"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Louis B. Smedes

What can set a soul free?
Change a life?
Heal a mind?
Melt a hard heart?
Satisfy a spirit?

Did you answer love? That would be right, but there's another answer.


Before I go on, let us have a quick look at what forgiveness is.

To pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty. The original and proper phrase is to forgive the offense, to send it away, to reject it, that is, not to impute it, [put it to] the offender.-Webster's 1828
Also, I like the way these people put it:

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ― C.S. Lewis

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ― Mark Twain 

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. 

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ― Corrie ten Boom 

Now I shall tell you a story.

A little while ago, in a land not-so-far-away, there was a little girl. Her father was a wicked man. He did many things that were wrong- things that hurt the heart of his wife and daughter, and others around him. This made him angry and resentful of anything that was innocent, including his wife and little girl.

One day, because he was such a bad man, he left his wife and little girl to go do whatever he wanted to. Her mama was hurt and betrayed, yet believed it to be for the better. It was hard, but they were happy together, for her Mama loved God, and didn't let the hard, ugly things penetrate her heart, causing it to become hard and ugly. Instead, she forgave.

 But the little girl didn't. She kept remembering the mean things her father had said. They way he acted when he was angry. They way he drank all the time. And while these things had hurt her, by remembering them, the little girl let them grow bigger, uglier, darker and stronger. It was like a weed now, with its roots in a knot around her heart. She became an ugly, dark person. Nothing made her happy, nothing gave her peace. Even those blessing that should have brought her joy, contrasted blatantly with the blackness of herself, that she inwardly recoiled from them and the people that could most help her.

Many good things were happening to the little girl. Her mama married a man who loved her, and her little girl, very much. He began to fight for the right to be the little girl's father. Like a knight in shining armor, he rescued the little girl from a knight of darkness. He showed her what a father's love really was. Also, God gave the little girl sisters and brothers. And each one meant the world to her. In the end, her new father adopted her, and they never heard from the wicked man again.

In spite of all these blessings, the girl insisted on nursing her wounds with bitter poison. She came to hate herself, her life and especially her father. She would lay awake at night and think of ways to hurt him physically, mentally and emotionally. She desperately wanted him to feel the pain she felt. She never noticed the evil that had taken hold on her. She didn't realize what she was doing to herself. Like a child playing peek-a-boo, she believed that if she couldn't see the evil, it must not be there. By the time she was a young lady, her heart was almost completely made of stone. If nothing could touch her, nothing could hurt her. But nothing could help, either.

Then one day this girl had a wake-up call. What good was it hate and ruin your life over someone who you would, in all likelihood, never see again? Who was actually at the root of all the pain? She was shocked to realize that there was only one person who let the anguish go on this long. Herself. The girl went on her knees and begged God to help her forgive. To rip out the vine of bitterness that had so long entangled her heart. She didn't know how to go about forgiving, and when she asked, a still, small voice whispered: "pray for him". And so she did. It wasn't easy to ask God to save the man she had spent 11 years hating with every fiber of her being. When she did, though, she felt the hand of God comforting her, pouring oil into her wounds. Gently and kindly healing her. Nothing would be the same. Joy flowed from every corner. A new light shone through. While the girl would struggle with bitterness again, never would it dominate her like it had. She had a new way to channel the pain-into the hands of a loving Father.

The real beauty of this story is that it is 100% true. It is my story; I don't believe I've ever told it before. It has been healing to put it down, and I hope it encourages you to forgive. Because forgiveness does set souls free, change lives, heal minds, melt hearts and satisfy the spirit. Your soul/life/mind/heart/spirit. Though I never see that man again, I can move on because of forgiveness. Don't underestimate its power.



Today's "enlightened" society likes the idea of the Christian's moral teachings without the Christian's God (Creator of the morals) and one moral particularly emphasized is Hope.

It's not always called hope. Some modern synonyms of hope would be dream, wish or believe. And this is true to an extent. Here are the closest definitions to "contemporary hope":

"Desire; sometimes, eager desire." 
"A vain fancy; a wild conceit..."
 "An emotion or excitement of the mind, directed to the attainment or possession of an object from which pleasure, sensual, intellectual or spiritual, is expected; a passion excited by the love of an object, or uneasiness at the want of it, and directed to its attainment or possession."

