Wisteria Cottage

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I hope I’m not boring you with my links…but I wanted to share this resource because it’s part of the AoG/SK ministry! Wisteria Cottage is a message board for Christian girls aged 13 and up. A “cozy cottage” get together for likeminded young women all over the world, WCF has been going strong for almost four years. Everyone is welcome in the discussions about God, life, love, learning and leaning on Him. I’m not a member of any other message board, WCF keeps me busy enough! But I know that there is definitely something special about this little community of ladies, and what makes it special is the diversity and sweetness of the members themselves. All of them are incredible, unique daughters of the King and even though I’ve never met most of them, I feel as though I know them all. This is a close-knit community between believers such as you can only find in Jesus Christ and the fellowship that comes between those who love Him.A great opportunity to meet sisters that you might not otherwise meet this side of glory, check out Wisteria Cottage today at www.createforum.com/wisteriacottage. Just send me a Private Message on the board or email with the requested information (check the Board Rules for more info) and I’ll approve you as soon as I can.  See you there!

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White as Snow – Back from Winter Bible Camp 2008

“I want to be white,” she said. She looked out of the chapel window at the falling flakes and wiped tears from her eyes. “I want to be clean and white and beautiful…like that snow.”
We looked at her in sympathy. She stood tall above us all, sharing. Her voice trembled because it is a scary thing to speak your heart to others. But if the sympathy in my heart was mirrored on my face and the faces of others, she should have had nothing to fear.

I understood what she meant. The cry of her heart was mine as well. I, too, wanted to have a clean soul like the stainless white flakes that fell, untarnished and untouched, from heaven. Is anything more pure and perfect?

And then I think of my own heart. The exact opposite. Festering and disgusting, wormy and gross, putrid and black. Not a good thing about it…not a single redeeming quality. My heart is the poster child of Jeremiah 17:9, my soul is the living proof of the depravity of mankind. All the good opportunities I have been given, all the good examples and role models I see every day, and still I am such a desperate sinner, such a hardened rebel. Not soft and pure and white and moldable, like those snowflakes.

All last weekend at Winter Bible Camp 2008, a time of fellowship for youth groups in our area, the words of the old hymn echoed in my head.

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 Thy courts above.

I knew this was true. I knew that, like a stupid sheep, I was prone to wander. No matter how many green pastures and still waters the Good Shepherd leads me to, still my heart is wayward, and I long for my own way.

But then another refrain comes to mind.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within Me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord,
And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of my salvation
And renew a right spirit within Me.

I know He will do it. Psalm 18 proclaims that by my God, I can leap over a wall. Everything is possible for Him, even removing my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh. And He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

I watched the snowflakes flutter silently to the ground outside the window of that chapel, painting the evergreens and covering the mountains. I know how black my heart is. But still I can sing to the God who is ever faithful to answer my prayers, still I can trust in Him who sees my heart as white and my sins as forgiven because of His blood. I know He is trustworthy, and I know He’s not done with me yet. Nothing but the blood of Jesus, nothing but the love of God, nothing but the power He possesses, could give me this assurance. None but Him could do this work. But He will do it, and I will be faithful, until the day I stand before my Savior, with my heart white as snow.

White as snow, white as snow,
Though my sins be as scarlet
Lord I know, Lord I know,
That I am clean and forgiven.
Through the power of Your blood.
Through the wonder of Your love,
Through faith in You I know that I can be
White as snow.

Have a good day…

It’s a cold day where I live.  Rained last night and this morning the sky looks overcast and undecided.  Not warm enough to go outside, but not cold enough to feel anything but nervous and restless.

How is the weather where you live?  Is it snowing, hailing, raining, sleeting?  Is the sun shining or hiding?  Do you feel like riding your horse, working in your garden, running or playing soccer?  Or are you in the mood for a good hardcover book, your grandmother’s quilt, a cozy fire and a cup of mint tea?  Maybe you have plans to spend time with a friend, write a few letters or finish some school.  Is today going to be a productive day for you, or a restful one?

