Monday, November 30, 2015

Fighter

~Monday Movies & Music~


"Fighter" is a song by Jamie Grace. Here are the lyrics

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

Are you going through a hard time? How has God helped you along the path?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

"God wants you to talk to him" and more quotes

~Saturday Stories~


"God wants you to talk to him and to tell him what's worrying you or bugging you. And he wants to help you get through it." - Andrea, Harsh Pink

"Listen. Listen. Listen.
Don't criticize. Don't compare. Don't compete.
Only create.
And celebrate." - Norie, "B" is for Bad at Getting into Harvard



"“If God says no to something, it’s because He has something better for you. Always.”" - Mrs. Santana, Worth the Time

"What the Father has to offer is beyond our dreams. We just have to turn to Him." - Pastor Scott, Worth the Time

How about you? What can you talk to God about today? Who can you stop competing with? What has God said "no" to this month? Have you experienced something beyond your dreams?

Friday, November 27, 2015

What is the Christian response to ISIS?

~Friday for Friends~


I'm writing an essay on this topic. I'll appreciate it if you took the time to articulate what you believe is the best Christian response. 

What do YOU think the Christian response should be to ISIS? Should we pray and forgive? Should we fight back? Why do you think so? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rejoice, pray, give thanks

~Tuesday Thoughts~


"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Sometimes it is really hard to have joy. God's Word says to rejoice always. 
Sometimes it feels that prayers go unanswered. God's Word says to continually pray. 
Sometimes it feels like life is falling apart, and there is absolutely nothing to be thankful about. God's Word tells us to give thanks in all situations.  

Is it hard? Yes. Is it possible? With Christ, everything is possible.

What can you rejoice about today? What can you pray about? What can you can give thanks for?  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Your love never fails

~Monday Movies & Music~


"Your Love Never Fails" is a truth-filled song by Newsboys. Here are the lyrics

"Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:8a (NIV)
 
How about you? Have you felt God's love today? Who can you share it with? 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why?

~Saturday Stories~


Why is there so much trouble on earth?
Why can't we all simply live merrily?
Why does life seem pointless sometimes?
Why is earth such a disaster? Why? Why?

Because everyone has sinned, all, all
Have fallen short of the glory of God.
Oh, I so long to be perfect, but no!
It is impossible. God is perfect.

Yes, only He, only God is perfect.
He wants us to follow the Only God.
I tell you, life might be hard at times.
But in the end He will come and win! Yes!

I look forward to that, but now I will
Follow Him my entire life, my whole life.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sharing in the joy and mourning

~Friday for Friends~


"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
Romans 12:15 (NIV)

Think for a minute of people you know who are rejoicing. Specific names, specific joys. Think about those who are mourning. Specific people, specific griefs.

How can God use you today to reach out to these people?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pray today

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Pray today.

And pray like you mean it. Not because everybody else is doing it. Not because it is the "only" thing you can do. Not because picture after picture of France is on Facebook.

No.

Pray because you know that there is a loving God. Pray because you know the world is broken. Pray because you know there are hearts that stopped beating, and families that wished the day could be reversed. Pray because prayer is one of the best things to do - ever. Pray because you know God does answer. Pray because He wants you to.


"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."
Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV)

Pray today.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Tell the world

~Monday Movies & Music~


"Tell the World" is a really good song by Lecrae. Here are the lyrics.

We have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Should we not share this amazing news?

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

Who can you share this awesome truth with? Could you do it today?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Harsh Pink by Melody Carlson

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Reagan: "Even when I saw Geek Girl in school during those first few days less than a week ago, I pretended not to know her. ... The only alternative would've been to set her straight, and that's pretty harsh. Anyway, I think she got the hint. Does that make me a mean girl? No, I reassure myself ... It simply means I'm a survivor."

It's hard to be the new girl. But if you do it delicately enough, if you know just the right way, if you speak or be quiet just when it is needed, you can be in the cool crowd in no time. That's what Reagan did. After making varsity cheerleading and making big progress about being friends with the coolest girl in school, she has finally attained a good place. But then there are people who don't want her around and who will do anything to get her out. And, anyway, why does she feel like such a hypocrite?


