"Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son, Jesus Christ." - George Washington

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Curious Policy

   Hello friends, I am writing this post on a whim, hoping for some feedback. Please let me know what you think.

   We are living in an age of communication. Gone are the days when messages were sent by foot, horse or rail. Old fashioned letter writing has been dubbed "snail mail", it's practically outdated. Phone conversations are even being replaced by computers and cell phones with endless options. People simply don't get to know eachother the same way we did 10 years ago. This calls for other things to change along with;  ettiquitte must be developed for these new means.

   I am writing this because I would like your opinion on a rule my mom laid down a few years ago. When I got my first cell phone and email account, there had to be restrictions laid down. (With great power comes great responsibilty, and all that jazz.) One most important rule was this:  That my sister and I, being girls, were not allowed to initiate texts, calls, emails, etc. to anyone of the opposite gender.

   Mind you, we were allowed to communicate with guys, as long as they texted/called/emailed first. This was a rule my mom strictly enforced, we even had our phones taken away once or twice for disobeying. The reasoning behind this was that we believe guys are meant to be initiators. If a guy wants to talk to, or get to know a girl, he can do so. He shouldn't wait long enough for a girl to become aggresive. And that leads to another point. We believe girls should not be initiators. I can think of several female friends of mine right off the bat, that would text other guys constantly. That made them look not only aggresive, but flirtatious and even desprate.

   That rule is still in place, though not as strictly enforced since April and I are older. And I've come to appreciate it very much. In my opinion, it hasn't ever harmed me, but rather helped. I would love to hear your feedback, please! I want to know what you think of this, was it a bit extreme? Or just perfect? Would you like to see more people putting this to practice?

My Ebenezer

   Guess what today is? Nah, I won't make you guess, I'll just tell you. It's been one year today since I started blogging. =)  That's actually quite a milestone for me, because I wasn't sure I would be able to keep going this long. Minus this post, I've written 65 posts! That's more than one a week. Sometimes I really do amaze myself... lol. Just kidding.

   I really ought to give the credit to whom it's due, and that would be the Lord. The plain truth is that I would not have kept this going on my own, the Lord has led me through ups and downs and kept me pressing onward. This blog is what it is, by His will, and His grace. I've learned quite a lot through it, I've seen myself change. I can see how I've been blessed, I can look back on the mountain tops, the valleys. I can see where I've trudged deeper through His Word, and other times when I merely waded in the shallows. I wouldn't trade this exprerince for... well I dunno. =) I just wouldn't trade it. And that was just one year my friends! I'm so excited to see what God does in the next. His will be done.

Monday, November 8, 2010

In All Things

   I'd like you to meet a new 'friend' of mine, her name is Melanie Wilkes. Actually, I'm sure you already know her. She is everybody's favorite mistress from Gone With The Wind, the wife of Scarlett's lifelong forbidden love, Ashley Wilkes. I recently had the pleasure of seeing the movie for the first time, and I rather enjoyed it.

   I've had her and several other fictional ladies brought to my attention in the last few weeks, all women of similar character. Along with Melanie I've been reminded of Helen Burns from Jane Eyre, and Elsie Dinsmore. All three of these ladies are unforgettable, their actions speak volumes. They are forbearing, they suffer willingly, believe the best in others, are slow to judge, always giving the benefit of the doubt, and always quick to forgive. I understand that they are only fictional, but surely such a high standard shouldn't be ignored or laid aside. This morning my personal devos took me to Philippians 2:14-18, and it so perfectly describes these precious women.
   Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become {blameless} and {harmless}, children of God {without fault} in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you {shine as lights} in the world, {holding fast} the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
   Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
   There are many things to study in these verses, and I parenthesized the points that describe my heroines. Helen Burns from Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece was a willing sufferer. She accepted all her trials and persecutions as just punishment. She never focused on her pain, but looked forward to her eternal reward. Such character is blameless, unable to be criticized. Helen never misbehaved, she was picked on by her teachers who were scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something wrong with her. Helen was {blameless}.

   Of course the first thing everyone knows about Melanie is that she is such a forbearing soul. She loved Scarlett with every bit of sisterly affection, even when she had no obligation to. She defended Scarlett, even when the other girls justly accused her. Scarlett almost never did an unselfish act toward Melanie, but Melanie never complained. Even when Melanie heard of Scarlett's infidelity with her husband, she was the first to forgive. She could have been the first to shun, but she was the only one who believed in Scarlett's innocence. Melanie was {harmless}, innocent and pure. She was unable to hurt anyone, willingly or otherwise.

