Saturday, July 29, 2017

Please help (a prayer)

~Saturday Stories~

Dear God,
My thoughts are scattered. 
The to-do list is huge.
I don't know what I'm doing.

I haven't been reading
The Bible consistently.
You still hear me, though, right?

I don't have too much time
Left with my family.
I feel so torn. Again. Again.

I feel so happy sometimes 
Then I cry in the bathroom
Because there is a lock there  

Dear God,
I have nothing figured out
No matter how hard I try
Please help

I know you are with me
You hug me so tight
Even if I don't see it right now 

And in the middle of my ache 
You will never leave 
Thank you. I can't thank you enough

How about you? Have you ever felt utterly helpless? How has God made His presence known to you lately?

There is a poll on the left sidebar that I would love if you checked out. It's about how often you think I should post, something I have been thinking about lately and would love your opinion on.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I did what?

A Little Announcement 

What's up! I am so excited to share with you guys that I ... started my own YouTube channel!!!

I have been wanting to do so for a good long while, and this acting contest by ActingIsLitMyLife has given me the urgency to finally do it. By the way, the results of this contest are coming onto her channel on the 28th, so don't forget to stop by and check it out!

About two months ago, I told you guys about making Christian playlists, and I am so happy to be adding more to my channel. I'm hoping to talk about:

- Christian media: books, music, and movies (because they can be amazing)
- Scripture (and how it does still apply to our lives)
- College life (and trying to stay sane and failing)
- Monologues and acting videos (because maybe dreams can be goals, ya know?)
- Miscellaneous, as in, I have no idea yet. Any ideas anyone?

So there you go. A new video is coming this Monday. I hope you share in my excitement!

How about you? Do you have a YouTube channel? Did you know how much work it would be before you started it (joking, but not really)? What's something you've been working on lately? Please do share!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why I relate to the Psalms

~Tuesday Thoughts~

What's up! I was working on a project this past weekend. While I'm extremely excited about sharing it this Thursday, I am sorry about the lack of posting this weekend. Also, there is a poll on the left sidebar, that I would absolutely love if you checked out! It's about how often you think I should post, something I have been thinking about lately and would love your opinion on.  

Just recently I decided that I will be reading the Psalms. I have been having trouble with having consistent Bible reading and prayer times for a while now (anyone else?), but hopefully, since I have figured out what I will be reading exactly, I might get back on track.

The main reason I picked the Psalms was that I feel I relate to a lot of them. So many Psalms are outcries of a heart in pain, a heart afraid to hope. And God hears those prayers. 

God reminds us again and again that He is our hope. The Lord is our Deliverer. He will never leave us, even if we've spent the first half of the psalm crying that it feels like He has. God hears those prayers, those screams about the unfairness of life and the horrors of it. He hears them, and He answers them. 

 "You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.
  In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:7-8 (ESV)

How about you? Have you had times when your prayers to God are mainly crying for help or asking Him if He's still there? How has God answered your prayers and shown you His presence?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Only what is helpful

~Tuesday Thoughts~ 

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

This can be very hard to do. But it is worth doing.

God, help us keep our mouths shut when we should and help us open them when we can help others with our words.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Never too many mistakes

~Monday Movies & Music~

Unspoken's song "Who You Are" (lyrics) is a gentle reminder that we can never mess up too much that God won't see us through. 

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”[a]" Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

How about you? Do you ever feel like you have made too many mistakes for God to love you?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

~Saturday Stories~

After years of reading countless quotes from Mere Christianity, I finally read the book myself. It was for a church small group, which was fairly enjoyable and pleasant and full of serious conversations.  

C. S. Lewis's logic, I believe, does not get enough credit. It was beautiful to see solid reasoning behind all of his claims. One of my favorite quotes that I had found before I actually read the book is this:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” 
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I enjoyed the simple everyday conversation that Lewis pulls us into and in which he shows us what Christians believe. Because that is the reason for the book.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Keep on praying

~Friday for Friends~

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)

I love when Paul prays over a church. When he shares about the outpourings his heart makes to the Father on the church's behalf. And while we should not necessarily memorize and simply recite these prayers, they are a good reminder for us to pray for our fellow believers. 

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

Who can you pray for right now? 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rejoice; feel His peace

~Tuesday Thoughts~

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Don't you love these verses? I do. I'm kind of making "joy" my word of the year, and it's just making this passage even dearer than it already was. "The Lord is near," guys! And there is not a moment between now and His second coming that we should not rejoice with all our hearts. 

Trials will come. They will be plentiful. But after we call out to our Father, thanking Him for what He has given us and asking for His help, a peace will overcome us. An undeniable unquantifiable peace. How amazing that God promised this! We did nothing to deserve joy and thankfulness and peace through trials. But God loves seeing us through the problems and the heartache. He loves showing us that no matter what happens, He will always be there.

