My Brother, My Teacher!

Recently I've been noticing how my actions can affect my brother. If I decide to waste my day, he is prone to waste his day, if I use my time wisely, he seems to find alot to do too. It's the power of influence, and example, and it's so much greater than I had realized. I've even noticed it in myself. When he uses his time wisely, and is being diligent, I find myself wanting to do the same.  When he is mature about situations and shows responsibility, I want to too.  If only we were all to do the right thing all the time!

In light of this,  I was reading through some notes I've taken from conferences we've attended, and I found these notes from a session Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin taught on helping raise tomorrows leaders. It was very inspiring to re-read, and ponder the possible affects of being a faithful sibling in every area of life. I hope you are inspired by their thoughts. 

Notes from a Session on Siblings by 
Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin
Helping to raise tomorrows leaders.

We truly are only as good as we are when we're at our worst.
How prepared are you to give yourself to others in every relationship?
Relationship skills have to be developed through practice. 

If we haven't practiced love in our everyday relationships we won't be prepared when we're married. How could you serve The Lord with a new repealationship  if your aren't already serving Him with the ones you already have?

The biggest hardest job you can do is to be the best sister to your brothers, and no one else can do that. People are wrong when they sin, but people are also wrong when they cause others to sin. We all have responsibility in our relationships. Our actions affect our brothers. We tend to fail with the ones we know the best. 

1. Demonstrate respect to your brothers. The sense of responsibility that comes when they realize that they are being noticed, and cared for, makes our brothers stand up and be the men we are treating them as. 

2. Let them assert themselves lead and teach you things. We were created to help and support and follow, and they were created to support and lead and teach. 

3. Talk with them. Encourage your brothers to put their deepest thoughts into words. It's good for them to practice thinking through, and describing their thoughts and developing ideas. What kinds of conversations would you hope to have with another man? Then start now with the real men in your home.

4. Become part of their world. Boys are what they do. You must care about your brothers, and make what they want to do important. Help your brothers because you love them and want to make them feel important. 

5. Repent of past wrongs. We must change from being bitter against God to being grateful for what He has given to us. A realization of our sin, can bring us to a realization of our lack of relationship with God. We are not slaves to what we have always been or what we have always done, when we are being renewed day by day in Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:16 Don't underestimate the power of God's sanctifying grace. It is never too late to obey. God can repay the damage that we have done. You are not responsible for what the other person does, your duty is to minister to your brothers soul, and do what you are responsible for. If you are finding it hard to love your own brother, than you may need to reevaluate your relationship with God. 

Seize the day. Time goes by too quickly. If God put your brothers into your life, He put them there for a reason. And if you are not making the most of your brothers, how can you believe that you are going to do anything different in the future if you ever get married. Don't give yourselves reason to look back on this season of life with regrets. It's never too late to do what's right. We need to recognize the incredible responsibility that we have been given for this time in our life. We must practice what we  believe and what we teach others. That is our biggest example! 

"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," 1 Timothy 4:12

Take this challenge this week, and raise your siblings up to a new standard of excellence by your example. 

Leave a comment below if this inspired you to action!!!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!!

When I think about valentine's day I can't help but notice 
how we seem to get caught up in all the emotions, and 
people we love, and forget the author of love, who 
deserves our deepest devotion and affection. So today, 
let's refocus on God, and His deep love for us which 
passes all understanding. 

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God;
and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us,
because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world,
that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another,
God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." 1 John 4:7-12

Take a moment to reflect upon God's love for you. How vast,
how deep, how fulfilling, how satisfying, how encompassing...
Not only does He love you enough to give you everything you
need for your present happiness, He loves you so much He
died for you, taking your death upon Himself, and He loves
you so much He withholds from you what you don't need as well.
Think about this all encompassing love, for without it there is
no way you could love anyone else. For He is the source of
true love, and the author of love. In Him is our substance,
our joy, and our complete fulfillment. Oh, for more of a realization
of His deep love for us. Oh, for more gratefulness for such
a blessed Savior! 

Practical Applications from Anne of Green Gables!

Over the past week my family and I watched the Anne of Green Gables series for my birthday, and I was once again moved, and inspired. As I promised, I have complied a short list of insights and observations from the movie. This time I focused on Life Disciplines, and Practical Applications from Anne's life. 

