Life Lessons!

Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last." -C.T. Studd

If you have done your duty and fulfilled your role then the results are totally up to God. You must be prepared to deal joyfully with whatever he brings you! If we knew what He was doing, we wouldn't need to trust! :) "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?"One of the Bible stories I've had to study lately is the story of Joseph. I am always amazed how he trusted God even in perfectly awful circumstances, and God used the suffering in his life to do incredible things! He'll do the same thing for you!!
-Esther Maria Wong

Our convictions mould our character, what we believe largely determines how we act.- Author Unknown

When you work hard to acquire expertise and understanding in any area, it pays off. - Dr. Ben Carson

"If you love life, don't squander your time. It's the stuff life's made of. " Benjamin Franklin.

The real me is the person that is revealed when the sinful desires of my heart are exposed by trying circumstances and annoying people. The real me is revealed when I'm too tired to keep acting "nice." -  Tim Chester

View obstacles as hurdles to leap over. -Dr. Ben Carson

Reputation is who people think we are,  character is who we are when no ones looking- Author Unknown

The way you live matters for you and for the kingdom of God. If you want your life to be significant, the key is to draw near to God. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" James 4:8 god accomplishes His purposes, yet man is responsible for the things that he does. It is when we know who we are, what we are, where we are, and where God is, that we know what to do.  "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble." - Gary Custis

Sin is like mold, it grows best in the dark. Expose it to light and it drys up. - Tim Chester

The world with all it's kingdoms, the world with all it's splendor, cannot compare with the splendor with which our God delights in us. He reigns in our hearts, and dwells there as in heaven. Ah, God, how blessed are we, and how blessed shall we be, when after our time on earth we shall dwell with you in heaven. - J.S.Bach 

Please Pray For.....

The National Bible Bee contestants, families, staff, and volunteers.

1. Please pray as you remember over the next three days for all the contestants in the National Bible Bee that God would give them and their families saftey as thay travl to the contest, a peace that passes all understanding as they do their tests, and determination to glorify God no matter what the outcome may be.: Pray Phillippians 4:6-8

2. Please also pray for the volunteers, and staff of the Shelby Kennedy Foundation that they would have wisdom, strength, and endurance to go through the week, and that Christ would be glorifed through their work, and that all the participating families would be encouraged in the faith.: Pray Colossians 1:9-16

 "But My God Shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!" Phil 4:19

What I do I do for Him!

“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” ~Elizabeth Elliot

I'm grateful for.....

My two brothers who serve in the Military. The Army Special Forces, and Navy are well equipped to protect our country thanks to your tireless efforts, and active service. You're my heroes, and I'm so proud to call you my brothers.

May God bless you today, and protect your going out, and your coming in, from this time forth, and forevermore. May He give you the desires of your hearts, and cause all that you do to prosper. 

Lots of love, 



I'm entering this photo contest for sibling photos on my friend Kelby's blog. What do you think?

Render Unto Caesar!

My heart has been bursting with praise to God! It's not the breathtaking changing leaves or the rolling valleys of Oregon (although those make me happy too), it is the exceeding goodness of God. When we obey God's commands in even a small way, God will give a joy that the world does not offer. God has been trying to teach me to honor my parents even in the small things and the rewards are bringing me great joy. Just recently I wanted to do something that I was advised against doing. I was a little disappointed, but I knew I should honor and obey. In obeying, God honored me by protecting my reputation. I did not foresee it, but if I would have disobeyed, my testimony as a Christian would have been damaged. I laid in bed that night praising God for honoring me and blessing me in a way that I did not deserve. All this to say, there is joy in obeying God's commands. We, and I, often view His commands as unachievable tasks that steal our freedom. The opposite is true! So, we may not obey every single command every second, but if you are genuinely trying to honor God's commandments, you will find the joy and blessedness that He wants every believer to experience. "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:10-11).
Now for the command! This week the command is 'Render to Caesar.' "And He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto Him, Caesar's. Then saith He unto them, Render, therefore, unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21).The Pharisees and Herodians came to Jesus trying to trap Him, and asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. The Herodiansbelieved it was lawful, but the Pharisees did not think they should be taxed. Jesus answered that it was lawful to pay taxes, and that we should be giving God His due honor as well.
This is a very applicable command in today's political climate. As a conservative Christian, it can be easy to get in a tizzy-fit over the latest White House decision and blame President Obama for all of the U.S.'s woes. This command is not just a command to fork out our cash every April either. It is a command to honor authorities and rulers even if they are wicked, unreasonable, harsh, vile, nefarious people. "Submit yourselves unto every ordinance of men for the Lord's sake. Whether it be unto the king as supreme, or untogovernors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of them that do well" (I Peter 2: 13-15). Peter goes on to say that we are to submit to authorities, not because they are our favorite people, but because it is God's will that we are blameless, having no cause for someone to accuse us of wrong.
When Peter was asked if his Master paid taxes, Jesus explained that although they were not required to pay taxes, they would so that they would not offend. (See Matthew 17:24-27). This is a theme throughout the Scriptures; godly men honoring wicked authorities even in undesirable situations. What is so grand about this command, is that it is the opposite of what we see as right and just!
What should we give to 'Caesar'? (i.e. those who have authority over you)
-Show them honor. Remember when King Saul was out to kill David and David still fell before him and refused to hurt him even when he had a chance? Honor is NOT dependenton how civil, loving, and warm-hearted the authority is...we are called to honor anyway."Servants be subject to your masters with all fear. Not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully" (I Peter 2:18-19).
-Pray for them: "I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession, giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (I Timothy 2:1-3).
-Do good works: "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work" (Titus 2:14-3:1). Write them a thank you note, bake them cookies, offer to  do something without reimbursement..
What should we give to God? (This is not an exhaustive list..)
-Give God reverence: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour unto him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready" (Revelation 19:17).Honor God in your thoughts, words, deeds, and motives. Honor Him by obeying His commandments. "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that lovethme: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself unto him" (John 14:21).
-Give our lives to God. "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). 'Christ gave coins to Caesar because they bore his image, we should give our lives to God because we bare God's image.'
-Give God offerings: give Him offerings of praise and thanksgiving and also of our firstfruits.
-How can you pray for your authorities?
-In what ways are you doing good works for those in authority over you?
-Have you made a commitment to honor even your wicked authorities?
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth theordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation" (Romans 13:1-2).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ Study Guide and pocket guide

