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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Silent Night

When the penniless priest, Joseph Mohr, penned the words to the song Silent Night in 1816, he didn't even put them to music. He never dreamed that his song would be "The Song Heard Around the World." In 1818, he had his friend, Franz Gruber put down the chords for guitar accompaniment. That year at the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, the congregation of St Nicholas Church listened in awe as their young priest and choir director sang the beautiful carol for the first time.
The carol became a standard at the St. Nicholas Church, and soon gained fame. Singing groups from all around began to perform the song, and its fame eventually spread all around the world. But Mohr died before he ever saw the fame of the carol. But his message lives on. The message of grace and redemption that inspired him to write the song. The third verse has always been my favorite:
Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love's pure light. Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth; Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Jesus' birth signifies the birth of grace. John 1:14 tells us, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Jesus was God's Word made flesh. He fulfilled the promises of God to man. He made of way of redemption for our sins. Romans 3:23-25 says, "23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;"
Though we have all sinned, Jesus offered us grace. He paid for our redemption with His blood. All we have to do is accept His gift.
And it all started on one "Silent Night!"

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

O Holy Night

In yesterday's post I received a comment asking what I knew about "O Holy Night" so that is going to be my carol for today. The only thing I really knew about the carol is that its one of my all-time favorites, especially when sung by Mark Wills or David Phelps. So I had to dig to find out something about it.
To be honest the history itself was a bit dull. A priest asked Placide Clappeau, a wine merchant and mayor Roque­maure, France, to write a Christmas poem. Now Clappeau was known to write poems for his own enjoyment, so I guess this request wasn't all that unusual. So Clappeau wrote the poem, which he had a friend put to music, and his duty was done.
No the excitement over the song isn't in the history. It's in the words:
O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till He appeared and the soul felt His worth A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices For yonder beams a new and glorious morn Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine! O night when Christ was born! O night divine! O night, O night divine!
This is just the first verse, but it says so much. Christ brought hope to a world full of sin. Such hope that it was still felt by a wine merchant in 1847. Such hope it can still be felt today.
Christ is the hope of glory. Colossians 1:26-27 says: 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Christ made the riches of glory available to all, both Jew and Gentile. He deserves our praise. As the writer told us, "Fall on your knees!"
This Christmas season is a time to remember the hope that Christ brought to this world!

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Monday, November 28, 2005

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, so of course I LOVE Christmas Carols. I've decided to talk about some of my favorite carols in the next couple of weeks. I must admit that I stole the idea from Mercy Me. I got to go to their Christmas concert Saturday night, and Bart told the story of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It touched me so much that I had to share it.
The song was written during the Civil War. Now that period was probably one of the bleakest in American history. So why was anyone writing Christmas carols? Well on Christmas day the fighting stopped. The Christmas bells were rung and for one day there was peace. For 24 hours hatred did not reign. In a time of pain and death, all were reminded of the one who would forever live. They were reminded that God is not dead, that He had not forgotten them, and that peace would one day rule on earth.
This touched me because we live in hard times. We see suffering in every direction, but God is still alive. He isn't asleep.
So while you are bustling through the Christmas season, remember the Savior who came on Christmas Day. He came to bring the peace the angels sang about in Luke 2. He came to bring the peace that Isaiah spoke about in Isaiah 65:25:
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.
One day death and destruction will come to an end. Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to overcome this world. Take the time to thank Him during this Christmas season.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Thankful for God's Guidance

Today I want to thank God's constant guidance in my life. Even in my hardest times He is there to guide me. I don't know how I would live without Him.
Psalm23 has been quoted hundreds of times, but the words are still precious to me:

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The picture of the Lord as our shepherd is a beautiful one. He provides for all of our wants. He makes sure we are where we need to be when we need to be there. He doesn't keep us from the valley of the shadow of death, but He promises to walk through that valley with us. He will not let our enemies triumph over us. He will bless us with His goodness and mercy for our whole lives, and when this life is over, we will dwell in the house of the Lord.
God has always been there to guide me, and when I walk away from Him, He always draws me back. He forgives me, and He sets me back on the right path.
Allow God to guide you today. He is the perfect guide.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thankful for Church

