Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What to do when trials come

~Tuesday Thoughts~

This is inspired by a sermon in a church we go to every once in a while.

"On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them." Acts 4:23-24 (NIV)

Peter and John had hurt healed a beggar in the name of Jesus and gotten into trouble for it. There are at least two great things in these 2 verses:

1. Peter and John went and told other followers of Christ their problem.
How cool is that? Do you have a community that encourages sharing about life's struggles and joys? If not, can you start encouraging others?

2. They prayed - right off. Like Oswald Chambers said, "God wants us to pray before we do anything at all." Prayer is an amazing and powerful thing. When and how often do you pray? What do you pray about? 

The whole story, from the healing to the prayer's answer is found in Acts 3:1-4:31.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cry out to Jesus

~Monday Movies & Music~

"Cry Out to Jesus" is a song by Third Day. Here are the lyrics

  "He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

No matter the circumstance, we can find our hope in God. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Trust God always" and more quotes

~Saturday Stories~

"Trust God always. He’s in control, and His plans are perfect. Stay close to Him in prayer, for that relationship will be your best protection in any circumstance" - Spencer's mom, The New Recruit

"Nobody really knows why bad, hard things happen to us. Sometimes it’s because we make bad choices. But God forgives us and helps us through. Sometimes it’s because other people make bad choices. God forgives them and helps us through. Sometimes it doesn’t make any sense at all. God comforts us and, again, helps us through." - Lydia, You Can't Sit With Us

“If... you know you have made decisions that make you less than pure, take comfort. Realizing that fact is one of the most important moments in your life. Because when you see sin for what it does and how it harms you and the people around you, you have the opportunity to ask God to step in and make you pure again." - Pastor Bill, Like Moonlight at Low Tide

"Remember that giving is something you get to do, not something you've got to do." - I Like Giving

How about you? Which quote do you like best? Which speaks to you?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Take the time to... FORGIVE

~Friday for Friends~

This is the fifth post in the Take the Time series. The rest are Take the Time to ListenTake the Time to EncourageTake the Time to Talk With Someone, and Take the Time to Stop Gossip

Sometimes hurt goes deep down. Scars are left. Nightmares keep us awake. And we're called to forgive? Yes.

"But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:15 (NIV)

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]""Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

We have the perfect example of forgiveness- God. And if God forgives us, we can - with His help - try to follow this example.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

True mercy

~Tuesday Thoughts~

Jesus responded in a very interesting way to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).

She was brought to Him by the complacent Pharisees (John 8:3). In answer to the question of whether or not they should stone her (vv. 4-5) Jesus told them that the one without sin should be the first to throw a stone (v.7). This way He reminded them that they were also sinful. One by one everyone left (v. 9).

When the temple courts were empty but for the two of them, Jesus did not condemn the woman (v.11). Though He was sinless and could throw the first stone He chose to forgive, which He indeed had the power to do (Luke 5:24).

Though God is just (Isaiah 5:16) and does not tolerate sin (Isaiah 59:2), He is also compassionate (Psalm 145:8-9) and merciful (Micah 7:18). Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it (John 3:17) and "to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He admonished the woman “Go now and leave your life of sin” (v.11). Not only did He forgive, but He also called her to a new life. The Bible does not say what she did afterwards, but most likely this was a watershed in her life after which she gave up her sin.

Jesus had mercy on the woman. 
How awesome our God is! He deserves our praise!!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

This good day

~Monday Movies & Music~

This Good Day is a song by Fernando Ortega. Here are the lyrics

Whatever happens today, we can know...

"This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

Our God is higher, stronger, and more majestic than anyone or anything! Whatever happens, we can be in His arms!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The New Recruit by Jill Williamson

Typical Spencer: "I used to like church. When I was a kid, I looked forward to Sunday school, bringing my quarters for starving children in Africa, making cross crafts out of popsicle sticks, memorizing Bible verses, singing songs with hand motions, and showing Grandma the cartoon story in the take-home paper. Somewhere along the way I just lost interest. But I’m glad, you know? Because when I look at the people who are my age— those churcher teens— I don’t want to be one of those people. Those happy, peppy, “Yay, God!” types. I’ve got my friends. I don’t need all that… joy."

Spencer Garmond thought he was an ordinary kid who lived with an ordinary grandma and who went to an ordinary (though boring) Christian school. And then he gets an opportunity to join the Mission League. A bunch of Christian spies? What a joke. But threatened with military school and intrigued by his family history, he joins them. Now this better not be a waste of what might have been a great basketball conditioning summer. And they better not preach at him.

I seriously loved The New Recruit with its action-packed story that was also full of truths about God. Jill Williamson did a great job of making Christianity something very real and applicable to teens. At first, Spencer doesn't want anything to do with the "churchers", but later he comes to realize that maybe God really does care.

