Thursday, December 2, 2010

Praising God for Christmas Music

One of my favorites parts of the Christmas season is the music!! Songs about Frosty the Snowman, the mean old Grinch, and especially Jesus' birth make me feel like a kid again. So to share my excitement of Christmas music with you go to the link below for Straight No Chaser's "The Christmas Can-Can" and sing along using the lyrics found at the second link. You have to sing along, so don't be shy! Then if you are hungry for more listening to their "12 Days of Christmas". If these don't get you into the Christmas mood, I don't know what will.

Thank you, Lord, for Christmas music!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December 1st!

Many years ago, a friend gave me a calendar of God's promises. Basically, the author of the calendar bases each promise from God off of certain scriptures. I wanted to share Day 1 (for December 1st) with you. I thought it was very fitting for where I'm at in my life.

"May you grasp how wide and long and high and deep My love for you is; a love that surpasses cannot ask or imagine the things I am planning for you!"

Your Heavenly Father

(based on Ephesians 3:16-21

Father, I praise you because you have

a plan for me! Your plans are so far above

my own that I can't even imagine them!

Thank you for reminding me today that you love me!

In Jesus' Name, Amen

Another year older

"I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me." Psalm 13:6

Well, I have been 22 now for almost 4 whole days! I like the sound of being 22, but I don't feel any older or any different for that matter. I think the older I get the more I realize how much I have to learn, so each birthday is a humbling experience. For this birthday, I requested that we keep it simple so I stayed in my pjs all day watching movies and resting from the busy week of school. I did request that my sister make me a homemade coconut cake that we found in a Food Network magazine. The article claimed that Bobby Flay had won a throwdown with this particular recipe so she jumped at the chance to make it. Poor, girl, it took her all day to make it! But it was worth it. It was delicious!! I almost cried while I ate it, knowing that she had worked so hard on it. God has truly blessed me with a family who loves me and I am so thankful for them!

Birthdays are definitely a time for reflection on the past year and a time to make goals for the next one. As I enter this new year of my life, my most important goal is to fall more in love with my Heavenly Prince, Jesus Christ! I want to live my life in total abandonment to Him. I don't want to look at my other friends' lives and compare theirs to my own. I want to walk the path God has put me on and hopefully touch a few lives along the way. I pray that when birthday # 23 rolls around I will be closer to the person God wants me to be.

Jesus, thank you for bringing me through
year 21. Help me to follow your will in year 22,
living in total abandonment to you!
I give you my future. Let my dreams reflect
the ones you have for me.
Guide me to do your will.
In your name, Amen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Have you ever done anything just because you felt like it? Have you ever asked yourself or have been asked, "how do you feel about that?" I have. Often I allow myself to be led by my emotions. If I don't feel like studying, I don't. If I feel like drinking a large Dr. Pepper, I do. If I feel like playing with my dogs, I will stop what I'm doing to play with them. Sometimes I even think God uses my emotions to lead me do certain things, like talk to others.

However, I'm realizing that living by my feelings and emotions is wrong.

This thought came up as I read Leslie Ludy's devotional for this week called "The Secret of Contentment." Which I wholeheartedly recommend you read.

In Leslie's devotional she quoted Elizabeth Elliot:

“The difficulty is to keep a tight reign on our emotions. They may remain, but it is not they who are to rule the action. They have no authority. A life lived in God is not lived on the plane of the feelings, but of the will. In Scripture the heart is the will – the man himself, the spring of all action, the ruling power bestowed on him by his Creator, capable of choosing and acting.” (Elizabeth Elliot, Quest for Love, page 35)

Powerful words, huh? Letting my feelings lead me often leads to selfish decisions and as a girl who wants to live in total abandonment to God, selfishness is not what I am pursuing. So today I surrender my emotions to Jesus!

"All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
I wait for you, O Lord;
you will answer, O Lord my God."
Psalm 38:9-10,15
Lord Jesus, I surrender my emotions to you. Show me how
to tell the difference between being led by my feelings
and being led by your Spirit.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Choice

I have had a choice to make in the past two weeks. A choice that made me feel at the edge of two roads. If I chose the road to the left I would be choosing to try to be normal, fitting in with my friends, going through each day with my checklist, buying into the message the world teaches through music and television--that I need to find happiness in any way I can and right now, because I shouldn't have to wait for anything.

