Thursday, October 30, 2014

Learning To Walk

     Today, I took my little 6 year old brother to his PE+Plus class. As I was reading a book, I noticed that he came down the hill, looking very upset. When I found out why he was so upset, he said, "Everyone's playing basketball, but I can't... it's too hard!" I asked him if he even tried it, and he said he did, but that he gives up. I then proceeded to tell him that when he first learned to walk, that he fell down constantly, but that he didn't give up, that he tried, and kept trying. He kept on moving, and trying to walk, until he succeeded.
     How often have you tried to move forward in your own feeble power and ended up in a heap on the floor? You think you can do it, and God allows you to try. Proving to yourself and everybody around that you're simply not up to the task, you give up or give in. And just then, He reaches down with those loving hands and lifts you up to walk you through the barriers of your life- in His limitless strength.
     That's the promise. He gave it to you and to me, and He stand behind His word. He stands behind you too. He may allow you to fall, but He'll never allow you to be defeated. That's the idea to set securely into your heart. Don't let life's commotion shake it away from you, because it carries hope. Whatever you may be facing today, don't give up or give in. Wait for those marvelous, loving hands to cover our own- be ready to laugh with delight as He walks you, in His power, to places you never thought you could reach.
     What are some ways that you felt like God was teaching you to Walk?

Philippians 4:12-13

"I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

Psalm 31:24

"Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!"

Romans 12:12

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

1 Corinthians 13:7

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Galatians 6:9

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Biblical Courtship in the Modern World

     Before I continue on, I thought I'd let ya'll know that I'm in a courtship with Joshua Narwold! :) Many of you probably read his guest post that he did on my blog last week. He's a wonderful writer, and had some great thoughts and insights... didn't he?! :)
     A couple weeks ago, I started reading, "Her hand in Marriage" by Douglas Wilson. In this book, he goes over many things, but I thought I'd post just some things that stood out to me the most. The word "courtship", get many people confused. There's many different thoughts and opinions on what a courtship looks like. These are some of the thoughts that I agree with in Doug's book. Enjoy! :)
     Everyone dates. Or at least, everyone is supposed to date. Or, if they don't date, then something is wrong, or someone is ugly, right? But in America today, relationships between boys and girls, men and women, husbands and wives are a stretcher case. The fact that pride exists at the heart of this problem can be seen in our various responses to the difficulties. The worse our troubles get, the more faith we have in our methods and procedures. But in our culture, men and women are trained to harden themselves so they may go readily from relationship to relationship. Sometimes there is a marriage oath made and broken, and sometimes not. Going from one relationship to another has become a national pastime. People start very early with recreational dating, and, protest notwithstanding, most dating today leads to a sexual relationship. In this regard, the pattern of behavior among young people who are professing Christians is not much different from that of the world. Because the church has largely adopted a worldly system of dating, the walls of protection for our children which God designed have been broken down. We have provided our children with enough Christianity to ensure their guilt when they fornicate, but not enough to ensure their purity.
     Our system of recreational dating has broken down; it is time to return to the biblical pattern for getting together. Apart from biblical dating or courting, there are many destructive consequences-emotional, sexual, and spiritual. But if a young man seeks to initiate a relationship, and takes full responsibility for the relationship under the woman's father, there is a scriptural accountability and protection.
     Our dating system, considered as a system, does not biblically prepare young men and women for marriage-at least for marriage as God designed it. The modern dating system does not train young people to form a relationship. It trains them to form a series of relationships, and further trains them to harden themselves to the break-up of all but the current one. At the very least, this system is as much a preparation for divorce as it is for marriage. Men are created and called to initiate, and women are created and called to respond. First, the Bible calls men and women to fulfill their respective roles in courtship, and secondly, they are called to fulfill them with wisdom. Such wisdom requires that we follow God's revealed design.

Here are a couple great blog post/articles that talk about courtship a little bit more. :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Guest Post: Surrendering

Today's Guest Post was wonderfully written by Joshua Narwold! I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I did! Enjoy!
When we pray, it’s natural to ask for the things we want; and the Lord loves to bless His children. How do we react, though, when His answer is “no”—or even “not yet”? Unbelievable as this may be when we recognize God for the all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful being He is, it’s often easier for us to trust our own vision for the future than to step out in faith and sacrifice that vision to Him.
Not long ago, as a man in his mid-20s with a renewed desire to serve the Lord, I couldn't help but feel as though I was “behind” somehow. I’d had a (somewhat blurry) image of what I wanted, which included the “right” job and marriage to a beautiful, godly woman; but I’d expected to have those things already, and I wasn't getting any younger.
Through a providential series of circumstances that tested my faith and brought me low, God revealed the true state of my heart. My life had always been in His hands, but only if it matched my expectations. I had tried to plot out my future without truly surrendering it to Him, and I had virtually nothing to show for my efforts.
For the first time, I began to acknowledge the very real possibility that His plan might look different from the “perfect" picture I had in my head. I continued to ask for specific blessings but no longer assumed that it was in my best interests for Him to answer as requested. I asked Him to reveal His will for my life rather than simply giving me the things I thought I wanted.
That’s not an easy transition for any of us to make. It takes trusting someone we can’t see with a future we don’t know; and at least for me, that kind of trust doesn't come naturally.
The words of Matthew are a comfort: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (6:33-34). The Lord knows what we need and is faithful to fulfill those needs (Ps. 23); and when we accept Him as the author of our story, He begins to draw our desires closer to His perfect plan.
These things take time; and even as the Lord sanctifies us in this area, we will continue to struggle on occasion with surrendering our every desire to Him. In history, this struggle is probably best represented by the biblical story of Job. If anyone had reason to doubt the power or goodness of God, it was this man; he’d had nearly every earthly blessing stripped from him as if in a moment. Listen, though, to the words our Lord as He put it all in perspective for Job:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (38:4-7)
I’m sure Job shouted for joy as the Lord not only restored his blessings, but doubled them. May we do the same as we experience the hand of God moving in our life; and may we ultimately say with the psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever" (Ps. 73:25-26).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Defying the Darkness

