Monday, June 30, 2008

Musical Monday

I just discovered this song by Joy Williams, and I love it. It's so beautiful. I've added it to my playlist, so if you want to hear it (Joy Williams has a gorgeous voice), just scroll to the very bottom of this page, and click on the song's title.

Beautiful Redemption
by Joy Williams

I've had my forty days and forty nights at sea,
I've had forty years in the wilderness, or so to speak,
I've walked with sand from the ocean floor on my feet,
To turn and say you left me.

I'm a doubting Thomas needing to believe,
I'm a perfumed sinner just like Magdalene,
I'm Judas kissing on your cheek eager to decieve,
I am all of these.

I cry, Father, Father, forgive me
You say, Child, I already have.
You are beautiful,
Beautiful Redemption,
You are Beautiful,
Beautiful Redemption.

I'm the guilty thief that's hanging by your side,
and my shame is dying with your sacrifice,
And all my fears come crashing down
as I look in your eyes,
I see paradise.

Hallelujah (we all, we all, we all fall down) x 4
You are beautiful,
Beautiful Redemption.
You are Beautiful,
Beautiful Redemption.
Isn't that beautiful? He's already forgiven us, no matter what we've done. No matter how badly we behaved, no matter how greatly we've doubted, no matter how drastically we've strayed from Him...He's forgiven us! All we need to do is "cry 'Father, Father, forgive me!'" That's God's promise, and we can be certain that He will keep it!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Please check this out...

I'm attending the Rebelution conference with my family this summer, and I am so excited about it! The Harris brothers have done so much to impact Christian teens for God's glory!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Loving Others...

One of the books I've been reading is called "Being a Girl Who Loves" by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio. This book has been very thought provoking for me personally. Today I was reading a chapter entitled "Every Hour of Every Day." The author described how challenging it is to continue in love, since "if you are anything like me, your attitudes of self-sacrifice and service are short-lived (pg 88)." She compares our "supply" of love to a car's fuel tank, and throughout this chapter, she talks about the need to go to Christ to refuel when our love has run dry. Below is a section which I found helpful.

Look at how John describes himself in John 21:20: "Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper, and said, 'Lord, who is the one who betrays you?'"
Verse 24 confirms that John is talking about himself here. But think about that for a moment. Instead of simply saying, "Peter turned and saw me" or "Peter turned and saw John," it says Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved, the one who had leaned on Jesus' breast. John was known as the disciple who loved....It was common for John to operate on a full love tank. After all, he was the "beloved disciple."
In 1 John 4:7-8 he tells us: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born on God and knows God." He's also the one who told us in John 3:16 that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
...John was a disciple who loved because he knew how much he was loved. Early on--commentators and theologians say when he was just a teenager, not older than fifteen or sixteen--John learned the art of leaning back on Jesus' breast. He learned the art of intimacy with Christ, always going straight to the Lord to fill his love tank. And when people asked him who he was, he answered, "I'm the disciple Jesus loves."
Knowing that--and basking in it--kept John's love tank full. And with a full love tank he was able to love others more effectively. Those who know how much they are loved love much. Do you know how much you are loved?

This was a challenge to me personally; too many times, I grow lazy in loving others. Sometimes I just don't try because it's too hard. Sometimes I rely on my own strength...and I KNOW that doesn't work! But if I choose to focus on how Christ loved/loves me, this will motivate me to respond in love, even when my natural reaction is to respond in irritation or frustration.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I read Ps 138, and as I read, I noticed many things which I should be very grateful for.

Verses 1-3: "I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing Your praise before the heavenly beings. I will bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name FOR YOUR CONSTANT LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS. You have exalted Your name and Your promise above everything else."
His love and faithfulness never falter! They are consistent and perfect, no matter what I do! It's also encouraging that He has "exalted...[His] promise above everything else." He keeps His word.
Verse 3 is awesome: "On the day I called, You answered me; You increased strength within me."
He gives strength when I ask for it! I don't have to wait; David says, "On the day I called, You answered me..."
Verses 4-6: "All the kings on earth will give You thanks, Lord, when they hear what You have promised. They will sing of the Lord's ways, for the Lord's glory is great. Though the Lord is exalted, He takes note of the humble; but He knows the haughty from afar."
I should be praising and thanking God for His promises, because they aren't just empty words. He WILL FULFILL THEM!!
I also see a challenge to humility in these verses. A haughty attitude distances me from a close relationship with God! But a humble attitude draws God's attention; He "takes note" of that kind of attitude.

