Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Triumph of Evil

I have always loved a good quote, and the other day as I was going through my quote collection I came across one I have often pondered. It is an old quote from Edmond Burke:

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

I can't help to think of the truth in it. Just think if we Christians stood up for what we believe in. I don't necessary mean the "big" things that seem too big for our seemingly minuscule influence, but the issues we see every day. Things we come across at work and school that we know aren't right. I know I am often guilty of "doing nothing" just walking away or trying to ignore it. What would happen if we stood up? What would our world be like? What would the people around us do? Would they be surprised?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Right Way, Wrong Way, Which Way to Go?

As a young girl I dreamed of the day I would wear a long white gown and carry a bouquet of flowers walking down a long aisle to my beloved and pledging my life to his. I often wondered how I would meet him and how long we would date before we got married.

When I was just reaching my teen years I had a bomb dropped into my lap. My mother and I were talking one day. She was telling me about how she and my dad met and about some of the dates they had gone on. Then came the shocker, the "I hope you don't date," line. Not date? If I did not date, how would I ever meet my prince charming? If I never dated, I would never meet any men, I would never marry. My dreams were shattered before my childish eyes. I did not understand, but instead of asking my mom how she expected me to meet a man worthy of my heart and hand and not date, I kept silent in my confusion.

Inside I was fuming. "Well, you can say what you want, but I will too date!" I was angry because I did not understand. I was confused. If I did not date, I would not marry. That was how it worked right? For somewhere around a year I continued in a state of confusion about the "not dating" thing. Then my mom gave me a book, Waiting For Her Isaac. It is a story about a Christian home schooled girl and how she matures into a marriageable young women. She meets a lot of struggles on the way, like moving, not having any like-minded friends nearby, an accident, and more. But the thing that struck me most about the story was the family's approach to marriage and how to get to know a guy before you marry him.

They used this term that I had heard before, but thought was so out-of-date that no one really used it anymore. Courtship. That was when I begin to wonder if perhaps there was another way. If perhaps dating was not the one and only way to meet and get to know a man before marriage.

Since then, the topic of courtship vs. dating has fascinated me. I read everything about it that I can lay my hands on. It has become a topic I am passionate about. Why? Because I feel sure that there are girls out there who are looking for the same answers I was not so long ago. If you do not date, then what, and is dating really so bad in the first place?

In the next few months I would like to write a series of articles and share with you what I have learned about dating vs. courtship.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup butter

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 package chocolate chips

Mix together butter, eggs, and sugars.

Mix in dry ingredients, and chocolate chips. Stir well.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minuets.

This is our secret family recipe. ; ) We usually do a double recipe because cookies seem to disappear quickly in our house. =) Enjoy!

No Limits

Some days are up and some are down. Some days I wake up praising God for another day, and all I see is sunshine. Other days I wake up wishing I could go back to sleep and everything is dark and full of doom. I guess it will be an on going battle. Depression no longer consumes large portions of my days, in fact I do not remember the last day I was really depressed for more then a few minutes. Things are looking brighter, and better somehow.

This summer I have plans for visiting friends, study for and taking the THEA, and plans to put God first and to blindly trust that He knows what my next step will be even though I do not. I know that plans are not everything. I know that carrying them out will be hard, but the first step towards anything is said to be the hardest. I have made some first steps, now whether or not they turn out to be good first steps, I have yet to find out.

I am not sure that I am up to whatever God sees fit to be my next challenge, but I have told Him that what I want more then all else, is to follow Him, to know Him better. I have whispered for Him to do what it takes, to break me. When I am broken, only then, do I feel my great need for Him. I could cry when I think that breaking me might mean losing something dear to me. I do not want God to break me at the cost of others. I think, I would rather die, but I am struggling to let go of my fears, and to trust that He knows best, and that He will not allow the suffering of others to be the only means of reaching me.