The Ultimate Career!

"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career." -C.S. Lewis

Love The Lord!

Dear friends,
This week's command is 'Love the Lord.' A lawyer asked Jesus, "Master, what is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:36-37). If someone was to ask me if I loved God, I would be tempted to say, "With all my heart! I serve in the church, I volunteer at the Pro-life pregnancy center, I give my money to feed the poor--you see, I love God!" While doing these things are great and well-pleasing to the Lord, it is notnecessarily an indication that I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This commandment is called 'great,' because it (along with the command like it) is the basis for every other command given.
I am not going to pretend that I completely understand the distinctions between the spirit, the heart, the mind, the will, the emotions, the soul, etc. but I will try to discuss a few of these areas in regards to loving the Lord.
The heart: the heart is sometimes referred to as the seat of our affections. Hence, the big red cut-out heart that signifies love and warm feelings toward another. What holds your affections? What do you long for? What would crush you if you had to live without it? I could say my family for sure, but right up there with them is a desire for approval, and a desire to be married. These things are good to want, but if they become more important to me than loving God, God has been de-throned in my heart. It reminds me of the verse,"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Mat. 6:33). If we make God the priority in our lives and in our affections, the other things will fall into their rightful place, and not only that, but the love we have for those things will be Godly love, not love that flows from selfish ambition.
The soul: The soul has sometimes been defined as the mind, will, and emotions. Here I'll just talk about the will. Where do I begin with this often self-motivated entity of our being? Everyday we make choices; choices to do what is right in God's sight, or choices to follow our natural inclinations that violate God's ways. I really don't like to think that my daily decisions are a measure of my love for God, but they are. "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me..." (John 14:21a). If I truly love God, I will be faithful in obeying His commandments day in and day out, especially to those who it may be hardest to forgive and show unconditional love to.
The mind: "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5). Thoughts can be a hard area to control (not speaking from personal experience or anything ; ) but we need to be sure that we are not allowing thoughts that are contrary to God's ways. It is easy for me to look at my outward works and think highly of myself, but if I was to really evaluate all the thoughts that I allow, would it reflect a mind that loves God completely? People can't see our thoughts so it is tempting to let thoughts linger longer than is appropriate. If we truly love God, we will seek to please Him even in our thought life.
How do you know if you love the Lord?
-You keep His commandments. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). and"For this is the love of God; that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grevious" (I John 5:2-3). Just going through the 10 Commandments and evaluating those is enough to show me I have room to grow in my love for the Lord. Idols? Coveteousness? Dishonoring to parents? ouch.
-You are making disciples. "He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, Lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto Him, Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep" (John 21:17). When Jesus asked if Peter loved Him, it is interesting that His reply was to provide spiritual nourishment for believers.
-You have love for others. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also" (I John 4:20-21). Enough said.
-Is there anything competing for your affections that you need to deal with?
-Do your daily choices and thought life reflect a heart fully after God?
-Who are you discipling right now?
"And now, O Israel, what doth the Lord require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide