, then I turned it off and woke up a good hour after my day was supposed to begin.

I felt irritable and it bothered me.  I am not typically one to be grumpy in the mornings, and I usually look forward to whatever the day has to offer.  But today, everything seemed like it was gearing up to be particularly ugly.

I decided to continue my morning routine in a quicker manner than usual, ate breakfast, worked on homework and trudged to chapel. When I walked up the stairs, I was feeling frustrated and confused about why I was even feeling that way.

The music started and I couldn’t even sing by the end, I knew I was so off in my spirit.  And then the sermon rolled in.  The speaker today talked about being able to hear the voice of God.

Funny, I thought to myself.  This speaker is talking about the exact topic of my current Bible study.  Right now, I am working through the book Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.  The tagline for the study is “Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”  Basically, the study challenges its reader to learn how to hear God speak, and do what He says, the exact topic of today’s sermon.

Feeling convicted, I listened a little harder to what he had to say.  And I started to ask myself…why am I so irritated?  What in the world could possibly be bothering me?

And what came to my mind was a whole list of petty problems that were all rooted in a deep sense of security in the things of this world.  When I worry, scheme, and plan my life around the things of this world, I am always frustrated.  But they sneak in so quietly and subtly that I often do not realize they are there.

In doing this study, I am realizing that getting closer to God, hearing His voice, and knowing and doing His will, is going to require some sacrifice.  It’s going to require me to sever my ties with this world.  And if I am completely honest with you, I’m uncomfortable.

I’m uncomfortable because for too long I have found comfort in the things of the world that will never satisfy.  I have looked for meaning in my work, my activities, my relationships, money, my family–anywhere but the One Who has blessed me with these.

Drawing closer to Him, means letting my deeply-rooted ties to this world go.  And there are some deep roots. It is uncomfortable to think of what I will have to “lose” to draw closer to God.

The passage at the top from Philippians lays it out clearly for me.  “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things…” 

As I sat in that chapel and continued on through my day, I have been asking myself “Do I really consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ?  Everything this world has to offer me?

I’m discovering some deep ties to areas in my life that were never guaranteed to last, and certainly should not cause me to be upset at the slightest threat that they may be taken away.

And as I am growing closer to God, I am realizing that the life He offers me is so much fuller, sweeter, and simpler than what I can do on my own.

It’s uncomfortable.  But so incredibly worth it.

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Semester Reflections

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It is crazy how fast a semester can come and go.  I can hardly believe that college is nearly half way completed.  In all the craziness of this past semester, I have hardly taken the time to blog and I wanted to write this little post to update you on what God has been teaching me in these past few months. 

If I had to sum up the whole semester in one word it would simply be “blessings.”

Here are a few of the reasons why…

  1. God Provides.  If you have been keeping up with my blog you know that a few months ago, 300 dollars were anonymously placed into my mailbox, eliminating a large majority of my bill for school.  But He didn’t stop there.  He went above and beyond by providing me with a new job that I loved for one semester.  As the end of that job approached, I was offered another job that was completely unexpected which amounts to the same salary I was making at my job this past semester.  My parents always told me that “God is seldom early, but He is never late.”  I have seen His unexpected financial blessings over and over again throughout this semester.
  2. God Teaches.  Whether it was through the words of a chapel message, song lyrics, friends, family, church, my students, professors-God was continually speaking truth into my life.  I have been challenged time and again this semester to work through and let go of habits and struggles.  I have been surrounded by excellent accountability partners.  I also took some time to explore the spiritual disciplines as a result of one of my classes and the lessons learned from that were immense.  I highly recommend the book The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard.
  3. God Satisfies.  I have thought a lot about the question of how I would react if everything in my life were taken away this semester.  What would I do? What do I value the most?  I am still processing this one.  But I have to tell you that the more I look to Him and the less I look to me, it is unreal how completely satisfying He alone is.  
  4. God Surprises.  Isn’t it amazing how God goes above and beyond!  Not only does He meet our needs, but He also blesses us beyond what we can imagine.  This for me came in the form of friendships this semester.  I continued to be blessed by old friends, but also added some new ones.  These friends have challenged, encouraged, and refreshed me.  They were incredible surprises that were unexpected, but so very needed.
  5. God brings us joy.  How very refreshing it is to laugh!  There have been so many moments of humor throughout the semester.  There has also been an overwhelming sense of deep satisfaction that cannot be contained.  This joy is life- giving and incredible.  
  6. God is Present.  So often I close my eyes to what He is doing around me and in the lives of others and focus on worries or complain.  In doing this, I miss so much of the big picture.  God is present on this earth and I want to see Him in each and every day.  I’ve started to write these moments down to look back on and remember.
  7. Time with God is Necessary.  My day is truly different if I have not spent time with God.  Time and time again I get to the end of a day and wonder why it was so bad, only to realize that I had not taken the time to go through my entire day with Him.  Quick prayers and maybe a devo just don’t cut it.
  8. God gives Wisdom.  God’s wisdom is so much better than my plans.  He knows the way to go.  I am learning how to be patient, and how to hold my tongue.  I’m one of those people who talks a lot and whose brain is going about 100 mph throughout the day.  A lot of times, I need to just stop and listen.  A friend recently challenged me to let go of all my worries and live freely.  Trusting that God’s wisdom is higher than my own is a big part of that process.
  9. God Loves.  He loves us.  That is just crazy to think about.  God, the Creator of the Universe, loves you and me.  Little us.  And not only us, but all of His creation. He has time for us.  He cares for us.  He even let’s us call Him Dad.
  10. God is Big.  He’s bigger than my plans and dreams.  He’s bigger than my problems. He’s bigger than my past, present, and future.  He’s bigger than evil.  He’s bigger than I can comprehend or even imagine.

