Saturday, February 25, 2017

Resting Amidst the Waves

Crash! Another wave pounded the men, some falling prostrate, all grabbing for a holding, lest they be drug out with the receding waters pelting them to the rhythm of an old clock in need of winding.

It hadn't seemed like a bad evening for travel when they had loaded up on the far shore; the clouds and winds had overtaken them quite suddenly. Even for fishermen, used to the elements and surprises the sea could throw at a man, this was looking worse and worse by the minute.

"I don't think we're gonna to make it, John—you think we should wake Him?"

"Come now, Peter, you know we've dealt with a few waves before."

"No way. No way we can make it," Thomas interjected sullenly, coming to terms with a fate at the bottom of the sea.

The waves were relentless, in pursuit of their very lives. Peter hadn't lost all hope yet, but Thomas's assessment was sounding about right. He'd seen a lot of waves in his time, but never this bad—and they weren't going to be stopping any time soon, either. Peter glanced upwards once again, hoping for some sign of an impending break in the storm. Nothing but clouds of the ugliest grey as far as he could see, which was admittedly not far, what for the torrential downpour and towering waves. This wind was completely unnatural... almost like—he had it!

This was that darker power. The evil in the world. The Prince of Darkness.

Certainly this storm could only have been brewed by the Devil himself, Peter knew he was onto something.

He waved over the men, yelling unintelligibly to catch their attentions.

"We need Him!" Peter raised his voice to be heard between wave crashes. "This is a war!" He cried, gesturing towards the fighting between clouds and sea for the dominance of the sky. Another wave plummeted them all. "He is our warrior!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Favorites + Highlights // Winter 2016-17

[Warning: long post]

I may or may not have started writing this blog post a half dozen times by now.

For what it's worth, Phaxatomicbomby Phil predicted another 6 weeks of winter, so I figured I didn't want to jump the gun and talk about winter in past tense just yet.

If my antics over the past few months interest you, they've mostly been divided fairly between very important, absolute priorities, on one side, and frivolous, time-wasting things that I just want to do because "it's way too beautiful of a day to spend the whole thing inside working", on the other. It's been a very mild winter. Like, two inches of snow total. [Insert sad face.] But very busy. I don't remember the last day when I actually didn't have something pressing needing my attention. Blogging probably should have taken a shot for the team, but in a way, I've found writing helps to keep me sane. So it stays. :)

This winter I've been...


God has taught me SO much lately!

My blog posts, 'Hijacking God's Spotlight' and '"Square One" and Why I'll Never be There Again', were just two of the things God's been working on my heart about recently.

The first week of January, Kristen and I were invited by a friend to attend a day of In the Gap's Leadership Academy, just down the road at the Eagle Springs Training Center, and I loved that day. I learned so much, was so encouraged by the edifying conversation, was so blessed to be included in an amazing small group for the day, and so enjoyed our game of speed volleyball after lunch (even if I totally wasn't dressed for such sports).

(Here is a picture of our small group. These girls are so amazing!)

And I have to share with you my favorite sermon from that day with the In the Gap people:

Christ Our Righteousness: Identity in Christ
Jamie Lash

Can everyone reading this please save this video on your YouTube account and promise me you'll watch it at some point? I know most people don't just randomly have an hour to stop and hear a sermon, but I really need to share this with you. It is life-changing!

This has completely changed the way I think, especially about myself. It's so important I view myself how God views me, and not how Satan wants me to view myself. We have to respect God enough to trust He knows what He's talking about- especially when it's about us!! I wish Bro. Lash used the KJV, but I nonetheless whole-heartedly recommend this to everyone.

(I'm hoping to watch the three sermons that follow this one in his series soon. I'll let you know...)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beautiful Words

May God bless us with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

So that we may live from deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger

At in justice, oppression, and exploitation of God's creations,

So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,

So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with just enough foolishness

To believe that we can make a difference in the world,

So that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

- A Franciscan Prayer

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 Tips For Memorizing Scripture

Hi friends!

