Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Jesus Storybook Bible written by Sally Lloyd Jones

~Saturday Stories~


The Jesus Storybook Bible is a children’s Bible, but I think we, teens, and adults for that matter can gather a lot from it.


The thing I really like about this Bible is that, as is said on the cover, “every story whispers his name”. From Adam and Eve to the tower of Babel to Jacob’s wife Leah to Naaman’s leprosy the stories always point to the story, the plan that God had from the beginning. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the Old Testament and not see the big picture. But if we look closer every story can “whisper his name”.

For more on Sally Lloyd-Jones visit her website and Facebook page.

How about you? Have you read this Bible? What do you think of it? 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Let us love one another

~Friday for Friends~ 


God’s Love and Ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.1 John 4:7-21 (NIV)

These are beautiful verses that call us to love one another “for love comes from God”.  So...

Have you ever noticed that there are some people in our lives who seem to be easier to love than others?  To love the kind Christian lady next door takes way less trouble than loving the always grouchy self-righteous man two pews down. To love the encouraging teacher who believes in us is nothing compared to loving the ever strict tyrant-teacher. But did God ever say  “do love these people, but those over there… they’re so bad I won’t hold it against you if you can’t love them”? No. God loved us when we were all still sinners and He keeps on loving us when we make mistake after mistake. With His help we can learn to love like He does. “Let us love one another”.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself not loving some people? Please comment and let’s pray together that we can learn to love others even it’s hard. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'll be gone - posts will still be here

I'm going on a (late, but hopefully awesome anyway) vacation. Hip hip hooray! That means I'll be gone August 29th - September 8th. I HAVE scheduled the posts, so please enjoy! I won't be able to moderate, publish and answer comments, though. Please comment anyway!!! I'll be glad to catch up with everything once I get back.

Blessings!!! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Never quite reaching 'perfect'

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Last week I started the Starting School mini-series with “Homework? Maybe later…”. That was about slacking in our school work and today’s basically about the complete opposite: when we do whatever we can to reach that ‘perfect’ mark that always seems to be a few steps away.

Sometimes that’s me. I’ll try and I’ll try to be ‘good enough’, to be 'better than’, to meet and exceed the expectations that are set for me. If that means not reading that much contemporary fiction for awhile and spending hours reading more serious books, squeezing blogging in as best I can and taking chemistry, so be it. I'll push myself more and more, slack a bit and then I'll push myself harder because I'm afraid I slacked too much. Does that describe you sometimes?

Here's good news people: every once in a while you can relax. It's OK. It's reasonable.

Here's what the Bible says:

“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. Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

How about you? Do you ever push yourself in order to be 'perfect'? What are some verses you can add to these?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blessed be Your Name!

~Monday Movies & Music~


“Blessed be the Name” is a pretty neat song by Matt Redman. Here are the lyrics.

Sometimes it seems like everything is AWFUL. A car crash. Betrayal. A break up. Cancer. A move. Someone’s death.

How do we keep saying “blessed be His Name” when everything’s going just awfully? How do we say “we’ll trust in Him” when we don’t even feel Him?

He is always there, guys. I know sometimes that is really hard to believe, but it’s true. He says so time after time in His Word.

 “There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV)

  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[a] and the horn[b] of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 (NIV)
a.Psalm 18:2 Or sovereign
b. Psalm 18:2 Horn here symbolizes strength.

For who is God besides the Lord?
 And who is the Rock except our God? Psalm 18:31 (NIV)

Since you are my rock and my fortress,
   for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Psalm 31:3 (NIV)

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:2 (NIV)

What are some other verses you know? Blessed be His Name! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Meg: Wyatt told me once that if tenderness were a disease, I’d be terminal. “You’re just a little glass girl,” he’d murmur every time I blushed or cried or stared too long at someone. I didn’t mind it so much. The point was he knew that one day I’d break— not my heart, but all of me. I suppose he was right.


Her older brother died. In a school shooting. And she saw it.
More than a year later, Meg’s mom is still reeling from the loss and getting further and further into depression. It seems like Meg's losing her too. And then her dad suddenly moves them all to Wyoming. A fresh start? She hopes so. But can anything ever be really alright after something so awful?

The premise of Glass Girl, a girl trying to cope with losing a brother in a school shooting, is pretty interesting and new to me. It has good promise. For me, probably the biggest downside to the book is that there are very few mentions of God. Most of the ‘healing’ Meg receives can be attributed to her boyfriend. He is a Christian and is nice, although he doesn’t talk about God that much at all. He is also what one might call “too perfect to be real.” It might make the reader feel that in order to heal one has to have a perfect boyfriend instead of the truth that they need the Lord. There are also about half a dozen uses of not-so-good language. For these reasons, the book was pretty disappointing. If there was more about our Savior and less about Henry, the story could be much better, I think.

