Monday, March 31, 2014

Be thankful this April

Hi, everyone! Starting April 1st I'll try to do this thing called Thankful April. Each day of the month I'll be writing down things I am thankful for. On the 1st I'll write down 1 thing, on the 2nd - two things, on the 3rd -3 things and so up to 30 "thank-you"s to God on the 30th. Each Sunday I'll post the previous week's list of "thank-you"s here. Altogether there's supposed to be 465 of them! I hope I'll go and do it each day.

Do you want do it with me? I'd be thrilled. If you have a blog, you can post there and comment here with a link to your blog. If you don't, you can just share that you're doing it. You can start and stop whenever you want, of course. Or you can try for all 465.

Let's be thankful to God this April!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee

 Typical Natalia: “I will never, ever allow myself to fall in love. I won’t do to anyone what my father does to these women. And to me. Never. Do you hear me, God? Make me single. Have me travel the world or work with orphans or whatever. But don’t make me fall in love. I won’t do it. I can’t.”

 Natalia Lopez will never date. That is what God wants for her - to be single. Right? Certainly He doesn’t want her to create a family only to mess it up later like her father did. However, as Brian Younger comes into the scene, Natalia’s resolution wavers. He’s a Christian, a pastor’s son, a tall, fun boy who, more than anything, wants to serve Jesus. Natalia won’t admit that she thinks about him all the time. God wants her to be single. Right? Little by little, Natalia comes to realize God has placed her right where she belongs…


 Natalia struggles to understand that even though some families might break, that does not mean having a family is bad. God has a plan for her and He has her right where she belongs. The story is shown from two people’s points of view as is the second in the series. This book is fully centered on God. He helps the characters overcome their difficulties and doubts. Right Where I Belong will help you grow spiritually as well as entertain you. And I love Krista McGee's writing!

 This is the third of Krista McGee's first series. The first book of the series was First Date, the second one - Starring Me. For more on Krista McGee visit her website and facebook page.

 Disclaimer: I got this book for an honest review on Booksneeze.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Glasses, Contacts, the Bible and Heaven

On Tuesday I got contact lenses! I don't have awful eyesight, but it isn't good either. So, apart from my fear of taking things in and out of my eyes and the fact that they don't sit very well sometimes, I'm good. :) No, really, it's cool to see far off without having to put on glasses. So I thought of an analogy to our lives that I personally think is pretty good. Here it is:

 In life we by ourselves don't see far. We are all  near-sighted, seeing just today's problems and thinking that's all there is. The farther out, the picture becomes more and more blurry and sort of irrelevant. We think that we don't have to see it, that we're OK with seeing what we see.
 Then God gives us glasses- the Bible. And when we look through them we see a bigger picture, we see in focus things we didn't see at all before. And that is good.
 But sometimes we forget or choose not to put on the glasses. We stumble back into our blurry, unclear world until the next time we remember them and put them back on. Some of us are better at remembering. Some might have contact lenses that they wear most of the time. Still, they take them off to "rest" their eyes, to get a break from the "pressure". They don't understand that a "break" from seeing God isn't a break. It's misery.

 But get this: one day we won't need glasses or contacts at all. Why? Because the One who made them and gave them to us will give us something even better: perfect eyesight. We will be with Him and we will see Him. We will see Him clearly...
 That will be in heaven. I can't wait to be there.* How 'bout you?

*That's not at all to say that we should end our lives and go to Him right now. God has a plan for us on this earth. That's why we're here. And when we're done He'll pick us up Himself. :)
 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring

I love spring. I loves seeing the snow melt and patches of brown and green appear. I love having "rivers" trickle and then later roar down the streets. I love the warmer temperatures, the new life. I love SPRING.

You know, we can be renewed too. Anytime. By a God who loves and cares about us. That's something way more amazing then spring's little "miracles".

