Junior Project Time

We have reached that time of year again folks, where my junior’s Worldview class sets upon their Spring Project. During this project, the girls have an entire semester to gain 100 points. These points can be attained in a number of ways: Bible studies, encouragement posters/notes/posts, evangelism, leading devotionals or sharing testimonies, and my personal favorite – the video. I tell the girls that if they do a video, beware, for it may end up on my blog.

With enthusiasm, this year’s class has done the most videos.  They are all so fun to watch and offer some great messages! So without further ado, here are a few I have received so far this semester…

 

 

 

Have We Missed the Whole Point?

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Have We Missed the Whole Point?

The purpose of life: Christians will say it is to glorify God, but is that whole point of life or have we missed something? Something life changing?
Honestly, up until a week ago, I looked at life completely differently. I love the Lord; I thank Him every day for the life He has given to me; I attempt to live a life that will honor Him. So what changed you ask?
I read and fully understood Romans 14:12, “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”
Along with Eccl. 12:14, “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
You might be thinking, still this is nothing new, but when you combine it with everything God tells us about our lives, it starts to make more sense:
1 Cor. 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Col. 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
2 Peter 3:18, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
1 Peter 5:6 & 10, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time…After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
1 Peter 4:11b & 13, “whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever Amen…but to the degree you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”

Ok, I could go on and on in Ecclesiastes, Romans, Acts, Ephesians, and Hebrews about our lives and the purpose of glorifying God, but you get the point.
But what you still may not get is the full purpose. You see, yes we are to do good works to bring God glory now, but also at the time of judgement. Like I said above, we will all stand before the “Judgement Seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).
1 Cor. 4:5 says that the Lord will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” And 1 John 2:28 says, “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
When I went about my life, I was always thinking about trying to bring glory to God and the end being able to just be in Heaven with my King. I didn’t really contemplate the “Judgement Seat”. Now I know that I have nothing to worry about for “there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1), but there is a recompense, an answering for the life that God gave you. I don’t know about you, but when I stand across from my Lord and Savior, who gave up His Heavenly throne for an earthly death so that I might live, I want to be able to lay down a worthy sacrifice at His feet. God says that our lives are to be a sacrifice, a light, a jewel. I want to be able to have the “testing fire” that will be set on the whole my life (works, deeds, thoughts, idols, etc.) produce an enduring prize that I can lay before my God in love and adoration (1 Cor. 3:12-15). I don’t want to stand before Him and offer Him a life worth nothing. I know that I will never be able to live a life completely worthy of the calling, but I am not going to give up the fight of trying.
I hear a lot of people talk about Heaven and crowns of glory and all of these things, and that is great, but the focus on these things is still on us. Somehow we have even degraded the greatest sacrifice to still be about us. Yes, we get the benefit, but He should get the glory. We get Heaven, and if that isn’t enough, He is preparing a place for us and time for us to receive a reward. All I can say, is that if there is any reward to be handed, it will not be of my doing, but the Lord that lives within me who gave me the power to achieve it, and I will lay it at His feet in adoration and praise. May it be SO!
Hopefully, this has given new meaning to you to laying up your treasures in Heaven, waging the war, judging not a brother in Christ, living a life worthy, glorifying God, seeking first the Kingdom of God, and so on. For our lives are but a whisper of a time. Each second that passes, we cannot receive again. We get one life to make a beautiful gift for our Lord.
So may we fight the fight and live a life worthy, not because we get a reward (which we don’t deserve), but so that God may be the beneficiary of a gift of a sacrificial life and be glorified today and through eternity. If that is all I have the ability to do or give my God, may I do so willfully and with great perseverance!
So press on Christian. Press on in this sin filled world for the sake of bringing a sacrificed life of love to our Lord at His coming. May we live in a way that is not about ourselves, but a life that is a thank you card – a love letter to our Lord! To God be the glory, now and forever – Amen.

What Do You Choose?