Harsh Pink: Color Me Burned tells the story of a girl trying to fit in with the cool crowd. Reagan constantly tries to manipulate the truth and play things her way. She tries to attain a cool status, but the more she tries, the more she feels like a hypocrite. Closer to the end, she gives her life to Jesus. And then the burden on her heart is gone, and she can finally change.

Harsh Pink doesn't have that much about God. Also, there are a couple places where I raised my eyebrows a little. Technically speaking, there is a lot of "telling," without which the story could probably be better. However, it did show how much God can help us through our problems.

A story of trying to fit in and finding out that that is not the biggest treasure, Harsh Pink can capture your attention.

This is the 12th book in the True Colors series. The rest are Dark Blue: Color Me Lonely, Deep Green: Color Me Jealous, Torch Red: Color Me Torn, Pitch Black: Color Me Lost, Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted, Fool's Gold: Color Me Consumed, Blade Silver: Color Me Scarred, Bitter Rose: Color Me Crushed, Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped, Moon White: Color Me Enchanted, and Bright Purple: Color Me Confused.

For more on Melody Carlson, visit her website and Facebook page.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Kindness, compassion, forgiveness

~Friday for Friends~


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

Our God has forgiven us! What a beautiful example!

Today, who can you show kindness to? What about compassion? Forgiveness?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Casting all anxiety

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Beginning on Saturday evening and into Sunday, I felt sick. First, it was mostly my head. On Sunday it was my stomach. This, amid other things, contributed to my feeling of lazy self-pity.

It's interesting that at times like this we try to "bear it," assuming that it'll pass pretty quickly by itself. But what guarantee do we have that it will pass quickly? Why do we suppose we're strong enough to handle it? Why do we not cast ALL our anxiety on Christ?

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)


How about you? What problems can you bring to God today?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Flywheel

~Monday Movies & Music~


$38,000 in debt. Due in about 2 months.

Jay Austin knows that that he needs to do something. So he works harder at his used cars dealership, professionally cheating people of a few thousand dollars at a time. His relationship with his wife and son grew tense, he cheats a minister, and the debt just doesn't seem to go away. Is there a way out of this endless cycle that might leave him without anything?

Flywheel (watch the trailer) is a good Christian movie showing that when we trust God for help and give everything to Him, He can do miracles. The turning point seemed a bit too quick, and the movie itself seemed to take a long time. However, the message it contained was beautiful.

 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
  in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]"
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

How about you? Have you watched Flywheel? What did you think of it? When was a time you trusted God?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Not forgiving someone is a real pain" and more quotes

~Saturday Stories~


"Not forgiving someone is a real pain - not as much to them as it is to you." - Andrea, Harsh Pink

“This is not about changing other people’s behavior. It’s about changing yours because you really can’t alter the way other people act. They might behave differently toward you, but that’s just because you’ve made it easier, among other things.” - Lydia, Sorry I'm Not Sorry




“God has a way of working things out if we back off and let Him.”- Lindsey's dad, Worth the Time

"I don't know if it's really possible to change all by yourself. I mean, you can act differently. But real change - the kind that starts on the inside and transforms you - only comes when you give your life to God." - Andrea, Harsh Pink

How about you? Which quote do you like? Do you have a quote you can share?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Give in secret

~Friday for Friends~


"“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.""Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)

How about you? How can you give today? But it might be better if you don't tell us. Just do it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

An impossible ideal?

~Tuesday Thoughts~


            “When we think we have it all figured out, that’s when we stop considering how we can be better.” Author Stephanie Morrill’s words ring true. Room for improvement always exists, especially in areas of faith, love, and good works.

`           However axiomatic these sound, love and good works mean a lot when thought about through the lenses of Christian faith. The world, if it tries at all, grasps at these two without giving the last a second glance. When so inclined, the world strives to love others and perform numerous good works. However, without faith these prove pointless. Works do not save men (Ephesians 2:8-9); they provide no more worth than filthy rags if done without God (Isaiah 64:6). Yet after becoming a Christian, one acquires the privilege of showing the world around him his faith by these two characteristics and many more. In the end one will never measure up to the perfect example of Christ. However, the importance of pondering His actions and trusting Him to work in us (Philippians 1:6) cannot be underestimated.

