Wednesday, September 30, 2009


who cannot be bought;
whose word is their bond;
who put character above wealth;
who possess opinions and a will;
who are larger than their vocations;
who do not hesitate to take chances;
who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
who will make no compromise with wrong;
whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
who will not say they do it "because everybody else does it;"
who are true to their friends through good report and evil
report, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and
hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says "yes."

-Taken from The Making of
a Christian Leader by
Ted W. Engstrom

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What About Rules?

Once you have decided whether to call your relationship dating or courtship, it is time to establish your definition of what that term is going to mean for you, or in other words, set some boundaries about what your future relationships will be, or will not be. For example, what will your boundaries be for physical contact, time alone, and family involvement?

I say boundaries, because the term rules sounds stiff and often causes people to become defensive. This is not about making a long list of what you will, or will not do. This is about knowing yourself well enough to know where you can go, and what you can do, and not be tempted to do that which endangers your purity. Every family, even every individual person, will have their own lists, because we each have different weaknesses, and we each have different convictions. Because of this, there cannot be a "one plan fits all" deal. For Cammy, it might be okay if she hugs a young man, it may just be a sign of friendship, but for Ann is might not be okay, because for her it might evoke emotions that are better left sleeping until she is married. If you know something will tempt you to think or do something that could lead to compromising your purity, then do not do it.

I think when it comes to setting guidelines you have to be careful. There is such a thing as too many boundaries. You need to weed it down to those which are necessary and to those which are just personal preferences, and be open to change. I am not saying give up your boundaries when some young and handsome man comes along just because he thinks your ideas are stuffy, I am saying do not make "rules" like, I will not get to know a guy who has a beard, just because you prefer clean shaven men. Do not make a lists of petty unimportant things. You could very well miss wonderful opportunities that God has planned for you if you get to detail oriented and narrow minded. But, you must realize that boundaries are necessary, as long as you do not go over board.
This process is best done with the guidance of you parents and/or godly mentors. You as a young person who has never been in a relationship, may not be sure whether your requirements are over done or not. It is also a process that needs a lot of prayer and plenty of careful thought.

Personally I have chosen to call my future relationships courtship. I love the old-fashioned and romantic picture the word conjures. I also love the fact that courtship, on the whole, is viewed as a relationship that is more serious and that is carried out with the idea of ending it in marriage. Fun-filled relationships that are shallow, but often end in heartbreak, are not my idea of wise relationships. The pattern of breaking up over and over again has been proven to set a pattern that can, and often does, affect marriage relationships, and sets a course that leans toward divorce. That is not a road I am interested in traveling.

When I get a chance I will post my lists of boundary lines for my future relationships. Remember we are not talking about a strict rules that you have to follow and if you do not, you will somehow be a bad person. We are talking about wisely placed boundaries put in place to protect your purity and heart until marriage. Also, do not take my list and apply it to your life. Your life and family are different then mine. The boundaries I need, may not be necessary for you, or you may have something that needs to be on your list that is not on mine. Make your own list. Personalize it, pray about it, seek counsel about it, and make it a list you can stick to.

To God be all glory,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Heart Check

A Cure For Faultfinding
Just stand aside, and watch yourself go by;
Think of yourself, as "he" instead of "I."
Pick flaws, find fault, forget the man is you,
And strive to make your estimate ring true.

The faults of others then will dwarf and shrink.
Love's chain grows stronger by one mighty link,
When you with "he" as substitute for "I,"
Have stood aside, and watched yourself go by.
~ Strickland W. Gillilan
How quick we are to see the faults of another. How easily we pick out their failings. Yet when it comes to ourselves we are often blinded. We who so readily jumped to point out the faults in those around us, cannot see our own worst faults. Yes, we admit that we are sinners, but when someone, out of love, points to some fault they notice in us, we get all fired up. "No, not me," You say.
The Bible says, " Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your owe eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5). It also says that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and have fallen short, we have all missed God's mark. We are all in need of correction. Proverbs 8:33 says, "Hear instruction and be wise." And Proverbs 12:1 says, "Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."
I could go on and on listing verses that teach us to first seek to get ourselves right with God before we correct others, and verses that teach that accepting correction is wise. But, I will not, because I do not have time, and maybe you do not either. I just wanted to remind you that next time you are tempted to judge someone, study your heart. What are your reasons for correcting him or her? Are you right with God yourself? Find out your motives, then seek God's wisdom on the matter. As Christians it is sometimes right, and good, for us to correct our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we must always do so with care and lots of prayer.
This heart check comes from a heart that sometimes jumps to correct others before examining itself and checking its motives. We are on this journey together.
In Him,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let Your Request Be Known

"Be anxious of nothing, but in everything by prayer
and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your
requests be made known to God; and the peace
which surpasses all understanding, will guard
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7
I have known people who have said, if you pray enough and have faith enough, God will give you what you ask for. But if you look at this verse you will see that what they have told me does not quite line up with what God Word says on the matter. Here it says, "Let your requests be made known." That means that we are to make requests of God, so yes, we need to pray, we need to bare our hearts to God. Another verse says, "Pray without ceasing," (1 Thessalonians 5:17). So, yes, pray, and pray a lot. Matthew 17:20 says,"For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." So, I think the phrase, "If you only have enough faith, such and such will happen," is not quite right. Jesus said that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could do great things. So, I do not think this is a matter of having enough faith, or even asking enough times, I think this is a matter of understanding that God does not promise to always give us whatever we ask for.
What we often do not see is what comes later in Philippians 4. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." God does not promise to give us all that we desire and ask for. He promises only that no matter what His answer may be, whether yes or no, He will give us a peace that surpasses anything we can imagine. God knows what is best for us. Sometimes when we ask that a trial be removed, or that a wish might be granted, God says no because He knows that is not in our best interest. That does not mean He loves us less, but rather that He loves us more. Having the promise that no matter what answer He sends our way, He will also send us peace that goes beyond what we are now able to fathom, is one awesome promise.
Let your requests be made known to God today, and look for joy and peace in whatever answer He sends your way, knowing that no matter what, He will be with you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Key to Life

