Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Faithful in hardships

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Awhile back author Tessa Emily Hall wrote about hard times in her post "Ruth: Remaining Faithful During Hardships".

Right now I'm not going through any hardships per se, though I know some people who are. And it's not easy to say "hey, I'll trust you anyway, God." But it's worth it. It's so so so worth it.

"Those who know your name trust in you,
  for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:10 (NIV)

How about you? Are you going through a hard time? What or who has been helping you through it?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Amazing grace

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


"Grace Like Rain" is a song by Todd Agnew. Here are the lyrics

How amazing is the grace God has given us!!!

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1a (NIV)

How about you? What other verses do you know on God's grace and love? Who can you encourage today with the fact that God loves them?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Turkey Red by Esther Loewen Vogt

~Saturday Stories~

I wrote this review a while back, so its format is different than usual.

“Was it true they had left the good life in Russia in order to settle in this lonely, wild new land, as Jake had said? Maybe she didn’t understand it, but hadn’t Papa and the other church leaders prayed about it?  And hadn’t God led them here?”

After the Mennonites emigrate from Russia in 1877, Martha finds herself in Kansas. And though now they are free from religious persecution, other problems abound. Snakes, Indians, fires, blizzards are all dangers Martha and her family and friends encounter quite often. Was it worth it to come here at all?


Martha struggles to understand why the Mennonites came to America, leaving what seemed like a good life in Russia. Also, she wonders if she can be friends with another girl, who is not a Mennonite. Throughout Turkey Red Martha learns that God is with them wherever they are and accepts Jesus Christ.

Genres: historical, Mennonite. For those 13 and under. Issues dealt with: different denominations in the church, emigration. 

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.”  Genesis 28:15a (NIV)

For more on Esther Loewen Vogt visit the Goodreads page.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Selfless love

~Friday for Friends~


"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

Relationships… So many today love because they want to be loved back, jumping into relationships so that they will feel that bliss and joy of being one’s all. And it seems that so few come into them with “What can I give to make him/her feel better? What can I do to make his/her life a bit more filled with sunshine?” This is not just about boy/girl relationships, although it definitely applies to them.

How often do we catch ourselves thinking “Why does [friend] ignore me? Why did he/she do that? Why can't he/she spend more time with me?” But when was the last time we thought “Hey, maybe I should go see him/her? What would he/she like? What is the best way I can encourage him?” Granted, we do that every once in a while - possibly more at this past Christmas season. But oh-so-often it's about me, myself, and I.

God loved us first and therefore we should love also - with sacrificial love.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:10-11 (NIV)

Let's try to think of others all throughout the year! 

How about you? Do you have ideas on how you can show love to those around you throughout the year?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

How did you celebrate Christ's birth?

Christ is born!!! 

Christmas at our place was a day full of presents, sweets, radio-controlled cars, and hanging new pictures on the walls.

How did your day go? How did you celebrate the birth of our Savior? I'd love it if you shared!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Standing up for what is right - no matter what

~Tuesday Thoughts~


In the Bible there are many men and women who stood up for what they knew was right no matter what it cost them. 

Esther went to the king to plead for her people. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not bow to the image. The church flourished in the first century A. D. despite persecutions. David did not kill Saul when he had the chance. Paul proclaimed the gospel even when he was in prison. Job did not give in and curse God. Rahab hid the Jewish spies. Daniel prayed when the law said that was forbidden. 

But Jesus is the greatest. He was completely blameless and yet suffered for everyone’s sins. He made the ultimate sacrifice.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

We should learn from and imitate Him and the men and women of the Bible who did what they knew was right even when it cost them.  

What about you? What Bible stories of courage and bravery do you know? What can you do to stand up for what is right?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Write Your story

~Monday Movies & Music~


"Write Your Story" is a song by Francesca Battistelli. Here are the lyrics.

God is the ultimate Author. He is in control. And He loves us. How awesome is that?

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

~Saturday Stories~

This review was written a while back, so its format is a little different than usual. 


“I know that many of you of you would like to be Mary in our pageant, but of course we can only have one Mary. So I’ll ask for volunteers, and then we’ll decide together which girl should get the part.” That was pretty safe to say, since the only person who ever raised her hand was Alice Wendleken. But Alice just sat there, chewing on a piece of her hair and looking down at the floor…  and the only person who raised her hand this time was Imogene Herdman. “I want to be Mary.” She looked back over her shoulder. “And Ralph wants to be Joseph.”


The Herdmans are the worst kids in the world! And now they are taking over the annual Christmas pageant. The shepherds are afraid that the Angel of Lord will beat them up and Mary’s sure that the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies. Will the Christmas Pageant turn out OK?

Genre: realistic. For those 15 and under. Issues dealt with: the meaning of Christmas.

This book has an amazing insight on the meaning of Christmas and is on track spiritually. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever will entertain you and help you grow spiritually.

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

Friday, December 19, 2014

Love in action

~Friday for Friends~


"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

Words are beautiful, yes. One’s whisper of his or her love, the beauty of that song, that affection in his/her voice… Yes, it is beautiful. But it is not all. Words are not enough; attraction is not enough; emotions are not enough.

We should ACT. We should DO. 

Saying “I love you” is easy; doing “I love you” is hard. It requires time, hard work, and sometimes seemingly endless waiting for others to appreciate it. Sometimes they never do. But it is worth it anyway.