For more on Laura Anderson Kurk, visit her website and Facebook page.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Should I be friends with him/her?

~Friday for Friends~



You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4 (NIV)
a. James 4:4 An allusion to covenant unfaithfulness; see Hosea 3:1.

.
Okay, so the first thing I’d like to say is that this passage does not mean go and hide in some dessert or forest and never make friends with people who are not Christian. Because:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:14 (NIV)

Really, being friends with the world isn’t about having a friend or two who’s not Christian. It’s about being so ‘in love’ with this world’s ways and doings that you prefer them to God’s. That’s what we shouldn’t do. And sometimes this means saying “no” to friendships with people we know who are tugging us down deeper and deeper. But not necessarily.

It’s a balance. It’s a case-by-case thing. “Are we influencing them for Christ or are they influencing us for wrong?” is a question we should ask about each of our friendships. We should also pray the Lord guides us in this.

How about you? Do you have friendships that keep sucking you into wrong things? What are you going to do about it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homework? Maybe later...

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Starting School mini-series


In light of the beginning of the school year (hurray! or not) I want to make a mini-series called Starting School for the next four Tuesdays. I hope you who are in school or homeschooling can relate to some of the problems. It would be fun if we could search the Bible for answers together. And if you're already out of school, I hope you can laugh -not too much though- at what we consider struggles and share some of your own experience. So here we go...


It's like 70 degrees Fahrenheit, bright and sunny with a slight breeze. And we're cooped up in school (or our homes) doing schoolwork. Granted, it's fun to meet our friends again and chatter away with them, but it's not fun to be studying the seven world views when we could be out there playing basketball. Or running. Or drawing. Or reading. Who cares about trigonometry of ancient Greece?

It's easy to slack and think that we can catch up later, right? Or to just not do it because "we don't need this in real life". Sound familiar?


"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men," Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)


So... "whatever you do" probably means school too, however unwelcome that idea is. Any suggestions on trying to remember that? Because it can be SO hard sometimes.

Let's try to do everything -even school- like we're doing it for Him.

How about you? Do you have slacking problems? Do you know more verses on doing your best for God?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Above all

~Monday Movies & Music~


Above All is a thought-provoking song by Michael W. Smith. Here are the lyrics

Awhile back Mom mentioned that we should probably thank and praise God more when we pray. We do more or less OK with asking God for one thing or another. And that is not wrong. But we should try to remember more Who He is and who we are and how AMAZINGLY INCREDIBLE it is that He loves us! He is the God of the universe and He deserves so much more praise than we can ever offer. He is the Almighty, the Creator, the Lord of lords. Let His Name be praised forever! 
 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reading Christian non-fiction

~Saturday Stories~ 


I started homeschooling this week, so I haven't really had the time to finish Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk. I hope I'll have a review by next week, though.

So... my literature course is pretty serious and I have some pretty good loooooong Christian reading to do. Here are some thoughts on the two books I have started:

1. Bradford's History of Plimoth Plantation. This is basically the history of the Pilgrims coming to America. I didn't expect to like it as much as I have so far. I'm not far into it, but William Bradford does a good job of vividly describing the persecution of the church.

2. The Treatise Concerning Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was a Puritan theologian and his thoughts on affections and how they are connected to the will,etc. are pretty interesting.

You might not like history or books on theology. And I'll be honest, I wouldn't have opened theses books if they weren't must-reads for class. But sometimes a glimpse into the hardships of Christians or some deep thoughts on a serious topic can help us mature a bit, don't you think?
How about you? Do you read serious Christian books? How have they helped you in your life?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jesus is your Friend

~Friday for Friends~


A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have. D.L. Moody

Isn't that a great thought? A great truth? Jesus Himself said:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 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 15:13-15 (NIV)

Just imagine: "The firstborn over all creation" (Collosians 1:15), the One in whom "all things hold together" (verse 17), "the firstborn from among the dead" (verse 18) can be your Friend. He WANTS to be your friend. Are you going to say "yes"?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Conversations full of grace

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

It is so easy to hurt others with our words. So easy to let something come out of our mouths that we will later regret. So easy to just babble on and on and then -with total surprise- see a look of hurt on our friend's face.


Here is another passage on the topic:

"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
James 3:3-12 (NIV)


Let us pray that God will help us tame our tongues so that only praise for His Holy Name will come out of it!

How about you? Do you have trouble keeping your tongue in check?  What is another passage you know that talks about this?

Monday, August 11, 2014

God sees us as special

~Monday Movies and Music~


"Art in me" by Jars of Clay and "Fingerprints of God" by Steven Curtis Chapman are two songs about how we are of value to God. Here are the lyrics to the first and second song.

We may look at ourselves and think "this is no one worth noticing or loving", but God sees past our failures (He forgives them) and tells us "you are unique and special to me". Amazing!