   Elsie Dinsmore was finally recognized by a father who had abandoned her to be raised by his own parents. He was not a servant of the Lord, and wanted Elsie to obey him, even to the point of causing her to disobey the Lord. She would not, however, and approached the brink of death in her fervency to serve the Lord. She never complained, Elsie was {without fault}. She was above reproach in her passion to follow the Lord.

   We live in a crooked and perverted world. What the world considers acceptable has deviated from God's standards, but these ladies wouldn't settle for "acceptable". They never complained, never argued. As John MacArthur says, those sins "demonstrate a lack of trust in God's providential will, boundless grace, and infinite wisdom and love." They never questioned or criticized what God was doing. Romans 8:28 says that ALL THINGS work together for good to those that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose. Helen always knew that the Lord had a reason for her to be at Lowood School, she was content where she was. Even though the teachers persecuted her, she knew suffering was a gift of the Lord.

   These ladies shine brightly, their impeccable character is unforgettable, and leaves us desiring to be just as admirable. The Lord tells us to shine, and because we are Christians, we will stand out in a crooked generation, just as a candle stands out in a dark room, or stars stand out in a night sky. A better interpretation of "holding fast" would be "holding forth". We are holding the standard, we are Christ's representatives and He's given us the capacity to shine for Him.

   Rejoice in the opportunities God has given you to suffer, don't complain. It's a gift of grace, to be oppressed for Christ's sake. Be a willing sacrifice for the Lord, believe the best in others, be blameless and above reproach. Lord, make me even a little more like these fictional heroines, always blessing your name, and bringing You glory.

Hope and Predestination

   "My mind was therefore hourly replete with inventions and thoughts of being freed; and, if possible, by honest and honourable means; for I always remembered the old adage, and I trust it has ever been my ruling principle, 'that honesty is the best policy'; and likewise that other golden precept--'To do unto all men as I would they should do unto me.' However, as I was from early years a predestinarian, I thought whatever fate had determined must ever come to pass; and therefore, if ever it were my lot to be freed, nothing could prevent me, although I should at present see no means or hope to obtain my freedom; on the other hand, if it were my fate not to be freed, I never should be so, and all my endeavours for that purpose would be fruitless. In the midst of these thoughts I therefore looked up with prayers anxiously to God for my liberty; and at the same time used very honest means, and did all that was possible on my part to obtain it."

-Olaudah Equiano

Friday, October 29, 2010

In Whatever State I Am...

   Dear friends and readers... *sigh*

   I cannot deny the shame I feel at abandoning you right in the middle of a series. I simply haven't prioritized my time well enough to have the motivation, or clear understanding to write another post. I apologize, and by God's help I shall strive to do better.

   In the meantime... our computer has been visited by a few viruses. We have no idea what, or where they're from, but Microsoft Works Word Processor has vanished. Our documents still exist (and most importantly are back up on a flash drive, thank you Jesus), but we can't open them. What does this mean? It means that the remaining verses and quotes I had chosen to write on are inaccessible. =/ It looks like my series on TRUE LOVE has come to a detour, I shall have to write about something else in the meantime.

   But, ladies and gentlemen, that's not a bad thing! Praise the LORD, He has decided to guide me on a better path. =)

   So my topic today will veer off in a different direction. I'd like to show you something that I've been meditating on for a few weeks, a bit of Psalms that God led me to. Most of you have read the grand passage of Psalm 37, which speaks of the peace and joy, and triumph of those who wait on the LORD. I have chosen to peruse a few of the Psalms since it's been awhile, and I enjoy them so much. David was a human and he wrote what was overflowing his heart. The Psalms are easy to connect to, they speak of human trials and emotions, joy and depression, and the hope of Christ. There seems to be a Psalm for every circumstance in life.

   The verses I have meditated on relate to my circumstances in life right now, being single, with the opportunities of several jobs, the blessings of various friends, more liberties and less responsibilities than I will ever have again. There is nothing I should desire, considering I have so many gifts, and these verses help me combat any discontentment or jealousy that tends to spring up.
Psalm 37:3-5  ~  Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Trust in the Lord, and do good
   This came as a bit of a revelation, as a new meaning took me by surprise. This phrase makes me recall verses that Jesus spoke to His disciples, that if they loved Him, they would keep His commands. To love the Lord means that you'll obey Him no matter what, you'll do whatever you can to please Him. I suppose maybe this verse follows the same lines, that if you trust the Lord, you'll keep doing His will, for He does will us to do good. Keep taking steps forward, even when you aren't sure of what comes next. Those actions, my friends, prove a real trust in the Father, having faith in something you can't see, always moving on with the belief that God is in control.

