Tuesday, December 30, 2008

But I WANT It!!

Sometimes I feel dumb when people ask me, "So, what do you want to be when you get older?" I feel dumb because I'm really not sure what I want to do...as far as a professional career goes. I enjoy music, and that's what I'm majoring in right now, but I don't have a "passion" for it.

Quite honestly, the only "career" that I know I want is that of a wife and mother. Ever since I was a kid, that's been my one strong desire. And now that I'm 18, that desire is stronger than ever, especially since, technically, I'm old enough to be in a serious relationship (although at this point, I know for a fact I'm not ready for one! :-)

I often talk with my mom about my desire for romance and marriage, and about the struggles I face as a college freshman surrounded, not only by guys my age, but also by other girls who have their own boyfriends.

It's not just romance, though. I'm developing other desires as I grow and mature. Desires for more independence. I want to "do things on my own," like get a job, go out with friends, etc. However, my parents (and God) repeatedly remind me to trust in His timing and plan, and to not rush into things based on emotion and impulse.

For no particularly profound reason, I recently decided to start reading through 1 Kings. Chapters 1-2 tell the story of Adonijah, David's oldest surviving son, and of his desire to be "independent." He wanted his father David's throne, despite the fact that God had given that throne to his younger brother, Solomon. So, behind his father's back, he crowned himself king. With lots of friends cheering him on, he held his own coronation ceremony! He even performed the appropriate religious rituals and sacrifices.

When David found out, he held his own coronation ceremony for Solomon. Adonijah, realizing the trouble he was in, got scared and decided to submit to his brother's authority. However, he eventually resumed his quest for power, and as a result, Solomon had him executed.

What a lesson! Adonijah desired to be king. He desired to be independent. Yet his rebellion and persistence in resisting God's will cost him his life.

This story challenged me, and it reinforced what I've been taught for a long time: God's timing and will are best. If I push for what I want now (romance, independence, my own way, etc.), I will certainly regret it! It doesn't matter how many friends I get on my side; Adonijah had plenty of outside support. It doesn't matter what religious motions I go through to justify my rebellion; Adonijah made the required sacrifices to God. Getting my way in opposition to God's way is always sinful.

What if I decided to push for romance...and got my way? I would probably end up in a stressful relationship that would divert my focus from my present callings of being a student and a daughter. I could place myself in a dangerous situation that caused me to compromise my purity and end up married to the completely wrong guy!

What if I decided to force my independence...and got my way? I could end up holding a job with a horrible atmosphere and many potentially dangerous influences that could pull me down spiritually.

It's scary, but it's true! I'm so thankful that God is using His Word and my parents to warn me and to impress these truths into my mind and heart.

help me to pursue Your plan and purpose for my life.
Help me to focus on Your will for me,
and not to pursue my will for me.
Thank You for Your promises to meet all of my needs,
and thank you for the truth that if marriage
is a part of Your plan for me,
and if gaining a little more Independence
is in Your will,
You will provide all that is necessary!
I love You!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day Fun...

We had a very relaxing Christmas Day, just hangin' at home! Here are some pics we took while out on a Christmas evening walk...

Dad (being goofy) and Mom.

Mom and my somewhat normal brother :-)

Me and Dad

Being manly...er...taking out the trash! :-)

Caleb showing off his trash-tossing skills...

Too true!! :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Undeserved Forgiveness

"Forgiven" by Thomas Blackshear
May I always keep this image before me, Father.
You have chosen to love me,
the one whose sin helped nail Your Son to the cross.
You chose to send Him to earth,
sacrifice Him in my stead,
and place on Him the horrible and unfathomable punishment
that should be mine:
seperation from You.
This sacrifice should cause me to cringe with horror
at the very thought of damaging my relationship with You.
Keep the Gospel before my eyes.
May it control everything I
and think.
Forgive me for treating Your sacrifice so carelessly.
Thank You for Your undeserved mercy
and incomprehensible love.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What a Head-ful!!!


What a semester! The whole 4 months has been nothing but one big learning experience (that's why I've had trouble keeping up with you guys...)!

So...what has God taught me during these last few months?

1) College takes DISCIPLINE! Thankfully, I have some natural organizational skills. However, I don't know what I would do without Mom to help me lay out a schedule, focus on completing homework, and distract me when I need to be distracted! :-) My Dad is there to proof-read papers and to cheer me up when I am stressed (which is all too often!).

My brother...well...he provides the comic relief!

2) Staying in tune with God is vital. Keeping up with my devotions has proved especially difficult lately, especially with the never-ending homework, time-consuming piano practice, early morning volleyball workouts, church twice a week, precious family time, late study-nights (no all-nighters yet!)...I am ashamed to say that I was not as consistent in the Word as I should have been, especially during the first few weeks of school.

I realized early on what a difference it makes when I miss my quiet time. I began to see myself giving into temptations more easily. I saw how much harder it was to stand alone in a crowd.

Over and over again, God reminded me that a busy schedule is not an excuse to stop spending time in His Word! In fact, it is the very reason why I must stay in His Word!

Thanks to God, I have grown in this area. Yet, I still have a long ways to go. Praise God for His never-ending patience!

