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Just a thought

Take time to smell the roses

In the mayhem of Monday mornings
A week of thought ahead
Goals set in the shower
Decisions that we dread
We take a look before us
We plan our timeless days
Acquire all our efforts
And slip into familiar ways
Just stop , this morning
For a bit, reflect for a time
All the blessings you've been given
Those joys you call "mine"


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A Reflection

I made it! Today marked a milestone in my short 18 years of living. I graduated high school! The last four years have been an incredible time of growing and maturing, ups, downs, and fellowship. I wouldn’t change a single one of those years (except maybe to add time to my senior year). So, I’m about to take you on a quick reflection on the last four years. 

Freshman year: Oh boy. What a big step. I remember walking into my first day of high school as a little immature and scared kid. Now it didn’t take me long to get comfortable, but it was a little nerve-racking for awhile. As I told a friend a few weeks ago, I made some mistakes almost right off the bat. I let the people I was around and my own selfish ambitions shape who I was becoming, how I talked, and how I thought. Somewhere along the right I got back to who I was and I remembered Who I represented. God made me (and everyone of you) for a particular purpose. I forgot that for a time. Freshman year is when I started strengthening the friendships I began over my elementary and junior high career. I lost some friends, but I guess that happens. 

Sophomore year: Honestly, I dont recall much of my sophomore year. At least, nothing major really stick out for me. This was the first time I spoke at church though! That was more nerve-racking than my first day of high school for sure! 

Junior year: Wow. This was probably the hardest year I had academically. I was so busy with classes that legitimately challenged me. My intention here is not to brag, but school has always come fairly easily for me. I make good grades and most of what I learn will stick with me for quite awhile. Junior year was a test and I passed. I continue to do well in school and make friends. Some of those friends that made a lasting impact on me will be discussed in a minute. Junior year is really when I started maturing both as a person and in my faith. 

Senior year: This year was different than all the rest. I took a couple dual credit classes at a local university. That was a great experience! I also spent a lot of time in the front office (my school as a class where I got to work in the front office). I’m extremely glad I chose to do that (again I’ll tell you more about that in a moment). This year was incredibly fun and exciting! I met some new friends, I made a college decision, and obviously graduation was huge! As for my college decision, I will be attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with the intent of going into some sort of ministry field after college. I have to do my first year online because of limited space on campus, but I have a good shot of moving to Chicago in the Fall of 2015. 

Friends that made a lasting impact: Now don’t get me wrong. I have a ton of friends that I will never forget. The thing is, if I wrote about all of them, I might as well write a book. I could fill pages. I’ll spare you the time and effort by just writing about a few that are really the closest to me. 

First, my brother and I have really formed the relationship brothers should have. We used to fight a lot as kids. We didn’t get along. Yes, it’s normal for sibling to quarrel. But, we just never got really close until around my eighth grade year. Maybe even my freshman year. The point is, now we are best friends. We set aside what was hindering our relationship from progressing and allowed our faith in Jesus to shape our friendship. I love Joey and I’m grateful for the relationship we have now. 

I have another friend named Craig. I knew Craig a little bit in elementary because we played on the same sports teams and of that good junk. He didn’t go to the same school though until eighth grade. What I love most about my friendship with Craig is the fact that I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch him grow in his walk with Christ. I don’t claim to have any huge part in that growth, but I’ve been completely delighted when we have had the opportunity to discuss the Word and I’ve been delighted when he has had questions about God that I was able to give him an answer to. He’s really been an encouragement to me through the years! He knows what it takes, or rather Who it takes to live the Good Life. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. 

Like Craig, I’ve knew the next guy just a little in elementary. Trace also came to my school in eighth grade. Trace is an incredible athlete! I know if he works hard, he can achieve a lot both in life and in his future athletic endeavors. Through high school, Trace and I would poke fun at each other (always in a friendly way, of course!), but he has also been an encouragement. Just watching how hard he works to be the best he can be is what has encouraged me the most. I wish him nothing but the best! 

