Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Spirit

It's two days after Christmas, and I'm happily typing away in my brand new, super cozy finger-less gloves.  It's amazing how gloves without fingers can be so warm...

Anyway, I was thinking I would share a poem I wrote several years ago about Christmas.  It has to do with that feeling I sometimes get after the holidays are over.  You know -- when the gifts are all unwrapped, the food is digested, and all the hype and emotion and "Christmas Spirit" vanishes until next year.  Because the "holiday cheer" only stays during the holidays. (hence the name -- I know, genius, right?)  Then we're left with a sort of empty happiness.

The truth is, "Christmas Spirit" only last until December 25th.  After that, it's gone again.  The real spirit of Christmas, though, is Jesus.  He's the feeling of joy and peace and love -- only it doesn't have to disappear on December 26th.  It's something that can last forever, if we let it engulf us in it's radical radiance.

"Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14

So, here's that poem I wrote...

Saint Nicholas gives many gifts
And brings young children happiness,
But without his presents and his toys
He would not be anything to the girls and boys.

He cannot give them everlasting joy-
A love that makes them want to employ
And use for good all that they have
To make others brighten and be glad.

But I, though a little girl may be,
Know One who gives everlasting peace;
He brings joy that stays forever,
A joy that I can take wherever.

Not just a happiness that stays
For a certain amount of December days,
But a joy that I feel all year long
No matter even if things go wrong.

Please don't copy this poem without my permission.  Thanks!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them."  John 2:4-7


Friday, December 14, 2012

My Heart Aches Today

I am praying for everyone in Connecticut today -- for the children, the parents, the police officers and medical staff.  I pray that one day all of this pain and suffering will end.  I wait for the day we don't have to hear stories like this one anymore.

"If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."  Matthew 18:6

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rejoice in His Laws

"How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word."  Psalm 119:9-16

 Here's some food for thought -- when's the last time you rejoiced because of God's laws?  When have you stopped to thank God for His commands?  It's something I think we all skip over a lot.  So, maybe take some time today to echo this Psalm back to God with me...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John...

Have you ever looked at the beginning of each of the four Gospels and wondered at the diversity of their writers?  They each tell the most important story in the history of the world, yet they all see things differently.

Matthew begins with:
"This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:"
He goes on to list all of the people who made up the lineage of the Messiah -- the great men and those who were not great, the born Israelites and those who came as foreigners and were accepted into the family.  Matthew wants us to see all the diverse people who make up the genealogy of Christ on Earth.  He wants to show us the great truth that he learned -- that no matter where you come from, no matter what you've done, Jesus accepts you.

Mark begins very differently:
"The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:"
Mark starts off by quoting Isaiah 40:3.  He wants to show how the prophecies made hundreds of years ago came to pass before his eyes.  Skipping right past Jesus' birth, Mark goes on to speak of His miracles and works.

Luke begins this way:
"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word."
He then goes on to say he has carefully investigated all that has gone on surrounding Jesus' life and will try to give an accurate account of it.  Luke gives us a very complete picture of Jesus' birth -- right down to the song Mary sang after meeting with Elizabeth.  Luke's concerned about getting all the facts written down straight and true for his friend, Theophilus, whom he's writing his Gospel to.

Lastly, John writes:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
I love John's opening words.  He continues, after verse 1, to say that the Word came and dwelt among us.  This is a reference to Jesus' name, Emmanuel -- God with us.  The great, awesome, mighty, Creator of the Universe came to our tiny earth as a helpless baby.  Because He loved us.

So, if you read through the Christmas story this December, take note of the author.  Read through the verses with open eyes and a wide open heart.  It has something profound to tell you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Only 18 Days Left!

Hello, Everybody!  It is only 18 days until Christmas.  Yikes!  Today is also Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  Not only THAT, but it is also time for This Week's Music!  All in one day!!!!


I wanted to direct you guys over to a great blog that is trying to help raise $20,000 before Christmas for children in poverty.  You can read all about it at Lizzie's blog.

Now to --

First is a beautiful song by Audio Adrenaline.  It goes right along with helping the less fortunate this Christmas season.  If you've never been to , I encourage you to go check it out!  It's a great cause.

I finally cracked and decided to post a Christmas song.  It's from the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  I hope you like it  :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Top Five Favorite

Hey guys!  I thought I'd write a Top Five post today.  And, yes, I know the Head Phil just did one of these -- but I had the idea first!  I just didn't have a chace to post it until today.  So.

