Wednesday, December 29, 2010

40 Evidences: day 4

31. You enjoy certain sins and want to hang onto them. You are unwilling to give them up for Christ.
32. You are not grieved by sin – it’s no big deal to you.
33. You are consistently allured by certain sins.
34. You are self-righteous--more concerned about sin in others’ lives than in your own.
35. You are more concerned about having the right position than the right disposition.
36. You tend to hold tightly to money and things, rather than being quick to give to meet the needs of others.
37. You rarely give sacrificially to the Lord’s work.
38. You rarely have a desire or burden to give, when you hear of legitimate financial needs within the Body, your church, or a ministry.
39. Accumulating and maintaining material “things” consumes more time and effort on your part than seeking after and cultivating spiritual riches.
40. You have broken relationships with other believers that you are unwilling or have not attempted to reconcile.

Resource of Nancy DeMoss. You can find the whole list here.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

40 Evidences That You May Have Left Your First Love: day 3

21. You are formal, rigid, and up-tight about spiritual things, rather than joyful and winsome.
22. You are critical or harsh toward those who are doctrinally off-base or living in sin.
23. You enjoy secular songs, movies, and books more than songs or reading material that point
you to Christ.
24. You prefer the company of people who don’t love Christ, to the company and fellowship of
those who do.
25. You are more interested in recreation, entertainment, and having “fun” than in cultivating
intimacy with Christ through worship, prayer, the Word, and Christian fellowship.
26. You display attitudes or are involved in activities that you know are contrary to Scripture, but
you continue in them anyway.
27. You justify “small” areas of disobedience or compromise.
28. You have been drawn back into sin habits that you put off when you were a young believer.
29. “Little” things that used to disturb your conscience, no longer do.
30. You are slow to respond to conviction over sin – or you ignore it altogether.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

40 Evidences That You May Have Left Your First Love: day 2

11. Your heart toward Christ is cold and indifferent; not tender as it once was, not easily moved
by the Word, talk of spiritual things, etc.
12. Christianity is more of a checklist than a relationship with Christ.
13. You measure spirituality (yours/others’) by performance rather than the condition of the
14. Christianity is defined more what by what you “do” than who you “are” (“doing” vs.
15. Your obedience and service are motivated and fueled by expectations of others or a desire to
impress others, more than by passion for Christ.
16. You are more concerned about what others think and pleasing them, than about what God
knows and pleasing Christ.
17. Your service for Christ and others is motivated by a sense of duty or obligation.
18. You find yourself becoming resentful over the hardships and demands of serving Christ and
19. You can talk with others about kids, marriage, weather, and the news, but struggle to talk
about the Lord and spiritual matters.
20. You have a hard time coming up with something fresh to share in a testimony service at
church or when someone asks, “What’s God been doing in your life?”


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

40 Evidences...

That you may have left your first love--Christ. First 10 will be posted today.

1. You can go hours or days without having more than a passing thought of Him.
2. You don’t have a strong desire to spend time with Him.
3. You don’t have a strong hunger for the Word; Bible reading is a “chore” – something to
mark off your “to do” list.
4. Spending time in prayer is a burden/duty rather than a delight.
5. Your worship is formal, dry, lifeless, merely going through the motions.
6. Private prayer and worship are almost non-existent . . . cold and dry.
7. You are more concerned about physical health, well-being, and comfort than about the wellbeing
and condition of your soul.
8. You crave physical food, while having little appetite for spiritual food.
9. You crave human companionship more than a relationship with Christ.
10. You spend more time and effort on your physical appearance than on cultivating inner
spiritual beauty to please Christ.

(resource of Nancy DeMoss)


Monday, December 20, 2010

X-Ray Questions: day 4

28. What are your characteristic fantasies, either pleasurable or fearful? Daydreams? What do your night dreams revolve around?
29. What are the functional beliefs that control how you interpret your life and determine how you act?
30. What are your idols and false gods? In what do you place your trust, or set your hopes? What do you turn to or seek? Where do you take refuge?
31. How do you live for yourself?
32. How do you live as a slave of the devil?
33. How do you implicitly say , ‘If only…’ (to get what you want, avoid what you don’t want, keep what you have)?
34. What instinctively seems and feels right to you? What are your opinions, the things you feel true?
35. Where do you find your identity? How do you define who you are?

See posts below if you haven't already.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

X-Ray Questions: day 3

19. Whose coming into political power would make everything better?
20. Whose victory or success would make your life happy? How do you define victory and success?
21. What do you see as your rights? What do you feel entitled to?
22. In what situations do you feel pressured or tense? Confident and relaxed? When you are pressured, where do you turn? What do you think about? What are your escapes? What do you escape from?
23. What do you want to get out of life? What payoff do you seek out of the things you do?
24. What do you pray for?
25. What do you think about most often? What preoccupies or obsesses you? In the morning, to what does your mind drift instinctively?
26. What do you talk about? What is important to you? What attitudes do you communicate?
27. How do you spend your time? What are your priorities?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

X-Ray Questions: day 2

10. Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, escape, pleasure, security?
11. What or whom do you trust?
12. Whose performance matters? On whose shoulders does the well-being of your world rest? Who can make it better, make it work, make it safe, make it successful?
13. Whom must you please? Whose opinion of you counts? From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection? Whose value system do you measure yourself against? In whose eyes are you living? Whose love and approval do you need?
14. Who are your role models? What kind of person do you think you ought to be or want to be?
15. On your deathbed, what would sum up your life as worthwhile? What gives your life meaning?
16. How do you define and weigh success and failure, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, in any particular situation?
17. What would make you feel rich, secure, prosperous? What must you get to make life sing?
18. What would bring you the greatest pleasure, happiness, and delight? The greatest pain or misery?


