Summer is coming and the temps are rising. As the sun comes out so does the sunblock- well at least for those of us who are smart enough to pull it out. I am sadly not one of those people… Recently I was at a car wash for a friend from 10:30 in the morning until 5 in the evening, and you guessed it I did not wear sunblock all day! Worst mistake.
Two weeks later and I am still molting like a snake.
Sunburns are a painful fact of a bad decision. A decision not to protect our delicate skin. As I was sitting is service feeling like a lobster and burning up a thought crossed my mind… Sin is like a sunburn on our souls….
Here are the 3 basics to obtaining and healing a sunburn on your soul.
1. Sin the Sunburn
At first being outside in the sun is all fun and games. You dont feel like your burning and you continue on like there is nothing wrong with the fact that you are frying like a french frie. Much like sin. In the midst of sin you feel pleasure. In the moment its nice, seems fun and you dont always see the damage happening on the surface. It is not until after the fun has ended that you realize, “Hey! I hurt!” Just like sin. We enjoy the ride but trip down the steps when trying to deboard the train.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 1 Corinthians 15:56 (NIV)
It is the law of God not to sin and when we do it leaves a scare on our souls. The sting of death. The pain of a sunburn.
2. The Bible the Aloe Vera
How do we heal a sunburn? The most common way of soothing a sunburn is Aloe Vera. Applying helps pull out the heat and take away the sting. Just like the Bible. The Bible is our tool here on earth from God himself to teach ourselves the law and learn to walk in the path of Jesus. When we sin God tells us to forgive ourselves so he may forgive and repent in our way. Where do we learn this? The Bible! Our “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” Applying the Bible to our lives is like applying Aloe Vera to our sunburns. It pulls out the sting and shows the truth and helps us heal our ways.
May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. 1 Kings 8:58 (NIV)
3. Jesus the Sunblock
How do you prevent getting a sunburn in the first place? By wearing sunblock. Jesus is our sunblock to life. He protects and heals. We all know Jesus was sent by God to be perfect and to die on a cross for all of our sins. He protects our souls from our darkest faits. He loves us so much that we can journey away from wrong doing and protect our souls from burning. Use Jesus like you use sunblock. When you are in a hot situation apply him to yourself as a whole.
God so loved the world he sent his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have enternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and bask in his grace. He loves us and does not want to see us scare our souls. Be careful when you put yourself in the heat of things. And my friends as summer approaches take my word, and dont forget to apply your sunblock!
For about 925 million people of the 6.8 billion that occupy this planet, this means life.
If you woke up healthy today you are luckier then 1 million people who will pass away this week. If you wake up to a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your belly, then you are more blessed then 75% of the world. If you are reading this message right now you are more privileged then 3 billion people who can’t.
As Americans it is so easy to take everything we have for granted. Most of us do not know what it is like to go hungry. Most of us do not not know how it feels to freeze overnight with no shelter. Most of us do not know what it is like to come down with even the common cold and not be able to get better because of malnutrition. For those of us Americans who do know how this feels we have put ourselves in that position by choice.
America is the land of opportunity. We are constantly handed things on silver platters and still think we have it bad. We do not realize that there is a very large world around us that suffers everyday. Not every homeless man has the choice to catch a bus and stay in a shelter. Not every child can go to a food bank and get a meal.
In other countries they are not given these alternatives. They must survive on the hope that things may be different some day. Sadly the hope that the life they live may not be very much longer…
For many this means life- Eternal life. A life that is never ending and to the fullest. It does not bring bread to the table but it brings hard working men who work for the bread. It does not put a roof over the heads of our families but it is a hedge of protection.
For many this is also a symbol of judgement. Hypocreicy, slander, and hate. This is the symbol of a “religion” that claims a Holy and Forgiving God with people who do not take a second glance at the dirty and the broken.
Instead of being a beakin of light, it is a road block at the end of the tunnel. Instead of being a compass pointing to peace it is a reminder of crime.
Why today do we use this a weapon? Why have we forgotten what took place on a hill just outside of Jerusalem? Is it no longer important? Is it that it no longer applies to us?