3) I must rely on God, not people. As I started the school year, I had high hopes of developing at least one tight, godly friendship. I am realizing that those expectations are not always realistic. I have made some new friends, but for various reasons, my schedule included, it's been difficult to develop close and godly friendships.

My mom and I have had many long talks on this subject, and I am slowly realizing that I need to trust in God's plans and timing. I need to draw close to Him and not place my hope in human companionship, not even that of other Christians.

4) I am so thankful for my family! I am meeting so many different kids with so many types of backgrounds; sometimes their stories amaze me! I praise God for how He has blessed me with a safe home, godly parents, and a wonderful church.

5) I am so thankful for church family. I especially want to praise God for my friend Courtney. We met when I was only 7 years old, when her family started attending our church. We've been friends ever since! Over this semester, I've grown to appreciate her more and more. She is a godly, talented young women who is striving to honor God and is always there for me when I need to talk about "stuff."

I am seeing more and more how difficult it is to find solid, godly friends. God has blessed me so much through Courtney!


There is a boatload more to learn, and I am somewhat excited--somewhat apprehensive--about what God's going to teach me next semester!

Right now...I'm just enjoying my BREAK!!

Cookie baking, Christmas shopping, room-organizing...
and lots and lots of SLEEPING!! :-)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Change my heart, Lord...

Lord, I'm convicted that I am overly obsessed with earning acceptance and praise from others. I know this is wrong. I know this is a problem.

Help me to dwell on this unmovable, unchanging, absolute truth: Your love is all that I need. I don't need to "earn" that love because You grant it to me freely.

I don't need attention and adoration from the opposite sex, my peers, or the world to be completely fulfilled. Your favor, friendship, and approval are all that I need to satisfy me. Your faithfulness is the only truth that I can completely rest in and rely on. The only thoughts and feelings that I need to dwell on are those which center around Your unfailing love, power, righteousness, and greatness.

If you are my Satisfaction, my one consuming Thought, the One Who infiltrates my thoughts, desires, and innermost longings, I will be completely satisfied. Give me a pureness of heart. I cannot develop this purity by myself. I can only become completely consumed by You if I walk by Your Spirit and stay constantly connected to You, I can only be connected to You through Your Word and through a spirit of prayer, praise, trust, love, and desire for You.

Help me to bring my thoughts into captivity, and to center my thoughts around YOU, not around ME and the attention that I want.
You are so merciful!
I love you!

I've Been Uber-ed!!!

Thanks to Laney and Julia...they are so sweet to award me... :-)

Uber is a German word that is similar to our English word which means "super".
This award is awarded to blogs that have some or all of these qualities:
1. Inspire you
2. Make you smile and laugh
3. Give amazing information
4. Are a great read
5. Have an amazing design
6. And any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules to this award are:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing! ***if you don't have 5 that's okay.***
3. Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
4. Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

I'm awarding Jordan, because she has a beautiful blog, has a heart for God, and is a good friend,
Kaysie, because even though she's already been awarded, she just deserves more than one :); her blog is incedibly encouraging and challenging to me...
and my Mom, because she is such vitally important, loving influence and guide in my life, and because her blog blesses so many!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I just bought this song. It's from the album "This Is Our God" by Hillsong, and it's GORGEOUS! Enjoy!

Desert Song
by Brooke Fraser

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favour and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Proverbs 31 Challenge

Revive Our Hearts

My Mom told me about this online Bible Study recently and encouraged me to use it. So...I am! The challenge is to read Proverbs 31 every day for 31 days. I also read a daily devotional by Nancy Leigh DeMoss; each devotional deals with a different element found in Proverbs 31. I've enjoyed it so far, and I'd encourage you to check it out for yourselves!
Since I'm having trouble finding time to regularly post, I think I might just post the things that I'm learning from this Bible Study...since I'm already taking notes on it anyway...so come back soon... :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Well, not all of the time! But seriously...

So many times I slack off on the essentials, like...
~Quiet time...one that I've put effort into, not slept
through and then checked off my to-do list.

~Relationships...making the effort to be a godly
friend/sister/daughter, even when it gets hard.

~Self-control...not giving into my emotions at the
difficult moments, but focusing on God and on how He wants me to respond.

~Standing alone...saying "no" to temptation...even when it's
super, super, super hard!!
...among numerous others.

Basically, I don't always DO THE HARD THING.

I know I'm not the only one who slacks...but I've also been convicted recently that I can't become complacent. I can't become content where I am in my spiritual walk. I must be so sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He pushes me towards a God/cross-focused life.

God will finish what He's started in me, no matter how I choose to live my life, either in this life or the one to come! THANK YOU GOD!

But...I DO NOT want waste my time here...the time that HE has entrusted to me...just "getting by."

I recently heard my teacher talk about 2 Thessalonians 3:13-
"And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right [but continue in well-doing without weakening]." (Amplified Bible)
He explained that the word "weary" actually implies "lazy." "Do not become [LAZY] in doing right." That insight placed a whole new spin on the verse for me. Way too often, I blame my laziness on "just being too tired" or "weak," when I should be humbled and repentant because of my careless attitude towards His love for me. I demonstrate this carelessness when I classify my Christian walk with "the mundane" or the "daily routine" and cease pushing forward.