Anyway -- here you have it...

My Top Five Favorite Christian Authors

1.     Paul the Apostle (with the influence of the Holy Spirit), because he is just so cool.  The layer upon layer of meaning and truth that his epistles have is truly amazing.

2.     J.R.R Tolkien, because there is NOTHING like the Lord of the Rings.

3.     C.S. Lewis.  His allegories are phenomenal -- rich, powerful, and truly transcendent of time.

4.     John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim's Progress while he was in prison for his beliefs.  His book has been translated into many languages and has been loved for generations.

5.     Lisa McKay, the writer of My Hands Came Away Red.  Although she isn't nearly as well known as these other guys, her heart-rending, bittersweet book has greatly inspired me to care deeply about the difficulties of people living in poverty.

What are your favorite authors, and why?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Music

Hi Guys!  I'm linking up with Sybil again for This Week's Music.

So, I've been listening to a lot of different stuff on K-Love online radio.  One song I heard that really moved me this week was --

The other song that I wanted to listen to again and again was --

Hope these songs challenge you, inspire you, and keep you going this week!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Hi, guys! It's Elizabeth here. I know, it's about time. I'm not even going to go back and look to see how long it's been since my last post. It's probably pretty scary. :(

But tonight I'm going to talk about the reason (besides procrastination ;)) why I haven't been posting:

Absolute and utter busyness. I have so much homework and schoolwork, plus this month I'm doing NaNoWriMo... I thought this year it would be fun to pile lots of things in my life... I'm learning from that mistake right now. ;)

Aylin actually just posted a few songs that I've been listening to a lot as well lately. They're AMAZING. If you haven't listened to them, you seriously should.

I was on Facebook the other day, and saw this quote from Alex and Brett Harris:

"God doesn't give us conflicting obligations. There will always be enough time to do everything He has given us to do — and no time to waste."

I think it's so true. In fact, it really encouraged me. How much time do we spend, on Facebook, playing games, etc., when we could be doing the things that are giving us stress?

But God also gives us another very important obligation...

You have probably heard of this portion of scripture before, as it is very popular. In fact, Matthew 11:28-29 are some of my very favorite verses:

“…Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

I love these verses so much. I think sometimes it's easy to forget that while, yes, God does call us to work--he also calls us to rest. :)  

Like I said previously, Aylin's music choices great, be sure to check them out. Here are a few of my favorites  lately.... 


My Music of the Week

I've linked up with Sybil over at Peace it All Together for:

-- songs that have inspired me from the past week.  So, here are mine...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Energizer Bunny

I haven't been posting very regularly (I'm sure you've noticed) because I have a little Energizer Bunny that visits me for eight hours every day.  Her name is May -- and because she's 13 months old, law dictates that she will always have more energy than I could imagine possible.

And I really mean it.  She's exactly like the bunny from the commercials.  If you set her down, she's gone... and there's no stopping her.  Ever.  Need proof?  I didn't, but I got it anyway.  My sister, Belle, was at dance practice in a church for a little over an hour yesterday.  And so, for a little over an hour, I ran after May as she explored the cavernous (at least to her) spaces of the gym, kitchen, foyer, sanctuary, annex, and etc.

At the end of the day, I was beat.  May, on the other hand, was just as fast and energetic as ever.

Anyway, that is why I have not been on the Internet lately.  Sometimes I'll get on to research something for school or check emails, but other than that, I'm on very little.  And my nanowrimo novel is still at 4,000 words, when it should be at ten times that.

I guess I'm venting a little bit about my loss of the freedom of time, but the truth is, I wouldn't give May up for anything.  It is such a privilege to be able to help take care of her while her mother is at work.  I've learned so much from her -- things like how to juggle reading Moby Dick and burping a baby at the same time, or how to deal with spit and runny noses and messy diapers.  It's hard work, but it's fun.  I wouldn't trade it for anything, because I know that taking care of May is Kingdom work.  I'm not, and my family is not, doing it for any reason except to give her a picture of love, peace, and happiness. 

So, now I'll leave you with a song, because the one thing I have been doing a lot of lately is listening to music.