And these are the Webster's 1828 dictionary definitions, not for hope, but for "wish", "dream" and "desire", consecutively. So what is hope, exactly? Glad you asked! Again to quote Webster's 1828:

1. A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.
2. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God's gracious promises; a scriptural sense.

These two definitions clearly lay out hope as being far stronger than any mere wish, flippant dream or lustful desire. These are based on facts and God's promises, not just our own wildly variable emotions.

4. "An opinion or belief not amounting to certainty, but grounded on substantial evidence. "

 His hope is a strong, beautiful thing, and almost it is a non-existent thing. By which I mean it cannot be proven. It has no evidence of existance, no tangible reality, and yet cannot be denied of its authenticity, its very presence. We have all hoped. Even if we now are hopeless, at one point hope was real to us. And if I just completely confused you, it's okay. I don't think I fully get it myself. Think of it this way: Hope is a bridge of thought and conviction connecting desire to reality. It is a real thing, but is never alone; a bridge cannot exist without two ends with which to attach.

courtesy of Google Images

The end on which you begin is labeled "Wish/Dream" which is connected to the other end, "Reality".
The bridge itself is "Hope" crossing the great chasm of "Unbelief/Doubt" and the actual steps used to cross this bridge are "Faith". There are protective railings to keep us on the right path. They are entitled "God's Will". 

We cross millions of these bridges in life. When we are very young our parents and mentors take us gently by the hand and guide us across. As we age we are encouraged to try them with someone leading, then on our own. Sometimes, people will follow us across and sometimes it is for us to follow. And even a few bridges will be us resisting and being pushed across by a loving authority. 

But always there will be bridges. Hope will always be there. If we dive over the edge, it is our own fault, so blame no one else. However, our loving Father will never condemn us for jumping. He lets us fall, it is true, but only so we learn that to jump will hurt us. And then when we hit bottom and cry for help, He is there. With a broken heart, He lifts us out of the void, mends our wounds, and gently leads us up the slope and back onto the path.

I've gotten a bit off-topic (again) but it needed to be said.

We find hope all throughout Scripture. This verse continues my strange theme above, about hope "not existing": once you have what you hope for, how can your hope now exist?

For we are saved by hope: 
but hope that is seen is not hope:
 for what a man seeth,
 why doth he yet hope for?
-Romans 8:24

Here we see hope connected to Love.

And hope maketh not ashamed; 
because the love of God is shed abroad 
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
-Romans 5:5

Also to Strength and Courage:

Be of good courage, 
and he shall strengthen your heart, 
all ye that hope in the Lord.
-Psalm 31:24

And now, Lord, 
what wait I for? 
my hope is in thee.
-Psalm 39:7

And to Mercy:

Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, 
according as we hope in thee.
-Psalm 33:22

As well as to Trust:

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord
and whose hope the Lord is.
-Jeremiah 17:17

Hope brings peace and comfort in grief. In these verses, hope is connected with mercy, compassion, help in trouble, faithfulness  God's goodness and patience. (The "salvation" spoken of in vs.26, is not of the soul, but of being physically removed from troubles.)

 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, 
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: 
great is thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; 
therefore will I hope in him.
The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, 
to the soul that seeketh him.
It is good that a man should both hope 
and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
-Lamentations 3:21-26

And lastly, remember that our hope should be placed only in the Lord. Nothing and no-one can satisfy as He can, fully and forever.

For in thee
do I hope: 
thou wilt hear, 
O Lord my God.
-Psalm 38:15


The Tempered Wind

God's mercy has always astounded me. Time and time and time and time and time and time again He has shown His excellent mercies. 

He has shown them to Israel as a nation: 

Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness... 
according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, 
who saved them out of the hand of their enemies...
many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies...
for thy great mercies' sake thou didst not utterly consume them, 
nor forsake them; 
for thou art a gracious and merciful God.
-Nehemiah 9:19, 2-28

He showed David mercy in his sin:

"And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: 
let me fall now into the hand of the Lord
for very great are his mercies:" -I Chronicles 21:13

The psalmist wrote of His mercies (many times, just one is here): 

"Remember, O Lord
thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; 
for they have been ever of old."
-Psalm 25:6

Again, a psalmist writes a whole chapter on God's mercy, and we are reminded in every chapter that His mercy endures forever! (Psalm 136) We're going to look at this chapter bit by bit. It's not that long and it has some wonderful passages. Every aspect of mercy is represented in this chapter.

