Saturday, October 21, 2017

Give



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, give

In his Gospel, John covered so many of the stories of Jesus' life from a viewpoint of His amazing love for us. Jesus gave us not only His love, but His life. I am continually amazed that God would choose to love me, a sinner, and give His life for mine. 

Some days as a wife and mother I feel like I have given all I can give, and there are still hours left before bedtime and a never-ending to-do list. The only way I have found to continue on is in God's grace and strength. I am reminded over and over again of Jesus' words recorded in John 14:27 ~ "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

When I am tired, or anxious, I remember these words, and I find comfort, I find strength. I am reminded that God knows my days, and He sees my every need. He is the one who has equipped me for these tasks - and He is able!


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Isaiah 12:5



Scripture Writing, Isaiah 12:5





Friday, October 20, 2017

Discover




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, five minute friday writing prompt


Discover might not be the first word we think of when talking about living life as a Christian. That might be a mistake. Can you think back to what you felt when you discovered that God loved you? When your faith first began to grow and you wished, hoped, that the Gospel story was true? The wonder you had when your faith was just as big as a mustard seed and you learned to trust that God did indeed love you, that He stood ready with open arms to forgive you and welcome you home? That the Gospel story of Jesus' death for our sins is indeed true and is available to everyone?!

As we discover new truths while reading our Bibles, as we find new friends with which to fellowship, may we remember that first glimpse of true hope in the One who loves us and died for us. May we be ready to discover the paths God has planned for us, may we greet with open arms each new day, knowing God is there right beside us. May we wonder anew at His goodness and mercy. And then, may we share that joy unspeakable with those around us who need it most!

Some discoveries in life can take a lifetime, some are quick to be found. Our discovery of God's great love and forgiveness occurs when we humble ourselves and understand our need of Him. Wherever you are on this journey of Christian living, may you discover anew God's great love for you each and every day.






Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Brave



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, brave


When we teach our children to be brave, do we remember to tell them why they can be brave? Do we remind them that God is ALWAYS beside them? Do we remind them that Jesus took away the sting of death so that we need no longer fear death?

We can be brave because we trust the outcome to God. We are not acting in spite of the evidence of God, but rather because of the evidence of God working all around us. Being brave means stepping out of our comfort zone and following God's directing of our path. Being brave means being humble, and knowing that your strength and talents are a gift from God. 

May we bravely trust God, who knows all, sees all, and is all we will even need in this life.

Be humble, be trusting, be brave!




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge





Joyful, Joyful




hand lettered songs, joyful joyful




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Share



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, share


Learning how to share is one of those early lessons we teach our children. Why? Because as humans we normally are quite selfish (it's that sin nature of ours) and would not share with others if we were not taught to think of others first, or at least second. 

Sharing is an important lesson we must re-learn as adults. As followers of Christ we share in the community of believers. We share joys and sorrows, we share burdens and blessings. This is possible because we share in the sufferings and comfort of Christ. It is a blessing to be able to bear one another's burdens, to be the hands and feet of Christ and minister to the need of others. There are a lot of needs around us every day. May we ask God to open our eyes to where He wants us to share His blessings today.


For as we share abundantly in Christ's' sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:5 (ESV)








Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Isaiah 12:2



Scripture Writing, Isaiah 12:2




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Grow



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, grow


As I've been thinking about the word grow today, the verse that keeps coming to mind is the one from the end of Luke 2 where it says "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." It comes at the end of the story about Jesus' family visiting Jerusalem when he was 12, and how he was discussing the Scriptures with the teachers. 

How eager are we to discuss the Scriptures with others? Are we continuing to grow in favor with God by learning more about Him through His word? Are we growing in favor with men as we model the patience and grace that Jesus had? Are we teaching our children about Christian growth?

These can be difficult lessons at times, because let's face it, we all have days when we make poor choices, when we overreact to what someone did or said, when we loose our temper. The lesson to ourselves (and thusly, our children) is what we do when we realize we have strayed from that patience and grace. Are we quick to forgive, or to ask for forgiveness? Do we mend relationships, or do we let a bad choice of words fester into a strain on our friendships? 