Thursday, November 1, 2012


"Don't Stop the Madness" is one of those songs that I would like to lock in a dark closet and forget it ever existed.  The song is by Tenth Avenue North -- a wonderful band, but with challenging messages.  I've found several songs on their new album, The Struggle, especially difficult to digest.  "Don't Stop the Madness" is gritty and deep and something I'd rather forget about.  Here are the lyrics that caused my reaction --

All I hear is what they're selling me
That God is love, he isn't suffering
And what you need's a little faith and prosperity
But, oh my God, I know there's more than this
If you promise pain it can't be meaningless
So make me poor if that's the price for freedom

Don't stop the madness
Don't stop the chaos
Don't stop the pain surrounding me
Don't be afraid, love, to break my heart
If it brings me down to my knees, yeah

I'm sorry?  Don't stop the pain surrounding me?  Break my heart?  I believe I must have heard that wrong.

The trouble is, the lyrics are exactly right.  I remember reading something a long time ago in the Voice of the Martyrs magazine.  It was several quotes from persecuted Christians who were talking about praying to God to give them suffering.  At first I thought that our brothers and sisters in Christ had gone crazy.  But the truth dawned on me as I read how they were joyful at the thought of suffering for their Lord.  They wanted to be counted worthy of dying for Jesus.  They did not want to be a Christian who was not recognized for their beliefs. 

It's that unexplainable, reckless abandon that this song is calling us to join in on.  We cannot be made more like the One we adore if we are not sent through fire.  And if the devil doesn't think that we are a problem to him -- if he doesn't think we are a threat that needs to be harassed -- then what kind of witness are we?

So bring on the pain, the suffering, the chaos.  Let me be worthy of suffering for You, Lord.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Legacy of Love

As soon as they walked in the door, their faces lit up in surprise.  Everyone shouted "Happy Anniversary," and showered them with congratulations and hugs.

Throughout the evening, I watched all the happy people gathered around my grandparents.  I watched my grandparents renew their vows and cut the cake.  And it was such a precious surprise party -- because it was my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. 

They've spent the past five decades together.  Together they survived raising five children.  They survived a motorcycle accident that left my grandpa in a wheelchair.  They've gotten through fifty, whole years together.  Fifty years of laughter and pain, sorrow and joy.  And on that evening, they sat surrounded by children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews -- so many people who love them. 

They're giving us a legacy of love, strength, and commitment to God and to each other.  It's beautiful, and I won't forget it.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012



Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

That's the beautiful, painful reality.  It's truer than I'd like to admit, sometimes.

Because sometimes I've just got to let go.  And I usually don't want to.   I'd rather let my anger and disappointment grow.  But, the truth is -- bitterness is like drinking poison, and expecting it to kill someone else.



Monday, October 15, 2012

"I'm sorry. It must have slipped my mind..."

"But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold."  Psalm 106:13

The Psalmist sings about Israel, and how God's people forgot about His goodness.  God did powerful, amazing miracles for them -- and they still forgot.  Hardening their hearts to the things God had done, they chose to turn to the temptations of envy, idolatry, and discontentment with their bounty.

They chose to ignore the overwhelming might of God's power.  They decided to cast a blind eye upon His grace.  The great Yahweh had just delivered them from the oppression of four hundred years of slavery at the hands of the Egyptians -- yet they chose to worship a cow.  

God was leading them to a land of plenty that He had carved out among the nations just for them, yet they dared to complain.  They were jealous of Moses' position.  They worshipped other nations' gods.

How our Father must have wept.

He still weeps.  We, His people consecrated through grace, still choose to "forget."  We decide to ignore the glorious might of His power in our lives.  We choose to run after things that mean nothing.  We envy those with power and authority when we have the awesome might of Almighty God living in us.  We'd rather chase after shadows than have the real life-giving existence God has mapped out for us. 

And, yet, He still extends to us His grace and mercy.

How soon we forget His goodness to us.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Knit for Kids

Today I'd like to talk about hats.  And children.  And children who need hats.

Like children living in poverty in Chicago -- children who are cold in the winter time.  But, we can help them!  My sister and grandma have been knitting hats to give to children in need through Vogue Knitting.  Vogue Knitting is working with World Vision to knit hats and scarves for children who need them -- from the smallest preemie to children in elementary and middle school. 

I think it's a really neat idea, and I'll probably do some soon.  Even though Vogue is knitting hats to give away now, you can knit all year round and send it directly to World Vision.  It's a great opportunitiy to help kids in need!