What better example of love in action than the love of Christ? The love of the Son Himself who came to Earth in a human form to do the Father’s will and save the otherwise helpless sinners?

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." 1 John 3:16 (NIV)


Actions… They don’t have to be big. But they have to be there.

May God bless us and help us love others “in action and in truth.”!

How about you? How can you show somebody your love today?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What are we thinking about?

~Tuesday Thoughts~


With Christmas looming just nine days away, what are we thinking about?

Are we worrying that we won't get all our Christmas shopping done in time? Are we thinking about whose Christmas party we should go to and whose invitations we can politely decline? Are we wondering what presents there will be for us all the while fretting that we didn't pick just the right ones for the people on our own list?

Why?

Why are we thinking about all this secondary stuff? Why are we filling our minds with things that are not so important, not so awesome?

There's something way more vital to Christmas than presents. It's a truth that should grip us and hold us and not let go.We should grip it and hold it and not let go.

JESUS CHRIST WAS BORN!!!

What can the stores and malls say to that? Do they have offers that surpass this? Do they have something that is of more worth?

Jesus came onto this earth "to seek and save the lost", which definitely includes you and me.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NIV)

This Christmas season let's celebrate His birth, His majesty, and His overwhelming love!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Can anybody hear me?

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


"Can Anybody Hear Me?" is a song by Meredith Andrews. Here are the lyrics.

Sometimes it seems like we're completely alone. Everyone else is living life and having fun without us. And God? It seems like He forgot us too.

But He hasn't. And He never ever will. We will always be His. 

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”[a]" Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn

~Saturday Stories~ 


I wrote this review a while back, so its format is different than usual. 

Christy, a farm girl from Wisconsin, is spending the summer with her rich uncle and aunt in California. The first big change comes with her new makeover, haircut, and stylish clothes. Then she falls in love with a surfer on the beach. But does he like her back? Soon things are way out of control and Christy constantly feels depressed.  Her friends tell her she should ask Jesus into her heart, but is she ready for that? And besides, she has gone to church all her life anyway…


The genre of Summer Promise is young adult realistic and mild romance. For girls ages 15 and under. Issues dealt with include going to church each week doesn’t make you a Christian, dating relationships, drugs.

This is the first in the Christy Miller series. Christy accepts Christ only at the end of the book. Before that Summer Promise throws in ideas about Christ only from time to time. However, after she asks Him into her heart, it talks more about God. Probably, the next books will be more on track spiritually than this one.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23 (NIV)

For more on Robin Jones Gunn visit her website and Facebook page

Disclaimer: I got this book for my honest review at www.WaterBrookMultnomah.com/BloggingForBooks.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saying "no" to selfishness

~Friday for Friends~


Being selfish is easy. All we have to do is think about ourselves a bit more than we already do, remember all the good things we ever did, and decide that we certainly deserve whatever it is we want. The problem? We shouldn't be selfish.

The Bible tells to not be selfish, but to place others before ourselves.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10(NIV)

"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3:16 (NIV)

"No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." 1 Corinthians 10:24 (NIV)


The best example of selflessness is Jesus.

"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV)

 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
  Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
  rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
  And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)

Let's pray and ask God to help us become less selfish and more selfless!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Those who give... will lack nothing

~Tuesday Thoughts~ 



"Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses." Proverbs 28:27 (NIV)

That is SO blunt. Fellow Christians, why do we so rarely do this? Are we waiting until we'll richer and can give more? Are we scared that we'd give too little for it to really count? Are we tired of the constant reminders and just want to shut it out and not hear the pleas? Are we thinking of all those other people who are much more qualified then we are?

The widow gave two small coins (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4) and yet Jesus said she gave more than those who were giving away a bunch. Giving is NOT OPTIONAL; it's not a maybe-next-time-when-I-have-more thing. Giving is measured by what we have, not by what we don't have.

This doesn't mean we have to live on sandwiches and go give everything away (although we can!). It's about putting OTHERS in front of your own desires.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

How about you? Do you give to the poor? What do you think of these verse? What other verses do you know on giving?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Even this will be made beautiful

~Monday Movies & Music~


Even This Will Be Made Beautiful” is a song by Jason Gray. Here are the lyrics.

I cried when I heard this song for the first time. It’s hard to believe that God will use this mess of a life and make something beautiful out of it. I mean, it’s a mess right? But it will turn out for good. Isn't that just awesome?


 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3(NIV)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"Christians never say goodbye" and more quotes

~Saturday Stories~


"Christians never say goodbye!" - C. S. Lewis

"Prayer is not preparation for the work, it is the work." - Oswald Chambers

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength." - Corrie ten Boom



"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us." - Saint Augustine

“God does not depend on our time. Our time is chronological and linear but God . . . is timeless. He will act at the fullness of His time. Our prayer . . . may not necessarily rush God into action, but . . . places us before Him in fellowship.” - Samuel Enyia

What about you? What do you think of these quotes? Which one did you like best? What quotes can you share?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friendships - with God and people

~Friday for Friends~


Author Tessa Emily Hall has a few blog posts on friendships: 


God is truly our best friend and we should make time for Him. He'll be there for us when everyone else isn't. And we can try and be good friends to others too. 


How about you? Which of the three posts stood out most to you? What can you do today to deepen the friendships in your life - or start a new one?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Does God give second chances?

~Tuesday Thoughts~



God gave and continues to give second chances. 