The main theme I kept noticing throughout the movie, was Anne's determination to accomplish whatever she set out to do. Whether it was doing her best in school, or helping other people, or studying for a test, she did each task with relentless determination and persistence. She was determined to succeed in whatever she set out to do. Success is not determined by how much a person does, but by how much they determine to go through to succeed.

Another life discipline that stood out, was loyalty. Anne was loyal to Matthew & Marilla. Even though she wasn't even related to them, she treated them like parents, and respected their authority. Their desires, and requests came first, and she was willing to sacrifice her future in order to be loyal to them.
Like when she gives up the Avery scholarship in order to stay with Marilla after Matthew dies. Noticing the needs of others, and being loyal to family is far better than securing a successful future at the expense of others. 

Anne was willing to be happy in all circumstances. She determined to see beyond the present, and see the possibilities for the future. Using her imagination, she developed a vibrant personality that allowed her to be able to be happy in the midst of great challenges. Even when she taught at the girl's school where most of the girls hated her and wished she wasn't there, she was able to see the potential of the situation, and ended up creating beauty out of chaos with a simple optimistic disposition that wouldn't allow her to see the obstacles in her path. 

When Anne made plum pudding, and the mouse died in the sauce, she was truthful and spared Ms. Stacey from getting sick. When Diana came for tea, and drank the wine, she was truthful with Mrs. Berry, and even though it caused her friendship with Diana to be severed for a while, it turned out for good in the end. And when Marilla lost her broach, Anne was truthful, and spared herself from possibly having to go back to the orphanage. I love the scene when Ms. Stacey says to Anne "No matter what anyone accuses you of, The Truth Will Set you Free" How easy it is for us to be hasty, or slothful, and deny, or twist the truth, but how important and how freeing truthfulness is to all of life.

Marilla's emphasis on prayer is such a key to all of life. Not only does she teach Anne the importance of prayer, she views her faith in God as the most vital aspect of life. As she says "to despair is to turn you back on God" Prayer is the most important aspect of our relationship with God. For without prayer we wouldn't really be able to live. 

Being a Good Friend:
Throughout all of Anne's life, Anne displays characteristics of being a true friend. She makes friends with Diana Berry, (who becomes her best friend) Matthew & Marilla, Ms. Stacey, Gilbert Blythe, (who becomes her husband) Diana's Aunt, Rachel Lynn, Morgan Harris, Emeline Harris, Ms. Katherine Brooks, Jack Garrison, Fred Wright, & Dominique. Anne shows Genuine concern for the needs of them her undivided sensitive to people's hurts...and past problems... gives hope to people in doubt... is sincere about how she feels....and is grateful for people who invest in her life, and help her succeed. 
She shows a love for people not based upon what they can do for her, but what she can do for them. And that is the true spirit of a good friend. 

I think I counted 6-7 times when Anne apologizes to various people. With her temperament it seems like she's always getting into some sort of mishap. I especially like the apologies she gives to Rachel Lynn. Although a couple times she is not sincere, and apologizes for good merit, rather than repentance. Anyhow, I think it is good to see how humility must come from a heart of repentance. A sincere apology not only is the source of forgiveness, but it also restores the wounded individual to your friendship, and love. This we see when Anne apologizes to Gilbert for not listening to him when he kept telling her to write stories about Avonlea. She said "I went looking for my ideals outside of myself, and discovered it's not about what the world holds for you. It's what you bring to it that matters." 

Throughout Anne's life, she shows gratefulness to many, many people. To Marilla & Matthew for taking her in and giving her love, and a family. To Diana for being her bosom friend. To Gilbert for believing in her, and encouraging her to write stories and do her best, and for in the end being her closest friend. To Ms. Stacy for inspiring her to be a good student, and for helping her out with the boarding school job. And to others in the movie which escape my memory at the moment. Anne realized an important lesson, that gratefulness is more meaningful than the success or fame that comes from pride, and self- esteem. She realized that life is made up of the people who invest in us. 

Throughout the movies Anne has times where she must trust that God knows best. When Matthew dies, and Marilla dies, when it looks like things are going wrong, and life will be completely miserable. She focuses on trust in God, and a knowledge that He will work all things out for His good. Although the movies don't show this as much as I would like, I found out through an online source that Anne's trust in God is exemplified quite well in the books. Like in the end of book one when she makes this statement. "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world," A simple childlike faith in God, and an unwavering belief that He knows what's best is the essence of trust. 