Dwell in the land
   This one has a neat illustration. God has given us each a bit of land, a place to stay. He has let the lines fall in pleasant places, it's a good land and it's perfect for you. It's His will for your life and He has given you everything you need at this particular stage in life. So we're left with a few choices. We can sit on the fence and look down the road, longing so much for the next part of life that we become discontent. We can sit in our land in self-pity, wishing we had someone elses land, and opportunities. Or we can dwell in the land. We can choose to settle down and enjoy every opportunity and blessing that's been provided. Put down roots, make new friends, throw a party, write a book, learn to dance... Enjoy the moments you're in because you will never have them back. Don't waste them in wishing you had something else.

And feed on His faithfulness
   God's faithfulness is wondrous, He never changes. The same God who created Adam and Eve; who preserved the human race through Noah; who preserved His chosen people by leading them out of Egypt; who provided propitiation for His elect; is the same God who gave you life. He has given you health, food, a job, friends... You have always been provided for. Dwell on those thoughts! Meditate on God's works and delight yourself in them. Raise an ebenezer, declaring that God has brought you thus far, and that He will remain faithful to bring you home. Thank him for His faithfulness, and remember that He will never change.

Delight yourself also in the LORD
    Is the Lord your greatest luxury? Greater than wealth? Greater than the love of your friends, or the esteem of your co-workers? Greater than your education, talents, or accomplishments? In the end, God is all that matters, he is the One who has given you all your other "luxuries", and He can take them away. He is the only eternal being, whilst your earthly treasures will vanish. Make the Lord your joy and your desire, seek Him and make Him your closest, most treasured companion.

And He shall give you the desires of your heart
   The first thoughts that spring to mind are ones of manipulation. Maybe if you read your Bible a bit more, you'll earn brownie points from God and He'll be more inclined to give you whatever it is you want... We all know that's not how it works. =)
   I've heard it aptly put that when you delight yourself in the Lord... He becomes your desire. The closer you draw to the Lord, the more you want to know Him, and of course the Bible says that if you seek the Lord with your whole heart, you shall find him. It's a circle that grows ever tighter. As for your desires, other than the Lord, they will conform to His. The closer you draw to God, the more alike you become to him - the more you want to please Him - so that when you present a request before God, the more likely it is according to his will. Your desires are one with his.

Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him
   Commitment to the Lord doesn't come without trust. If you leave something in God's hands, you're admitting that you will no longer desire a plan different from His. You're casting your cares on him, throwing aside the doubts of God sovereignty and grace. You're willing to flex with the changes He has in mind. In committing your way to the Lord, you have dedicated to follow his commands and be content with His will.

And He shall bring it to pass
   One way to very simply put this is that God's will always comes to pass. There is nothing we do to hinder God's work, rather He uses us to help it along. But there's also a hopeful way of viewing this promise, when you have a great desire, or grand plans. By committing them to God, and working towards them with honest means, He will bring them to completion. I'm not saying that God will give you what you want, He oftentimes surprises us and throws on a better ending than we could have planned.

   That's a lot to think about in only three verses. =} But it's given me lots of meat to chew on for a couple weeks. God has truly guarded my heart and mind, as He promises in Philippians. The more I delight in Him, the more faded the world looks. He is truly sufficient.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TRUE LOVE | preparing for the future

   Dearest readers! I apologize for the prolonged lull. For a few weeks now, I felt rather inadequate to write another post about TRUE LOVE when I had a few of my own issues to deal with. But the Lord has once again proven Himself my Guide, Guardian and Comforter. I will certainly never stop finding things to learn, praise the Lord.

   This topic isn't on my mind as much as it used to be, that's what happens when you keep learning new things. Old lessons move along and become... well... old lessons. But I suppose it's good for me to come back and refresh my memory. And I'm sure the Lord has a purpose. He always does. =) Anyway, I guess one thing God showed me earlier this year was the importance preparing for a marriage, right now. One of the best ways I can imagine doing that, is realizing marriage is hard work. Very hard work. Ask any couple that's been married for a number of years and I'm sure they'd agree. When two people come to know each other intimately, and spend large amounts of time together, problems arise and differences become more obvious. Just letting things go by their natural course doesn't work for a marriage, because the natural course of things is a downhill slope. Marriage takes maintenance and sacrifice to keep it working. And I'm not even speaking from experience. I've asked lots of questions, read lots of books, watched several couples closely, including my parents. It's not aeasy, there's no such thing as a happily-ever-after package deal. Not without work anyway.