God brought His nation out of exile, where they were because of their sin. God heard Jonah, the run-away, when he prayed. God did not bring destruction on Nineveh when the wicked city repented. Jesus did not condemn the adulteress, but told her to “leave your life of sin.”. Jesus reinstated Peter after Peter denied Him. The Holy Spirit filled Saul, the former persecutor of the church.

 
We should also forgive and give second chances.

“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.'" Zechariah 7:9 (NIV)

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36 (NIV)

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."  Colossians 3:12 (NIV)


How about you? Do you remember how God gave you a second chance? Who can you give a second chance today? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

His love remains

~Monday Movies & Music~


“Remain” is a song by Royal Tailor. Here are the lyrics.

God’s love will not fail – NEVER! So many things around us are temporary, but His love isn’t. Our God is a God of never-ending love.


"The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying:
   “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
      I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

"But from everlasting to everlasting
  the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
  and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts."  Psalm 103:17-18 (NIV)

                                         His love is unfailing!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Rescue by Nancy Rue

~Saturday Stories~


This review was written a while back, so its format is different than usual

As Josiah takes what seems to be his last breath, two strong hands bring him out of the water. So begins a warm relationship between a ten-year-old Puritan, an Indian boy, and an old woman. Even after Josiah learns that the woman, widow Faith Hooker, is an outcast because of her religious beliefs, he still stays friends with her. Then his sister becomes very ill and Josiah knows the exact person who can save her: the widow. But will his father let an outcast in his home?


Genres: historical, adventure, Puritan life. For boys 14 and under. Issues dealt with: family relationships, different Christian denominations

The Rescue is based on a Puritan’s life in 1689. God is discussed a lot. Also the right to serve Him in more than one way is brought up constantly. The characters find themselves in between two different Christian denominations’ values and beliefs.  This is book 1 of the Christian Heritage Series: The Salem Years.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:20-23 (NIV)

For more on Nancy Rue visit her websiteFacebook page, and blogs for tweensteens, and new adults.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pray, pray, pray !

~Friday for Friends~


One of the greatest things you can do for your friends and enemies is PRAY for them.

1. We should pray for one another 

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

"Brothers and sisters, pray for us." 1 Thessalonians 5:25 (NIV)


2. We should pray for our enemies 

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Matthew 5:44 (NIV)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)


3. We should pray for rulers 

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)


Prayer is a powerful tool. Let's use it.

How about you? Do you pray for others? What other verses do you know on the topic?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Not just once a year

Today is Thanksgiving. 

I'm sure most of you guys knew that. Today's the day when most everyone counts their blessings and says "yep, I have a lot." Some say their thanks to God but many just to those around them. And it's good to be thankful. But the thing is...

Why just today? 

Did yesterday have less to be thankful for? Will tomorrow bring less blessings? Maybe. But probably not.

We should be thankful ALL THE TIME. We should ALWAYS remember the blessings God gives us. 

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV, emphasis mine)

 "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1-3 (NIV) Read the entire psalm.


Our God is wonderful, amazing, and great!!! He deserves our thankfulness! Let's try to remember His love on this special day and also as we go throughout the year. 

God bless you all!  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Call to Give, Part 4: Oneself

~Tuesday Thoughts~


These November Tuesdays I want to explore the theme of giving. The Dictionary of Bible Themes divides it up into four things: giving of oneself, of possessions, of talents, and of time. I'm mixing that order up and we’ll have possessions first, time second, talents third and then –oh, the climax!- the giving of oneself. The first three Tuesdays were about giving possesionsgiving time, and giving talents. Now let's discuss the awesome thing called giving ourselves!


Giving of oneself sounds… awfully scary. The phrase itself makes one shudder, even if we don’t completely understand what it means.

The Dictionary of Bible Themes defines giving oneself as “the submission of the self to the will of God, in thanksgiving and service.”


Why should we give ourselves? 

Well, first because we belong to God.

"Know that the Lord is God.
  It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
  we are his people, the sheep of his pasture." Psalm 100:3 (NIV)

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

Second, because all good things are given by God.

"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV)


Let’s not forget the greatest example of giving ever – Jesus Christ

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."1 John 3:16(NIV)

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)


To who or to what are we supposed to give ourselves? 


1. To God

"Therefore, I urge you, rothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1 (NIV)

"And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us." 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

2. To one another

"And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us." 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

"You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people." 1 Corinthians 16:15a (NIV) (emphasis mine)

3. To holy living

"Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." Romans 6:19b (NIV)

4. To the service of God

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

5. To a life of self-denial

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

"In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples." Luke 14:33 (NIV)

6. To martyrdom

"Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God." Daniel 3:28 (NIV)

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." Acts 20:24 (NIV)


There are also rewards - good motivation! -  for self-giving. 

"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39 (NIV). (You can find similar verses in Mark and Luke.)

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." Matthew 19:29 (NIV) (You can find similar verses in Mark and Luke.)


Along with all that we are also supposed to give thanks. 

"Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
  make known among the nations what he has done." 1 Chronicles 16:8 (NIV)

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

If you want to find more on the topic of giving oneself you can look at what The Dictionary of Bible Themes has on it


What about you? What ideas does this give you? In what ways are you already giving yourself or can give in the future? Please share!

Monday, November 24, 2014

On my own

~Monday Movies & Music~


“On My Own” is an AWESOME song by Ashes Remain. Here are the lyrics.

I'm loving this song right now! The music, the message – it’s great.

