Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy birthday,



We hope you are blessed with the most wonderful birthday ever!

A birthday is the time of life...
When one more year is gone...
A golden year that God allowed...
To let us carry on...
Indeed it is a compliment...
To pass another mile...
For God must feel our being here...
Is somehow worth the while...
And that is why I greet you and...
Congratulate you too...
But all the more because today...
I know you as I do...
Because you are a gentle soul...
Forever good and kind...
With only love and friendship in...
your noble heart and mind...
And that is why I say a prayer...
That God will always bless...
Your life with joy on earth...
And with eternal happiness.

~James Metcalfe

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Francesca Battistelli - Keeping Me Guessing

Coffee cup waking me up
I've got to board a plane
And fly away sometimes
Feels like I'm going the speed of light
Can't relax I'm moving too fast
I want to find the gold but I don't have a map
I wish that I could know what You've got in store for me

I try and try
To read Your mind
But I forget that patience is a virtue
You're teaching me to hold on tight

And I don't know how the story ends
But I'll be alright 'cause You wrote it
I don't know where the highway bends
But I'm doing just fine
'Cause You're in control
Even when I don't know
Where my life's gonna go
You're keeping me guessing

So slow me down
Show me around
I want to see the world
That I've been without
I am here and now
The future is out of my hands

I'm trusting You
And how You move
I won't forget that patience is a virtue
You're teaching me to hold on tight

And I don't know how the story ends
But I'll be alright 'cause You wrote it
I don't know where the highway bends
But I'm doing just fine
'Cause You're in control
Even when I don't know
Where my life's gonna go
You're keeping me guessing

Seasons come
And seasons go
But You decide

And I don't know how the story ends
But I'll be alright 'cause You wrote it
I don't know where the highway bends
But I'm doing just fine
'Cause You're in control
Even when I don't know
Where my life's gonna go
You're keeping me guessing

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Desire of Our Hearts

What does it mean to desire something? Desire is another, stronger word for
want. To desire something means that you chase after it with a piece of your
heart, and it becomes an obsession. It becomes something you want more and
more, and you use it to feed your heart.

See, desire is a default of human nature. God created us as dependent human
beings with a hole in our hearts that can only be filled by one person. We
desire to be wanted, to love and to be loved, and to be cared about. We
desire things of the world, to be like others, to be "cool", and to fit in.
In the end, we pursue these desires right back to God because He is the ONLY
thing that can fill our aching, empty hole. He created us to desire Him, but
when we became sinful our hearts changed to know both good and evil which also
changed our desires. Because of sin, we now know the desires of sin.
Which basically is anything that is not of God that we try to fill our hearts
with. I heard it described like this once: You heart can only fit a certain amount
inside of it. You give the right side of your heart to video games, you give
the left side to your boyfriend or girlfriend, you give the top of your
heart to your cell phone, and the bottom of your heart to being "the best"
or "the coolest" at everything you do. Now, what little space do you have
left to squeeze God in? Hmmm....Think about it. Instead of giving God the
leftover space of your heart, you need to give him your whole heart and
everything within it. See, things such as video games, your boyfriend, your
cell phone, and being the best at everything initially become idols of your
heart when you put them as more important than God.
As Christians, we know we should never bow down to anything or anyone other than
God. But it happens sometimes, doesn't it? We see something or someone that we want,
and we go after it, hard. Pretty soon our desire for this thing we are pursuing crowds out God, and we place it above Him.
It becomes our idol, and chokes out our desire for God. It's a good reason for
why God made this the first commandment. In fact,all of the ten commandments deal with the theme of desire (Exodus 20:1-17)God was concerned about the heart attitudes of His people. When these commandments were broken, they showed that the people had desire for other things. For example, when a man committed adultery, it showed that he cared more about fulfilling his own physical desires than loving his neighbor and loving God. God wanted the Israelites to desire Him fully and with all their hearts.

Ever since the fall of Man, people have been trying to fill their God-shaped
holes with anything that could remotely be placed there. But these things
were not and are not God. We try to fill our hearts with that relationship
with the particular guy or girl, the money filled lifestyle, the coolest
outfit, the sports car we've always wanted, or the most recent electronic
toy. We look to the object of our desire, whatever it may be, to fill our
heart and mind and to make us feel happy and complete. But it can't. Because
God made us to worship him, and when we begin worshiping other things, we
find that they can NEVER fill our hungry hearts, for no matter how hard we
try,these things do not satisfy. They don't complete us, and while we may feel
happy for a little bit, it doesn't last. These things can never take the
place of our amazing and gracious God.