   That being said, I'd like to give you the scriptures that have spoken to me about what a Biblical wife should be:
Titus 2:1-8  ~  But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
   I find it interesting that the young women should be taught to love their husbands and children... shouldn't that come naturally? Apparently not. At least, there must be a right way and a wrong way. I won't get into specifics or details, but this caught my attention the first time I read it, and I wanted to throw that out there for y'alls to maybe chew on a little.

   {Discreet} and {chaste} are words that bring to mind a picture of a wise young lady, who doesn't give into foolish behavior, who doesn't share every gritty detail about her personal life. She holds a bit of mystery, and purity, she is a rare gem and people respect her greatly. Wouldn't you rather be considered a treasure?
1 Peter 3:1-12  ~  Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
   Submission has become rather a lost concept nowaday. The feminist movement has perverted the traditional Biblcal role of womanhood as a wife, mother and homemaker, so that it is a shame to stay at home, rather than joining the workforce. Women have become proud and put themselves in roles that only men should carry out. Thus, we have lost the importance of submission to our men. Even the role of running a home has been snatched by females, and fathers and husbands lose the respect that they, as men, really need. Even if you know you can do a better job - even if you know that your boyfriend/husband is wrong - let him lead. Submit, it will truly pay off in the long run.

   Also, girls, did you know guys really prefer girls with little to no makeup? Truly, and even for that fact I don't wear any more than mascara and blemish concealer. I know that if I want a guy to like me, I would prefer it was because I cared more for my character than my apperance. You know your beauty will fade. But your character is what sticks for the rest of your life. Isn't that more worthwhile? =)

   It would be wise to practice these things now while they're easier to learn. Practice with your parents, with your siblings, with your best friends. Because marriage isn't a dream, it's everyday life. But lived with your best friend. =) That being said I shall close. To God be the glory!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

TRUE LOVE | love through unity

   I'm going to share with you one of my highest desires for my future marriage, something I believe that marriage is founded upon, and that should be nurtured. I believe it is the key to success in not only a marriage relationship, but any relationship. Have you looked at the title of my post yet for any clues? =) Yup, you're right. Love through unity is what I believe is a key for success in any sort of relationship, whether that be a mere acquaintance, a neighbor, a childhood chum, your best friend from high school, your siblings and parents, or your spouse.

   The first part of unity, begins with the thing we are united in, or rather the being.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5  ~  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
   The first and greatest commandment. It isn't just a cutesy quote. This phrase is what the Jews had inscribed on their door frames, and wore in phylacteries on their hands and foreheads. This was the basis of their religion, it was literally an everyday reminder of who they served and why. And they needed such constant reminders, for they had hearts that were easily deceived. They committed adultery with the Lord constantly, they thought they needed several gods like the nations around them. That's why the commandment says "The LORD our God, the LORD is one!". That word "one" means He is the only one. There are literally no other options to devote ourselves to.

   In a relationship, God always comes first in the equation. He deserves all your energy and love. Doesn't "heart, soul and strength" pretty much cover it all?
Ephesians 4:1-6  ~  I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
   What this verse so clearly emphasizes is that when two people have the same passion for the Lord, a calling from Him, they already have the most important thing common. The rest of the facts, like what your calling is, what denomination you are, what country you're from, if you like Ranch dip or Catalina dressing on your pizza, are just added details. This is the body of Christ! Why? Because we all serve one God, who saved us all. We all have the same faith, we all have the same new birth into the same family. It doesn't matter if you're Catholic or Protestant, Baptist or Reformed, you have the same things in common with all your brothers and sisters in Christ.

   Now that you know what I mean by unity, what are you going to do with that knowledge? We have learned to love the Lord, we have learned that people with a mutual love for the Lord already have the most important thing in common. How about a love for other people;  your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Philippians 2:1-4  ~  Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
   This is love:  not a self-fulfillment, but self-sacrifice.

   Not only do we have a chance to lift our friends and acquaintances up, we have the chance to pour ourselves out for them. "Love your neighbor as yourself." See why this, the second, is like the greatest commandment? We are drawn together by loving Christ, and strengthened by loving each other. Find ways every day to edify and bless your siblings, parents, best friends, or spouse.

   This is what I desire most in my marriage, a relationship built on the sacrifice and love of Christ. A mutual devotion toward the Father, which will draw us together to overcome, compromise, and sacrifice, together.

Monday, August 23, 2010

TRUE LOVE | guard your heart

   Here I am, finally finding the time and motivation to start this project. I decided I would stick with several small posts, since my mind has been too overwhelmed to grasp the copious amount of quotes and verses. I've sorted them into several topics, and I'm planning on simply posting them, with a few comments of my own; things God has been teaching me throughout this year. I hope you can see more clearly what my heart has been struggling with, and how the Lord has been my one true love, my support, my guide, my sufficiency, my all-in-all. I hope and pray that He is yours as well.

