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 into 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 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.


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!