Monday, August 31, 2009

Mark of Biblical Friends...

“The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They ‘sharpen’ you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at heart (Prov. 27:6).”

-Henry Blackaby

*emphasis mine


This stuck out to me this morning and I thought it fit well with what I've been sharing on friendship!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Friendship Story

I've given you my thoughts on the purpose of friendships, but now I would like to share where God has brought me throughout my life trying to find friends.

“Your siblings are your best friends” is something my dad has always reminded us. When Luke, Katie and I were little and would fight or argue over something, dad would remind us that we were best friends. But what does that mean? For many years I had a hard time understanding how my younger brother and sister could be my best friends. But today I consider them the best friends I have! When did the change occur?

I’ve always been a loyal friend, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. I’ve treasured the many friendships I’ve had, but sometimes gone a little too far in “loyalty” by idolizing them. For many years I considered my siblings my good friends, but my best friends were outside of my family. I mean, you have to be friends with your siblings because you live with them, but how could they be your best friends? For many years I couldn’t seem to grasp that concept.

As I neared the age of 10 I began to pray for a like-minded friend my age. In the midst of a move I was hopeful that the Lord would provide a friend for me in our new state. But that was not in God’s plan. Because I had no best friend to invest in (really no friends at all), I ended up spending a lot of time with my family. Even then I didn’t realize what kind of blessing God had given me. As I look back I know that if God had given me the friend I desired I would have spent way too much time with her and neglected my siblings. Instead, I spent a lot of my time with my siblings because they were the only ones there, meanwhile still praying for a like-minded friend.

I prayed and prayed.

For years I prayed, and after multiple moves Lord began to graciously reveal to me that if He had given me a friend when I first prayed that I would no longer be near her. And He was still trying to impress upon me the significance of developing close relationships with my siblings.

Really in the past few years is when Luke and Katie, my siblings closest to my age, and I have become quite close. Through different circumstances God has given us opportunities to really invest in one another and work on becoming best friends, and realize the importance of being best friends. And you know what? It’s been an incredible blessing! We are with one another all the time and we love being together. Even when we’re with other friends, we’re often together!

I’ve also changed my view of friendship in the process. In the past I regarded “friends” and “best friends” as girls my age—outside of my family. Now God has given me the desire to have my siblings as my very best friends. Do I have other best friends? Yes, but as I’m sure they can tell you by my infrequent letters and emails, they are not the #1 priority in my life. But I also have many people that I consider friends that I would not have really thought of as friends years ago. My friends are all ages! Little ones to adults. Because my purpose of friendships has changed, my definition of who is my friend has changed also.

Do my siblings and I always get along perfectly? Absolutely not, because we’re all sinners. But by God’s grace He has united our hearts and given us a love for one another that wasn’t so deep several years ago. Soli Deo Gloria! (to the glory of God alone!)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School

Our summer was a busy summer, with productivity and fun intermixed. But it’s time to head back to the books, and today we had our first day of school!

Of course, the first day is always longer, trying to get everything figured out and then completed. And today, I did worldview for two hours and then mom realized that I was doing 2 days’ worth of work! ;) Oh well, I like being ahead. :)

So for this semester, some of the things I’m studying include…

  • Math (algebra review and prep for the College Mathematics CLEP)
  • World Views of the Western World, year III
  • English/writing (part of writing is essay prep for the English Comp CLEP)
  • Computer textbook (prep for the DANTES Information Systems & Computer Applications exam)
  • Music Theory
  • U.S. History review (in prep to retake the U.S. History I CLEP)



Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vacation Adventure

Our goal was to leave Granny’s house and be on the road by 8:30 Wednesday morning. And we left by 8:30. We were off to a great start—for about the first 5 miles. We all sat silently driving down the freeway...

All of a sudden, we heard a “Pop!!” and then a “Thud!” We instantly turned out heads towards the back window to find that the top half of our luggage shell had popped off our van and one of our suitcases was in the middle of the road. Dad instantaneously slowed down and pulled to the shoulder of the road. We all continued to sit with our mouths gaping open, watching cars try to swerve around our stuff. Not wanting to cause a wreck, dad tried to motion for cars to pull over a lane while he pulled our torn up bag and stuff off the freeway!!