Oh God, do a work in my heart! Forgive my laziness...please, PLEASE continue to remind me that I need to let YOU guide and control me; I can't ignore the Hard Things that are essential to honoring You. I must not take the love You showed me on the cross for granted!! Keep waking me up, Lord!

Thanks for your PATIENCE with me! Amen.

And yes...that is my cat! :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Give Me Your Eyes"

By Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky,
Traced out by the city lights.
My world from a mile high,
Best seat in the house tonight.
Touched down on the cold black tile,
Hold on for the sudden stop.
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos.

All those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Chorus: Give me your eyes for just one second,
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken hearted,
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give my your eyes so I can see.
yeah yeah
yeah yeah

Step out on a busy street,
See a girl and our eyes meet.
Does her best to smile at me,
To hide whats underneath.
There's a man just to her right,
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work,
He's buying time.

All those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Chorus: Give me your eyes for just one second,
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing.
Give me your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken hearted,
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the once forgotten,
Give me your eyes so I can see.
yeah yeah
yeah yeah

I've Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
just move and pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all alone

Chorus: Give me your eyes for just one second,
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give me your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the brokenhearted,
the ones that are far beyond my reach,
Give me your eyes for the once forgotten,
Give me your eyes so I can see.
yeah yeah
yeah yeah

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So I'm Going To College...

I found this video through the Rebelution. It's very challenging...

A Witnessing Opportunity

I have a paper due tomorrow! And guess what...you'll get to see it before my professor does! :-) Our assignment was to write a dialogue in which we "engrafted" Scripture into a Gospel presentation. In other words, we're supposed to quote Scripture without directly quoting it. I based my dialogue on an experience that I had about a year and a half ago, when I was working at my dad's sports camp. I was talking to one of the junior counselors about music, and about why I only listened to Christian music. This boy was not a believer, and he thought I was really weird.... :-)

Anyway, I responded to his questioning with some lame answer like, "Well, I have my taste in music and you have yours!" Afterwards, Mom and I talked about how I could have responded by sharing specifically why I listen to Christian music...because I am a Christian!!

So anyway, I based my paper on that experience; I kind of wrote down how I wished the scenario had turned out! :-)

A Witnessing Opportunity

“Why on earth do you listen to so much Christian music? Don’t you ever listen to secular music?”
I turned to face the teenage boy who was speaking and grinned at his incredulous expression. “Lord, this kid thinks I’m a nut!” I thought. Then out loud I replied, “Not usually, Jay. I really appreciate the lyrics of most Christian music, and so I usually prefer it over most secular stuff.” I knew this reply would not satisfy Jay. Even though he was a fellow counselor at the local Christian day camp where I was working, his attitudes, actions, and words made it clear that he was quite clueless about Christianity.
"Yeah, well you obviously have no clue about all of the quality music that’s out there!” Jay’s demeanor grew more and more sarcastic. “Be honest, Bri, you probably just listen to Christian music because your parents won’t let you listen to anything else. Why don’t you try branching out and having a mind of your own? ”
“Actually, I do listen to some secular music, Jay. I’m not sheltered, I just don’t like the fact that so much music brings the listener down, both mentally and emotionally. Seriously, think about the messages that many song lyrics send. They talk about sex, drugs, alcohol, bad attitudes...it’s not information that I want to feed into my brain!”
"Oh, come on, Bri! They’re just songs! You won’t become a drug addict if you listen to one song about drugs!” “Maybe not, but, Jay, I’m a Christian.”
“Oh, so it’s your religion then. You just follow a bunch of rules, and you believe that if you listen to Christian music, you’ll impress God!”
“Nope…that’s not it at all. Actually, God comes right out and says that no one is perfect. It’s impossible for us to impress Him or to live up to His standards because we’re such bums!”
Jay’s look morphed from one of sarcasm to one of total confusion. “Well then what is the point of even trying to please your God if it’s so impossible?”
"The point? Well, I guess the point is that I’m so grateful to Him for all He’s done for me that I try to please Him every chance I get.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that He’s so awesome and merciful, that I try to thank Him for His love by honoring Him and by feeding my mind with good information that encourages me to obey Him. He loves me so much, Jay! Even though He knows I mess up all the time, He still wants to be my friend! He’s done everything He can to make it possible for me to have fellowship with Him. He loved me first, and so I love Him back.”
“Oh yeah?” I was surprised at the interest in Jay’s tone. “Well, what specifically did He do to make you fall all over yourself trying to please Him?”
“Well, since He knew that there was no possible way for me to fellowship with Him
because of my sin, and because He loved the world so much, He gave up His only Son, Jesus. Jesus, who was completely perfect, came to earth and became sin for me. He took all of my punishment and died on the cross so that God could forgive me and cover me with His own perfection.”
I could tell Jay was listening intently, and I was sure I saw some comprehension creep into his face.
“Well, that’s really nice and everything, but what’s the point of trying to please someone who’s dead?”
“Well, actually, He’s not dead. After three days under ground, God raised Him from the dead because death was not strong enough to hold Him down! He conquered death, and that means that we can enjoy eternal life and complete fellowship with God!” “Eternal life? That sounds a little over the top, Bri.”
“I know it does, but it’s true. God says that if we believe in Jesus and in the fact that God raised Him from the dead, and if we admit that Jesus is our all-powerful Lord, we will be rescued from death.”
“That’s all there is to it? Just believing? Man, it sounds so simple! But what about after you believe? What if you really mess up? Does God get mad and disown you?”
“Nope! God actually says that when we believe in Him, He seals us with His Spirit! His Spirit is a permanent guarantee that our salvation will last forever! Isn’t that amazing?” Just talking about the Gospel and meditating on His mercy was stirring up great excitement in my heart. “Lord,” I prayed, “please touch Jay and draw Him to Yourself! Help him to understand!”
Since the beginning of our conversation, Jay’s attitude had undergone a complete change from one of mocking confusion to one of intent interest. Now he seemed to snap back to his original indifference.
“Ok, well, uh, I gotta start setting up lunch now.” He started to walk away, but then suddenly stopped and turned back to face me. “Hey, could I talk to you about this again?”
I was excited by the genuineness of this request. “That’d be awesome! Maybe after lunch…?”
He nodded and walked away, and I quietly thanked God for giving me the right words to say and for revealing to me how to clearly and tactfully communicate the appropriate Scriptures. God was working in Jay’s heart, and in mine!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Please Pray...