How about you? Do you have I'm-not-worth-anything moments? How does the Lord help you through them? 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Revolutionary (Anomaly) by Krista McGee

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Thalli: I wish John were here. The Designer would listen to him. Or, at the very least, John would know what to do in the face of the Designer’s silence. I feel so very alone.

Thalli is held hostage by Loudin as he makes Kristie work on the oxygen in the State. As Thalli learns more and more about his dark plans to change the world in unstoppable ways, she knows they have to stop him. But how can they, when Loudin seems to have everything - absolutely everything - under control? And why is the Designer not doing anything?


Revolutionary is the last book in the Anomaly trilogy. This story is like the first two - Anomaly and Luminary - in that it has plot twists you would have never imagined and is written in a way that will keep you turning pages. It shows you that, even when you don't feel that God is near you, He is, and He'll turn everything that seems to be going wrong into something beautiful.

Personally, I thought the ending could have been bigger, but that does not stop me from eagerly awaiting Krista McGee's next book.

Krista McGee has written the Anomaly trilogy as well as three other books: First Date, Starring Me and Right Where I Belong. For more on her visit her website and Facebook page.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Best friends are like diamonds

~Friday for Friends~ 


Today I'm going to try something different for the Friday for Friends post. Please comment and tell me if you like this better than the usual Friday for Friends post series or not. 


Best friends are like diamonds, precious and rare.
False friends are like leaves, found everywhere
~ Author Unknown ~ 


Best friends ARE rare. I think most of us would say we've only had one, maybe two. Some might say they never had one. Me? I have been blessed with two best friends, not at the same time, but still.

I'm sure you know the saying "if you want to have a friend, be a friend".  But do we really understand it? It is really easy to keep wishing and wishing for the best friend ever and to forget that we can become those friends ourselves. 

As a more or less quiet person, I sometimes hope that someone will come over to me and say "hey, let's be friends". But what I CAN do is come over to someone even more quiet and say the same thing. We might want our friend to tweak their schedule a bit to fit ours, spend time with us when they could do other things, make us laugh. But we can start with ourselves, right? Or at least try. 

Won't it be amazing when someone thinks about us as that "diamond, precious and rare"?


Jesus is the PERFECT BFF. He comes over when we are still sinners and sais "Hey, want to be free? Want to be my friend?' He is always there for us and He will always help us. Even if we don't have a best friend here on Earth we do have One who walked on Earth and died and rose for us. The One that will be waiting for us to say "yes; I SO want that". 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Making a difference

~Tuesday thoughts~



 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)


Today I explored this great website, Teens Interceding for Orphans. Leah E. Good shares practical ways we, teens, can help orphans even though we can't adopt yet and we might not have that much money.

Also, though I haven't read it yet, there's a book called Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris.


God had given us these teenage years, so instead of just waiting until we're older we can really do something with them.

With the Lord's help, we can change the world one prayer or quarter or blog post at a time.

Do check out Teens Interceding for Orphans. What is a way you can or already do change the world? Remember, baby steps can add up to something great.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Me without You

~Monday Movies & Music~



TobyMac has a great song "Me Without You". Here are the lyrics.


We'd be so lost without God. We'd be heading over to destruction. We'd be wondering where life's meaning is. We'd be putting our hopes in things that cannot save us.

We without Christ are nothing. He came and saved us when we were lost. Blessed be His Name forever!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Some quotes

~Saturday Stories~


Here are some quotes from books I have reviewed/will review soon. Hope you enjoy them!

The Designer showed me, through the difficulties I endured there.... that he can give me strength when I have none, that I can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and not be afraid. That I can come out of those valleys stronger and better than I was when I entered. - Thalli, Revolutionary 

"I don't want it to be hard to be sick around me. I want it to be easy. That makes the healing easier." - Mim, Bryn's grandma, Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble



He had fed his pride long enough, and now it was time to feed his spirit and live life at a deeper level. -Valten, The Captive Maiden

What do you think of these quotes? Which one is your favorite? What are some quotes you like? Please share.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Acknowledge

~Friday for Friends~


"Acknowledge" is the next word in the Friday for Friends post series. It means "to admit the truth, existence or reality" (Webster's dictionary, 1993.) Let's take the first meaning.

Sometimes admitting the truth or the fact that we were wrong is...hard. Especially when we think that someone will look down at us or jeer  "I told you".

But we need to be able to say/admit the truth even when it hurts us. "I am sorry" or "you were right" or "wow, that would never occur to me" or "ya, I need to change that". As long as you're being respectful, truth can be something that brings you closer with your friends. Or anyone else really.


Being honest with God is great too. The plain "I am SO lost, Lord, can you help?" can go a really long way. God knows what you're feeling, but I think He likes it when we talk to Him about... well, everything (problems and doubts included). He'll help us sort it out.


"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father....
Matthew 6:8b-9a (NIV).

God is a loving Father. That is so cool.