What time is it? It’s time for the same-old New Year’s resolutions. We always want to start the year off being “better”, whatever that means. Stronger. Prettier. Nicer. Cleaner. Cooler. Fashionable…er. Closer to God. Here were some of mine from last year:
▪ Paint nails different color every week (I failed within the first week)
▪ Drink more water (my body is lucky if it gets a single sip)
▪ Eat healthier (hehe, yeah…)
▪ Get One Voice off the ground (hmm…)
▪ Read my bible cover to cover (sorry, Lord)
▪ Start a cosmetics company (kinda forgot that one)
▪ Get in a horse show (forgot that one too)
The list goes on. The terribly cliché American resolutions may consist of the following:
▪ Lose weight
▪ Exercise more
▪ Stop smoking
I’m sure you’ve noticed how resolutions always die – within a month, usually. You get so revved up and excited to do this – it’s natural. But then you decide to skip just one day, just one time. And then BANG. Resolution is dead. And next year you may try to revive it, but….
Hey, remember when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? Only Jesus can raise things from the dead, whether they be people, animals, or…or resolutions.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Make this year’s resolutions count. Don’t let them die. But how are you going to do this?
Trust in God. Pray. Read your bible. These are resolutions in themselves, but they are definitely worth keeping up. With God, you can conquer anything. With God, last year’s resolutions CAN be accomplished! God wants you to be happy, and he wants you to be a “better” person, so of course he’ll help you, if your heart is in the right place.
Please help me to start the New Year off with a new me. Help me to desire to be with you. Help me to grow stronger in you. God, help me to reach my resolutions this year. I know I can only do them with you. Thanks for loving me and for giving me this New Year. 2009 is gonna be great!
Tonight, with me and millions of others, make a list of resolutions and promise you – and God – that you’re going to keep them. Then pray the prayer above.
This is a poem Rachel and I found in her room when we were going through her old notebooks. It's really sweet and about her grandma dying which made me nearly cry so yeah.
All I Need is You
by Rachel V.
I see the rain falling outside my window.
I hear the hail hitting my window.
These dark black clouds keep me away from you.
It's like a shield parting me from you.
And this is the time that I must stand strong.
The time I must hold the tears back.
And I'll do it all for you because
I miss you, I love you, I'm trying to live my life without you.
So now take my hand and pull me along all I need is you.
During the day a tear will run down my face,
that's a sign that I'm thinking of you.
I know you are thinking of me, too.
I was wondering...what if we had this relationship with Jesus? He died...for you. And it was sad -- the worst death anyone could die...yet it was the one who would set the world free of sin, if they just believe. Think how Mary Magdalene and Mary and Joseph and Martha and the Twelve and all those people who loved Jesus so much...how did they feel?
And yet, Jesus didn't stay dead. Just like Rachel's grandma is not dead -- she's in heaven, with Jesus.
If we had that kind of sweet, loving, hold me relationship with Jesus, we'd be stronger, happier people. We'd be loved.
Anyway, I wanted to know what you guys thought about Twilight...the movie, the books, Edward's hair....everything.
Are you allowed to see the movie/read the books? Why or why not? Do you think it is um...anti-Christian or whatever to read them?
Is it a tree? Ornaments? Tinsel? Peppermint bark? Mistletoe? Holly? Hot chocolate? A fireplace? Santa? Stockings? Snowflakes? Snow? (Shoveling your neighbor’s driveway?) There’s a good chance you immediately think of the presents you’ll get.
I know, the presents are really cool, right? I mean gift cards are awesome, presents are a surprise, and I even know a girl from play practice who would be thrilled to get socks for Christmas. Presents are awesome, there’s no doubt about it. And when people give you presents, it’s one way of saying they care about you.
But, I have to break it to you. Stuff doesn’t last forever. Those cool jeans that Nana gave you will eventually become too tight. The CD your best friend got you won’t be so hot twenty years from now. Those cute notebooks that your great Aunt May gave you will soon be filled with scribbles, doodles, and ideas. The gift cards will be spent before you can say, “Merry Christmas”, and the candy may last ON you, but if you’re anything like me, it won’t live to see the morning.
In today’s secular culture, Christmas (or, as a group of scrooges call it, “the Holidays”), is about getting together with family, about giving, and about some dude named Santa. So, let’s look into that. Yeah, presents are fun, but what about family?
God loves it when you get together with your family and have a good time simply being together. God loves it when you love others. Sadly, family won’t last forever, either – your big sis gets married, you go to college, your great grandma passes away. So what really lasts?
I know! Giving! God absolutely LOVES it when you give to others. It’s not your money, it’s not your stuff – it’s God’s money and God’s stuff that he’s letting you use. He loves you so much that he’d give you all that – why not show other people (and animals!) his love? God has given you money so you may use it wisely. Often, it’s more fun to give than to get. Unfortunately, the stuff you give (like presents, money, or candy) will go away. Is there nothing in this world that lasts?
Ooh, what about mistletoe? Did you know mistletoe is made by a bird called the Mistletoe Bird? It eats the mistletoe seeds, swallowing them whole, then flies to another tree and – um, excretes the seed. The seed it still whole and as if it had never been eaten. The bird then rubs its bottom on the branch, making the plant stick. It will grow to be mistletoe. But, mistletoe is a living thing. It will die. And, though it makes me uber sad, the mistletoe bird will die, too, and fly away into that big birdbath in the sky.
Ho, ho, ho! I’ve got it! SANTA lasts forever! The big guy is a LEGEND, I tell you! Everyone knows who he is! Even Martha Stewart believes in Santa! So old Claus here MUST last forever. Or does he…? Warning: this is not for the young at heart. We know that Santa, well, is just…. Aw, I hate to break it to you, but, he’s not real! There, I said it. It’s a great story, really. And maybe there was some fat guy in a tacky red suit who gave presents to kids. And maybe their was a Rudolph, and his nose just got scraped so it turned bright red and thus he became a legend as well. But all living bodies must come to an end.
This is really discouraging, isn’t it? Well, I guess I’m done writing now; my search for the meaning of Christmas has ended. Nothing lasts in this world. Gotta go muck the barn.
Whoa, hold on. Barn. Stable. Angel. Virgin. Carpenter. Manger. Baby. Savior.
Do these words mean anything to you? Well, barns certainly don’t last forever. Angels – hmm. Probably. Virgins? No. Carpenters? No. Mangers? No. Babies? (Those things turn into adults, who don’t live forever, btw.) But a Savior? Maybe…just maybe….
Jesus came to earth to save you and me and everyone who has ever lived and anyone who ever will be. He had a body, just like me (well, I’m guessing he didn’t look quite like me…). He was human.
So, bodies don’t last forever – we’ve figured that out by now. But Jesus wasn’t just human. Jesus is also God’s son – yes, an eternal, forever, everlasting being. Eternal. Savior. Cool, huh? Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas, because Christmastime is a symbol of his birthday. And nobody’s birthday has ever been more celebrated than his.
This year, though, I’m celebrating something else, too. Can you guess what it is? I’m celebrating ME. I’m celebrating YOU. Not because we’re destined to save the world. I’m celebrating US because WE are also God’s children! Jesus is God’s son, I’m God’s daughter, and you may be a son or daughter of God, too. WE are AWESOME! WE are created in God’s image. WE have a reason to celebrate because WE are special. Why are we so special? If you’re a Christian, you are my family. You are either my brother or sister in Christ. (I always thought I had an evil twin – JK!) And we are Christ’s family – HIS family! Nothing could be cooler!
At Christmas, though you may have never thought of it before, we are celebrating Jesus and each other. Because Christmas is a symbol not only of Jesus’ birth but of our own birth – our second birth, our real birth, when we entered God’s family. We’re celebrating the gift that God gave us – a SAVIOR!
So, there you have it. A gift. The gift of life. Of salvation. Of eternal, forever, everlasting, never-fading, new, wonderful life. A gift that won’t ever go away. Perfectly wrapped. It’s in your hands right now, because God has given it to you.
Well, what are you going to do with it? What do you do with a gift?
I mean, can you imagine? You’re on a internet chat room, surrounded by Christian teens that are – gulp – homeschooled! YIKES!