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Vertical Church

James MacDonald is a great preacher.  And right now, he's on tour across the US and Canada.  The message that he's spreading through these free events is that of the vertical Church.  A Church that is focused more on the presence of God than ANYTHING else.  A Church that prays powerfully, expecting God to do great things.

If you've never heard MacDonald speak before, I highly encourage you to do so.  He's a wonderful inspiration and motivator.  A word of warning though -- if you do go listen to him -- he's not like many other pastors.  He speaks the truth, raw and blunt.  He's not intimidated by traditions, misconceptions, or normality.  He doesn't really speak like many ministers I've heard before.  But he's great!  And I think that, through him and others like him, he can help change the way we think about church and reverse this church complacency and shallowness that has enveloped many of the Christians in the Western world.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our Worth

Lately, I've been pondering, well... What I (and others) mean to God. I have issues with who I am, inside and out... and they've been rising to the surface lately. Its hard to deal with the fact that, on my own, I am a monster. There is nothing that I can do to escape it. I will never, ever, ever, ever be perfect.

So that made me think... Why does God care about me so much? How much could he possibly love someone as filthy as me?  I mean, I know that God loves me, but sometimes it seems pretty unfathomable.

 I was reading my devo last night, and it there was something really cool inside.

Ever seen one of those? With this scale, you have to place one item on one side and add weights to the other side until it becomes even to figure out the weight of the object. The devo put it like this: 

We are on one side of the scale. God loves us so much that, to balance the scale, He sent His one and only Son, to die a terrible death. 

God loves us that much. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When Love Becomes a Verb

Christians don't do drugs.  They don't drink.  They don't lie, or cheat on their spouses, or steal money.  They don't watch x-rated movies or listen to music that profanes the name of God.  They don't swear.  They don't party.

Right?  Isn't that what Christians are (or, at least, supposed to be)?

Yet, I don't think so.  Christians shouldn't be people who don't do stuff.  They should be people that do stuff.

I'm not talking about the stuff I mentioned above -- of course people shouldn't do those things.  But, I think we focus way to much on what we won't do, the actions and lifestyles we don't condone and would never think of involving ourselves in -- than the things we will do.

Because, the greatest commandment was not Do Not, but Do.

Do love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself.  Do show compassion.  Do honor relationships.  Do show mercy and grace.  Do what is good and right and holy.  Do love. 

Love isn't just a noun that we tote around as some title we can put on now and again.  It's a verb that compels us to do something.  And if we really listened to that voice inside our hearts and souls and did the things love does, we wouldn't have to worry what not to do.  Because love doesn't do drugs.  Love doesn't steal from others or lie to help itself.  Love doesn't do those things.

So if we focus on what we need to do, everything else will fall into place.  If we're busy doing love, we won't have time to do the things we aren't supposed to do.  We'll be too busy.

And then the world will see what Christians really are.  They won't see a list of rules that need to be followed.  They won't see us as a religious people -- following rigid commands.  They will see LOVE.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beware Motorists, Here I Come...

So, yeah, I got my permit last week.  Which made me very happy :)  Although I have yet to have an official lesson on how to drive stick, I am already envisioning all the wonderful places I can go.  (Hawaii, here I come -- oh, wait a minute...

Beyond that, I have even better news!  My lovely sister, Lizzie, has started a blog.  She's chosen to focus it on Compassion International, Mercy Ships, and other Christian organizations that she's supporting and would like to raise awareness for.  Her blog's called Love is An Action, and I would encourage you guys to check it out sometime!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Body

Hi, it's Elizabeth! It's been a loooong time since I posted, I know (and I'm SINCERELY sorry). Not that it's a really good excuse (because, with or without this, I am still a lazy procrastinator), but I've had a bit of an insane summer.

Part of that involves me sticking my hand through a glass door (long story), getting a few really bad cuts, and in the end eighteen stitches. Thankfully, it's healing well, and I appear to not even be suffering nerve damage--which is nothing short of a miracle.

So, even though it's healing, you must understand that it is not fully back to normal yet. Two of my fingertips (as that was where two of the cuts were) feel especially sore when pressed on, and my middle finger--which was cut at the very bottom of my finger) is extremely swelled, and do to that swelling feels a little funny.

I have a reason for explaining this all to you, I promise.