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So much of our lives are filled with hate. People would say “these days” but unfortunately, it isn’t something new. From the time sin entered the world, so has hate. Or have we forgotten Cain and Abel?
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’ Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”
Obviously, Cain did not master his sin of anger and jealousy at this moment! But what about us? Over and over again we have examples of temptation and failure to heed God’s warnings. God continually gives us commands to love one another and serve one another; to put away selfish ambition and conceit and put on love and adoration.
Opinions will always differ. We are different people, living different lives. Some call upon the name of the Lord and others are hardened to it. But we are all made in the image of God (whether we believe in that or not), we are all God’s children trying to figure out our place in this sin drenched world. Satan creeps around the corners, seeking to devour us all. So what are we to do? Hebrews 13 tells us our mission is to love and Matthew 22 tells us that next to loving God we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Eccl 3 tells us that there is nothing better than to rejoice and do good in one’s lifetime. So why are we spending so much time in this whisper of life in hate?
Instead of hating I choose to love:
Love my circumstances:
Love my sin filled past because it brought me to the Lord.
Love the people who have harmed me, because they are children of the King in need of restoration, so that they don’t spend eternity in painful torment.
Love the differences in our personalities because God is a beautiful tapestry maker who uses vibrant colors to complete His amazing work.
Love the gifts of this world:
Love the beauty of the rain falling on a parched ground.
Love the mist as it settles into crevices of a broken canyon.
Love the green valleys that call for the wild antlers of deer to prance across.
Love being a woman:
Love the feel of the small plum sized foot that pressed upon my kidney or the flutter of hiccups that engulfed my belly when I was carrying my children.
Love the eyes that examined my face and little sausage fingers that played with my face and hair as I nourished my young babies with the beauty of God’s design in breastfeeding.
Love the little hands that grab mine or the fear choking hugs of a child’s needs being met.
Love the long nights of illness where I get to cuddle with my sweet blessings from the Lord.
Love the compassion and sensitivity that give me the emotions to feel love, fear, guilt, pain, and happiness.
Love the intertwining fingers of my husband in mine as he guides me down paths I don’t know how to handle, or his strong arms that cradle my weak body when I am sick.
Put simply, I will love the woman God made me and the people He has put in my life. I will cherish the trials, persecutions, blessings, and honors for they all have lovingly been put in my path by my Lord to sanctify and bless me. I will understand that God made us all different, with different potentials, hobbies, passions, emotions, and tendencies and love how the Lord can direct our good in it all.
So start mastering your hate and celebrating your blessings. Yes, things will offend you and hurt you and make you feel pain, but your mentality of it is on you: the hate you feel is up to you. You can choose to love or hate, be offended or pray for the lost, seek vengeance or pray for change, be a part of the problem or a light in the dark.
As for me, I choose to love.

Don’t Let Go!

hand in hand

A little girl stands on the cusp of a sea of strangers. The path before her riddled with people obstructing her every line of sight. Fear and anxiety paralyzed her as she felt a slight tug from her left arm. She looked up into the bright eyes of her Father and looked down to the hand that embraced hers.

“You have nothing to fear my dearest child, just don’t let go.” He said in his soft authoritative voice.

She feels the comfort of His hand and trusts the power in His voice and blindly steps out into the vast unknown.  She continues on, not worried about where He was leading her, knowing He knew the way.   Quickly, the little girl becomes comfortable in His care as He guides her through the crowded way. She begins to look around and admire the surroundings, catching sight of giant helium balloons and beautiful dolls in glass windows, through the legs that surrounded her.  Her hand began to slip from the strong hand that was guiding her as she spotted a sparkling dress wafting near by.  Suddenly, an abrupt thud across her shoulder sent her tumbling slightly backward.

“Don’t let go, dear one,” her Father said, as He gripped tighter.

“Yes Daddy.” she said as she regained His hand.

“I know there are things that look beautiful out there, but trust me to get you to a place more beautiful than this. Be patient my little one.”

She smiled and held tight as she enjoyed the comforting walk, knowing He would protect her.

Yet again, after a short while, from in between the blankets of legs, she became enthralled by the beautiful objects.

“They look so beautiful,” she thought, “why does He not stop and get me what I want? This would make me happy. I don’t want to walk anymore, I want to stop and look around!”

She began to pull Him to the side, hoping His way would sway.

“This way Daddy! Please, I want to go this way and look over there.” she begged.

“That will not be good enough for you my sweet babe, we must travel on. Trust me, you will have something even better. Don’t let go now. Hold tight.”

Frustration took hold of her heart and her hand became limp in His, but His hold did not waiver.

“He doesn’t understand,” she thought. “Why does He not want me to be happy?” she started to lean again to the right, hoping His way would sway or His grip would loosen. Just like before, a thud came across her arm followed, this time, by one slamming into her back.

“Why are you letting them hurt me Daddy?” she cried.

“You need to stop leaning out and trying to let go little one. Trust me and let me guide you. I know where I am going; I can see the way and I promise I will protect you. Hold tight, don’t let go!”