Has man sinned so much we have out-grown the capacity? Has man rotted the world down to the feeble core and dug a hole to deep to be filled? Is it that…
“No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:11 NIV)
We. Are. Saved.
Some live pay check to pay check- they cant afford to give away food. Some are mentally or physically ill and cannot work. But of the 34% (about) of believers, who prays for the weary everyday? Who shares God’s word and speaks with holy lips? Sixty-six percent of this world is spiritually famished and parched. They long for an answer.
Can you not give it to them?..
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:15 NIV)
Take up your cross. Stop letting the world perish. Let it be a sign that the Lord our God is with us, wherever we go.
My youth pastor recently had a sermon on a Wednesday night about 13 Ways to 2013. I took some notes and decided I would share them with you and how I interpreted them for my life.
1. Discover what you want to be.
High School is a great opportunity in life for you to begin the journey of discovering who you are. The decisions you make in High School are going to affect your life forever. The people you let influence you, the classes you take…. It is important to get somewhat of a perspective on who you want to be when you go out into the real world.Now do you have to decide and set it in stone now? NO! Some people don’t find out who they are until they are on your own, but give yourself a goal.
2. How would Sam (from the Hobbit) handle this?
I have yet to see the Hobbit and I have never sat through all of the Lord of the Rings, but from how my pastor explained it, I got that you should have a little perseverance. Drive yourself to accomplish goals and go places you would not normally go.
3. “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again!”
Many people try something new and if they don’t succeed at first they are defeated. Don’t be defeated! Keep your chin up and try again. Practice makes perfect, and one day you will succeed.
4. Allow yourself to be optimistic
Think “the glass is half full.” We are all so pessimistic, and we wonder why everyone is always in a bad mood. Because we don’t believe, we have lost hope. Be more open to possibilities!
5. “The only true knowledge comes from knowing you know nothing.”
Man oh man!- do we struggle with this one. Especially as teens. Let this one toss and turn in your head a few second and really let it sink in. Know that you DO NOT know everything! It is hard, yes, but we really don’t. Even Einstein was said only to know 7% of everything there is to know. Seven percent! That means there is 93% of the knowledge of the world still out there.
6. Putting on more product does not aid in personal hygiene
This can go for both girls and boys. First girls. More makeup does not make you look more pretty. Quite frankly, sometimes it just makes us look like clowns. Try to be more natural with your approach on makeup. You are beautiful the way God made you! Second boys, shower! Just shower. Axe does not fix your boy smell.
7. God is not afraid of our doubt or our questions
God knows we have doubts about were we are going in life, but it is important we remember he is never going to leave our side. Nor is he afraid of our questions. If your absolutely unsure about the path you are on, or why God is doing this to you, cry out to him! He will aid you.
8. A closed mouth gathers no foot
Be wise with your words. They can get you into a lot of trouble and hurt people. Its crucial that we treat others as we would like to be treated including the way we are spoken to. Talk to elders with more respect, siblings with more patience and people with more kindness. You will be amazed how much respect you can get in return if you hold your tongue.
9. Stop and smell the roses
Go, go, go. That is all we ever do. We want so bad to just grow up and do this and do that, that we forget what we have now. Take a moment and enjoy life. Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, focus on today.
10. Don’t date an idiot
This is mainly for girls. Stop dating the “bad boys.” Girls chase bad boys hoping they can change them into good guys. But when it doesn’t happen and they get hurt, they say all guys are the same- but they are not. Just be patient and pray, you have an entire lifetime to find your prince. Most likely, he isn’t going to be in your graduating class. (see Likeable, Dateable, Loveable.)
11. The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith
Have a little faith. You start to doubt your faith ends. No matter what your going through God is carrying you.
12. Some people cause happiness wherever they go, and some people cause happiness whenever they go
Don’t be negative Nancy. People would much rather be around someone who is positive and happy that is going to bring them up and not bring them down. We all know that one person who always has something bad to say. If you don’t your probably that person. Seek joy.