Seriously, we can't fight this all our own. God is there all the way through and that’s the only way we can really survive. Praise God!

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
   my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2 (NIV)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Faith in dark times

~Saturday Stories~


Not that long ago GoTeenWriters had a writing prompt contest. The first sentence was “I would need a lot of luck to make it out of this alive” and it was supposed to be not more than 100 words without that first sentence. Here’s what I got:


I would need a lot of luck to make it out of this alive. Not luck - faith. It was like a soft whisper beside me as I stepped around the numerous puddles of after-rain Berlin. I draped my cloak closer. Nearby a soldier screeched at a new group of Jews to get into the truck.  Hurrying my steps I moved to the other side of the road. “Hey you!” the soldier bellowed. My heart beat faster as I heard the hard footsteps approach. “You a Jew?!” I took a breath, whirled around and glared at him. “I’m the general’s wife, you scoundrel.”


If I were to actually write the story the woman here would really be the wife of a Nazi general. She’d also be a spy, spying on her husband and sharing the plans she heard of. I don’t know if there was a woman just like that in World War II. However, I DO know there were many great people who risked and lost their lives for protesting against the oppression. And not all of them, but probably some had a faith in God that propelled them forward. They believed in something more than the regime; they knew of a country far better than what Hitler was trying to make. And then, of course, there are countless heroes of other wars and ones in times of peace.

You see, our faith is something huge. Something grand enough to die for.

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21 (NIV)

How about you? What are you willing to give for your faith? What stories do you know of other great men and women who fought for what they believed in?

P. S. There are still people being persecuted for their faith even today (however awful and totally unrealistic that sounds). You can find out more at Open Doors.

Friday, November 21, 2014

What if I don’t WANT to forgive?

~Friday for Friends~


Sometimes hurts we receive lay way down deep and the last thing we want to do is forgive. We need to anyway. Yep, hard. But with God all things are possible.

We should forgive because God forgave us.

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 (NIV)

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44 (NIV)

Now this last one seems especially hard. Even if you don’t have an enemy per se, it’s really easy to think of someone you’re, like, rivals with - NOT in just a boyfriend/girlfriend sense either. Like who’s a better student or who do Dad and Mom like more, who’s the better singer/artist/etc. And if we have real enemies it’s even harder. But, as I said before, all things are possible with Christ! God will help us forgive. Pray about it, will you?

How about you? Do you find forgiving hard? What other verses do you know on the topic?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Call to Give, Part 3: Talents

~Tuesday Thoughts~


These November Tuesdays I want to explore the theme of giving. The Dictionary of Bible Themes divides it up into four things: giving of oneself, of possessions, of talents, and of time. I'm mixing that order up and we’ll have possessions first, time second, talents third and then –oh, the climax!- the giving of oneself. Two Tuesdays ago we talked about giving possesions and last Tuesday about giving time. Today we'll talk about giving our talents.


God is the one who gave us the talents we have. And, yes, even though it seems sometimes like we're talentless we do have them. 

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us." Romans 12:6a (NIV)

"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)


Talents are different. The talents you have are not the talents I have; the things you do well I might not - and vice versa. 

"But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." 1 Corinthians 7:7b (NIV)


Talents should be used. Maybe you have heard the parable about using the talents. You can read it in Mathew 25:14-30 (it's in the New King James Version) and a similar one in Luke 19:11-27.



How, then, should our talents be used? Great question.

We should use them for God's glory.

"If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

We should use them for the good of those around us.

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10(NIV)

"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)


Two more things about talents:

Talents will be accounted for.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them." Matthew 25:19(NIV)

And - great news! - there will be rewards too. Although salvation is given by grace and not for works, God does reward us for what we do later on.

"He repays everyone for what they have done;
  he brings on them what their conduct deserves." Job 34:11 (NIV)

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

How about you? What talents do you have? How do you already use them for God and for the good of others? How can you use them even more?

Monday, November 17, 2014

This is the air I breathe

~Monday Movies & Music~


"This is the Air I Breathe" is here sung by Hillsong. Here are the lyrics.

Sometimes we forget how very dependent we are on our God. But let us try not to. Because God really is our all. Praise Him!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

False Friends and True Strangers by Nancy Rue

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Laura: "I don't have time for a job!" I wailed to Celeste the next morning...."I've got rehearsals every afternoon. I know I've only got a chorus role, but I still have to be there....And I've got ten tons of homework now that I'm finally in MAPPS classes. What am I supposed to do - give up sleeping?"

When parking her car Laura accidentally hit a truck. No big deal, right? Wrong. Her dad tells her she not only has to pay for the damage, but that she needs to get a job too! Like she has time! But even after squeezing a job into her schedule, problems don't go away. No; instead, they add up quickly and leave her gasping for breath. What happened to "surrender to God" that made everything OK? Why is it not working anymore?


False Friends and True Strangers explores the life of a hectic-schedule teenager. Laura yearns for the times she had felt at peace with God, but they seem so long ago. Slowly yet surely the fog lifts and she feels Him, hears Him, knows where He wants her to go.

This is the second book in the 'Nama Beach High series. The first is New Girl in Town; the third and fourth - Fault Lines and Totally Unfair. Personally, I think Nancy Rue has written books that were a lot better. The beginning was slow, I believe, with most of the action in the last 15-20% of the book. Also, Laura has friends and a mentor who help her throughout the whole story -the stakes could have have been higher if she was sometimes completely ALONE. However, Nancy Rue was and remains one of my two favorite authors. She's written about a ton of books and I can hardly wait to get my hands on some of them!