Verses 7-8 conclude this Psalm:"If I walk in the thick of danger, You will preserve my life from the anger of my enemies. You will extend Your hand; Your right hand will save me. The Lord WILL FULFILL HIS PURPOSE FOR ME. Lord, Your love is eternal; do not abandon the work of Your hands."
Isn't that so cool? His love is eternal, and because His love is eternal, I can be sure that He will fulfill His purposes for my life! He knows that I am a work in progress, and He will not "abandon the work of [His] hands." He will allow nothing to happen to me that will prevent His plans from being carried out.

That's a lot to be thankful for!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Musical Monday

We sang this hymn's really good!

Beneath the Cross of Jesus
by Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1830-1869

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.


When we trust in and medidate on Christ's redemption, grace, and mercy, we will have hope, stability, peace, and joy!! All because Christ cared enough for me to die in my amazing is that!?! Thank you SOOOO MUCH LORD!! How merciful He is!

Lord, help me to live my life in a way that points others towards Your grace and redemption, and help me to rely on You fully...for everything I need!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thankful Thursday

First of all, I would like to announce that...

(and l loved it!), and I'm thankful because I'm going to see it AGAIN today!! :-)

I'd also like to say that I'm thankful for godly teachers. I've had several in my lifetime, and I'd like to honor them today.

~Thank you God for Emily!

Emily was my first piano teacher, and she was wonderful! Not only was she a wonderful musician, but she was also a godly example to me and my brother. She spent time with us outside of piano lessons...taking walks, playing games, and talking to us. One of my favorite memories with Emily is the time we went for a walk and played "Pooh sticks" in the creek (for those of you who are not Winnie the Pooh fans...Pooh sticks is a game where you all throw sticks into the water on one side of a bridge, and then you run to the other side of the bridge to see whose stick passes under first! :0). Emily also made music FUN!! She'd make up interesting memory games, or she'd let me compose my own song. Thanks Emily!

~Thank you God for Ms. Deannie!

Miss Deannie was my second piano teacher, and she is also my pastor's wife. I cannot tell you what a blessing she has been to more areas than just piano! She is definitely a great pianist (she is the one who taught me how to play hymns), but she also has been an amazing example to me and to everyone else in my family! She consistently reaches out to those around her, including the young girls at church. She also is a wonderful mother and grandmother. Her godliness is a challenge to my spiritual growth, and her thoughtful and kind attitudes and actions are a real blessing! Thanks Ms. Deannie!

~Thank you God for Tanya!

Tanya was my art teacher several years ago. She is SO creative and artistic, and she taught me so much! My favorite art project that Caleb and I completed with her was the paper town...we made paper houses, paper stores, paper trees, paper people, and even a paper campfire!! It was SOOO much fun!! Tanya also demonstrated a sweet, fun-loving, and godly attitude on a consistent basis; she continues to demonstrate that attitude now as a wife and mom. Thanks Tanya!!

~Thank you God for Mrs. Wood!

Mrs. Wood is my current piano teacher. She is a wonderful musician and person, and I love her!! One of the many things I appreciate about Mrs. Wood is that she has a very spiritual outlook on music. She sees music and teaching as a ministry, and she constantly demonstrates that view. She often brings spiritual lessons into piano lessons; this encourages me to always see music as a tool which I should use to glorify God. Her excited approach to music is very contagious...thank you Mrs. Wood!

~Thank you God for Pastor Gerry!

Pastor Gerry is the pastor of my family's church...and he is AMAZING!! He is one of the most godly men that I know. He is a prime example of someone who continuously serves and ministers to others. He teaches straight from the Word...none of his personal opinions. He and Ms. Deannie just celebrated 40 (yes...FORTY!!) years of marriage and ministry. FORTY YEARS, PEOPLE!! I don't know about you, but that is amazing to me! Pr. Gerry's relationship with God, his wife, and his congregation are such a challenge to me, as well as to everyone who he comes in contact with. Thank you Pastor Gerry! And last, but MOST DEFINITELY not least...