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you live, I hope your day is wonderful, and I hope you remember 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, than, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  Remember that, in Him, even the smallest and most menial tasks can be used for His honor.  And even a little kindness done to “the least of these” is seen and remembered by your Savior.  God bless and have a great day.

Follow Him

“Follow Me.”

The man stands on the bank, stretching out the rough hands of a carpenter. The fishermen look at Him, their long, knotted nets still in their hands, surrounded by an abundant catch. Fish flop on the deck, their scales shimmering in the sunlight, their mouths gaping, gills pumping. They fill the bottom of the boat. Such a catch these fishermen have never made. But they have forgotten it.

“Follow Me,” He repeats, “And I will make you fishers of men.”

The Sea of Galilee is so beautiful today. Blue such as blue never was since time began, gleaming, shining in the hot summer sun. The sunbronzed arms and faces of the Galileans bear witness to the heat of that sun. The children and dogs run and laugh on the hot sand, and wooden boats fill the sea and dot the shore. And all of them know that with a catch such as this…oh the money that could be made! Greedy eyes watch them. But the fishermen do not notice. They do not think of what they are leaving behind. They want to follow. They leave behind their boats, the pride of their lowly lives, leave behind their catch of fish, leave behind their painstakingly knotted nets.

And they follow Him.

What are they following? A traveling rabbi with no home, but with the words of God in His mouth and the miracles of God in His hands. They will follow Him for three years. They will watch signs and wonders such as the world has never seen before, they will hear the authoritative teachings of a man who is more than a man. They will follow Him to His death, watch one of them betray Him, they will run from His presence in fear as He pays the penalty of a criminal; He, who committed no sin. His blood will atone for millions. It will atone for them. These fishermen will see Him alive again, the scars in His hands and side bearing eternal witness of the sacrifice He made. They will see Him ascend to the heavens and strain their eyes toward the skies, watching for His return. They will preach His words and spread His message for the rest of their lives. Once lowly and trembling, they will have gained courage and strength. They will die in His service…all but one a martyr’s death…with the songs of heaven on their tongues and the hope of glory in their hearts. One second they will see the lion’s mouth, and the next, the face of their Savior.

All because He said, “Follow Me.”

All because they obeyed.

So what of you? How much have you given? Will you follow Him? Will you receive an eternal reward? Or will you stay with your wooden boats and your knotted nets and let the Son of glory pass you by? Will you be so busy gutting fish that you neglect the opportunity He gives You? Will you be so intent on earthly treasure, that you reject the heavenly? That treasure which is eternal and incorruptible and priceless and imperishable? Will you ignore it for fondness of this world? And when He asks you, “Follow Me?”, will you go?
Will you tread in His footsteps and enjoy life and life abundant? Or will you wait by the boat and ignore the Savior’s call? So busy with your life and work, so stuck in the rut of menial existence, that you are afraid to risk everything and follow Him?

This day, the choice is yours. Which will you choose?

“A ‘sure enough lady’ doesn’t pretend to be,
she is.

The lady heart comes first.

Then, the ‘sure enough lady’ must have a lady mind, knowing how to talk and think about things that really matter.

Third, a lady will keep her body as strong and as beautiful as possible, for in this way she expresses her heart and mind.”

-Harold Bell Wright

Christa-Taylor

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I’m so excited to recommend one of my favorite resources!  The Christa-Taylor store. 

Christa Taylor is like many Christian young women in that she sees a problem with our culture’s immodest, unladylike way of dressing.  However, she is different in one way.  She has decided to do something about it.

I love the friendly and helpful customer service, the prompt shipping, the hand-picked feel of each product, and the giving mindset (30% of all proceeds go to charity!).  Christa-Taylor has providd the best and most rewarding online shopping experiences I’ve ever had.  And forget your ideas of frumpy modesty.  These clothes are both beautiful and chic.

This is business done in a Christ-like way.

The Urgent and the Important

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It’s hard to be a Christian in America.
     
That may not be a statement you hear very often.  After all, isn’t it harder to be a Christian in Iraq, Korea, China, Pakistan or another persecuted country?
    