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

X-Ray Questions: questions to identify idols

If you read my last post, you know that I encouraged you to think about and pray about what God wants you to do next year.  In addition, I want to give you some resources that I'm using to help identify the areas I need to change, and in what ways my sin is affecting how God wants to use me next year.

So, for the first resource, I'm dividing these 35 questions up so you can think about them in more depth.  This is a resource from New Attitude (now called NEXT) that I found here

1. What do you love? Hate?
2. What do you want, desire, crave, lust, and wish for? What desires do you serve and obey?
3. What do you seek, aim for, and pursue?
4. Where do you bank your hopes?
5. What do you fear? What do you not want? What do you tend to worry about?
6. What do you feel like doing?
7. What do you think you need? What are your ‘felt needs’?
8. What are your plans, agendas, strategies, and intentions designed to accomplish?
9. What makes you tick? What sun does your planet revolve around? What do you organize your life around?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

End of the Year Reflections

I can’t believe this year is nearly over. As this year comes to a close, I’ve been processing some various things. What God has taught me this year. How He wants to me to use what He’s taught me this year to implement changes in my life this upcoming year. Praying about what I need to do next year. How I need to spend my time when college is done. What ways I can further His kingdom. How He wants to accomplish His will in my life.

When I think about all the different things that could happen and all the choices, I just have to say, “God, I don’t know. Show me what Your direction is for me this next year.” Because while there are so many things I could do, I want to do what God has clearly shown me that He wants me to do.

God has been faithful. I’m amazed as I look back over this past year at all that has happened. And I think this next year will hold even more. Maybe unexpected turns, perhaps things I don’t want to do, but nevertheless, learning and growing experiences.

The next few weeks I want to encourage you to take the time to “review” this past year. Write down and see how God has worked in your life—what He has taught you, how He has grown you spiritually, how He has led and guided you throughout this year. I want to encourage you to consider what He is asking you to do next year. I want you to think about what idols and things are pulling you down and keeping you from being fully useful to God. As I do these things, I want to encourage you to do the same.

So start out with these two questions:
Ask God, “What have you taught me this year?”
And then find the way to use what He’s taught you by asking, “How can I implement changes in my life based on what I have learned this year?”

“May I live by Thee, live for Thee, never be satisfied with my Christian progress but as I resemble Christ.”
Valley of Vision


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Must Watch Video

I'd never heard/watched something by Eric Ludy before I saw this on another blog. Powerful video. May we become the prayer warriors, the intercessors, to stand in the gap.

(If you can't see this video, you can go here)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


“I know not a word which can express the surprise and wonder our souls ought to feel at God’s goodness to us. Our hearts playing the harlot; our lives far from perfect; our faith almost blown out; our unbelief often prevailing; our pride lifting up its accursed head; our patience a poor sickly plant, almost nipped by one night’s frost; our courage little better than cowardice; our love lukewarmness; our ardour but as ice—oh, my dear brethren, if we will but think any one of us what a mass of sin we are, if we will but reflect that we are after all, as one of the fathers writes, “walking dunghills,” we should indeed be surprised that the sun of divine grace should continue so perpetually to shine upon us, and that the abundance of heaven’s mercy should be revealed in us."
-Charles H. Spurgeon

There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  But let us not forget amidst the joy of the holiday, gratitude for our family and friends and temporary possessions how much mercy God has shown us.  We should be forever grateful.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

National Bible Bee

We just returned from a week long vacation. We drove up to Schaumburg, Illinois (right outside of Chicago) to watch my brother compete in the National Bible Bee! While the Bible Bee itself was only Thursday night through Saturday, we spent 3 days driving there and three driving back, spreading it out to visit some family and friends.

My brother made the top 100 in the senior division, so it was very exciting to attend the special national event. The event was incredibly well done, and so great to be a part of. It was amazing to watch the 300 kids from the different age divisions walk up to the stage to be honored for their hard work. These kids were absolutely amazing! We watched child after child, teen after teen walk up to the microphone and quote passages (many very long and difficult) absolutely perfectly. I think the 1 Peter 1:3-25 passage we heard the most, as we watched at least 5 contestants quote it in the finals, 3 of which were between the ages of 7 and 10.

I also had the opportunity to meet a fellow blogger, Sophie, while we were there, a contestant in the senior division of the Bible Bee. Also, at the formal dinner/closing ceremonies we got to worship with Keith and Kristyn Getty and see Doug Phillips, who we were unaware were going to be there.  

What a blessing that these young people have hidden so much of God’s Word in their hearts! It will reap so much reward in their lives, and God could use them in such mighty ways. It’s exciting to watch, but also encouraging because if those young kids can memorize so much Scripture, I should be able to as well!

Consider participating in the Bible Bee next year. What a great way to hide God’s Word in your heart, and watch many around you do the same!

P.S. Wanna see what the Chicago Tribune said about it? Read this article.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Prone to Wander

“They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.”
Psalm 106:20
Lord, how could the Israelites, who had witnessed the wonders You had done for them, experienced Your incredible power and seen Your marvelous work in their lives turn to an ox—something so worthless and that could do nothing for them?

But God, how easily do I run to idols I create—things that are futile and vain? How quickly does my heart wander from You even though You have saved me and done so much for me?

