A Relationship with the Heavenly Father

Romans 8:15, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

It is easy for TFC college students to get “bombarded” with the cliches of walking with Christ. Students hear about the Christian “life”- whether it be in chapel, or at Barnabas group, or in Bible class. However, what does it truly mean to have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? People come into adulthood with different views about the heavenly Father. One reason for this may be a poor, earthly father figure or abandonment from a father figure. It is easy to put on a Christian “mask” for pastors, teachers, and even friends and family. However, at the end of the day, what does a relationship with the heavenly Father look like?

A relationship with the heavenly Father is one of out LOVE. The Bible says that the Father sent His ONLY begotten Son to die the most excruciating death on the cross out of His UNCONDITIONAL love for mankind. One can never dream of this kind of love because it is an “out of this world” kind of love. Only Christ can provide that “perfect” type of love which is called “agape” love.

According to Gotquestions.org, “agape” love is: “The type of love that characterizes God is not a sappy, sentimental feeling such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. ”

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Maker of the Universe wants an authentic relationship with humanity. He wants people to be drawn to Himself. That is astounding!

Perhaps David the Psalmist gives us some insight. Psalms 63:1-8, ”

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you.”

A true relationship with the Father is seeking God and understanding who HE IS.

The psalmist says “Your steadfast love is better than life.” David had an authentic yearning to seek after God’s own heart.

One cannot earn his or her relationship with the Father. There is nothing one can do to make the heavenly Father love he or she any more or any less.

Romans 8:35,38-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The heavenly Father longs for his children to long after Him. God speaks to His children through His Word.

One of the most peaceful and reassuring attributes of the loving, heavenly Father is that He loves His children for who they are, and NOT what they DO.

Remember, the loving heavenly Father above seeks to have an intimate, authentic relationship with His children. God’s love can compel one to draw one to Himself.

Have a Good Friday everyone!

Battling Defeat During Midterms

It’s here! It’s that time of the year where it becomes progressively harder and harder to persevere. It’s that time of year when professors and parents are giving constant encouragement to “finish strong.” It’s that time of year where assignment after assignment comes due. It’s midterms week.

Before fall break, it is very academically, and emotionally, difficult for students. There is a great deal of pressure and stress involved with finishing final assignments and preparing for the first break of the year. Students lose sleep, and drink more coffee to keep them going. With everything that they have to do, it is easy to give into feeling defeated. It is easy to focus on this one week of academic strain and lose sight of the big picture. God has given each of his children strength for every moment. Anything one could ever need, they already have in Christ. He has given his children enough strength, enough patience, and enough perseverance to overcome anything they may face. With all the anxiety this time of year causes, it is easy to be consumed by defeat. It is difficult for students to juggle the greater amount of responsibilities and obligations given to them. With the high level of stress that accompanies this week, it is even more important to remember to keep one’s eyes set on things above, not on things below. As soon as one is consumed by anxiety, crippling defeat is not far behind.  An anonymous Toccoa Falls College Sophomore wrote a short piece of poetry concerning this week.

 

“Dear defeat,

It’s been a long battle between the two of us. You knock me down, and I’ll recover, then you’ll knock me down again. You haven’t given me a moment’s rest. You’ve come at me with everything you possibly could, but I will not be undone. I am in the palm of the one who crafted the heavens and the earth. You have no power over me. The things you attack me with are temporal. They are ultimately meaningless. You have lost. By the grace of my God and my King, it is YOU who are undone.

Dear defeat, you have been defeated.”

Battling the feeling of defeat is a primary part of spiritual warfare. Once a student stops fighting and succumbs to defeat, it is so much easier to fall into depression and despair. This principle applies not only to midterms week, but in all areas of life. God calls us to “fight the good fight of faith.” We as Christians are to “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Timothy 6:12). God has called his people to live courageously and fight with strength and perseverance. This spiritual battle is challenging. After all, if it was easy, God would not have encouraged His people to fight with courage.

It is the midpoint of the semester, fight to finish well! Fall break is in sight, so fight the good fight.

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Griffin

Well-known and loved by many at Toccoa Falls College, Professor Joyce Griffin has been teaching at TFC for 18 years. The college asked her to become a professor after she had returned from living overseas as a missionary in Argentina. At first, Professor Griffin was an adjunct professor, but she eventually moved into a full-time.

When asked for her favorite passage of Scripture, Griffin had a hard time choosing—because she loves the whole Bible, of course! However, she was able to narrow it down to two passages. Currently, Psalm 23 is very special to her. Throughout this Psalm, God reveals Himself to be a loving shepherd to His people, instead of a harsh judge. God has been using this truth in Griffin’s life lately, as she has been going through a study on the Psalm with the girls in her Barnabas group. The second passage that Griffin chose is Philippians 4:4-9. These verses have been a comfort to her throughout her life, helping with anxiousness, correcting her thinking, and helping her to rejoice in various circumstances.

Next, Griffin gave three interesting facts about herself:

One time when she was riding in a tiny plane, the engine failed. The pilot was forced to crash the plane in a field. Luckily, everyone was ok, but  it has become quite the story to tell!

Second interesting fact, when she was little, she was locked inside a men’s restroom at a campground in Quebec, Canada. The other people in the restroom only spoke French, so it took some time before she was able to escape.

Lastly, she  reveals that she was once a co-star in a three-act Christmas play for a church in Argentina—her office is in the World Missions building, in case you want an autograph.