I described the Trinity something like this (except for the fact that my interests have changed, so I have replaced them with the following). I am Melissa. I’m a fashion guru, but I’m also a writer, tree-hugger, animal-rights activist, Narnia geek. I’m a semi-vegetarian but I can’t resist BBQ ribs. Am I no longer Melissa? No. I’m Melissa, with different personalities. They liked that example.
But the other day, when I was supposed to be absorbed in algebra, my mind started wandering from fractions and x’s and o’s to one of those several hundred rabbit trails I tour every once in a while. Couldn’t I come up with a better example? IS there a better example? Or, if not better, at least another, to make it really clear? And why does Maddy refuse to accept that I hate hot dogs? All these things I smelled along the trail, and then I finally found the bunny.
I’m Melissa. Like you (hopefully!), I have eyes, a right arm, and a nose (a very talented one at that – but that’s another story). I use my eyes for seeing. That is their purpose. I use my right arm for drawing and lifting things and for pressing the semi-colon on the keyboard. That is my right arm’s purpose. I use my nose for smelling – the roses, burnt toast, the barn, my brother’s bathroom, my dog who will get a desperately needed bath for Christmas. My eyes, right arm, and nose – these are all parts of me. They are not separate – there is only one me. These are just different parts of me used for different purposes.
God has 3 different parts. God the Father, used for creating and commanding and sorting things out. The Holy Spirit, giving people peace and such. Jesus the Son, the earthly part of God – how he appears on earth, with a human body that went through real exhaustion, starvation, dehydration, and immense pain. Each part is part of God, but each part has a different purpose.
I hope that made it a little easier for you to understand. Remember that God does not require you to understand him completely, but to simply believe.
I wonder, what would happen to a gingerbread house if no one ate it? Now, let's say this gingerbread house was a perfectly good house, all sweet and sugary and good. No one was unhappy when sheltered by it.
But Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread left their house to explore new things, dangerous things and dangerous places. Within time, their perfectly good house fell into disrepair. The gum-drops grew hard, the walls crumbled, the icing melted and the lemon-drops dissolved into a puddle of yellow coconut snow. (Sometimes it's ok to eat yellow snow.)
What had happened to the house? It was perfectly good, and then, when no one tended it, the house became useless and unwanted.
Isn't that gingerbread house kind of like our hearts? When we abondon our hearts and don't use them and continue to make repairs to improve them, they become useless. Purposeless. Nothing. Like the Grinch's heart. 3 sizes too small.
So what are we to do?
Use your heart! Show love to people! Continue to make yourself stronger in Christ. Those two things are your purposes. Living out God's plan for you. What could be better?
Anyway, in the book, John Piper (a preacher and Christian writer), says in the Preface, "You wouldn’t have picked up this book if God had not been at work in your life."
It was a pretty simple sentence where you would usually nod and say "OK", but it was more than that for me.
I was in a thrift store on Saturday, having only purchased a big pink ring, and then there was this book that had caught my eye. It was sitting in a sort of slumped position as all the books were – piled atop each other, on the ground, scattered across the top shelf. This book’s binder read, "don’t waste your life" in black letters. I picked it up. John Piper…John Piper…that name sounded familiar. I flipped through the pages, eyeing the chapters, catching glimpses of text here and there, then flipped to the back cover and began reading.
Why had that book caught my eye? I’m not exactly sure, but I know it wasn’t just out of boredom. God has a plan for me, and apparently that plan involves that book. Maybe that book is going to open up my mind about a whole world of things and change my life course forever. Or, maybe, that book’s purpose in my life was simply for that little sentence. I wouldn’t have picked that book up if God was not at work in my life, if this was not part of his great plan for me.
Ya know what? The same goes for you. God is your tour guide in life. He’s given you a manual to answer questions you might have. But he also talks to you and leads you. God will use anything to talk to you – billboards, commercials, web sites, prayer, dreams, books – anything that will get your attention. We just have to look around.
And who knows? Maybe God uses blogs like mine and The Next Generation is Us, Romans 12:2, The Christian’s Journey and the King we Follow, and ChildsPlay to get his message to you.
Just think about it. It’s pretty cool.
This – right here, right now – is one little bit of God’s plan for you.
You wouldn’t be reading this if God wasn’t at work in your life. There is something here that he wants you to read, something you can learn, whether it be huge or little. Are you willing to receive God’s message to you?
That’s my goal for One Voice: to give you God’s message, whatever it may be. Sure, I’m the one typing, but it’s God who’s filling me head with thoughts, dreams, and ideas for me and for YOU.
At AWANA, I’m a Cubbie Leader, and today we took the Cubbies on a trip to "Jerusalem", which was actually the room in our church where we stash the donuts. We pretended like we were very tired from our long journey and sat down at the table to eat a snack of Twinkies and Capri Sun Wild Cherry Juice Pouches.
Well, (here it comes), my Capri Sun tasted a little funny, and I didn’t know why. I checked the expiration date, but it wouldn’t go bad till April 2009. It wasn’t sweet, didn’t taste like typical cherry Capri Sun, and it had a sticky, goopy, sickly flavor and texture.
So, being the great friend that I am, I offered a drink to Hannah and asked her if she thought it was a little odd. She took a sip and said that it just wasn’t as sweet as hers.
Well, ok, it wasn’t sweet. But it was more than that, I knew it. This thing was – well, downright gross! And that was the first time I had ever thought that towards a sugary drink!
I looked at the pouch again and, to my horror, saw green crust around the place where you stick the straw! Yeah, like boogers, or intestinal fluid of some poor creature or something. Guts, maybe. Then, my stomach knotting, I looked into the straw and – EW!! There was gray goop with blackish specks all down through the straw, like silly putty or worm guts or something. I gagged and had visions of me waking up in the middle of the night, all alone in my bed, stomach heaving, gagging, puking, and from me pouring various body parts of rats, crickets, snakes, and whatever THAT was that was in that drink. Well, I’m happy to say I’m still alive here today to tell you my story of woe.
So, what does this have to do with God? I thought about this while awake at night, telling myself I was soon to be dead. And it came to me.
Maybe, just maybe, inside that disgusting pouch was somebody’s rotting heart! Yeah, like a toad’s or something. But I tried to think of it like your heart (well, not yours, everybody’s).
That pouch (in this case, your heart) started out as a sweet, wonderful, perfectly good thing. Then some bacteria (sin) got into there, only God knows how or what it was exactly. It was just a little bit of sin, a teensy, weensy bit. No harm there, right? Nobody’s perfect. But then that sin grew (yuck) and grew, becoming bigger and bigger. And bigger, nastier sins came in until there were millions and millions of little and big sins floating around in your heart. Gross, huh? It probably got pretty bad in there. If only you knew what was in your heart (or, in my case, in that pouch)! But you don’t know. So, then, God opened up your eyes, and you decided to take another look at yourself. Yeah, just look at you! But God (in this case, my mom) offered to give you a brand new, perfectly good heart (pouch) if you just threw yours away. That’s all you had to do. And, when you took that heart from God, you opened it up and used it. And it was sweet!
Since I plan to redo this blog, we might as well make it even better by improving it. What kind of things would you NOT like to see here anymore, and what would you love to see that we haven't done yet? What would you love to see more of? Every single comment you make, every thing you do here helps this blog grow bigger and better, all for you and for Jesus. I REALLY want to know your opinion -- on everything!
And please don't forget to read whenever you can (I update almost every day), tell your friends, comment, rate, and follow.
"Dear God, thank you for Mother and Father and Levi and Grandmother and…and…and I suppose I should be thankful for my uncles, too." I paused, glancing at the large shape gently rising and falling on the bed. "Please help Grandmother not to wake when I go outside."
I swallowed. I had just asked God to help me do something against my elder’s wishes. Was that against the Law? I would never forgive myself for deliberately going against the Law of Moses.
Still, I was sure God wouldn’t be angry with me, so I tiptoed into the parlor behind the silk screen. I peeked into the room where my father and uncles were talking. My brother, Levi, looked disinterested in the conversation. He was clearly tired of politics, and I, his beautiful sister, would save him.
Levi noticed me at once and turned to Father. "Father," he said, hesitating. "I need to go relieve myself." He paused. "It might take a while. A long while. Maybe all night."
