All You Need is Love

The Beatles knew the importance of love. Love was the theme to most of their songs. "Love, love me, do. You know I love you. I'll always be true. So please love me, too." And then there's the classic, "All you need is love, love, love...."

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.


Can you say "please"?

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.


2 Thessalonians 3:3

"The Lord is faithful and will give you strength and will protect you from the
evil one." – 2 Thessalonians 3:3


Get Good Grades

Getting good grades and going to college is SUPER important.

Americans who drop out of high school earn only 65% of what people with high school degrees earn.


National Relief Network

check it out!
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


Money [part1]

Money. Dinero. Dough. Cash.
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.

Journal Jots
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?


Book Review: All for Jesus

Book Review
All for Jesus
By Franklin Graham with Ross Richards

Sometimes the things that are of greatest value come in small packages. The chapters in All for Jesus are small packages, but they’re absolutely chock-full of wisdom. Originally made for staff members of a well-known ministry, this book is full of all kinds of solid teaching and challenging messages that will spur you on to an even deeper relationship with God. Topics include grace, certainty of salvation, prayer, service, forgiveness, God’s promises, hope for the future, and tons more!


Ancient One

Since I am turning 13, old and decrepit, I looked in a Thesaurus to see what other things I will be.

Frail – my beautiful, delicate features are very dainty is what this REALLY means
Aged – I’ll be more mature
Senile – not really sure what this one means
Broken-down – in a little over three years, I’ll own a broken-down Ford
Feeble – I’ll be your typical lovely damsel in distress

These are great things to look forward to. I’m really excited. I just don’t see why adults don’t like describing themselves this way. Who DOESN’T want to be…er…senile, whatever that is? It doesn’t sound that bad. A damsel in distress seems medieval and beautiful. Aged (more mature) is a good thing.

In China’s history, the elderly were shown much respect, for they had wisdom.
In Egypt’s history, it was your duty to address the elderly as "Grandfather", "Grandmother" (even if that person isn’t related to you), or "Ancient One". So now I joke with my mom. Sometimes, when I see her, I say, "Hello, Ancient One."

Now my little siblings must refer to me as "dear, kind, mature, beautiful Ancient One".

The Promise of 13

It’s that time of year again – almost. My birthday. But this isn’t just any birthday. This is my thirteenth birthday, my first year of being a real teenager. 13! I know, I’m turning old and decrepit, aren’t I?

What does my new year of life hold for me? I’m looking forward to eyeshadow, eyeliner, and, of course, riding in the front seat. (Right now, at 12, my dad is the only one who’ll let me ride in the front seat, and then only when he’s in the mood.)

These all sound like fun privileges, but the greatest one is to be a faithful servant of my Lord. I want to serve him and be drawn closer to him. Maturity comes with age. I’m definitely not immature now, but I’m excited to learn more about God.

Also, I’m hoping to get a purity ring for my birthday. When I asked Dad if I could get one as a present, he told me it wouldn’t be just a silly piece of jewelry. So, that kinda crushed my spirits. I already knew that! I want one as a symbol of my commitment to God. Does he really think I’m that immature? Maybe he was just reminding me. I don’t know.

I’ll stop boring you with my ranting now. :)


Anchor for your Soul

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. – Hebrews 6:19,

Have you ever seen a movie where a boat is getting pounded by a big storm? If you have, you probably know that it’s really important to have an anchor. Otherwise, the ship could drift away or even *gulp* shipwreck.

The dude who wrote Hebrews talks about a ship as a metaphor to describe our faith and the salvation of our souls. The writer gives us warnings about the dangers Christians face, then he talks about who God is: the most powerful, faithful, unchanging, and trustworthy God that we could ever imagine. (Hebrews 6:13-18)

Without God, people drift through live without any purpose, or they run straight into danger.
If you want to know where to find "an anchor for the soul, sure and strong", look to God. No matter how hard life gets, you can have hope in his faithful promises.


Jesus Take the Wheel

"She was driving last Friday…." So begins Carrie Underwood’s hit song "Jesus Take the Wheel". I hear it on the radio in the car. I set my iPod to "shuffle" and Underwood’s rich voice floats through the earbuds.

The whole song is a story about a woman who’s simply forgotten her faith. When her car spins out of control, she takes her hands off the steering wheel and cries:

"Jesus take the wheel; take it from my hands,
cause I can’t do this on my own.
I’m letting go. So give me one more chance.
Save me from this road I’m on….
Jesus take the wheel."

These lyrics can apply to anyone’s life. Whether your facing tough times or preparing yourself for the tough times in the future, let Jesus take the wheel of your life. When he’s in control, everything turns out just right.