One of the things I'm most thankful for is my church. I have been in my church since I was born, and my grandpa is my pastor. Now you might think that's the only reason I go to my church, but you would be wrong. There is a spirit of love in our church that's hard to find.
Some of the older people there have helped to shape my life, and the younger people are all like my brothers and sisters. Family that I can go to with any problem.
One of the older people who has helped me the most is named Halton. He was blessed with one of the most humble spirits I've ever seen. Though he's almost 80 years old, if he arrives first to the church he opens the gates to the parking lot, even in the cold and rain. He offers a handshake and a smile to everyone he sees, and many times he offers a little joke to make you smile. He genuinely cares about everyone.
But the thing that impresses me most about him is the way he prays. He talks to God like he's standing next to Him. The relationship he has with God is obvious just by the easy way he communicates with him. And he is persistent in prayer. He's prayed for his wife to get into church since before I was born. Several weeks ago she started coming to church.
He never gave up on her. When he tells me he's praying about something for me, I believe it.
My church is filled with prayer warriors. They help to bear my burdens, and I in turn help to bear theirs. I think thats why we were reminded in Hebrews 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. "
God knows a Christian needs to associate with fellow Christians. This world is a hard place to live, and we need to know we have people standing behind us when life gets hard. So on this Thanksgiving Day, I thank God for the people who stand behind me. The people I know will stand behind me until Christ's return.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thankful for Family

Today I'm thanking God for my family. I was blessed enough to be raised in a Christian home. I don't know why God chose to bless me in this way, but I'm so glad He did.
The other day I was talking to my little cousin. Now, she wasn't raised in a Christian home. She wasn't raised in a home at all really. She's 10 years old, and I can't even count the number of places she's lived or the number of people who she's lived with. Her mother has been known to have drug problems, and her father is more concerned with his own life than the life of his little girl. She's seen more in her young life than I can even imagine.
Yet, there are times when I treat my family with such disrespect. I act like they'll always be there. I forget that not everyone is so fortunate.
But the other day when this little girl was talking to me about how she's being shuffled back and forth like its the normal way to live, I realized how truly blessed I am. I have parents who raised me to go to church, whether I wanted to go or not. I have parents who love me. I have parents who pray for me.
Proverbs 31:28 says, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed;"
Now this verse is referring to the virtuous woman who is a good mother, but it applies to both parents for me. They have both been the Christian examples that I strive to follow. I only hope that Christ will shine through my life as He always has in theirs.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thankful for the Cross

As I said yesterday, I'm going to spend this week on the topic of thanks. Today's topic is the cross. No number of words could describe what the cross means. It is our bridge between life and death, our only hope for salvation.
The cross erases the sins of our past and gives us a hope for the future. So many times I take the cross and my salvation for granted. I forget what Jesus suffered so that I might be saved.
Isaiah 52:14 says, "his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:"
He suffered more than any other man ever had or ever will. He was perfect, yet He took our sins upon Himself. He bore our shame.
Isaiah 53: 5 tells us, " But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
He took the sin of every man so that all men might be saved. Some choose to reject His gift, but He offers it none-the-less.
The next time you feel that you have nothing to thank Him for, read John 18-20. Remember what Jesus suffered just for you. But most of all, remember that He rose again on the third day to defeat death, hell, and the grave.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

A Time For Thanks

How often do we give thanks for the things God gives us? Do we just think about it once a year when Thanksgiving rolls around? My grandpa has always told me that every day should be a day of Thanksgiving. Every day is a gift from God.
I am ashamed to say that is very easy for me to complain when things don't go the way I had planned, yet it is so easy for me to forget to thank God when He gives me so many blessings. I take His blessings for granted. This week I'm going to make a special effort to thank God everyday for His blessings.
I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
God's will for our lives is for us to be thankful people. He wants us to remember where our blessings come from. When we forget the God who blesses us, we will not be blessed.
Take time today to thank God for what He has done in your life. Take time EVERY day to thank Him.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Be Moldable