Yesterday, the following e-mail was sent out to the faculty and staff at the college/seminary where my dad works and where I attend:

"Please join us in prayer. We just received news that our co-worker and brother Anthony E...(...Staff, Adjunct...Faculty, [Seminary]Student) passed away and is now with his Lord. We are not sure of the details. Please be in prayer for his wife Kristi (...Alumna) and for his brother-in-law Bernt K...(...Staff,...Alumnus) and Anthony’s family as they grieve his loss.

We will be breaking from classes at 6:45 p.m. tonight to inform our students. Please join us at this time if you are available. Please be in prayer for our campus community."

It took a matter of minutes for the news to spread to the student body. PLEASE pray for our campus; Anthony's death was completely unexpected and sudden, and many students/faculty are taking it hard. Anthony and Kristi had only been married for 1 1/2 years. He was an awesome person; he was so funny and always friendly and welcoming. Everyone will miss him greatly.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cougar Volleyball

Last weekend my volleyball team took a long, LONG road trip...to Kentucky! We left on Thursday and came home on Sunday; we played 4 matches in one weekend! Needless to say, it was quite a tiring experience! Despite the exhaustion, it was a lot of fun, as well as a great learning experience. I'm so grateful for the opportunity God has given me to play on this specific volleyball team...I have enjoyed myself greatly, and I have also been stretched physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Here are some awesome pics from the KY trip, courtesy of Kathryn (one of our assistant coaches/team photographer).

Go Cougar Volleyball!!

One cool team... :-)

I'll tell you what, Tabitha can KILL that ball...
you don't want to stand in that ball's way!! :-)
Me passing!!

Me serving!!

"Calling all team captains..."

Team huddle

We played well..had fun...and we got to eat Dairy Queen ice cream! How much better can it get!?!?! :-)

Please continue to pray for me as I am still adjusting to the college work load...I'm TIRED!!!

Love you guys!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


The other day in class, one of my professors repeated a quote he had heard once; it is so challenging and goes against everything my flesh desires. The quote was,

Don't sacrifice the ultimate on the altar of the immediate.

He also warned that "it's really easy to give up the potential of tomorrow for the glory of today."
This professor was talking about the importance of vision in the Christian life. And no...he was NOT talking about the stereotypical "vision" that so many people, believers and nobelievers alike, strive for...you know...the "follow-your-heart-and-do-what-you-want-to-do" kind of vision. No, he was talking about "seeing beyond today"...realizing that, most of the time, following fleshly impulses is a dangerous thing.
My professor went on to say that the Christian also needs "Clear and convicted decisions." They must know "where they're going," and they must be determined that they are "not going to sell out to anyone but Jesus Christ." Amen Professor Leigh!

Dear Lord,
Help me to stay focused on You.
It's so hard sometimes; hundreds of different things
divert my attention from You and Your truth every day.
So often I give into my flesh,
dwelling on those subjects that are either impure and foolish,
or unnecessary and unimportant.
Help me to stay focused on YOUR TRUTH.
Help me to have God-vision:
vision that is zeroed in on living for and selling out to You ALONE.
Help me to "Do Hard Things,"
and to never "sacrifice the ultimate on the altar of the immediate."
Thank You so much for Your incredible and unending

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Super Secret Angels

I should have written this much, much sooner...
September 6 is the deadline to apply to be a "Super Secret Angel"!! The last session was a lot of fun and I encourage you to think about submitting an application form...just check out the Super Secret Angel blog!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oh yeah...BLOGGING....

Remember me?!?!?! I'm that person who used to post 2-3 times a week...I'm very sorry that I haven't posted in so long!

I have several good excuses for why I haven't been consistently posting and several not so good ones...the good ones are 1) our Internet has been down for several days and just started working today, and 2) COLLEGE involves a lot of WORK!

