Sunday, December 15, 2013

Be a wiseman, not a religious leader.

Matthew 2:3-7
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel. ’”
 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.

I just re-read the Christmas story. It's amazing to watch how God worked through so many people. He worked out circumstances that, individually seem bizarre and random, but working together show His plan in such a unique way. Honestly, no one could create a story with so many plot twists that works out so perfectly in the end. There are many characters that all work together to give us the story that involve our Saviours advent into the world. God didn't need to use any of the people in the story, but He chose to. Most of the people are good examples to us of many different things. For instance, Think of Joseph. he is an example to us of whawt it means to completely trust and follow God even when you don't understand. The shepherds joyfully told everyone they met that the Christ had been born. The wise men went to great expense to worship the Child.
however, of all the people in the Christmas story, there is one group that comes to mind that reawlly messed up. One group who's example we should not follow. I'm thinking of the religious leaders that Herod called when the wisemen came to him. I put the passage from Matthew above. 
Of all the people who showed up to worship Jesus, shouldn't the religious leaders have been there first? They had the scripture, they knew the prophecies. As soon as Herod said, "Hey, what's up with the news about a new ruler of the Jews?", they knew exactly what was going on. 
"Oh yeah. It's the Messiah, He's going to save us, and He was born in Bethlehem. The star is a sign that He has been born"


They knew it all, yet they didn't make any effort to go and worship the King? They had front row access to Him. They knew who He was. But they didn't seem to care. 

Don't we do the same thing?

We have access to go God at all times. Sure, we can't go and worship Him at a manger, but we can go worship Him at His house (just like the wisemen did). We can spend every day looking for ways to serve Him. We don't need to just hear/read about Him. We can have a relationship with Him. It can be personal.

How much are you like the religious leaders? If I were to suggest a Bible Verse competition, we could all take part. You know, take turns posting verses from memory in the comment section, see who can post the most, etc. the comments would probably be in the hundreds. We know the verses. But how is your relationship with God. If you had the chance to go and personally SEE Him, like physically see Him, would you take it? Or would you say, "that's kind of a long trip. I know about God. I don't actually need to see Him, do I? What's the big deal anyway?"

I was in a recent dorm leadership meeting thing. We were talking about the means of Grace (prayer, Bible reading, going to church). Honestly, staying faithful in your relationship with God, your devotions, your prayer life, etc., can be really hard when your in college. Almost harder when you're in a Christian college. We go to college, have Bible classes, and assigned Bible reading. Doing personal prayer and Bible study can be hard to fit in, especially when you're so busy. 

The we get Christmas break. Don't fall into the mindset of "I deserve a break. I've been busy. I can skip a few days." 

You never should take a break from God. In fact, I would challenge you to set spiritual goals this Christmas break. Work to make sure you have time with God every single day this break.

Here are some ideas we were given at our meeting.

Bible study
1. Have a plan. Find something to study
2. Write down something you've learned every day. Date it. You will be more focused as you study and you can look back and see what God has taught you.
3. Have a specific time every day that is your devotionsu time. Depending on a work schedule and your personal brain functioning capabilities, this may be morning, night, or sometime in between. Guard that time. 
4. Make personal application. Look in every passage for what God wants you to know. Work to apply that to your life.
5. Meditation.  (OK, this isn't from the meeting--this is just something God has shown me recently). Find something you can thinkm about all day. Every day. It doesn't have to be much. But something you can go back to over and over when soemthing comes up (a temptation, difficult situation, annoying person, whatevber).
6. Scripture memory. Memorize a passage of Scripture this Christmas break. Have you memorized Luke 2? Why not give it a shot. Phillipians 2 is a great passage that goes along with Christmas really well. Memorize because you want a stronger relationship with God, not because you want a good grade on a test.

1. Set a timer. Resolve to pray at least ____ minutes every day,. Keep praying until the timer goes off.
2. Make a prayer list. You know a lot of things you want/need to pray for, you set the timer, and your mind goes blank. Make categories (family, friends, pastors and church leaders, missionaries, teachers, sick people, other needs, personal stuff, etc.) and start listing. Suddenly you should run out of time before you run out of things to pray for.
3. Praise. Give thanks for what God has done for you. Make a list. Go through the names of God or His attributes.
4. Pray through a psalm. David cries out to God in many Psalms.
5. Go through Christ's prayers. Follow His example.
6. Make a list of specific things you prayed for and record when and how God answers. 
7. Try different things it keep you focused. Pray out loud. Write down your prayers. Tie your requests to scripture.

1. For both prayer and Bible reading, have an accountability partner. Choose someone who takes their relationship with God as seriously as you do. Also make sure they are someone who is focused and that will encourage you.
2. talk about all of life, not just your devotions. Don't compartmentalize. 
3. Don't set a specific time each week when you'll talk (if you are communicating through technology). I have a friend who has an accountability partner who will message her randomly through the week. She loves this because it encourages her to read her Bible every day because she never knows when her partner will email her asking what she's read. She always has to find something because she never knows when her partner will ask.
4. Be specific. Don't say "How are you doing in your walk with God?" The obvious answer is "fine". Say "What has God been teaching you?" "How can I pray for you this week?" "What did you read in your devotions today?". Specific questions lead to specific answers. Honest answers.
5. Have a plan for what you will do when you face a certain situation or temptation. Will you call your accountability partner? What's your plan? Don't wait until the situation comes up to figure out your plan. 