For more on Nancy Rue visit her websiteFacebook page, and blogs for tweens, teens, and new adults.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Being patient even when it's hard

~Friday for Friends~


Being patient is sometimes the last thing we want to do. (S)he has driven us so nuts (s)he definitely deserves a good yell, right?

Wrong. Why? Because -

 Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32 (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NIV)

God is patient with us, so let's try to be patient with others too. Even when it's hard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Call to Give, Part 2: Time

~Tuesday Thoughts~ 


These November Tuesdays I want to explore the theme of giving. The Dictionary of Bible Themes divides it up into four things: giving of oneself, of possessions, of talents, and of time. I'm mixing that order up and we’ll have possessions first, time second, talents third and then –oh, the climax!- the giving of oneself. Last Tuesday we talked about giving possesions. Now let's talk about time. 


One important thing to remember about time is that we really don't have a lot of it here on Earth. What's 60 or 80 or even 120 years compared to ETERNITY? And we don't even know if we'll live to 60.

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14 (NIV)


But that doesn't mean we should enjoy ourselves and do whatever "while it lasts." On the contrary, realizing the brevity of life we should strive to do something with it.

"Teach us to number our days,
 that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12 (NIV)


What we need to do is open up our eyes to the numerous opportunities of using the time given us for God's glory. 

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is." Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)


What, then, should we use time on? I'm taking the following list from what The Dictionary of Bible Themes has on the topic and adding thoughts and some Bible verses. 

    
1.   Worship and meditation 

Blessed is the one
  who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
  or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
  and who meditates on his law day and night. Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)

God is SO worthy of our time!!! Let's give it to Him! 


2. Work 

"Six days you shall labor and do all your work," Exodus 20:9 (NIV)



3. Rest 

"but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns." Exodus 20:10 (NIV)

What we sometimes do is give too much time to work. We should not forget to leave a day for rest. 


4. With one's family

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

Spending time with family is a good thing too, you know. 


5. In fellowship 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

We are to spend time with our fellow believers, spurring each other on. 


But what does all this have to do with GIVING? 

Actually, I was kind of taken by surprise by what The Dictionary of Bible Themes had on giving time. I though it would be more about giving it to the others, using it to help those in need. 

But, brothers and sisters, 

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NIV)


That is NOT to say we shouldn't spend time doing good to others. 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10 (NIV)

Let us. then, give time to God and to others for that is the will of Him who saved us!


How about you? What do you thinking of giving time? What inspires you to give? In what ways do you already use time to benefit others? Please share!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Here for a reason

~Monday Movies & Music~


“Here for a Reason” is a reassuring song by Ashes Remain. Here are the lyrics.

Seriously, if God didn’t have a purpose for us, do you think we would still be here? He has plans for us – for each and every one of us.  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"Being alive means being able to trust" and other quotes

~Saturday Stories~


"Being alive means being willing to trust the people you care about, even though you know they will make mistakes, believing that tomorrow they may be stronger or more reliable, or more truthful than they are today.” ~Sadie, Shades of Truth

"You are one of God's excellent young women - one of His precious and priceless jewels." ~ Elizabeth George, A Young Woman After God's Own Heart



“I’m talking about self-discipline, which has nothing to do with punishment. It’s about focus and control. You have to discipline yourself to listen to God, to watch for Him, and to act on what He’s telling you whether it scares you or not.” ~ Mrs. Isaacsen, False Friends and True Strangers 

How about you? What do you think of these quotes? What quotes can you share?

Friday, November 7, 2014

He'll be with us - even in the end-times

~Friday for Friends~


You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Luke 21:16 (NIV)


Doesn’t seem like the most encouraging verse of the Bible, does it? Here Jesus is talking about the
end times and what will happen then. You can read the whole passage in Luke 21:5-36.
But even in this passage that speaks of destruction and anguish there is hope.


"But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." Luke 21:14-15 (NIV)

"Stand firm, and you will win life." Luke 21:19 (NIV)

"Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:36 (NIV)


You see, our God is way way way above those “friends” here spoken of. He is a Friend that will never leave us. Forever praise His Holy Name!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Call to Give, Part 1: Possessions

~Tuesday Thoughts~


These November Tuesdays I want to explore the theme of giving. The Dictionary of Bible Themes divides it up into four things: giving of oneself, of possessions, of talents, and of time. I'm mixing that order up and we’ll have possessions first, time second, talents third and then –oh, the climax!- the giving of oneself. So, let’s start!


Giving of possessions is what most people think of when they talk about giving. It’s what comes to mind when someone stands up at church and urges us to give. It’s what scares us out of our wits because – seriously! – we don’t have that much. Really! We work for what we get and that’s about enough for just us (and maybe a family if we’re married). We don’t have an extra stash of money anywhere just for that sole purpose of giving it all away. We give a tenth as it is. What else can anyone ask, right?

Really?

I like what a pastor at my church once said. The main meaning of it goes something like this: What we call ‘just enough’ is a stretchable thing. We have ‘just enough’ and then we slowly add some more stuff and that becomes the new ‘just enough’.

Seriously, we have a lot if we just look. For one, we probably can get three meals a day. We have a place to call home or at least to cover us when it’s cold outside. We have a phone or computer or know where to find one we can use (the library, anyone?). The list goes on and on– maybe a lot farther, maybe not that far for some of you. But we  have stuff. And not everyone has all that.  We have more than we realize.