     We are called to be a light in darkness. Sometimes, the light feels like it's being overtaken by the darkness, and we feel like we're drowning in the darkness. This past Sunday, our pastor did a sermon about the Spirit of God, and light vs. darkness. The spirit of God will move where it wants to, when it wants to.
     Have you ever been in the store, or out walking, and you pass by a group of teenage kids who make you feel very nervous? As Christians, we're called to be the light in the midst of darkness. It helps me when I pass by a group of kids, who I get nervous around, that I just pray. I pray for each of those individual in that group as I pass by them. Our Light needs to shine for the whole world to see!
     Below is a couple verses about light shining in the darkness. I also posted a video done by LampLighter, that my mom showed me a couple years ago. It has a wonderful message; Enjoy!
     "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shine." ~Isaiah 9:2~
     "...and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." ~John 1:5~
     "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." ~1st John 1:5-7~
     "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord." ~Ephesians 5:8-10~
Warning: Video may be too scary and intense for younger children

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Friendship, Siblings, and Peacemaking Part 2 ... and giveaway winner!

First off, I'd like to announce the winner of the iTunes $10 Gift card goes to... Sabrina! Thanks to everyone for participating! :)
On my Part 1 of friendship, siblings, and peacemaking... I went over how to intertwine peacemaking into every day sibling life as everyone gets older. Today, I wanted to focus more on what being a Peacemaker is. In Ken Sande's book, "The Peace Maker", he goes over a lot, but I wanted to focus on resolving conflict. Jesus had a lot to say about resolving conflict. Personal issues relate to what goes on inside or between persons. These matters involve our attitudes and feelings toward others that result from how we have treated on another. Personal issues are often expressed in thoughts and statements like these: "I am upset about your lying to me", "She/he is stubborn and unreasonable", "I don't like the way he/she always criticizes me", "I'm sure he/she is trying to cheat me", "You did that just to embarrass me". These kinds of issues must generally be resolved either by: overlooking an offense or through confession, loving correction, and forgiveness.

"The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts."
~Proverbs 17:14~

"bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." ~Colossians 3:13~

Overlooking offenses is appropriate under two conditions.First, the offense should not have created a wall between you and the other person or caused you o feel differently toward him or her for more than a short period of time. Second, the offense should not be causing a serious harm to God's reputation, to others, or to the offender. Overlooking is not a passive process in which you simply remain silent for the moment but file away the offense for later use against someone. That is actually a form of denial that can easily lead to brooding over the offense ad building up internal bitterness and resentment that will eventually explode in anger. Instead, overlooking is an active process that is inspired by God's mercy through the gospel. To truly overlook an offense means to deliberately decide not to talk about it, dwell on it, or let it grow into pent-up bitterness. If you cannot let go of an offense in this way, if it is too serious to overlook, or if it continues as part of a pattern in the other person's life, then you will need to go and talk to the other person about it in a loving and constructive manner.
There are many conflicts that require a lot of time and effort to resolve; but in all we do, let it be done in love.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Laughter and Story's

Hello all!
So, before I post Part 2 of my last post, I thought I'd post a little bit of laughter for ya'll. :) After all, we're reminded in Proverbs 17:22, that a Joyful heart is good medicine. This happened to me last year, but I was encouraged to post this. Also, just a reminder that the RaffleCopter Giveaway for the $10 Gift Card to iTunes is still going on. You can tweet and do a couple other things every day for my points. enjoy! :)

That moment when you're all tucked in bed, reading a book, and out of the corner of your eye you see something. You look, and there's a spider the size of a quarter right next to your pillow. You jump out of bed, and quickly get something to smash it with. Very cautiously, you remove your pillow with your "weapon", and see the spider go from under your pillow, to under your covers! :(
     Yep, I literally took off all my covers, and pillow, only to find that there was no spider! I took off my mattress very carefully, and still couldn't find a thing! My dogs looking at me going, "Will you stop interrupting my sleep?" 
     I go out to the living room and decide where I should sleep... I could sleep downstairs in the guest room... but I've seen spiders there before... I could go downstairs on the couch... but we smashed a spider on the couch just last week... I could sleep upstairs on the couch... but I would be awoken by my mom and bitten by a spider that I smashed a couple weeks before... surrounded by spiders! 
     I finally decide to sleep in my brothers bedroom, which is right next to mine... he was hunting at the time, so there was room for me next to my little brother! ;)
     The next day, I literally washed my sheets, got out the vaccum, and dusted my entire room... no joke!!! This was all last week! YIkes! 
     Why am I so scared of spiders? They honestly, can't do any harm... riiiiiighhhht! ;) Except scare me half to death! 
    Now I can honestly say, "The only thing worse than having a spider in your room, is LOSING a spider in your room!"
Yep! True story! I will never look at a spider the same!
Enjoy your week everyone! :)