This Christmas, set goals. Make a plan to get to know God better. What are you going to do?

Are you going to like the religious leaders or the wisemen???

Monday, November 11, 2013

We Remember

We Remember

This is from facebook. Wrote this a few years ago in honour of my great-grandfather and all the men and women who have served our country. May we never forget.

November 11, 2010 at 12:11am

We Remember
dedicated to my Great-Grandfather, William Whitney
by Stephanie Steeves

We remember those who fought-
Who with their lives our freedom bought.They left their homes, families, their all
because they heard the oppressed man's call.

"Lest we forget!" the cry is heard.
Be telling others, spread the word.
The responsibility belongs to you and me,
Share their story from sea to sea.

We remember those who went-
Some volunteered, others were sent.
They all served their country well.
Our job is now to go and tell.

We remember those who fought-
Who with their lives our freedom bought.
They were willing to go and die
Because they heard the oppressed man's cry.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

10,000 Reasons [to Praise the Lord]

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
Copyright Matt Redman

Verse 1: The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning.
It's time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
O my soul
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, Oh my soul.
I'll worship Your Holy Name.

Verse 2:
You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger.
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.


Verse 3:
And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near, and my time has come;
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending.
Ten thousand years and then forever more.


We sang this song in choir last week. It's one of my new favorites. Thanksgiving (if you are Canadian) was a couple weeks ago, and (if you're American) is in a few weeks. It's the season of being grateful for everything we have.

Please note: I think every day is a good day to be grateful. We just tend to emphasize it more this time of the year, so I'm writing my yearly "what are you thankful for?" post. I'm also taking up the challenge of doing a "something I'm thankful for" every day for this month, at least until Thanksgiving.

The song above really challenges me every time I hear it. Every day, there are thousands of God's mercies evident in my life. Some are big, some are small. But I need to remember to be grateful.


What would you have left??? Would you have life? Air to breath? Food? Friends? A Bible? A house to live in? Just the fact that you have them (and still have them) are evidence of God's love and care for you.

At the beginning of this semester, I had my prayer group write a list of things they were thankful for. I challenged them to write 50 things they could praise God for, whether big or small. Most of the girls were kind of surprised when I mentioned 50, but once we got quiet and started working, most were able to come up with 50. Once you get in the habit of praising God, it's easy to notice more things you can be thankful.

So what are you thankful for?

Here's a list I created. No, there aren't 10,000 reasons I can praise God, but here's some suggestions for you as you create your "I am thankful for" list. (please note, this is in no particular order).

  1. Friends (in general)
  2. Family
  3. Salvation
  4. Lisa's car
  5. Lisa
  6. Beca
  7. God's Word
  8. Salvation 
  9. Eternal Security
  10. Second Chances
  11. MOUNTAIN DEW! (and other forms of caffeine)
  12. My students
  13. Drivers liscence
  14. My senses
  15. Chocolate
  16. Chinese Food
  17. The fact that student teaching is over half-way done
  18. Hebrews 13:5
  19. Jeremiah 33:3
  20. Books
  21. Being able to read
  22. The Greenville Public Library's conference rooms
  23. Health
  24. Christian School
  25. Godly teachers who care about me
  26. My pastors
  27. My church at home
  28. My church in Greenville
  29. Learning from mistakes
  30. Good times
  31. Bad times
  32. Going to Antigua
  33. Creativity
  34. God's creativity
  36. Social media
  37. Music
  38. Uniqueness
  39. Shoes
  40. Maxi skirts
  41. Jeans
  42. Hoodies
  43. Heaven
  44. Relationship with Christ
  45. Seat belts
  46. Free WiFi in airports
  47. Bacon
  48. Skiing
  49. Movies and TV series
  50. Laughter

Go make your own list. Post it somewhere you see it everyday (mine is on my bunk above my head). Praise God. Rejoice in His goodness.

Live a life of thankfulness. 

See the 10,000 (+) reasons to bless the Lord. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

While [I was] yet [a] sinner, Christ died for [me]

On Thursday, October 1st, 1998, Nasa celebrated it's 40th birthday.

Vladimer Putin became a permanent member of the Russian Federation Security Council.

UFOs were sighted in Tampa, Florida.

Samuel Yorty (former mayor of Los Angeles) was born.

And one 6 year old girl was born into the family of God.

