2015 Retreat

imageSo for y’all who went on this past retreat you know how great it was. It was a blessing just to get away from school especially if you’re super busy like me. I want to remember how I felt on this retreat forever so I wrote it all down and I had to go back and look at what I wrote the next day. When we come back we start to go back to our routine. This means I got cranky and stressed and I already pushed off God to watch tv or do my home work. As we go back to our normal routine I encourage y’all to just try and remember that even though school is important, God is way more important. Being filled with the joy of God is worth more than getting all A’s.

Author: Nathan P.

Staying Positive During School

It’s easy for us to just go back to complaining about school, but where is that getting us? If we tried to stay in a positive mood instead of a grumpy or negative one, we would be happier and so would the people around us.

One of the hardest parts of going back to school is seeing the people who you don’t necessarily like or get along with well. It’s really important that we still respect them and treat them kindly. Be patient with them and they might return the kindness. But even if they don’t, continue to see them as God sees them and love them as God does.

            Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.”

There’s a verse in Philippians, chapter 2, that says “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

I like this verse because it states that when we aren’t so caught up in complaining about things that don’t go our way or people we don’t get along with, that we will “shine like stars in the sky”. When you look at a night’s sky everything is pitch black, but you can clearly see the stars. They stand out when everything around them is dark. The same goes for us. When everyone around us is negative, as long as we stay positive we will stand out just like the stars.

Of course there are still going to be people we don’t get along with, and it would be easy just to argue with them or complain about them to one of your friends. But the best thing to do is to pray for them. And pray for yourself that you’ll be able to love them as God loves them.

Author: Rachel B

Feeling Dry

A few month ago I was baptized and it was great, and I was on fire for the lord, but again I fell into the phase where my soul is looking away from God and it just feels dry. I am totally lukewarm right now. To be honest I felt kind of mad or ashamed of myself and how I let this happen again. I have turned away from God many times because to live on this earth without him is pretty easy. I have food and shelter and education and many fun activities. But that’s why I feel weak so often because I’m not totally relying on him for joy. I feel like it might be easier to just move to Uganda as a missionary so that way it would be just me and him, but our first world comfort can make it hard to continue to rely on him. This weakness I have found to be a good thing. It reminds me that I need him and makes me turn back to him. I’m tired of being stuck on the “slippery barrels” from the last post. I have been stuck there before, and I have gotten past them, and I will get past them again even if it takes help from others. In fact, its way better to get help from others! Rachel reminded me of this and that I don’t need to be perfect, but I just need to try. I need someone  to keep me accountable and help strengthen my faith because that is what this dry lukewarm patch of my faith is doing. It’s strengthening me! So I will look up to the hand that is reaching for me, the hand that does not care if mine is muddy and cut up from falling. And remember that even Abraham doubted God and he saw him in a cloud of fire and saw God part the Red Sea. He had doubt after seeing some of Gods most incredible miracles ever. I’m not terrible for doubting. I am only human. There is hope for every fallen man.

Author: Nathan P

Roller Coaster vs. Ropes Course

Hey Y’all! I hope y’all are having a great summer. I just came back from a family trip to Maine and it was awesome. The weather was certainly better than this Georgia heat. The most memorable part of the trip was probably going on this cool ropes course I did with my cousins. It was super hard. At one point, we had to literally jump from one slippery barrel to another. We were hooked into a safety rope that would catch us when we would fall. I loved it but at one point I put all of my weight on a wooden beam that tilted so I fell and tried to grab a rope but just ended up getting 1st and 2nd degree burn on my hand. I think things like this are harder than roller coasters because this took full concentration and agility, and we had no help and if we got too scared or stuck or fell we had to keep going. Roller coaster, even though they can be pretty terrifying, only take a few seconds of bravery. Once you are strapped in and can’t get out, then you are just along for the ride. I have thought of this as an analogy for our faith. I wish faith was as easy as making one brave jump on a zip line or getting strapped in on a roller coaster. Even skydiving only takes one jump. But we have to push our faith forward like we have to push ourselves ford on a ropes course. Sometimes there will be these “slippery barrels” where we are unsure about ourselves and our God, and there will even be times that we completely fall and mess up and it hurts. I haven’t read my bible in about two weeks, and I have asked myself questions that I was almost ashamed of. God has never let me down and has blessed me more than I could understand, but I found myself questioning him and his plan and even worse putting him off! It’s always harder in the summer to be close to God. We are not surrounded by Christians and daily devotions. I started to take my eyes off of him and I fell…literally. When you experience these “slippery barrels” in your faith or at a part where you just slip and get hurt, remember that it’s not the end. God is there as your safety rope to keep you from actually falling. It’s not easy to be on this Christian road. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few find it.” Matthew 7:14 NIV, but it is always worth it. I kept going after I fell and finished the course with basically one hand, and at the end was one of the most fun zip lines I had ever done. Once I got back on track and started reading the bible again I was just filled with a joy. I felt like one of the really ecstatic morning people but all of the time. I know what it feels like to go through rough patches in faith because even Jesus christ himself says that our journey of faith will be hard, but I encourage you all to keep going and find your way back on track because it’s always worth it. I hope you all have a great rest of your summer and I’ll be praying for you all of your ropes course of faith.

Author: Nathan P.

Legal Gay Marriage

Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

This verse comes from Jesus’ time during his famous “Sermon on the Mount” but is something that we still need to look at now, especially in light of the act passed by congress. Social media has been blown up by people, even Christians, who said that gay people should have no right to marry each other and other offensive phrases. This isn’t how we are supposed to act people!!! We don’t need to be smacking them upside the head with the bible. In my opinion, I believe that it was right to pass the act, not because I encourage people to be gay, but because God gave everyone a choice. We cannot complain and treat people who are gay or lesbians like they are worse than us or are not people. All sin is equal in God’s eyes, we are no better that them like white people are no better than black people or anyone else. We should love them, not judge them.

Since I was a kid, I have said a prayer that goes along the lines of “God, give me eyes to see people the way you do, and a heart to love them the way you do.” Are we going to use eyes fixed on God to look at these people as we should or are we going to use worldly eyes that are full of judgement and hypocrisy? Go Team!!

Authors: Katy B. & Nathan P.

Hello world!

Proverbs 27:14 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This blog is set up not to be seen by many and to be praised for it, but to build stronger friendships through the word of the Lord. This blog is called “armory2717” because an armory is where one would go to sharpen their weapons and equip oneself with armor. That is our goal here: to sharpen each other’s faith and build long-lasting armor so we can be the strong disciples of Jesus Christ that we called to be.

Go Team!