Wow...novel concept... :-)

I'd like to share several prayer requests along with several praises to God. I'll PTL first...

1) I love my Bible classes. I am taking two this semester, and both of them are challenging me spiritually. They "force" me to study God's Word regularly and from a different perspective than I have had in the past.

2) My music classes are definitely stretching me mentally; that's a good thing. I have two of these classes, and, well, let's just say that I'm honestly astounded that people actually sit down and think up all of this theory stuff!!! I'm also experiencing what it's like to be in a choir (GO ALTOS!) . I've never been a choir member before, and so far it's been challenging and fun.

3) I'm greatly enjoying my experience on the volleyball team thus far. We had our first game yesterday afternoon; we played in NC and were gone from 7am-12am!! **HUGE SKULL BUSTING YAWN** We lost, but we had a BLAST!! :-) We also played pretty well, considering it was our first game...

4) I am SOOO thankful that I am able to live at home during college! My parents are so helpful, and I honestly don't know what I'd do without them.

Now for some prayer requests.

1) Please pray that I will learn to use my time wisely and efficiently. I always get my work done on time, but I tend to procrastinate as much as possible. I also need to plan out my day so that I have time for QT...which I know is vital as I strive to grow in my spiritual walk.

2) Pray that I'd learn to control my emotions. I STRESS over a lot of stuff--everything from homework to volleyball to friendships--and I know that I MUST bring my emotions under Christ's control if I want to glorify God throughout these years in college (not to mention the rest of my life).

3) Please pray that I would be bold and that I would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as I experience situations which challenge me to stand alone. It is so hard!!! I think college is going to stretch me mentally, physically, and spiritually; it will force me to make choices between doing the "easy thing" and doing the "Hard Thing."

4) Please pray that I would have the attitude of John the Baptist: "He must increase and I must decrease." I am constantly tempted to zero in on myself and to forget that there are others around me who need encouragement and love. I have a responsibility to build up my brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter how I feel at any given point in time.

Thanks for being patient with me as try to fit blogging into my schedule. Hopefully I'll be able to post at least twice a week; however, it may be a week or two before I get into "the groove." Just know that I am NOT dumping this blog or the blogs of my friends...I love you guys and I love blogging...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Fear!

2 Timothy 1:7: "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment."

Such a familiar, simple, yet profound statement. "God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness."

Think about that...we have no reason to fear anything: not temptation, not trials, not the high cost of standing alone. When we're faced with a tough decision, we don't have to freak out and and make a rushed choice. We can make a choice based on "sound judgement." God gives wisdom. Hallelujah!

I'm starting school next Tuesday, and I've already started pre-season volleyball workouts. I know I will be faced with tough choices (in fact, I already have). I don't have to shy away from righteousness because I'm scared of what people might think or because it's just plain easier to NOT do the "hard thing." The same power that "raised Christ from the dead" resides in me. I have been given a spirit of power. God gives strength. Hallelujah!

Just some thoughts...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Musical Monday

As I get ready to start college, I'm trying to prepare myself, both mentally and spiritually, for the challenges that are ahead. I'm trying to memorize verses that will help me as I face temptation and overwhelming circumstance. I've also discovered how listening to music with powerful lyrics can encourage me to walk with God...and I've discovered a new CD that contains just such music: "Come Weary Saints", by Sovereign Grace Music. The song below (one of the tracks from the CD) is especially beautiful.

Every Day
by Todd Twining and Joel Sczebel

In Your grace, You know where I walk
You know when I fall
You know all my ways
In Your love, I know You allow
What I cannot grasp
To bring You praise

Thank You for the trials
For the fire, for the pain
Thank You for the strength
Knowing You have ordained
Every day

Your great power is shown when I’m weak
You help me to see
Your love in this place
Perfect peace is filling my mind
And drawing my heart
To praise You again

In my uncertainty, Your Word is all I need
To know You’re with me every day


Absolutely beautiful! What an incredibly challenging and encouraging song!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Check Out This Oh-So-Challenging Article...

No Little People
by...or should I say "through"...Tim Sweetman
I found this link through the Rebelution website.
Here's a peek...

"...it's not about who we are in the public eye. It's about who God is. He works through us, and it's His grace alone that allows us to do anything, that brings meaning to the mundane. It was none of Moses' work that saved the Israelites. God received all the credit. I've found that when I put too much credit in 'big' people or 'small' people, I take away from God's fame and glory. "'God so used a stick of wood' can be a banner cry for each of us," wrote Francis Schaeffer. 'Though we are limited in talent, physical energy, and psychological strength, we are not less than a stick of wood. But as the rod of Moses had to become the rod of God, so that which is me must become the me of God. Then I can become useful in God's hands.'
I want to be a stick of wood. His stick of wood..."

To read the rest of this article, click on the link above...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cleaning Off the Shelves

In preparation for my first semester of college, which starts on the 25th, I've been cleaning out my room. I want to have plenty of room for BOOKS, and I also want to start the year in an organized fashion.