I do not believe that God makes bad things happen. I like to think that He only allows bad things to happen because He knows that that might be His best means of reaching us. Then when bad things happen, He reaches down and touches our lives in such ways that we know He is everything He says He is and so much, much more. I cannot make myself believe that He would reach down and give me cancer, even if it was the only means of bringing someone else to Him. Surely He loves me too much to purposely wish that on me, but I do believe He would allow me to get cancer so that another might be reached, or so that I might be pulled closer to His side through the trial.

It is to hard for me to even begin to understand, but God, He sees things differently then I do. He sees not only the past and the present, but also the future. His ways are so much more far reaching then mine could ever be. His plans are so much greater. I do not believe I have begun to learn what He is teaching me about being contented, and about rejoicing in every circumstance. I know in my heart, that should He allow me to get cancer, or to become blind, or any number of things, that I should rejoice in it because He allowed it for a reason, and because He has great plans in store. But, I do not believe I could rejoice. I would probably be to bound up in being sorry for myself, to busy crying over what I could not have, over what I would never have. But the Bible says that life is only but a moment, a moment in which we are commanded to give God glory, not just sometimes, but always.

We get to caught up in the daily cares of life. All we see is today. God sees the big picture and I think that we need to stop daily and take a look at our lives through His eyes. Our life may not be all that we want it to be, it may not be all that we have planned it to be, but whatever we are going through, we need to remember that God is in control and He can use everything for His glory. Everything. Whether that be your bad health, your broken dreams, your stained past, or something as small as a tooth ache. God has amazing power and an amazing vision. Let's not limit Him, or limit His plans for our lives.

So while I am yet a weak sinner and have only the strength to whisper for God to do what it takes to get me running to Him, I hope that one day I will be shouting for Him to do whatever it takes to get me living for Him. Whatever it takes. I pray for the faith and trust of those who are willing to serve Christ even though they know it will mean death.

I have been brought up in a country where Christians have freedom to worship. Some would say I am blessed, and I guess I am, but I often wonder if it would be better to face death and know without any doubts that my trust is in God alone, or if it is better to be free to worship and never know for sure if I would love or trust God enough to face death for Him. Is it really better to love God only when He is good to you (in your eyes) and be able to worship in public, or is it better to love God so much that you are willing to face death for Him and to worship Him hidden from the sight of those who would kill you?

In America our faith is thought so little of, Christians are scorned for their so called faith. Faith many would turn their back on if it meant life over death. Faith that is supposed to be based on the Bible, the same book that many Christians have never read all the way through, and the book that they know relatively little about, the book that non-Christians have been known to be able to quote from memory better then noted Bible scholars. I am so ashamed of what the church has become. A group of people with limited knowledge, with limiting visions, with limited, watered-down, and re-written Bibles, with limited faith, and with a limited God. When I look at what the church has become, I am not surprised at what our country has become, or what our world has become.

We have a God with limitless knowledge, with limitless visions, with limitless power, and with a limitless love. Let's not limit Him. In our everyday life, let's not look at the world through the worlds standards, through human eyes, but let's look at it through God's eyes instead. Changing our outlook can change our world. Take the challenge and live a life for God that is not limited by what people think, but only limited by God Himself. The possibilities are endless.

When we are weak
Then is He strong,
When we can't walk
A shoulder to lean on.
In times when we're afraid
The Hand to guide us along;
Yes, when we are at our weakest,
Then our God is strong.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

As we celebrate the birthday of our great nation, I thought it would be good for us to rememberthe words of Francis Scott Key as written in the Star Spangled Banner.

Usually you only hear the first two or three verses sung, but I have posted all four verses here. All of us know the words by heart, but please take the time to really read what he was saying. I think it is very important that we remember the history of our nation, because it is through the reminder of why our forefathers were willing to give all they had, even their very blood, for freedom that we remember why we must not throw their gift of love away. Why we must continue to fight to keep our freedom intact.

God bless all those who are fighting to keep us free, whether it is in the government, the military, or in the home.

Remember, freedom is never comes without a price. What are you willing to give for your freedom?

The Star Spangled Banner

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

--Francis Scott Key