Saturday, August 27, 2011

YouTube Channels

The Wones have a YouTube where we are posting all Pure Talent Film's Videos. Most of those videos are crazy and must be watched with caution. Please visit and leave a comment!

Then of course, my channel.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Emotional Dating

Little kids can be such an object lesson at times. They teach us patience, more about Christ's perfect love and much more. Recently, they've taught me something about dating and "love". "How is this possible?" you ask. Well, allow me to explain.

PhotobucketSome children are heartbreaking. You can tell by the way they behave themselves that they are literally starving for affection and attention. They are dying to get someone to notice them, even if it's for the wrong reasons. I've watched a child run away from people just for the pleasure of knowing that they will follow him. That was his way of getting the attention he wanted. I've watched a child ask the same question over and over and over even when the answer hasn't changed. Surly, in his mind, that was his way of keeping another person engaged with him. I believe that within a child, or every person even, is a fear of being alone. A fear that one day no one will care or love them. In my experiences with people, I find this just as evident in children as I do with adults.

We shake our heads at misbehaved kids who will pitch fits for no apparent reason, just to get attention. But, many times, this behavior - or heart issue - never goes away. This fear doesn't ever resolve in our brain, it just takes on a different form and becomes a little more subtle. But still, the intent and desires haven't changed a bit.

Let's take a look at the dating scene: A loves B. B loves A. A is afraid of B leaving so A will do anything for B. B hits A. A still "loves" B and stays around anyways. Eventually, A and B have a very dysfunctional relationship because their original attractions were really based on the fact that A and B had a desire to feel needed. The moment that desire was feed, they latched on to each other.

She wants to be wanted. She she dresses sensually to turn some heads. That gives her power, makes her feel needed and temporary fills an emotional hole. She gives her body over to sexuality to feel like someone wants her and needs what she can give.

He wants to be accepted. So, he drives the best looking car and makes the most promises. He flirts and leads girls on. He likes to see the ways girls fawn over him and how they are wrapped around his finger. He likes to know that he has control.

We don't really change that much, do we? People grow out of kicking and screaming, but the heart problem has never been dealt with - which means it will come out later, only then it will be slier and harder to tame.

This gives me red flags about relationships and dating. My heart is so deceitful and I don't understand it. I have to be careful of rushing a relationship for the wrong reason. I would be fool to say that I'm not emotionally fed when I know a guy thinks I'm "hot" or that my mind isn't unhealthily benefited into selfishness. It's a challenge to examine my motives for everything. Ask myself, "Ashley, why do you want to look beautiful today? Are you trying to accentuate God's creation in a positive way? Or is it because you want the power and emotional swell of knowing some guy is distracted by you?"

Ouch. I'm guilty.

The underlying issue is not being satisfied with Christ. I don't let Him fulfill my emotional needs, so I go to the wrong places to find that fulfillment. I don't trust that His love is enough to support me and carry me on from day to day. I don't believe that I'll be happy just knowing that He loves me. I think that He is holding back good things from me by saying, "Let ME be your delight." I don't trust that His love is extravagant.

Ephesians 3:17-19 "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Next time we feel like we aren't getting the attention we want and need, lets pray to God. He does loves us and you can feel His affection when you read the Word, listen to praise music, pray, or just sit still in His presence. I can feel His love when I sit in the sunshine or listen to the birds. I feel His affection when I'm able to swallow my anger. Christ shows His love every day. Don't go to the wrong places and do the wrong things for attention. Seek the love of the Lord, and you. will. find. it.

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart."

What an incredible promise!    

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Glory of God In A Smile

I could watch that boy smile all day long. We will call him Sam, for safety's sake. He had the most gorgeous smile and beautiful eyes I ever saw. All it took was someone calling his name, and he would light up in a genuine smile.

He is a camper at Camp Barnabas. Can't walk, talk, and he can barely move. He has a pretty severe case of cerebral palsy.

But he could smile.

