Angels -- No Longer Naked Babies

I was in my parents’ bathroom, and on the floor was a stack of Angel Soft toilet paper, the logo being, of course, a naked baby. You can find these nude angel babes in lots of places – Disney’s Fantasia shows these cherubs dressing up the pretty unicorn ladies to meet their mates. I wonder, when did this start? When did someone say, "Hmm…I think God’s angels are actually naked babies with little wings and fat bottoms." I don’t have a clue why. Let’s take a deeper look.

When you were going through some tough times and really needed protection and comfort, God was right there to help you. God is awesome like that.
"My child," he addressed you gently. "I present to you a guardian angel of your very own."
Immediately your soul is warm, but so is your arm. Eww. God hands you a towel to mop up the spit-up.
"He’s a pain in the neck now," God continues, "but somehow he’ll keep you safe."
"What about diapers?" you ask.
God laughs. "Diapers? Have you ever seen a cherub with a diaper? No, they prefer to be al natural."
"That’s great, God, but I don’t want to take this from you. I couldn’t. Really."
"Oh, go ahead, daughter. I have plenty more. And look, they even come with little wings."
Because kids aren’t difficult enough, you grumble silently.
"Hey, I heard that," God calls as he walks away.

Yeah, riiiiiiiiight. Just some stupid "what ifs" that I was thinking about. You see, somewhere our culture got mixed up. I think they wanted to down-size God’s power by showing his warriors as babies. Thanks goodness God has a better imagination than people do! He created angels as huge, brilliant beings. Angels are actually more of a mystery to us than God. We don’t worship them, but there is something about them that draws us to them. There’s something about such a powerful, godly creature protecting us that makes us feel safe.
Angels are not babies – the Bible clearly tells us that cherubim and seraphim are huge, with great wings hiding their faces. Next time you see a typical baby "angel", remember that God doesn’t treat your safety like a joke. This was really random….


Making Dinner

I'm making my *soon to be* world famous cheese enchiladas tonight for dinner. My mom just left to take Jessie to the dentist (the worst place in the world) and so I'm also babysitting 3 crazy little ones.

I don't know why, but I freak out when I cook. I've made these enchiladas several times, but the first time I didn't know how (mom didn't write the recipe down) and the second time, I had gotten shots. Shots are supposed to make you not sick, but they made me sick, so I was cooking and fainting and the room was turning gray and it was scary. Now I have to make the sauce by myself.

Listen to me whine. I'm such a sissy. But if I mess up, I'm doomed. Or at least I've got that in my head.

Cooking stresses me out. So, Nick J., if you're reading this, you're going to do half of the cooking...or you're gonna have one insanse wife.

God Bless,

(p.s.: if you get any spiritual encouragement or meaning from this post, let me know and I will forever hold you as the most godly person I know! It's a challenge, lol!)


Have Thine Own Way, Lord

I’m part of the praise band in church, and we’re singing a song this week called "Have Thine Own Way, Lord". One particular verse struck me as odd – almost crazy!

Have Thine own way, Lord,
Have Thine own way
Test me and try me,
Master today.

I don’t believe there’s ever been a day where I wake up and said, "Ok, God, make today really hard. Test me and give me trials. Just beat me up, I’m begging you."
No, I’m usually like, "Ugh. My back hurts. Ah, look at my hair! It looks like those parrots at Petco. God, please help Mom forget about school today and please shut up those kids; I want to sleep a bit longer."
(And then I’d think of Daniel when he was thrown in the lion’s den. Except, I was Daniel and the lions were screaming siblings disrupting the peace. Then God closed their mouths to save me. The end.)
Anyway, I’m pretty sure you’ve never asked God to make today especially difficult and miserable. As humans, our nature is to live on our own terms and to live life as easily as we can with as little difficulty. When we begin life, like a video game, we’re sissies. We want to "play" on "Easy" mode, but that’s not always possible, and I’ve learned its not always the best choice for you.
I’m not going to tell you to ask God to make your life a chore. No, that’s not right. I’m just wondering – what would happen to us if we never had a challenge? If life was always easy? Where would we end up? How could we accomplish anything? Why would we be living in the first place?
Think about it. We wouldn’t have kids, because kids are hard to handle. Because no one would have kids, you wouldn’t even be alive. But say you were alive. Then what? You wouldn’t ever get in a serious relationship, because love is complicated, right? You’d have no friends, because caring for someone and giving up what you want for them – that’s too hard. You wouldn’t have a job, because work is hard, so you wouldn’t have any money. I could go on and on.
You see, sometimes it’s good to be pushed. Rise up to the challenge of really living! An easy life isn’t really a life at all. It’s only through trials that we grow. We learn to rise above the things that tear us down, making us stronger, better, smarter, wiser, kinder.