The next friend is Drake. To be quite honest and a little blunt, Drake is good at aggravating people. It isn’t often I show frustration and anger in public, but at times Drake has successfully brought it out of me. And on purpose I might add! Regardless, he quickly became one of my best friends. Even though we spent much of our time together joking with each other, he’s always been a person I could talk to just to get things off my chest. All of these friends that I have listed (and the last one I will list) are people I can talk to if I need to. We’ve both share a love for golf. Now, Drake is better at golf than I’ll ever be, but I still enjoy the game. I remember one particular time on the golf course, we had a pretty serious discussion in which we basically shared some of the history in our lives. I won’t get into the actual conversation we had because it was just a talk between he two of us. However, the point is that that is a moment that really stuck out to me. 

Finally, the last friend I’m going to talk about. I’ve rambled enough. :) I met this girl for the first time this year. In the front office. Yep. Remember that blow off class I was talking about? It ended up being a bigger blessing than I thought possible. Saylor is an all-around incredible person. Just about every time I’ve been around her, she either laughing at random things, smiling about something, or blankly staring at me because I said something incredibly stupid. Many times this year when I’ve been stressed or down about something, she’s been able to lift me up just because of her attitude. She didn’t know it of course, but just being around her often brightened my day. I looked forward to that time in the office every day just because of the fun and uplifting time I knew was coming. I’ve only known Saylor for a year, but I’m glad I met her and I thank God for her daily. I hope we can continue to grow closer as individuals. 

I thank God for all of these relationships I have managed to make over the years. God is good! My time in high school has shaped me and matured me into the person I am now. My faith has grown tremendously as well! Again, there are many more friends I could talk about, but time would not permit me to do so. I sincerely hope to remain in contact with all of the ones I listed as I enter my college career and beyond. I know many classmates and other relationships formed in high school often lose contact after one or both people graduate. It’s just a fact of life. But you can bet that I will do everything within my power to keep in contact with my friends. 

I think this verse fits well for the relationships God has blessed me with:

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.”- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

-Austin


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What is the Purpose of Christmas?

This is a video journal I did for Christmas! 

Merry Christmas! 

-Austin

 

 


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All I Need for Christmas is Jesus

Photo Credit: outreach.com

Photo Credit: outreach.com

I simply cannot explain these feelings that have been welling up in my soul lately as we approach Christmas. While Jesus is the reason for the season, like a flower blooming petal after petal, a swarming of love and adoration for Christ has covered me like an abundance of sweet honey reserved just for the best. Jesus Christ is our best. He is the greatest gift we could ever receive. Not just for Christmas, but for all time.

All I need for Christmas is Jesus.

Teaching my children why we celebrate Christmas is very important. While decorating for the holidays, giving and receiving gifts comes with tradition, the main focus is on Christ and His coming to earth in the form of man. (starting off as a baby of course). Lately I have being drawing closer to Him asking that my eyes be opened like never before and that my ears be tentative to my surroundings. Having a little talk with Jesus is like chicken noodle soup for the soul. That’s just my opinion.

I remember some years ago that I would become overwhelmed with the Christmas season approaching. It was more emotional than physical. I would become saddened and somewhat lethargic. I say this because my eyes were set on the wrong things and I was always “thirsty”.

I’m not one to do the Christmas shopping in my house for the most part. Thankfully it has always been my husband because no one would get anything most likely had it been left up to me to go out in the chaos and mass of people rushing, shoving, cursing and just flat-out been mean-spirited. Plus, I don’t have that kind of patience. Having 5 babies back to back kept me busy so it just became easier for my dear husband to do. I digress but for a moment!

My thoughts always went back to my childhood. While I had a pretty decent life growing up, I always felt something missing.

Jesus wasn’t there. 

Feeling confused and happy at the same time was just weird. Plain old strange and yet I managed to get through another holiday season. I could not wait for the holidays to pass.