It's when his face lights up that I remember that God is glorified. And that He doesn't make mistakes. Sam might seem like a mistake to some people. But, when you look at his gorgeous smile, its impossible not to realize that God is being lifted up every time Sam smiles. His creation is being shown off.

Sometimes, I think we have to look for beautiful things in life. We get so caught up in what is bad about the situation or thing that we forget to look at the beauty. If we dwelled on the fact that Sam is confined to a wheelchair, we would forget to appreciate his smile. Isn't that how everything is in life? If we focus and fret about the heat, we forget that the plants around us wouldn't be there without the sun's rays. If we focused on the thorns of a rose, we would forget about the beauty RIGHT THERE in front of us.

I admit I'm so guilty of doing this. I focus on the bad too much when I need to be more positive. When we rejoice in the little, happy things we are bringing glory to God's name. Whereas, fretting about the bad, would be injuring the reputation of the Lord - saying that God isn't doing it right and His work isn't good enough for us.

Sam taught me this. His smile reminded me that everything that proceeds from God, is perfect. Something to be delighted in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This Is the Love

Camp Barnabas is an incredible place. I cannot even figure how to to compile a good explanation of it into a blog post. Its a place where people...are people. Simply put. No matter what the outside looks like, or what is the heart, or what the attitude may be. The people at camp are treated like children of God - made in His spitting image to be loved by all. Seems like such a basic, minute and foolishly simple ideal, but its something that most of our world completely misses most of the time. The world talks of love as if we have mastered the art of it, as if we know the depths of the often misunderstood emotion, as if sex and feelings are the extent and manifestation of it, as if we are the perfect lovers.

Sometimes, I think people make love far too complicated. And I'm talking about love in general now, not romantic love. There are always stipulations attached to love. There are always conditions. As humans, our love is so very shallow most of the time. We don't know how to love people for who they are with no obligations or demands for something in return. These cases exist, but I honestly think they are rare. Perhaps this is why so many marriages fail. A couple doesn't get what they wanted from each other. Perhaps this is why mothers neglect their daughters and fathers abandon families and boyfriends and girlfriends break up and special friendships end.

I think that love can be whittled down to a single component - stripping it of its complications and issues. Its this: Loving because you're loved. There is an all-surpassing love found at the cross of Jesus Christ. It covers all, is for all, and holds no stipulations. For me, I know I can love people because of that love bestowed on me. It doesn't seem as hard to love people who hate me in return because that perfect love, flowing from the cross, empowers me.

My sins are deliberate blows to a great God, yet He loves me. He says, "I forgive you" and pulls me to Himself. Now, because of that, when people are being hard to love, I can focus on the love I've been shown and the forgiveness I've been granted and impart it on the people around me. Because of that love, its easier to take my eyes off of their wrongs against me and home in on my problems that a great God has looked over and covered.

When such a love has been shared with me - the perfect, greatest love of all - how can I not love others with no standard?

Camp Barnabas teaches me something every year. I go away a new person each time. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for me to realize what the lesson was, though. This year, it was love. Love with no boundaries. Some of the campers at camp are hard to love. Some of them are in wheelchairs and can't lift their arms to hug you, can't smile, can't thank you, can't say they love you....all the things we want in return for loving someone. But there is the challenge - loving anyways. Loving despite their silence or ungratefulness.

When I look at the campers that cannot do for themselves, I see myself in a very strong way. It makes me want to cry, run away, shout for joy, hide, praise the Lord and dance all at the same time. I am so like them - more than I am different. I cannot do for myself, I'm ungrateful, hard to love and I hurt those who care the most. Christ is my helper, He is my lover and often I turn a cold shoulder and don't even offer Him a welcoming smile. Yet, He loves. He has to bath me - my body, my mind and my soul - daily, and I complain the whole time. He makes me eat healthy food and I put up a fight. He makes me to lie down in green pastures and I whine because I don't understand. He asks me to spend a few precious moments with Him every morning and I excuse my way out of it.

Yet, He loves.

I should too.  

Love with no conditions. Love with no reserve. Love with no fear.

This is the Love.