Firstly, we are to thank Him for Who He is: (vs.1-3)

 "O give thanks unto the Lord
for he is good: 
for his mercy endureth for ever."
- Psalm 136:1
We are to praise Him for the great things He has, can and will do. (vs.4)

"To him who alone doeth great wonders: 
for his mercy endureth for ever."

And also for His work of Creation: (vs.5-9) 
"To him that by wisdom made the heavens: 
for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: 
for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that made great lights: 
for his mercy endureth for ever:
The sun to rule by day: 
for his mercy endureth for ever:
The moon and stars to rule by night: 
for his mercy endureth for ever."

For His deliverance of Israel throughout their entire history: (vs.10-22)

"To him which smote great kings: 
for his mercy endureth for ever:
And slew famous kings: 
for his mercy endureth for ever:
And gave their land for an heritage:
 for his mercy endureth for ever:
Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: 
for his mercy endureth for ever."
-Psalm 136:17-18, 21-22

For His willingness to always remember us: (vs.23)

"Who remembered us in our low estate: 
for his mercy endureth for ever:"

For His redemption from enemies; in war or even our own selves: (vs.24)

"And hath redeemed us from our enemies: 
for his mercy endureth for ever."

And for His merciful provision: (vs.25)

"Who giveth food to all flesh: 
for his mercy endureth for ever."

And, lastly, we are exhorted to once more give thanks: (vs.26)

"O give thanks unto the God of heaven: 
for his mercy endureth for ever."

In the middle of his horrible grief, Jeremiah recognized God's mercy:

"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed,
 because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: 
great is thy faithfulness.
For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 
But though he cause grief, 
yet will he have compassion 
according to the multitude of his mercies."

Lamentations 3:21-23, 31-32

Daniel knew that mercy was something that could be always asked for:
"To the Lord our God 
belong mercies and forgivenesses, 
though we have rebelled against him;"
-Daniel 9:9
And God will even send mercy toward Israel again in the future, at His second Coming:

"Therefore thus saith the Lord
I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies
my house shall be built in it, 
saith the Lord of hosts, 
and a line shall be stretched 
forth upon Jerusalem." 
-Zechariah 1:16
For more, read the inspired book that contains all these quotes, written by the Author of Mercy itself.

Here is what human authors have to say of mercy in secular writings:

"God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." -Lawrence Sterne

"The quality of mercy is not strained; 
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven 
Upon the place beneath.
 It is twice blessed- 
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes."
-William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

When all thy mercies, O my God, My rising soul surveys, Transported with the view I'm lost, In wonder, love and praise.-Joseph Addison, "Hymn"
"God tolerates even our stammering, and pardons our ignorance whenever something inadvertently escapes us - as, indeed, without this mercy there would be no freedom to pray."
John Calvin 

"All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: 
freedom, justice, honor,
 duty, mercy, hope."
-Sir Winston Churchill 

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. -Abraham Lincoln

 And on that note, I ask you a question: 
How has God showed Mercy to YOU this week?
Let me know; I'd love to hear from you.


"The People That Have Walked in Darkness Have Seen A Great Light"

I am of the unwavering persuasion that everyone who has ever come to Christ has a beautiful, moving story to tell. It doesn't have to be complicated, or long. Just tell it. God gave you and I our separate stories for a reason- for in it, I guarantee, someone will relate with YOUR story. You never know who you might touch. With that in mind, I shall relate my simple life-changing story.

As a young child, due to some hard circumstances, I suffered from horrid nightmares. They were dark, harrowing things, and even now I wonder how the brain of someone so young could come with such terrible visions. But one dream in particular has stuck with me all these years. I went and told Pa about it, as I often did. I was standing in a field with dark woods ahead. Just before the tree line began stood an angel and a snake. The angel was weeping and the snake laughing. At the time, it seemed to just be scary, but looking back, the meaning is fairly clear to me, as it probably was to Pa all along.