Today, tomorrow, and even next week, may we think about how Jesus grew in favor with God and man, and may it remind us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. May we be examples of patience and grace to a hurt and dying world. Grow closer to God.






Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Monday, October 16, 2017

Read



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, read


I really like to read. I do a lot of reading: books, both fiction and non-fiction, magazines, newspaper articles, blog posts, nutrition labels, ingredients lists. While I enjoy most of the reading I do in my daily life, the thing I most need to read is my Bible - daily. 

I prefer to read my print Bible, but I also have an app on my phone in case I have time to read when my Bible is not with me. Recently, one of our friends' ministries shared that people who read their Bibles four or more times in a week are more likely to believe and follow it, trust God, and have a solid Christian walk. 

If you have not been reading your Bible at least four days a week I want to challenge you to spend some time each day in God's Word. It is life-changing! While you have small children at home you may only get five minutes a day to read, and that is enough - if it is consistent. If your children are teens or older and you are not daily reading in God's Word you will struggle. Your family will suffer, because the world around us points to everything except Jesus. Only in those moments when your mind and heart are engaged in reading God's Word will you be pointed to Jesus and be reminded of His great redemptive work on the cross.

Read for work, read for fun, but always remember to read your Bible. It will bless your relationship with God beyond measure.




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge








SaveSave

Books With Bean ~ Bad Kitty: Drawn to Trouble



Books with Bean, book reviews by teens, Nick Bruel



Title: Bad Kitty: Drawn to Trouble 

Author: Nick Bruel

Published: 2014

Genre: Kids

Summery: Bad Kitty is well, a bad kitty. She is a little crazy but still lots of fun. In this book her author uses Kitty as an example of how to write a good story. From meeting the author and learning how to draw a book with pictures, to learning about plots and antagonists, and of course the most important part about writing, YOU! Writing your story and having fun doing it.

What I liked about it: I like all of the Bad Kitty books, but this one is really cool because it takes a character and her friends that are fun and funny, and shows young kids the important parts of writing stories. While still having fun.

Language: None

Romance: None

Violence: There are times Nick jokes about Kitty being violent when she tears up his story but it's just fun.

Magic: None


Recommended Age: These books are fun and funny, while still being easy to understand. So I would say 6 or 7 is a good age to start. 





If you would like to read other installment sin the Books With Bean series, click the orange Books With Bean label below


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Remain



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, remain




And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Do these words bring to mind the eternal-ness of love? Do you want to remain somewhere good and peaceful, then remain, abide, in Christ. When I think about Paul's words to the Corinthian church, I am reminded about the concept of abiding. They were being instructed to remain, to abide, in Christ, and yet, it was not a passive remaining, it was a deep and eternal, active remaining in Christ - for Christ is the essence of love, or perhaps better said, sacrificial love is the essence of Christ's time here on earth.

Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the surety of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) and thus, when Christ returns for His church, the faith will not need to remain, because we will see Him face to face. Hope is what we have when we wait with expectation for something or someone. We have a hope in the promise of God to cherish His redeemed people, to be reunited with us through our saving relationship with Christ. When Christ returns, and only then, will we be able to see the Father face to face.

So faith and hope will have their end in Christ's return. Because we will be present with Him forever, we will no longer need hope or faith, just as Revelation tells us that we will not need the sun in the new Jerusalem, because the Son and His glory will shine like the noonday sun and fill the place with light. 

What always remains is love: Jesus

He was with the Father and the Spirit when they first created time, He was there and spoke the world into existence, and He will endure forever.

The greatest of these is love. 
Remain, abide, in love - in Christ!




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge




Isaiah 7:14



Scripture Writing, Isaiah 7:14




Saturday, October 14, 2017

Try



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, try


Try is one of those words I have a difficult time with. As a mom, I have in the past encouraged my children to "try again" when they struggled - like when they were learning to ride a bicycle or play a piece of music on the piano. 