We happened to be in the right hand lane, so most of the stuff was in the closest lane; however, some of the stuff was getting blown across the freeway because of the cars zooming by. Thankfully, only one bag, our swimsuit/towel bag, and a bag of shoes flew out of the luggage shell. In the midst of the traffic, dad crossed the 3 lane freeway in its entirety to retrieve a tennis shoe of Katie’s that was thrown around and the top of the shell that was hit by a car and thrown to the other side of the road. (the car was fine!) It’s somewhat amusing to think of all that dad did at that moment, but believe me, we were holding our breaths as he tried to grab our stuff in the midst of the speeding traffic.

Dad called Granny who drove to us to put our luggage in her car. We returned to her house and dad made a trip to Wal-Mart to find some adjustable bungee cords. An hour and 45 minutes later, we were finally able to leave Granny’s, with our shell securely strapped on. Dad said we wouldn’t leave again until our top was secure, and it was! We made it home safely.


Our beat up top


Bent back into place and strapped on tight!

There were so many things to be thankful for in the midst of our dilemma. Dad wasn’t hurt during all his freeways crossings and retrieving our stuff. Only one bag and a plastic bag fell out. If all our suitcases had come out I doubt we would have been able to get all our stuff. The shell was reusable despite being beat up. We were 5 miles from Granny’s and not 100. And we didn’t cause any wrecks! Praise God!

After our adventure, God brought this song to my mind.

You Have Been Good
Oh Lord, You have been good
You have been faithful
Through all generations

Oh Lord, Your steadfast love
And tender mercies
Have been our salvation

For by Your hand we have been fed
And by Your Spirit we have been led

Oh Lord, Almighty God
Father unchanging, upright and holy

For by Your hand we have been fed
And by Your Spirit we have been led

O Lord, You have been good
You have been faithful
You have been good


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Home!

Although I didn’t mention it on my blog, my family just returned from an 8 day vacation. It was a fun time of resting and seeing family and friends!

On our trip we visited some friends that have a boat on a lake. Even though it rained every day except the day we left, we still had a great time boating, swimming, tubing and talking. While boating, one of the days we got caught in a storm on the way back to the dock, and sat in the pouring rain and wind, while watching the lightning strike close by. The whole time, dad just laughed! It was an interesting experience! :) In the evenings we played a lot of Catch-phrase, and now our friends are going to buy it!

After spending a few days at the lake we drove to our Granny’s house. There we spent time with her, took family pictures and got to see some relatives. On the day we drove home we had the most interesting experience, which I will share in my next post. :)

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures I took at the lake.




evening fog


sun setting






Monday, August 3, 2009

Hopeful or Hopeless? part 2

Calvin’s application of the truth of Scripture brought great hope not only to himself but to countless others. Calvin believed that even government should be rooted in biblical truth. Government was a covenant between the people and their leaders. Law should be an overflow of biblical truth, as all people, even kings, are accountable to God. Courageously, he emphasized that the government shouldn’t control the church and that resistance to kings is necessary if they require violation of God’s commands. The Pilgrims and Puritans fled persecution, carrying these ideas of liberty in their hearts. These reformation ideas were again stirred to life during the Great Awakening between 1735 and 1750. The Great Awakening, as well as the widespread memorizing of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, unified the colonists and laid a reformed, spiritual foundation for the birth of a new nation. Specifically, the founding fathers of our nation embraced the belief that man is sinful, having been greatly influenced by Calvin’s writing. This vital foundational principle was the reason that our government was designed as a system of checks and balances. The founding fathers knew that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and thus were cautious to not allow one monarch to rule the newly established nation. Because of Calvin’s diligent endeavors the principles of the Reformation spread from nation to nation. His exposition of biblical doctrines were understood and practiced by thousands following him. Calvin’s studying and understanding of truth brought enduring hope.

Darwin and Calvin clearly had opposing ideas. Darwin’s rejection of the Bible as the source of truth resulted in the devaluing of human life and the acceptance of false philosophies such as psychology (see my dangers of Psychology posts parts 1 and 2). These ideas bring hopelessness because they bring death. Calvin on the other hand brought hope to many through his thorough understanding of Scripture and belief that biblical truth should rule all areas of life. In indirect ways he influenced millions, birthing denominations, churches, and a new nation. All ideas have consequences. Accepting Darwin’s evolutionary ideas leads to a gloomy, self-focused hopelessness. Embracing Calvin’s belief in Scripture alone leads to a glorious, God honoring hope.