The other day, my youth group went to my camp, in which is a fifty foot tall rock wall climbing tower. They only had the hard part open. I had climbed it before, and though it was very hard it was achievable. I was to the point with my hand where climbing wouldn't really damage it at all, so I gave it a shot.

At about ten feet from the top, I couldn't do it anymore. I reached, trying desperately to finish what I had started. I had never backed down on that wall, not once. But because my right hand wasn't fully functioning, I couldn't do it. My hand felt like it was on fire, and I could barely move my middle finger. I tried for several minutes. Sometimes I even got pretty close, but I just couldn't do it.


Because I didn't have every piece of my body working together as it was designed to. There was a flaw; several pieces were not doing what they needed to do, making it impossible to accomplish what I wanted done.

Like my physical body, the body of Christ needs to all be in sync. Every piece needs to be working, and working together with other parts of the body. Yet even if one little part falters even a little, it stops the body from doing what Christ wanted it to do.

We are, of course, sinful creatures. Because of our sinful nature, we are destined to sin. There is no way around it.

But when the Church stands together, despite denominational differences, backgrounds, preferences, genders, it can do (only in and through God) some pretty incredible things.

Your thoughts?

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us." Romans 12:4-6


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Music for Forever

Hey guys!

I've decided to do something that has never before been done on this blog...

I am going to post a song!

I know, I know -- I actually do that a lot, but what can I do?  I'm addicted, inspired, challenged, changed, and uplifted by music.  When I'm sad, I listen to "How He Loves" (David Crowder Band), angry -- "It's Not Me It's You" (Skillet), happy -- "Faster and Louder" (Peter Furler).

And today I'm reminiscent...  maybe a little bit sad.  And so I wanna hear this song.  Maybe you do to?



Monday, August 13, 2012

Today is an AWESOME day

Today is the greatest holiday of the whole year.


Today is -- Left Handers Day!  (insert applause here)

I know, I know, Christmas is Christ's birthday and all -- and trust me, that is an awesome holiday.  But (and I'm sure Elizabeth will agree with me here) Left Hander's Day is simply MONUMENTAL.  If you aren't left handed, you probably won't understand.

The world is designed for right-handed people.  Stick-shift cars (of which I have to learn to drive, btw), gulf clubs and hockey sticks, mugs with pictures on them, and scissors -- they're all designed for right-handed people.  And we left-handed people are left to cope with awkward maneuvers because silverware are set in the wrong spot and guns just aren't made right (ummm, I mean left) for us.

Or, we could hope to go back in time and be born into extremely wealthy families who will buy us those nifty -- yet expensive -- lefty scissors and crossbows.

The good thing about lefties is that we are more versatile than right-handed people.  We often learn to shoot like a righty.  We throw a ball like them, too, just because it's easier for our teachers to teach us to properly pitch that way.

And driving stick shift?  I still haven't figured that one out.

So, please give a hand for Left Hander's Day, and recognize the struggles and trials of every day life for your left-handed brothers (or sisters) of the world.  Thank you.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Our Lover

You know those people who don't like some Christian music because, unless they know what group is singing the song, they can't tell if it's a song about God or a song about somebody's boyfriend?  In a way, I get their point.  Some songs it's difficult to tell the difference.

But, I kinda like that.

Why?  Well, I'll tell you.  Sometimes, I think we get so caught up in how God is our Father, our holy Judge, the Righteous One -- that we forget that He is also our Lover.  Not in a weird, creepy way, but in deep, true way.

The way I see it, almost everything we long for, hope for, wait for in a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse is more totally fulfilled by our Bridegroom.  He is secure, understanding, forever, steady.  He won't desert you for anyone else.  He never stops thinking about you.  He would do anything for you to show you that He loves you. 

And He's not boring because He's perfect.  He's not entirely safe to be with.  He's sometimes wild, radical, and un-orthidox in the world's eyes.  Yet He will always take care of you.  His strong arms will always be there to hold you when the journey is tough.  In the words of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - "He is not a tame lion, but he is good."

So, I sometimes like music that almost sounds like a love song because it reminds me that -- oh, yeah, God is the greatest, most complete and perfect Lover I'll ever have.

I love the chorus to this song!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Today is...