“Hmpf,” puffed the girl as she began to think her Father wanted nothing good for her. He was lying. They were passing all of the wonderful places and He kept saying no. Why does He think He knows? She knew where she wanted to go and what would make her happy.

She looked up at her father in disdain now and glanced back through the crevices of flesh and spotted the perfect store. She could clearly see it now, as the legs began to part. This was it. She would go her way; she would get what she wanted without Him. She slipped out of His hand and began running for the beauty before her. She did not stop, even when she was slashed around by the few legs that bumped and bruised her. She made it to the window and gazed in wonder. She was right, she had never seen such majesty and never felt such joy. But, quickly the scene before her changed. The beauty that was but a second ago now changed to mold. This was not as beautiful as she thought. I was wrong!

Suddenly, she was swept away from the window, and found herself flying through the air away from the window and the doll within. She landed with a thud on the concrete and felt her body heave with pain.

“Daddy!” she wailed, but she didn’t see Him anywhere.

Feet were now trampling her small frame as the passerby’s did not care for her well being. Pain struck every inch of her body as she frantically searched the vast sea for her Father.

“Daddy!” she now screamed.

She closed her eyes, knowing her mistake. She should have stayed with her Father. With the one who would protect her. The one who would care for her. The one who knew the way.

Streams of tears poured down her porcelain cheeks as suddenly a warmth lifted her from the ground, “I told you not to let go little one”, He said with firmness.

She opened her eyes into the comfort and love of her Father’s face and wrapped her arms around His neck as He carried her.

“Don’t let go of me Daddy!” she squeezed as she spoke softly into His ears.

“I never did my young one, I never did.”

Living in a World of Virtual Reality

Samsung Gear VR - SM-R322 - virtual reality headset - frost white - for Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S7, S7 edge

Virtual Reality! Webster’s Dictionary defines it as: an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.

I define it as: dawning a pair of awkwardly large glasses to be transported to a world of our own making. One in which anything can happen. For a mere $100 (like the ones pictured) you can live however you would like with no one to answer to. You can frolic through the woods, fly across the ocean, collect Pokemon (oh wait…). To sum it up, virtual reality is living in a false world (wasn’t there a popular sunglasses movie about that?).

Yet, what we often don’t realize is that we already live in a world of virtual reality; for free. You see, everyday we dawn our flip flops (well maybe galoshes if you live somewhere seasons actually pay a visit) and our self-made VR glasses and head out the door. Armed with our pocket or purse full of instant gratification (also known as a cell phone), that when faced with reality we can quickly turn on and be transported back to a time where staged selfies and narcissistic hashtags live. A place where we have obtained our Masters and Doctorates from the web university and can tout our ever growing knowledge on our newsfeeds. We can, with gusto, shout our brilliant (and of course, always right) opinions for everyone to see.

You see, we have turned into a society where our social media accounts are our virtual reality. We see and live through them; they have become our identity.  All too often I see families and friends gathered at a restaurant all on their phones posting their 5th selfie of the day so everyone can see they are out having fun. When in all reality they have spent less than 10 minutes actually having fun and an hour in their virtual world. We have become a society that while children are dying from terrorists running them over, coups taking place, and cancer eating away their fragile bodies; we run around trying to find fake animals and even more disturbing, take to the streets to tell each other how much we hate each other (and in cases recently, kill one another) because of something social media told us was reality.

You see, I have sat back these last few weeks observing. I love to observe. I am one of those people who will sit at a coffee shop and just people watch and try to figure them out in the two seconds I see them.  What I have observed is alarming. We are so quick to condemn, judge, rule, shout and hate. We live to make ourselves high and others low. We have become a society of bullies. You may not outright see it as such, but isn’t it really what we are doing? We have created a virtual world of know-it-alls that say, “look at me, I know what is right and the rest of you are fools”. We treat each other with disdain and mockery. We jump to conclusions and believe the first thing we read, then make it so that if someone disagrees, they are stupid, “uniformed” or “don’t understand”. We name call and ridicule someone for believing something – that they too only read on the internet. What people have yet to learn is that this society is run by marketing.

