His Good Purpose for Me – 12/2018

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

When I was in my freshman year of college, I was seeking God’s will for my life. The college had a special missions emphasis week, and during that time the Lord made it very clear to me that He wanted me to serve Him as a cross-cultural missionary.

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The Lord Will Provide – 11/2018

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin. . . Your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Luke 12:27-31 NKJV)

November typically has me meditating on what I’m thankful for, and this year I’ve been especially struck by God’s provision for my library’s collection—not just in the last few months, but throughout the past twenty years.

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Misery or Joy? – 10/2018

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

Is it God’s will for us to be miserable? No. It is not God’s design, will, or intent for us to be miserable. He does not delight in our pain. He certainly did not delight in the suffering of His own Son on the cross. Neither did Jesus want the suffering that bearing the weight of sin would cause Him (Matthew 26:39).

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Barefoot in a World of Shoes – 09/2018

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14 ESV)

I was the child who struggled to fit into the “norms” of society. My mother called me stubborn and contrary because I was not who she wanted me to be. I was not being rebellious at the time (that came later); I was just different. She pictured a well-dressed, prim and proper little girl; I was barefoot and climbing trees.

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Only One Thing – 06/2018

“But only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42 NASB)

If someone were to ask me about characteristics of librarians, one thought that comes to mind is that librarians are “helpers!” One only has to observe the ACL discussion list to notice how willing librarians are to assist one another. This is not true of all occupations. Librarians, however, seem to truly enjoy helping and serving. This is a commendable trait. Our desire to serve, however, may lead to overtime, long “to do” lists, and taking on additional responsibilities. We can become frustrated, overworked, and anxious about getting everything done. Listen to the words of Jesus in Luke 10: 41-42 when Martha asked him to tell Mary to assist her in preparing the meal for her guests:

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God Alone Suffices – 05/2018

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:25-34 RSV)

God reminds us of the basics sometimes through the most surprising people. I expect Matthew 6 is a well- known passage to those of us who grew up attending church, but how often in the midst of busy or worrying times do we forget entirely about it? Or we think, “Yes, we really shouldn’t worry; we know God is in control, but…”

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The Cloud Before and Behind You – 04/2018

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)

As Christians, we frequently reflect on those who have impacted our faith and are part of our “great cloud of witnesses,” but we may not always reflect on those who have played a role in our professional journey. There may be the librarian who encouraged a love for reading or assisted in a difficult research project and thus sparked an interest in pursuing librarianship as a career. Perhaps a professor encouraged you to develop skills that are now second nature, or a conference speaker helped to plant an idea that has now bloomed into a useful library service. A colleague might have encouraged you to take the next step in your professional journey. Many ACL members would include fellow members, past and present, who have served as official or unofficial mentors as part of their “great cloud of witnesses.”

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Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society – 03/2018

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (I Peter 2:12, NIV)

I changed jobs last year, moving from a Christian college to a community college after working in Christian higher education for over twenty years. One of the things that scared me most was the thought of having to keep my mouth shut regarding spiritual matters. I thought that I would not have the opportunity to share the gospel with anyone, or that I could not mention the name of Jesus to others. I was wrong. As I get to know the students, staff, faculty, and administration, I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of Christians I encounter on a daily basis.

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Paradox of Peace – 02/2018

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

“Will you pray for me?” How often do we hear this question and pause to lift an individual or situation to the Lord? Sometimes the circumstances are dire, other times it is just the mundane crush of busy lives that drives us to ask each other for prayer.

I have been puzzling over this concept of peace that God gives us in the midst of the storms of life. We ask for prayer. We pray for ourselves. We pray for others. We feel burdened to pray. And then we hear how God has answered. A lonely, fatherless young adult is placed within a family. A woman in cardiac arrest makes it across mountain passes to the hospital, where the surgeon meets her at the door. A discouraged heart is encouraged, though the gray of depression resides. The grieving soul feels the presence of peace and the prayers of the saints. We see God sustain us through our suffering, and He draws us ever closer to Him. In our shared need, He also draws us closer to one another.

How marvelous to think that our Father has knit us together and has equipped us to share in each other’s sufferings!

Over a hurried lunch today I ran into a colleague who asked me to pray. Our conversation was fleeting, unexpected, providential. It quickly turned to the working of the Holy Spirit, the prayers of the Body of Christ, and unexplainable peace. It is a mystery how God brings peace in tumult, and I rejoice at His quiet work that is paradoxical to the rage of the storms in our world.

He brings peace, stills the anxious heart, and gives us joy. As I think about the pressures we face in librarianship, it seems of great importance to remember to pray, to believe, and to be assured that Christ Jesus will secure our hearts and minds.

God may not answer in the way we hope. He may not answer in the time we allot, but He will most assuredly give us peace.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:26-27 esv).

Andrea Abernathy

Andrea is a Reference Librarian at George Fox University in Portland, OR. She has been a member of ACL for 9 years.

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Matter Can’t Make Matter Matter – 01/2018

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5 ESV)

Materialism teaches that matter/energy alone is eternal, and everything that has ever existed is merely some conglomeration of matter or another. A man once wrote, “Meaningless! Meaningless! … Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless . . . I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless…Again I saw something meaningless under the sun… Everything to come is meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes). There is an unmistakable desperation in his cries. This man, with virtually limitless wealth and labor at his disposal, has searched interminably for meaning in the mere material universe, and he’s come up empty, time and time again. He just can’t make matter matter.

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