Every day this month, just try this quick prayer bit. Ask God, before you get out of bed each morning, to challenge you in some way. At the end of the month, think about what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. You’ll be surprised!

(P.s.: When you’re on God’s side, you can overcome anything!)



Do ducks go to Heaven?

Our little duck’s heart finally died. That duckling wasn’t growing at all while his brothers and sisters shot up. His chest would heave as he breathed, and today my sister Jessie found him dead, his body stiff, his beak and legs purple. We had a little funeral for him. My brother, Elijah, prayed, "Dear God, please help this duck have lots of fun in Heaven with You."

I don’t know if animals do go to Heaven, but I’d like to think that our menagerie of little innocent creatures do.


Don't Delight in Evil

I think sometimes we just want to be bad. Just because. For no reason at all. We know we shouldn’t enjoy doing bad things, but, sadly, we sometimes do. When you’re in a fight with someone and you say something that really proves you’re right and beats the other person down – we smile to ourselves. When we toilet-paper people’s houses – we don’t have a reason for it – we just want to be a rebel, just this once, just because we can. We like it. We like to break rules. We like to push limits, test people, see how far we can go and get away with it.
It’s the awful, terrible, yet honest truth. We long to let people know that we do things on our own terms! I’ve told my mom once, "You know I’m doing this out of free will, right? You can’t make me do anything; it’s my choice." And it was my choice. Sure, I could be punished for my actions, but when it came down to it, she couldn’t have me beheaded (not that she’d want to). And I liked the fact that she couldn’t go beyond that. I’m ashamed of it, but I liked that power that I had tapped.
I am not a rebellious teenager. I don’t take my parents’ car and crash it. (Really, why would I want to take that big white bus? My friends would laugh at me! Besides, I’m terrified of driving.) I don’t go to parties and get drunk. I don’t do drugs, I don’t get in fights (except for, "Some sister you are! Give that back to me, Jessie, or I’ll never play with you again. Or talk to you either! So THERE!") Some parents would be shocked at my utter politeness and sweet air. (Yes, Dad, they would.)
As you may know, I was recently in a play called Pride and Prejudice, where I played Lydia, the little sister who runs away and gets married to a charming, handsome scoundrel. I was a spoiled brat who loved to rub things in on my sisters who were obviously less cultured than myself. I played that role big and it oozed sass. Let me tell you – it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done! I loved playing that role; being a "mean girl" for once in my life. Of course, none of it was real, but I admit I had a great time being the spoiled brat.
I don’t think that’s a sin, personally, to enjoy being a character that’s my polar opposite. But all the other things I’ve mentioned – and you can think of your own, I know – are all wrong. God instructs us to "not delight in evil" but "rejoice in the truth". Maybe we should rethink those stupid, mean, and sometimes, frankly, enjoyable things that we do.

We can’t be perfect. But we can work to smooth out our wrinkles and flaws to eventually be the best we can be. Think it’s too hard a job? Talk to God about it. He’ll help you – I promise.

This week really try to not "delight in evil", but "rejoice in the truth"!


Too Marvelous for Words

You are beautiful beyond description,
Too marvelous for words.
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard!

God is so beautiful, we can’t describe it. God is so marvelous, my words fade in His presence. God is so wonderful, we can’t even begin to understand His greatness. He’s like nothing we’ve ever seen or heard! Can you grasp his infinite wisdom? Can you measure the depths of His love? He’s our Majesty enthroned above.
What’s so beautiful is that we – yes, you and me – are made in His image! Sure, when people look at us, their faces don’t shine like the sun. Sure, they aren’t pouring Chanel #5 on our feet; but God made us to be beautiful. Our beauty, in the world’s eyes, may be beyond description because it’s lacking, but when God changes our hearts, it all changes. We are beautiful. (And yes, even you guys are beautiful. Or handsome. Or whatever. Admit it; God created you to be amazing.)
Next time the media makes you feel ugly and worthless, remember your worth and beauty in God’s eyes.

Dear God,
Please help me to be as amazing as you’ve designed me to be. Please help me not feel pressured by my friends, teachers, or the media to do things and think things that I know aren’t good for me. I want people to look at me and just know there’s something different. I want that difference to be You!