   One thing I know all girls have struggled with since the beginning of time, is guarding our hearts. We are so emotionally driven, and whatever makes us blissfully happy, or joyfully teary-eyed, or sweetly sad is what holds our attentions and affections. We follow the leading of our deceitful hearts, and often give away so much of ourselves to something or someone who is never going to reciprocate. And our culture and media only prods us even further in that direction. Movies like Pocahontas that tell us to listen to our hearts, songs like "Your Love Is My Drug" that tell us that real love is a high feeling.

   I have prided myself on the control I have over my emotions, I'm usually able to rationalize through feelings, telling myself that they're only hormones. I can kill a crush stone dead before it even knows what hit it. But I'm still incredibly female, emotional roller-coaster included. I fell flat on my tush a few months back, my heart got tangled up in the desires of wanting to be in a relationship with a certain guy.  It had been almost years since I had had a crush that bad, I couldn't believe I was tripping over a bump that was miles behind me. It was driving me crazy, he was in control of all my thoughts, and I couldn't get him off my mind. I hated being so tangled up, and I spent all week trying to convince myself otherwise. How I hate being a girl sometimes...

   So to all you girls who have ever gone through a rough patch with your emotions - and that would be all of you, don't deny it - I'm right there with ya. And I've found a neat trick that sobers me up when I start planning our "first Christmas" and playing the name-game. I've heard it in various ways, and from different angles, but this one describes it most clearly. It's from the book "When God Writes Your Love Story" by Eric and Leslie Ludy, and I highly recommend it, for both girls and guys. Eric wrote this, but I changed it up for all the girls, so it would make more sense:
   Just imagine that God has it in his mind to bring into your life someday a courageous and handsome husband who will make your heart skip a beat every time you look at him. Can you imagine that? Now I want you to also imagine that this impressive young man can see you right now. Pretend that he is capable of watching you, everywhere you go, and he is able to see everything you do. Okay then, if he could see and hear everything, ask yourself this question. “If he followed me around throughout my day, every day of my life, would he feel respected and honored, and adored by me as he watches me interact with other guys? Would he come away each day saying ‘She sure does love me!’ or would he be deeply hurt by the way I give what is his to other young men?”
   Does that not make your heart ache? I can only think with regret of the times I've not only let my husband down, but led someone else's husband astray. When I choose my outfit for the day, am I honoring my husband by what I'm going to wear? Or am I going to cause other young men to stare, and commit adultery in their hearts? What about your foolish flirting, does that honor your husband? What about the guy you obsessively text? What about the guy you Facebook stalk? Even if your husband isn't watching you, God is.
Here’s my heart, Oh take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
Your heart is the property of your husband, but most importantly, it belongs to God. He can take care of it for you, He will know the right person to give it to.
Song of Solomon 8:3-4  ~  His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
   Lastly, don't go looking for love. God will bring it in at the right time. If you don't have a boyfriend, it's because you're not ready for one. A boyfriend isn't the best thing for you. Let your heart wait, keep it pure, like your virginity, for the one whom it belongs to.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the Works

Hey all, just wanted to let you know that I'm still here. I'm working on a big post -- so big that I'm trying to decide if I should put it on the blog in sections, or simplify it and make it short and sweet, or just post the whole monstrous thing. So it's in the works, it will appear soon. It's a topic I meant to write about a long time ago, but I chickened out, and God has rounded out my knowledge a little more since then. He's still workin' on me. =)

Just a shout out, a quick thank you to everyone who has ever read my blog. I love all of my readers and I'm more than grateful that I have any at all. =) God bless all of you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gain Through Loss

   I had a stroke of brilliance the other day. Why should I should do all the writing? If I can find plenty of guest writers, I would never have to conjure up another blog post ever again! lol Okay, not really. But I did want to ask a few good friends to write a blog post once in awhile; people who influence me a lot, or have challenged me to grow more. And my first guest writer is someone who I confide everything in, who gives sound Biblical advice, and never stops asking me questions to ponder. Everybody meet, my mom, Jill Rasmussen! =)

   She and I have grown unspeakably close in past few years, through private Bible studies together, and just bouncing meditations off each other. I am grateful beyond words for my mom. Y'alls should be so jealous because I have the most awesome mom ever! =)

   I asked her to write a few paragraphs about what she has been learning lately, and so devote your full attention to her sagely wisdom. ^.^

