by Zoe Johnson, FLBC First-Year Student
I came to FLBC with one goal: for God to change my heart. Then I found out that this year’s theme is “Refined by Fire.” Wow. That’s exactly what I needed. Refine, a verb, means to remove impurities or unwanted elements from a substance. That’s a powerful word. There are so many areas in my life that need refining, and even in the short time I’ve been at FLBC, God has already started the process.
I used to be incredibly insecure about praying out loud. In fact, it was one of my biggest fears. Recently, though, God has been giving me peace and has removed that insecurity. Another way he’s been refining me is through my interactions and relationships with others. Living in the dorms has been hard. I constantly struggle with impatience and become easily annoyed. God’s been using our Luke and Acts class to remind me of the importance of loving those around me. Lastly, trusting God’s plan for my life has been hard. Yet, God has continually been reminding me that his will is better than mine, and he has been continually showing me his faithfulness.
The refining process is difficult and often painful. On move-in day, the first-year class was told that this year would be a year of breaking down our long-held defenses, and even this early in the semester, that statement has proven true. But God is so good and has shown me his faithfulness, grace, and love in the refinement he has been doing in my life.
by Lindsey Impola, FLBC Second-Year Student
Going through trials isn’t easy. In fact, it can be very hard. We often question God and ask him why he is putting us through them. One of the hardest things I had to go through was losing my dad to cancer when I was 11 years old. Obviously, I was so confused as to why God let that happen. Sometimes, I still do have questions. One thing I know for sure is that God puts us through trials to test our faith. His intention for them is never evil, but good. He is with us even in the midst of them, and he never leaves us.
I have come to realize that the sufferings of this world are worth it because Christ is worth it. A verse that has been encouraging to me is Romans 8:18, which says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
God’s love and faithfulness have been so evident in my life. As a Christian, I can live with eternal perspective because I know that one day I will be in heaven with my Savior in a place where there is no sickness, no sadness, and no sin. Now when I face the trials that this world will throw at me, I can look to Christ and trust in his plans for my life because God’s will is so much better than what I want.
by Jacob Gullickson, FLBC Second-Year Student
Feeling called by God may not always be the most obvious feeling, and you may not always be willing to be called. Part of my testimony is that God called me out of my sinful nature to become his child and help others realize their calling.
In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah was called by God to testify to the tribes of Israel. Even though Isaiah’s plan for his life was not to be called, he followed God’s plan for his calling, and God spoke through him to the Israelites. Isaiah must have felt at least a little shocked or scared when God gave him this calling, but we see his willingness to follow when he heard God’s voice.
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8).
Isaiah could have complained or waited for God to command him personally, but instead, Isaiah spoke out in boldness and offered himself to God. God doesn’t want us to hide from our callings. He wants us to seek them. In Isaiah 43 God tells us, “But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine’” (Isaiah 43:1). This passage assures us of God’s presence as well as our safety in him in our calling. Being called to something by God could be one of the most challenging situations in life. But after all, if God is with us, who can be against us?
by Vanya Emery, FLBC First-Year Student
I can’t say that God has directly spoken to me, but I have felt his presence very strongly for the past month. I have been dealing with spiritual warfare during my first few weeks at Bible college. I have never had this happen before in my life. However, God has spoken to me this year in ways in which I have been able to become more aware of who I am in Christ and what it means to be a Christian. I have always been a Christian, but I never sat down with God and had a good discussion with him about me and what I am supposed to do as a Christian in society. I would just brush Jesus aside and only talk to him when I needed to.
But this year has been difficult for me. I feel like I am being put in the fire and being refined. God has been with me through this process, for sure. He has shown me (or told me, if you will) that I need to lean on him more than anything else. The process hurts me at times because the things I was comfortable with before now are sometimes taken away from me. I know being refined is worth it in the end. I just need to trust God. He has always been there for me. And because of this experience, I now see this truth more clearly.
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