Recently, my heart was on a couple of senior citizens who were in need of some items that they needed. It was an article I caught in the newspaper that came from the aid of the Salvation Army. I told my husband about it and that I wanted to sponsor the people’s needs. While my eyes glazed over the many people young and old with a wish list, I wondered even more about those lost. The lost who needed Jesus; the very One who is our ever-present help, comfort and aid.

I began to cry. Not just because some cannot afford material needs and wants, but that many go lacking without a Savior.How often we walk daily without Him. As Christians and sinners alike ,but first as human beings, we find ourselves at times trying to do things on our own. We try to make things happen within our own power and might. We fix our eyes on higher prizes and treasures beyond our means. Some are just desires to want, want,want. Fleshly things. Things that will pass. Treasures that will not go with us on a U-Haul when we leave this old world.

Getting caught up over-shopping and over-spending will give anyone a headache and then possible regret for debt than may take a while to pay off when we “rob Peter to pay Paul”. That’s a saying I got from my Mom. Maybe you’ve heard of it before.

Nevertheless, we need peace and true joy. It can only be found in Christ Jesus. He will make us whole. He can satisfy our deepest needs. Will you invite Him into your life? Will you  allow God to direct your life, your finances, your will, wants and your plans that they will align with His?

While I am not attempting to take away your joy of shopping for your friends and loved ones, I just want to provide you with the opportunity to receive the greatest gift of all this year as we bring 2013 to a close. Health may have fallen, bills may be behind and loved ones may have turned their backs on you but know that there is a risen Savior who is waiting to receive you today.

I want to share with you a song I heard on the radio yesterday. I don’t drive much if I can help it but when I do, I tend to listen to uplifting music to carry me throughout my day. This song about had me in tears. No matter what we are going through, we must know that we cannot do anything in this life without the Lord no matter how hard we try. I know for myself that I cannot walk without Him holding my hand. This song has become one of my favorite and it lingers within me to the point of praise.

All we NEED for Christmas is Jesus Christ. If we trust God, He will provide all that we need and bless us with our wants. By His grace we have what we have. May we be thankful for the little and great. Be blessed one and all. You are loved, cherished and prayed for.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you  not of more value than they?” But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6: 26, 33 NKJV

To God be the glory now and forevermore,

Terra


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What’s His Name?

Collinson,_Holy_Family

Holy Family (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The other day, our son told us about his day. He said his teacher talked about Christmas sharing it as her favorite holiday. She then held up a picture. “It was a picture of Mary and what’s his name and Jesus,” Jonah said. We all laughed. What’s his name?

I guess Joseph is somewhat forgettable. There is no mention of him after he and Mary find Jesus teaching in the Temple when Jesus was twelve. The Bible doesn’t offer any explanation as to what happened to him. The evidence of his death comes when Jesus tells John, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:27 NIV) Since Jesus was the oldest son and responsible for Mary, He asks John to take care of her. Even as He was dying, He was thinking of someone other than Himself. That’s our Savior!

Does the absence of Joseph make him unnecessary? Hardly! I think Joseph had an extreme effect on Jesus. We forget that God spoke to Joseph through an angel on more than one occasion. This was not common in those days. There were only a chosen few who heard from God. Three times the angel appeared warning and guiding Joseph. Since this was not common, we can surmise that Joseph’s faith was increased. He was chosen by God to raise His son and I believe God chose Joseph because He knew Joseph’s heart.

Investing in the lives of others rarely gives us fame and fortune. We don’t get praise or admiration. In fact, it often causes us pain and heartache. Spending time loving the unloved may not give us much but it gives someone else the opportunity to experience Jesus. Ministering to others is not about how it makes us feel but how it helps someone else. It points them to God. And that’s okay with me. I’d rather be “What’s his name?” so God’s name can be known.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9 NIV)

Proverbs 31 PM


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Proverbs 31 Women Are Worth Seeking

Proverbs 31 PM

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil
all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12 (NKJV)

Proverbs 31 is a gracious gift from God. It was included in the Bible for a reason, and it is not only for the well being of women. Men and children will also gain wisdom and understanding by reading this proverb. The benefits of finding a virtuous woman are well spelled out, so men would do well to seek a wife with the assets found within the description of this fine lady. (Children will gain a deeper appreciate of their mother)

 In verse 10 the question is raised, “Who can find a virtuous wife?” Even in those days it was difficult to find a woman with integrity, skill, virtue, and wisdom.  However, they did exist back then and they do exist in the present age, although you may have to look a littler harder and wait a little longer to find this special woman.