Spencer is a great character, who is fun to read about and very relatable. His voice, dripped with boyishness and quick wit and just plain freshness, was one of the best parts of the story.

The New Recruit is the first book in The Mission League series. The others are Chokepoint (novella), Project Gemini, Ambushed (novella), Broken Trust, Lockstep (novella), and The Profile Match.

For more on Jill Williamson visit her website and Facebook page. She also blogs regularly at Go Teen Writers.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Take the time to... STOP GOSSIP

~Friday for Friends~

This is the fourth post in the Take the Time series. The first three are Take the Time to ListenTake the Time to Encourage, and Take the Time to Talk with Someone

  "A gossip betrays a confidence,
    but a trustworthy person keeps a secret." Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)

  "A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends." Proverbs 16:28 (NIV)

   "A gossip betrays a confidence;
    so avoid anyone who talks too much." Proverbs 20:19 (NIV)

It's really easy to gossip, to share secrets we shouldn't share. But we shouldn't. Here's some more about what the Bible says about gossiping.

How about you? Have you been hurt by gossip or hurt someone else with it? What can you do today to stop gossip that's about to hurt someone?  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Harriet Tubman - Is it okay to violate the law?

~Tuesday Thoughts~

Harriet Tubman rescued many slaves, thus violating the law of the land. Was it
appropriate for a Christian woman to do so?

On one hand, the Bible tells us to obey authority (Romans 13:1-7). All authority is established by God (Romans 13:1) and would not have any power if it was not given to them (John 19:11). We are to submit to authority “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13). Verse 15 gives us another reason to do this: “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” Proverbs 24:21-22 says to “fear the Lord and the king”.

On the other hand, we don’t have to obey authority if it goes against God’s laws. Acts 5:29 clearly states that “We must obey God rather than human beings!” Acts 4:18-20 backs that up.  There are many examples of men and women in the Bible who violated the laws of the land.  Rahab hid the Jewish spies (Hebrews 11:31). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not bow down to the idol (Daniel 3:12). Daniel prayed when the law forbade it (Daniel 6:10). The apostles proclaimed the good news despite being told not to (Acts 4:18, 31). The church flourished in the first century A. D. despite persecutions (Acts 12:24).

But then the question comes up: does the Bible say anything explicitly against slavery? Is God against it? Is one justifiable if he violates the law to help the slaves?

On one hand, Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 wrote:  “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.” (verses 21-24, NIV). Based on this, Tubman’s actions were not right.

On the other hand, God brought His nation out of Egyptian slavery (Exodus 20:2). He created everyone in His image (Genesis 1:27). Some believe that “the Bible condemns race-based slavery in that it teaches that all men are created by God and made in His image (Genesis 1:27). At the same time, the Old Testament did allow for economic-based slavery and regulated it.”. If this is so, Harriet Tubman’s actions were appropriate for America’s situation of race-based slavery.

Thus, one’s opinion on the appropriateness of Harriet Tubman’s actions depends on his or her interpretation of Scriptural passages.

What do you think?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Keep the candle burning

~Monday Movies & Music~ 

Keep the Candle Burning is a song by Point of Grace. Here are the lyrics.

   "You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light." Psalm 18:28 (NIV)

God is our rockHe is our salvation. Let us praise Him!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Too much noise?

~Saturday Stories~

Sometimes I get stressed because the people around me are so noisy. But most - if not all- of the time I shouldn't. God's Word tells us to be patient. 

There is such a thing as inescapable noise:
Dishes on the table when your brother isn't careful
Shrieks of delight from a teary-eyed teenager
A door slamming shut a little too hard.

There is such a thing as inescapable noise:
Singing in the garden when you mama is happy,
Cries in the park by a broken-hearted toddler,
A glass cup falling to the hard floor.

There is such a thing as inescapable noise:
Whispers in the night when your sisters aren't sleeping,
Cheap, obnoxious bargaining in the city's square,
A deep puddle invaded by a rushing car.

Do everyone a favor -
And yourself one too, you know,
Take a deep breath,
Close your eyes for three seconds.
Then feel the air leave your lungs.

No stress allowed.
This is inescapable noise.

It is hard to be patient sometimes. But it is worth it.

Also, there is an even better noise than these, one we NEED to make. 

"A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth." Psalm 100:1 (NIV)

Our God is so great! Let us praise Him!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Take the time to.... TALK WITH SOMEONE

~Friday for Friends~

This is the third post in the Take the Time series. The first is Take the Time to Listen and the second Take the Time to Encourage.

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:5 (NIV)

This world has many, many lonely people. Really, just look around. So many sad eyes, distant looks, faces peering into a phone to hide the fact that loneliness is creeping into the heart.

Will we not show the world that we care? That there’s a Someone who cares even more?

Who can you talk to today and show that there is, in fact, Someone who loves them? God bless you when you do!   