   One of my all-time favorite quotes I have written in the front of my Bible:
“Measure thy life by loss and not by gain;
Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth.
For love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice;
And he that suffered most, has most to give.”
--Ugo Bassi
   God works so many times in ways that seem opposite to us; counterintuitive to our human mind.  And if we can find gain by losing something, then I’m sure that is  evidence of God’s work and it is comforting to me.  “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” -- Matt. 19:29.
   Suffering and loss usually go hand-in-hand.  “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.”  -- Heb. 2:10.  Who lost more than Jesus ever did?  Who received more glory than Jesus ever did?  Will we receive our gain here on earth for the many things we have lost or suffered?  Maybe a little bit here and there.  But I have a feeling most of the gain will be eternal reward.  It’s what we can’t see and the reason faith is required, and what we don’t know is going on in the unseen world, that is the real reason and reward for loss.
   And that leads to perseverance.  If we have lost something important -- and the really important things usually aren’t material -- it’s easy to be very disappointed and lose hope.  But if God leads us to believe in the unseen things going on in our behalf to bring about gain, it will help us to persevere and not give up.    “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” -- Romans 5:3.
   Whose life do you admire?  That person most likely is worth admiring because they have suffered, persevered and in the end, gained something precious  (only God knows what that gain specifically is).  “He that suffered most, has most to give.”  Hang in there.

-Jill Rasmussen

Friday, July 30, 2010

Prayer of George Washington

Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments. Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Here I Be

   I'm back! Sorry for the long gap, I was on vacation in Clear Lake and Spirit Lake these past two weeks. It's been wonderful to take a break and refocus. And recharge. =) I love lakes, and Spirit Lake, Iowa is my favorite place to be. My mom grew up there so it has a family sentimentalism about it. Plus my grandparents still live there, so I have many opportunities to visit. I think a piece of me gets left behind every time. I could die happy and content in a home on the lake. =)
   Last week, actually on the 4th of July, we had a down day. Rather stormy and wet, not at all conducive to watching fireworks. So I stayed inside all day and read a book that's been on my checklist for a long time. God finally showed me the right time to learn from it. It's called When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy. Yeah, I confess that this topic has been on my mind a lot lately and this was the perfect book. In fact, I think I like it better than I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. It was a combination of no more dating, and turning your relationships into a masterpiece completely designed and directed by God. Eric and Leslie took turns writing chapters, recalling their own struggles and giving the guys and girls points of view. They even give practical tips on single-hood, courtship, and after-marriage issues, including scripture after each chapter - to meditate on God's plans and purposes for love. I finished the book inspired and edified, and I plan to apply much of it. In fact I already have, I don't have to wait to be in a relationship to prepare myself for my future soulmate. =) Please read it, no matter where you are in your love life. Or suggest it to someone you think needs some direction. And enjoy the adventure God is laying out for you and your future spouse.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The {Fruit} of the Spirit

   I've been mulling a certain issue over in my mind for several days now, something that has caused me to fret, and has carried my feelings too far. It has caused me to turn my face to God and ask questions of myself. What attribute of God am I doubting? Has this issue taken God's place in my thought life? Has it been dominating my actions and interactions with other people? It is an issue that God has convicted me of idolizing. I have worked hard on surrendering it to God, because I know now is not the proper time to focus on it. And now He has presented my faltering, deceptive heart a chance to turn this issue back to Him. {I would appreciate your prayers.}

   Anyway, what I would like to say is that in my meditations, God has given me new meat to chew and things to do. And I would like to share them with you. =^)

   If you have been reading my blog in the past month, you might know that I have written a few posts about facts over feelings. About how emotions aren't the cause, but the result. Since my emotions have been troubling me more lately, I have the chance to practice what I preach. Today, about an hour ago in fact, I was reading my Bible and pondering the fruit of the Spirit. Going through the list, they at first appear to be emotions:  love, joy, peace... And in fact emotions are involved with some of these. But then you get to actions:  patience, kindness, goodness... And mindsets, or behaviors:  faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What is the dealio? Are they all emotions? Or are they all behaviors? Or just a mish-mash of it all?

   Most people look at the list and see all the attributes they would like to improve on. They make a checklist out of it and start working hard to be more patient or kind. But how to go about being patient or kind... do you try to feel more patient? How often does a situation come along where you fail and become discouraged because you weren't patient like you were trying to be?

   I think what God has shown me is that the fruit of the Spirit is FRUIT! It is the result of abiding in Christ, the vine. Good fruit is the result of pruning by God, the vine-dresser. The conclusion that my mom and I came to was that abiding in Christ and having fruit in your life is finding knowledge, or truth, and having the appropriate actions, based on that knowledge or truth. 