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Your courts above
(hymn: Come Thou Fount)

“Keep me at all times from robbing Thee and from depriving my soul of Thy due worship.”  Valley of Vision 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

May we learn and take heed from the choices of the Israelites, being careful not to turn to other things instead of to Christ alone.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The blog post I don't have a title for but that you should read anyway :)

After thinking for several minutes I could not think of a title that encapsulates the content of this post.  So just read it if you'd like to find out.  :)

Everyone started following my blog when I stopped writing—or at least writing consistently. I’m glad you’re following, it’s just kinda funny you start following about the time I stop posting. But here I am, and I shall attempt to post for you.

I’ve been working on a 10 page essay (double spaced anyway) for my ethics seminary course. It’s 12 pages long right now; when I started I didn’t know how I was going to get that many words out, and now I’m wondering how to cut back! I’m writing on abortion and euthanasia, important topics for Christians to know where they stand and what a biblical response is to such issues. I’ve considered posting parts of my essay on my blog, but in no way would I expect you to read all 3,800+ words. ;)

This past weekend my family and several families from our church attended GfBC’s Semper Reformanda conference, where we were blessed to hear Pastor Paul Washer. I think each member of my family took a lot away from what we heard from him. I could hardly take notes—I sat there motionless, listening and trying to take in everything he said, and being convicted all the while. I really encourage you to listen to some sermons by Paul Washer. They are definitely worthwhile. Paul Washer always asks hard questions, makes statements that challenge and convict you, and gets right to the heart of the issue. Here are a few things that spoke to me from this weekend:

“Just by watching your life, what do people see when they look at you?” Does the light of Christ shine so brightly in my life that those around me, whether they know me or not, can see that Christ is in me? Henry Blackaby has an excellent way of putting it when he says: “The light of Christ ought to shine so brightly through you that those practicing darkness are uncomfortable when they are around you.”

“We bear fruit only to the degree that we are in the vine…One of the reasons the churches aren’t being fruitful is because we’ve become busy doers.” It’s so easy for me to get caught up in day to day life and forget to focus on what is most important—a relationship with Christ. I can thoughtlessly become a busy doer, doing things that are right, or serving for Christ (so I think), but neglect the most important aspect of serving for Christ, and that is being empowered by Him moment by moment. Yes, we are to glorify God in all we do, but in order to that we must seek Him earnestly and meet with Him in private daily.

Paul Washer also stressed the importance of private prayer in such a sense that we meet with God, saying we need to be on our knees for an hour each morning. He said that it’s harder to pray than read the Word because our flesh wants to have that knowledge and look good. So he emphasized that we need to make prayer and meeting with God a priority, sacrificing to spend time with Him.

On top of that, my dad preached out of Romans 12:1 Sunday—on being a living sacrifice. He talked about how that involves giving every part of us to God so that He may use it for His service. After all, if we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, He deserves all of us!

May the things I learned not merely be head-knowledge, but a reality in my life, because merely head knowledge is futile, but a broken and contrite spirit, a transformed heart, a life walking in the power of the Spirit—that’s what God desires.
Soli Deo Gloria!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First...and Last Post of September

This is the update post that no one probably reads. But if you want to know why I haven't posted in a while, you'll get an idea. :)

Life is as full as ever as I’ve begun to adjust to my college workload for this semester, fulfilling my obligations at home, running errands (with my somewhat newly acquired license) and various other tasks. Teaching piano six hours a week and teaching a CLEP study group an hour and a half a week are a couple things that fill my afternoon time. A year ago I was teaching four piano students, and now I have tripled that!

As a senior in college, I’m actively working to acquire all my needed credits to graduate next spring. Currently I’m taking a seminary course on Christian Ethics through a seminary extension, working on an online photography class through my college, and studying for a DSST test. My siblings are doing school Tuesday-Saturday, and I’m doing at least some school six days a week, partially because of when assignments are due and because Friday is a light day of school for me because I start teaching piano at 12. I’m getting near the end of my degree completion and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s still involving a good chunk of time each day since I’m not solely studying for tests but actually taking classes as well. My degree plans have changed since I graduated from high school last semester, but it’s all working out well. God is good.

As you may have noticed, my wonderful sister has been working on my blog design. I’ve had the same header, template and colors since I started blogging over 2 years ago, and since then I’ve considered re-doing it but never got around to it. My wonderful sister Katie designed my blog header and background. What do you think?

Blogging has been one of the very last things on my agenda. And that would be pretty obvious since I haven’t posted in over a month. Despite my lack of writing on my blog, I have been writing a little for my ethics course. In fact, I mentioned to a couple friends that I could post my writings on those topics, but for some reason they graciously turned down my suggestion. ;) Actually, in the future I may post some of things I’ve concluded as I sort through them in my own mind. We shall see...


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Emotions: a personal example

I’ve had experiences where my feelings have conflicted with what I know I should do. And if I was to boil those down to one thing I’ve learned each time, I’d have to say it would be trusting that God’s way is best. It’s not wrong to be disappointed if something doesn’t go the way we expected, or to be saddened by a circumstance we’ve been confronted with. But no matter what the circumstance, we should not allow our feelings to turn to anger or bitterness, but must trust that God’s ways are higher than our ways. We have to turn those thoughts and natural inclinations to God, asking for His power to have a response that would honor Him.

The truth is that we don’t see the big picture. When my dad first informed me that we were going to start the church we’re presently at, I was resistant. We had only been in that city for about 8 months. The church my dad had started wasn’t growing, and dad was considering moving again because there were families wanting the type of church we were trying to start. I had a difficult time learning to trust God, but I remember that every time I would question “Why?” God would lovingly remind me that His ways were not my ways. Ahh…what a sweet truth.