So today I cleaned off my bookshelves and re-organized my closet. I threw out some junk, and packed away lots of old books...Nancy Drew, Elsie Dinsmore, Boxcar Children, Little House...:-( It's almost hilarious how much shelf space I had after putting those books away! Aren't my shelves beautiful?!?!

All that cleaning reminds me of how I need to ask God to clean out the junk that's in my heart. I know that I must not become complacent in my spiritual walk; if I want to stay close to God and bring glory to Him, I must allow God to scrape out all of the "gunk." I've seen a lot of "gunk" and "junk" in my heart lately. Even though I can become overwhelmed by all the stuff I need to work on, I'm also grateful for this evidence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I'm grateful that He's shown me my faults, and that I know what I need to work on.

Just like cleaning off my shelves enabled me to use the space more efficiently, allowing God to clean out my sin-filled heart allows me to be more powerfully used by God. Isn't that so cool?

Psalm 139:23-24~"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Spreading the Word...

Lately I've been thinking about my responsibility to share the Gospel. I recently read the following passage from Matthew (the Great Commission):

"Then Jesus came near and said to them, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'"
Now, like most of you, I've heard those verses over, and over, and over, and over...but they usually just bounce in one ear and out the other! The last time I read them, however, I read my Bible's footnote about those verses. It said:

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. This is the meaning of the statement 'Jesus is Lord.' Since there is no power greater than His (Rom. 8:38-39; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:15-20) there is no other loyalty to which His disciples can give their absolute allegiance."

I looked up the above mentioned verses; here they are:
Romans 8:38-39: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"
Philippians 2:9-11: "For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him
the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow--of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the
earth--and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
the glory of God the Father."

Colossians 1:15-20: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross--whether things on earth or things in heaven."

Christ is supreme. He is Ruler of all. No circumstances, earthly rulers, physical health conditions...nothing has the power to separate us from His love! Not only that, but God the Father Himself exalted Christ to a position that is higher than any other in the universe. Whoa! I owe Him all of my worship and allegiance and awe! That last passage is especially amazing. It states that Christ is "the image" of God, the "firstborn over all creation." This passage also says that "all things have been created through Him and for Him."

I have been created "for Him." My whole goal in life should be to direct glory and attention to Him. I should live life with Him as my central focus.
Like the footnote in my Bible said, His absolute power and authority demand my complete allegiance...this includes the commitment to spread His glory to everyone and anyone that I can. One way I spread the Gospel is through my personal testimony; sometimes actions speak more loudly than words. But I shouldn't shy away from spreading the Gospel verbally, either. Personally, I am not good in this area. I have no excuse; I know I have had opportunities come my way.

Last summer, I worked for my dad during the summer sports camps that he runs; I was his "administrative assistant." :-) I also helped set up lunch every morning, along with several other junior counselors who were around my age. Several of these kids were Catholic in name, but they obviously did not understand who Christ was. This was evident by the questions they asked me about my faith. I remember one day when one of the young girls asked me, "So, what do you believe?" I proceeded to explain that I believed Christ had died on the cross, thereby redeeming us from sin, and then rose again on the third day. I kind of laughed to myself when, as another junior counselor walked in, this young lady told him cheerfully, "I've been finding out about her religion!" It was strange to have someone call Christianity a "religion," even though I know that's the way the world sees faith in Christ's redemption. Isn't is it tragic that this young girl, and millions like her, see this incredible personal relationship with Christ as "just another religion"?

Unfortunately, I did not let this feeling drive me to fearlessly share why my faith was not just another religion. I shared what I believed, but I "tippy-toed" in sharing...I didn't want to freak them out!Even though I shared the gospel, I could feel myself (then and throughout the week) shying away from being really bold in proclaiming the gospel. I didn't want to offend them. I didn't want them to think I was "weird" or "super conservative."

It's kind of funny, but when I'm out of that kind of that situation, I come up with the eloquent speeches and responses that I will give when someone asks me about my faith. I seem to think that it's sometimes "easy" to share the gospel. But it's not...for me! I don't like to initiate those kinds of conversations!

But after my QT the other day, I realized that I don't have any reason not to share the gospel! In fact, I owe it to Christ to share His glory! He is all-powerful...and yet so often I dare to ignore that power, shrugging off the responsibility to witness!

Something else I've been challenged with lately is that I can "witness" to other believers. I can and should be an example to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Like my story above demonstrates, I struggle with being a "people-pleaser" rather than a "God-pleaser." I'm like a chameleon at times; I try to blend into the crowd around me, even if "blending in" equals "compromising." But Christ expects more out of me...His child for whom He gave His life. The child who He loves with a love which cannot be weakened. Ever. I must strive to live up to His expectations, not the expectations of those around me.

Another thing: Christ experienced many, many "uncomfortable situations"...and He persevered through the most uncomfortable of them all: excruciating death on a cross. He also suffered betrayal by close friends, mockery...I mean, for crying out loud, He was spit on!! If He went through all that "uncomfortableness" for me, shouldn't I be willing to experience discomfort for His sake, so that I can in some way repay Him for all that He's done for me?

I just came across a video on Kaysie's blog, "Cross-Eyed", that happened to deal with how to share Christ despite our fears. I encourage you to check it out.

