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)


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 (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!


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 loser 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 pinpoint 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?