            Few Christians can boast of a faith that permeates their lives every day. Usually it serves as a side dish. Although on the plate, it serves neither as the main course nor as the much desired sweet. Waking up, most glance at their phones, not their Bibles. However, seeing it as an obligation, they will once in a while take the time to dust off their Bibles, missing the enjoyment and nourishment the Scriptures can provide. When problems come, most turn to other sources: doctors, counselors, self-help strategies that promise much but accomplish little. Often the idea of coming to God in prayer does not enter one’s mind until everything else has proved useless. Even going about their normal days, many entertain an agenda and try not to get “distracted.” They rarely go beyond others’ masks or dig deeper to see what others would want or need.

Jesus Christ has exemplified all these aspects of faith – reading Scripture, praying, reaching out – in the best way possible. Christ constantly quoted the Scriptures (for example, Matthew 22:41-46), showing the importance they held for Him. From resisting temptation (Matthew 4:1-11) to explaining prophecies (Luke 24:25-27), Scripture contained an answer, an application. Jesus, although God himself, constantly came to His Father in prayer. He gave thanks for the fish and loaves (Matthew 14:19) and prayed over His disciples and all believers (John 17:6-26). He rose early in the mornings specifically to pray (Mark 1:35). And even in the darkest, most painful hours He called out to God from the cross (Matthew 27:46). Also, for Christ, good works meant more than a hobby or extracurricular activity performed every once in a while. Executing God’s work nourished Him (John 4:34). Speaking to the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26) and washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17), He opened up an entirely new perspective of servitude.

            Faith portrays itself in love. One cannot love if he does not know God, and if one knows God he cannot help but love (1 John 4:7-8). Unlike what this world proclaims every day, love does not come and go away. Love is an action (1 John 3:18) and incorporates selflessness (1 Corinthians 13:5). With its constant advertisement of comfortable living, humanity encourages selfishness. It loudly declares the idea that if hardships arise one can give up on his loved one. How many divorces have been registered for the simple reason that it “got too hard”? The world puts so much into the feeling of love, it fails to consider the action of love. It applauds the first kiss much more than the first sacrifice of one’s plans for a friend or partner. 

            Christ, however, demonstrates the perfect example of love. The living God, He did not have to come into this world. Yet He came (John 6:38). He did not have to heal and teach; He does not have to be with Christians today. Yet He did (Matthew 12:15, Mark 1:21-22), and He is (Matthew 28:20). Dying for us and then rising (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), Jesus executed more action for worthless sinners than anyone on Earth can ever expect to accomplish. With an example so majestic no doubt can exist about His love and His ability to teach this love to His followers. 

            Another aspect of Christ’s life, His good works, often merit an in-depth discussion. Many people will hear of improvement and instantaneously think of “good works.” However, faith and God’s mercy always overpower whatever good works could offer. Works do not save (Ephesians 2:8-9), but can demonstrate one’s faith (James 2:18) and the transformation made by love. Over and over again the Bible tells us to remember the poor (Galatians 2:10), to encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and to proclaim the Good News (Matthew 28:19-20). Yet today few people continually reach out to the poor or put away time in their schedules to encourage one another. Few go about a typical day searching for someone to share the Gospel with or for an opportunity to fight for justice.

Jesus, on the other hand, constantly served. He healed the sick (Matthew 12:15), encouraged His disciples (John 14:16-21), and proclaimed the nearness of His kingdom (Matthew 4:17). He died for this world (Romans 4:25)! Although He could have easily passed on all the hardships involved with coming to Earth, He did not. Everyone can greatly benefit from imitating His example of serving.

            Where can one get the strength to put faith first, to love others, and to help them even when that means self-sacrifice? God calls Christians to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1), and He will not leave His disciples (Matthew 28:20) helplessly wondering how to accomplish that. One can do anything through Him (Philippians 4:13), including the improvement of his faith, love, and good works. God’s Holy Word promises in Philippians 1:6 (NIV), “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”     

Monday, November 2, 2015

Till the day we die

~Monday Movies & Music~


Sorry I didn't post last week. Hopefully, that won't become a habit.

"Til The Day I Die" is a pretty great song by TobyMac and featuring NF. Here are the lyrics.

""But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”" Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Who do we choose to serve? Are we ready to serve Him till we die?