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

How about you? What season do you love? What Biblical truth does it remind you of? Have you recently experienced a renewal? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Heading Home by Renee Riva

Typical A. J.: The rowboat smashes into the dock with a thud. A startled mallard plunges into the lake and paddles quickly away. “I’m home!” I yell at the top of my lungs. I’ve waited eight long years to hear myself say those two words again.

Quick note: I haven’t read the other two in the series, so maybe some of my thoughts on Heading Home aren’t the same as the ones others would have. And at least one spoiler is in there, sorry!

A.J. has been in Italy for 8 years. Now she is finally going back to her home on the island! There she is reunited with her dog Sailor and friend Danny. Has he grown up! The two of them seem to like each other more than just friends. But A. J. was thinking about becoming a nun. And nuns can’t marry. Now A.J. is torn between what she believes to be her calling and her love for Danny. What does God have in store for her?


A. J. is a 18-year-old girl with a wonderful sense of humor. I have laughed at what she says numerous times. An original character, I think. The nun/true love problem is unique too. And her family is large and provides a source of entertainment as well.

Sadly though, mostly there wasn’t that much on living the faith. A. J. would go on with her life and then all of a sudden she thinks about God for a few scenes. And then He’s not there for a while again. Lost in “the fun stuff” A.J. is doing, I guess. Another disappointment was that the whole nun problem was solved too easily and by about the middle of the book! And then the other half was mostly about them planning the wedding. Maybe this is the climax of the whole series and is worth half a book if you’ve read the other two. But if you only have read this one book, it gets boring easily. There is this other problem about them marrying: what church should they be married in? She’s a Catholic and he’s a Baptist. And there’s some discussion about God around that. But when that problem is solved, God is mostly not mentioned till the wedding where she says “thanks” a couple times. Sad.

To sum that all up, Heading Home is a book I suppose is better read after the other two in the series. It is a light read with a lot of good, clean humor. But if you want something that really encourages your faith, you just might want to pick up something else. 

For more on Renee Riva, visit her website.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wailing into dancing

Even if you might be feeling down now, God can wipe your tears and make something grand and remarkable out of them. Trusting Him is hard, but always worth it.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.Psalm 126:5


You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11

How about you? Are you having a hard time? Do you turn to Him? When was a time when God changed your wailing to dancing? 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Joy

Some people think that God is looming over them with a frown. Some think He looks down on having fun and is mad when they enjoy ourselves. Sure we shouldn't do some of the "fun" things (quotation marks, mind you) others do, but God is not against having fun or rejoicing. Really. He tells us to be happy a lot in His word. If you search "joy" in Biblegateway there are 242 hits and that's not counting the "rejoice"s and "be glad"s. Cool. Amazing. Intriguing. Let's rejoice in the Lord and in our salvation! Amen!

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Psalm 33:1

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100:2

Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
Isaiah 12:6

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

How about you? How easy (or hard) do you find it to rejoice? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An interview with Ruth

 So, it's my birthday and I'm turning 16! Yahoo!!! So, how about I give you guys a small, but from-the-heart present for my birthday?

 This is an interview I 'made' with Ruth (the one from the Bible). It was a writing assignment to imagine conducting an interview from someone in history or fiction, I think. Dad suggested a woman from the Bible. Pretty cool idea, huh?

 One more thing before the interview 'starts'. I will be really happy if you like this story and overjoyed if you think it good enough to share with anyone. But I'd really, really ask you to always mention my name in there (meaning, don't let anyone think you wrote it). I'd also really appreciate it if you commented and left a link if you shared it anywhere, just for me to know where my story is going. Thanks a lot. And here goes...


