Tuesday, May 24, 2011

*Deep Breath*

Just thought I would add that I enjoyed posting that and felt my vigor return. Maybe blogging is kinda like exercising. When you do it, it releases a chemical in your body, which makes you feel good and happy and healthy...and it makes you want to workout more...I don't know if that's really true. I just heard that from somewhere. *shrug*

Anyways, good to be back. Missed it.

P31W: Grab Your Weapons

Guys, I hope you all will forgive me for being so long in posting. For some odd reason, I've just kinda put it off. I don't know why. Maybe I've just lost a taste for it for a while. I think I'm getting bored with this series. But, I'm not going to be a quitter. I'm going to finish it through. :) So bear with me. We are almost done. Anyways, sorry about the lack of posts.

Verse 21 of Proverbs 31 says,
"When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet."
This is a verse on being prepared. For me, this hits home because I can be last minute and unprepared a lot and it causes, naturally, stress. I bring it on myself. I decide to put something off till last minute or decide not to look ahead and it causes serious problems, like fear, stress, worry or doubt.

Lets see what the Bible says about being prepared. Hebrews 11:7,
"By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith."
Rabbit trail: I don't know about ya'll but I love love LOVE how the Bible gives us examples of people who we can learn from. I mean, literally, everything we should be is pictured for us.

Noah, was commended for being prepared. Lets think about it, if Noah had say, "Pfft, God I don't believe You" and didn't build the ark, I wouldn't be writing this blog post. Mankind would have ended. And the Bible says, "Hey, look here! Here is a man who obeyed, and by faith built an ark. He was prepared!" And it points to the Proverbs 31 Woman as a woman to model because of her preparation.

Some definitions online for prepared are "to make ready beforehand" or "to put together". But, my person favorite is this, "to fit out; equip". I think that just sums what our Christian walk should be. We are in a war zone. The Bible calls us soldiers and instructs us to put on heavenly armor. Christians are constantly called to grow, equip and strengthen themselves for the hardships of Christian life. Why?! Why are we asked to do this? Lets look at Ephesians 6:11-12
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Picture this: There is an army of soldiers. They are on the battle field and the enemy is nowhere in  sight. So, they relax, unfold a lawn chair and maybe even bring out the quick tanning lotion. When they are all relaxing, the enemies crest the hill and they are all caught unaware. Wow. That would be totally lame and they would probably be obliterated before they could roll their sleeves down. What good are soldiers if they are not trained and prepared for war? What good is a gun if you have no gun powder or bullets? What good is a strong man if he hasn't been trained for battle.


Jesus said in John,
"Remember the word that I said to you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you... because they do not know Him who sent Me."
We are promised hardship and battle in life. It would be foolish to go without our swords. I love the P31W. She is such a woman of courage. I'm kinda picturing her with a capital "S" on her shirt and a flowing cape or something. But, obviously, they didn't have Marvel comics back then...so thats not likely. Seriously though, why would she have to be afraid. It tells us that she wasn't afraid because she had faith that the scarlet clothing would keep her family warm. She looked ahead, knew it would get cold, and clothed her family with the best.

How are you letting yourself be overcome because you aren't ready? Has the enemy attacked you in little ways - maybe that you didn't feel were a problem at first, but then proved to be huge monsters? Have you allowed a little room for compromise? Have you not battled your sin when it was still under control? These are good things to think about. And we can flip the questions too. For example: How can I not be overcome? What ways can I cut all compromise out of my life?

Good news. These questions have answers. And, they are in the Bible. Like I mentioned earlier. The Bible has every answer for us. Just search it. Study it. Like you do school. You prepare yourself for that final exam, so prepare for the battle against our flesh, rulers, powers and spiritual forces. It's a life and death battle. We would scorn an army that wasn't prepared for battle, but we would be in no place to judge them if we were not ready ourselves. OUR battle is for our souls - the eternal stuff.

I think the Pledge of Allegiance to the Bible sums it pretty well. The Bible is our sword, our spiritual weapon. It's living, active, sharp and keep the enemy and sin away. It reads:
"I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God."
Making the Words of the Savior, Protector, Omnipotent Lord and King of Kings the lamp that guides are way, is the ultimate and only way to fearlessly prepare for the future.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Useless, Useless

On occasion, I fall off the face of the blogging planet. Now, is thus. For some reason I haven't had the motivation to write at all. I'll come around eventually. Actually, I had every intent of blogging this evening, but I had to write an English paper. I had one complete one written by 11 this morning, but I deleted it. Yep. The whole thing. I'm pretty hard on them. If I don't like a paper....its gone. Lol. So anyways, I had to write a whole other one, which leaves me very sick of typing and staring at the computer. Yeahhh.