Last year in worldview, I told my class to always be leery of what you read and hear because there is always an agenda. No matter if it is a trustworthy source or not, we are all trying to sell something. We manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions with words and pictures to evoke the opinion we are desiring to achieve.  We all do it! We are all trying to sell an idea, thought, way of life or even just a perception. This is why I am a research-a-holic. I don’t ever believe the first thing I hear or read, but I research till I can puzzle together the whole story. Whether that goes to if someone is really who they say they are on their Facebook page or if that article on garlic is right. Whether the Black Lives Matter movement is from Satan or Police officers are power hungry KKK members. Research is the key, because we all tell a story. We want everyone else’s VR world to match our own.

But research and observance can only help us if we have done one thing first: take off the glasses and start coming back to reality. We have to stop living in a world that makes us mad, jealous, narcissistic, discontent, ashamed, embarrassed, selfish, pig headed know-it-alls who lack any kind of compassion and love. We need to stop racing to our social sites (and the local street corner) to condemn everyone and love no one. We need to stop believing the lies and start fighting for the truth.

I imagine Christ coming into our VR worlds and turning over the tables in anger like He did in the temple. He would be telling everyone to drop their glasses and follow Him. Christ is the only truth. He is the light, the only way. God’s Word is the only thing we can fully trust and confide in, that’s why it needs to be our measuring tool for everything. His Word needs to be the glasses we put on to see everything else through, not the VR ones we make for ourselves.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  – We are at war with the powers of this world. Satan wants to destroy love, truth and family. He smiles when we choose our virtual worlds over each other. He smiles when we make ourselves greater than God or anything or anyone else in this world. He smiles when we choose to hate instead of love. He smiles when we gullibly believe the falsehoods that he so simply throws in our paths.

It’s time to take the worldly glasses off and put on the glasses of God. It is time to start making Truth matter! Because this world is not about you or me, but the plans that God has set forth. This world will pass away (thank the Lord) and the new one will come. One that will be God’s virtual reality at last. Nothing like we could ever imagine or program ourselves. This is the only truth that matters. We need to be less about our rightly opinions and more about saving souls for Christ – the only true reality.

Proverbs 2: 6, “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Proverbs 19:3, “The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the LORD.

Jeremiah 4:22, “For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know.”

Romans 1:22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, ”

Isaiah 55:8, “”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. ”

So then, what does life through the glasses of God look like? Well blessed be us, we have the answers; here are just a few:

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” James 1:19

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” Gal. 6:2

“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord” Eph. 5:19

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matt. 22:37+38

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Phil. 2:3

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Cor. 10:31

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Col. 3:2

The Bible completely shows us how to live. They all fit into our daily lives. But practically, in meditating on these, I would like to challenge you to a few things (I challenge myself as well!) to start the detox process and:

  • go out for a walk or for dinner with your family or friends and forget your phone (yikes!).
  • Post as many encouraging things that point people to Christ as you do photos or marketing or opinion tactics (social media is an amazing tool for encouragement. I know many people who post 10 things a day, but they are all either God honoring photos of creation or encouraging quotes).
  • when you’re screaming to shout your opinion – research first – then, in a loving way, bring about truth with grace.
  • pray for the lost!!
  • bring back a reverence in your life for God, His Word (it is the Holy Spirit written word of God that people were burned at the stake for; treat it as such) and His church (it’s the house of God – we have more reverence when we go to a friend’s house than to our Lord’s house.);
  • lastly but most importantly read Scripture as if your life depends on it – because it does!

Drowning and Starting Over

There is power in words. God’s word being the most powerful example of this.

Yes, I am biased about this as well, being that I love to write! There is just such freedom in being able to write with honesty and truth.

With this comes an absolute love of music! I often sit and just listen to music while talking to my Lord. When I can’t fully communicate how I am feeling, I often look to music to communicate it for me.

I recently was introduced to two other Christian rappers: KB & Flame. My love for Lecrae and Andy Mineo is being matched by my new found love for these guys. I love truth spoken – no matter the cost! These guys do just that!

KB’s recent song “Drowning” is amazing. It reminds me of the desperate way I felt before coming to the Lord. Feeling so lost and underneath it all that I was crying out. Praise be to God that He longs for these moments where we will cry out for Him; finally being ready and willing to come to Him! The prodigal son/daughter returning!

Flame’s song “Start Over” reminds me of how it felt actually coming to the Lord. The gospel message is clear, concise and lyrically beautiful and powerful!

I wanted to share both of them with you! May they be a blessing!

 

 

These are not “new” songs, but they are “new” to me. Know of some great christian music with awesome messages? I would love to hear about them!

New Article on CWO

Read my new article on shame here:

Coming Out of Shame

 

Thanks again for CWO and their persistence to proclaim the Word of our Lord!