Salvation isn't about what I know, what I said, or what I did. It's all about what God did for me. As a 6-year old, I knew I was a sinner. That much was obvious. I had a younger brother. If you have siblings, you know they bring out the worst in you. They really make you sin.
Not only was I a sinner, though, I knew that God loved me. I serve the creator of the universe--the God who reigns supreme over all of us. I serve a God who is completely holy, completely just, and completely righteous. As a 6-year old, I didn't understand that. I only knew that because God was perfect, I couldn't go to heaven. I couldn't talk to God whenever I wanted. God wouldn't listen to my prayers. (And as a 6-year old, that is still a huge deal). If I wanted to be saved and go to heaven, I had to do what God said in the Bible.
On October 1st, 1998, Grace Baptist Church was meeting in a Community Center. It was a Thursday night and we were having Evangelistic meetings. I don't remember who was speaking or what the topic was. I only remember practically running down the aisle once the invitation was given. There were no side rooms, so my Pastor's wife took me into the kitchen. People were dancing in the room above us and singing loudly beside us. But none of that mattered.
She showed me her little wordless book with pictures (I'm a visual learner--I can still tell you exactly what some of those pictures looked like). She told me that my sin had separated me from God, but Jesus Christ provided a way to bridge the gap between God and I. I knew it all. I had been in church for 3 years. Every time the door was open, I was there. I could have told someone else how to get saved.

But I had to make it personal. I had to make a personal decision. Knowing that I was a sinner and that Jesus had died for me wasn't enough.

I had to ask God for forgiveness.

I had to ask Him to save me.

I did just that.

There, in the kitchen of the Lion's Senior Citizen Center, I prayed with my pastor's wife. I asked God to forgive me and save me. I asked Him to stay with me forever. He promised that He would never leave me.

Revelation 3:20 says "Behold, I [Jesus] Stand at the door and knock. If any man will open the door, I will come in unto him . . . ". Christ was standing at the door of my heart, knocking. I opened the door and gave Him entrance. I let Him into my heart and gave Him control of my life.

Best decision ever.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

ADD . . .I Don't have it

Break from seriousness. Pulled this from the archives (of facebook). This is me. Like, I'm seriously this random (in case you couldn't tell). 

This is an essay on ADD, it's symptoms, effects, and results, etc. ADD stands for Attention deficit disorder. Speaking of which, my room is kind of in a state of disorder right now. Like, my one roommate went home this weekend, and left Megan and I here alone. . . .bad move on her part. It's kind of trashed. Like my laundry bag. Which died today. I put some laundry in it, and it kind of doesn't work any more. Just like the car I used all summer. Gone. It was an awesome black car with a radio that only played uncheckable stuff. But I loved it. It took me to work. I work at Tim Hortons, which is a coffee shop. I don't like coffee, but I do like Orange juice. As little pulp as possible. Once we went on a field trip to a lumber mill thing and they talked about making stuff with the pulp. And the wood. Wood is cool. I want to learn how to carve wood sometime. With maybe a spoon. Knives scare me. In fact, dogs scare me. I used to deliver flyers and newspapers and I got chased by dogs. A lot of them. So I don't like them. I don't like mushrooms either. They are gross. It's like eating a fungus. I got yelled at during the lecture on funguses in science for not paying attention. Attention, as in attention defecit disorder. Yeah, ADD. So glad I don't have. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning?)

On November 7, 2001, Alan Jackson released what has now become one of his most popular songs: Where were you (when the world stopped turning)? If you are over the age of about 12, this song immediately pulls you back to something you will never forget--September 11, 2001. In case you aren't familiar with the lyrics, the song goes like this:

"Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you should out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for their children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
DId you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?


Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children

Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you survived
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first tie in ages
Or speak to soem stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers,

Stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family,
Thank God you had somebody to love?

I'm just a singer of simple songs, 
I'm not a real political man.
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference between Iraq and Iran.
But I love Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young.
Faith, hope, and love are some good things,
But the greatest is love."

We all know where we were that day. We all remember what happened, what we were doing, and the shock we felt. Even if we were young. It was a shocking event. The world stopped.

Not to downplay the suffering and the loss of 9/11, but I want to point us back to a bigger event in world history that we often tend to forget. One that made the world stop turning. But because the world stopped turning, we can live forever. I am, of course, talking about the Crucifixion.

Because of Christ's death, we can live forever. Because of His sacrifice on that day when the world stopped turning, we don't have to die. 

NEVER FORGET. 9/11. And the cross of Christ. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

For I Know the Thoughts I Think Towards You

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

I checked in today for the last time. Unpacked my last barrel. Organized my last dorm room (I have way too much stuff). Am waiting to see friends (Lisa, hurry up and get here). I look around at the place I have lived for the last 3 years. I'm a senior. I got to tell someone today that I was a

SENIOR ED. MAJOR! That was a really, REALLY, awesome feeling. This is the last year of my undergraduate career. And it's been amazing. God has been faithful. He's been good. He's taught me so much--about myself, about Him, and about my overwhelming need for Him.

I look back over the last 3 years and what God has brought me through. There has been a lot of stuff that has been "bad". Stuff that I would have been better if it hadn't happened.

At least in my mind.

But God knew what He had planned for me. And, just like Romans 8:28 says, He has worked it out and is  working it out for my good--to conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Because that's the whole point of my life. To become more like Christ.

I've been studying the book When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch. It talks about how concerned we are with what people around us think of us instead of what God thinks of us. Seriously, you should check this book out. I know that I worry about what people think about me a lot more than I worry about what God thinks about me. That's a goal I have for this semester. I want to focus more on God--learn more about Him. Worry about what He thinks about me. Get to know Him more and love Him more. Serve Him with everything I have.