- My mother's birthday
- The county fair
- The beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo (I have only written about 100 words today [otherwise known as -- Definately Not Enough])
- A day in which I am very tired and my feet hurt from walking all day at the county fair
- When I am going to ever-so-lamely post a song for you all who happen to unfortunately glance at this post ;)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Testimony #4

Hey guys!  I am really excited to share this testimony with you today.  Nancy Rue was one of my favorite authors when I was younger.  So, I present to you, testimony #4-- Nancy Rue!!

I’m always a little envious when I hear moving testimonies from fellow
Christians who have had dramatic conversions from deeply troubled lives to
sudden and complete commitment to Christ. I don’t covet the troubled former
lives, of course, but the drastic change from nothing to all – I’ve never experienced
that and I can’t help a small degree of wistfulness.
And yet would I really change how I have come to know our Lord God? I
was born into a devoutly Christian family, baptized at six weeks old, and raised
with the church as the center of my life. Not only were we there every time the
doors opened, we were often the ones who opened them! Worship, prayer, and
potluck suppers were as much a part of the rhythm of my world as school and sleep
and summer vacations. Looking back as an adult, I know that my parents breathed
their faith, especially in the many times of sickness and sorrow we suffered
through together. It never occurred to me that there was any other way to be.
When I was twelve, I naturally went to confirmation class so that I could,
well, confirm my faith and be blessed by the bishop. I pretty much knew all that
our minister taught about the Episcopal Church, but what I didn’t know was that
for the first dozen years of my life I’d been simply worshiping my parents’ God.
As we learned about prayer, I started talking to God myself, alone, for the first
time, and I was amazed to find that God talked back. Not in audible words – I’ve
only had that happen a handful of times, really – but in a palpable sense that God
was real and had been waiting for me to come by myself into that presence which
can’t be described or proven or measured.
So I suppose if I had to pinpoint the moment I came to Christ on my own,
it would be the spring of 1964. With a foundation of church and scripture and the
fellowship of believers laid for me by my mom and dad, I could stand before my
congregation and say for myself, “I am a Christian.”
Maybe that’s why I spend most of my professional time ministering to
tweens and teens through my writing and speaking and blogging and teaching.
It’s an age of first awakening, of taking on the responsibility of having a real
relationship with God. I like supporting my youngest sisters in that place, because
it was such an important place for me.
Would I change how I have come to know our Lord God? Perhaps not,
because I have a feeling that was exactly as God wanted it to be. How can we
argue with that?


Monday, July 23, 2012

Testimony #3

Hey guys!  Today is Testimony #3.  OK, so technically, it isn't a story of how this woman came to know Jesus for the first time -- but more like how Jesus changed her life and is transforming her daily.

Today I present to you --

Katie Davis!

Katie lives in Uganda.  She's the mother of 14 girls there.  And she helps provide for several hundred other children in Uganda.

Intruiged?  Watch the video.


This video is so inspiring, but wait until you read her book -- Kisses from Katie.  It is an amazing story of how one heart who was set on following Jesus to the ends of the earth has touched hundreds of others.  Please read this and be challenged to be the hands and feet of Jesus.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Testimony #2

Here's testimony #2 -- by Pastor Jerry Gillis!  He's the senior pastor of a large church in New York, and he's sharing with us the story of how he came to know Christ.  It's an amazing story, and I hope you'll take the time to watch the video. (I know, another video, right?)  I couldn't figure out how to post it, so if you go here, you can view it.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hold us Together

You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have. -Corrie Ten Boom

Have you ever felt like you had nothing left? Like this life is pointless? Corrie Ten Boom literally lost everything, and she discovered that Jesus is really the only thing we need. 

Sure, there may be things we want, but do we really need them? 

Christ's love alone can hold our lives together. When we attempt to use other things, it's like trying to use water instead of super glue. 

I think that we have a lot of things backwards. We don't need food, clothing, boyfriends/girlfriends, a house, friends, etc., and Christ isn't something extra that we can just add on when we want to. 

God is what we need, He is the One True Foundation. Everything else is something that God chooses to add on. 

Think of the Heaven. We will be praising God (in His presence!) day and night... and we will be completely satisfied through that. That is why Heaven will be so wonderful. 

Don't curse God for what He didn't give you... Praise Him for what He did. :)


Monday, July 9, 2012

Testimony Monday!

Hey guys!

Elizabeth and I have gotten some testimonies from Christians we look up to, and we're going to post them on the blog!  Although we aren't going to post them on specific days, we are going to spread them out over the summer.

Today I am excited to present --

Katie Leigh!