   Ruth, the Moabitess, a widow and the wife of Boaz, was in her house baking bread as I entered. Ruth is a beautiful woman with a bright smile and clear shining blue eyes. The customary insides of the house make her seem like an ordinary woman, but everyone in town knows that she is a woman of noble character.
   “Ruth,” I began, “how did you feel when you left your country to come live with your mother-in-law in her land?”
   Ruth looked up from the bread for a moment. “I was still in grief for my husband… And I felt confused. I remember wondering why God took him, what He had in mind. Then Naomi said she was leaving and, oh, I couldn’t bear it, I couldn't!” Her hands beat the dough with unnecessary force. She drew a deep breath and continued. “Orpah, my sister-in-law, and I both wanted to go with Naomi wherever she went. But Naomi persuaded Orpah to go back to her own home. She couldn't persuade me, though.” A slow smile crept to her face. She crossed the room and flopped down beside me.
   “So you journeyed with her?”
  “Yes, and as we went we comforted each other. I knew she had it harder than I did, since she had neither husband nor sons anymore. I tried all I could to make her life easier.”
  “Tell us how you met your future husband Boaz.”
  “Well, one day after we settled in I asked Naomi if I could go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain. She let me and so I went. Clearly it was God’s will that we meet each other, for I did not know it was Boaz’s field I was working in. Later that day, he returned from Bethlehem, where he had been, and he noticed me working in the field. I was so surprised!” Her voice filled with awe. “He told me to continue gathering among the sheaves of his field. He treated me nicely and he was such a kind, godly man!”
   “What happened later?”
   “When I told Naomi of him, she was glad. She mentioned that he was one of our kinsmen-redeemers. So I continued gathering in his field. Then one day Naomi told me to go lie by Boaz’s feet when he slept. I did. When Boaz woke up in the middle of the night, he asked me “Who are you?” I answered him and implored him to redeem me. To my dismay, he said there was another kinsman-redeemer closer than he was. But he promised he would ask the man and if the man wouldn't do it, he would. My heart trembling, I waited.” She paused.
   “I take it, that the other man wouldn't redeem you.”
    “No and, oh, I’d never been so happy in my life, never! Boaz was going to marry me! He was going to marry me!” She paused for a moment to catch her breath. As she did a tall, muscular man came into the house with a five-month-old baby on one of his arms. He smiled and reached with the other arm to lift Ruth up and hug her. She laughed. “Soon after that I gave birth to our son, Obed. He’s a beautiful child, isn't he?”
   “Yes, he is. The Lord has blessed you, Ruth.”
   “Yes. Yes, He certainly has.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 NIV

Beautiful verses with a beautiful image. God is our shepherd. He leads us. How cool is it to know that no matter what God is leading us 'beside quiet waters'? He makes us lie down in green pastures. We lack nothing. He refreshes our souls. We are truly blessed to have such an amazing and loving God. Maybe we should remember and thank Him more often.

How about you? Do you find this truth amazing?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pray today

Let's pray for Ukraine and especially Crimea today. Not that it would go to Ukraine or to Russia. Not that a war would start or not start. But that GOD'S WILL BE DONE and that HIS NAME BE GLORIFIED.

I want to fall in love with You

I want to fall with You by Jars of Clay. Wonderful, amazing, inspiring, incredible song! I DO want to fall in love with Him. Fully and totally. I want to wake up thinking about Him, go through the day thinking about Him and nod off to sleep thinking about Him. I want to fall in love with my God. I want Him to be everywhere in my life - everywhere. Do you? Let's pray that we have this desire and that we fall in love with Him more and more each day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Not because we did something. Really

What If  is an amazingly refreshing song for those who feel they have to DO something for God to love them.  We don't. Here are the lyrics to Jadon Lavik's song. I'd love it if you checked it out and found it helpful also. :)

How about you? What songs encourage you?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Being sick

 I am sick. (Just a cold, maybe, but I am so tired of it already). So that's why I searched "sick" in Biblegateway's search system. Here's one of the things I found:

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mathew 9:10-13

That is definitely something to be thankful for. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Simple?

Sometimes I wish life was simple. In an (old) dictionary I have the first two meanings of  "simple" are "easy to do or understand; not complicated".  Don't we wish life was like that - easy to do or understand and not complicated?  Wouldn't it be cool?

