Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word "acclaim". It means "to greet with strong approval or loud applause; to hail or cheer".
Isn't it great when at the beginning of the school year we gather together with our friends? You haven't seen each other for a while and there are hugs, pats on the back, and almost endless chatter. We, as people, yearn to be 'greeted with approval'. We want to chat non-stop, we want to exchange "oh-I-missed-you-so"s. And I think that's good. But sometimes people disappoint.
Good news! Luke 15:7 (NIV) says:
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
We are gladly welcomed into God's family, which is the best family ever! And He delights in hearing us each time we talk with Him. We are blessed.
I’ve been nominated for the Liebster award by Athelas Hale at Red Lettering! Thanks, Athelas! And thanks also for saying that ‘liebster’ means ‘dearest’ in German. It’s nice to know what we’re talking about. :)
~Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
~List 11 facts about yourself.
~Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
~Nominate 9 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.
~Ask them 11 questions.
~Let them know about the nomination.
11 facts about me:
1. I’m one of those kids that have been Christians practically all their lives. I’ve been blessed to have two Christians as my parents and I received Christ when I was 6, I think. It makes for a not-that-interesting testimony, but I'm glad I know Him!
2. I love soccer. Why? Because it’s just the greatest game ever! I love running, stealing the ball, passing, scoring. The part I don’t like is the goal-keeping, so I don’t do that often. :)
3. I've recently found out that Plus One, who apparently dis-banded in 2004 are banding up again. They have this great song, My All, which you can get just for ‘liking’ their facebook page.
4. My favorite genre is contemporary. Most fiction that I read is in that genre and I write in it too.
5. And speaking of books, Nancy Rue and Krista McGee are my favorite authors. Krista’s last book in the trilogy Anomaly is releasing in July and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Nancy has written about a billion books (well, almost) and she’s amazing at telling stories.
6. We live near a national park, which consists of a pretty big forest (mostly pine trees). I tend to take it for granted, but it’s really pretty beautiful.
7. Last year I rode 1500 km on my bike.
8. I'm thinking about being a literary agent or editor when I grow up (as well as a writer). Emphasis on the ‘thinking’.
9. I'm going to be helping in a camp for 11-15-year-olds this July. I’m pretty excited, but kind of scared too.
10. A bee stung me on the nose the Tuesday before last. I looked awful!
11. We don’t have a TV in our house. And, yep, we survive.
My answers to Athelas’s 11 questions:
1.Why did you start blogging?
This sounds awful, I know, but I started blogging mostly to build a platform. You know, build a platform before you have anything to say? Getting my name recognizable? Sounds awful, but I'm hoping this blog will be so much more. Actually, I think it probably already is.
3.What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
I really don’t know. The mountains are pretty cool, I guess.
4.If your home was going to burn to the ground and any people and animals were safe, what one thing would you grab?
Dad’s computer. It probably has a trillion things on it and I'm guessing we would need those trillion things.
5.Do you prefer the sun or the moon?
Sun? I don’t think I've ever thought about it.
6.Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
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.
Maybe 2 Corinthians 4:1. (NIV)
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
7.Do you speak any second languages?
Actually, English is my second language. I mean, I speak it well, I just speak Russian better. I also speak a bit of Tatar.
8.What makes you cry in fiction? (Do you cry at fiction?)
Probably when the teenager is confronting the parent and saying things like “you’ve never had time for me”. Not in an angry the-world-revolves-around-me attitude, but out of true bitterness.
9.Who is your favorite historical figure?
Probably Abraham Lincoln.
10.(Just as a random question…) Describe your floor.
My floor? Well, in the room I share with my sisters, we have brown diamond-patterned linoleum.
11.What is the skill you’re the most proud of?
Writing? Or soccer. Or studying well. I don’t know.
Caroline Fletcher knows slavery is wrong. Her father's slaves have been more family to her than her own father and mother. But no one else in the South seems to be bothered with it. And when the Civil War starts Caroline has to decide if she'll do what God is telling her to even if it means losing her friends and the one she loves.
Candle in the Darkness is set at the time of the Civil War in Richmond, Virginia. The book starts with Caroline as a child and shows us how she came to believe what she believed. It then takes us through her adolescence and through the Civil War. Overall, it's a pretty interesting story about standing up for what you know is right even when everyone's against you. Eli, Caroline's slave who hopes to be a preacher when the slaves are set free, delivers so many messages of God's love and faithfulness!
Candle in the Darkness is a long beautiful tale, so if you have a number of hours on your hand be sure to check it out. It is the first of three books, the others being Fire by Nightand A Light to My Path.
the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word “accept”. Webster’s
dictionary (of 1993) defines it “to take what is given; to believe to be true; to
We don't have to accept everything our friends think and believe. In fact, if it's contradicting the Bible we SHOULDN'T accept it. What we can accept is who they are. Your friends are unique (as are you). They have different strengths and weaknesses than you do, different talents, hobbies, tastes.
God accepts each and every one of us when we ask Him for forgiveness. Isn't it amazing?
Fellowship with other Christians (whether teens or not) is SO important. And if you're a teen and they are teens so much the better.
I go to a small church where there aren't really too many teenagers, so it's nice when I get to be around them. Another church we go to every once in a while is bigger and has more kids my age. This July they are planning to do a camp for smaller kids like they've done for years. I'm so glad to join the helpers this year! This Sunday I had the blessing of meeting with the people who are also volunteering to help. We discussed the camp, played games, laughed. And then after the meeting I was dropped off at my own church where we had guests from a nearby town. Talk about seeing lots of different people from different churches sharing the same faith! It's amazing.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 (NIV)
How about you? Do you have constant fellowship with Christians? If you do, how has it helped you? If you don't, how can you go out of your way to spend time with people who share your faith?
I haven’t yet finished reading the pretty long (and interesting) Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin. So, the review will be up next week hopefully. For now, I want to share one of my own writings. Here is what I wrote for the Monday Minute Challenge at Christiswrite.blogspot.ru this week. First time I ever joined in that, by the way. The prompt sentence was “Everyone told me not to blame myself but I knew, deep down, that I could have prevented it.” I changed it to present tense and here’s what I got (with a small change later):
Everyone tells me not to blame myself but I know, deep down, that I could have prevented it. I had Mom video tape the game and after watching the last few plays before getting on the bus I can recite every wrong move and turn I made. I needed to pass to Kelley, not Anna. I needed to turn right, not left. I needed to hit that ball with my head instead of waiting for it to reach my thigh. If I could just throw my life in reverse and go and change all that. We would have won those finals. But now all we have is this – driving home with the team in silence. Complete silence. For all forty five minutes of the way. I glance around at the faces I love. Kelley, the swift and energetic forward turning to the window so we won’t see the tears. Anna, the strategy-loving midfielder with the most beautiful smile which she tries to muster. Andria, the always watchful goalie with her head bent somewhat. I know she’s also reciting to herself what she did wrong. But that’s just the thing. Everyone did just what was needed with the right passes and the quick moves. If only I had been…. And to think I was the team captain. The captain that let them all down. “I’m sorry” I whisper into the silence. I close my eyes and can feel the tears rolling down. And then I hear it. “We all make mistakes, girl. It’ll be OK.” I know it’s my coach and he’s talking about the game, but I have a feeling that this could apply to all my life, to all those times I’m beating myself up for not being perfect. And maybe Someone else wants me to hear that too. I wipe my tears and slowly nod.
What do you think of it? Any suggestions to make it better? Have you ever participated in the challenge?
Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word "absolve". It means "to set free or release from duties, guilt or penalty" (Webster's dictionary, 1993).
Sometimes a friend does something that we think we will never forgive of forget. They hurt us, so they should feel guilty right? But there's also time for forgiveness, for letting things go. No matter how hard it is.
Because we have been forgiven so much more. By a perfect God who loves us.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
It won't always be easy, but with God's help we can forgive.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26 (NIV)
It is so easy to think a lot of ourselves, to start arguments and to want what others have. I mean, all we have to do is 1) think of a thing about ourselves that we like, 2) find the slightest difference in opinion with anyone and 3) glance around the class room and get it that half of the kids are richer than we are.
But the Bible tells us not to do such stuff. How do we do that?
1) I think the first thing to do is to REALIZE WE HAVE A PROBLEM. We all have problems with different stuff, some people more in this area that others. Lately, I've had a problem with being conceited. It's not like I go around telling people how cool I am, but I definitely have started to look in the mirror more. Not a good thing.