Don't Rush

I had a riding lesson today. My horse, Ronnie, is very well trained and loves to work. She hadn't been ridden in a while, though, and she sometimes rushes over the jumps. When she rushes, sometimes we knock over a pole or stumble.

When we try rushing our lives, we often mess up. Things don't turn out the way we should because we're trying to get things done instead of trying to get things done well.

This week, work on making your work -- whether it's homework, cleaning your room, or doing your chores -- as good as you can make it.


Tough Times

Everyone goes through hard times. It’s how you deal with them that matters.

Pray. Prayer is our most powerful tool. God hears you, even when you feel cruddy. God loves you, and he’ll help you if you ask him to. It makes him sad when we make a choice (or someone makes a choice for us) that hurts us, and he’ll cradle you in his arms, if you’ll let him.

Share your fears. Sharing your thoughts, fears, and dreams are a great way to relax a bit (especially if you are a girl – we love to vent). Talk to your parents, your friends, or an adult that you’re close to. (Don’t forget to talk to God, too.) You can get helpful advice this way.

List the positive things in your life. Ever heard "count your blessings"? Sometimes thinking of the good things in your life make the bad ones seem manageable.

Surround yourself with worshipful music. Worship is a great way to get closer to God. It also can give us peace when we totally surrender to him. Go to a quiet place, turn on some praise music, and sing to your audience: God. Try Jeremy Camp, Bethany Dillon, Casting Crowns, and any other favorites.

Eat and sleep well. Your mind and your spirit won’t be healthy unless your body is healthy. Exercising may not seem appealing right now, so we’ll make it a little easier. Sleep 8-10 hours each night. Eat a good breakfast that contains milk and fruit. Drink lots of water. Don’t eat anything an hour before bed (if you really need something in your stomach at night, get some milk).

Read the definition of "hope". Get the dictionary.

Remember that problems have expiration dates. Someday, with some help from you, God, and the people around you, your dilemma will be resolved. A new one is likely to introduce itself soon, so be ready. Having trust in God is a must if you’re going to survive difficult times.

Comfort someone else. Remember that other people go through tough trials and they need comfort just like you do. Pray for them and comfort them like you would want to be comforted.

Read the book of Job. Or at least some of it. This whole book is about the trials that Job faced. Things got REALLY bad for this dude, but he kept worshipping God, and so God saved him.

Trust God. He can do anything. He is the creator of hope and of you. Trust in the Lord and he will give you strength.


Gimme a G-O-D!

If you play sports or have ever been to a game, you’ve probably heard the cheerleaders leading the crowd with their little songs, doing little cartwheels across the field.
And maybe, if you’ve ever won the game, you’ve heard people cheering for you, because they think you’re so great!

Well, God is great, too. Fans cheer for their team and we can cheer for God. That’s right. Praising God is a lot like cheering. We’re thanking him for being so amazingly awesome, so cool, maybe even "gnarly", if anyone ever says that anymore.
So, before you pray or read your bible or do your daily devotions, cheer for God. Because he’s gnarly.

Journal Jot: Write down a special cheer, just for God. It can be a praise song or a poem. Share your cheer in the Chat section.


Prayer Point: Hurricane Ike

We (me and Lucy, writers of One Voice) both live in Texas. And, as you probably have heard, Galveston, Texas, is experiencing Hurricane Ike. I don’t live in Galveston, but I can see the effects of Ike. It’s raining here, but the worst part is the wind. At least we don’t have to evacuate.

Some people in Galveston and Houston have not evacuated yet. They chose to stay put, though reporters have warned them that they face "sudden death". I’m most worried about the children and animals. The children need their parents, they can’t defend themselves. If something happens to their parents, their only hope is to find a rescue committee. And the animals don’t have it much easier. Domesticated animals think differently than wolves because some of their natural behavior has been taken away from them. They don’t stand much of a chance if they are left there.

Moody Gardens has evacuated all the animals. Can you imagine, shipping that many sharks, fish, turtles, stingrays, birds, monkeys, and big cats to places that are hours away?
Six Flags will be closed for a while (duh). I would NOT like to be riding the Titan in this weather.

Please pray for everyone – the people and the animals – that they will all make it to safety, and please pray that the area will not be totally destroyed. Also, if you live in Texas, stay tuned to your local weather channel for updates.