If I chose the road to my right I was choosing to learn to wait patiently on God. (It amazes me how God tells us to wait and the world tells us instant gratification is the way to go) Not to expect happiness, because God offers a joy none of us can comprehend. To not only read His word, but to also live by it, all of it, not just the parts I find easy-to-live-by or interesting, but every part.
I want to recognize the things that are a waste of my time because they do not bring me closer to Him or further His kingdom so I can let them go. And I want my example of living a set apart life to shine like a "star in the universe" (Phil 2:15). That's why God told us not to be part of this world...we are supposed to look otherworldly because this is not our home. By living a set apart life, people who need Him will see His love in our eyes and our actions, and God willing they will ask us why we are different. (I wonder what people in need of Christ think of Christians who live just like they do? Why would anyone want to accept Christ when most of the Christian examples are hypocrites, preaching one thing, living something totally different) I don't think we have to live in a Christian commune to achieve this. At least not a physical commune. But I think we have to guard our minds and hearts against the messages of the world. We can't afford to become emotionally attached to the things this culture promotes. We can only love the people in the secular world as Jesus loved them...if we love them humanly we will get burnt. Emotional attachment is so strong and just because we are Christians doesn't mean we are immune to becoming emotionally attached to the secular world, human or object. So we have to keep a safe distance while still filling the world with Christ's pure and holy love.

I have a desire to have authentic friendships…I think it comes to a point where God wants us to let go of relationships that are bringing us down. It is another moment of allowing Him to refine us with fire. In the end, we have to focus on Him. We were made to have a relationship with Him so if something takes the place of it, even a relationship, we have to let go. As God continually told the Israelites to get rid of their idols, we too have to clean out anything that brings our focus from our Lord's face. That even means relationships...and those seem to be the hardest to let go of. I've had to do it...I've had to let go and trust that God would take care of that person without my influence in their life. Because the risk was losing my own relationship with Him. God said through Paul that we should not be “unequally yoked together” (2 Cor 6:14). He is talking about more than marriage relationships here. No matter how strong we think we are we can be pulled down by the other person (1 Cor 10:12).

Though I might sound like I have it figured out, writing it out and living it is two different things. Each day I have to get up and choose who to serve. I have to strive to live by Philippians 4:8. Because if we apply that to everything in our lives...our books, the tv shows we watch, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the jokes we tell, the conversations we enter into, and our very thoughts...if we live by that verse won't we be guaranteed to be set apart from this world? That is why I feel so strongly about drinking, smoking, drugs, tattoos, physical contact with the opposite sex. Those avenues are the world's...if I want to be an example to others, why would I walk down those roads? Why would I want to defile God’s temple, which is my own body to simply gratify my own desires? 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” Is it good for those who need God to see us, the ambassadors of Christ, living as they do: relaxing with a bottle of wine at the end of the day or ordering a mixed drink at a restaurant in the company of our girlfriends, falling asleep next to our boyfriend/girlfriend during a home movie, and going to see a new movie just because it looks funny even though the content is less than perfect. We can’t settle for less than perfect. 1John 2:6 tells us, “whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” Wasn’t Jesus perfect? Should we not “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1John 1:6).

As I said before, I don’t pretend to live out these commands perfectly. But I pray that each day I come closer to the person God wants me to be. How can I do less for a God who “showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4: 9-10).
You have a choice. A choice to live your life in total abandonment to your Savior or a life chained to the ways of the world, hindering your testimony to those seeking His face. You can either give all of your heart to Jesus or allow the world to steal away parts of it. Let me tell you, Jesus wants all of you, not just part of you. For "the world and its desires pass away, but the man (woman) who does the will of God lives forever" (1John 2:17) I pray that you choose to abandon the world. I pray you burn your idols and turn your face to the one who loves you with an everlasting love!

“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:3-5

Lord, I want to live a life pleasing to you, set apart from this world.
Allow your unfailing love to shine through me.
Guide me to live differently than the world tells me to live.
Help me live according to your commands.
Help me walk as Jesus did.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Old Rugged Cross

Today I had the need to praise God through some good, old fashioned gospel music. So I opened my itunes and found The Gaither Vocal Band. Those guys know how to praise God and you can't help but get in a toe-tapping mood when you listen to them.