Have you ever been truly remorseful for something? Have you ever felt so ashamed that you feel there's no way you could face God with your sin? I have.
But when I read and studied God's Word more and more, though, I found that the Bible is full of people just like that. People who failed God miserably. Its a constant throughout the Bible.
Why does God even care for us when so many of us hurt Him so badly? Even those who say they love Him stomp all over His laws. That's one thing I may never understand this side of heaven. But whether I understand it or not, God's forgiveness is also a constant.
He forgave Adam and Eve. He forgave Jonah. He forgave David. He forgave Peter. He forgave Paul. He forgave me.
Now granted some of these people had to have some major wakeup calls. Myself included. But isn't that the awesome thing? God loves us enough to wake us up.
Hebrews 12:6-7 tells us "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"
I don't know about you, but my parents have chastened me many times. Not because they hated me. Because they loved me. They wanted what was best for me. They wanted me to grow up to be a Godly person.
That's just how God is. He loves us. He wants what's best for us. He wants to make us into His image.
We are clay in the potter's hands. Clay must have all impurities removed before it can be shaped into something useful.
If you have failed Him, don't let that failure keep you from Him. Remember that He loves you. He wants to use you. Allow Him to clean you with His forgiveness so you can be shaped into something useful for Him.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005


Last night I got to go to a private Third Day show. Third Day is one of my all-time favorite groups. Not only because I love their songs but because you can tell their heart is in their songs.
The whole concert was part of a mini kick-off tour for their newest release Wherever You Are. They sang songs from the CD and a few favorites (Mine of course is Love Song.) They shared the testimonies behind the songs. They said their main goal was to offer a message of hope. As I said yesterday, Christians don't always have rosy lives, but we ALWAYS have hope.
The most awesome about the concert was that they asked each person there to be prayer-warriors for them. They want this album to touch heart and lives. They want to reach people where they are.
I Samuel 12:23 says, "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you..."
God doesn't just ask us to pray for others. He requires it. Remember those who are ministering. Remember the leaders of our country. Remember your friends who are facing trials. Remember me, and I'll remember you!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My Sweet Sweet Song

God has always helped me through the hardest times in my life by giving me a song to sing. He reminds me that I am to praise Him even when I don't understand. I am to use everything in my life for a testimony.
Psalm 40 tells us that God heard the psalmist's cry, and God gave him a new song. Now this doesn't mean that God will always eliminate our problems. It just means that if we call out to Him, He won't allow us to be overcome by them. He will fill our mouths with praise rather than mourning.
Lots of songs have become precious to me over the years, and I believe that God gave me those songs at just the time I needed them.
In times of pain the words to the FFH song Cover Me have lifted me up: Your ways are higher. Your love is stronger, And through this painYou’ll cover me.Your grace is greater, When there are no answers, And through this painYou’ll cover me. And through this painYou’ll cover me.
When I remember that God is with me, it's easy to praise Him. Just remember that God is stronger than anything in your life. Cry out to Him and let Him be your sweet sweet song.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Unconditional Love

Many times I feel the need to seek the approval of others. I want them to like me. I want them to appreciate my efforts. I don't have to do that with God. He loves me despite all my failures.
The book of Hosea is a picture of this unconditional love. Hosea was a prophet of God who was told to take a wife out of harlotry. God wanted him to marry a prostitute. Talk about an undesirable call. Anyway, he marries this woman named Gomer. She stays with him for a while, has a few kids, enjoys the things he gives her, but then one day she leaves.
I don't know about you, but I would've bid her good riddance if I had been Hosea. But Hosea loved her. He loved her in spite of all of her failures. He sent their children to plead with their mother to return. But she loved her sin more than she loved her family. She refused to go back to her home.
Sometime later Hosea heard of some slaves being sold. He went down to the auction, and there stood his wife on the auction block. He bid a high price and bought her for himself.
She probably expected punishment from him. She probably thought he'd have her put to death, but he simply showed her love. He took her on a honeymoon, and he returned home with her and treated her as if she'd never left.
That's just how God treats us. He forgives us again and again and again. His love never fails. That's the most awesome part. God's love is never conditional. It doesn't depend on my actions.
John 3:16 tells us how God gave us His only Son because He loved us. He knew many would reject Christ. He knew many would never understand His sacrafice. But He loved us, and that love was greater than any sin we could ever commit.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