13. There are 2 types of people ones that follow God and ones who do not
The people who follow God are the ones who are going to live by his will for them. Be a follower of God. Be the best example you can for those friends and family you know who do not follow God. Also be careful not to surround yourself with people who don’t follow God. It is a lot easier to bring someone down then it is to bring them up.
Take these 13 tips through 2013 and may God be with you. If you see a change in who you are and how the people around you are towards you let me know! Send an email, or leave a comment. I would be happy to hear about it!
(credits for 13 tips to Tommy Cummins HPNY High School pastor.)
As years go by, people tend to drift away from faith an get drawn into the hustle and bustle of the world. We all get caught up in our lives, living according to society. This is not necessarily a bad thing all the time- but are you still living according to Gods path? This new year, give yourself a new faith and bring God back. This year use faith like a mirror.
How many times on average do you think you look in the mirror in one day? Once, twice, twenty-times? When you walk by a mirror do you stop and look? When you wake up do you go straight to the mirror? Most of us, as visual beings, wouldn’t be able to count the amount of times on our fingers- or toes.
How many time a day do you look at your bible? Or talk to God? Every time you walk by a bible do you pick it up and read? Do you thank god when you open your eyes to another day? can you cant your acts of faith on your hands and feet? Just your hands? Or even on one whole hand?
A lot of people would say that they cant event count 5 times a day, only 5 times of a simple thank you for the day, for the meal.. a small prayer, a bible verse in the morning. God tells us through James, Jesus’ brother, in the book of James that any man who does not use his bible and faith is like a man who goes to the mirror, walks away, and forgets what he looks like. In his passage God is telling us our faith, prayer, bibles, are just as readily available as a mirror. One may pray a prayer and read a bible verse but walk away and forget about it. They don’t use it for everything it is worth. They simply did it, just so they can say they can. The bible is doing what it is supposed to, there is nothing wrong with the bible, just like a mirror does what it is supposed to. It shows us our physical imperfections. The bible shows us our spiritual imperfections. Do you look in a mirror and see spinach in your teeth, walk away and forget about it? Why do we find what we need in the bible, but don’t use it? A foolish man is one who has a mirror around every corner, but does not use it.
Anyone who listen to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:23-24
Use faith like a mirror. Memorize the face of Jesus. Do not be the foolish man who forgets what he looks like.
God loves us. He looks at us and says we are his best creation. We are his favorite design. He wants your love and faith in return for the grace he gave you when he sent his only son. Become more faithful this new year and let the Lord show you all he can do.
No thoughts to make decisions
Accident. Casualty. Mishap.
No air to fill your lungs
Panting. Gasping. Stifled.
No eyes can see around you
Fear. Anxiety. Dismay.
No hand to hold
Lonely. Isolated. Withdrawn.
Nothing to hear
Silence. Hush. Still.
No words from your lips
Speechless. Incoherent. Mute.
No name to your face
Obscure. Nameless. Unremarkable.
No ground for your feat to tread
Limp. Fallen. Stumbled.
No rhythm to your heart
Given up. Abandoned. Deserted.
Twenty-twelve has proved to be a long and stressful year for me. I know many of my friends have also struggle with the blows life sends at us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. God instructs to be strong! Physically and mentally. Do not let people knock you down with criticism. Be courageous. Think outside the box and follow God into places you would not normally go. Do not be afraid. Trust in the lord your God. Trust that God will do everything he is promised. He will not purposely put you in danger, he always has your back. Do not be discouraged. Don’t let people tell you that you cant. If God wants you to move a mountain he WILL have you move a mountain!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Go out into the world this new year and do all God has instructed of you. You will be impressed with all the things you can do!
Everyone who knows me personally, knows that I am a city girl. I like to shop, drink Starbucks, wear sparkly clothes. I don’t play in dirt, you will never see me with any type of animal that cant come inside- cats, dogs- and farming? Forget about it.
At least I thought I would.
Growing up in Colorado, it was easy to be a city girl- Denver is after all a city. When I moved to the southern states I was in for a big culture shock. At first, when I was living with my aunt and uncle, anything to do with agriculture was not a big deal. I lived by a mall, went to a school- where there was not a “redneck” in site, but that’s another story- and my family, like me, has never been into farming. When my mom, brothers and I all moved out to our own place though, I got my first taste of what was coming for me.