What touches me the most, besides the inspirational music, is the lyrics. When "The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference" began to play I was struck with the thought that I don't think about the Cross enough. Let me share the lyrics of the first verse and chorus with you...

'Twas a life filled with aimless desperation

Without hope walked the shell of a man;

Then a hand with a nailprint stretched downward,

Just one touch then a new life began.


And the old rugged cross made the difference

In a life bound for heartache and defeat;

I will praise Him forever and ever

For the cross made the difference for me.

If we could only live out our lives with the Cross on our minds and this chorus as praise on our lips, how much different would our life here on earth be like?

follow this link to watch a video of this song...excuse the static because the whole video is worth it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The idea of getting my best friend to be my roommate has always been one of my dreams. I could picture us staying up late sharing stories, giving ourself pedicures while watching sappy movies, and just being there for each other through the craziness of life.

As a college student, who still lives at home, I've never experienced sharing a dorm or an apartment with a roommate. A lot of my college friends share places with their best girlfriends. They often post crazy pictures of their times together and sometimes I'll visit them and think how cool it would be to share an apartment.

But just when I feel down about my circumstances I experience a night like last night....

My sister and I were getting ready for bed and we turned on the radio. One of our favorite stations to listen to at night is hosted by a woman who solves people's problems. Often a guy in love will call in and ask her to dedicate a song to his girl and she'll throw in some advice for free. We love listening to the sappy loves songs and laughing out loud at the people who dare to call in and share their life story.
We finally told each other we had to go to sleep. After turning out the lights and crawling into bed (we share a room and a queen sized bed) Jennifer started chattering up a storm. It is amazing how the quietness of night brings out the chatterbox in my sister. Part of me was irritated because I was tired, but as I look back on our life and our time sharing a room (almost 15 years!) the best memories are when we talk, under the covers, in the darkness of room before drifting off to sleep.

So, I might have never shared an apartment with a close, college friend, but I've shared a room with my best friend in the whole, wide world for most of my life!! She is, and always will be my best sister, Jennifer!!

Thank you, Jennifer, for putting up with me all these years. Just like many roommates we have our differences and our arguments, but we always manage to patch things up.

I praise God for you, little sister!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My plans vs God's plans

I've been reading Mary Beth Chapman's book "Choosing to See" this weekend. Not only is the book about the Chapman family and the tragic death of their five-year-old daughter, Maria Sue, but there is a main theme that runs throughout the book. This theme is the struggle that Mary Beth has had in recognizing that God's plans do not always line up with her own.

I'm sure many of us struggle with this from time to time, I know I do. I like to have things planned out. I don't like to be caught off guard. When my family and I are going on a trip I like to know exactly what we are doing and when we are doing it so I can be prepared.
I have some friends who are spontaneous. They like when events come up unexpectedly and they like to go with the flow, but for me going with the flow sometimes seems impossible.

One of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29: 11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Look closely at this verse. "For I know the plans I have for you." God is speaking and He says that He has plans for you. Not the other way around. God doesn't say "so, how do you want your life to go? Let me take notes so I can follow your insructions to a T." That isn't how it works. He created us and He has a plan for us. Somtimes His plans don't turn out to be what we invisioned or even what we prayed for, but as Romans 8:28 says "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

We can have faith that God works in our best interest. As children of God, we can place our hands in His and trust that He will lead us on the best path.

Father, thank you that you have a plan
for me. Remind me that your plan is
better than the plans I have for myself.
Help me to daily surrender to your will and
praise you even when your plans turn
out differently then my own.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Even youths grow tired...

As I look back on my last post I feel too weary to live life abundantly. Looking towards the three day weekend that lies ahead of me I feel like I need to rest up for the break. It is amazing how a week and a half of classes and new experiences can make one weary. A weariness not only in body, but also in mind and spirit.

Psalm 62:5 says, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him."

I haven't quite figured out how to find rest in God alone. Oftentimes when I feel tired I take a nap, watch a movie, or just surf through television channels. When I feel weary from a hard day studying my first thought isn't to dig into God's word or spend time in His presence doing so sounds like more work to me.

The Bible is full of verses that talk about finding rest in God alone and looking to Him to renew our strenth. As I rest this weekend I want to remind myself to not only sleep to renew my body, but to pray and read God's word to renew my soul.

"Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40: 30-32
Lord, renew my strenth as I put my hope in you.
Give me rest, not only for my body, but for my mind and my soul
as I look forward to another week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Live Life Abundantly

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
I recently read a book by Natalie Lloyd titled "Paperdoll." It is amazing how God gives me reading material in a season of my life that pertains to what I am feeling or going through. Honestly, this book was like dessert. Each day I couldn't wait to pick it up and read more devouring each tasty morsel.
Lloyd bases her book on the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, located in John 4. One of Lloyd's themes was that of the significance of the water the woman is attempting to draw from the well and the water Jesus offers. In John 4:13, "Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"
Jesus is the giver of life. Through His sacrifice on the cross and the shedding of His blood, I am free from the bondage of sin and have been given the gift of eternal life! The water He offers quenches my thirst.
Jesus does not give this great gift of life for us to live it half-way. I don't want to settle with the thought that I'm a Christian so now I can just live my daily life, doing what I have to. As John 10:10 says Jesus came to give us life so we can life it more fully! He wants us to live out the great love He has shown us. He wants us to share the great news of His death and resurrection to others so that they can experience the gift of life. He wants us to live an abundant life full of love! (His love)
In the words of Natalie Lloyd...
I want to "be that girl who can love outrageously, because she is loved unconditionally."
Jesus, thank you for the gift of eternal life through
your great sacrifice! Help me to share the unconditional
love you have shown me to those you bring into my
life. Help me live my life abundantly in light of your sacrifice.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


All my life I've been taught not to be jealous of others, but I've never truly learned that lesson. Sometimes jealousy will sneek up on me. It will whisper in my ear and leave an aching feeling in my heart.

Throughout the Bible there are instances where jealousy took over...
  • "When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister." Genesis 30:1
  • [Joseph's] brothers were jealous of him..." Genesis 37:11
  • "And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David" 1 Samuel 18:9

When each person above allowed jealousy to infiltrate their heart and mind they committed acts that were displeasing to God. Rachel sent her maidservant to sleep with Jacob so that she might have a child through her, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, and Saul saught to end David's life.

Tonight, as I examine my own heart, I pray that God will save me from the poison called jealousy and I praise him for providing His word which has taught me what jealousy can do when I person allows it into their life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

God's Provisions

It is amazing how I can get really excited about something and then completely change my mind. For instance, in starting this blog I told myself that I would write at least once a week, but as you can see it hasn't happened. I've done this sort of thing several times in the last two weeks.

A couple of weeks ago I had this sinking fear that maybe I couldn't use my degree after graduation and that maybe I should stay in school to get my teacher's certificate. I proceeded to email all the people I knew who I either consider mentors or who have taken/finished the teacher's certificate. Everyone was so sweet in their responses giving me great advice and well wishes. I asked God for a sign! I needed a sign...anything. Writing in the clouds would be good...maybe one of my dogs could just bark it in code? I didn't care, I just needed a sign. The next day I just had a feeling in my heart that the teaching certificate was not something I was supposed to obtain. It reminds me that often when we want the obvious, right now, God gives us something simple.

Last weekend I was so excited about working VBS. I knew I was going to be with one year olds and I knew all of them (that's a plus working with that age) and I was ready to get started. By the third day getting up at 6:30 am wasn't fun and if I had to tell one more little kiddo to sit down while they ate their fish crackers and to stop taking toys from each other I was going to have to leave. I prayed for strength and for patience and though I wanted an considerable injection of the two, it came slowly, through the giggle of a little girl when I tickled her tummy. Or when she sat on my lap on the floor. Little moments like that throughout the week helped me get through another day.

The last two weeks I have been reminded that God's provisions don't always come when we want them, like we want them, but He always gives us what we need. I am shouting my praise that He is my provider! He always is and always will be.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Unfailing Love

Once again I am reminded that you can not count on people. It is easy to become hurt and angry when someone lets you down, but when I feel this way God gently reminds me that they are human and I must forgive them. Because of His forgiveness for all the times I have hurt Him I forgive those that hurt me.
The only upside of feeling this hurt, left by those who are supposed to be my friends, is that in my sadness I am reminded of God's love. He is faithful and His love never, ever fails! There is someone I can always count on and He holds me in His hand.