I'd been in a the-Bible-is-the-final-word church for for two years, and was now eight year old, when I came to that all-important point of decision. For one reason or other, our Pastor decided for our Sunday night Bible study to play a preaching video instead of teach. It was a sermon that a friend of his had preached, taped and was selling. I remember that sermon so well. It was the story of David's  three mighty men, the three who braved the Philistines to get their lord some water from the well of Bethlehem, just because he'd mentioned he'd like to once again taste the sweet waters. And then, when his "big three" fight their way through the enemy, grab the water and fight their way back, how they were rewarded by David's gratefulness  and how the king of Israel honored them by pouring out the water as an offering to the Lord. (you can read the story here: 2 Samuel 23:13-17, or you can read further about the accomplishments of the might men here: 2 Samuel 23:39) The sermon was actually aimed at Christians whose loyalty was perhaps not quite up to par. But it touched me. In a big way. The thought struck me for the first time- I would have to choose a side. One couldn't remain in the middle because "the middle" did not exist.

The car ride home was a torment for me. I tend to process things for a long time mentally anyway, but I could not get that one thought out of my head. Over and over it whispered, gently but persistently. Somehow, I must have gotten home, eaten dinner and changed for bed, though the memory doesn't exist. When Pa came to pray with me and tuck me into bed. I told him, "Pa, I need to get saved." And he said, "Do you know what to do?" I replied that I did know, and then knelt by my bed. He knelt with me. (All of Biblical parenting could be contained in that one little sentence.) I don't remember exactly what I prayed; it was more the whole state of mind, the attitude, that counted, not the words. More that anything else, I remember the feeling of a huge weight being lifted- an enormous burden that I didn't even know I was carrying. A bundle of sin and guilt, like Christian in Pilgrim's Progress. But now it was GONE. To this day, I can almost literally feel the way it felt to have that removed. This was October 28th, 2000.

That was the happy part. But you see, I figured, now that I'm out of Hell, I'm good to go. And I let everything else go. There was fruit of salvation; my parents will attest to that. But the thought never occurred to me that salvation can be more, much, much, much, more than just the chance to stay out of Hell and get to go to Heaven when I died. So, for ten years, yes, 10 years, I lived as though I was not saved at all. Oh, on the outside I looked/talked/acted like a good kid, but I was deceptive. Terribly so. (But I wasn't fooling near as many as I thought.) And I was in utter inner turmoil. For 10 loooooooooong torturous years.

And then, a tiny light started to do a little dance in the back of my dark brain. (Isaiah 9:2) Signs and red flags started appearing, flashing, warning me about what I was doing. I couldn't tell you exactly what they were. Some were just something someone said a long time ago. Or a simple look. A verse from the sermon. A quiet little niggling. A sign of life from the Spirit that had so long been tamped down into the murkiness of my once-washed heart. I had not lost my salvation. I had fallen from grace. (One CANNOT lose their salvation-another post / another time, as is the "fallen from grace" bit.) 

It finally dawned on me that the problem wasn't with everyone else. One of my theology teachers put it this way: "If Bob has a problem with John, and Bob has a problem with Sue, and Bob has a problem with Bill, then Bob has a problem." : ) So, I finally noticed who was the common denominator in all MY problems and realized something had to change. And that something was me. I began to pray. I can't put a date on it or even a particular moment. But my prayer was to the extent of  "Okay, Lord, I know I've got to change. Please just show me the first step. Just give it to me one step at a time." Within a week, I went to our Monday night Bible class and we were studying I John (which is now my favorite book in the New Testament). When the teacher started teaching on I John 1: 5-7 (I know I've quoted these lots of times before, but just bear with me here.)

"...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

And then: *light bulb*. I got it. And the next step suddenly revealed itself in that little whisper that the saved know so well. The next step was baptism. Then and there the decision was made. The moment I made that resolve, I was flooded with such an overwhelming peace. When we arrived back home, I talked to Pa about it. A few Sundays later, we discussed it with my Pastor. During that night's study, I was voted in. And then we left for vacation and I wasn't actually baptized until October 30th, 2011. I remember the date exactly because of one unique weather pattern. For the first time in twenty years (where we live) it snowed in October. And I was baptized outside. Via immersion.  Don't you dare tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor. :)

And since that day, though I fail more often then I wish to count, I've been resting in His grace. Pray for me. I need it.