I slapped my forehead.
All eyes turned to Levi, but he was dismissed with a shrug. My Father didn’t notice that he ran to the parlor instead of the lavatory.
"Thanks, Leah," Levi whispered to me, fastening his cloak about his neck. "I was about to die in there." He looked at me. "Couldn’t you have at least gotten dressed?"
I looked down at my night shift and shrugged. "Levi, something is going to happen tonight, I just know it—"
Levi nodded. "Yeah, when that traveler stood at the door, I got chills up my spine. I thought it was the draft, but if you felt it, too…. Hey, what kind of thing do you have in mind?"
"I don’t know," I admitted. "But I thought we could go outside to the stable and—"
"Spy on them?" Levi grinned. "Be careful, Leah. This is a man’s mission. Very dangerous. You might not survive."
I gave him a little punch – to my dismay, he didn’t even flinch – and we sneaked outside into the cold, dark town.
Levi and I made our way to the stable. I prayed that the dumb donkeys wouldn’t bray, alerting the town of our presence.
The warm glow of the oil lamps in the stable drew us nearer. The man was rubbing down his donkey, for the beast was tired from his long journey. I saw the lady’s hand reach up for the velvety muzzle of a calf. It kissed her hand, rubbing its cold nose on her arm.
Suddenly, the hand dropped. The woman moaned. "Joseph—"
The man, Joseph, made a bed for her of hay. "There, Mary." He got a thin blanket from the donkey’s pack and laid it over the lady.
I could not see Mary, she was so covered in hay and blankets and chickens. Yes, it seemed every animal in the place was trying to help the couple. Chickens laid by Mary’s feet (no matter how many times Joseph shooed them away), the calf lay down beside her, licking her arm affectionately while its mother watched with approval, the sheep lay near Joseph, rubbing their warm wool on him, and the donkey supervised them all.
My brother took something from his cloak. "Drums," he said.
"Drums?" I looked at him with all the scolding Mother-like appearance I could muster. "You fool—"
Levi ignored me and began slowly playing his drums.
Pum, pum, pum…par rum pum pum pum….
The gentle beat filled the air.
"Joseph, what could that be?" Mary asked.
Joseph stood up, pausing. "Music," he said slowly, "music for the Child of God." He smiled.
Levi looked proud. "For this child of God."
I was proud of my brother as well, but then I stopped. My whole body seemed paralyzed. I grabbed my brother’s hand. The music stopped.
"Levi!" I whispered. "He said THE Child of God!"
He looked at me, confused.
"THE Child!" I repeated.
He stopped. The animals seemed to hold their breath. Suddenly, he turned on me. "No, Leah!" Levi scolded. "Do not speak of such things! Besides, you are wrong. I think the One will come as a great warrior, not a helpless babe."
He began drumming again.
Levi and I stayed in our little spot for quite some time when suddenly we heard a baby’s gurgle.
Levi and I glanced at each other with excitement. For a moment, the cold air was warm.
Why did the baby not cry? This puzzled me. Every baby cried when it was born, especially when born into the cold.
Joseph cleaned the baby and lifted it into the air. I could see the pride in his eyes. He held his son as if the boy was an angel, and in his brown eyes I saw something more than pride, but I could not place it. It was as if Joseph knew this baby was going to be great – greater than himself.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgement and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The smell of fresh-baked bread tickled my nose. I could hear the men of the family – my brother, my father, and two of my uncles – laughing and drinking. Mother, Grandmother, and I were all sitting in the same room as the men, but behind a silken screen. My stomach twisted in hunger, but we would all have to wait until the men were done.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
Mother and Grandmother retreated farther into the room so as not to be seen. I stayed where I was.
One of my uncles opened the door for the visitor. "What do you want?" he asked gruffly. Wine made him rude and harsh.
"Are you the innkeeper?" a tired voice asked.
"Why, yes, I am. What is it to you? I have no more room left. Everyone is staying here for the census."
The traveler motioned to a girl behind him who looked no older than I, sitting astride a swaybacked donkey. "Please, kind sir, I am looking for a place for my wife to rest, for she is with child."
It was then that I noticed the lady’s rounded belly, quite large for someone so small and pretty. Only thirteen, she was!
To my horror, my uncle shut the door on the man.
Yes, every room in my uncle’s inn was occupied, for Caesar Augustus had ordered that everyone under Roman rule must list their names in a register. Weary travelers from all over were coming to our little town of Bethlehem, dirty as it was.
I heard my uncle open the door once more.
The tired traveler was still there. His eyes brightened.
"I do have the stable in the back, if you’re interested," my uncle admitted. He pointed to the stable and told the man it was unlocked. The traveler handed him a few coins, thanked him, and gently tugged on the tired donkey’s bridle.
I took a step closer.
Just as the donkey was turning, the lady who sat atop it looked up and caught my eye. She flashed a quick smile in my direction.
I smiled back and turned back to the fire. Something welled up from deep within me, an unexplained happiness.
"Leah, why are you smiling so?" Mother asked.
"No reason," I replied. As I would later find out, there was a reason, I just didn’t know it yet.
Countless travelers, including women heavy with child, had come to the inn that night, but none of them had seemed so…so knowing, as if she knew something wonderful was about to happen. Though she was tired, she was joyful, and I now had that joy bubbling inside me.
Something wonderful was going to happen that night, I was sure of it.
All the peeps we sang with:Casting CrownsMichael EnglishpureNRGAvalonNatalie GrantDenver and the Mile High Orchestra
I mean, could you ask for anything more? Everyone did a great job, but I have to say Casting Crowns was just...WOW. I mean, the Holy Spirit was definetly there that night. I had never been a part of something like that. I got a dose of it when I went to the TobyMac concert, but the Jonas Brothers concert had absolutely no...what's the word?...hmmm...you know what I mean. We were all dying from the heat at the JB concert (seriously, some people were fainting), even though it was fun.
So, not only did they sing Christmas songs at this concert, but they also did some not-so-Christmassy praise songs that were beautiful. Casting Crowns did an amazing one called "Christmas Bells" based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was in a war time, and Henry just lost his wife and daughter, and he wrote this about despair and finding hope and peace in the Lord.
World Vision partnered with this concert lineup and my family is now sponsering a 7-year-old girl from China! This is so cool, let me tell you. We get to write letters to her and stuff and get a pic of her and a translator tells her (and us) what the letters say. Get this -- if YOU sponser a child through World Vision, here's what happens. World Vision goes to one needy village at a time in various countries and gets pictures and information about all the needy children there. Then they bring them to the USA. Now, here's what's cool. Nobody else is sponsering the child you'll be sponsering. That is the only picture of that girl or boy from World Vision -- YOU are their hope. Mark Hall (Casting Crowns lead singer) informed everyone in the audience that you can't preach the gospel to an empty stomach -- you need to fill it first, and then offer Jesus' love. That's what World Vision does. First we help them take care of the child, then, as we continue to care for them, World Vision tells them about God. It's so cool, I really hope you decide to sponser a child. Please talk with your parents about this!! I hope to have more info for you later.
This would be my 3rd concert. I've gone to TobyMac/Barlow Girl/Thousand Foot Krutch concert, Jonas Brothers concert, and now this. The best part: it'll last late into the night, which is super cool. What a great lineup!
What concerts have you gone to?
Home for Christmas has no instruments and, unlike what you'd expect from BarlowGirl, it doesn't have the slightest hint of rock in it. Barlow Girl wanted to focus on their vocals, and it has really shown. I have one of the songs from this album, What Child is This, and their voices are sooo pretty together, I seriously recommend buying the whole album. I might buy it myself.
I'm sure everyone of us pigged out on turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and, of course, a slice of pumpkin pie a'la CoolWhip.
I've started making lists. Yeah, lists. I used to make a lot of lists when I was little, but I threw them away. One of my lists are things I'm grateful for. I want you guys to make a list, too. The list doesn't have to be just for Thanksgiving -- you'll find great new things to thank God for throughout your entire life. Why not show your gratitude and thank God for them? I thank him for a few things I'm thankful for that day every night. God loved you so much he wanted to give you these things.
I also encourage you to read This Thanksgiving from The Christian's Journey and the King we Follow.