Her worth and value is compared to rubies, stressing that she is far beyond the worth of these gems. Trust in a marriage is a strong and desirable trait, so having one by your side with whom you confidently credit with reliability and credence is worth seeking.  She is indeed a treasure to be found!

A husband’s heart is put at ease when he can rely on his wife’s virtue and strengths, while also trusting her with the most sensitive of confidences. He fears no evil intent and knows his welfare is her heart’s desire. Sadly, Samson did not marry a Proverb’s 31 woman. Delilah sought out the secret of his strength for she had evil intentions to use his secret against him. ( I am a single woman and Bride of Christ.  It is for Him I live to honor and serve. It is His confidences I seek to gain.)

The woman described in Proverbs 31 is a hard worker who rises early and keeps her hands busy. She does not eat the bread of idleness. She is also girded with strength and extends her hand in charity to the poor and needy. 

The outer beauty found in women has been a snare to many men. Proverbs 31 ends with a warning and reminds the reader that beauty is fleeting.  It is the inner beauty of a virtuous woman that last an entire lifetime.  It is seen in the eyes, a smile, and even in a slight movement or gesture. 

Charm is also attractive, but it can be used to deceive. A woman who speaks words of wisdom, gives sound advice, keeps secrets, and offers sincere and kind words to those in need, is most likely a Proverbs 31 woman.  It is she I am striving to become! 

Dear One,  how are you working towards righteousness and wisdom?

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.” Proverbs 31:26-29 (NKJV)

“The Lord confides in those who fear him; He makes His covenant known to them.” Psalm 25:14 (NIV)

“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14 (NKJV)

“The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.” Psalm 25:14 (NASB)


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HEARING VOICES

By Neil Anderson

August 8

ICB NOTE: This post is unintentionally misleading in a small but important way. The author is NOT suggesting any and all voices in ones head are demonic, but rather that any voice which does not line up with Scripture is demonic in origin.

Psalm 29:4 
The voice of the LORD is powerful, the voice of the LORD is majestic
 
The concept of hearing “voices” is openly espoused in the secular media. The main character in the popular movie Field of Dreams hears an inner voice while standing in his cornfield at night. It’s loud, direct and very spooky! At first he’s a little freaked out by the voice, but he is intrigued enough to test the voice’s advice. It leads to a grand adventure that culminates in meeting the ghost of his deceased father, reconciling with him, and saving the family farm from foreclosure. Was the movie just an entertaining fantasy or is Satan subtly promoting “nice” little spirit guides that will resolve all our problems?
 
According to New Age brain/mind researcher Willis Harmon, many people hear voices, but few are willing to admit it to anyone but their closest friends. “It’s just one of those things we don’t talk about,” said the president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Sausalito, California. “I’ve talked to businessmen, scientists, educators, well-educated professional people, and not only is it reasonably common, it’s cherished. It’s invited” ( Los Angeles Times, June 1989, part V, p. 1).
 
New Age proponents like Harmon are trying to give credibility to a phenomenon that was once understood as mental illness. Psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenics and others who admit that they hear voices. A common bit of advice among recovering alcoholics is: “Don’t pay attention to the committee in your head.” People seldom share the mental struggle going on inside them for fear that people will think they are going crazy. But I have counseled hundreds of troubled people who were hearing voices and every one of the voices was demonic. The only exceptions are legitimate cases of multiple personality disorder. You need to know that inner voices which don’t line up with God’s Word are the suggestions of a real devil that must be countered and dispelled by the truth (1 Timothy 4:1).
 
Prayer: Lord, I reject all voices in my mind, real or imagined, and accept only the authority of Your Word and Your Spirit.