There Is Hope

Do you ever feel like it's useless to continue praying about a situation? Have you ever had a friend or loved one who seems beyond reach? Have you ever felt that you are beyond reach? I've felt all of these things, and in times of doubt I may feel them again, but doubts can not rule in my life because I have Christ.
I have the one who offers answers to addicts. Who offers hope to whores and peace to prostitutes. He even offers mercy to murderers. Now you may think talking this way is sacreligious. Jesus' name should never be mixed up with the filthy sinners of this world. Yes, it should. Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
In Luke 19, we see the story of Zacchaeus. I'm sure you all know the story. Zacchaeus was a publican, a tax collector. Even in our day, I'm sure that tax-collectors are considered sinners of the lowest sort. Now not only did Zacchaeus collect taxes, he took extra money for himself. He was nothing but a low-down thief who got rich by making others poor. Yet, Jesus said Zacchaeus' sins were forgiven. Jesus sought out sinners. There are various references throughout the Gospels that speak of Jesus eating with publicans and sinners. One of his 0wn disciples, Levi, was a publican.
Jesus even helped the demon-possessed. In Mark 5 we see the story of a man who lived in the tombs, ran around naked and cut himself. Now I don't know about you, but I think I would have avoided this guy. I would have said, "Okay boys, lets get back in the boat. Surely we can find a better place to go then this!" But Jesus didn't do that. He cast the demons from the man. The man went from being possessed by the devil to being filled with love for Christ.
Christ can change anyone or anything. Nothing is beyond his reach. The one who told the woman, "Go and sin no more" when she was caught in adultery in John 8 is the same one who can change our lives today.
As the Third Day song says, "There is hope for the helpless. Rest for the weary, and love for the broken hearts. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing. He'll meet you wherever you are. Cry out to Jesus."
Just remember, wherever you are today. Jesus is with you, and He just wants you to come to Him.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

It Only Takes One

Standing alone is hard. Even when you know you're standing for a worthy cause. There will be times in life when you feel like the only one doing God's will. Sometimes you will be.
I imagine that Elijah felt like that in I Kings 18. All of his people had turned to worshipping Baal, a false god. Now, there were hundreds of prophets for Baal, but Elijah alone stood for God. But though no man stood with him, he offered a challenge to the prophets of Baal.
He knew their false god could not deliver the fire from heaven. Only the one true God would be able. The prophets of Baal prayed and begged Baal to listen to them for a great portion of the day, and the fire never fell. Elijah prayed a simple prayer, and the fire fell and consumed the sacrafice, the alter, and the water around the alter. All the people fell on their faces and said, "The Lord He is God." One man's stand turned a nation of people to God.
Now there were some who didn't listen, even with the show of such a miracle. There will be people who ignore your stand, but remember it is better to stand alone with God then to stand with thousands against Him.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Just Hold On...You'll Be Perfect One Day

Life can be tough at times. Sickness comes. Heartache comes. Loneliness comes. A seemingly never-ending cycle of trials hit us, and we feel completely alone. Been there? I think we all have.
I've heard it said that you've either just come out of a trial, you're in the middle of a trial, or you're getting ready to face a trial. I used to think that this was pretty negative thinking, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was actually a pretty good thing. Hebrews 11 is the "Faith Chapter" of the Bible. It lists many heros in the faith, but then towards the end of the chapter it just lists things that people of faith have suffered. These things didn't weaken their faith. These things strengthened their faith.
As I said a few days ago, God won't put more on us than we can bear. He loves us, but He wants to draw us ever closer to Himself. He tests our faith to bring us into a more intimate relationship with Him.
God will use our trials as a testimony if only we will trust in Him to guide us through them. That doesn't mean that every situation will end in the way we want it to, but that God will show us He has a perfect will for our lives. He is in control.
I heard a message last night that put a lot of things in perspective for me. The world today seems like a crazy mess. Terrorists. Tornados. Hurricanes. Diseases. Earthquakes. Wars. The link I included tells about the thousands of people facing spiritual persecution. The thing is that despite how out of control the world may seem, God is still in control. He has a plan.
Jesus spoke in Luke 21 about the last days. He spoke about the perilous times that would come to this earth. He predicted it. That shows me that He isn't one bit surprised by it.
To me it just makes sense to put your trust in the one who knows what's going to happen. It just makes sense to follow His perfect will for my life because if He can plan out the future of the entire world, He can definitely handle MY future.
So if you're facing something that you don't understand, just hold on. God is right there with you. He's making you stronger. He's giving you a testimony. He's making you perfect in Him.
If you are facing a specific trial, and you want prayer help, please leave your request in the comments section. I'd be happy to share your prayer burden.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Laugh and Cry With Your Friends

Do you have any friends that you've had for a really long time? I do. Since seventh grade three of my dearest friends have been Leah I, Leah B, and Christa. We did everything together. Time flies by but through the years, I've always know that I could count on them.