Today, at my AWANA Trek meeting (bible study for teens), we talked about justice. When you first think of justice, you probably picture a courtroom with a guy in a powdered wig raising a wooden stick (I forgot what they are called), booming, "GUILTY!" (Yes, I do love the show Shark, if that’s what you’re thinking.) Justice is found in another place: right here at home. What is justice outside the courtroom?
- doing the right thing
- making wrong things right – fixing problems
- being fair
- helping others be fair
Micah 3:8 says, "He [God] has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." This was one of my memory verses today. Being the procrastinator that I am, I memorized them lickety-split in the car on the way to church.
What are we to do?
- be good (like God has shown you)
- be just (act justly)
- be merciful (love mercy)
- walk humbly (with God)
God is a just God. God is totally fair. As my youth leader put it, "He doesn’t say, ‘Oh, it’s ok that Hannah did this, because she’s my favorite, but Melissa, well, she’s gotta go.’"
How can God be just?
- He does not have favorites
- He loves everyone, including you
- He is perfect
- He is fair
- He knows what is in your heart, so he knows your motives
- He knows what you’ll do in the future
The Bible mentions several times the justness of God. In Numbers 16, God showed justice to Korah, who didn’t like Moses’ leadership. Korah wanted to be first and in control. By rebelling against Moses, Korah was rebelling against God, because Moses was a man of God who did what God told him to do. God punished Korah by opening the ground and swallowing up Korah and everything that belonged to him. It was like he had never even existed!
Now, listen to this. Korah came up with his buds to Moses and Aaron and said, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?" (Numbers 16:3) What did Moses do? He fell flat on his face and asked the Lord for help. He then stood up and said, "In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to Him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near Him." (verse 5) Moses didn’t do what you and I would have probably done. Moses didn’t defend himself. He didn’t even talk about how long he had led all the Israelites in the desert and how he and God provided for them. He didn’t mention what God had already done through his leadership. As my Trek book puts it, "He simply left it in the Lord’s hands." And bad-guy Korah was punished.
If you did something really wrong, God would punish you. He would even punish you if you did a little thing wrong. Bad things may happen to us simply because we were born, because we’re all born with sin.
This is just. Sin must be punished. Justice shown to you is a gift. When you sneak out to go to a party, being grounded from sports, TV, and the phone may seem harsh and definitely not fun, but it’s really a gift. We can learn from our mistakes if we take the time to think about them. Now you know that there are consequences for your actions, and that doing wrong things doesn’t pay. Now, hopefully you won’t sneak out again.
Hopefully the person who wronged me will never do it again – to anyone. Hopefully she has learned a lesson. Hopefully she is sorry for what she has done (I’m pretty sure she is). Meanwhile, I can show her love and mercy and justice by giving her friendship and boundaries. Maybe something good will come out of this.
I hope to continue discussing justice and mercy with you in the next part of Order in the Court, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, please pray for the person I have mentioned. I will not abuse her trust by releasing her name here, but I will ask you to pray that she will learn from this mistake.
- We’re made for each other. Really. I was made for God. In fact, he made me! He decided what I would look like and who I would marry, what my passion would be and what vegetable I would loathe most. He made me just for him, just so I could be his best friend forever – and yes, literally, forever!
- He’s let me read his diary. Diaries are usually a private thing, but God, being the awesome friend that he is, actually lets me read his diary – whenever I want! What’s more, he lets EVERYONE read it. His diary is the coolest ever – it’s all about kings and queens, princes, soldiers, heroic battles, me, and himself. No wonder it’s the world’s best-selling book.
- He can read my thoughts. It’s really cool when you can read your friend’s thoughts and they can read yours. God always knows what I’m thinking, whether it’s good or bad.
- He’s a great listener. God is willing to listen to all my ramblings, all my requests, all my dreams and thoughts and hopes and fears. He listens whenever I’m ready to talk, without getting mad at me for being so self-centered.
- He forgives me. I do plenty of things wrong, to him and to other people. Here’s the cool part: when I ask for forgiveness, he forgives me! God is so not into holding grudges when you apologize.
- He gives me stuff. Yeah, I know this sounds pretty self-centered, but God gives me stuff, and it’s great. He gives me a house, a warm bed, animals, big dreams, food, clothes, a family, and an allowance (thank goodness!).
- He helped someone invent Cheez-Its. Seriously, how could you not love him for that?
- He’s a great artist and shows me his work. Actually, God is the BEST artist ever, I’m not joking. He’s made a whole world just for me, filled with beautiful sunsets and sunrises, rainbows and trees and blue skies.
- He protects me. God is brave and truly cares about me. He’ll protect me from criminals, bullies, goats, anything.
- He loves me. If you don’t think that’s a good reason, then you’re crazy.
God is perfect, but he does have a pet peeve: sin. God CANNOT STAND IT. When his son was dying and all the sins of the world were cast onto him, God turned his face away from his own son! He hates it when I sin, but God doesn’t hate me. He loves me, and he’s willing to forgive me if I ask.
Want to meet my friend? You can talk to him, free of charge, anywhere and everywhere, as long as you want. Now that I’ve introduced you, it’s up to you to get to know him. (PSST! I’ll let you read his diary!)
Sometimes you just have to make yourself do something, because it’s necessary for your short-term happiness, your relationship with your brother, your college, and maybe your teeth. (I WILL brush my teeth today. I WILL.)
What are some of those places where you have drawn a line and wanted to not go anywhere below that? Have you made yourself study so you won’t get a B in Spanish, and accepted nothing less? Have you made yourself do a chore and do it well, not stopping until it’s done and done correctly?
How do you feel when you’ve finished that task? Tired, probably – maybe hankering for a bag of chips. But what else do you feel? A sense of satisfaction? Happiness? Are you proud of yourself for accomplishing this and pushing yourself to do it?
But what happens after that? Once you’ve accomplished that, is there no place to move on to? Of course there is!
Kate and Josh, brother and sister, both were determined to not fail science class. They made a promise to themselves not to accept an F, but to push themselves until they got a grade that would help them pass the class. When their teacher handed them each their research report, with a bright red C on each one, both smiled. A C is a passing grade, so they wouldn’t fail the class. What happened next? Kate, satisfied that she wouldn’t fail, let herself relax now. She continued her passing grade at a steady rate – C, C, C – and passed the class. Her brother, however, chose a different route. After feeling the satisfaction of getting a passing grade, Josh wanted to go beyond that and move forward. Yes, he would have to push himself, but he worked hard studying that month, and when he received his report card, he got an A in science class.
What did Kate do? She drew a line and kept to it. She didn’t fail, but she didn’t move forward. Josh drew a line – and lived above it. He continued to strive for more. He continued to do well and work hard, and he was well rewarded.
You have the choice to draw a line, and you have the choice to either stick with it or be great. It’s up to you. You have the ability, even if you aren’t great in science or math, or friends, or whatever you’re struggling with.
So, yes, strive for the A. Make yourself study. Work on your skateboarding and master a flip. Practice jumping your horse, raise the poles higher – and clear it!
However, when the kittens grow older, they start getting more adventurous, just like kids. The mother cat must show them how to live: how to play, how to keep clean, how to hunt, how to eat the mice they kill, how to stay away from predators (such as people, dogs, coyotes and cars), and how to find food that humans leave behind. The mother’s job is to protect the kittens and teach them how to live in the world.
When a mother horse is teaching her foal how to survive, she may nip it when the foal does something wrong, such as over-nurse, stray to far, or be to friendly with someone they shouldn’t be.
Your parents are much like the mother cat and horse! God has given your parents a big job: to love you and to teach you the ways of the world so that someday you’ll be ready when you set off to face it, looking out into the horizon at your dormroom, the McDonalds where you’ll work, your not-so-hip weather-beaten Ford, and *gulp* your girlfriend.
Do you think the mother horse was being mean when she pinned her ears back at her foal who was getting a little too friendly with some dogs? Of course not! The mother was simply protecting her child, and teaching it to be cautious about what company you’re with. Sometimes it feels like our parents are just being mean, but they’re just watching out for us to make sure we don’t get into trouble.