However, most of the time when we use the phrase "try again" it has one of two meanings and I think we would be better off by simply stating what we mean in the first place. The first meaning is this (the one form above): do it again, keep practicing whatever it is until you can perform it/ do it at the standard with which both you and I will be satisfied. The second meaning is usually a flippant remark : "try again!", meaning that no, you did not guess correctly, or you have misunderstood what I said. 

Is this being esoteric with my words? Perhaps. As I grow older I hope to grow wiser. I want my words to be easily understood whenever possible, and if someone does not understand what I am asking about or stating, I would want them to ask me to explain it differently. 

I have spent too many days, perhaps years, not understanding a person or situation well because of not understanding what someone asked of me, or what they meant to say, because I was too shy, or unsure of myself to ask them for clarification. Would it not be better to get over our own initial discomfort with the situation and ask for more information?

So when my children, or co-workers, are learning something new, I want to focus on having them "do it again" and when I talk and someone misunderstands or guesses incorrectly, I want to NOT be flippant, but guide the conversation to a point of understanding. May the word try turn back to its original use of testing or measuring against a higher standard.

May God try our hearts, test them, refine them. May we choose our words with care and a goal of understanding.




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Isaiah 7:9



Scripture Writing, Isaiah 7:9




Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 13 ~ Story




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, five minute friday writing prompt


Today I am once again away from my computer. I am at another writing conference - one focused on blogging and health. So I've decided to use last Friday's prompt of story.

What is your story? 

This past week I've heard a lot about telling a story. How would I write my story, if I had a story to write. How would I write it well? What would be my point of view, my plot or purpose, my audience?

While it will take me a long time to think through all I have heard about how to craft my words well, and what to do with them after the story is written, I will continue to read stories from others. I enjoy reading all sorts of stories, but historical fiction is probably one of my favorite genres to check out from the library. But most importantly, I will continue to read of God's story in His word. I will point others to the story of redemption that it contains. I will also continue to sing one of my favorite hymns from my childhood: I Love to Tell the Story. Have you heard it?

So tell me, what is your story?




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Write



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, write

Often in his letters Paul said "I write this with my own hand." John also said he wrote things to remind the believers of their salvation and the hope that they had in Christ.

What does my hand write?

Am I writing things that lift others up? I hope so. Am I writing to remind others of the goodness of God? Yes, please. I spent last weekend at a writing conference. One of the points that the keynote speaker made that seemed to hit home with many of us was to take the time to write well. Not an easy task when we write for five minutes, but still, a goal to reach for. Better that I should take one minute and think about what I feel in my heart needs said, and only type for four minutes, than to type aimlessly for five minutes and hope you can understand it.

I still want to write. I still feel called to write. I want to take the time to write well. 
To be able to do this, sometimes I will not post as often, as some things need to be re-written before they are shared, and sometimes, I'll rely upon you all reading Arlene's writing instead. She usually has a Books With Bean column on Mondays. 

What do you write?





Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

How Firm



hand lettered songs, how firm a foundation




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Remember



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, remember


Many times in the Old Testament God commanded the Israelites to remember His works. He commanded them to take 12 stones out of the river after they had crossed so they would remember what He had done for them. When their children would see the stones and ask why they were there, God wanted them to tell the story of their entrance to the promised land.

What memory do you look back at to remember God's faithfulness? What are you remembering, and sharing with your own children about God's faithfulness. About His goodness as He has led you to the place where you are now?

I remember being at my Grandfather's funeral when I was 10. I remember the preacher talking about how Grandpa was in heaven because he trusted God, how he walked with God and read his Bible. I wanted to know more about how to get to heaven. I knew my grandpa had loved me, and I wanted to be able to see him again. That is a vivid memory of the beginning of my search for a relationship with Christ. While you might think that going to church each week is enough for a child to seek after God, it usually is not. We need to remember to talk with our children about our own relationship with God, and about the assurance of salvation that believers have. We need to remember that only God gives peace, and talk with our children about how they can have that peace.