"May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant."
Psalm 119:76

No TV?!

The no watching tv portion of our challenge began Sunday. Today is our fourth day of no tv and I have finally begun to accept it. I've discovered something. I person can live without tv! What a new discovery!! Someone should write it down in a science book.
The first two days I felt myself going through withdrawl. I wasn't sure how to spend my time and by day two I longed to watch a movie. Since then I have read an entire book, finished a book, written letters, done laundry, got groceries for my mom, cooked dinner and washed dishes in a timely fashion, and won two games of Monopoly. It is amazing what you can get done when you aren't glued to the tube.
Though I can see the benefits of this week with out television, in the back of my mind I have made a list of movies I want to see and I'm counting down the days. However, I feel that once Sunday rolls around I will watch less tv and enjoy more quality time in a book or buying up Boardwalk, much to my sister's chagrin. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Perseverance defines perseverance as a "steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement."

This week I've realized that I haven't learned to persevere. My sister and I began the Susie Magazine 30 day challenge on May 9th. This challenge stipulates that we must:

  • Walk 30 min-5 times a week

  • Jog 20 min- 3 times a week

  • Jump rope 20 min-3times a week

  • Eat one fruit and one vegetable ever day

  • Read 5 Psalms every day

  • Write in a prayer journal every day

  • Be kind to a neighbor 3 times a week

  • Read the gospel of Mark

  • Tell someone verbally about Jesus

  • Read "Hind's Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard

  • Read "The Case for a Creator: Student Edition" by Lee Strobel

This is just a few of the things we must do to complete the challenge. At first, when my sister suggested we participate in this challenge I said "No way!" I knew that when it came to exercise I'm a wimp. I'm not afraid to admit it. But then she showed me we would get a cool t-shirt after completing the challenge. Well, I'm a sucker for t-shirts, so here I am beating my body into submission and wishing I had learned to persevere earlier.

Romans 5:3-4 says "we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character;and character, hope."

Right now exercise seems a lot like suffering so maybe after this 30 day challenge I will have finally produced some perseverance, character, and I hope that I will think hard before entering into a challenge in the future.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lost Innocence

It amazes me how young women in our culture welcome the loss of their innocence. Perhaps they feel they will gain something from it...attention, love, fame. What brought this to mind was a review I read about Miley Cyrus' new music video, "Can't Be Tamed." Gone is the sweet Miley from the Disney Channel show, Hannah Montana, and in her place is a young woman trying to go along with the crowd i.e., Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Christina Aguilera. What is their message? "I have something to offer." But it isn't their talent or brains. They are offering their bodies.
I don't recommend you watch Miley's latest video. Not only does the young singer offer her audience an immodest view of her body, but she engages in sexual poses with both female and male dancers. Her eyes are shaded with midnight black and blue eye shadow and her lyrics continually sing/scream, "I can't be saved." What a hopeless message to send her young audience who have followed her through the Hannah Montana years. What a sad message of the lost innocence of another pop singer. I pray that she doesn't take her fans with her.

Long Walks and Talks

Yesterday afternoon I had to make a hard decision. A decision to turn my back on the past and take hold of the future. To get up the courage to make my choice I took a walk in our pasture. It was around 5 o' clock so the sun wasn't as hot as usual, which made for a nice walk. Walking briskly, I set out to find some peace from the emotional turmoil inside my heart. After I had walked far enough away from our home and our neighbors, I talked aloud to God. I asked Him why this valley I have been in is so long. I had thought I was coming out of it, but once again I found myself face to face with my hurt.
It is amazing how a long walk and a long talk with your Heavenly Father, puts everything into perspective. I am reminded over and over again of His faithfulness through the valleys and His unfailing love.

After walking and talking with my Father in Heaven. My dad asked me why I hadn't told him I was taking a walk. He had wanted to look at the progress of some work he has been doing in the pasture. So I suggested we walk anyway.
Now, I had recognized my time with God, out there at the bottom of our pasture, as a great blessing, but here I was being blessed again. I was able to tell my earthly father about what was going on in my life. Once again I was reminded that not only am I blessed to have a faithful Heavenly Father, but my dad is also faithful. He is faithful to encourage me and his love for me, also, never fails.

No matter what I go through or what I've done I have two great fathers who will always be there for me and I am so thankful for them both!