Have you ever thought "Oh, when I get THIS I'll be happy forever and I'll
never want another thing"? Well, It doesn't work that way. You may think
that now, but once you get that new thing, you'll get bored of it fast.
You'll thirst for more. God is the only one who can quench your everlasting
thirst.

You've probably seen the movies put on by Hollywood or Disney. You know the
ones. When the main character desires something and spends the entire movie trying
to gain it. Finally, at the end, he or she gets the thing that they have
always wanted. Have you ever noticed that those movies always end "Happily
ever after"? That's what Hollywood promotes. They want people to feel like
that. They want people to think that if they get something that they've
always desired, it will make them happy. But that's not true. Matthew 5:6
says "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
shall be satisfied." There is only one thing that you can desire that will
fill you forever. It's Jesus Christ. He is your light, your salvation,
your King, and when you worship Him, all other things fall away. You no
longer desire things of the world, because Jesus will satisfy you forever.
Do you know Jesus, or do you have a continual thirst for things of this
world? Jesus is the only thing that can quench your thirst. Do you want to
know Him? Do you *desire* him? You can know Him because He wants to know
you. He wants to be the end of your thirst, He wants you to follow Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 says "You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with ALL
your heart." That means that you give up the idol of your cell phone, of
being cool, of having a sports car and you seek God with all your heart.
Just like the apostles, who walked away from their old lifestyles and
everything they once knew to follow Jesus Christ. It doesn't mean that your
cell phone is a sin, or that you need to sell your sports car, but those
things shouldn't be more important than the God you serve. Because He is the
person that should ultimately fill your heart. Do you know Him? Is Jesus
your ultimate desire? Has he quenched your thirst?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What about Dating?

What is the purpose of dating? I remember one late afternoon when my
sister, Amy, came home from a social gathering. "I met this girl, Naomi,"
she said, making a weird face as she continued. "She's ten years old and she
was talking about how she had NINE ex-boyfriends"
"Nine?" I gasped. "Wow. That's just sad."
I've asked many people what they thought of teenagers or
younger children dating. "Oh," my Grandma says, "They're just having fun."

Fun?

Now, first of all, I want to know how a ten year old can date. Think about
it. They can't drive. How do they GET there? uhuh..... Their parents drive
them to their dates. Why? Well, parents probably make up excuses, "Oh, well I
dated when I was young which naturally means its okay for my kid to do it if
he or she wants to. What harm could be done? There's nothing sinful about
it... It's just a little date. We won't let it get too out of hand."
What is wrong with this mind-set? Well, honestly, a lot. I think parents
should be responsible enough for their children that they actually think
about what they're doing. What they are filling their child's mind with. By
taking them to a date they're promoting it in their children's eyes they are
initially telling them that its okay to date, and break up, and date some
more. This sounds like practice for divorce, not for marriage.

So what is really so wrong with dating? Everyone does it. Why can't we also
do it as well? Because we, as young women of God need to preserve ourselves
for ONE person, and one person only. Not share ourselves with every guy that
we ever date. So which of your NINE boyfriends is the one that you are going
to marry? There's more than a ninety-nine percent chance that it will be none
of them. So what have you wasted? By dating nine different people, plus many
more to come you have wasted yourself. You have wasted a part of
yourself which should have been initially stored up for the one person that God
has planned as your husband. Can you imagine marrying someone later in your
life and saying, "Oh yeah, I dated these people in elementary
school, and these others in middle school and this group of guys in
high school, not to mention the ones I dated in college... but I love you
now." Sure. That's *real* reassuring. Do you want to be that way toward
your husband? By this time, what do you have left for the guy that you actually
marry? It's like God has given you a wall of purity, or chastity, but by dating
numerous people and ultimately defying the man that God has planned for your
life, you are slowly tearing down your wall. Every time you go on a date with
someone, some of your wall is chiseled off, every time you profess your "true
love" to your boyfriend, you are chiseling down a part of your wall,
Everytime you hold his hand or think "dreamy" thoughts about him you are
chipping down your wall and giving that boy something that is meant solely
for your husband alone, not nine or more different guys. By the time you are
married, what is going to be left for your real husband?