I'd love, love, LOVE to hear your story. Drop me a line. Go on, make my day.



There are some things you aren't allowed to discuss in today's society. If you do dare mention them outside your little accepted circle, you're called a bigot, close-minded, legalistic and worse. One of those "taboo terms" is submission.

Many different reactions will arise from speaking this little word aloud. Some will look at you funny, but hear what you have to say. Others will agree wholeheartedly with every word. But the majority will (if you are male) a domineering tyrant who enjoys degrading women and (if you are female) a poor misguided, sheltered, naive child who needs to come to see the "truth" about a woman's place in this world.

So, then, what is a woman's place in the world? Different post for a different day. And one I've wanted to do for a while. But these things take some planning and, while I hope it to be written in the near future, I can't promise anything.

What is the official definition of submission?

 To yield, resign or surrender to the power, will or authority of another; with the reciprocal pronoun.-Webster's 1828
 What submission is NOT: Giving up who you are. Giving up your rights as a person, or a Christian, in a violation of your person,  politically or physically.

Submission is a tough thing. Tougher than contentment. Tougher than gratitude. Not quite as hard as learning to hold your tongue, but almost. I know only because I've struggled with them both for most of my life. When I get around to finally writing my testimony, I'll relate the whole tale. For now, I'll just give you a quick summary.

I came to the Throne of Grace at 9 years old. I figured, now that I'm out of Hell, I'm good to go. And let everything else go. There was fruit of salvation; my parents will attest to that.Yet, for ten years, yes, 10 years, I lived as though I was not saved at all. And I was in utter inner turmoil. And then, a little light started to do a little dance in the back of my dark brain. Through various words, sermons, songs, verses, classes, God began to show me what I was really like, and I was shocked. The moment when everything lined up, when the light bulb when on, was when I was in our college-level Bible/Theology study at church (Faith Bible Institute). We were studying 1 John. And a verse came up about walking in light.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.-I John 1:7

Then the teacher went on to explain that submission is just walking in light! (And you thought I'd forgotten what I was writing about. *sheepish smile*) Here's how he put it: I've been cleansed by salvation, and now, I walk in the holy light of His presence, so every spot of sin can be clearly seen and, through confessing and forsaking sin, my spots are cleaned. That's right. So, how do you walk in light? 

Easier said than done. And that always frustrated me. For 10 years I'd keep saying to myself "I know I need to submit, everyone tells me that's the next step, but HOW do I submit?" Granted, I wasn't actually looking very hard for an answer. (My mom gave me good book after good book, and I wouldn't read them. And when I did, I didn't learn anything. Isn't it interesting how selective our capabilities are when we so choose them to be limited? We really can't see past the end of our nose if we insist that there is nothing to see.)

Okay, pay close attention. If you don't you'll miss the simple brilliance in this statement.

The best way to submit: stop trying to submit, and just...submit. Let go.

I know that answer isn't completely satisfactory, so, I'll tell you what I specifically did. 
Get your Bible, or open one online, or you can click here: Bible Gateway.

1- Be humble (I Peter 5:5, James 4:6) This is a hard one. And it shouldn't be. 

2- Acknowledge God's grace is the only way to submit and have victory over sin. Then ask Him for grace.
      (I Peter 5:5, I John 1:16, 17)

3- Believe that because you asked, God will give it to you. (Hebrews 4:16, Ephesians 4:7, James 4:2, Matthew 7:7)

4-Accept the victory He has given. He's already won the battle. Go into the fight knowing that it's already won. (I Corinthians 15:57, I John 5:4)

* And all this is done BEFORE you've actually done anything.*

Now for something you can actually DO. 

This seems unimportant, but if you go into this with the wrong attitude or perspective you'll be even more frustrated and wondering "why isn't this working?!".

With that in mind...

5- Pick one sin you struggle with. Start simple. For me, it was having the right attitude when asked to do something I didn't want to do. So this is what I'll use in my example. Alright, next step.