Don’t believe me? What are some of the "DON’T YOU DARE DO THIS" rules your parents have for you? No drinking? No driving at night? No parties? One hour of TV? 10:00 curfew? No friends over on a school night? Why do you think your parents have these rules? To be mean? Or to protect you? Think about it. Drinking is dangerous to you and to others around you. Driving at night can get you lost, kidnapped, in a storm, or in a wreck. A lot of parties have beer, Spin the Bottle, Ouija Boards (more on this later), and there are probably some people there who your parents don’t want you hanging out with. A lot of TV can earn you the award for "Biggest – Literally – Cheeto-Eating Couch Potato". A 10:00 PM curfew will help you stay out of trouble by not getting kidnapped, lost, or at parties you shouldn’t be at. Having friends over on a school night will keep your mind on your buds – when your mind should be on doing your homework and getting some sleep. What other rules can you think of, and what would happen if you didn’t have these rules?
Guess what! God has given you a special job right now! Your job right now is to obey your parents, because they’re your boss, just like God is their boss. Your job is to obey and honor your parents, to get good grades in school, and to live your entire life for God!
Your jobs will change over the years, but don’t worry – God will never change. God will be the one sure thing in your life when you pack your bags, kiss your mom on the cheek, shake your dad’s hand, and drive away to college. Even when your parents are there to help you through life, God will always be there for you, and his rules to live a great life are right there in your drawer – The Holy Bible.
Someday, after high school graduation, after college, after bullies and unfair teachers and cafeteria lunches, after your first girlfriend, (probably after the second, and third), after spending all your savings on a ring that isn’t even for you, after you get married and after all the mistakes of your youth, you’ll have kids. And guess what – those kids will think you’re being mean, too, when you tell them they can’t watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. But you’ll know that you’re just looking out for them and obeying God.
When you do have kids, will you want them to honor and respect you as you should honor and respect your parents? You can leave those questions till later in your life, but someday you will have kids and you’ll get to raise them just how you and God know they should be raised.
I am Miss Lydia Bennet for a Pride & Predjudice play I auditioned for. I am a 15 year old English troublemaker who runs away and gets married to a scoundrel, Mr. Wickham.
I'm really excited, and I'm sure all of my friends will be sick of hearing me chat about this by the time the play is over. :]
Miss Lydia Bennet
Understand it. Love is willing to wait instead of demanding, "Prove you care, NOW!"
Experience it. Sometimes you might feel like no one loves you. Or you may feel that they do, but only a little bit. Sometimes you might feel like screaming, "PROVE YOU CARE, NOW!" But what will that accomplish? You’ll startle the person you’re talking to – and what they’re trying to say, what they really feel, may not come out right. So instead of yelling and demanding an answer, just watch their actions. If you’re wondering if your mom loves you or not, watch what she does throughout the day. Does she cook your meals? Does she let you live under her roof? Does she buy you clothes and other things you need? Does she occasionally give you a treat? Does she look at you kindly, or hug you? Sure, none of these mean someone loves you, but they do hint at it, and if you watch closely, you’re bound to find that someone does love you.
Live it. Next time you see your mom, dad, or someone else you love, tell them you love them, whether you say the words or you give them a hug. People love to know you care about them.
Put God in it. Ok, maybe you’ve had a rough life and maybe you don’t have a mom or dad who loves you. But don’t give up hope. You have a heavenly dad, perfect and pure, who loves you more than any person could ever love you. God’s love is eternal – it will never fade. God loves everyone (that means you!) so much that he sent his son to die for you, so that you could be with him. There’s no love greater than that, trust me. God loves you, and don’t ever forget that. God’s love is real love.
If love is patient, then should you be patient with your siblings to show them love?
If love is patient, should you love those who try your patience?
If someone is impatient, does it mean they are incapable of loving you or anyone else?
In what ways have other people shown patience and love to you?
In what ways have you shown patience and love to others?
In what ways has God shown patience and love to you?
What are some ways you can show love to others by being patient?
Should we be patient to God and accept his timing? Is this one way to show your love for him?
Sometimes people's pet peeves can sound absolutely crazy to us. Like, I absolutely love reptitive noise -- keyboard clicking, tapping, drumming, anything; most people can't stand it. I think they're crazy, but really, they aren't.
We're wired with little things that tick us off -- pen clicking, gum-smacking, screaming, people wearing white after Labor Day. Other people's peeves sound crazy to us (how on earth could that bug someone?), but we all have pet peeves. Our pet peeves don't sound crazy to us.
God instructs us to "love on another as we love ourselves". If we wouldn't want someone to get on our nerves, we shouldn't make a point of getting on theirs. We should be respectful to their wishes and honor them.
Fasting is giving up something for God. Usually it’s food, so many of the people who fast skip meals for days or even weeks.
Does fasting make you a Christian?
No. The only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ, believing that he is your Lord.
Do you have to fast if you’re a Christian?
Some people think you do, but the truth is, God accepts you and loves you whether you skip meals or not.
Don’t forget – fasting meals is not dieting. Fasting is not for your own benefit, it is a way to show that God means more to you than anything else, that you value him over yourself, that you respect him.
Throughout the Bible and throughout history, people have fasted for the Lord. Remember Esther, who asked her cousin Mordecai to tell all the Jews to fast and pray for her? They were honoring God, and he helped them.
Brio magazine suggested to fast one of your meals, but skipping meals probably isn’t a good thing right now for you (it can spin your metabolism out of whack). You don’t have to fast just food. Fasting isn’t about what you fast – it’s about giving something up to God that means something to you.
If you feel that God is calling you to fast, here are some healthy ideas:
▪ Have a week of absolutely no TV (even if What Not to Wear is on)
▪ Give up desert for a month (this food fasting will actually be good for you!)
▪ Give up fries, coke, chips, or other junk food for a month
▪ Give up secular music for a week or month, whatever feels good to you
▪ Give up questionable movies that aren’t healthy for your relationship with God
▪ Give up movies altogether for a month or a week
▪ Give up makeup for a week or month, whatever feels best (this one is hard, but it’ll show that you really do care about God!)
▪ Give up video games for a month (you can do it!)
▪ Give up your allowance for a week or month (instead of just cutting it altogether, give your week or month’s worth of allowance to serve someone else who needs it – for example, buy a needy couple dinner, or donate to your local animal shelter)
Remember, whatever you chose, do it with a happy heart that’s ready to honor God!
CHALLENGE: I’ve listed some fasting ideas, now you list your ideas in the comments, and let’s all pick one thing to fast! Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all worship God together? Be sure to mention what you’ll be fasting in the comments.
NOTE: You can fast several things if you feel called to.
I feel sick, really "bleh" today. Last night, I made hot chocolate with the works (tons of whip cream, marshmallows, and about half a bottle of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup). My head started hurting, but I thought it was just from the sugar.
My head hurt worse when I finished folding the laundry, but my mom said I needed to finish my chores before I went to bed. (Yes, that night I actually WANTED to go to bed, crazy, I know.)
Now it feels like someone keeps punching my head, and it keeps getting worse. I feel hot, cold, hot cold. My head is burning up and my neck is on fire. The rest of me is cold, and I feel like I've ran a marathon in high heels.
So I'm not going to post anything good today because I don't think I could stay awake long enough to type it. We'll see.
Lots of love,
I've heard this song a million times before, but one verse really stood out to me.
Rebecca talks about Jesus dying, and in the midst of everything, he "thought of me above all".
So, let me help you realize how huge this is.
Jesus was dying the most painful death anyone could ever go through. He was tortured and beaten. All the sin from everyone in the entire world was cast upon him, blood pouring from his wounds.
And, as the sky turned to gray and the Roman soldiers were drinking wine, as the croud watched and the rain fell, as Jesus whispered his last words and breathed his last breath, he thought of me -- thought of you -- more than anything else.
He was in so much pain and was about to die. He could have easily gotten down from the cross and lived a normal life, healed himself.
But he didn't.
He chose to save you, because he loved you more than anything else. He loved you and wanted you to be safe; he loved you more than he loved himself! He chose to suffer so you may be free, and he is eagerly awaiting the day when you go up to Heaven and fall at his feet and love him back.
So, dislike the guy all you want, he's still going to be our president (unless, of course, he is impeached).
Oh, and he's not our president yet! My dad said he's the electoral president or something, the government guys have to accept him. So I'm still following Bush, as long as I can, just a second longer....