OK, so I've typed my head off and shared all this stuff...now I've got to go out and practice it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for my parents. Yesterday was their 20th wedding anniversary! They love each other so much; they are committed to each other and to God, and they continually work to build both of those relationships. I also appreciate the fact that they clearly demonstrate their love for each other. They don't hide it...that's for sure! :-) Mom and Dad are also wonderful parents. They've homeschooled my brother and I for 13 years now and have proven to be excellent teachers!! I'm so grateful for them and for their wisdom and guidance.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! I love you so much!

Iris is our host. Click here to visit her blog and to see other people's Thankful Thursdays!

P.S. I'm also thankful for my beautiful new blog design! Isn't it awesome? Thanks to Ms. Judi from Doodlebug Designs for creating it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Musical Monday

God of Justice (We Must Go)
by Tim Hughes

God of Justice, Saviour to all,
Came to rescue the weak and the poor,
Chose to serve and not be served.

Jesus, You have called us.
Freely we've received,
Now freely we will give.

We must go, live to feed the hungry,
Stand beside the broken,
We must go.
Stepping forward, keep us from just singing,
Move us into action,
We must go.

To act justly everyday,
Loving mercy in every way,
Walking humbly before You God,

You have shown us, what You require.
Freely we've received,
Now freely we will give.

Fill us up and send us out,
Fill us up and send us out,
Fill us up and send us out Lord.

We sang this song at the "Do Hard Things" Conference last Saturday. Isn't it so challenging? I love the lines, "Stepping forward, keep us from just singing, move us into action, we must go." Amen! What a kick to the ol' spiritual funny bone...the conscience, that is! It is so easy to forget those "moments of enlightenment." So often, I'll be strongly convicted concerning an area in which I am lacking...and then I'll move on with life...acting as if that conviction means nothing.

Father, "stepping forward, keep me from just blogging, move me into action, I must go!!"

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The "Do Hard Things" Conference--A Life Changing Experience!

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while...
Wow...there are not enough words to describe just how awesome the "Do Hard Things" Conference was. It was challenging, exciting, inspiring, convicting, encouraging, incredible, amazing, eye-opening...
I cannot remember attending an event that was so thought-provoking--ever! Brett and Alex Harris have such a gripping and motivating message to share, and their commitment to Christ and to spreading HIS glory is so refreshing. So...how did this message change me personally?

Firstly, the phrase "Do Hard Things" now consistently runs through my mind. When I know in my head that I should choose the right thing over the easy thing, I am more aware than I ever was before that I need to choose the right thing. I DON'T ALWAYS SUCCEED, but I feel like I'm growing. PTL!

Secondly, I was challenged to think how our culture's low expectations are affecting me. I've grown up in a Christian, Bible-believing, supportive household. Both my parents love God and love their kids, and they are consistently guiding us on to maturity. I came to Christ when I was 3. It it very tempting to think that just because I am surrounded by godly people and encouraged to make good choices, I'm not as affected by the culture's low expectations. However, now that I think about it (which I am right now), I am affected. Maybe not in the so-called "drastic" ways that others are (drugs, alcohol, immorality, etc.), but in more subtle ways. For example, laziness comes into play when I don't consistently read God's Word. One of the points which the Harris brothers pointed out is that great danger lies in becoming complacent. It's so hard not to think, "well, I may flirt sometimes, but not nearly as blatantly as those other girls do..." when the truth is that any flirtation is wrong and should be cut out of my life.

Well...here are the awesome pics I took...enjoy!

Praise and worship time...it was amazing!

Alex and Brett Harris

I got my shirt signed by the Harris brothers! It was really neat to meet them!

Mom and me.

Arya, Christine, and their mom...

I am so grateful that I was able to attend this conference! If you want to see more pictures, click here.

To see a picture of ME getting my shirt signed, click HERE!

This young man accepted the Lord and was sitting behind us. It really impacted me to see a teen boy standing and crying, and not being ashamed! Click HERE!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Rebelution Conference

I'm re-posting (is that even a word??) this video, since my family and I are attending the conference TOMORROW!!! YAY!! I'll post and let you know how it goes!

Below is a portion of one of the Rebelution blog's latest posts:

In the book Worship Matters, Bob Kauflin writes that “each of us has a battle raging within us over what we love most — God or something else.” He’s right. Worship is crucial, because every day there is a battle raging for our hearts. The enemy wants us to find our joy in the pleasures of sin and the distractions of this world. It’s vital that we fight back, for God makes it clear in His Word that if He doesn’t have our hearts, our outward service is wasted energy (Matthew 15:8-9).

To read the rest of this article...click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot

I recently started reading Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot. Mrs. Elliot was the wife of Jim Elliot, the missionary who was killed by the Auca (Waodani) Indians in 1956. This book is the story of her relationship with Jim. Filled with snippets from her personal journals, as well as Bible verses, hymn lyrics, etc., it is the story of a young couple who greatly loved each other yet chose to wait. Not only did they maintain their purity, but they also made the difficult decision to hold off on marriage until they were certain of God's will for their lives. Neither one was certain that God wanted them to marry...ever. They both knew that going with their emotions and marrying outside of God's will would jeopardize their commitment to Christ and His glory. Though it was extremely difficult to rely on His perfect plan, which they realized could include singleness, they trusted God to make His will clear in His perfect timing. Below is an especially challenging portion of their story. It takes place right after they confessed their feelings for each other and committed, for the time being, to not become engaged.
E. Elliot says:

I began to learn to wait. Patient waiting does not come naturally to most of us, but a great deal is said about it in the Bible. It is an important discipline for anyone who wants to learn to trust....