How about you? Have you felt His joy and peace while going through a trial?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hacksaw Ridge: A Review

~Monday Movies & Music~

He did not have to go. He enlisted. He enlisted with a determination of being a medic, trying to fix the world as it was crumbling. But he does not believe in holding guns. And during World War II, that is a serious offense. This is the story of how Desmond Doss' faith and determination saved dozens of men in some of the world's most horrifying hours.

I have wanted to watch Hacksaw Ridge (trailer) for a while and have finally received the opportunity. This is a breath-taking movie based on the true story of Desmond Doss. The director, Mel Gibson, does a great job of showing both the gruesomeness of WWII and the hope only our Savior can bring. We see death after death, and it is horrifying. It should be. World War II was an insane time full of deaths. But we also see how sacrifice and doing what you know is right can save, literally save, people.

The quality of this movie is amazing. The truth it portrayed even more so. It hits a nerve because it was supposed to. I so wish we could undo World War II. I wish we could undo those deaths, those countless lives lost on all sides, in every country. But even though we cannot do that, we can remember those who fought and who sought to heal the world during that time.

Hacksaw Ridge is an R-rated movie and is not at all suitable for children. For teenagers and adults, though, it can be a vivid reminder of God's hand moving in remarkable ways.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

It sets you free

~Saturday Stories~

"And what exactly are you thinking about the truth?"
"I'm thinking it sets you free. If you're brave enough to look for it." -Brielle and Jake, Angel Eyes

"I would rather live like that (sold out for God) than the way I've been living these past few weeks. I'd rather know that I totally belong to God and that He's in control of my life than to feel like I'm running or hiding or whatever. Because God's way is better. ... I feel so free and happy and secure." - Caitlin, It's My Life

How about you? Have you had the truth set you free? Are you sold out for God? Have you given Him the reigns of your life?

Friday, July 7, 2017

No revenge

~Friday for Friends~

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[b]
   Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:17-21 (NIV)

To not at least try to avenge something that hurt us - this can be really hard to do. It might be something small that just irks us or something that has been haunting our memory for years. It feels right to do something about it, to make the person pay for the pain they cost us. 

God says, again and again, that we are not to be overcome by this desire to even things out. It is God's to judge. We are to try our best and pray for His help with loving our neighbor, with actions as well as with words. It helps to remember the (oh, so many!) mistakes we ourselves have made before our friends and, more importantly, before God. To remember that God forgives us no matter what because of a sacrifice that cost Him so much. 

I am not saying to let people walk all over you or to keep quiet about abuse or the like. Please don't. But it's important to give the job of avenging to God and remind ourselves that He forgives, so we should too. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

You are Christ's

~Tuesday Thoughts~

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

Receive Him as Lord. Live in Him. Root yourself in Him. Be built up in Him. You are Christ's. Live remembering that. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Just another birthday

~Monday Movies & Music~

Casting Crowns has a beautiful song, "Just Another Birthday," that tells of the story of a fatherless girl searching for restoration. Here are the lyrics

 "Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds[a];
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
  God sets the lonely in families,[b]
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." Psalm 68:4-6 (NIV)

How about you? Have you seen God's grace and love recently?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Swimming through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus

~Saturday Stories~

Typical Talia: “My arm is where Dad prefers to write.”
“‘Yes, sir.’ Because that’s the best response to Dad’s rules. The lawyer makes the laws. Breaks the laws. Then rewrites the laws so he looks innocent. That’s how Dad roles.”

Talia does not know any reality but this. Rules, lists of housework, limited access to everyone outside the house, punishments for the slightest disobedience. Somewhere along the line she understood that this was not the world her classmates lived in, but she could not do a thing. She and her brother are trapped screaming for help with silent voices. Until a boy from class suddenly starts breaking down the barrier Talia was forced to put up. While hope slowly brews in her heart, Talia wonders how long until discovery and another punishment.

Swimming Through Clouds is a beautiful tragic story that tells of the reality of too many boys and girls. Rajdeep Paulus portrays the story very bluntly, with hope and despair trying their best to push the other one out of Talia’s heart. The mutual care that Talia and her brother had for each other was one of the most heartening parts of the book.

Talia is helped not only by the caring classmate but also by a book in which she reads about the Gardener and the woman who bled for twelve years. This story is, very clearly, the story of the woman who had bled for twelve years. Talia sees herself in that woman and gleans hope from her healing. Altogether, this is a beautiful genuine heart-hurting book that does not lack in either reality or the promise of a future.

Swimming Through Clouds is the first in the Swimming through Clouds series. The second is Seeing Through Stones and Soaring Through Stars.

For more on Rajdeep Paulus, visit her website and Facebook page.