And no matter what happens this semester, I know it will be because God has my life planned out. I can't see me future; only He can. I know that I can trust that what He allows into my life now is for something awesome ahead. He's not "out to get me". He isn't trying to ruin my life. His goal is to make me more like Christ. And if that takes a few trials, then so be it. Because that is what He wants.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The lines have been drawn . . . and they are blurred

When I was a
The lines were
There was right.
There was wrong.
Black or
"Never hit.
Never steal.
Never lie."
"Be kind.
Take turns."
And then I had a birthday.
And another. And another.
The years started passing.
I saw things
I saw the world in
different hues.
Instead of just black and white, there was
A lot.
The lines between
right and
got blurred.
Sometimes, they seemed to be
wiped out.
Sometimes the lines
I had a lot to learn.
Still do.
And what was right sometimes
was also
wrong sometimes.
What was right for some was
wrong for others.
And my world grew and
And as the lines grew
I noticed something.
Some people were more open,
while others clung to their
black and white.
They think they know
where the line goes.
They know better than everyone else.
They are
and everyone else is

Life was so much easier when everything was
black and

Thankfully, I have a
A God who has given us a standard of
right and
Who shows us what to do and
directs us.
I can go to Him in
I ask for
Wisdom to know His will.
Humility to know when I'm wrong.
And patience when working with people who see the
in a different place than
I do.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Right and Wrong. Is it an outdated idea?

I was at work tonight (Giant Tiger) and there was a line-up. As I served one customer, I listened/watched another customer and her 2 children that were next in line. The mom said something and her daughter disagreed with her. When they got to my cash, I confirmed what the mother had said by saying to her daughter (who was no more than 7 or 8), "yeah, your mom was right!" The girl looked at me, and in all seriousness said "There is no such thing as right and wrong." Her mom was surprised and said "Yes there is! There is right and wrong." The girl argued with her back and forth, but since I was on the clock and the mother didn't seem to want my opinion, I didn't offer it. But I did think about it for the rest of the night.

Why do people think that there is no right and wrong? Is it just because they don't want to be responsible to the Person who set the standards of right and wrong? Is it because they don't like the right and wrong? And why does a 7 year old think that there is no right and wrong? She had a brother--surely her parents had told her that she wasn't allowed to hurt her brother. She isn't allowed to go to school and do whatever she wants. I'm sure she would claim "it's not fair that __________", which implies that she knows when things aren't right.

So yeah, there has to be rights and wrongs. We may interpret those a little bit differently, but there are rights and wrongs. And when we interpret within the framework of God's Word, (when we do what we do to please Him), we are going to see that there are very definite rights and wrongs. Very clearly, God has given us guidance and direction. You can't really deny that "Thou shalt not steal" gives room for discussion on right and wrong. God has given us rights and wrongs.

So my next question that I thought over was "Do those rights and wrongs change?" In different cultures, there may be different standards. Over time, things change. Simple example: 150 years ago, it was wrong and completely unacceptable for a woman in a European/American culture to wear pants. Now, it's perfectly acceptable. (If you don't wear pants, you can't deny that it is acceptable for women to wear them in general society. I'm not saying it's wrong not to wear pants--you get my point). Styles have changed. People view fashion differently. But while the style has changed, the principle of modesty haven't changed. God still wants us to be pure in thoughts and actions--150 years ago, the best way for a woman to do this was viewed as wearing skirts and tons of clothes. Now, many people think that a woman can dress modestly in a pair of loose-fitting slacks.

I'm rambling. I've been up for a lot of hours and working for a long time. But you get my point. Scriptures clearly show us that there are rights and wrongs, established by God, since the garden of Eden. Even before sin, God gave Adam and Eve things they could and couldn't do. They had to take care of the garden, name the animals, etc. These were right. The wrong was eating the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The beautiful thing about it all is that because there are standards of Right and Wrong, there is Someone who set those standards. And He set those standards because He loves us. He wants us to be protected--because He loves us. He wants us to be safe.

One final thought. In Scripture, we are told that we are saved to do right. We are given freedom in Christ to do right. The unsaved people can't choose to do right. They automatically do wrong. They can't help it. We are given freedom to obey Christ. Which is so totally cool.

God is so good. And we are SOOOOO blessed.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

How to win "Worst Customer of the Year" award

I'm taking a break from the more serious tone of this blog. Next post will be right back to usual. Today is a little "venting" if you will. Or, we could call it just being informative. Because people want to know.

Want to know what? You ask inquisitively.

I'm so glad you asked. I'm going to tell you how to win the  "Worst Customer of the Year" award. (Trophy pictured below)

Isn't it pretty? It seems like there are a lot of people out to win it this year. The competition is fierce--so you'll have to follow all the steps listed below. (I've worked in food service since I was 14--7 years, and now I work in retail as well. The stories I could tell--goodness. I'll try to tell a few below). I really think that some people need to think before they walk into a store. I told my mother that the wizard of oz could make a killing selling brains in front of my work place. (Note: The following list isn't in any particular order. The more you do, the greater chance you have of winning this award).

1. Re-pack you bags. After they are all full, take everything out and hold up the line behind you. They don't mind waiting while you re-do everything. (BTW, I'm OCD--your bags will be packed in a certain order). 