And good news: God does not measure your giving like people do. He won’t scrutinize you for the mere ten bucks when He knows that’s basically all you have. Remember the widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4)? That should be our example of giving. Giving everything we have.

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV)


For more on this awesome and really big topic of giving of possessions be sure to check out what
The Dictionary of Bible Themes has on it. The subtopics include motives for giving, the manner of giving and more. Tell me that doesn’t intrigue you at least a little bit. It does me!

How about you? What do you thinking of giving possessions? What inspires you to give? What do you already give or are planning to give? Please share!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Can't live a day without Him

~Monday Movies & Music~


"Can’t Live a Day” is a song by Code of Ethics.

Seriously, where would we be without Him? What mess of a life would we be living in right now? Praise God for always being there and for being our Savior!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Waiting on a mountaintop

~Saturday Stories~ 


Here is what I wrote for a Monday Minute Challenge on Tessa Emily Hall's blog:


I stand at the summit, looking down at the crimson and gold valley. This was where we had met. Any minute now he’ll come bounding up behind me telling me to “keep an even pace, won’t you Angie?” And then he’ll grin that smile that let me know I meant something to him. He’ll wrap me in a big hug and I’ll just stay there. Yes. That’s how it should be. I sit on a rock and take out a leaf of paper and a pen. Looking over the world, I pour my heart out to the one who should be here with me. The final words are “I miss you. Come back.” Is there anything more to say, are there words that can portray this better? I stand up and for a minute close my eyes. “God…” I pray. “Help me”. Then I open them, let go of the letter and let the wind carry it. There’s no need for an envelope; there’s no need for a stamp. Because war has its victims. 

What about you? Have you lost a family member or friend and are still waiting? God can help you through this time!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Who do YOU invite to banquets?

~Friday for Friends~


Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14(NIV)

How about you? Who do you invite to banquets (or birthday parties, dinners, the mall, etc.)? Any ideas on how to apply this passage? Please share!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

While we were still sinners

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Picture the one person in this world you like the best. Would you do die for him/her? Maybe?

Now picture someone who has hurt you, either verbally or physically. Someone who has taunted you. Someone you can hardly stand seeing. Would you do for that person?


Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8 (NIV)


He died for us. He died for the ones who taunted Him, hit Him, and spat in His face. He died for the ones who ignored Him for years. He died for ones that would persecute His followers. He died for me. He died for you. When we were still sinners.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I am understood

~Monday Movies & Music~


"I Am Understood?" is a song by Relient K. Here are the lyrics.

I especially like the beginning, both the music and the words. I’m understood. You are too.


... your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:8b (NIV)

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)


How about you? Do you ever think no one understands? Do you know of any other songs on the topic?



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shades of Truth by Naomi Kinsman

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Sadie: Frankie grinned. “Nice shoes, Sparkie.”… I chose a desk, pretending not to hear one of the girls say, “Sparkie’s my dog’s name.” Everyone burst into laughter. Okay. No big deal. The best thing was to laugh too. Once they saw I could take a joke, the Sparkie thing would go away.

Moving from California to Michigan in seventh grade isn’t easy. Especially when your dad is a mediator hired to settle the infamous bear-hunting dispute in the community. Should hunting bears be OK? Sadie doesn’t think so. But with Dad arguing that he shouldn’t take any side, Mom’s illness not getting any better, a friend hiding the truth, and seeing a bear being shot outside hunting season – can things get any worse? Where can she run when everything goes bad?


Shades of Truth is a book that deals with a lot of issues: moving, betrayal, friendships, illnesses, trust. Throughout the story, Sadie grows a lot in her faith. She learns how to pray and Who to come to when everything doesn’t seem to make much sense. Naomi Kinsman weaves in lessons of faith, art, and friendships beautifully.

Myself, I also had a sort-of move in seventh grade, so this book resonated with me in that sense. At the end of most chapters, Sadie wrote an email to her best friend back in California – so like me.

This is part of the Faithgirlz! From Sadie’s Sketchbook series. I recommend it to all middle school girls.

For more on Naomi Kinsman, visit her website and Facebook page.

Friday, October 24, 2014

He is everywhere

~Friday for Friends~


One of the many, many awesome things about our God is that He is everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It doesn’t matter if you’re in America, Cuba, Italy, Australia, Egypt, India, or anywhere else. He’s there with you. He’s a friend that is really always there.

If any of you watched Prayer Bear as a kid, you might remember the song on friendship in the first movie. It talks about how God wants to be friends with us, how He’s everywhere and always will be there for us. The song is beautiful. The truth is even more so.

 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
 to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not perfect enough?

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Sometimes I get really really stressed. I'm not productive enough, I'm not smart enough, I'm not athletic enough, I'm not pretty enough, etc.

Guess what? God loves me anyway. And He’s there when I need Him. He’s there for you too.


But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8a (NIV)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mighty to save

~Monday Movies & Music~


Mighty to Save is an awesome song by Hillsong United. Here are the lyrics.

Our God, our Savior is really mighty. He can do anything. 