2) PRAY. God knows we have those problems. He's known that long before we have. And so now we pray for forgiveness and for help - His help - in overcoming these sins.
3) CHANGE with God's help. We can't do it ourselves - only with Him. Isn't it amazing that God helps us with stuff like this?
4) PRAISE HIM! He helps us change and He deserves the praise.
I'm currently on stage #2. How about you? Do you have a problem with any of these? Where are you on this journey of change?
Note: This is somewhat inspired by the wise stuff the book Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin has to offer. Review will be this or next Saturday. Thanks, Lynn Austin for all the wisdom that's in that book!
Typical Carly: Hockey is the only thing that makes sense to me. There’s no feeling like it. It fills me and drains me, and I always want more.
Typical Samantha: There’s this new band playing at our church, and Jay wants me to go with him tonight. I want to, partly to see the band but mostly to be with Jay. We’ve been dating for two years but I still can’t believe he wants to be with me.
They are two very different girls: Carly, with her hockey-driven life, who cares little about anything else and Samantha, whose whole existence is wrapped around her boyfriend Jay. But they become friends. They complement each other. Until both their worlds crash and they don’t know who to trust.
This was a really interesting book. It was probably the first book I ever read with hockey and it almost made me wish I could play it too. I liked that it was from two points-of-view though at times I wished we had the boys’ points-of-view too. Breaking the Ice deals with serious issues many teens face: hypocrisy, unfaithfulness in marriages, dating non-Christians, sex before marriage (nothing at all graphic), and the Church’s ministry.
I recommend Breaking the Ice to girls 16-19 years old.
Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word" absolute". It means "unconditional; without restraint; perfect" (Webster's dictionary, 1993).
Our love for our friends shouldn't be conditional. It shouldn't depend on if they let us copy off their homework last time. Or if they could change all their plans to come over. Or if they invited us to the movies.
God's love for us is definitely absolute. It is unconditional, without restraint, and perfect. He gave His Son because He LOVED us. That is so cool. No, that is beyond cool. It is the best thing that ever happened.
GOD LOVES US NO MATTER HOW MANY MISTAKES WE MAKE. HE FORGIVES US IF WE BELIEVE AND ASK FOR FOR IT.
He is the best Friend ever.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)
*Sorry for this being late. I wrote it on Tuesday, just messed up a little.*
This last Sunday we had a sermon on Romans 1:14-16.
14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:14-16 King James Version
Truth #1 (v. 14): I AM A DEBTOR.
Doesn’t sound too great, does it? But it’s true. Why do we often remember that we owe people – obeying our parents, listening to a boss, paying taxes – but so often forget that we owe so much to God? Debt comes out of a relationship. We have a relationship with our parents, so when they say “go pick up your room – now!” we go and do it. If we aren’t their kids, their order doesn’t mean anything to us. Or at work – we need to follow a boss’s orders. But if we aren’t working at his company, then we don’t have to… So, if you have a relationship with God you owe Him. But I’m telling you: it’s so worth it.
Truth #2 (v. 15): I AM READY.
OK, we know we owe God something, but if we’re not ready to do anything what’s that knowledge for? We should be ready at any time to go and do something, whatever that ‘something’ might mean. In church we divided up in groups to discuss where we could do talk about Him: at work, at school, in a taxi, etc. I personally like the idea of talking with people I’ll probably never see again: in a taxi, on a train, in a plain, etc. I don’t remember ever doing it, but it kind of takes care of the what-will-they-think-of-me question, doesn’t it? That’s NOT to say you shouldn’t talk about the Lord at home. We should.
Truth #3 (v. 16): I AM NOT ASHAMED.
So that sounds pretty ‘right’. We’re not ashamed, right? There’s nothing to be ashamed about, so theoretically speaking, we are not ashamed. But think about it. Why then do we not share more than we do? Why are we often quiet? Someone can be saved. Eternally. And anyway what’s the worst thing they can do to you? Laugh? Ignore you? Start gossiping and pulling pranks? I mean, really –that’s it?
I pray we learn to be bolder with the greatest message ever: SALVATION COMES – FREELY - THROUGH JESUS CHRIST ALONE.