If everything went the way I desired it would be doomed for failure and disappointment. But because God knows better than I, I can learn to trust that no matter what circumstance He allows, it’s for His glory and my refining. Romans 8:28 says that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God sees and knows all things, and He alone can determine what is best for us. Even if it involves unexpected circumstances, changed plans or even tragedy, God uses those for our good.

As I look back now, I can’t believe I ever questioned God’s plan for my family. While at first I didn’t want to move or start a new church, now I can’t imagine being anywhere else, and am so abundantly thankful that God has placed us here. What I initially saw as something negative, God has proven to be a huge blessing.

I share my story because no matter what you’re facing, I want to encourage you to trust that God’s way is perfect. If God were to give us a glimpse of what the future would look like in correlation to whatever we have to face or endure right now, I think we would be amazed at how perfectly flawless God’s plan was. I think we would be ashamed that we ever questioned why or even asked God to do things our way. I’m so grateful that God has been gracious to me even when I’ve thought my plan was better and wanted Him to accept MY goals and plans.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Emotions, Emotions

Naturally, we want to trust our feelings. We think we know what’s best, especially if we have the facts and believe our conclusion will work the best for everyone…or at least us. And our culture constantly encourages us to trust ourselves. Watch any Disney movie and it will be immersed in that me-centered theology.

In an old blog post following an experience of failing a test, I wrote: “I was prompted again to praise God, despite my feelings that conflicted.”  Funny as it seems, rereading something I wrote reminded me of how we can’t make decisions based on emotions or feelings, and how we have to rely on unchanging truth, not fluctuating emotion. At that moment I didn’t have an overwhelming emotional response that made me want to praise God. Quite the contrary, my feelings were telling me “NO!” because it didn’t seem like my circumstance was worthy of praising God. God didn’t follow my plans and answer my prayers in the way I expected. According to my rationalization, passing a test the first time was the most efficient way to accomplish things, and of course I understand and know what’s best for my life, right?

I only imagine that I do.

Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” This verse is an apt reminder of how my feelings are not to be the source of decisions, because they are not trustworthy. You are never advised or commanded in Scripture to “follow your heart” or “do what you think is right”. In fact, you find the exact opposite. Isaiah 55:8 states “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Making decisions based on what we feel is right is a very dangerous thing, because we become the source of truth—we make ourselves God.

So the next time you talk to someone, you respond to a circumstance you’re facing, or whatever else, ask yourself: Is my response based on what I’m feeling—my emotions—or is my response based on the truth I find in God’s Word, despite how I feel? Immersing ourselves in truth and changing our emotion-filled reactions to truth-saturated responses will not only change the way we think of things, but also affect others.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things to ponder

“I fall short of Thy glory every day by spending hours unprofitably, by thinking that things I do are good, when they are not done to Thy end.”

“Show me how to know when a thing is evil which I think is right and good, how to know when what is lawful comes from an evil principle.”

"May I never rest in a system of doctrine, however scriptural, that does not bring or further salvation, or teach me to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, or help me to live soberly, righteously, godly”

-Taken from the book Valley of Vision.

May our prayers be such as the Puritans before us, who recognized their own sinfulness and did not merely confess outward sins, but what was in their hearts as well. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recommended Reading

Here are some of my favorite books that I've read in the last several months or so. If you're looking for something to read, here are some great ones to get started with!

Lord Change My Attitude
James MacDonald

Through Scripture and good examples, Mr. MacDonald challenges that allowing bitterness, discontentment, rebellion and other sins in our hearts leads to spiritual deserts and inhibits our relationship with God. But he doesn’t leave us there; he reminds us that we need to replace our old patterns of thinking with the opposites.  Whether or not you think beforehand that you struggle with the sins of the chapters, you will find it applicable!

Humility: True Greatness
C.J. Mahaney 
This short book encompasses key components to developing and cultivating a heart of humility.  Mr. Mahaney aptly explains that “The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life.”  With this foundation laid, Mr. Mahaney delves deeper the true greatness in humility. 

Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are 
Brett and Alex Harris
As the sequel to Do Hard Things, this book gives practicals on how to get started doing hard things right now. Additionally, it asks questions to start with to initially find out what kind of hard things you even should be doing.  Whether or not you've read Do Hard Things, you should read this book!

They Found the Secret
Stories of lives of men and women used by God because they released their lives solely to the service of the Savior.

Valley of Vision: Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions 
Filled with rich truth about God and man, these are great to imitate in your own prayer life, or to just read!

Dug Down Deep
Joshua Harris
Joshua Harris’s latest book discusses the importance of studying and understanding doctrine and theology. He exerts that we’re all theologians, and we are getting our theology about God somewhere, the issue is where. Additionally, Joshua Harris reminds not only of the importance of knowing the doctrine, but crucial aspect of living it out. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Everyone’s heard the phrase “be yourself”. And we can understand how most people mean it—they’re encouraging you to not to act like others around you but to show your unique personality. It’s not wrong to encourage others to stop giving into peer pressure or to stop doing things just because everyone else is. Yet when we heard the term “be yourself” it brings to mind some things we’d like to address.

It's directly unbiblical. We are to be imitators of God, to crucify the flesh, to grow up to be like Christ as Christ lives in us, to walk as children of light and to live worthy of the gospel.

We’re sinful, we don’t want to be like we naturally are!  None of us are righteous, we often feel secure in our sin, we think we haven't sinned, we are wise in doing evil, and we want to follow our own plans

We’re called to be like Christ, not ourselves.  He is our example and we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.