Katie Leigh does the voice of Connie Kendall on Adventures in Odyssey.  She shared her story of grace with us via email...

 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
     Well, I've been working as a Voiceover actress since 1981 or so.  I
     have had the privilege of working on many wonderful cartoons and
     movies as well as AIO. These days VO is a lot different and most of us
     record our auditions from home. I even do a lot of work from home. I
     am the mom of 5 kids in a blended  family. Our youngest graduates high
     school this year!

 Did you grow up in a Christian home and go to church as a child?

     I grew up in an Episcopalian family. We went to church every week and
     I sang in the choir. But I became a born again believer when I was
     about 25.

When did you first hear about God?

     In my twenties I went to a bible study and met real practicing, bible
     believing Christians that impress upon me that I wanted live the way
     they did.

How did accepting Jesus affect your outlook on life?

     When I accepted the Lord I read my bible cover to cover. I wanted to
     please Him, and I wanted to serve Him. I got rid of some music I had
     around the house and books that I thought were not in keeping with my
     new faith and I wanted to serve God in and through my VO work if at
     all possible. It made me more loving towards other people and
     hopefully more gracious. After a year or so, I ended up working for
     Focus on the Family, and my life has been a huge blessing to me and
     many other people, and I am very thankful.

If you'd like to hear more about Katie Leigh's life and work, you can watch this video.  It's kind of long, but definately worth taking the time to watch.

Also, lets give a big round of applause to Katie Leigh for letting us share a bit of her story!  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Light Up the Sky

Happy Independence Day, Americans!!!  Here's a song by the Afters:

I put this song up partly because it had fireworks :D and mostly because this song has an amazing message.  The song asks God to stay with us, to show us that He is real.  And He does -- sometimes in ways too small and numerous for us to see.

Have a great 4th of July,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

God is Good

It's been a while since I last posted (sorry!), but what I'm writing on is really important. 

I think sometimes we (myself included) picture God as this evil king sitting on a black throne, holding up his staff and constantly looking for ways to torture us. 

But that's not how God is at all. He is good, and He cares about us so much. He looks for ways to bless us, and while yes He puts us through trials, He does it so that His perfect plan may occur. 

Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.
 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.   
                                                  Psalm 37: 3-7 

I came across this a few days ago when I was reading my Bible. It struck me as...well... beautiful. I mean, isn't it such an amazing picture? That God will make our innocence radiate like the dawn? It just sort of puts things into perspective. 

God loves us, and works all things together for the good of those who love Him. :) 


Monday, July 2, 2012

Study of Job

Hey Guys!  I thought I'd let you know of a series of books by Kay Arthur.  They are the New Inductive Study Series.  Each study book goes though a book in the Bible (or two books, if they're short).  The series includes most of the books in the Bible (I'm doing Job right now).

The book is broken down into daily study by reading a section of the Bible, finding and marking certain words or phrases in your Bible, and writing down something you found in the passage.  For example, today I marked in my Bible every time I found God referenced in Job chapter one, and I wrote down all the things the text said about Him .    

I thought that this was a very good, personal Bible study, because it asked you to pull information out of the Scriptures, yet it wasn't a fill-in-the-blank sort of thing.  This book simply asks for what you can see.  I'm also going through Job in my other devotion book (the Quiet Time devotional with commentary), so I will get others' insights into the book as well.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Loving God

So, have you ever wondered why a loving God would send people to hell?  I mean, why would a good, gracious, merciful God send a person to eternal damnation? 

I found this great quote on Sunday.  It's by the writers of the book Vintage Jesus, Driscoll and Breshears.

  How then can we not love God for his anger rather than in spite of it? How could we possibly worship a God who looks at rapists, pedophiles, murderers, slave traders, thieves, and the like and simply smiles with pointless nicety because none of it bothers him? That kind of god, and not the God who becomes angry, is an ugly accomplice to injustice that no one with even a barely functioning conscience could or should worship.

God sending people to hell is not an injustice.  It would be an injustice for a person to live in God's holy presence throughout eternity while he has no reverence for God and no acceptance of Christ.  Even if a person who has not accepted Jesus is "good," they are still in a blatant denial of the blood of Jesus. 

Just some food for thought :)  


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deut. 18:9-13

"9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God."  Deut. 18:9-13

I was reading this passage today.  It pretty much seemed like a typical, Old Testament-commandment-from-God passage at first glance.  But, when I actually went back and thought about it, Moses' words to the Israelites echo across time and into the Christian's life.