Some of you may think, "Oh well I'm dating this guy and we really, really
love each other. We KNOW we're going to get married. We've known each other
for a long time. Just because we're only thirteen doesn't make any
difference.." A decision to date or court someone with the intention of
marriage is a much bigger concept than what a thirteen year old is going to
be able to understand. It's a life-long commitment. Besides, if you really
love each other that much, than you will be able to wait for a proper age
won't you? Or are you scared that you need to date now because if you don't,
you fear that in the future you will forget about each other. If you forget,
then you don't really love the person do you?

A lot of times I have seen girls so wrapped up in how "romantic" it would be
to actually "date" someone that they don't actually consider that they may
be giving away a part of themselves. Especially if they're not serious.
Sadly, I have seen a lot of bad things come from this.

What ultimately comes out of dating at a young age? I once knew this woman... She
was about in her late thirties and she had been married three
times, but divorced all three again and was now single and dating regularly. This
is what dating regularly in your teenage years is preparing you for as
an adult. You get used to being able to break up with the person that you're
dating whenever they do something that you find wrong, embarassing or merely
distasteful. Dating at a young age promotes divorce in the future, whether
you think so or not. God made marriage for *life.* Can you just throw away
the words "until death do you part"? Divorce rates rose to 50% of marriages
in the year 2010. This is what dating is doing to America.

So, summing everything up, what is wrong with dating? #1 that you are giving
a part of yourself away to someone that's not meant to have it. You are
chiseling down your wall and in doing so, are unpleasing to God and already
defying the man that you will marry one day. #2 that it promotes divorce in
the near future.

So what should we do about it? We need to stop dating. Instead, in our
teenage years we should be focusing on learning about God and being
more like him, rather than spending every spare minute we have texting our
boyfriends.

Now, some people reading this may think that I'm crazy. Others
may think that I have some good points, but don't want to give up their
dating lives and parties. If you're serious and you really want to stop and
save yourself for one man, are you really willing to give up dating and
having your "fun" now so that you will be rewarded later in life, and
ultimately be rewarded by God? Are YOU willing to sacrifice?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weeding your Garden

Every spring our family plants a garden. One day this past month I
was planting some vegetables. I looked over to where the carrots had been
planted, and all I saw in the place of the carrots were tiny shoots of weeds
sticking out of the garden. I thought to myself, "Goodness, how come
those weeds are an inch tall when my carrot seeds have been in the ground for
two weeks and there’s still nothing coming up?” My thoughts reminded me
of our hearts and how easy it is for us to let bad things grow, and to be
neglectful of the good things that God planted. In the world around us
there are many things that are sinful and aren’t of God but are from the
devil. Satan is always trying to tempt us with the things that look good in
our eyes. If we let Satan’s temptations grow, then the evil weeds will grow
in our hearts and the beautiful things that God intended us to be will grow
slower and slower or even completely stop. Let me list some things from the
world that Satan tempts us with, and that pollutes our lives.
Music: I like the quote from Sarah Mally in the book *Before You Meet Prince Charming*
“Satan is using music in a powerful ways to damage and
pollute the Christians today. Not only the words, but also the attitudes,
moral bankruptcy of the songs, character of the musicians and the addictive
physical drive of the beat combined to create a rebellious, independent
spirit which leads to dangerous, immoral patters in young listeners.” As I
examine this quote, I find that it has a lot of truth. When you are young and
still forming your views on the world, the music you listen to will impact
you. Picture your favorite music artist: Is their personal life all about
glorifying God or is it centered on who dates who, or which of their peers
receive the most popularity? "Do not love the world or anything in the
world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For
everything in the world- the craving of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes
and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the father but from
the world. The world and it’s desires pass away, but the man who does the
will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-16
TV: Television can impact us even more than music because it is a vivid
picture in your brain. Instead of just hearing the sassy voice of the smart
aleck rebellious teenager, you get to watch her roll her eyes and shrug her
shoulders when she’s speaking to her parents. Because were actually seeing
these actions it’s easier for us to fall into bad habits of doing them
ourselves.
Magazines: Most secular magazines are a host for gossip and useless talk.
They have no point other than to rudely discuss the lives of famous people,
and are also a place to display pornographic images. Plus, these gossip
filled places ruin, tear down, and destroy the lives of the ones that they
are discussing.
What weeds are you letting grow in your garden? Are you pulling up the
bad weeds? If you don’t, then you will never grow into the beautiful fruit
that God intended. How shall we pick these weeds out of our gardens and out
of our minds? Don’t form bad habits, listen to your conscience, and guard your
heart. Make sure everything you let into your heart is safe and an honor to
the Lord.