We ended up in what I consider the middle of nowhere. Our “downtown” compared to sky scrapping towers, honking horns and men is businesses suits, was now two gas stations, a veterinary office and a batters box. Not exactly what I had in mind. The new school I started was a 360 from the school I came from. Everywhere I turned boys were in wranglers and girls were in boots. I looked like a steak in the bread isle. This became my new norm from 8th grade through my Freshman year of high school.
Come orientation Sophomore year, I am with my boyfriend- yes boyfriend, remember girls BE SMART!- and his mom. They are very active members in the agriculture class, teams, and FFA. As we were making our last stop at the AG department to say hello, my eye caught some fish. I LOVE Fishies! I was all for the different tanks and breeds. I was very excited. His mom and him convinced me, that maybe I should join Foundations, a starting AG class, since after all, I was looking to get one of my classes changes. Conveniently there happened to be a foundations class that exact period I was trying to get out of. That is when, much like my schools, I made a 360.
I have now been in an AG Foundations class for 5 weeks. That’s about 25 days or me learning about FFA and hogs. I am now a FFA member and a new active team member of their Parliamentary Procedure (par-pro) team. Most definitely not what I ever had in mind.
See, God takes us and leads us to try new things. We are not always comfortable with the changes, or fit in right away. I know I felt out of place and was never going to try anything. I was going to live it out for a year and just say it was not for me. I changed my mind slowly though as the year has progressed. Through FFA I am learning a lot more about farming then I ever thought I would. I now know it is not all about some guy in boots sitting on a tractor chewing on grass. Its much more! Through Par-Pro I am learning the fundamentals of debating and how business meetings work. These are things I am going to take with me in my future. I know it.
We don’t always want to take the path God creates, but when we are brave enough to leave our comfort zone, in so many ways, he teaches and grows us.
Take time to think about something that is outside of your comfort zone. Try it out. God may have something planned for you. Am I saying that all city girls should join Ag or FFA? No!- the nail salons could not handle it. Maybe he is calling you to speak to that kid no one likes, or be respectful to that mean teacher or your parents. You never know. Give it a shot, and see where it leads you.
Have you ever wished you never said or done something? If your like me, I do things like this all the time- even if I don’t realize it- and sometimes you can’t take it back. On the lucky occasion you can you should try to make it right. We should not need to make things right. We should try hard to not have to regret anything and sometimes it is challenging. Sometimes we do or say something without thinking, we end up regretting it in the end- either a few minutes later or a few years later- but eventually, regretting it none the less.
These things you regret are called sin. Sin is when you do something wrong in God’s eyes. Sometimes, when someone sins they believe God is no longer with them. Just because you sin does that mean that God is not with you anymore?
No! Jeremiah 51:5 says “The Lord God All-Powerful did not leave Israel and Judah, even though they were completely guilty in the presence of the Holy One of Israel.”
Even though they did wrong God was still with them. Sometimes when you sin you need God even more then you think. Go to God and ask for forgiveness. Admit your wrong doings and forgive yourself. If you try to say sorry and move on, but the world chooses not forgive, accept it. At least you went to God and asked for his forgiveness- which is what counts.
I know how hard it is to try to not say something. I will regret it in the end, especially when I know I was mad. I went from being an only child to having another adult, a ten year-old and a one and a half year-old in the house and having to share a bathroom with them. It was a hard transition, but so far I have lived almost seven months with them. I have said some things I have regretted but I have tried to think through a lot of things before I say them and I have prayed and asked God to help me. I have been getting better but I knew I needed to take the step and ask God to help me.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech… 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
If it wasn’t for God I would probably be regretting a lot of things I have wanted to say. It is hard to try to control what you want to say to people but you CAN help it. All you need is to pray and talk to God, friends that will support you, and you need to try.
Have a blessed week!
Chocolate chip cookies. Who doesn’t love them? I know I sure do. They have to be the most brilliant dessert in the history of after dinner tasty treats. I have had a hard time finding anything better then sitting down with a couple chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk.