It'll just really tick me off when the rate of baby murders goes up, thanks to our new president.
Good times, good times.
Not that it was a surprise.
I told mom the other day, "I'm praying that God will make the one who will serve the Lord and America the most our president, but if Obama wins, I know God hasn't answered my prayers."
Well, of course, God knew what he was doing, but that doesn't mean that our country won't fall.
I made a song...about Obama, and my beloved country...but it is under peer review and may not be released to the public due to, um, truthfulness. :] Just a bit of my feelings.
Andrew, just you wait, you'll soon see why I was right. So, haha. There, I laughed. Wow, I actually laughed today! (Man, Andrew, you're good.)
No, wait, I'm angry.
You'll see, my friend, you'll see.
A Holy Heart
There’s a big health fad going around. Cereals such as Corn Pops used to be called Sugar Pops, but now, if someone saw that, they probably wouldn’t buy that cereal. Reality TV shows such as the Biggest Loser show people exercising like crazy. Sugary foods now have labels that say, "Whole Grain!" Maybe we teens should get all health-nutty, too. This, however, is not your typical boring health lesson.
A healthy body starts with a healthy heart, which is what we’re gonna talk about today.
Most of us don’t have healthy hearts, but we don’t even know it! I’ll tell you something I’ve never told anyone before: I admit that I have had heart problems. I still do! You see, I have a problem with giving. And with not making sarcastic comments. And with a lot of stuff. So you can probably guess that my heart is black with sin. My heart is unhealthy from all that stuff that’s clogging it up. When my heart is full of sin, my entire body simply can’t work right. You, believe it or not, have the exact same problem. So, how do we fix it?
Unclogging your Heart
So, you probably know that eating tons of fries and Little Debbie cakes can’t be good for your heart. Those things clog your arteries and prevent your heart – and you entire body – from working properly. There’s something else that clogs your heart. Sin. Before we start exercising our heart, we need to unclog it.
So, just as someone who is going on a diet will stop eating things that are bad for him, we need to stop doing things that are bad for us.
So, let’s start with the basics. What are some of the things that God warns us about? What things do you struggle with? Jealousy? Greed? Grudges? What things does the media shove down our throats? Things we shouldn’t look at? Music we shouldn’t listen to? Swearing?
Remove those things from your life. Replace them with better things so you won’t miss them as much.
All that crud in your heart right now is slowing down the work of your heart and making your entire body unhealthy. Unless you ditch the stuff that’s making your heart unhealthy (sin), you won’t be able to use your body in the awesome way God made it to be.
Exercising your Heart
Now comes the next step. If you defunk that gunk in your heart, but don’t add anything, your heart won’t have anything to do except the same old, same old: pumping, pumping, pumping blood, blood, and more blood.
Your heart is an amazing machine and needs to keep busy. It feels great when you do something good for others. That’s how God designed your heart to be. He wanted us to use it to serve other people. We have a life, now how do we use it?
Besides praying, the next best thing to do for people is to serve them. No, I don’t mean be their slave. I mean show them God’s love by doing things for them. If some bunny trashed your neighbor’s garden, offer to help her replant it. Set the table for your mom, take out the trash for your dad. Read your little sibs a bedtime story you loved when you were their age. Give your friend a little gift – just because. Bake cookies for the lady who is recovering from back surgery, and buy flowers for your teacher’s birthday. Just spend time with someone. It’ll really get your heart pumping!
Meet your Trainer
Your personal heart-healing trainer will be with you to help you on your journey called life. He’ll help you keep your heart, body, and mind in tip-top condition. If you have any questions, just ask him – he’s ready to listen 24/7.
Now go get pumping!
In the Bible, the writer of Genesis tells us about the beginning of the world and the beginning of time, the beginning of all things beautiful and the beginning of man. Genesis also tells us about the beginning of something that is slowly destroying all of those wonderful things: sin.
Sin entered the world when Satan, in the form of a serpent, lured Eve, the first woman, into thinking that if she ate the fruit of a particular tree, she would gain knowledge and understanding beyond belief and that she would be like God. Eve ignored the fact that God had specifically told her not to eat the fruit from that one tree, because the red fruit shone in front of her and her hunger for knowledge outweighed her love for God. Eve bit into the fruit and then offered a bite to her husband, Adam, the first man, and since that time, our hearts have been plagued with sin.
The fruit, thought to be an apple, is now a widely-recognized symbol for sin. In the hit TV show Desperate Housewives, the beginning of each episode features the drawing of a nude woman holding an apple. In the popular young adult series about love and vampires, the first book, Twilight, features a cover with a woman’s pale hands holding a bright red apple. A Veggie Tales episode about sin, greed, and materialism, stars an apple as the villain, who temps her victims into falling into her trap.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with an apple itself, but the story behind the antioxidants still lingers in today’s culture. Perhaps the apple will never lose its unfortunate fame.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thou shalt not steal.
Please do not steal, copy, or use my work. I’m trusting you with it. Thank you!
My friends may call me a control freak. Maybe I am, it really depends on my mood. Sometimes, instead of bothering to explain everything to someone and waiting for them to do it, I just take over and do it myself, that way I know that it’s gonna work out.
But sometimes I just need to stop, take a breath, and let someone else get involved. I need to admit that I’m not in control. I need to accept that I’m not in control.
So, I wondered why I simply couldn’t just let someone help me. So I decided to turn to the one who actually was in control. That person was God.
I opened my bible to the very beginning, in Genesis, and God shared with me why he created the earth. He didn’t have help, but he didn’t need it. I wondered, Why haven’t I done something big? Why haven’t I created a world of my own? Then I realized: because I can’t. I can’t do everything. I’m not in control.
Yet I was in control of so many things already, right? I was in control over which hand I used to hold my toothbrush. I was in control of what gel pen I used to fill in an answer for my Trek bible study book. I was in control of what I ate for breakfast, I was in control of what piece of candy I wanted for desert (Tootsie Rolls or Dum-Dums?)
Or was I in control of that stuff? Who gave me the hand that I used to hold my toothbrush? Who gave people the ability to think up such things as gel pens? Who told the writers of my Trek book what to write? Who gave me food to eat? Who gave me the ability to reach for the particular piece of candy I wanted? I didn’t do all this, and it definitely didn’t happen just by chance. God has made everything that I do possible.
So I thought for a moment. If I was doing a science project on robotics with someone who was actually good at robotic science, and then took over the whole project, what would I come up with? A big mess. While this mess is small, a bigger mess would be made if I tried to take over my life, when it wasn’t just mine to live.
God made me, he gave me my life and shaped my life just right according to what he knew I could handle. My life isn’t just about me. I need to use it to serve others. But sometimes I forget that. And sometimes I just think, "It’s my life, I can do what I want with it!" Then again, is it my life? Does my life have a purpose other than to serve yours truly? Of course it does!
God is in control of every little detail of my life, from which hand I brush my teeth with to which hand will be the first to have a diamond ring on one of its fingers, which hand will hold a child, and back again to the Snickers bar.
That’s what God was trying to tell me! While I may think my plan may be best for the moment, God knows what’s best for my future. Maybe I should sit back and watch him do his amazing work without taking over.
Oh my blog, look what I found! So, I stopped writing this, thinking I was finished, and I went to make so pictures on the computer. Then, out of the blue, I decided to open my bible at random, just to see what would come up, and it opened to Proverbs 16:3. Look what God just told me!
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." – ProverbsThe story of David in 1 Samuel 29 shows us God’s control and how his plans work out for the best. Despite the fact that bad things were bound to happen, God was at work and made sure that David became king.
Throughout history, God has guided people and has defied all odds. God has saved those who were in desperate need of saving. God has made the earth. God has helped countless nations win battles (open your bible to almost any book of the Old Testament and you’ll see what I mean). God has even raised people from the dead!
God has done so many miraculous things, it’s hard for our downright puny brains to understand. We simply can’t understand, until we get to heaven and God gives us perfect bodies capable of holding vast amounts of information of his glory.
Until then, take the One Voice challenge. Surrender your body, your soul, your life to God – right now – and promise to let him be in control. C’mon, I’ll do it with you.
Before you read this, what things did you think you had control of?