These lessons are some of the reasons why I would summarize this past semester as one of “blessings.”

It is Christmastime and soon it will be New Years.  During the holidays it is easy to get so caught up in the craziness, that we lose sight of what we are celebrating anyway.  We lose sight of the ways God is blessing us.  

In church this past Sunday, my Dad shared these statistics in his sermon and I wanted to pass them on to you.  

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness…you are more blessed than the six million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation…you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death…you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace…you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.


These statistics humbled and challenged me this past week.  As your semester and year come to a close, how has God been blessing you?  Take some time to reflect on the ways that He is at work around you.  

And don’t forget in the midst of all the craziness of the holidays to celebrate. Celebrate the blessing of the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior this Christmastime. Celebrate what this whole season is really all about.

My Times Are in Your Hands

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But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…

Psalm 34:14-15a

I get excited easily.  This is not at all surprising to those of you who know me well.  Probably the thing that gets me the most excited is the joy I receive from relationships with God, family, and friends.

I absolutely LOVE being involved in the lives of people around me.  I desire to hear about and share in trials, triumphs, joys, dreams, successes, and every little bump in the road in between.  Sometimes, in spite of all this excitement, I catch myself thinking about changes which will inevitably effect these relationships in the future.

Because it is a well-known fact that those exciting, beautiful dreams and the mundane, every-day routines of life, will take us all over the country and the world.

It is nights like tonight, after spending a weekend on campus with old friends and new that I am reminded of how very short this precious time is.

And it is nights like tonight where I am also reminded how very thankful I am that my times are not my own.

If there is one lesson I have been learning my whole life, it has been to trust that the Lord has my times in His hands.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of change, especially when a change seemed to signify to me that an important relationship was going to change. Let me give you a few examples.

  • The summer after second grade we moved from Illinois to Minnesota.  I was so distraught about leaving friends and familiar surroundings that I told my parents I was going to super-glue myself to the wall and that they could not make me go. (My nine year old self must have realized this was a bad idea once I thought it through, because I got in the car and went and it became my favorite state and home).
  • Eighth grade graduation seemed like torture to me. I was convinced, and I mean absolutely convinced I was going to lose dear friends and that a new, scary, big high school was going to be the worst experience ever.  (I’ve still keep in contact with some of these people, and one remains one of my best friends to this day. Love you Em)
  • High School was not the worst experience ever. I loved it.  I dreaded leaving my entire senior year.  There were farewells to band and speech and teachers and friends.  And I cried my eyes out.  (I can still play my instrument, compete in speech, and stay in contact with teachers and friends).
  • College. Oh dear. I was a mess the night before starting school.  Saying goodbye to my family set off a full-out panic attack. (I cannot imagine my life without the people and experiences I have had here).

You get the point.  No change and potential shift in relationships has ever seemed pleasant to me.  But through each and every change, God brought new friends and gave me the ability to continue relationships with the old.

And through each of those new relationships and experiences, I learned valuable lessons that have helped to form me into the person I am today.

So maybe you’re like me.  Maybe nights of sharing life with friends gets you all worked up when you think about how very short your time with them is.

But I want to challenge you today to stop that thought, and just enjoy the time you have with them today.  Trust that the Lord knows what is best for you.  That your time is in His hands.

It will make life so much more full and memorable.

The Influence of a Godly Mom

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Listen my son to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 1:8

Tomorrow marks a very special day in my life, the birthday of my mom.  If you asked me who the most godly woman I have ever met is, without hesitation I would tell you my mom.

And in honor of her birthday, I would like to tell you the reasons why.  These are some of the lessons I have learned from my mom.

She taught me that character matters.  And that nothing and no one should ever make you compromise it.