   For example, once in awhile, I have the obligation to get up at 5:30am and prepare for work. I know that God has given me a good job, that by getting up early I have extra time to myself and a great start to my day, and that morning is basically the most beautiful part of a day. But then I have a choice. I can focus on the negative side (lack of sleep... um. Honestly not much else. lol) and have a crabby attitude. My actions will follow my attitude... I will probably have a crabby, lazy, unproductive morning.

   Or, I can choose to focus on the positive. I can have a productive morning, a good cup of joe, get my private devotions done early, and have the rest of the afternoon all to myself. And fruit will come of that, namely, joy, peace, faithfulness and self-control. Is this making sense?

   I believe that this can be applied to all the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians says  "And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."  What is the opposite of peace? Worry and stress. First, put away worry and stress, which make us dependent on ourselves. Then focus on the knowledge that God is all-powerful. He is in control and that nothing happens outside of His plan. Then live that truth. Let your actions reflect the fact that God is in control. Walk in the Spirit.

   I challenge you to do something that I am working on. I have written all 9 fruits of the Spirit in my journal. I am going to look up their definitions, and also note the sinful, opposite attributes. I am going to find truth about God that applies to each fruit, such as God's omniscience relating to peace, and His good plan and perfect timing for patience. And finally find ways for me to walk daily, based on those truths.

CSN Giveaway

Giveaway time! I have never, ever tried one of these before, so I signed up for the giveaway on this blog and promised to blog about it. The blog author is giving away a $60 gift certificate for CSN, and all you have to do is become a follower of hers, and leave a comment about it. That's all! The deadline is July 4th, and she'll announce the winner on July 5th. Have fun, and good luck! =)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday Night :: The Art Festival

This is Xavier Nuez, one of my favorite photographers. I saw his work last year at the downtown art festival and was completely impressed, so I looked him up eventually and found his website and blog. I was excited to finally meet him and get to hear about his passion in person.

In case you hadn't noticed the photos in the background, his photography takes him to different parts of town. He has been able to find beauty and serenity in the slums and alleyways of the darkest cities. He wanders into abandoned parts of town in the middle of the night to capture glimpses of things forgotten -- places with many stories to tell, and no one to tell them. He has been to places such as Detroit, Chicago, and Compton. He's had countless run-ins with policemen and gangs, some encounters friendly and inspiring, others... not so much. But what I enjoy most about his work is that he is pursuing his passion, as odd as it may look to others. He loves his job so much, he never has to go to work. You don't have to have a degree and a desk job to get along in life.

If you ever happen to read this, Xavier Nuez, thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions. And thank you so much for the magnet! Someday, when I'm not on a minimum wage, I'll finally buy a piece of your work. I pray that you continue to enjoy your work, inspiring others, and that God blesses you in all your endeavors.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cody, I Thought You Had Lost Me

My little Cody (one of the 3 boys I nanny) is growing up! And so fast, I hadn't even realized it. How unutterably sad, and joyful.

This is Cody, back when I first started baby-sitting them. Maybe almost 2 years ago! He was just learning to talk and could only say 'bye' and 'bloppley' (brother, meaning Kaden). He was so short and roly poly, and had the most adorable blonde curls.

This is Cody just a few weeks ago. So bright and whip smart. Getting taller, and more athletic. Not half as shy and clingy as he use to be. Loves to show things off when he meets people. Last week, his family visited my church and it was one of the boys' first experiences in sitting through a sermon. (They home-church with some other families). They all did so well, but at one point, we all heard Cody say "*sigh* Okay, I'll be kliett." [quiet]. ^.^

I'm not trying to be biased, I love all the boys, but Cody is the one I've seen grow the most. Kaden, I don't get to see so much because he's at school. Jackson is still a baby, under a year old. But Cody is the little one I used to rock to sleep when we baby-sat, and who still asks me to read books. He still loves to sit on my lap, and still loves "Cars" the movie. It has tickled me to see how fast he's grown. I pray that he will be a kind and courageous man of God someday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Proverbs 31 Woman

From the movie "National Velvet". My favorite character was Mrs. Brown. She had such wisdom and grace. Keep Proverbs 31 in mind as you watch. =)

Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Proverbs 31:25-26

(Don't forget to pause the music in the sidebar. Sorry that the sound is off, I couldn't find any better movies.)

Just For Kicks

Some of my favorite pictures from Wednesday night's car show.

Bennigan's:  great food, great cars!

Quite a few Camaros, old and new.

My new favorite sporty car. =) It's pretty tight.

The Chevy Bel-Air is one of my favorite classic cars, and there were several there. The best one was a black one with red accents.

A piece-of-junk car, but with a lot of character. =)

An Opel Manta. My brother says if it's from Germany, it's a really foreign car. (Meaning there aren't a lot of them to be found here in America.) Any thoughts?