2. Give me your reusable bags after I have all your stuff in plastic bags. I don't mind taking everything out and putting it in your own bags. And the people behind you don't mind waiting either. They have nothing better to do. In fact, if you ask nicely, they may give you extra votes for this award! 

3. Scan your own items. Reach around, grab my scanner and scan your own loaf of bread. It's not like I get paid for that--and I love having stuff grabbed out of my hand.

4. Argue with me. Then another cashier. Then my supervisor. Then the manager. Then the owner. Eventually, you may find someone who can help you. If that doesn't work, try calling the president. 

5.Talk on your phone. Or text. Then glare at me when I try to ask you a question. It doesn't matter if it's rude. I'm not important.

6. Complain about the prices. Or the product we have. Or don't have. Or the color of the walls. Or anything else I have no control over.

7.Don't talk to me. When I ask you a question, stare blankly at me. I love feeling like I am talking to myself.

8. Assume I know everything about everything, and where it all is.

9. Assume I have used every product on the shelves. Even though I have no tattoos, I have tried out the "tattoo rejuvenating cream"--it works really well. And is worth the money. The same with the ashtray.

10. Forget your money and ask me to hold the line while you run out to the car for your wallet.

11. Let your kids scream bloody murder and run around like wild animals. You get bonus points if they pull things off shelves and destroy things.

12. If you have a cartful of items, please let your child unload each item one at a time. I have all day, and I would love to spend it watching your 3-year-old struggle getting everything up on the belt. 

13. It IS appropriate to pay for your order in nickels. No matter what you say, I still have to count it out--and if your order is over $0.50, you get bonus points. 

14. Search for exact change. Look under the conveyer belt. And on the floor. Dump out the contents of your purse to find the extra $2.75.

15. Leave your empty cart in front of my cash so the next person has to move it. Or I have to move it. I know it would really kill you to push it 10 feet away. We wouldn't want your life to be too strenuous.

16. Eat/drink products before paying. It's not a grocery store--it's a buffet! Help yourself. And if you don't like something, feel free to leave whatever is left on the shelf.

17. Cut in line. You are the most important person here--more important than anyone else.

18. Give me dating advice. 

19. Assume that my love-life is any of your business. Ask me out, ask for my phone number. Offer to pick me up from work. Call me dear, honey, babe, sweetheart, or any other such name. I've been looking for Prince Charming, and I hope he comes through my cash some day. That's how I've always dreamed of meeting him.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Playing Second Fiddle

Any musicians out there reading this? I'm a musician--I've been playing the violin for forever, the piano for half of forever, and a couple of other instruments in my spare time. I've played in an orchestra like the one above, and it's a lot of fun. Everyone works together to create a beautiful sound. The conductor leads (waves his arms around and hopes everyone is watching him, which never happens), and everyone plays the right notes at the right time.
Being in an orchestra, it's a lot of fun to play first violin. You get the melody and the coolest parts. Most of the time. But most symphony orchestras have about 104 musicians in them, and only 12-16(ish) of those are first violin. Which leaves a lot of us to play another part. Second fiddle, if you will. (by that, I mean, all the other instruments--it's an expression). In an orchestra, this makes perfect sense--not everyone can play the same notes. It wouldn't sound good. It would be really boring. When everyone does their part, it sounds good. Only when everyone does their part does it sound the way it is supposed to.

The Christian life is a lot like that. I'm thinking about a church. With all the people in the church, not everyone can be front and center. We all have to do our part to make the body of Christ work like it needs to. Most of us end up doing "second fiddle" jobs--jobs that may not be seen by others but need to be done. Face it--no one notices the third trumpet in the back row of the orchestra. But if he doesn't come in on that obligato trumpet solo, everyone is going to realize something's wrong. We need to be faithful in the little things we have to do. It's called being committed. It's almost a dirty word in churches today. But just like in the orchestra, we all have a part to play. We need to watch our conductor as He leads us. Keep your eyes on Him. And play whatever part He has given you!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Psalm 19:14

I have been putting of writing another blog post for a while. For several reasons. 1. I've been busy doing nothing. 2. I haven't really had anything important to say.
Not that I usually do. But I write for the sake of writing. I love to write. And I communicate so much better when writing instead of in person.
But now I have 2 ideas of things I want to write about. 1 I'll cover tonight, and the other I'll get to later sometime :)
I was reading the latest blog post on the Lies Young Women Believe. (
Basically, she was talking about how important it is to let go of hurtful comments people make and how we can't let those get to us.
It's so easy, especially when you are a young person/teenager--to get defensive when people make comments. So often people make a comment--just as a joke or a passing comment. They never meant for us to take it seriously, or they said something in the heat of a moment that they never meant. They may or may not apologize, and we forgive them.

 But that old saying: "Forgive and Forget?"

Not so easy.


Sure, at least in time.

But forget?

That's hard. Really.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Really? Words will never hurt me?

Whoever said that must have been a hermit--or deaf.

Words can hurt.

A lot.