After you’ve read this, what things do you have control of?
Would it be better to just let God rule your life?
Are you letting God control your life right now?
What would happen if you took control of your life?
What things have happened to you that have proved to you that God is in control?
In what ways have God’s plans worked out for the best, when you thought that your way would be better?
I have some
Ya know Jennifer Hudson, the actress/singer? Her mother and brother have been killed in one of their houses in a bad part of town. Yes, killed. As in, someone did it to them. To make matters worse, her nephew is missing.
Jennifer asks you to pray for her. "Thank you all for your prayers and your calls. Please keep praying for our family and that we get Julian King back home safely. If anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the authorities immediately. Here is a picture of Julian and what he was last seen wearing. Once again thank you all for being there for us through this tough time."
For more information, please read http://news.yahoo.com/s/eonline/20081026/en_top_eo/65668
For information on the $100,000 reward for her nephew, please read http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081027/ap_en_ce/chicago_bodies_hudson
Well, when I was in New Mexico (or was it Arizona?) there was a store off Route 66 called Thunderbird. It had a ton of beads and other jewelry-making devices. My Nana bought me quite a few things, and so I have been making earrings a lot lately, I have a whole row on my rack filled. I gave one pair to Hannah, and we came up with a plan.
It’s simple, really.
We’re going to start a business.
(Yes, Maddy, laugh all you want, tell me it’s just another of my get-rich-quick schemes that have all failed, but I tell you it is not.)
Of course, we haven’t even worked out a name. All we know is that we’ll pitch in to buy more beads, then we split the profits.
So, after our big decision, we went to Awanas in our terrible uniforms, (wait, what is that on the label? Does it say "huge whale design"?), and again, Abigail was the only Cubby. For her to be good, we bribed her with red star stamps, but she had a bit of trouble, so she only got one.
Anyway, end of story. Yes, I know, it’s anti-climactic, but Cubby the Bear says if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t comment on anyone’s blog at all. :] Jk!
Wait a second. Satan MADE Dalton disobey my parents? Really?
No, not really. Yes, Satan wants us to disobey. Satan wants us to steal, to lie, to cheat, to be rude, to hurt others physically, to hurt others emotionally, to tie a string of tin cans to a stray dog, to tease a kid with braces. Satan wants us to do all these things, but did he make us do them, no?Now, don’t think I’m saying Satan can’t do anything. Satan has power, but only a little bit, and his power could be zapped at any moment. Satan’s power comes from God, because God wanted to give people a choice – would they follow the One who loves them, or would they follow the one who hates them?Satan has the power to manipulate our minds. Satan can put ideas into our heads, but he does it so cleverly that we think that the ideas came from us, not from Satan (because he knows that if we knew it was Satan who put those ideas in our head, we would spit them back out pronto). Some of the ideas Satan gives us are ones of revenge, to hold a grudge, or to steal that DVD that you’ve been wanting so badly, and nobody would see you, right? And that music download – no one would a buck, right? So they wouldn’t mind if I just took some of their songs, right? It’s not really stealing, they have plenty of money, right? Satan makes us think that we are right. He makes us think that the ideas – his ideas – are ok, because so-and-so had it coming, or because Jimmy hit you, and this temptation would be a good, just way of getting back at him. Or would it?Now, Satan doesn’t shove his ideas down our throats. Satan simply can’t. Satan offers these ideas to us, but, the more we accept his ideas, the harder it is to say no. You have a choice. God gave you a choice. You can choose to give in to Satan’s plan, or you can stand up for what’s right. What’ll it be?
There was absolutely no one from the festival at the AWANAS program or our morning church service. No one. Just our regular "gang". We think it was because we parked toward the back of the building in the grass instead of the parking lot, so it looked like no one was there.
We're hoping for more people next week. God will provide.
My little sister, Abigail, was the only Cubby there, so in the Cubbies class, we had 4 helpers -- me, Hannah, my mom, and a lady from church -- and one cranky 4-year-old. Oh...my...blog. That girl...well, it's a good thing she's cute, with her big 'fro and tiny nose. She flat-out refused to be a good little girl. Oh well. (Better luck next time, RIGHT, ABIGAIL?)
I'm typing right now with purple hands -- I just finished the batter for blueberry pancakes -- and I even have purple nail polish to go with it. Yes, I said purple nail polish; no, I'm not crazy. (Well, maybe I am.)
Tonight is my first night of being an AWANA Cubbies leader. I will be juggling 3-4 year olds, including my sister, Abigail. Yesterday, at a fall festival, we set up 2 booths and advertised the start of our 2nd year in the AWANA program, and so we are hoping that our very small church will have a boosted attendance, at least more children.
So, I have an ENORMOUS uniform (whoever printed "MEDIUM" on the tag was blind, that thing is an xxxxxxxxxxxxxl) and it is blue, with a Cubbies Bear on it *shudders*. It's a good thing little kids are cute. So, when I press "publish post" at the bottom of this page, I need to grab a bite to eat and see what I can do to save my uniform and make it look halfway decent (right now, it makes me look like a whale. And don't crack some joke about me already being one, lol.).
Tonight may be hectic, cause I do not have the slightest idea what these kids are capable of. If I don't post in a week you can assume the worst.
Duty calls, my friends, duty calls.
The other tent, next to the refreshment tent, was the one I worked in. My mom and I set up a fish game. We bought a blow-up swimming pool at Wal-Mart and we put laminated toy fish in it. Each fish had a magnet on it. Children were given a fishing rod with a piece of metal at the end so the children could pick it up with the magnet (after a few swings of the rod). Then they would get a prize.
In this time, my mom would tell the parents about our church and AWANAS program, which we were entering our second year in and were hoping for more kids.
I carried around a little bucket filled with candy, papers, magnets, pens, and stickers that said, "GOD LOVES YOU" and "JESUS LOVES YOU". I passed them out among the crowd for free, giving stickers & candy to little children and talking to the parents about our new website and AWANAS program and church while handing them the various church items.
It was really fun, though tiring, and my friend Hannah who was working inside the tent met a news reporter and will get her picture in a magazine. I was really bummed at first that I wouldn't get my picture in, because that is SO my thing, but I guess I've had my share of newspaper and TV appearances, so I quickly got over it.
So, tomorrow is Sunday and I cannot wait to see how many people show up for our morning service and how many more kids will show up for Awanas!
Just a little look into my daily life.
I am so happy, yes, I am a computer geek, it doesn't show on the outside, but on the inside, I am just another amazing Windows Vista. Yes, I absolutely love it! I'm typing on my dream computer that, unfortunetly, doesn't belong to me, while my Nana, my traveling buddy, is in a meeting in the other room.
There are so many political ads here, even more than in Texas. Besides Heinrich (sp?) and people who are running for the Senate in New Mexico, Obama has taken New Mexico and Arizona by storm. He has bashed McCain repeatedly, never ceasing.
So, now, you know where I stand, probably, on the Presidential issue. But I'm not going to turn this into a political debate, instead, with the elections 3 weeks away, I'm going to ask you once again to PRAY.
Yes, prayer is our most powerful tool. But what are we praying for?
How NOT to pray:
"Dear God, please let McCain win, because he's got the experience we need, even if he does have a few smile lines, I'm not picky."
"Dear God, make Obama win! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Because he's young and McCain's old and Obama is nice, I think, really nice."
No, that's not the way to do it. Ya know why? You are not God. You do not know who is going to serve our country best. God knows. So, instead, pray that God's hand will be upon Obama and McCain, that is the best thing we can do, since most of you reading this blog cannot vote.
Next would be some guy with great hair. "Melissa, can I buy you a soda? A pizza? A Coach purse? A Corvette? You are just drop-dead gorgeous! Tell me what to do and I’ll do it!"
If only, if only.
In a world I would create, everyone would gush over me. I’d be the center of attention. The whole world would revolve around me (because it really is all about me). Or is it?
What would be in the world you would create? Who would you be?
I was thinking about this, and, seriously ask yourselves, Is it really all about me? And do I want it to be? No, actually, it would be freaky if it was all about me. I mean, all we could eat would be Cheez-Its and Cherry Coke. You’d be sentenced to life in jail if you teased a kid with glasses, and let’s just say you would NOT be happy if you mistreated an animal, to the extent of setting a mouse trap in your barn or garage.