The Lord your God is with you.
    He is mighty enough to save you.
He will take great delight in you.
    The quietness of his love will calm you down.
    He will sing with joy because of you.” 
Zephaniah 3:17 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Amen!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Maureen the Detective by Veda Boyd Jones

~Saturday Stories~


*Note: this review was originally written awhile back, so its format is different than usual.*


Maureen came to America from Ireland with her mama and papa when she was three. At almost eleven, both her parents were "sleeping with the angels". Maureen was soon adopted by the kind employers of her mama. With her new cousin, Mark, she found a handbag belonging to someone who everyone called crazy. She decided to return it to the mysterious lady. Was that the right choice? Is the old woman crazy as everyone says she is?


Maureen the Detective is set in or around the year 1903. Maureen's mama worked for the Stevensons, who later adopted the girl. From a cook's daughter she became a banker's daughter in a short time. Maureen doesn't know where she belongs and that comes up a lot in the story. Also becoming a citizen is discussed. God is not brought up many times. You can read about the Stevensons going to church and Mrs. Stevenson being a good Christian woman, but not much more. This is one of the Sisters in Time books.

Target audience: 10-13 years old. Issues dealt with: feeling left out, being an immigrant, losses of loved ones, becoming a citizen. I would give it a 3 for spiritual content; the story itself is beautiful.

`And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.' Revelation 7:17b

For more on Veda Boyd Jones, visit her website and Facebook page.

Friday, October 17, 2014

We can be His friends

~Friday for Friends~



I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 (NIV)

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 (NIV)


Jesus has made US His friends. US, who have failed again and again. US, who never will be even close to perfect (until we reach heaven). US, who can't even live a day without messing things up and getting it all wrong.

He has called us to be His friends. How awesome is that? Is there any reason at all to say "no,thanks"? I don't think so. So let's say "yes" to the greatest friendship ever!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Making time for our Savior and His Word

~Tuesday Thoughts~


I don't know about you, but sometimes my Bible readings, which I do in the mornings, are pretty skimpy. And I can't even recall what they were about by the end of the day. So not like it should be.


1 Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3(NIV)


Notice the "delight is in the law of the Lord" and the "meditates on his law day and night" parts in verse 2. Somehow, we don't do that 24/7 or maybe even 1/7.


The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 (NIV)


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)


With Christ's help and self-discipline we can learn to dig deeper into the Word.

Small steps are so okay to start with.  Maybe you'll start by whispering a prayer in the morning before you get out of bed or you'll have a Bible verse "reminder" on your phone. Maybe you'll take 15 minutes and press the "study" button on Biblegateway. Or look up a bunch of Bible verses on a theme that you've been pondering.

Small steps day by day. They'll make a difference.

How about you? Are you up for it? What will you try doing?

Monday, October 13, 2014

When all you can manage is "God saves"

~Monday Movies & Music~


The Prince, the Idiot” is a song by Paper Candle. Here are the lyrics (scroll down). You can also download it for free - yes, legally- at Jesusfreakhideout.com (song 23 in the list). 

“Hosanna” means “God saves”. Sometimes that can be the only thing we can manage. Something like “God, this makes NO SENSE. Help me. Just help me. Please?” We have a God we can trust. We have a God who loves us. Even when we can’t make sense of anything.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself struggling to pray? How has God shown you that you can come to Him with whatever you have?

God bless you all.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Trusting in God no matter what

~Saturday Stories~


Sometime last month I had an interesting history assignment that said to pretend I was a woman in colonial America. I was to write my family in England a letter. Here is what I got:


Dear family,

The first thing I would say is to quote Philippians 4:13, that says “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  I would not like to trouble you with my weary beings, but you yourself have asked to keep nothing secret, but to share with you all that happens in this place you call ‘the wilderness’. Indeed, it is a wilderness and one I wouldn’t wish many to come upon. But I have already written to you about how I felt on it and how the Lord gave me strength to overcome my first dislike. Now to the daily life I am now living, which all of you, and especially Mother, were most interested in. I have married a man of good character and am now pregnant with his child. We have as good a house and land as can be found here, and for that matter in England itself. I am continuously working either in the kitchen and garden or tending the few animals we hold. In the evenings I sew, which I have found to be a much more pleasing task now that I know it will be for my own husband’s good. My husband, as most, works in the field tending to the crop. It takes it him most of the morning, day and evening and I often look forward to his coming in for his meals. As for the church, the one here is much like any other church in New England. I know you were never especially approving of Puritanism, but I have found that it is not as bad as we had thought it. I leave this statement to your judgment, Father. The child I am bearing is to come in about a half years’ time and I will surely write to you on the occasion. Tell me about your own faring, especially of Father’s work since you have mentioned the lack of it in your last letter. God bless you all, my dear and loving family,

Anna Goods


Any thoughts or suggestions? Isn’t it amazing how God never let down these people, even when it seemed so hard?  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friendship is valuable

~Friday for Friends~


“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” ~ C.S Lewis

Isn’t that just beautifully said?

What I would like to add is that there IS one Friend that we wouldn’t survive without. That’s God. He showed us the greatest love ever: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:13 (NIV)

Without Him, nothing is important, nothing has value. But with Him we can enter into the most awesome place and be with the most awesome Being ever – forever. We have a true and awesome Friend, even if we don’t have friends on Earth. Is that refreshing or what?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Some time ago Rayleigh at Accelerate the Jesus Movement nominated me for the Very Inspiring Bloger Award. Thank you, Rayleigh and I'm sorry I didn't get to it sooner!

The rules:
1. List the rules and link back up to the person who nominated you.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself.