A New Person

I was flipping through my bible today and I saw a highlighted passage that caught my eye.
The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power…and you will be changed into
a different person.
((1 Samuel 10:6, NIV))

A different person. Cool. But there was more to it than that, I knew. God would change me, but I had to be willing. I had to ask him to change me.
When we’re saved, when we ask God to rule our lives and make him the boss, the Spirit of the Lord really does come down on us, and it really does change us.
Another verse…oh, where is it?…says, "Behold: the old has gone, the new has come." It says more, but I can’t find it right now. I’ll ask my dad later, it’s his favorite verse. Anyway, there are a lot of verses that tell us of the changing inside us that takes place when God enters our hearts.
So, what is this change? It’s more than just being able to say, "I’m a Christian." It’s more than wearing a cross necklace or your mom having a little fish on her car. This change is inside us. When we become Christians, we God gives us the gift of life, so we will go to Heaven when our earthly bodies, damaged and flawed, die. God also gives us his Spirit, which helps us to love others and have faith. The final gift is the Word, the bible. This is our manual for life. It tells us just about everything we need to know to be happy and to live forever. Without those gifts, we are empty, but with them we are ready to face the world and share those three gifts with others.
When we become Christians, we become more like Jesus. No, we will never be exactly like him. But we will have the gifts that he has given us, and so we will be an image – a reflection – of him. And there’s no greater gift than that.


Power Bracelets

Q: Some of my friends are wearing power bracelets. I was thinking of getting one, but I’m not sure. Is it ok to wear them?

A: Buddhism started the power bracelet theory. Many Buddhists believe the bracelets give them special powers. But we know that only Jesus gives real power that lasts forever.

Do you think that a statue can give you power? No. In Exodus, God’s people got into a mix up with a golden statue of a cow. Well, the statue didn’t give them any power, and they just made God angry.

Anything that you think can give you power or anything you think is more important than God is called an idol. Worshipping a statue is silly. If you read on in Exodus, it says that the people MADE the statue from their jewelry. Wait a second. The people made the statue? Then how could it give them power? It was just a chunk of gold carved into the shape of a cow. It wasn’t alive. It couldn’t do anything.

It’s the same with power bracelets. I don’t think bracelets or beads by themselves are evil. But if you’re wearing them to be popular or to get “special power”, then forget it. That stuff is so not worth your time, money, or worship.


Fake Out

Not everything that seems good is true. From food to religions, cosmetic companies and nearly everything in between, there are the flaky fakes. Makeup, toys, get-rich-quick schemes – they all seem cool at first, but they turn out to be just another disappointment.

Ads for restaurants and grocery stores are a good example. Some of the most common tricks of the trade: strawberries colored with red lipstick, eyeliner grill marks on steaks, a chicken that is only partially cooked to look wet and “sizzling”, lard ice cream. The goal is to make the food look delicious, but really it’s just a trick to get you to want the food, which probably isn’t as good as the commercial claims.

Food isn’t the only thing that’s fake. There are a lot of religions out there, and all but one is fake. You can’t just pick what YOU think is good and write a book about it, expecting everyone to follow and bow down to you. No. This is all a lie. It’s a trick, but it’s so old that many people have forgotten that these religions don’t really lead to God. The ONLY way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. The Bible even says it. And you can be sure that he is no fake! (After all, God made you!)


Good at Doing Good

God is so good at doing good, he takes even the crummy stuff in your life and turns it into something great-- something that makes you stronger and brings you closer to him.

"They have treated me badly...but the Lord does what is right; he has set me free from those wicked people. - Psalm 129:2-4

Patience and Encouragement

Patience and encouragement come from God.

- Romans 15:5


Room for improvement?

My goal is to make this season of One Voice and Girls for God (www.girls-4-god.blogspot.com) better than ever! So, if you have a question, please ask it in the comments, and if there is something you'd like to see here, post it! Thanks for your support!

Feed the Hungry

Although worldwide hunger is a staggering problem, the situation is improving. Twenty years ago, about forty-one thousand people died of hunger or related causes daily. That has decreased to twenty-four thousand, but it’s still a crisis. You may think, So what can I do about it? Well, all it takes is the click of a mouse to donate at The Hunger Site, created in 1999 to work on eliminating world hunger. Over two hundred thousand people click the “give free food” button each day, which allows hunger relief organizations Mercy Corps and America’s Second Harvest to distribute food paid for by site sponsors.

Feed the hungry at www.thehungersite.com and don’t forget to click every day! You don’t pay a thing.



I'm back from my trip to Europe! Happy Labor Day, btw. Saturday's plane ride lasted 30 hours, no joke, because we had to switch from London time to US time.

The trip was AMAZING. Everything was so beautiful and quaint. I love Europe, especially Finland and Russia. So pretty! There are more bikes than cars, and canals serve as roads. The houses are lined up, each one different than the next, all different colors. I tried elk and reindeer sausage. Elk was delicious, but the reindeer sausage was too salty. Oh, and I tried fish. I don't know what kind of fish it was, but it was fish and that's what counts. And it was disgusting. So, in Finland, they set out a big tray with bowls of fish, (raw salmon, too!), but I settled with gingerbread cookies and European chocolates (delicious!).

Ok, this is my last trip for a while, so I will update this blog every day that I can.