~Thank you God for my parents!

My parents have homeschooled me for 13 years, and have done a wonderful job. But aside from academics, they have taught me many crucial life lessons...over the course of 18 years! They are wonderful, godly their marital relationship, in their relationships with the students they minister to, in their relationships with us, and in their relationships with God. They are in the Word daily, and they are committed to each other and to being the best parents that they can be. Whenever my brother and/or I need to talk to someone, or when we need to vent our frustrations, they are always there. They will be celebrating 20 (yes...TWENTY!!) years of marriage this August. I don't know about you, but that is amazing to me! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your amazing love and example...I love you!! :-)


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trusting Him...

Sooo...lately I've started thinking about trusting God...and I read these really cool verses on the subject yesterday.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion. It cannot be shaken; it remains forever. Jerusalem--the mountains surround her. And the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever.
Psalm 125:1-2
Isn't that so encouraging? If I trust God, I "cannot be shaken..." Ultimately, I cannot be defeated because God is on my side! In fact, He "surrounds" me! No matter what happens, if I trust in God, I can have peace and confidence, knowing that He is in control. He will not allow anything into my life that won't be for my ultimate good. Thank you Lord! is link to a great article I read today on the Rebelution website:
A Lesson From the Vikings: Do Hard Things

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday was my 18th birthday! And I am thankful for:

~18 years of life~

~18 years of being raised by two godly parents~

~15 years with a great brother~

~The many wonderful friends who helped me celebrate this past week~


~13 years of sound education~

~13 years attending a sound, bible-teaching church~

So...this morning I am lying in my bed (my cat lounging besides me)...and I see my brother peeking through my door. Then my family bursts through my door, Caleb vigorously clanging a ceramic pot with a huge spoon (this thoroughly traumatizes our cat, who races as fast as he can out of my room! :-).

Then they all start to sing to me (of course, at every pause in the song, Caleb clangs the pot again). I opened my presents, and then headed out to the kitchen to eat my mom's chocolate chip pancakes. For lunch, we all went out to lunch with our friend Ms. Deena, and then we came home and ate the CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE CAKE that Ms. Deena was AMAZING!!!!

We finished up by watching Anne of Green Gables and then going to church that evening. Over all, it was a very special day!

Thank you God for birthdays, family, friends, and chocolate!!


Monday, June 2, 2008

Musical Monday

My dad read this hymn to us last night.

Join All the Glorious Names
by Isaac Watts

Join all the glorious names
Of wisdom, love, and pow'r,
That ever mortals knew,
That angels ever bore:
All are too poor
to speak His worth,
Too poor to set my Savior forth.

Great Prophet of my God,
My tongue would bless Thy name:
By Thee the joyful news
Of our salvation came,
The joyful news
of sins forgiv'n,
Of hell subdued and peace with heav'n.

Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offered His blood and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside;
His pow'rful blood
did once atone
And now it pleads before the throne

Thou art my Counselor,
My Pattern, and my Guide,
And Thou my Shepherd art;
O keep me near Thy side:
Nor let my feet
e'er turn astray
To wander in the crooked way.

My Savior and my Lord,
My Conqu'ror and my King,
Thy scepter and Thy sword,
Thy reigning grace, I sing:
Thine is the pow'r;
behold I sit
In willing bonds beneath Thy feet.


Wow, I've sung that hymn many times, but I've never thought about all the words! Writing them down makes you hear each line...and this hymn is definitely worth hearing! What a strong message! I love the part that says that all the glorious names are "too poor to set my Savior forth." I also love the line that says "His pow'rful blood did once atone/And now it pleads before the throne." Isn't that fact so amazing?? He pleads for US! The part that says that Christ is our "Pattern" and "Guide" is also challenging...I'm supposed to copy Him, just like someone would follow a pattern when sewing a dress. My mom loves the very last line of this hymn: "behold I sit in willing bonds beneath Thy feet." That is REALLY challenging to me! I need to willingly and TOTALLY submit myself to Him!! And after reading this hymn and seeing how awesome, gracious, and powerful He is, I realize that I owe Him my allegiance and service! Wow! Thanks for this reminder and lesson, God.