"Life has a way of giving us a new normal just when
we thought we had things figured out.
The key to life isn't looking for a safe sameness with every
passing season. It's learning to enjoy
the ride, whatever the next turn in the road might bring.
Believing that God's driving, and He'll
get us home safely- however bumpy the trip."

~Karen Kingsbury
Take Two

Friday, September 11, 2009

What were you doing on this day eight years ago? Where were you when you first heard the heartbreaking news? What was your reaction to the horrifying news that terrorists had hi-jacked planes and had crashed them into buildings killing so many people? Did you feel terror in your heart knowing that one of your loved ones was somewhere in the fiery mess? Did you cry out to God asking why? Did you think that you were asleep and it all must be a horrible nightmare? Do you remember?

As time passes it is easy to forget the emotions you felt and once vowed never to forget. It is easy to forget why you once lived each day as if it was your last because of all those who never came back from what should have been just another normal day at work. It is easy to forget why you ran to church the first few Sundays after that tragic September day, and how you clung to every bit of hope the pastors had to offer you from God's Word. It is easy to forget the love and compassion and oneness felt by all Americans that first year after 9/11. It is easy to forget, but do not let it happen!

Do not forget how those days passed with agonizing slowness as you stood in dread waiting to see if word would come assuring you that everyone you loved was okay. Do not let yourself forget the feeling of unity in grief that you shared with everyone you met on the street. Do not forget those who died, or those who loved them.

Commit to always keeping the memory of 9/11 alive in the hearts of your fellow Americans. Commit to keeping America safe, but mostly, commit to keeping the memory of 9/11 alive so that people will not forget God's loving care through the horror of it all, and how close He was through all those horrible days. Commit to reminding all Americans of the unity and the love that will always be present (and will only be present) if we remain one nation undivided under God.

Always Remember.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pen Pals

Even in this day of texting, instant messaging, and on-line social networking sites, I still enjoy taking advantage of snail mail and pen pals.
There is just something about putting pen to paper and watching thoughts flow out of your hand to fill the pages of paper that make up a letter. It is like putting a part of yourself onto those sheets and sealing it in an envelope to send off to a friend.

Then you wait excitedly for a reply. Every time you open the mailbox your heart beats a little faster, "Is there a letter today?" If there is nothing you feel a little disappointed until you remember that it may come tomorrow. Your heart jumps a little jump of anticipation and a smile comes to your face as you look forward to the next day and what it may bring.

Other times you are pleasantly surprised by a letter or note from someone you have not heard from in a while. Those surprise messages of love make your day and can keep you smiling for weeks.

Yes, quick methods of communication are nice and surly have their places, but to my way of thinking, snail mail should be an important part of every friendship.

In the fast pace of today, let us not forget that there are places in life for the older, slower ways of doing things.

So, the next time you are near a mailbox, why not send a friend a piece of yourself in the shape of a letter or card? Brighten their day with a loving message. Let them know that you think enough of them to take the time to sit down and write an "old fashioned" letter.

Happy writing,

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Summer's Lessons

Summer is officially over. School started back last week, and everyone is starting to get back to the normal routine of life, at least everyone in my world is. I had the opportunity to do lots of things this summer, and God taught me a lot through it all. One of the most important lessons I learned is that God doesn't see the outside of people. He does not listen to the pre-concieved notions that people have. He doesn't care who the "popular" people are. He loves us all the same, and wants us to reach out to everyone, the popular, and unpopular alike. He longs to work in any life He is given.
Another thing I have learned is that faith without works is dead. I got to do a lot of "work" and I loved it, most of the time. Other times I didn't exactly have the best attitude, but God helped me see from His eyes. And I realized that I was being selfish. Sometimes lessons have to be learned "the hard way," by experience. Basically I learned James 2 in real life. God is so amazing! I am so thankful God wants to work in us, regardless of our imperfections.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Now and Then

To gain eternal life, we must leave all for Christ. We must forsake all. We must give what we have, to gain a place with Jesus. In the words of another, "We must loose what we cannot keep, to gain what we cannot loose."

Earthly pleasure is but for a moment, but heavenly joy is for eternity.

To love God more, we must love ourselves less. To serve Him better, we must forget ourselves. We must lay aside all our selfish wants and wishes for Him. To bring Him glory and honor is our main purpose in life.

Keep your eyes on things above, the things that will neither rust nor fade away. The things that are eternal.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Butterscotch Brownies

Butterscotch Brownies


1/2 c. oil

2 c. packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 t. vanilla

Mix these ingredients together well then add-

1 1/2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 c. chopped nuts

Mix again. Pour into 13X9 inch cake pan and bake at 350 degrees

for 25-30 minutes. These are best fresh. If you like butterscotch,

you will love these. Enjoy!