The only thing I don't like about this picture is that it's off-center. Quite a few of my pictures ended up a little too far to the left actually. But it still looks pretty neat.

For real? O.o

That's one point of view...

And this is another. Ha ha

On the way home again. As small as downtown Des Moines is, the skyline isn't too shabby.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Spy

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

My best friend, Kristina, and I went to a car show last night. My dad has a black all-original 1940 Chevrolet so I used to go to these car shows with him all the time. It's been a year or two though and Kristina had never been to one so I invited her along. I took my camera, she had her phone, and we tried to see how many pictures we could get of our reflections in the mirrors, paint or chrome. =) Have fun.

The dash of my dad's '40 Chevy.

Kris and I in front of the '40 Chevy.

A peach Chevy Bel-Air.

Not a very flattering picture, lol.

I love white-wall tires.

A hearse, the Boothill Express. =)

A tight little hot rod.

Methinks 'tis a royal blue Chevy Bel-Air.

I'm afraid to say I look rather demented... lol.

Maybe a little trickier. I liked all the rusty chrome. (Because I love vintage things.)

I love my new Sperry's Topsiders. =)

A pick-up with a hot paint job.

 The end of a good evening. =) I love you Kristina.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Felix got a bath today. He must have rolled in something, but he needed one anyway. Hope these make you chuckle. =)

Oh, The Places To Go

Someday, I would love to go to...

Because I have read about it, and would love to see the land and learn the history.

Because it is mysterious... and I was asked on a date by a Moroccan.

{New Orleans} 
Because all the photos I've ever seen are simply breathtaking. It is so diverse, so weathered and charming.

Because I am 3/4 German on my mom's side. My great-grandparents were raised German-speaking.

Because it is an infamous battlefield of the Great War, WWI.

{Prince Edward Island} 
Because it is in Canada... and where Anne of Green Gables took place.

{Rhode Island} 
Because I would love to visit New England and Rhode Island seems like the most interesting state. You can drive across it in 40 minutes.

Because it is bordering Canada, and I would like to cruise there and watch the sunsets. I want to know what it's like to be perpetually day.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Be The Change

One of the speakers at TeenPact National Convention. He is 18 now, but still passionate. Take a look into his cause, maybe consider raising some money for him via your local homeschool co-op, VBS, or church.

(Don't forget to pause the music first)

One of Zach's books: Be The Change

What Is Love?

   What is love? Is it an emotion? Emotions have been on my mind a lot lately. I'm not an emotional person, that would be the one thing I dislike about being feminine. We ride emotional roller coasters, we go through emotional highs and lows, emotional extremes. We look at a guy and go all the way emotionally ("First Christmas!" Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.) We have emotional breakdowns. We can fall to pieces simply watching a movie. But is love that warm fuzzy feeling that makes your heart flutter? No, it is the result. It is hormones and endorphins reacting to something lovely. If something as pointless as a movie can make you go from hysterically happy to swimming in tears, then we shouldn't rely on that warm fuzzy feeling.

   I just started reading a book today called Philippians ~ Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength, by John MacArthur. It's from a Bible study I'm planning on attending this week, and I thought I would get caught up on my homework. Going through it, I found some verses and definitions that define true love so perfectly, I had to share them with you! So this is just a prelude to the verses and definitions. I will leave them with you to meditate on, versus my further expounding. I hope God shows you something new, and draws you nearer to Himself.

Philippians 1:9-11 ~ And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in {knowledge} and all {discernment}, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be {sincere and without offense} till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
in knowledge (v.9) -- This is from the Greek word that describes genuine, full, or advanced knowledge. Biblical love is not an empty sentimentalism but is anchored and regulated by the truth of Scripture. (see Ephesians 5:2-3, 1 Peter 1:22)
discernment (v.9) --  Moral perception, insight, and the practical application of knowledge. Love is not blind but perceptive, and it carefully scrutinizes to distinguish between right and wrong.
sincere and without offense (v.10) -- "Sincere" means "genuine," and may have originally meant "tested by sunlight." In the ancient world, dishonest pottery dealers filled cracks in their inferior products with wax before glazing and painting them, making worthless pots difficult to distinguish from expensive ones. The only way to avoid being defrauded was to hold the pot to the sun, making the wax-filled cracks obvious. Dealers marked their fine pottery that could withstand "sun testing" as sine cera, "without wax." "Without offense" can be translated "blameless," referring to the relational integrity. Christians are to live lives of true integrity that do not cause others to sin.

From the book Philippians ~ Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength
by John MacArthur
published by Thomas Nelson
copyright 2007