6- The next time Mom tells me to, say, take a load of boxes and loose items up to the attic, I'll stop, remind myself "Kaitlin, God wants you, as His child, to walk in light" then, put a smile on my face-whether I feel like smiling or not- and go do it. Next time, it will be easier to pretend you want to do it. And eventually, maybe not today, tomorrow, this week or this month, but soon, your emotions will follow your actions. And this goes for anything, but that's a different topic, for a different post. 

Read Ephesians 6:1

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."

So, loosely translated, the verse says this:

Kids, when your feelings of obedience are so strong that if you don't obey, you'll burst, then obey your parents for the time is right.

No. Not by a long shot.

It doesn't say to FEEL obedient. It says OBEY. Once you do, You'll feel it. It's so simple that I'm pictorially banging my head against a wall. But not literally. Only because the wall I'm next to now has chair-rail and even my hard head wouldn't stand up to that for long.

I hope this helps you. It's been helpful to me to write it.

One last though before I sign off.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."-I Corinthians 15:10

Until next time.


"There's a word you never say"

Yes, the title is a quote from a musical. I'm afraid I do that a lot in this post. Actually I do that a lot period.

But there is one word that the category of  "young adult Christians" have seemed to forget is in their vocabulary. I know it's merely a matter of avoidance that this word has been forgotten. I've heard it called the "perforated Bible syndrome". And this is not going to be a popular post. I'm going to stomp on some toes, pull off some scabs, and generally cause an online riot.

But I like to shake things up. :)

Ready? Good.

The word is: contentment.

No, please, don't just skim this post and go back to your day. It's not meant to be. For no other reason, I've worked very hard to write it. So, for me? No. For you. (And me, too.)

DISCLAIMER: No one should walk away from this post thinking that I've got this down, and am a perfectly content Christian. Ha! Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am not content. But I've let Christ live through me, and not I could not want anything more.

Now, we begin officially. How about a little illumination: Gentlemen! (sorry)

What is Contentment?

Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence. 
-Webster's 1828 Dictionary 

The Operational Definition is:

"Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness." 

Now there are two way to look at that statement, and only one is correct. The first is my flesh saying: "Yeah, that's right. Contentment is God giving me everything I want, whether or not it's bad for me, because I think it will make me happy right now, though not necessarily five minutes from now."

*Every Grammar teacher grimaces at my magnificent specimen of a run-on sentence.*

This is faulty thinking.
The definition says "provided", " I need", and "present happiness", not "given", I want" and "happy right now". Let us make sure we have the proper mindset that it is a gift from God, and not that He owes us something...caution.

The correct interpretation is this:
What I need to survive, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, will be supernaturally (though usually through natural causes) provided at the very time it is crucially needed and will result in my happiness.

This will only take place, though if we are walking in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16, 25; Romans 8:1, 4)
(those who follow the path of the Righteous shall have their reward).

The New Testament tells  us to be content no less than 3 times. And if God says it that many times, He must be serious. Think about it. If your mom tells you three times to do something it either means you weren't listening or it is quite important to her.

"Having food and raiment let us be therewith content."- I Timothy 6:8

This is a commonly quoted verse, but have you thought about it? Just enough to keep your stomach quiet, and the wind off your back. Interesting what isn't mentioned. A car. A friend. A job. A house. All these things are good, useful things, but we are told to be content even if we don't have them. Paul, under the influence of the Holy Spirit listed them as frivolities...not necessary for survival.

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." -I Timothy 6:6

Godliness speaks of walking in Righteousness...not being perfect. I could go on for a whole post alone on this. I may sometime, but for now, I'll move on. What is the "great gain" that the verse speaks of? The natural consequences of living a godly, content life are payment enough, and could very accurately be described as a "great gain". The peace of knowing this is where God wants me to be the joy of knowing you are walking in His presence. Oh, there is something to get excited about!

#3: this is the hardest one.

"Let your conversation be without covetousness and be ye content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  -Hebrews 13:5
There is so much material here! For one thing, the opposite of contentment is said to be covetousness. When we look around to fill a void instead of to Christ we put ourselves in a terribly dangerous pitfall. While discontent is merely the desire for more (or something to fill an emptiness), covetousness is the desire for what we don't have, or, more precisely, what someone else has. This can take many forms, some of which I've fallen into myself.