She taught me that wisdom first and foremost comes from the Lord.  Whenever I had any sort of problem, her first question would be if I had prayed about it.  If my answer was no, she would send me to my room to pray and ask the Lord for guidance before I sought hers.

She taught me to pray for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment.

She taught me the value of time spent in the word.  Many mornings I would find her in bed doing her devotions.  The book was worn and torn from years of use.  When I went to college, she gave me her devotional book.   It is one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given.

She taught me to pick and chose friendships wisely, to look for friends that would push me towards the Lord.

She taught me that only one opinion of me really mattered, God’s.

She taught me that exterior beauty will fade, but inner beauty can only grow and mature.

She taught me that my family should be my best friends.

She taught me about sacrifice.  She would never put herself first.

She taught me that good relationships are worth waiting for and to never settle.

She taught me what a wife should look like.

She taught me how to manage my time, work hard throughout the day, and relax at the end.

She taught me to manage my anger, and to never let the sun go down without resolving it.

She taught me that sometimes I was wrong and needed to see a situation from another’s point of view.

She taught me to take healthy risks and try new things.

She taught me how to distinguish between Satan’s lies and God’s truth.

She taught me to pick my battles wisely.

She taught me to tithe.

She taught me to put others before myself.

She taught me to do the hard right thing over the easy wrong.

She taught me to go for my dreams and believe that if God was in it, it would eventually come to be.

She taught me to trust in the Lord as provider.

She taught me to be patient.

She taught me to listen.

She taught me gentleness, compassion, and kindness.

She taught me what it means to be faithful and loyal.

She taught me about my Creator.

And so much more…

So for those of you who are parents, setting a godly example for us, your children, is so very important.  It is the greatest gift that my parents gave to me.

And for those of you who are not, you still have a vital role to future generations.  What kind of legacy are you leaving?

Thank you, Mom for all you have given to your four kiddos.  We love you!  I wish I could be there with you today to celebrate!

 

 

 

 

Seeing God In Every Day

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Today I saw God at work in these ways…

  • An incredible  sermon which challenged me to let go of anything that is not of or from Him.
  • Amazing professors dedicated to Christ-centered learning.
  • The beauty of true friendships among the body of Christ.  How amazing it is that the Lord has provided people to walk alongside and lift us up when we cannot ourselves.
  • My daily food and water provided.
  • Clothing and shelter.
  • Watching junior highers write notes to encourage a friend having surgery.  20 personal notes were written to one girl going into a difficult surgery tomorrow.

Do you see God at work around you? What is He doing in your life? How has He blessed you?

A sermon I heard recently discussed how God has given us what we need for each day, food, water and Himself.  Everything else is a blessing.

So what are your blessings?

Leave a comment and tell me about them.

Thinking of You…

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Tonight my heart is with my friends all over the world.

I think of you in Africa.

I think of you in Asia.

I think of you in the Middle East.

I think of you in Europe.

I think of you across the beautiful United States.

I think of you in South America.

I think of those of you I only had the privilege to meet briefly, but oh what a blessing it was to know you in that time.

And I pray for you all.

I pray that God will strengthen you in your ministry. I pray that He will surround you with a complete awareness of His love.  I pray that He will bless you with strong friendships and good churches and opportunities to proclaim Him courageously and with boldness.  I pray that He will meet your needs in miraculous ways.  I pray for you as you go through the little things that will arise in every day life.   I pray for you that you will experience Him in new ways.  I pray that the wonder that God has filled you with will never cease.

I pray for those of you who have not met my Father.  I pray that you will find Him and seek Him with all of your heart.  I pray that His love for you will transform the way that you view your life.

May you know that there is someone here cheering for you, praying for you, and with you on the journey for the long run.

All My Love,

Breanna Reh

Friends

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I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ Jesus, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:3-9

What an opening to a letter! Can you imagine receiving that in the mail?  Some of my favorite passages to read in scripture are the letters of Paul to the early church.  I love reading how he encourages them in their faith, challenges them to grow and to pursue God, and rebukes them when they have fallen astray. I can hear the passion and emotion that he writes with, urging his brothers and sisters in the faith to pursue Christ above all earthly things.

Paul often mentions specific friends by name in his letters and includes a special message for or about them.  He writes to each church with urgency and a knowledge of their struggles.  He continually encourages his brothers and sisters in the faith, in spite of what they are going through, to press on.

We need friends like Paul.  Friends who challenge us in our faith and hold us accountable for our actions.  Friends who can encourage us in every day life.  Friends who will walk with us through suffering.  Friends who can rejoice with us in our successes.  Friends who are not afraid to speak Biblical truth in a world that is often preaching the opposite.

Who are those people in your life?  Have you taken some time to encourage them lately?  Have you told them how much you appreciate them?  Are you aware of what is going on in their life?  Take some time to catch up or write them a little note to say how much you appreciate them.