We have to be careful with the clichés and phrases we use. It’s easy for us to take an unbiblical statement and expand it to make it sound good or even “Christian”. But because it often stems from an unbiblical source, it is weak and doesn’t clearly expound on what we really mean, thus leaving an empty, shallow half-truth.

For Christians, it’s not a matter of acting the way we want or even acting the way we’re naturally inclined. It’s living our lives in such a way that honors Jesus Christ, and choosing to do what pleases Him, ultimately putting the flesh to death.

-Allison and Katie

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What should we fear?

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." 
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Is this true?

I think not! So where can we find a basis for a refutation of this statement? Scripture of course! :)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Prov. 9:10
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt. 10:28
“Now fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness.” Joshua 24:14

We have to make sure that we don’t just accept ideas before taking them to Scripture!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer and Productivity

Summer and productivity are not two words often seen together.  Summer is equated with relaxation, rest, and fun, right?

Summer typically has less busyness, less structure, and thus less productivity. It’s incredibly easy to waste away the summer sitting around and not accomplishing much. So how can we actively prepare for this summer to make the most of our time?

Set goals. Determine what you would like to accomplish. Summer is the best time to try to institute some habits and accomplish tasks that are hard to tackle during the school year.

Establish priorities. What is necessity? What is optional? Choose based on your priorities. Don’t just think of your own personal priorities though; be sure to keep it in the family context. What are your family’s goals and plans for the summer, and how can you structure your time to bless and serve them?

Eliminate distractions. Do you need to take a break from the computer or TV; set aside some things?  Do you need to take a week to make a dent in a specific project or focus on a certain goal?

Put on an others-first, me-last attitude. Summer is the time we often think we should have more time to do what we want to do. But we need to eradicate that selfish attitude and choose to think of others first. This would first involve your family, but then possibly others outside of your family that you need to take the time to serve.

Structure your time. I know having a rigid schedule may intimidate or even annoy you, but structuring your time at least generally will help you better use your time and accomplish what you want to do. When I have a “to do list” or a schedule, I accomplish a lot more because I can focus on what I need to get done, rather than wander, forgetting half the things I need to do.

Embrace accountability. The easiest way to neglect doing something is when you’re the only one who knows about it. If you can get a parent, sibling or friend to do what you’re doing with you, that’s great, but even if they don’t do it with you, have them keep you accountable by asking you if you’re doing it. Even the accountability of someone asking you daily if you’re using your time wisely will be greatly beneficial.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blessing of Protection

God has given each of us earthly protection. Protection is not bad or negative, but a very great blessing, because even God shelters and protects us!  Protection is implemented for our good, despite how it might not always seem that way. 

But we can run from that authority and step away from that protection. How’s that?

When we begin to reject the God-ordained authority, we put ourselves in a dangerous place. 1 Samuel 15:23 states, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as the sin of idolatry."

Our dog exhibits a perfect example of this. We have a golden retriever, who when given the opportunity, will bolt out our front door. Usually he manages to get out in the midst of someone going in or out the front door if the door is held open just a little too long. Once he’s out, he runs free and wild, ecstatic that he has no boundaries. But not being a very smart dog, he has also had multiple close encounters with cars. Because he is not in the boundaries of our home, he is also outside of our protection, making him vulnerable to danger. His roaming free has almost taken his life before and opens him up to whatever is out there.

The same is true with us. When we choose to disobey, we put ourselves in grave danger. We are susceptible to Satan’s influence and grasp. And there will always be consequences for our choices, whether now or in the future. We have to keep this in mind, because it’s easy to think that we’re not hurting anything with our present bad choices because we don’t see immediate consequences. Oftentimes we are tempted to think that we know better than our parents and are wise enough to make our own decisions. Isaiah 5:21 rebukes this attitude by saying “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes”! Disobedience to parents is a serious sin, listed alongside murder in Romans 1:29-31 and 2 Timothy 3:2-3. We’re tempted to wander because sin looks desirable, but we must remember that in the end it leads to death.

Pastor Paul Washer discovered a common factor among street people that he worked with at one time. He described it by stating: “Their life turned for the worst as they began to disrespect and dishonor their parents. It all began with rebellion in the home.” Could it be that those people were facing some of the consequences for disobedience and dishonor to their parents?

I say all this to encourage you to embrace the blessed protection God has provided in your parents. Even if you think they are being too strict or limiting your freedom, keep in mind that they are doing it for your good, and God will bless you for submitting to their authority. It’s not a matter of who is right or whether you agree or disagree with them—it’s about obeying God’s Word and honoring your parents by your attitude and actions.

Let us strive to obey the Lord by completely and joyfully submitting and obeying our parents!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Tribute

Hours upon hours of mom’s diligent lesson planning and teaching.  Learning to spell words like Pennsylvania, chauffeur and license.  Singing songs about the digestive system and tracing ourselves to create the anatomy of the human body.  Counting rubber frogs in early math.  Memorizing prepositions and times tables.  Literature read alouds.  Writing paragraphs for history.  Learning how to keyword by practicing with Aesop’s Fables.  Creating numerous history lapbooks about what we were studying.  Working through Algebra with dad.  Translating Latin stories and attempting to learn the declensions and conjugations.  Worldview discussions.  Learning how to refute secular philosophies. 

These are some of my memories from my 13 years of homeschooling.  My parents have accomplished the momentous task: their first child has made it from kindergarten through high school all from home.  Without their commitment, diligence, and work I would not be finished with high school today.  It seemed like that school yearbook I have filled out at the end of each year would take forever to complete.   And yet here I am, ready to fill its last pages out again, and for the last time. 