Though it seems like just yesterday that we were racing down a Bobsled Shoot at Olympic Park and sharing laughs at the prom, time has changed us.

We don't see each other daily. Sometimes we don't see each other yearly, but the bond of friendship is still strong between us.

Last year when I was facing major surgery, they were all there for me. They prayed for me. They loved me through it. This year I received the call that Christa is engaged. (That's right, a bridesmaid's dress in my future...hmmm) We rejoiced with her because we love her.
Romans 12:15 tells us "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
I'm glad that I have always had friends who would be there for me. Friends that still stand with me in the good times and bad.
Treasure your friends. Never fail to tell them that you love them.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Its Never Right to Do the Wrong Thing

Have you flipped through your television lately? It's pretty scary to see what America considers "entertainment." Sex is something we grew numb to long ago. Language we used to consider foul is commonplace.
So when did we go from Ozzie and Harriet to Sex in the City? What changed? Did wrong suddenly become right? No, unfortunately we are living in the woeful times that Isaiah spoke of in chapter 5:20. He said "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
God's laws didn't change. Man did. God has a perfect plan for us, but most have chosen to reject it. Most want to go their own way, and to ease their consciences, they call wrong right by saying, "Everyone's doing it" or "It won't hurt just this once."I think the Psalmist gave us the best advice of all when he said in Psalm 101:3, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes." Christians are to be a seperate people. It may be harder to do in these wicked times that we live in, but it isn't impossible.I Corinthians 10:13 says, " There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. " God won't put anything in our path that we can't handle. He loves us, and He wants us to follow His ways. Remember that wrong is still wrong. Don't become numb to it.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Demanding Equal Time

This is my nephew. Affectionately known as little man, or in my niece's words "Weedle." She loves her Weedle. No one comes near him without her inspection. Yesterday at lunch my aunt said she was going to take him home with her, and my niece burst into tears and grabbed his hand and said, "My Weedle."
Proverbs 18:24 talks of "a friend that is closer than a brother." Jesus is that friend. No matter what you're going through. No matter where you've been. Jesus loves you, and He will be there for you. All you have to do is grab His hand and say, "My Jesus."

Trust Him and don't ever let Him go!

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Are You Making Trash?

I don't know about you guys, but at times I think about how pointless my job is. You see, I make trash. What do I mean? Well, you know those tickets on jeans and shirts? Well, I develop them. I make sure they print right. Now what is the first thing you do when you get the jeans home? You throw those tickets away! Talk about a thankless job!
Seriously, I like my job, but I have a daily reminder that earthly things don't last.
Matthew 6:20 tells us to "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."
How do we do that? We put our effort into winning souls for Christ. That's what's most important. So my day job might be making trash, but I hope my true life's work will have eternal rewards.

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

They're Looking Up To Us

K, this is my niece. Isn't she a cutie? Anyway, she never fails to remind me that I'm setting an example. She's in that lovely stage where she repeats everything.
Just yesterday she went to the drawer where my dad keeps his keys and said "I've gotta get the keys so we can go ride the tractor. We gotta check the fields."
Now her favorite thing to do is ride the tractor with my dad. She was crushed when she realized he wasn't here, and she wouldn't be able to go for a ride, but we had a good laugh at her expense. She had my dad's words downpat.
The thing is that someone's always listening. Someone's always watching.
I Timothy 4:12 says Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Every aspect of our lives should be a strong example of Christ to those around us. There are millions of people out there just looking for something. Show them what they need. Show them Christ.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Psalm 46:10

Okay, I know you're probably wondering why I used this verse as my first post. After all it says "Be still and know that I am God." and the name of this blog is "The Roller Coaster Ride of My Life." It happens to be my life verse. Why? Well b/c so often I need to be reminded that I just need to be still. Sometimes I need to get off the roller coaster and listen to something God wants to say. Now He doesn't want us to sit still our whole lives, but sometimes we fly down the track out of control because we aren't allowing the Master to control us. So my advice for today is to have fun on your ride, but remember to stop every once in a while!!!