Memorizing Bible passages has been such a huge part of my Spiritual life. I've learned about God, and to know Him, through His Word, for as long back as I can remember. I cannot remember a time when I didn't know John 3:16 by heart.

We moved to Texas when I was 12, but I was 14 by the time we found East River Baptist Church, where we ended up joining as members. From 14 to 18, I was in youth group every Wednesday night of the school year learning and soaking in so much, as well as reciting verses I had memorized throughout the week.

My Junior year in High School, our family finally got involved the National Bible Bee, through which I was motivated to memorized hundreds more verses!!

The most verses I ever memorized in one week was 33, if I'm remembering correctly. And that was nothing! I was competing with others in the youth group and Bible Bee who could do 50 or better every week, easy!

So maybe they should be writing this post.

But, anyways, here are five tips for memorizing more of God's Word, retaining more of what you memorize, and memorizing it more efficiently/quickly.

(From someone who actually isn't very good at memorizing things.)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

7 Scriptures I Turn to for Encouragement

Recently I read an article on another blog about looking to the "great heroes of our faith", and how dangerous that can be. The author was totally right: those Spiritual leaders can encourage, exhort, and edify us, but if they aren't pointing us ultimately to God and His Word, they aren't worthy of our following.

Of course Corrie ten Boom was an amazing lady, and she definitely had some extremely inspirational words to leave behind, but when I'm stuck in the mud of life, I should be turning to the Bible, and not punching 'Corrie ten Boom' into the Pinterest search engine. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Where do I turn, though?

What verses are my solace? My empowering confidence? My encouragement?

Here are just seven:

Joshua 1:8-9

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

There's so much in the passage! Firstly, I love the part about success. Our modern, western culture has it so messed up! Secondly, I just love the thought of knowing I go into every battle- big and small- with God. I think because most of us haven't been in an actual war, we sometimes don't take the verses about wars and battles very personally. However, we all fight battles, every day. Spiritual, emotional, mental battles. It's even a battle just to keep our priority on Him sometimes! God goes with us through every battle.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Square One" and Why I'll Never be There Again

"I feel like I'm back at square one."

It's an expression I've heard my whole life, and in certain moments I've felt I was the personification of the depressed phrase. In other words, I feel like I've made no progress. I feel like I'm once again where I started, and all that effort in the middle was for naught.

Surely. Surely there's one person out there who will know what I'm talking about. Surely someone else knows this feeling.

But God's been teaching me I'll never be at square one again.

It's really a revelation to me.

I needed that middle stuff to become who I am. And, further, who I'm going to be.

I was not as mature at square one as I am today.

I was not as emotionally stable or secure in my identity in Christ as I am today.

I needed the struggle, the wading through the murky swamps, to become who I am. To grow, and learn, and become stronger so if the next swamp I face is even deeper, I'll have had the practice.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

20 Things to Try After High School (Besides College)

Disclaimer: I'm actually for college degrees. Mostly. I'm just against liberal college campuses. I'm just against unnecessary pressure from everyone that says you must go, and you must go now.

In the day and age when a college degree is the new High School diploma (*ahem* today), I think we are pressuring our teenagers way too much about things that don't really matter.

Why is it just expected I must go off to college for a degree? And if I must, why at such a formative and immature age? Don't get me wrong, now! 18 year olds can be wise, mature, strong... but, they're also extremely susceptible to the molding of their hearts by their peers. 

So, yeah, drop your daughter off in a sea of strange people you already know you don't want her to be like, and leave her there for several years. That sounds like it'll really turn out great.

Take a breath. Give it a year or two. Take online classes. Try Dual Credit at Home.

And... try some of these 20 ideas that have nothing to do with college:

1. Travel.

Visit family and friends. Go to a National Park you've never been to before.

The Grand Canyon with my family, August 2015

Whidbey Island with Mykaela's family, Washington, October 2015

Picnicking at Yosemite with my grandparents, November 2015

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