And if we aren't careful, we take what they say and hold on to it. Usually, they never meant anything by it. If they knew how much they hurt you, they would feel so bad. But if you are like me, you take that hurt and push it deep inside of you in this nice little "box of hurts". You lock it up and don't let on how much you hurt.

Until you can't take it any more. And you lose it. Big time.

You have focused on those words--those cutting remarks that have pierced your soul over and over. You get so caught up in those, you forget about God. It was maybe an innocent remark. Like the time someone close to me called me an airhead. It was said as a joke. But it hurt. I buried that remark deep inside. The person who said it still doesn't know how much it hurt. But I do.

We have to step away from the hurt and look to God. We have to remember that He was wounded for us. He was bruised for our sin. (Isaiah 56). Because He was hurt, we don't have to hold onto our hurts. Sure, people will say and do things that may sting. That hurt. But we can let go. You may not forget. But you can forgive. Let go. Give it to God.

I Peter 5:7--Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you.

God cares for you. All of you. He wants those hurts and burdens that you have been carrying for who knows how long. Let them go. Give them to Him.

The flip side of this is watching what you say. I am, by very nature, a very sarcastic person. When someone says something, I usually have some sort of snarky comeback. Even if someone says something that hurts me, they usually won't know. Because I can joke and pretend it's all good. But I have been told I talk to fast, too loud, and too much. I say things in jest that can be hurtful. I  stop thinking . . . . true story ;) Actually, somedays, I wonder if I ever started. But I don't want to be the person that unintentionally causes a fellow brother or sister in Christ to stumble and fall into bitterness because of something I said as a joke. I want everything that I say to be glorifying to God. Sometimes we have to say things to someone that they are not going to like. But it can still be said in a spirit of love.

A challenge: run stuff through your brain before you let it come out of your mouth.

Something my mother taught me years ago: (Sorry, Mom, for not usually remembering).
Before you speak, think. "Is what I am about to say true, kind, and necessary?" If not, it's probably best to leave it unsaid.

I titled this post Psalm 19:14. This verse is one you are very familiar with. "Let the Words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy site, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.".

Let me break that down for you. I talked about 2 different things in this post. Holding onto hurtful things people have said to us and dwelling on them--basically bitterness. And saying hurtful things to other people--not thinking and being kind and Christlike. Both what we say and what we think about (the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart) need to be acceptable in Christ's site. WWJD is way overused in Christian circles (at least it used to be, it's not as popular anymore). But if Jesus were here, would you say that? If Jesus were reading your diary, would you be pleased for Him to see what you dwell on the most?
The second part of the verse is the reason and how we can do the first part. The Lord is our redeemer--why we need to be loving and not dwell on past hurts. He is also our strength--the reason we can forgive and move on. The reason we can be loving.

Christ gave everything. Love others.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed.
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one.
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings name them one by one.
Count your blessings see what God hath done.
Count your blessings.
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings see what God hath done.

Wow. Where has the time gone. I know I'm not graduated. Yet. But I'm officially a senior now . . . that is an odd feeling. My youth pastor had this  "joke". Every year on our birthdays, he would ask us, "Do you feel any older?". No, We never did. Ever. But if you were to ask me, "Senior year! Does it feel any different?" I would say "yes. I can't describe it. But it feels weird. Like. I'm not sure how I got to this point. The last 3 years--moved by so fast."

Looking back, all I can do is praise God. That's the only reason I have made it to this point. There were days I thought I was going to die. Projects I was sure I was never going to finish. Tests I was sure I was going to fail. But through all of it, my God has been faithful. He's taken care of me. Watched over me. Given me everything I needed (and SO MUCH MORE!). It hasn't been a walk in the park type of college experience. It has been hard. Really hard. There have been times I wanted to give up. (Side note: when I felt like that, i would re-evaluate and realize my focus had been on me. I was trusting in my own strength. By giving everything back to God, I would realize I didn't need to depend on my strength--His was sufficient).

Freshman year--everything was new, exciting, happy, and scary. Getting that syllabus for Civ? I thought there was no way I could finish. And I did. But even at the end when my Grandfather got so sick and I had to leave early, God was faithful. My song of the year was "God is there"

God is there, when I am searching.
God is there, when I'm afraid.
God is there when sorrows break my heart and leave my life dismayed.
God is there when life's uncertain, when I am alone, when I'm betrayed.
God is there--He'll be my fortress. God is there.

Sophomore year--year of the wise fool. That was an apt description of me. I had it together, had it down, was in control. God had to teach me to depend on His strength (a lesson I keep learning).
My theme song that year was "Press on"

"There's a course that must be finished, there's a raise that must be won.
There's a mission to accomplish, and a battle to be won.
We've been called to take God's challenge, by His might and through His power.
He will give the grace to complete the race and the courage to Press on!"

 I joined a new extension (Puppets of Praise), got involved in tons of stuff, and learned to juggle like never before. I told myself it could never get busier. I was sadly deceived. Enter . . .

Junior Year. Practicum. Upper-classman. Extension leader. Society president. Crazy person. Should be diagnosed as clinically insane. Through everything, God has again taught me to trust Him. My society got disbanded. It's over. No matter what we tried, God closed the doors. He made it very clear what His will was. And we had to trust that He knows best. We have to trust. Again and again, God would remind me that I can do nothing in my own strength. He sometimes uses trials to break us and make us more like Him. This year's song was "Blessings" by Laura Story.