Anne's example of patience is clearly seen several times in the movies, like when she waits for Diana's friendship with her to be restored, or when she patiently searches for Gilbert during the war, not giving up hope in his survival. But it is Gilbert who impressed me the most with his example of patience. He waits for Anne, for her heart, and for her love. Anne is quite different from the normal picture we see of girls who are star struck at the first thought of someone actually loving them enough to marry them. Anne forcibly refuses Gilbert almost from the first time she meets him. She despises his like for her, chooses to be upset with him at times, and at others makes him feel completely incompatible with her. Throughout all this, Gilbert remains faithful to her. Yes, he may have made friends with a few other girls in his life, and gotten engaged to Christine (I believe out of a desire to make Anne jealous:) but it was clear throughout all the movies, that Anne was his only true love. He patiently waits for her to be ready for him, saying "Well, I won't change. That's the least I can promise you." &  "I just wanted to show you how much I care. Now, maybe you don't think I'm good enough for you now, but I will be someday."

Patience waits. Wether it's for a dream you've longed to fulfill, a spouse, or a desired future, patience waits. And whether it's five years (like Gilbert had to wait for Anne,) or five days, or five decades, waiting is so much better than rushing ahead, and taking matters into your own hands,  just because you can't see another way out of the storm you're in. Patience waits, but it doesn't just wait, it is active while it is waiting, moving ahead with boldness and confidence, doing the next right thing, trusting that God will finish what He's begun. 

Anne of Green Gables is in the end a novel, and as such it cannot be treated as truth, (although some events, and characters did exist) nevertheless, it provokes one to think in many ways about the life we live, and how we will affect the future. What kind of a legacy we will leave for future generations to follow? How would our lives look if they were written in a book? What would be said about us? What would be the proof of our faith in God? What would be the impact of our life on those around us? 

The truth is life is a book, and God is writing it every day with His hand. Sometimes we see it, and sometimes we don't, but nevertheless He is writing it, and so are we through every little thing we do.
What's your book going to be? An adventure, a classic, a novel, a mystery, or a little bit of everything? You decide....with every move you make. 

Psalm 139:16 "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy
book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when 
as yet there was none of them."

Isaiah 34:16a "Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read:"

Malachi 3:16 "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD
hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them
 that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name."

It's That Time of Year Again:)

.......When the calendar forces me to change my age whether I want to or not. This time it's an intimidating 21. I'm excited for this new year, and a little scared about it's unknown contents. It will be a challenge I'm sure in more ways than one, But I know that I have a great God who is going to be with me, every step of the way, and we will always be together. He is faithful, and no matter how old I may get I know that He is from everlasting to everlasting, and for that I am eternally grateful. "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out." Romans 11:33

I started writing this song several months ago, and decided to finish it today. It just about sums up my heart cry for this coming year. 

Here I Am To Worship You! 

Here I am to worship, 
Help me now, O Lord each day.
As I seek thy blessings 
From the heart, O Help me say,

Father God I come to you, 
Laying aside what I can do,
I lay my empty heart and hands, 
At the cross of your own perfect plans, 

Not by my own wisdom, 
Not in my power, or in my might, 
But by your Holy Spirit,
I will live each day, and do what's right.


If I am blessed with riches of kings,
Or live within a desperate means,
I give my life, my will, my all, 
To your own 
perfect holy call. 


And when my years on earth are done, 
If I life's race have still not won,
I'll be happy to stand in you complete 
Before your holy mercy seat,


I'll cast life's cares before your throne, 
And at last I'll stand with you alone, 
Every idle word from me shall cease,
I'll Worship you in perfect peace.


And so today, amid life's unknowns,
The here, and gone, and the still to do 
Each moment I'll live as before your throne,
Saying Here I am to worship, 
Yes! Here I am to worship you! 

Also, You may remember this post I did last year about one of my favorite movies (Anne of Green Gables) that we watch for my birthday each year. Well, it's that time of year again:) and I'm so excited. We begin watching the first of the series tonight, and I can't wait to see what new inspiration I gain from it this year. I love analyzing movies for practical life lessons, and applications, and I think when a movie is done well with a Christian message, it can be very inspiring.

 Watch for an upcoming post in the next few days to see what I've learned from Anne of Green Gables this year. If you have any things you've learned from the movie, or ideas for lessons I could watch for in the movie this time around, I'd love to hear them:)