My mom especially has done an incredible amount of hard work that I can never repay her for.  Though my meager words can't accurately express the honor she deserves, today I would like to take the opportunity to thank her.  Mom, throughout the years you have sacrificed your time and energy to teach me, even though your efforts haven’t received the accolades and praise you so deserve.  Instead of looking for a job elsewhere you have been content to work industriously and attentively at home.  You never gave up when it was difficult, when I didn’t understand something or when I didn’t do what I was supposed to do.  Thank you for your commitment to your children and for fulfilling the biblical command to teach and train us.  Your choices will reap fruit for generations as your children seek to teach their children at home just as you have taught us.  Thank you!

*If you're a homeschooler, your mom does a tremendous amount of work each year in order to teach you.  Make sure you take the time to thank her for it!  :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Complaining vs. Thankfulness

What’s the difference between complaining and “expressing dissatisfaction”? 
Have you ever thought about it?  In expressing dissatisfaction, you do something to fix what you are unpleased with. You may convey that you don’t like something, but you are willing to be a part of the solution to fix it. With complaining, you just sit by and acknowledge all the problems you notice without a willingness to help change it.

Simply put, complaining is blaming God: it’s telling Him that He’s doing the wrong thing. Who are we to tell God that we know better? Think of the consequences the Israelites faced for their complaining—they wandered in the desert for 40 years! The problem is, we often don’t recognize how much we really complain.

“Wrong attitudes are hard to change because they are habitual, harmful ways of thinking about life ‘circumstances’.” Particular attitudes and responses are often so engrained in our thinking that we usually don’t recognize them or notice that they are wrong. For instance, did you know that “venting” is really expressing an angry and complaining heart? Instead of venting we need to practice confessing our anger and dealing with it biblically. But whether it’s outwardly expressed or you simply stew on it in your heart, a complaining and angry attitude is still sin and reaps consequences. We must practice not only confessing sin when we outwardly show it, but also confessing to God when we think it.

Whenever we exhibit a destructive and sinful attitude, we must look to replace it with the opposite. Having a thankful heart in the midst of any circumstance is something we ought to strive to do! Look at the response that Matthew Henry exhibited after being robbed of every penny he owned:
“Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third let me be thankful that although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.”
Wow, think of the impact on ourselves and those around us if we chose to respond in such a way! We should too, because whatever situation or problem we find ourselves in, ultimately as believers we are doing better than we deserve—because all we deserve is the wrath and judgment of God!

Replacing complaining with thankfulness is a moment-by-moment choice. Analyze and evaluate your thoughts, confess any wrong thoughts to God and purposefully put on an attitude of thankfulness!

As always, the power to overcome complaining and develop an attitude of gratitude comes from Christ alone. Only by calling on Him can we have the power to respond biblically in whatever circumstances we may face.

*Inspired by the book Lord, Change My Attitude by James McDonald. All quotes were taken from that book.
*image at the top of this post was created by Katie

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Does Dating Promote?

 The Bible never commands or suggests dating or courtship.  However, there are principles in God's Word that we need to apply, and this is a list I've composed of what I believe dating encourages vs. what the Bible commands (Scripture references are linked to).

Dating Encourages...
Covetousness instead of contentment
Temporary pleasure and feeling instead of lifelong commitment
Giving away your heart instead of guarding it
Selfish love instead of biblical love
A me-focused attitude instead of a God-focused attitude
Flirting with sin instead of fleeing from sin
Compromise instead of steadfastness
Wrong thinking instead of taking every thought captive and dwelling on what is honorable
Acting for other person instead of your true character shining forth
Pleasing the other person instead of pleasing God
Having your needs met by a person instead of by God
Indulging in evil instead of abstaining
Wasting time instead of investing time
Conforming to the world’s ideas and standards instead of God’s
Caring more about externals than the heart
Making decisions independently instead of seeking God and the wisdom of our parents
A belief that we know better than God
Impatience instead of patience
Pleasure instead of commitment
Present-minded instead of future minded
Defrauding instead of treating one another like brothers and sisters in Christ

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Christ's Redeeming Work

As you reflect this weekend on what Christ has done and how He victoriously conquered death, take 11 minutes and watch this video on the powerful work of Christ on the cross. If you can, at least watch the first few minutes.  :)

Because Christ endured the wrath of God that we deserved, and did not stay dead but overcame death, we have great hope and joy in what He has done!  It should bring us to great gratitude and praise to the only worthy Lamb!

"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"
Revelation 5:12

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Things to think on...

Did you read my media post?  I hope so.  If not you can now.  :)
This is a continuation of that topic, or rather some questions that I think are very good to ask ourselves about the media we allow into our lives...

Does it violate the standard of Philippians 4:8?
Would you be embarrassed to watch it with Jesus?
Is it something you have to hide?
Does it cause you to isolate yourself from family members or friends?
Does it cause you to neglect other responsibilities?
Do you have a greater appetite for media, social networking, or entertainment than you do for spending time in God’s Word or in other activities that nourish your spiritual life?
Are you addicted?  (A great way to find out if you’re addicted is to give it up for 30 days.  If you can’t do it, you’re addicted)

If you answered yes to any of the above ask the Lord to help you evaluate your media usage and establish wise boundaries that are pleasing to Him and healthy to you!

Found in the book Lies Young Women Believe.  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Food inspires me...

It really does.  I know, I know, you’re really questioning my sanity now. 