Now break away from the rumble of your tummy for a moment.
These past few weeks things have been packing onto my daily plate. Summer started- which means more chores- I started a job and my mom went back to school. Now what does this have to do with chocolate chip cookies?
What is the main ingredient in a chocolate chip cookie?- uuuh the chocolate chips! All the new activities in my life are like chocolate chips in my chocolate chip cookie life. Chocolate chips make the cookie taste, look, smell and even feel good- oh the ooey gooey chocolate. But if you put to many chocolate chips in your cookie what is going to happen? One you will end up with a big chocolate ball or a nasty tummy ache.
It is important to follow the directions on the package to be sure your cookies are evenly portioned out and you end up with the ultimate snack.
When life throws new things at us we usually want to try them out. It is fun to do something unusual and take an adventure. I am taking an adventure now, but as I go along I find myself adding and adding to the little things I started out with and making them big gooey, sticky messes.
Read the directions and packaging of your life. God made all your tasks and adventures specific to you. If your not a good swimmer, don’t take on the new summer Life Guard job. If you don’t like babies or old people don’t volunteer at community centers.
The directions of life are fairly simple. Just like adding water and sugar to flour and chocolate chips to cookie dough.
Do not load up on things that are going to overwhelm you. Keep to Gods plan and keep your self sane. No one wants to talk to a crazy christian- haha. Life is good. Take adventures, try new things but don’t overwhelm yourself and enjoy the treat of living.
Oh ya. You see it. Just sitting there, a coned shaped mound in the middle of your yard. You get an erge… you want to kick it. Blow it to pieces and watch the little bugs scury. Everyone knows the temptation. Its to hard to resist.
How many ants do you think are in there? 1,000?
Do you think they bite? (Ouch!)
They will just build another hill… More to kick in.
Ya! I’m gonna kick it.
WAIT! Hold your foot right there, now look again- this time I want you to think. Think real hard- your still thinking ‘kick’ I can hear it. Ease up. Its not just a pile of dirt, its a home. Individual little lives.
How do you think you would feel if some giant came up and kicked right through your life, and to make it worse, enjoyed doing it? It would not make any one person very happy. Think of this giant as temptation and that hill you want to crush is your life. Every little ant inside represents a piece of who you are. You see Bobby there, he is school, and Joe, thats family. The hill is the mold that holds it all together in one piece.
Everyday we are faced with temptation of all sorts. It rocks our worlds and it enjoys it.
At first, when we see temptation we think “Oh… that kind of looks fun.” Then we step in, enjoy it a little and keep going for more. When we come to a realize what we are doing, we are already in to deep and need help getting out. Its like seeing a bucket and testing whether or not your foot will fit- and you get stuck. You stomp around with the bucket wrapped around your ankle.
I am faced with so many temptations, and they are so hard to be strong through. OH! Like all those times I see the cute shoes at the store. Or when there is that last cookie in the cupboard. I even struggle with harder things, like lieing sometimes, and at one point, stealing. When I was a little girl I had a big battle with theft. I used to take things from all over. One time I even tried Target, but I got caught. Man oh man did I learn that lesson. I am glad I wasnt reported- I was only 6.
I, to this day, have not taken another thing. It is something I chose to ask forgiveness for and move past. God gives me mercy, and love and trust.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” -Mathew 26:41 (NIV)
Thinking back on it now though, these are all things that could have hurt my life. Made my family and friends not trust me. Being banned from stores because of my criminal record.
Temptation will take the rug up under you and make you fall. It will not care, or choose to say sorry, only leave its consequences. I urge you to look at your ant hill. Overcome your giant and embrace the strength God will grant you to just walk away. Your flesh is weak (Romans 8:3) but God is all mighty. He has given you grace to flee temptation.
Do not take something fun at the moment, only to get your foot stuck in a bucket. Do not give in to an impulse, only to rebuild what has fallen.
Love is patient, love is kind
It does not envy, it does not boast
It is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)
I was thinking about this commercial the other day, and it made me think of a bunch of “able” words. Things like, hugable, loveable, likeable came to mind.. then dateable. What does it mean as teens to be “dateable.”