Sorry, people, but that doesn't seem to work. Life is by no means simple, at least it seems so to me. But even in this chaotic life and world, the Lord still remains the Lord. He is there even when life makes absolutely no sense and we are completely lost. Now THAT is cool.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A new feature

Hi everyone! I am adding a new feature to my book reviews. Yay! I hope you like it. The feature is called "typical quotes" and is basically a quote from the book which I think characterises the hero or heroine well. I've added it to all my reviews so far except one (I can't find the book right now). Do tell me what you think of it. Do you have other suggestions of things I can add?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

God is consistent!

You know the feeling when life is so confusing? So inexplicably CONFUSING. What is the truth? What's not? Who can I lean on? How should I behave? What should I do? What is right and wrong? Why is life so unfair?

It's scary to think this way. It's scary not to know what to think, what to believe.

But there is good news.

No matter how confused we are, GOD IS CONSISTENT. Even when we're doubting the world, ourselves and Him. He is ALWAYS, ALWAYS God.

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:2

Thursday, March 6, 2014

God is in control

God is in control by Twila Paris is a pretty cool song. :) Here are the lyrics.

You know those moments when life seems a chaotic mess? When the world is unfair and cruel? When everyone seems to be against you? God is in control. Every day, every hour, every moment - He knows what He's doing. Even if we don't see the brilliant work of art that God is making with every second of our lives He's still making it. He's still weaving the pieces of our day-to-day existence into something amazingly beautiful. He is in control.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Evangelizing

This last Sunday the pastor at our church talked about evangelizing, about telling others the good news of God's forgiveness. So often we are afraid of what others will think, if this is the right time or the right way or whatever. But we need to talk about Him more. How awful is it to think that our 'saving face' can cost someone's eternity in heaven? What is more important? The answer is clear, of course. And life is so short. We don't know when it's going to end. So we need to hurry!

Lord, help us to talk about the Gospel more. I pray You use us to lead many people to You. Your Name be praised!

How about you? How hard (or easy) is it for you to talk about God with others? And if you have had God use you to do something great, I'd love to hear. Just comment below. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Starring Me by Krista McGee

 Typical Kara - "Fun Rule Number One," Kara began, throwing on her clothes and running a brush through her still-damp hair. "Fun is an attitude, not a location. Got that?" (This quote is from the first of the series, but it sums up Kara pretty well.)

 Kara McCormick is auditioning for a teen variety show and is now one of ten possible co-stars. Who the star is is anyone's guess. But Kara really hopes that it will be Chad, the boy she and her friend Addy met just a little while ago. Both Chad and Addy are Christians and tell Kara about God. However, is she ready to believe?


 Starring Me is more focused on acting than God. But still there is a lot of positive influence from her friends as well as talks about Him. When her father gets very ill, Kara wonders what happens when someone dies. In the end, Kara gives her heart to God.

 I read this book a while back and enjoyed it immensely. It was a wonderful, fun and easy read. I need to read it again sometime soon. I would give it a 4.5/5 for spiritual content.

"“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.""Matthew 5:14 (NIV)

 Disclaimer:I got it for an honest review at Booksneeze.

 For more on Krista McGee visit her website and facebook page.

Prayer request

Please pray for Ukraine. The situation there isn't good at all. Please pray for the Christians there and that God be glorified through this all!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chatting with God

Something pretty cool happened on Friday. My Dad was singing a Christian song we sing pretty often with our toddler-brother. So? The cool part is that when he sang "shout to God with joy" I at first heard something else.

"Chat with God". Wow. The idea sort of struck me. The word "chatting" implies something casual, everyday talk about this and that. And I was like "Wow, we really can chat with God, can't we?" We can tell him about all those small things that bother us, the little joys, the everyday problems and triumphs. We can tell Him about that soccer game we won in P.E. or how we get tired of going to the dentist's or how we failed on that test or got an A on the research paper. We can tell Him how that teacher always gets on our nerves or how we had a fight with a best friend.

Yes, He already knows it all. But do you really think He doesn't want to hear you say it, doesn't want to see you asking help from HIM and sharing your joys with HIM, not your friends down the gossip chain? He's there in the big things and He's there in the little things.