Remember God's goodness and mercy - and share it with the next generation.




Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Isaiah 6:8



Scripture Writing, Isaiah 6:8




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Listen



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, listen



Many times in the Scriptures we are commanded to listen. God wants us to listen for His voice, listen to His commands, and listen to instruction. His word also tells us that He listens to us. Perhaps you have been listening well, and learning from Him, but maybe, you have only been listening with one ear, more intent on what you want to say to God than what you want to hear of His voice.

Do not be discouraged by your past, but be encouraged by God's willingness to speak. If you are like me, and you have failed to listen well because you were too busy trying to do too many things at once, then try again. Make time to listen to His voice. Make time to read God's Word and meditate on what the Holy Spirit is showing you is most important in the passage for right now in your life.

Then take that skill of listening well and use it to bless others around you. Give your spouse, your children, even your boss your full attention as they speak. Listen to their words, and then determine, with God's help, to respond well.

God gave us two ears and only one mouth. It is time to listen.



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge




Books With Bean ~ The Sisters Grimm

book reviews by teens, books with bean, the sisters grimm series



Title: The Fairy Tale Detectives
The Sisters Grimm: Book 1

Author: Michael Buckley 

Published: October 2005

Genre: Children’s/fairytale/adventure 

Summery: Sabrina Grimm and her little sister Daphne have been moving around the foster care system since their parents disappeared, each of the places they go are crazier then the last and things don't seem to be about to get any better when their case worker says their new guardian is the girls grandmother. Sabrina laughs at the notion, after all, her parents told her many times that her grandparents were dead. Now however at least until they can escape again they are stuck with the woman even thought Sabrina in certain “Granny Relda” is crazy. 

After all the woman says that the characters from all the fairytales are real and most of them live in the town stuck there by a magic barrier that won't let them leave. Because the girls are the decedents of Jacob and William Grimm it is now their job to take up the family legacy and watch after the fairytale characters who now call themselves Everafters. Talk about a lot to take in when you didn’t even know you had any relations! It also doesn't help that the Everafters are stuck in town because of the Grimm family and so most of them hate anyone who is related to or associates with them.

Well Sabrina was banned from reading fairytales growing up so she doesn't know much about prices and fairies, but she does know that she has to keep her little sister safe and that means getting away from the “crazy” old lady. This sounds easy enough until Granny Relda is kidnaped by a giant. Suddenly her stories don’t seem so strange. Now the girls along with some of the fairytale characters they meet must work together to save granny Relda and take up their family legacy.

What I liked about it: The books are lots of fun, after all who wouldn't want to have their favorite fairytale characters living next door in real life? It is interesting to see how he changes the characters to fit in their new situation while still having them be the characters we all know and love. Some of the characters have a lot different jobs then you would think but others fit right in. After all what could be more natural then Sleeping Beauty owning a coffee shop? And Prince Charming as Mayor just make sense. The Ginger Bread witch as a dentist? Sign me up. However you learn right along with the girls that fairytale doesn't always mean happily ever after. These are real people with real personalities. They teach the girls important lessons while still having fun.

Language: The girls do tend to call each other names when they get mad at each other, but nothing more they baby or jerk

Romance: Well when you live in a town with Prince Charming the star of so many princess stories there is bound to be romance but it is dealt with  lightly and not gone into much detail. Sabrina does in the later books develop a love/hate relationship with one of the other characters but it is not too deep either. 

Violence: sword fights and things like that but nothing more the you would find in a regular fairytale.

Magic: Magic is just about everywhere in the town just as it is in most fairytales. Magic wands, carpets, shoes, and more, it is dealt with like in most fairytales as something that is just kind of there with no real explanation.


Recommended Age: Well Sabrina is 11 and Daphne is 7 in the first book and I would say 8 or 9 would be just the age to start reading these.