A desire to have/be another:

  • family/siblings/parents/home
  • relationship
  • time period
  • new outfit
  • daydream
  • car
  • education
  • shopping spree
  • dose of escapism (through books, movies, imaginings, daydreams, etc.)
  • drugs
  • alcohol
  • sex addiction
  • etc.
And while the last three may be extreme cases and, most likely, not your problem, the others are very real dangers to today's young women. And those first nine are all ones I've either experienced or heard directly from other girls. And I'm only 21... I can't even imagine how many excuses others older than me have heard. Oh, this is hard, I know. But there is hope. And we'll talk about it in just a little while.

In the Screwtape Letters, C.S.Lewis, literary and theological genius, writes: 

*Note: keep in mind that this is written from a demon to his demon protege  and so, they refer to God as "the Enemy and humans are a distasteful blight on their existence.*

"The humans live in time but the Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present...in [the present] alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present...obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure. Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past...It is far better to make them live in the future Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames both hope and fear. In a word, the Future is the least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time...Hence the encouragement we have given...fix men's affections on the Future, on the very core of temporality. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the Future. 

"To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too- just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow...He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do...We want a man hag-ridden by the Future...We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow's end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the Future every real gift which is offered them in the Present...Your man, may be untroubled about the Future, not because he is concerned with the Present, but because he has persuaded himself that the Future is going to be agreeable...it is piling up more disappointment, and therefore more impatience."
-the Screwtape Letters, chapter 15

But, as I said before, there is a hope.
And that hope is in the second half of the verse:

"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Isn't that beautiful? Christ's very presence with us every step of the way! Oh, what a comforting thought.

Thank Him for the past, trust Him for tomorrow, but LIVE for Him TODAY. Seriously, do. People will be curious what makes you so different. And that's always good.

That's what God laid on my heart to share.

Much love,


Growth Points & Pains Part 2- Take Up Your Cross

For Part 1, read here.

Let's review the text:

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples,If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,  and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: 
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
-Matthew 16:24, 25

Part 2 is cleverly titled: Take Up Your Cross.

What exactly does this mean?

#1: Take. Not shoved on you-it's a choice, your choice, whether or not you will follow. Following Him cannot be forced. If it could, Christ wouldn't be a loving King, but a heartless dictator, like Adolf Hitler, threatening and killing those who will not walk in his ways. But thank God He's not like that at all. He created us all with a free will, with the ability to choose.

#2: Up. Besides being the title of a great movie by PIXAR (if you haven't seen it, see it. It's seriously that good.) , "up" is the direction in which our cross is to go. We can't drop it and it isn't to be dragged behind, but to be lifted. "Up" lends to the idea of being borne on the shoulders. This is the easiest way to carry a burden. Says the girl who's backpacked across Disney World. :)

#3: Your. He doesn't say to carry His cross. That would be taking our salvation in our own hands. Instead we are to carry what He has given us, and He NEVER gives more than we can bear-with His grace.

#4: Cross. This is a hard bite to swallow, so let us chew it well. A cross could  be a number of things. It might be an infirmity. Persecution. A haunting past. You might stammer like Moses or have a thorn in the flesh like Paul. But Christ has a greater call in mind than any cross we will ever come up with. I wish I could tell you what it is. But it is different for everyone.

Take my examples: Moses and Paul.

Moses had murdered a man, lived in wealth and suffered a speech impediment.
God called him, changed him, and became a great leader, a shepherd, who spoke God's word and Law to God's people and saved many lives with his prayers.

Paul loved to tell his testimony. He had been a Pharisee, a wealthy man. He had dragged Christians to prison and to their deaths. God called him, changed him and he became, arguably, the most famous missionary and martyr in history who through his ministry and pure love, won untold numbers to Christ.

What do you have that Christ wants you to lay down, and take up...are you ready?


Growth Points & Pains Part 1- Introducing A New Series

The last time I truly posted, It was about pictures I'd found this past summer. Dear readers, I have to ask your forgiveness. I've been a "safe" blogger. My personal beliefs have not invaded my life heretofore, and therefore, did not enter my blogging. NO LONGER. From now on, I will endeavor that all my blog posts be uplifting, edifying, and exhorting. Please forgive me dear readers, and let us begin again. I've decided to begin with a list of things I've seen changing in my life and those things that have impacted me since I made that important decision in my walk with God. Each item will have a separate post.