You see, I was reading the Cheerios box the other day and found their motivational tool quite pitiful as well as apt to produce laziness.   How so?  It suggested doing what they called “non-challenging” things.  An example: “Moving a couch is a challenge.  Getting off the couch is a non-challenge.”

This, along with the Doritos bag, is the encouragement we get from our culture.  It’s easier than ever to be complacent when we think we're doing well to get off the couch or eat Honey Nut Cheerios.  In the midst of this common advice of our society, what do we find ourselves doing and encouraging others to do?  Do we applaud doing non-challenging things, and just doing anything?   Or do we esteem doing hard things for the glory of God?  Through our conversations and actions, what are we supporting?  Is it based on what the Bible says, or what the world is telling us?

I'm probably the only one that receives inspiration from the backs of cereal boxes or chip bags.  Oh, wait, I'm not.  :)

I'm in the process of working on other real posts, I just haven't had the time needed to complete them. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's Feeding You?

I’ve discussed influence before and the need to influence others towards godliness. But there’s another source that is often far greater than the friendships we have, and that is media.

Media has a powerful influence over our lives. It’s often music, television, the internet and other media sources that we thoughtlessly allow to shape our conception of truth and our actions. We think we’re pretty aware of what comes into our minds and can handle the corrupt teaching, but this is often the result of thinking too highly of our own abilities and firmness.

“If you are taking in regular or significant doses of music, television, the Internet, and movies, you are being affected by them.”  (Lies Young Women Believe) You may think they don’t influence you, but what are you spurred to do after watching a particular movie? What kind of thoughts does it encourage in your heart? What kind of sin do you see portrayed as okay or even admirable, and have you begun to think that it’s okay for you too?

“Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, movies, the Internet, music and even conversations with friends. You may think that it won’t hurt to be exposed to ungodly ways of thinking in those mediums, but you might not realize how subtly those deceptive philosophies can influence your thinking.”  Lies Young Women Believe  (emphasis mine)

“It all comes down to whether you’re going to let the world’s values, morals, and thinking drip day by day into your system, or you’re going to intentionally choose to be exposed to input that will help you become more wise and godly.” Lies Young Women Believe  (emphasis mine)

We are to take every thought captive, to delight in God’s law, and dwell only on what is right, true, pure and lovely. Passively watching or listening to anything is handing over your brain to the media producers to influence you however they’d like. And this happens all the time. We can’t even begin to realize the depth of the influence that media has had on our beliefs about God, sin, and all theology that follows. Don’t think you’re above the vast majority and won’t succumb to its influence. That’s no excuse for watching anything you please. Instead, if your parents have set up boundaries and standards for what you may or may not listen to/watch, willingly embrace that and don’t push it aside as overprotective! Because of the powerful influence of media, we need to be actively aware of what we allow our minds.
    What it boils down to is this:
  • Do you allow substantial and consistent amount of time in God’s Word and immersion in the ultimate source of truth to influence and direct you, or are you being fed by the media that continually opposes God and His commands?
  • Where is your time spent—are you being fed more by media or God’s Word?   Because you will be fed, you will be influenced. The question is, where
(photo from

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    What does a true believer look like?

    The Botkins hit the nail on the head in terms of salvation in their new documentary. We, the Christian homeschoolers, have mastered being “good” Christian kids. But that’s a major problem. We can follow the rules, we can do the right thing, but all we’re concerned with is being good, not righteous. We want to compare ourselves to others, not to God and His standards. We’re not obeying and following Scripture, and seeking the God who inspired those words. As my last post regarding salvation and in efforts to examine yourself, here’s something I noticed in my Bible commentary.

    These are the areas of life for examination to determine if one is actually in the faith.
    1. The holiness of Psalm 15
    2. The justice, kindness and humility of Micah 6:8
    3. The beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12
    4. The love of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
    5. The fruit of Galatians 5:22-23
    6. The thinking of Philippians 4:8
    7. The basics of 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22
    8. The qualities of 2 Peter 1:5-9
    9. The features of truth, obedience, and love in 1 John
    10. The pattern of Revelation 1:3

    Christians aren’t perfect. We won’t meet the standards in this list to the “t”. But there’s one truth that’s certain: God doesn’t redeem us and then leave us to fend for ourselves. Encountering God brings about life transformation. If you are a genuine believer, you will be changed. You will be sanctified. Not because of anything you have done, but because of God’s faithfulness and power at work in your life. Ultimately then, we should be in awe of the wonderful things He has done, and our lives should glorify Him!

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    "The world has enough women who are popular.  It needs more who are pure.  We need women, and men too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct."
    Peter Marshall
    (emphasis mine)

    May we become men and women of our generation who are more concerned with what God says and His requirements than what the world claims to be right!

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Test Yourself

    We should be able to confirm that our salvation is genuine because of how God has worked in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question our salvation at times. J.C. Ryle wisely expressed,
    “Tell me not of your justification, unless you have also marks of sanctification. Boast not of Christ's work for you, unless you can show us the Spirit's work in you.”

    Paul Washer’s sermon series on biblical assurance of salvation are a good resource in examining yourself in light of the truth in 1 John.  (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)  It's quite long, but definitely worthwhile. 