3. Nominate 15 other blogs and comment on a post telling them that they have been nominated.

4. Proudly display the badge.*


7 facts about myself:


1. I am homeschooling full time for my very first time this year. Probably my only year too.

2. I am writing a contemporary novel about a soccer-loving girl and her journey to Christ.

3. My favorite authors are Nancy Rue and Krista McGee. Nancy Rue writes contemporary young adult (and other stuff) in a very understanding way. Krista McGee has written both contemporary and sci-fi. I am often amazed at the number of plot twists in her sci-fi trilogy. If you haven't yet, go check their books out!

4. I MIGHT want to be an editor/literary agent when I grow up as well as being a writer.

5. Taking pictures is a pretty cool hobby I'm starting to like.

6.I MIGHT be taking my first-ever film-making classes soon. Eeek!

7. I believe fiction is a great way to touch the world for Christ.


I nominate:


Sunny Smith at A Splash of Ink

Arende de Wit at Never Say Never, But Give It A Try

Caitlin at Daughter of Destiny

Sarah and Ellis at Forever Changed


I know that is not 15, but still.... Congrats, nominees! And thanks, Rayleigh!

*I'm kind of apprehensive about adding any stuff that isn't mine to the blog, so I hope you guys don't mind if I don't post the award picture. Sunny, Arende, Caitlin, Sarah and Ellisa you can find the award on Rayleigh's post.

I also want to say this is the last award I'm going to do on my blog. Thanks to everyone who has nominated me: Athelas, Ana and Rayleigh!

Blessings!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Each one of us is unique

~Tuesday Thoughts~


On Saturday I was at a youth group meeting and while we were singing I thought of something. This is a somewhat elaborated version of my thought.


The things that burden me aren't the things YOU cry yourself to sleep about. Everyone's different; the things that I struggle with you might laugh off. The temptations that get to you might not be such a problem to me. Or vice versa.

When we sing our praises to God, when we think of all the stuff He's done for us and all the stuff He and we are still working on EACH OF US HAS HIS OWN PICTURE.

Oh, the things we face may be similar: the constant feeling of not belonging anywhere or being vain or something else. But they're not exactly exactly alike.


We are all of us different. The good news? God knows each and every single one of us and He's there for us. All of us. Always.

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)




Monday, October 6, 2014

He knows my name

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


"He Knows My Name" is a so-true song by Francesca Battistelli . Here are the lyrics

Sometimes that's kind of easy to forget. Remember: God knows your name. He does. And He loves you. Blessings!

How about you? Do you forget this awesome truth sometimes? Please share how God reminds you of it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

So Not Okay by Nancy Rue

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Tori: There was another one of those seven-second things where I teetered. Phee would never speak to me again if I helped Ginger, no question about that. And if the Pack found out, I’d be the next one with moldy baked goods in my locker. But I already knew how this felt. And it was so not okay.

The Pack was there before. That wasn't what had changed. It was just that Tori had never been their target before.

Kylie and her friends- the Pack, as Tori calls them - are the girls in sixth grade who decide what's cool. And apparently the new girl Ginger is not. Will it just "go away", as some people say, or should Tori do something? And if she will - what will it cost her?


Bullying isn't a joke. It's real and it's out there. So Not Okay deals more with the word-bullying than the hit-and-punch bullying. The type of bullying that leaves you feeling like a looser and a nerd. The type that calls a girl "gingerbread" of doesn't let her go to her locker or laughs when she reads her essay. The type that's hard to pin point and that's easy to miss for the adults. But it's still there.

So Not Okay is Nancy Rue's first book in the anti-bullying series. It is told from the bystander's point of view. Tori learns that there is no such thing as "neutral" and that something can-and should- be done. There is also discussion on WHAT can be done.

If you want some great fiction with an even greater message, you just might enjoy this book. The second one - You Can't Sit With Us - is told from the victim's point of view and releases in December. The last one, Sorry I'm Not Sorry, told from the bully's point of view, will release April 2015.

If you'd like more information on the anti-bullying campaign you can visit the movement's website and the "Wednesdays after school" posts at Nancy Rue's blog.

For more on Nancy Rue, visit her website, Facebook page and blogs for tweens, teens and new adults.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Love each other and offer hospitality

~Friday for Friends~


Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9 (NIV)

If you want, you can read the entire “Living for God” section of 1 Peter 4.

There are two things these verses tell us to do: love each another deeply and offer hospitality.

1. Love each another. “Above all” the text says. This is an extremely important thing that’s mentioned in numerous places in Scripture. Loving each other isn’t something we can do if we want. We have to do it. That is what God wants from us. One of the reasons for loving others is that God loved us first. If the Almighty, the perfect One could love us in all our mess, can’t we with his help love one another also? It won’t always be easy – far from it – but with God nothing is impossible.

2. Show hospitality. Now this is something I think is often overlooked. But it has its place in the Bible, so it should have it in our lives.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 (NIV)

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

How about you? What are some ways you already love others and show hospitality? Any ideas for the future?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trials

~Tuesday Thoughts~



Sometimes it can be hard to look at the trials we have in our lives and say "Your will, God, not mine". Let us pray that we can do that more and more often.

How about you? Do you have trials that are hard to be thankful for? Mind sharing how God is working in your life?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Who You Say You Are

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


"Who You Say You Are" is a song by Britt Nicole. Here are the lyrics

God is truly who He says He is. He knows everything; He can do everything. He is who He says He is. We can really trust Him. Even if it's hard sometimes.