[Journal entry from] June 9, 1948--....To wait on the Lord is to stand perfectly still....can [Jim and I] trust His words, "Is not the Lord your God with you? and hath he not given you rest on every side?..." (1 Chronicles 22:18)

....It was on the evening of the same day, June 9, that Jim and I walked out to a cemetery and sat down on a stone slab. I told him I did not think it would help us much in discerning God's direction if we started right in on a heavy correspondence. Wouldn't it make more sense to "cool it"? Not that we used that expression in those days, but it says what I meant. To allow for the perspective that both distance and silence could give might help us to see the whole thing with cool reason.
Jim thought that over for a few minutes. Then he spoke of the story he had read in his Bible study that morning--the story of Abraham's offering up of the most precious thing in his life: his son Isaac. "So I put you on the altar," he said.
Slowly we became aware that the moon, which had risen behind us, was casting the shadow of a stone cross on the slab between us.
We were silent for a very long time, pondering this undeniable sign. What Abraham did was the ancient prelude to the full revelation of the love of God. The readiness to give up his son and the rewards promised because of it--again, the central truth of the Cross was brought to us in a strange and mysterious manner. When the silence became heavy, Jim said, "And what is to be done with the ashes?" Time would show.

What a challenging story! Two people who were willing to give up what their flesh longed for the most in order to follow God's design and purpose for their lives! They were willing to keep Christ and the truth of the Cross at the center of their hearts.
Lord, I pray that You would plant within me a desire to follow You alone, and that I would be willing to give up what I want so that You might be glorified and honored through my life. Amen.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Brother

OK, so I guess this is kind of a "Thankful Friday" post...because today I'm thankful for my brother! Caleb is 14 and a freshman in highschool. He loves soccer, Lego's (he currently owns a set that is comprised of over 3,000 pieces!), and computer games, and he also enjoys hanging out at the gymnasium where our dad works. He has a wonderful sense of humor; there is never a dull moment when he's around! He's wonderful with little kids and loves making people laugh. He has a sensitive heart that wants to do what is right, and we love him very much!
Here are some pics of my awesome bro...also known as "Ferd" (yes, there is a story behind that nickname... :-)!

The Goofy man himself.

Partners in Crime!

"Wow man...this is, like, a majorly big chair!"

A mama's boy...and proud of it, too!

Sis and Bro...

Bored in the car...

...very bored!

Love you, Caleb!! Thanks for being a great brother!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The PERFECT Friend!

I just read this awesome Psalm:


1 Hallelujah!
My soul, praise the Lord.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
3 Do not trust in nobles,
in man, who cannot save.
4 When his breath leaves him,
he returns to the ground;
on that day his plans die.
5 Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them.
He remains faithful forever,
7 executing justice for the exploited
and giving food to the hungry.
The Lord frees prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord raises up the those who are oppressed.
The Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord protects foreigners
and helps the fatherless and the widow,
but He frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever;
Zion, your God reigns
for all generations.

Wow! How challenging! "Do not trust in...man, who cannot save. When his breath leaves him...on that day his plans die." Ultimately, no friend or family member can totally satisfy or fulfill my every need.

Sometimes it seems like they can. I know that I will sometimes have high expectations of my friends, and then suddenly, those expectations will all come crashing down around my ears when my friends don't fulfill them.

Now don't get me wrong...God gave us friends and fellow believers to support and love us. And I'm not saying that all friends are disloyal jerks! However, this Psalm says that my primary strength and hope should come from God. He is the only One who never fails me...ever! I mean, look at that list in verses 5-10!

He is the Maker of all that is...He knows the details of every one of His individual creations!

He is eternally faithful...He'll never "dump" us when we need Him the most!

He defends the "exploited"...He knows and cares when we're mistreated!

He provides for our physical needs...including our need for nourishment!

He frees the imprisoned, blind, and oppressed...His truth sets us free!

He looks after the "outcasts" and those who "don't belong"...we all feel like foreigners at one time or another!

He "helps the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked." He is compassionate and loving towards those who need it the most. He is the ultimate Father!

He "reigns forever"...He'll never lose His authority!!

Wow...how amazing! Thank you, Lord, for your indescribable love!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Musical Monday

Be Thou My Vision
by Dallan Forgail

Be Thou my Vision,
O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me,
save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought,
by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping,
Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom,
and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee
and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father,
I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling,
and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield,
Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity,
Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter,
Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward,
O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not,
nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance,
now and always:
Thou and Thou only,
first in my heart,
High King of Heaven,
my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven,
my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys,
O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart,
whatever befall,
Still be my Vision,
O Ruler of all.


I love this hymn! God should be my main focus in everything I do and say. The 4th verse is especially challenging to me.