We are called to be a set-apart people.  We're to be a nation, a citizenship, within the nations that we physically live in.  We must not operate under the systems and ideologies of the society in which we reside.  We operate under a divine economy within the laws of our country.  We are set apart.

We are not Israel.  We are not called to be a distinct, physical nation.  Yet, we are called to live under a higher order, a righteous God.  We answer to Holiness Himself.

And that is the difference -- the world lives to be right by their laws, right by their own corrupt consciences and distorted views of morality.  We live under grace, we function by way of relationship with our Father, and we need to deal with others in light of this grace of God.  We are held to a higher calling, a deeper faith, a truer love.

We are to be holy.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Proof of Your Love

The Proof of Your Love is a great song by for KING & COUNTRY.  The words are partially taken from I Corinthians 13:1-3, "If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing." 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Road Trip

I got back from a road trip Sunday.  It was a lot of fun, because my dad and I were going to Illinois, and I had never been that far west before (I know, Illinois is SO far west, right?).  I was amazed by the huge fields of corn that blanketed the state as far as I could see.  The land just looked so big

 We passed Cleveland on the way...

Lake Erie

It was great -- it was just about sunset when we passed Lake Erie, and I got a couple pictures of it.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

While I'm Waiting

Waiting isn't easy (at least not for me). At all.

I have made a commitment to purity until marriage, and I'm finding it's harder than I thought. Because, though I haven't been tempted to lose my purity at this point, I have been tempted to compromise. 

I want to save myself for my future spouse (if I am going to have one). For me, this means dressing modestly, staying away from dating until I'm old enough to match it with commitment, and literal sexual purity. 

It's harder than I thought. I've had people flirt with me, and I've wanted to ask them out, be flirty, wear "special" clothes when they're around, etc. It's difficult not to give into those temptations sometimes. 

I know that, even if I start out with just a "cute" little guy-girl relationship, it could lead to further compromises and struggles down the road, and it would get me a little too comfortable with dating. 

So I've decided that, while I'm waiting, I'll praise God. God is preparing something for me so much greater than I could possibly imagine, better than anything I could plan on my own.

"'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) 

I just went on a work retreat with my youth group, and the messages were centered on worship. We talked about how we can (and should) worship anywhere--how our work itself was worship. We can worship while we suffer, while we are happy, while we are weary, while we are working, while we are waiting.

Our lives themselves should be worship. People should look at us and wonder what is different about us--they should want what we have. And we should be willing to tell them what we have--a wonderful, personal, deep and amazing relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Deut. 10:12-22

I was reading in my Bible this morning, and I came across this passage.  For some reason, it really struck a chord with me, so I thought I would share it with you, too.  What first caught my attention was this list of things that Jehovah was asking of the Israelites.  Moses reminds the people of what God wants from His people, but he phrases it in a question.  Jehovah asks you for but these few things...Is this too much to give to our God?  Moses then goes on to remind the Israelites of all the things their God has done for them.

I think Moses' words can remind us even today, too, that our Lord is the Lord.  He is King of Kings, Prince of Peace, and He has come to earth to reach our stubborn hearts with an everlasting love we cannot explain.  What little it is for us to give Him our lives!  Yes, it is all we have -- yet if we give it away, we will be given more that we could ever have had before.

  "12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky."
     Deut. 10:12-22


Monday, June 4, 2012

Swimsuit Cover-up

Do you ever have trouble finding modest swim wear?  This year I got a one piece swimsuit and board shorts.  I also wanted a coverup for when I get out of the pool.  I was amazed at all the ugly, see-through swimsuit coverups that I could find online.

My sister found a really neat coverup at Wal-Mart, though.  So I decided to get one, too.  They come in three colors, I believe.  What I loved about them is that they reach the knee and have long ties.  These ties make the coverup versatile -- you can wear the thing about a hundred different ways:
 You can where it with cap sleeves...
(Note: the model is wearing a black swimsuit, so the ties kinda blend in)
 Around your neck...
 And you can wear it as a skirt!

So, I thought these things were great.  They are very modest and come in beautiful colors, so I love them!

P.S.  Please give Lizzie a round of applause for ever-so-nicely being my model, and for barely complaining even though it was about 60 degrees outside today!