You & God - Enjoying Life Together

Many people think Christians don’t have fun. They really missed the mark on that one! Christians do have fun, and even more fun than non-Christians! In fact, God commands us to enjoy the life He’s given us. He didn’t create you to be a boring, stuffy, self-righteous religious person. No, he created you for something much more than that! He created you to enjoy life’s pleasures at their best – with Him!

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10
Seize life! Eat bread the with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes – God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.

One of my favorite verses in passage, besides "dress festively every morning" and "don’t skimp on colors and scarves" is when the writer says, "Oh yes! God takes pleasure in your pleasure!"
Honestly, I didn’t know this before I read it. (Goodness, I love the Message. It makes everything so clear.) I knew God wants me to be happy, but I didn’t know that he actually enjoys to be happy with me. I think that’s amazing!
Let's pray.
Dear God,
Today I learned not only that you WANT me to be happy, but that you're happy when I'm happy! I've never thought of you in this way before. I've always thought you were a powerful, strong God who loved me but...I'm learning you're so different from how culture views you. I want to spend time with you. I want to be happy, and I want you to be happy with me. I want us to have good times together. It'll be awkward at first, probably, like meeting a new friend, but I know that, if we keep spending time together, we'll be BEST friends.
Thanks, God, for all that you do.
Your child,

What is holding you back from enjoying life fully?
What things are you not enjoying simply because you don’t think of them?
What pleasures do you think that you and God enjoy together?
Think of things you, your friends, and God can enjoy toegther.


More Than I Can Do

In the book Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Ella finds out that her maid is actually a fairy. Ella wonders why the maid didn’t tell her before, and the maid pointed out that when people find out you’re a fairy, they expect you to do great things. When the Mistress of the household witnessed her mother dying, she hated the fairy maid for not bringing the mother back to life.
Some people are like that. Why do good people die? I honestly don’t know. I do know that it’s all part of God’s plan. He’s working out all the kinks to make sure that His Kingdom (which includes you!) will prosper.
We expect God to do amazing things, and that’s ok. We expect that because He can. God created the world (Genesis), God helped His people win great battles (Old Testament), God gave up something precious to Him (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) for us, and on top of that, he rose from the dead. That’s amazing!
When something terrible happens, we blame God. When your favorite uncle dies, you ask, Why me? You may hate God now, think He doesn’t care about you, or think He doesn’t even exist. That hate can stay with you for the rest of your life if you don’t let it go.
We think that because God can raise people from the dead, He should. He’s done it before, several times. Even to Himself. Sometimes we think that if we could just take over for a second and be God for just one moment (ever seen Bruce Almighty?) then we can fix everything. The problem is, we can’t. We are not God and will never be. We will never be wise enough or powerful enough to map the future of the world, to look at six billion people and guide them individually through life.
Sometimes I doubt God’s plan. I wonder why He chose to do this or that. It’s still hard to accept change (especially the bad kind) and to still live for Him. But now I know that God WILL do what’s right, what is just, what is merciful, what is kind, what is good. I know now that he is never wrong, always knows what’s up, and thinks ahead. That’s more than I can do.


Too Much of a Good Thing?

I'm sure your mom has told you, "No more candy!" And I'm sure you've heard that too much of a good thing isn't so good. If you eat too much candy, you get a stomachache. You can even die just from drinking too much water!

It's kinda crazy how people apply this rule to their faith without even knowing it. I know I do it sometimes, and I think we all do. I just realized it today. Many Christians treat Jesus like candy! "He's a good thing, sure, but I don't want to get too much of Him. THAT would be bad."

No it wouldn't!

People are so afraid of letting go, of losing control. The problem is, we're NEVER in control. We're not in control of even the smallest things. God is the one in control!

People are so afraid that if they give Jesus their all, He'll disappoint them. He'll fail them. Ya know what? Jesus DOESN'T fail. That's it. He just doesn't. He is absolute perfection -- failure is impossible.

Jesus will never let you down. You are always in His mind. Everything he does in your life furthers his amazing plan for you.
If you give Jesus your all, He won't fail you. There is no such thing as too much Jesus. Give Him your all and I promise you'll be glad you did.
I'll probably let you down. So will your parents, you husband/wife, your children, your best friends, your president. Everyone will fall.

Jesus is the constant, the eternal, the One who'll never let you fall.