"We pray for blessings, we pray for peace.
Comfort for Family, protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing, for prosperity.
We pray for your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
And all the while, you hear each desperate plea.
And love us way to much to give us lesser things.
'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears.
What if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know you're near.
What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?"
I spent more than one night curled up in my bed crying while this song played. On repeat. For hours. Crying out to God--to show me what He wanted. Surrendered over and over. I wanted His will. I wanted to depend on His strength. And every time that I would beg for forgiveness, He would give it. Freely.

Senior year. I'm not there yet. I have no idea what God has for me. But whatever it is, it's going to be awesome. I just have to remember to let Him have control. I need to always depend on His strength. It's been a lesson I've been learning.

The other lesson I've learned is: packing is a pain when you are an Ed. Major. Like, did I really need that coffee can? And the 7 shoe boxes? Why do I have 5 sets of markers and a dozen glue sticks?  I don't know. Apologies in advance to those that are storing my stuff for the summer . . ..

Friday, April 19, 2013

Go ahead and wait . . .

Proverbs 3:5-6--Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.

Psalm 9:10--And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. 
Psalm 13:5--But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Psalm 20:7--Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

John 14:11--Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 

While I can't go into a lot of details yet, there is a circumstance I'm in the middle of that is going to affect a lot of people no matter what is decided. I'm kind of partly in charge of this and partially responsible for the outcome. This morning I prayed that no matter what happens that God would be glorified. That I would be patient waiting for His answer (because at this point, it is out of my control. I'm waiting to hear back from the powers that be. I want to know what is happening--whether good or bad). I prayed that we would all be content with whatever God's will is. I thanked God for being in control. I asked God to show His will clearly so that we would know what He wanted us to do. I claimed this verse:

Psalm 112:7--He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

I felt like I gave it all to God. No matter what, I was going to trust that He knows best. I was going to be content with whatever happened. I was going to be patient--it didn't matter how long it took to hear back about everything, I was going to wait patiently. 

Isaiah 26:4--Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. 

I didn't expect to hear an answer less than 2 hours later.

Mind you, it isn't finalized, but it is fairly certain.

One of the "powers-that-be" passed me on the sidewalk. He told me that it doesn't look good. Basically, there is nothing left that we can do. Short of a miracle, that is. I felt a rush of disappointment.

We worked so hard.
We thought of all possible options.
Talked to people.
Sent tons of emails.
Prayed really hard.
Begged God to work out everything according to His will. (But that His will would be the same as OUR will.)

God chose to do something different. As I was thinking about everything, I was reminded of what we prayed. I got honest with God. Asked Him to help make me
At peace.
That I would trust in Him no matter what. in any circumstance. I really meant it. 
ANY circumstance.
I wanted to trust God. I WANT to trust God.
And I'm learning. It's a hard lesson most of the time. But if God wants me to learn it, He's going to send me circumstances that are out of my control to see if I have learned. I keep failing. Over. And over. And over again. I fall. I freak out. i stress. Complain. But God keeps teaching me. And forgiving me.
Isaiah 26:3--Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mirror image . . .

I saw this quote on pinterest:
"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." ~Gandhi~

(This is going to [hopefully] be a short one--I have to begin studying for exams).

Gandhi is famous for passive, civil disobedience. He is often called the "Father of India". He was raised a Hindu, and claimed to be a "Hindu, Muslim, and a Christian as well". He liked the idea of Christianity. He liked the idea of Christ--a God who would love us so much He would die for us. But then Gandhi looked at the people who claim to be followers of Christ. Those that are supposed to be like Christ. He didn't like what he saw. He didn't notice any resemblance. I know we are not perfect, and we are human. But shouldn't there be an obvious difference between those of us that claim to have Christ living inside of us and those that don't? When people look at you, who do they see?

Your life is a reflection of something. Is it of your desires, wants, plans, dreams, etc.? Or do you reflect Christ?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Snapshots of your life

So I'm sitting at work, and my work computer is not working, so I can't work. And I'm really sick of studying (BTW, pray for my test this afternoon--I really need to do well on it in order for the rest of my college career to continue as planned).

So I love my job. I have a computer (that normally works), my own little cubicle, and awesome office mates. I have decorated my space with all sorts of awesomeness.

This is my awesome computer mouse--you can't tell, but it lights up! :)

And an alligator stapler :)

and happy food :) Somedays the m&ms and mountain dew is what gets me up in the morning. Don't judge me--I'm an exhausted college student.

I know you can't see all of the pictures, but I have tons of pics of family and friends on the cubicle wall. I have some of my favourite quotes, 2 songs, and (as seen below), 2 hand-made picture frames. Again, don't judge. I'm an Ed. major.

I look at these pictures. There are some from all the years I've been at college. There are pictures of my best friends, my extension, stuff from school projects, and just being goofy. There is my whole society, my cheerleading squad, and pictures from Antigua. I have a picture of my former freshman speech teacher at her recital. Every time I see these people who are so dear to me, I stop and thank God for them. I pray for them.