Are you dating? In a relationship? Do you think it will last forever? Sorry to burst your bubble, but don’t lie to yourself- every girl does it. We create a fantasy that has less then a 50% chance of actually lasting. The National Center for Health and Research says “51% of teen marriages end in divorce BEFORE 24.” That’s only 24! Think about all the years you have to live after that and that 49% chance that you are going to get divorced.
Other studies say the average age to get married is 25. Is this your plan? Try this fun math equation- yes I just used “fun” and “math equation” in the same sentence.
25 (average age) – your age = years left until you get married
years left x number of crushes in last month = how many crushes you will have before you get married
I assume you are going to have many crushes and many chances to date before you get married. So be patient.
Now, does this mean teens should not date? NO! That is not what I am saying- I honestly know that I want to- but I want to do it that right way. What are some steps we can keep in mind to safely and wisely date as a teenager?
1. BE SOCIALLY FIT
A common mistake we make is we get super caught up in our crushes and relationships and wrap our world around them like they are a new puppy. Dating is not something that you can sell and give back though, once it has happened, it has happened. Think about the crush or relationship you have now. Think about your friends. Have you talked to your friends since this person came into your life? Have you hung out? We always get so caught up that we forget to look at everyone else around us. We forget to ask how they are doing, what is going on with them. Do not push your friends away. When your craze ends, you don’t want to be in the position where you have pushed everyone away and you are alone.
2. BE PHYSICALLY FIT
“The more you put in, the more ripped apart you will be.” Think about a time that you got really hurt and it left a scare. Can you remember the pain? Now think about where you and your “other half” are in your physical relationship. God made physical connecttion, such as sex, a soul connection. Go back to your memory of that scare and the pain that left it. Can you imagine having that on your soul?! Be wise and protect your body. Set boundaries and rules, if they are broken, have consequences.
3. EMOTIONAL WRECK
Not only do you need to protect yourself physically, but emotionally. Do not go running off and tell your whole life story in one week. Talk, get to know each other, TAKE YOUR TIME! Neither one of you is going anywhere if you are really that “in love.” Right? Slowly introduce each other to what makes you, you. Talk about likes and dislikes, they will get to know and it will take longer before you run out of things to talk about. Giving a person all your personal information at once is like loading a gun with ammo and handing it to a killer. Protect your heart.
4. BE FINANCIALLY FIT
Picture all the money you have, or have saved, in a giant jar. Now picture that jar in the middle of Times Square. Would you just let someone take it and walk away like it’s nothing? NO!- well at least, I hope not. Be careful of how much you invest into your relationship. Spending all your money on someone who is not going to be there forever is just like the jar in Times Square. They will most likely not even remember who bought whatever 10 years from now. It will just be another object that lays around the house. Save your money and spend it on special things that you will both remember being fun and worth it.
Make a reasonable commitment to this person. Not vows, or “I promise to love you forever”, but “I promise to enjoy this while I have it.” Keep your priorities separate. Be mysterious. Make them wonder why you are always so confident. They will start thinking “WOW! This person is really awesome!” Have a Family World, School World, Social World, and Relationship World. Obsessing gets you no where, but to Crazy Town.
6. SPIRITUALLY FIT
I know when most teenagers hear this they freak out, exit from the page and think “What’s God got to do with it?” Really you should be saying “What’s love got to do with it?” Love has everything to do with being spiritually fit. You need to remember the distinction God makes between a couple who are dating and a couple who are married. Read and talk about God together and follow his rules. You will not be in healthy love, if you are living in a love that is a sin. Look to God for the way you do things, and the answers you seek.
Don’t pretend to love others. Really love them. -Romans 12:9 (NIV)
It is a good thing to have relationships and date. If they are done correctly, they will better you for your future marriage. Being careful doesn’t mean you have to be a boring dater, it just means that you are on the right path to meeting that real perfect one. Have fun and enjoy the dating world! There is a lot out there to learn and experience. You can be Likeable, Dateable, and Loveable.