Griffin says that her favorite part about working at TFC is the students. She loves being able to build relationships through mentoring, teaching, and everything else involved in working with students. Ask her what her least favorite part about teaching is and she instantly answers “grading papers!’. Griffin’s craziest memory at TFC involves some students from her department. One year, the seniors had thrown a Christmas party for the professors in the Global Ministries Department. Legend has it, that the student impersonations of the professors and the White Elephant gifts went a little crazy that night.

Professor GriffinGriffin offers these three pieces of advice for students at TFC:

  1. Take your classes seriously and learn everything that you can. Even if it does not seem applicable now, it will build character and life skills.
  2. Make relationships and invest in them. Learn this now, so you can do it in the post-college world.
  3. Get all kinds of experience while at TFC. Figure out who you are as an individual in God through these experiences.

It can definitely be said that many TFC students  are very grateful for Professor Griffin’s work. Her love for Christ and for students shines in all that she does. She loves to laugh, which is fitting because she makes her students laugh as well. She is a joy to have as a professor, mentor, and friend. Thank you, Professor Griffin, for serving the Lord the way you do! Simply put, you are fantastic, and your ministry at TFC is beyond valued by all!

 

 

A Night of Improv and Comedy

This past Saturday and Sunday, the Toccoa Falls College Theatrical Society put on their spring production,“A Night of Comedy and Improv.”

Like the title of the show suggests, the actors and actresses performed a few short, comedic skits and entertained the crowd with some bits of hilarious improvisation. The small group of students who had committed to this production rehearsed and prepared for months. The resulting performance showed their hard work!

The skits included a two-part sketch called “Flirting Academy”, inspired by Studio C, and a zany skit called “Are you a fool?” directed by TFC Junior, Rachel Mayo.

The Theatrical Society performed a more serious play in addition to the comedies. TFC senior, Rebekah Stillwell, directed “The Lifehouse Everything Skit”. This silent skit portrayed the redemption story in a moving and beautiful way. Stillwell commented on the evening,

“This was one of the most fun performances the Theatrical Society has ever done! I loved the way almost everyone was in multiple acts. And while our scripted skits were awesome, the best parts (and the ones that got the most laughs) were the improv sessions. It made for an informal, more laid back interaction with the audience. It was a very close-knit group and I was so proud to work with them!”

The night was filled with laughter and a good time was had by actors and audience alike. One audience member said, “It was comical and interesting. I can’t compare it to anything else!”

Rebecca Colson, the leader of the improve troupe, Dead Joke Society, shared her parting thoughts about the production,

“I loved getting to hang out, goof off, and get to know the cast members. With all the stress of final assignments, acting with this group of people has been a great boost. And getting to pray for them before and after rehearsals has been a special joy for me as a director.”

 This statement from Rebecca really sums up what the Theatrical Society is about. This group of theatrically inclined students is able to come together, build each other up, and pray for one another. The group loves to have fun together and, through performing together regularly, has developed a strong bond. Their chemistry transcends from their personal lives to the stage, where they can encourage and entertain others through their passion for the Arts. Their goal is to glorify God in the talent they share with the community and the student body, and this goal has been achieved every semester.

The group loves to have fun together and, through performing together regularly, has developed a strong bond. Their chemistry transcends from their personal lives to the stage, where they can encourage and entertain others through their passion for the Arts. Their goal is to glorify God in the talent they share with the community and the student body, and this goal has been achieved every semester.

The Theatrical Society is a great facet in the student life at Toccoa Falls College. They will have more great performances and events next semester, so students can be on the lookout for their updates! For more information about the Theatrical Society contact club president, Callan Bentley at callanbentley@tfc.edu or Rebecca Colson at rebecacolson@tfc.edu.

For more information about the Theatrical Society contact club president, Callan Bentley at callanbentley@tfc.edu or Rebecca Colson at rebecacolson@tfc.edu.

Getting to Know God

One’s personal relationship with God is critical to maintain. Christians are called to grow in faith, and to become deeper with the Father. John 15:4 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” A Christian cannot grow and bear fruit of he or she is not abiding in the Lord. Without having this deep relationship, one cannot hope to develop in faith. Maintaining this kind of deep relationship with God does not come easily. In the hustle and bustle of today’s world it can be easy to get distracted from spending time with God. How can one begin to strengthen this relationship? The following are three practical steps towards a healthy relationship with God:

1. Discipline
Form the habit of regularly reading Scripture and spending time in prayer. Friendships cannot survive without conversation, and spending time listening to what the other has to say. Hearing what the Bible says from others is excellent, but not sufficient for one’s personal relationship with God. Getting to know God by oneself by studying the Word and praying is critical to the relationship.
2. Structure
It can be difficult to know where to start when one sits down to spend some time in prayer. When one doesn’t know what to pray, one can pray Scripture. Psalms, for example, is good to pray back to God because many of the Psalms were written as prayers. Keeping a prayer journal can also be helpful. Listing and writing out prayers can keep one focused and clear-headed.
3. Accountability
Having the good intention to do all these things is great, but what is going to make or break the relationship is actually following through on all this or not. Have a trusted friend or mentor keeps a person to his or her commitment to grow in a relationship with the Lord through personal devotion. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Christians are called to come alongside one another and keep each other from falling away. Accountability is one way they do so.

Just as a person needs to put effort and time into a relationship with a friend, one needs to do the same thing in one’s relationship with God. It is the most important relationship one will ever have, and therefore needs to be taken seriously. Be encouraged! It is God’s desire to be close to his children. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” God will quicken anyone who comes to him for discernment. While one works to grow close to God, God will draw near to them.