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Are we ashamed?

~Tuesday Thoughts~

"Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:26 (NIV)

"Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God."John 12:42-43 (NIV)

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." Romans 1:16 (NIV)

"So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God." 2 Timothy 1:8 (NIV)

Sometimes we are scared to say that we are Christians, that we follow Christ. We try to avoid the topic and we start talking about all sorts of things just to postpone – or avoid – the “and, um, well... I'm a Christian.”

I'm not saying everybody does that. And I'm not saying we do that all that time. But it can be easy to not speak about God and it can be hard to dive into a conversation that is fully centered on God and how awesome He is and the many great things He has done.

Let us pray God gives us the courage to speak to others about Him!!!

How about you? Are you sometimes scared to talk about God? When was a time you spoke about Him? 

Monday, June 8, 2015


~Monday Movies & Music~

Courageous is an awesome Christian movie my family has watched numerous times. 

Adam Mitchell is a cop, trying to balance his job and his family. And then his daughter dies. Adam searches for answers in the Bible, trying to learn what God wants of him as a father. He and his friends commit, before God, to be leaders of their family. But the road is anything but easy...

Courageous is a beautiful movie that blends faith with action and tears with laughter. One minute you can be dying from laughter and then in the next tears will creep into your eyes. The truths about God and the Bible seem to be everywhere. 

One great scene from the movie is when Nathan, Adam's friend, shares the gospel. The way he shares it is stark, clear, and completely ruins the "good deeds vs. bad deeds" theory. 

How about you? What's a great Christian movie you have seen?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Escape from the Slave Traders by Dave and Neta Jackson

~Saturday Stories~

"Wikatani looked as if he was fighting for his life! One man held him securely from behind while another man tried to bind the boy’s feet with cords. Frightened, Chuma barely held back a scream. What should he do? Should he rush to the attackers and try to free his friend or hold back until he figured out what was happening? Just then Wikatani must have bitten the hand of the man who held him because the man yelped, and Wikatani began yelling again: “Chuma! Chuma! Run for help!” Quickly the man clamped his hand back over Wikatani’s mouth and looked at Chuma."

Two young boys, Wikatani and Chuma, have been captured by slave traders. Where are they being taken? Will they survive? They do not have the answers to those questions. Their only hope is David Livingstone, a missionary and a man against slavery. But will he take the time and effort to save two frightened boys?

Genre: adventure. Age: for those 12 and under. Issues dealt with: slavery, missionaries.

Escape from the Slave Traders is part of the Trailblazer series. This book doesn’t really have God at the center of everything, but it does show how a life can change through contact with Christians. It introduces the historical figure David Livingstone making history interesting.

‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Mathew  25:40b

For more on Dave and Neta Jackson visit their website and Facebook page.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Take the time to… ENCOURAGE

~Friday for Friends~ 

This is the second in the “Take the Time" series. The first is “Take the time to Listen."

You know that feeling when everything seems to be going incredibly awful? When you're feeling worthless? Unnoticed? Unloved? And then someone comes up and- almost out of the blue- says, "Hey, I really like how you do that" or "You're really talented" or "I missed you last weekend, how are you?" And then you stand there and think Wow. Someone does care.

We can do that to others. We can encourage them and let them know that we care, that God cares.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 

And Hebrews says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

Take the time to encourage someone today. You just might be encouraged also. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Proverbs 31 and the 21st century woman

~Tuesday Thoughts~

The 21st century respected woman, as portrayed in media, is a beautiful and self-sufficient one. She is always busy and on the go. She does not depend much on her husband; her financial income and status would be almost as good without him. The virtuous woman loves her children, but doesn’t have much time for them. She juggles work, child-caring, and household errands. Her growing “self-sufficiency” is also portrayed by her attitude to God: “I can do as well without Him”.

The Bible’s vision of a virtuous woman is found in Proverbs 31: 10-31. She works (vv. 13-19, 24) and cares for her family (v. 21-22, 27). However, she is not “self-sufficient.” She fears the Lord (v.30) and brings good to her husband (v. 11-12, 23). She also is “clothed with strength and dignity” (v.25), speaks wisdom (v.26), and helps the poor (v. 20). She is not necessarily beautiful (v.30).  This wife is “worth far more than rubies” (v.10) and should be praised (v.28-31).

From a secular viewpoint, many would say that the 21st century woman is much like the Bible’s virtuous one, arguing that they both work and are busy. However, the other attributes portrayed in the Bible do not match the contemporary “I'm enough by myself” attitude.

How about you? What are your thoughts on the topic?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Chains break

~Monday Movies & Music~

"Chains Break" is a song  by Austin Adamec. Here are the lyrics

"But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." Romans 6:17-18(NIV)

How amazing it is that we are now no longer slaves to sin!!!

How about you? What is something you can praise God for today?