I look at these pictures and reflect on my life. Look back on the last 3 years. See what God has done for me. In my life. My whole life can be summed up in the snapshots I and others have taken.

I see pictures from the night I was baptized. I publicly declared (as only a blind 6 year old with a 2 foot ponytail can) that Jesus Christ had changed my life forever and that I was now His child.

I see pictures from camp--various decisions made over the years. I see pictures from my school years. Where I learned wayyyyyy more than I ever wanted to know . . . My high-school graduation, surrounded by people who love me.

Then I came to college and suddenly there are tons more pictures. Because I am a social person who loves being over-extended. Sports, music activities, extension, friends, work, etc.

The snapshots of my life point out a path that God has created and directed. There have been times where I've left the path. There aren't as many pictures during those times. When we aren't following God, we struggle and don't have time to take a picture. But when we get back on track, God gives us joy--people tend to usually take happy pictures. The path ahead--God has already seen the pictures I will take. He knows what is ahead, and I can rest in His plan. I don't know what the background will be in my pictures. I don't know where I will be, who I will be with, or what I will be doing. But I have a sovereign God. He has ordained and will ordain all the snapshots of my life. And the moments connecting them.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hopelessness and the Resurrection

It's an odd title. For Easter.


For all my BJU friends and those in the surrounding area, you are familiar with Living Gallery. Every year, Bob Jones puts on this amazing production for Easter. They take paintings like:

and . . . 

and . . . 

Looking at these, you assume they are the original paintings. But because BJU goes beyond normal, they take these paintings and recreate them to be life-sized. Each of the people in these paintings are real people. They take out the paintings and put in real people. I could never do that. I'm ADD. Stand in a painting and look like a statue for long periods of time? No way. I just don't have the patience or skill. But people do it. And it's absolutly incredible. It's breath taking. If you have the chance, you should really go see it. 

Normally, there is a drama that accompanies the art.It highlights the gospel and usually involves a dramatic conversion on stage. This year, they did something different. They had monologues of people who "observed" the crucifixion. People who "knew" Christ. I wasn't sure how I felt about that before I saw it. I like the drama. It's always really cool, and I just like acting and all that. Monologues are cool, as long as they are part of the drama. But then I saw them, and my opinion totally changed. I was overwhelmed with the emotion conveyed on the screen. They portrayed the characters in a way I never would have thought. The actors made the person come alive. They seemed real. People like Peter, the Samaritan Woman, Pilate, the Pharisees, Nicodemus, Judas Iscariot, and others. They are a part of the story, but they were people. They had feelings and emotions. And they were going through something very few of us could imagine. There was one major feeling that most of the people on stage communicated. That I picked up on.


Absolute Despair.

All the characters on stage were totally lost. Well, most of them were. The Pharisees--not so much. But even Pilate felt lost and alone. Somewhat. And the audience, while watching, was supposed to feel that same overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Jesus was dead. He died. He was the promised Messiah. He was supposed to save us from sin. Give us eternal life. He was the Son of God. And now, all these people watched Him die. 

Treated like a common criminal. 

They watched His body come down from the cross and observed His hasty burial. Guards stood around the tomb in case someone would try to steal the body.

They wanted to believe. So much. But what could they believe in. In all practically, Jesus was dead. He had told them this would happen, but they had refused to believe it.

Probably the best and most compelling monologue was that of Peter's. One of Jesus' inner circle of friends. Known best for doing stuff without thinking. For being impetuous.

In His monologue, he looks up and screams, "WHY!?!?! I feel so guilty for betraying you. For denying you. But you betrayed us! You left us!" The audience was absolutely silent. I never pictured Peter as being angry with God. Weeping bitterly? Sure. The Bible says that. But screaming at God and accusing Him of leaving Peter alone? I had never thought of him as doing that. But don't we all?

We feel abandoned by God.



Even hopeless. No matter what happens, our life will never be the same. There is no point in going on. Of serving God. We feel that He has left us to fend for ourselves in this world. And we can't do it. We can't keep pushing forward.






Jesus is alive. He conquered death. Sure, He died. He had to die. But then, He rose again. He defeated death--it will not have dominion over us. Because of Christ's sacrifice, we can have Hope. Because of the resurrection, we don't need to live in a spirit of hopelessness.

Jesus understands our suffering. He suffered. More than we will ever go through or could ever imagine. 

When it feels like we are all alone, remember this:

Jesus was all alone. One of His closest friends sold Him. Another of His best friends denied that he even knew Jesus. All those that knew Him best fled in fear. Then the unthinkable:

God turned His back on His Son. His "Only Begotten Son" (John 3:16). Jesus cried out, in anguish,

"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

So when you feel completely alone, remember 2 things.

1. Jesus knows how you fell--He was completely alone.

2. You aren't completely alone. He has promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).





Because of Christ's sacrifice, we have hope. Hope of a home in heaven and eternal life.  Hope of forgiveness of sin. Hope in victory over death. Hope of so much more. And this isn't a casual hope, like "I hope it won't rain tomorrow". This is a sure hope. It's a promise from God. 

We don't need to live in a state of hopelessness. We CAN have victory.

Happy Easter!