In a way, yes.  Here in America (and other countries like Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, etc.) we have the freedom to gather publicly to worship God, sing praises to Him, and read His Word.  We can have a Nativity scene on our mantelpiece at Christmastime and display a cross in our window at Easter.  We can put a fish symbol on our car and wear a crucifix necklace, if we want to.  We can carry Bibles and sing hymns and worship songs.  We can listen to Christian radio stations and pray publicly before our meals.  We have the freedom to worship God as we choose, and that is a beautiful priveledge.
     
Books like “Jesus Freaks” and “Foxes’ Book of Matyrs” document dozens of martyrdoms and cases of persecution which have occured around the world, over the centuries.  Organizations like Voice of the Matyrs strive to remember and protect these individuals, but the persecution mounts nonetheless.  Many, many Christians even today are tormented and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Our freedom is an unknown experience for many.
    
But that doesn’t mean that being a Christian is easy in America and other equally free countries.  Living the life of a Christian is difficult anywhere you live.
     
Why?  Because our culture is obsessively materialistic.  Living in the USA, we are constantly bombarded by distractions and temptations.  Though it is easy, on the surface, to make the commitment to follow Christ, the actual following out of that is difficult.
     
Satan brilliantly spins a web of urgency, of work, of home matters, of distractions, and of business, to keep us chasing our tails all our lives, and out of the true battle of God.
    
In my own life, it’s so easy to let school, music, horseback riding, friends, family, even good things like Apples of Gold, distract me from focusing on God.
   
Do this now: write out a list of the ten things that most occupy your time.  Is one of them your faith?
   
The truth is, your relationship with God should be the ultimate priority of your life, encompassing all else.
   
That does NOT mean that you should ignore your responsibilities and your family.  This isn’t encouraging you to sell all your possessions, quit your job, leave your family, and head to the mountains to live in a cave and live the life of a monk or a hermit.  That isn’t the extreme we are called to.
    
But perhaps there are things in your life that are keeping you from worshiping God and glorifying Him alone.
     
You should provide for your family, be a responsible citizen, get an education and help others.
    
But these should not be seperate pursuits.
     
Our life shouldn’t be a series of boxes labeled “Work”, “School”, “Family”, “Recreation”, “Christianity”, “Volunteer Work”, “Civic Service”.
     
Instead, our Christianity should influence and determine and dominate and saturate and infiltrate every single thing we do.
     
Not only should the morals of Christianity be applied to everything we do, but also the realization that everything we do should be for God’s glory, the good of His people, and the furthering of His kingdom, should completely transform our attitude and mindset.
And we also need to learn how to prioritize.  An article was once written called “The Tyranny of the Urgent”.  The title is so intriguing to me.  Truly, the “urgent” is constantly dominating our lives.
      
We all make excuses for why we don’t have time for God and His people.  This is the tyranny of the urgent in practice.  What we need to do is to learn to differentiate between the urgent and the important.  We need to learn to prioritize.
     
What is dominating your life?  What is keeping you from serving God and focusing on Him to the max?  Is your heart sold out to Jesus Christ?  If not, what is keeping you back?  What competes for attention in your soul with worship to your Heavenly Father?
      
Stop.  Pray.  Nothing is more urgent than this…not your ringing phone, your list of e-mails, work, nothing.  Ask God to help you focus on HIM.  Ask Him to help you prioritize your life.  Cut out distractions.  Focus your heart fully on Him.  Ask Him to help you balance the urgent with the important.  To be a responsible person whose life is centered on Him.  That others may notice.  That we might shine as lights in a dark world.
     
That we not waste the one chance we have to give glory to the Savior who loves us.
     
That we not go through life with an irrelevant, unimportant, unnoticed faith.
   
That we are remembered as people who were sold out for Jesus Christ.
    
That we unforgettably impact the world around us for Him.
    
Dear Lord,
Help me.  Strip away the distractions.  Tear away the things that keep me from worshiping you wholly.  Forgive me for my idolatry.  Let me me completely devoted to YOU.  Thank you, Jesus, for loving me and giving your life for me.  Let me give my life to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.