    In trying to determine whether your salvation is real or not, perhaps you need to ask yourself questions like these…
    What is my motivation?
    Do I desire to read the Scripture? To seek God? To know His heart?
    Who am I more concerned with obeying and pleasing, God or man?
    Am I sensitive to my sin? Am I convicted when I do something wrong? Does that sweet conviction lead me to confession and repentance?
    Do I have holy hatred towards the sin which I once loved?
    Do I have confidence that I have been forgiven and cleansed of my sin?
    Have I seen God’s power in conquering sin in my life?
    Does He give me His grace to obey His commands when I call for it?
    Are there habitual sins in my life that I can’t seem to overcome? Is that because I don’t have the Spirit, or because I’m holding on to that sin?
    Do I do what’s right for others to see, or even secretly because God desires for me to do it?
    Am I content with outward virtue? Is what people see an act, or is it truly my heart?

    Only you can answer these questions. However, this is not a list of questions that if you give the right answers can prove to you that you’re saved. That’s not my intention. On the contrary, these are some questions I began to ask myself as I was seeking clarification if I became a true believer at age 8. Ask God’s Spirit to reveal to you what is truly in your heart.

    Three things should be evidenced in our lives that give us clarity that we have truly been saved by the blood of Christ and His grace through faith alone.
    1. A desire to obey Christ more fully
    2. Sensitivity to our sin
    3. Growing in Christ-likeness (sanctification)

    Only true believers will have an earnest desire to know God, to study His Word and to obey Him in everything. Full obedience means being sensitive to sin and humbly acknowledging and confessing the sin He reveals, and then forsaking it. Through those two things we will grow to become more like Christ as He continually sanctifies us.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    My Salvation Testimony

    I’ve been abundantly blessed to grow up in a home that places Christ at the center.  From a young age, my parents have taught me about sin and my need for a Savior.  At 8 years old, I knew I was incapable of doing what God desired because of my sinful flesh and desired to love and serve God, and belong to Him alone.  I went to my dad to tell him that I knew I wanted God to save me from my sins.  He talked with me, asked me questions, and then prayed with me.  After confessing my sin to Christ, praying for Him to save me and fill me with His Spirit, I remember being so joyful as I went to share the good news with my mom and siblings! 

    From then on I began to read my Bible; I began to share about Jesus with my neighbor friends.  I organized “Saturday Bible clubs” where I tried to share truth about God.  I gradually noticed changes in my attitudes and life.  I was confident that I was a born-again Christian. 

    Through sermons and testimonies the question was brought to my mind: “What if I’m not a true believer?”  Several times I proudly declared in my mind that I must be.  I mean, I had to be.  As the pastor’s daughter I couldn’t just admit to my family and church that I had been faking it!  What would they think? 

    It was that horrendous pride that kept me from examining and searching my own heart.  With other idols beginning to manifest themselves in my heart, I neglected being in the Word and having a consistent daily time of prayer. 

    By God’s grace He used things like sermons by Paul Washer, his wife Charo’s testimony and Homeschool Dropouts to urge me to test to see if my salvation was real.  I still tried to push it aside, to ignore the gentle prodding of the Spirit. 

    But I was brought to a point when I couldn’t run any more.  I couldn’t keep living how I was living.  On January 1, 2010, the Lord brought me to my knees in humility and brokenness.  I knew where I needed to go, and began reading 1 John and various passages from Romans, meanwhile crying out to God to forgive me and save me.  Seeing my complete wretchedness and sinful heart, at that point I honestly thought I wasn’t saved.  After about an hour of reading, confession and crying out in prayer, God brought me to Romans 4:7-8:
    “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
    What a sweet reassurance for a believer!  I had confidence that God had forgiven me.  But at that moment, I wasn’t sure—was this assurance of salvation or salvation?  My parents helped me by asking me questions and encouraging me to ask God to unveil my heart and motives.  Because at that point I could convince myself either way.  I had reasons that I thought evidenced God’s work in my life—changes and desires that had changed.  Things He had taught me.  But at the same time, I saw things that could persuade me that I wasn’t a true believer, and because my salvation was at such a young age, I questioned if I even understood what I was supposedly committing to.  But I didn’t want it to be what I decided; I wanted it to be what He showed to me.

    It was a long 5 days as I prayed, read the Bible and asked God to reveal my true motivations, desires and heart to me.  After all the heart is wicked and I didn’t want to deceive myself into something that wasn’t true. But throughout that time I had great joy and peace, knowing that I was a true believer and that God would show me in His timing.   If I became a true believer on January 1, I wanted to obey the Lord in baptism and testify to my church about how God had worked in my life.

    In the end, the Spirit brought to mind different ways that expressed how God had truly been sanctifying me, teaching me and shaping me over the past 9 years.  I was indeed assured that January 1st brought the confirmation of my salvation to me and that I had been truly saved years before.  What a memorable day and sweet reminder of how God is working in me.  And He has a very long way to go, but I know that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion!  

    "Assurance of salvation is a precious thing, so precious and so necessary that we dare not dilute it with feelings of safety apart from transformed lives."
    John Piper

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    The time has come...

    We knew it was coming. It's been on the back of our minds for months now. But it was finally posted.

    You learn a lot in the first year of blogging, or at least I did. You learn the types of blogs that easily become fruitless and pointless, the kinds of blogs that are too specific to come up with post ideas. We were enthusiastic when we began 4HS. We were going to write about our lives as homeschoolers...what we do, what we've learned, encourage homeschoolers...

    But we quickly lost the momentum as we realized something: we write about our lives as homeschoolers on our personal blogs! No, I don't normally share things that I'm working on in school in such detail, but writing about our lives as homeschoolers is inevitable! ;) While it still wasn't a bad idea to dedicate posts to specifically encouraging homeschoolers, you can read our final thoughts here.

    "Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it."
    Jim Rohn