 Pastor Jonathan had a series he did in the January of  2012 titled  Becoming A True Disciple, based on Matthew 16: 24,25

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

He broke it down into four sermons, the first being: Deny Yourself. This is a tough concept to grasp. It means laying aside all that you are and letting Him change you.
                 1: Deny Yourself. We must lay aside all that we are and die to self. We must be dead and buried.  ONLY by letting Him live through you can you live at all.

C.S. Lewis put it this way:  

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. 
Now, I don't know about you, but this submission idea not a natural concept for me. I've never been submissive and my will was everything. The idea of denying me used to be an abhorrent thought. Back in September of 2012 Pa, Mama, Brianna and I were studying the book of 1st John in our Faith Bible Institute class. The verse that   changed me was I John 1: 5-7:

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, 

that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 
 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, 
we lie, and do not the truth:but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, 
we have fellowship one with another, 
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

It was like...well the light went on. Salvation's purpose wasn't to get me out of Hell...it was for me to WALK with HIM! Wow! (Even now, 1 & 1/2 years later, that discovery excites me.)  I was to walk in light, to do what He said, leaning on him for every second, allowing His light to show my stains of sin so I could repent of them, confess and restore our fellowship. And oh, what a sweet fellowship it is! To have someone beside me, to talk to, walk with, be comforted by. Someone for whom I can give it all without hurt, doubt or regret!

Over this past summer, Näna, Emma and I did a study together through the books, Do Hard Things and Start Here, both written by Alex and Brett Harris, founders of the Rebelution.
*side note: These books are simply awesome. They are practical, useful tools of us "normal" young people. I would highly reccommend them to any and everyone who can read. Any age, Christian or not. Seriously, they're that life-changing.*
Back to my story. We did this study, and it changed my way of thinking entirely. Suddenly, I saw the unacheiveable as acheiveable. I could lay down my life for the life He was giving me. All I had to do was simply...let go. Perhaps, I'm not making sense. Maybe this is something you just have to learn for yourself. But I guarantee, when you do get it, you'll be ecstatic. No more burden to bear. Like Casting Crown's song, Come to the Well.

You can spend your whole life
Chasing what's missing.
But that empty inside,
It just ain't gonna listen.
When nothing can satisfy,
And the world leaves you high and dry:
Come to the Well.

And all who thirst will thirst no more.
All who search will find, what their soul's long for.
The world can try, but it can never fill.
Leave it all behind,
And come to the Well.

So, to put what just took me all that time to say into a nutshell (a really deep nutshell), I've changed. When reading those book, the light clicked; it all fell into place. All the knowledge of Christianity and the daily walk I'd gained through my life suddenly made sense. And it was so simple, even an adult could do it. 

 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying,

Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18: 1-4)
So. My challenge to you is this. Fall in love with Jesus. I don't mean just silly, fluffy feelings that people call love. I mean a real, deep, I-want-to-do-all-I-can-to-show-how-grateful-I-am-for-abundant-life love. Start by doing those little things that every Christian ought to do and usually doesn't...

  • Read your Bible every morning. This should be a given, but you'd be surprised how many Christians don't. I mean, just ask around.  If you have problems with consistency *guilty*, ask someone in your family to remind you every once in a while, when you aren't expecting it. The threat of having someone else know you're slacking is usually enough incentive. At least for me.
  • Pray. Again, should be 'primary school stuff', but when was the last time you just took time to thank Him for all He's done for you. I'm not referring to the "thank you for the good weather, my health, and my family". The trick here is: BE SPECIFIC.
  • Talk to someone. Communication is the basis of any relationship. Good communication. Pick a lull in dinner conversation to say: "You know, God showed me something awesome about ____ this week." This is pleasantly unexpected and usually leads to a wholesome and exhorting conversation. It strengthens family ties and encourages others' involvement in their own studies. CAUTION: THIS IS ADDICTIVE. The more you do it, the more your crave it. I mean really crave it. Like when you're in the PMS stage and you just found out that there's no peanut butter in the house. *personal experience*
Just. Go. For. It. Honestly-what do you have to lose?