So, anyways, I'm going to completely bore you. I'm going to post my paper. I'm pretty desperate for something to post, so feel free to read or skip it, whatever you like. It's about Leo Tolstoy and vanity in life and all my papers have a Biblical application, at least a little bit. It's not one of my best, but...*shrug*

“Useless, Useless”
      The bullet severs his spinal cord, paralyzing him. The man begs to see his hands one last time. Someone raises the dead-weight hands to his face. Glancing from one to the other, he says, “Useless, useless.” John Wilkes Booth utters these famous, last words when he realizes the vanity of his life. As the sun appears over the horizon, Booth passes away, sealing his reputation as the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, forever. Multitudes of people come to the end of their lives, only to find precious time wasted. King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Solomon argues that life is unsatisfying, unless lived for Jesus Christ. People long to possess a higher purpose on earth than just living and dying. Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer pens a few short stories about the commonness and futility of life. These tales are very depressing, but each raises a popular question: how can we live our lives with purpose? Although Tolstoy does not present a direct answer to that question, he gives the reader examples of behaviors to avoid for a brighter future. His true-to-life accounts illustrate the result of misplaced values and self-gratifying wills. Tolstoy’s stories provide insight on emotional and spiritual diseases, such as greed, complacency and hatred, which start small in our hearts, but eventually bring minds and even bodies captive.
     First, greed is fatal because it is never satisfied. Leo Tolstoy’s story “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” tells the tale of a peasant, Pahom, who is never grateful for what he has. Starting out farming on rented land, Pahom goes through a cycle of constant upgrading. Each time he hears of someone with bigger and better property, Pahom grows restless and buys more land. Just when the reader thinks Pahom has finally settled down for good, he uproots his family yet again to pursue wider fields. Eventually, an Indian chief promises to give Pahom all the land he can run around before sun set. Pahom establishes a high goal – 35 cubic miles in one day. Upon achieving this with only moments to spare, Pahom dies from exhaustion. Pahom learns that greed is never quenched when it is already too late. Ecclesiastes 2:22 reads, “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?” Pahom places his worth in mere materials which cost him his family, his bliss and his life.
     Second, complacency “drains the brain”. The daily periodical, Bits and Pieces describes complacency as, “a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes and drains the brain.” In “The Death of Ivan Ilych” Tolstoy provides a frightening example of what complacency looks like. Ivan Ilych has a disease called complacency. He lives his life enjoying simple pleasures. Ivan develops an unremitting habit of playing bridge, cards and working incessantly. He marries a woman he does not really love because she is attractive, proper and brings him pleasure. On his premature deathbed, Ivan evokes his existence and recognizes his lost potential and wasted life. Ivan was contented to leave things the way they were, never attempting to improve himself, his marriage or engaging in his children’s lives. He perishes with many regrets. Proverbs 1:32 reads, “The complacency of fools destroys them.”
     Third, hatred seeks to kill. Tolstoy’s final tale, the “Kreutzer Sonata” is the most tragic. It is a story of a man named Pozdnischeff, who marries his wife for her beauty only, and they hate each other. After suffering almost twenty years of miserable marriage, his wife has an affair with another man. Pozdnischeff finds his wife and the man together. Raging, he grabs a blade and stabs her under the ribs, murdering her. Recalling the incident with regret, he confesses, “It was only when I gazed upon her dead face that I realized what I had done.” The action destroys his life. With tears, Pozdnischeff retells his story to a man on the train. Knowing his life will never be the same, he warns his listener not to make the same mistakes. Hatred is a flame that starts small and, unchecked, will reign. Pozdnischeff knows this truth first hand.
     The characters in Leo Tolstoy’s stories are overwhelmed with greed, complacency and hatred. Tolstoy does not offer direct answers on how to live life purposefully, but he hits the nail on the head by displaying greed, complacency and hatred as poisons that once injected into our lives, maim and destroy. For the Christian, purpose in life is found in following Christ without reserve. Happiness is only obtained when all materials and vanities in our lives are surrendered for the cause of the Savior. For every vain and idle word or deed we will be judged. Solomon sums it well: “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14) May we purge ourselves of any fervent greed, lazy complacency or burning hatred which seeks to take away our joy and divest us of our purpose. John Wilkes Booth serves as an example for us all. God forbid it that a Christian should come to the end of his or her life and say with conviction, “Useless, useless.”

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reminisce With Me

This will only mean anything to those who have been there. I have been contemplating past EI experiences and miss some of the friends I made terribly. They are special people and this post is for them. Not to mention that some great great people from my church were a part too. Peace and love to Tennesseeans too. Friends reminisce with me as I post pictures from 2009-10. I miss all of you.


Becca and I with our adopted brother, Atsen. 
My team. It had Iain on it. He is back there somewhere. We thought we were going to dominate at everything....we didn't.

Spoons. Yes, we stooped that low.

Love this pic...but look at me....wowzers.

Captures us. Completely. Love you Nomes.