Books with bean, book reviews by teens



Monday, October 9, 2017

Plan



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge



What do your plans involve? Are you planning for a vacation, for a celebration, or just to make sure everyone knows where their shoes are for tomorrow morning? We so often plan out what we want from our lives without asking God about what He wants to do with or in our lives. I have been guilty of that - the mindset that this life is still mine to direct, and yet, I know that when I gave my life to Jesus, I chose to follow His plan. I heard it said this way recently: double space your prayers. Allow time for God to speak to you about whatever His plans are, whether they line up with your prayer list or not, whether they line up with your own plans or not.

For an authentic Christian life, we need to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit to change our lives, and our plans, when He has something better in mind for us to do. So continue to plan your days, weeks, and years, but be ready to have those plans changed when God has a better Kingdom work for you to do.


The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
-Proverbs 16:9



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge




Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hold





Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, hold

What am I holding on to?
Are there material things that I hold too tightly? Are their people that I hold in esteem? Am I holding on to my children instead of letting them grow up?

As moms especially I think we hold on to a lot of things. Maybe these are pictures of our children as babies or tiny little shoes they once wore. While I do not think is wrong to hold on to some mementos of our past, may we hold them like memories or delicate flowers - may we hold them loosely.

What we do need to hold onto is God and His word! We need to cling to God for our daily bread, our daily strength, and the ability to forgive. We should be holding onto our lifeline - Christ - from whom our eternal life comes. 

Cherish your memories, hold others in high regard as they are also made in the image of our Father, hold tight to your family in love, and cling to the cross where all things fade in the light of looking upon the face of Jesus.


Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 
1 Timothy 6:12


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Isaiah 5:21



Scripture Writing, Isaiah 5:21




Friday, October 6, 2017

Day 6



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, five minute friday writing prompt

On day 6 God made the livestock, the beast of the earth, and the creeping things. Then He made man. Adam was made in the image of God. Genesis 1:26 states: Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." So the triune God created first Adam, and then Eve.

Why is day 6 significant? That is when God made the first man, even as His omnipotent triune self knew that one day man would choose to walk away and sin, God made Adam anyway. God had a plan before He began the creation of time, and then the world, to save us from ourselves.

I am so thankful that God's thoughts are higher and deeper than mine. I am thankful for a God who thousands of years ago could look into the future and know I would need His receptive work on the cross, and still loved the thought of me enough to make Adam and Eve, and place them in the garden of Eden. The next time you see a garden, may it remind you of just how great is His loves towards us.



p.s. If you were looking for me to write on the five minute friday prompt, you'll have to wait until next week to read it. :) I'm at a writing conference all day today and have decided to leave my computer behind and focus on what God wants to teach me today. Have a lovely weekend!


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trust



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, trust




Trust can be hard for us. Because we live in a fallen world, we have the tendency to be skeptical, to doubt the intentions of others. I have had problems trusting in the past. I was picked on often as a child at school, and it took me a long time to realize that the fault was not mine, but that of those who spent time trying to humiliate others to try to inflate their own egos.

Then I met Jesus.

My life changed after that. While I still sometimes struggle with trust of people, I realize that we are all sinners. I am sure there are times that people have struggled to trust me. 

The one thing I now know with certainty is that I can trust God - for everything! He knows my faults and loves me anyway. He works in my life to show me His goodness. He gives me His strength when I have none of my own.

Trust Him with your very life. This life, and the eternal one that follows!


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13







Mighty fortress



hand lettered songs, a mighty fortress




Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hope



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, hope



Hope, what a glorious word.

Hope, the understanding that there is more to life than meets the eye.

Hope, knowing God has a plan for us that includes eternity.

Hope, something we only have when we have God. As in Ephesians 2, when Paul talks about being reconciled to God through Christ. Before we were without hope and without God, but now we have Christ, now we have fellowship with the Father, and now we have hope.

Hope, the only thing we have to offer the world of real value is hope in Jesus to save us, to save them.

Hope - one small word that changes everything!






Christian living, 31 day writing challenge