It would be a perfect world for me, it would seem, but what about others? I’m sure the health nuts out there would shrivel up and die in my world. And those mice can be annoying. In my world, we’d have fashion police, but what if you just don’t look good in Prada? Even the most self-centered person would feel empty if he or she didn’t have people around that enjoyed being around him. And what about God?
Our world is about God. Because it REALLY is all about him. And he would not restrict the health nuts from broccoli, or arrest you for wearing last season’s Burberry coat that just screams "I’M SO OUT". God has made this world with us in mind. He planned it, designed it, created it just for us, so that we could be happy with him. That’s my idea of a leader.
Just a little thought.
My eyes widened. 12 dates in just one hour? It was meant to be a shocker, and it did shock me, but not in the way the ad’s creator’s intended. Would someone really want 12 dates in an hour? You would only be able to see the outside of your date. There would be no time to talk much about serious subjects.
So, you sign up for the speed dating, give the manager some cash, and drive to Le Buttered Snail, an overpriced French restaurant.
You: sitting at table in fancy restaurant.
Date: walks in, smiling.
You: "Hey! I’m Greg."
Date: shakes your hand. "Hi, I’m Ka—"
Then she is whisked away. Another girl appears in the doorway.
Date: comes to you, but trips over chair and falls. "Ouch!"
You: stand up quickly and rush to her aid. You help her stand up.
Date: smiles. "Why, thank you." checks watch. "Oh, look at the time! Gotta run!"
Oh, yes, very romantic. *rolls eyes*
how to read your bible
&& how to give the phrase "chew on it" a whole new meaning
Ok, I must take a step down from my pride and admit that I can be taught something by, yes, a cow. Beloved bovines can show us how to apply God's word to our lives. No, this is not a zoology lesson.
Reading your bible is something you should do every day. But sometimes it's hard to grasp the true meaning of what God's trying to tell you.
My friend Maddy emailed me this idea.
Now, this is very unlike Maddy, because when you meet her you do not think of a country bumpkin or a cowgirl. No, Maddy is fashionable and fun, but this was very out of character.
Basically, she told me that a cow eats the grass, chews it slowly, swallows, and then, a moment later, chews the same piece again -- it is chewing its cud. Now, looking out the window, I can guarantee this is true, there's a fat white cow in our neighbor's pasture with legs as wide around as my waist, and he is chewing his cud.
So, where am I going with this? A cow chews its cud and so this is how we must read our bible. "Skimming" the page is not the way. Reading the page in a rush is not the way. Reading while bored or distracted is not the way. If you really want to soak up God's Word, we should read a verse or passage once, slowly, then think about it, then read it again. That was it really sinks into us.
Everyone please wish Maddy a happy 13th!
So, thanks again, Maddy!
.... Oh, alright, fine. Thanks, cows.
Ok, let's say you're walking down the street, and then some guy runs up to you and yells, "IF YOU DON'T REPENT, YOU'RE GOIN' TO HELL!!"
Yeah, I'd be a little annoyed. Ok, maybe more than a little. A lot. And you'd be thinking, "Get away, freak!" And I'd probably be stupid and say, "Looks like somebody needs a hug." (And then I'd look even more stupid with a black eye.)
Now, this may seem crazy, but people actually do that. Who are these people? Christians. Christians that are so fired up that they can't contain themselves and they FORCE people to believe instead of offering them the chance. Well, you can't force someone to believe. Even if you threatened to set them on fire, forcing won't work. They could say, "Ok, I believe? Jeez!" But you can't force someone to truly believe the Word of God.
Preaching in Waikiki
In his book How to Share Your Faith, Greg Laurie tells us what happened when he was walking down main street in Hawaii. "I saw a man standing on one of the corners with a rather large sign. Emblazoned on the sign were the words 'The Wages of Sin is Death!' It also had some flames painted on it, no doubt for effect." The man was yelling at the top of his lungs to everyone passing by with shouts of, "You're gonna burn!", "God will judge you, sinner!" and "Repent or perish!" There was no compassion or love in his voice.
So, Laurie walked up and said, "Excuse me--"
And the man continued, "Repent, ye sinners!" Finally, the man barked, "What do you want?"
"I'm a Christian, too, but I was thinking that you are really only giving half of the gospel message out here tonight. It is true that the wages of sin is death, but I'm sure you're aware of the fact that the rest of that very verse says, 'But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Why don't you put that message on the other side of your sign and turn it around every now and then so people get the whole picture?" Laurie suggested.
The man screamed at Laurie and told him that he was going to hell, too.
Church is not a Haunted House
You're not trying to scare non-Christians. Do you really want them to think Christians are a bunch of weirdos?
Someone you'll meet one day is going to look at you as the only Christian they know much about, and so you should set an example. How do you want them to see you? How do you want them to see us? How do you want them to see God? You may be their only chance. So let's not creep them out with big flaming signs or harsh words.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." - The Holy Bible
Nowadays, when we turn on the TV and a Pepsi commercial pops up, we start singing the 2008 Song of the Year. "What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more."
So, I ask you, "What is love?"
So many people in this world don't have it. They're desperately trying to find it, but the problem is that they are looking in the wrong place.
Love doesn't have to come from the opposite gender. Love comes in its purest, finest, form when it is from God.
Yeah, you saw it coming, didn't you? God created love, so of course he is the ultimate source for love. Think of a river. Yeah, there's water flowing down so people can have it, but this water isn't the purest, it isn't the best. You find the best water straight at the source, before it picks up all the dirt and rocks along the way downstream.
"Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres. Love never fails." - 1 Corinthians 13 (just a small dose of it)
I'm homeschooled, and one of my assignments was to get my bible and memorize 1 Corinthians 13. But it wasn't the mushy stuff that I expected. It was about the love that God shows us and that we are to show other people. Let's give that clean, pure, and life-giving love to other people who don't have it!
Read it & Memorize it: 1 Corinthians 13
Pray it: Dear God, please help me to show your love -- real, pure, and genuine love -- to others who need it. Amen.
I looked at my little sister whose face was as red as a tomato.
"I want that toy!" she yelled.
My other sister, the youngest, held a baby doll in her hands.
"Jessie, you can’t get that toy by screaming," I told her.
"But I want it!" Jessie wailed.
"No. You can’t have it. Wait until she’s done playing with it."
Later that night, I sat in my bed. I always pray at night, so I can talk to God about my day. I found myself asking and asking for countless things. I stopped. While it was good to be praying, all I was doing was basically TELLING God to do it. "Dear God, please help me do well in school tomorrow, please help me do well with my riding lesson, please bless my family tomorrow, please…." I noticed that if I took out the word "please", I was just demanding that God do it. Hopefully demanding. Please really doesn’t mean anything unless you are sincere.
So, when you pray this week, focus on praising God instead of telling him what you want.
National Relief Network
The National Relief Network works to bring volunteers to disaster areas in order to help families clean up debris and rebuild their homes and communities. Teens who have been on disaster relief projects describe the work as life-changing and well worth the investment.
Especially with the Hurricane Ike disaster in Galveston, Texas, we’ll be needing help more than ever.
Rebuild a community at www.nrn.org
It’s the thing that I never have enough of when I go to the mall. It’s the thing that makes people greedy. It’s the thing that starving people don’t have. Money is a lot of things.
We’re not getting greedy here. You’ve heard people say, “Money shouldn’t be something you love.” Well, you shouldn’t love it or be obsessed with it, but, let’s face it: Money is important. Money is very important. 16 of Jesus’ 40 parables talks about money. Jesus knew this was a big issue, so he wanted to get his message clear. “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Read the story: Luke 12:13-21
I’m guessing you’ve felt like you don’t have enough money. Is that because you need more? Or is it because the media is constantly telling us that more, more, more is better?
Is more better? You can only have so much “more”. If you’re an average mow-the-lawn-for-$5 kid or a billionaire, “more” seems like the unreachable goal. Even if you had all the money in the world, you’d still want more. So, why is “more” so important to you?
Stay tuned for more info on money.
Does money run my life?
How does the media affect my view on money?
How do my friends affect my view on money?
Do I truly need more money?
Will more money make me happy?