Aww...sweet girls.

heh...heh. Love you two.

Uh, this pretty much sums our relationship....Jk.
A day at the lake.
Riding the waves...

Evangelizing down town...this is one of my favs.

The soo priceless play. You remember it?

A random guy someone took a picture of from the van window. Point? None.


My hangout group. I miss you two!

The winning team....not mine, btw.

Most hysterical skit in history. I thought I  was going to die.

Gotta love those Johnsons. Man, I miss them.

My Hopie!

This is Nathan and Brian being...Nathan and Brian?
Me and my big bro again!
My team (Nathaniel was on it! Yay!). I've never had as much fun. We didn't win, but made some gooood memories.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

An english proverb says,
"All good things must come to an end."
As depressing as that quote is, I found some comfort in it today. I was contemplating what that really means. Everything good is eventually going to end. All money, power, fame, sensual pleasure, "love", youth, or even something as trivial as good grades or rhythm.

Kinda depressing. I don't know about you all, but I find a lot of my happiness from day to day in these things. Not like they are my "everything" or anything, but so much of what I do and aim for is revolved around them.

I dream of having a wonderful husband one day, but even that, eventually, will end. By death or tragic separation or even the return of the Lord. Dream with me here...what is it that is important to you? What brings you happiness from day to day? Lustful desires? Your family? Or entertainment?

I love this quote by John Piper in his book, "Don't Waste Your Life",
Only one life will soon be past, only whats done for Christ will last.
I was strangely comforted. I thought about my petty "joys" ending and rejoiced over the fact that there is one source of happiness, one good thing that will never EVER come to an end. My Savior. Revelation 1:9 says,
I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

And because of this we can have a joy that outlasts everything! In John 16, Jesus is telling His disciples how He is going to die and they won't be able to see Him anymore. They were all very upset about it because they didn't know the plan that God intended. Read through verses 20-22:

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Rejoice today! Good things will die away, but we have a Savior who is risen and coming again! Forever we will rejoice with Him. And "no one will take away our joy." What a promise!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baby, Baby, Baby, OH!

It's an expecting mothers flash mob! This is the sweetest thing! I hope I get to do something like this if I ever get to be a mom! I TOTALLY WOULD! Lol. Praise the Lord for moms who are celebrating the lives of children and their motherhood!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

His Little Princess

To all the girls out there:

(please don't read this if you don't like movie spoilers.)

Sara was orphaned. Her mother died and her father was lost in war. She lived in the attic at Minchin's Seminary School for Girls as a servant. And the mean schoolmarm Miss Minchin just took her most valued possession, a locket with pictures of her father and mother inside.

I've seen this movie many times and cried *again* tonight while watching it. I think the movie holds a lot of truths. Okay, some things are totally not true, but otherwise I think it offers good ideas and the heart wrenching scenes move me to tears every time!

Sara grew up in India where she was told that every girl is a princess. Her father called her princess and she viewed every other girl as a princess - special in their own way. It was unconditional. No matter what they looked like, were going through, how much money they had...they were all still princesses.

One of my favorite quotes in the movie is this:
Miss Minchin: Don't tell me you still fancy yourself a princess? Child, look around you! Or better yet, look in the mirror.
Sara Crewe: I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us. Didn't your father ever tell you that? Didn't he? 

One scene that makes me bawl (Okay, don't judge me! I'm sappy! Deal with it!) every time is when Sara goes to buy a pastry with a little extra money she has (if you haven't seen the movie, she is a servant and is very mistreated - so this is a treat). She sits down to eat it and spies a mother and her three children standing in the cold trying to sell flowers. They were obviously homeless and hungry. Sara looks down at her pastry and back at those girls. Slowly she walks over and hands it to them. They - naturally - were delighted. After Sara walks away, they catch up and give her a flower. The mother says, "For the princess."

I love that part! I think we are all princesses. We don't have to have tiaras. gowns, perfect make-up, good grades, a nice car, tons of friends or even family. We are all princesses. It makes me think of Psalm 139:14
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

Read this verse! This one excites me so much!
Romans 8:14-17 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."
If your father is a King, you would be called a...a princess! I like to think of it that way. I have a heart that God cares about, that He loves and cherishes. Is it possible that when He looks at me He thinks of me as His little princess?

Girl-out-there-reading-this-post, you are so special! Do you realize that? I don't care who has set what to you, you are made just the way God wanted you to be and He is a loving, caring God. If you don't know Him, I would contact someone and talk to them about Him. He is a Daddy worth pursuing. A King! I mean, what girl hasn't wanted to be a princess at some point in their lives?

You are a princess with a fragile, precious heart. One that only a King could really protect with His mighty army and unending love.

Chick-Fil-A See You On Monday

This made me laugh hysterically! They are amazing! My favorite part is when he is petting the Chicken Minis. I about died!