Saturday, March 29, 2014

Busy + Future Posts

Hey y'all,
Sooo, pretty much I was really busy today, and will be even more busy tomorrow. So, I probably won't be posting anything until Sunday!
But I should be posting at least a couple different posts, though.
One will have lots of pictures ;). Me and my sisters are going to a ball tomorrow: and our costumes are amazing.
The other is about something really dear and near to my heart, so be prepared for some sentimentality.
Can't wait to write about it all, and show you pictures!
Well, considering it's 2:00AM, I'd probably hit the hay. Busy day tomorrow!
~Bekah

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm Totally Fine!..NOT

(This is a article I wrote for Project Inspired -- which is actually a re-write of a post/devo I wrote for a group of my girlfriends a couple summers ago. You can read the original here
Anyways, I figured that this particular post deserved a spot here on my main blog, seeing as it's the first article of mine to be published. And (if I do say so myself) it's pretty good.)

This past summer, I went through a pretty tough season in my life. I was betrayed by someone I trusted completely. Not very many people knew about it, though, and I wasn’t about to go and tell everyone about how hurt and messed up I was feeling! So many times over the summer, someone would ask me “Hey, how are you doing these days?” and my immediate, automated, overly cheerful response was “I’m doing great! What about you?”

Thing is, I wasn’t really great. I wasn’t good. I wasn’t even really fine. I was stressed out and tired.

When someone asks us how we are, no matter how we actually are, we almost always say we’re fine, or good. At least, that’s the case for me. My life can be going upside down, all around and jumping through a hoop all at the same time, but if someone asks me how I am, my automated response is “I’m good! How about you?!” Doesn’t matter if I’ve had a dreadful day, week, month or even year. I don’t want to give the impression that anything ever goes wrong in my life. You guys really don’t need to know that I struggle with stuff, so I’ll just pretend I don’t! Smart, right?

Do we honestly believe that we’re the only ones hurting? I mean, are we actually selfish enough to think “I’m the only one who has problems—no one understands”?
Well, for me, the answer is definitely yes.
I can get so caught up in my own issues that I start thinking I’m the only one who has problems. I am the only one who has problems getting along with my siblings. I am the only one who has problems getting along with my parents. I am the only one who has problems with some of my closest friends. I am the only one who was super close to one of my siblings, and then somehow I’m not anymore (they got a boyfriend/girlfriend, they moved away, etc.). I am the only one who has lost a best friend over a stupid rumor. I am the only one who has been betrayed by a best friend. I am the only one who has had mean things said about me. I am the only one who gets misunderstood. I am the only one who has problems with self-worth. I am the only one who doesn’t always do well in school. My parents are the only ones who fight. My family is the only one with financial struggles. My family is the only one who’s had to make major adjustments in the last couple of years.

Wait…seriously? I get so caught up in feeling sorry for myself, I forget that I’m not the only one who’s hurting. I think part of the reason we start thinking we are the only ones with problems is that we tend to try to hide our problems from each other. It looks like we are the only ones hurting because everyone else thinks the same thing and tries to hide their own pain from everyone else! We seem to be ashamed of the fact that we have problems! We all struggle with things, big and small. Everyone has some kind of disturbance, a ripple, on their pool of life. It just depends on how big the rock was that was thrown in! And honestly, we shouldn’t even be feeling sorry for ourselves, even though that seems like the thing to do.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” —James 1:2-4

“And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” —2 Corinthians 12:9

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” —Romans 5:3-5

These verses tell us to rejoice, to glory, to have joy in our tribulations, infirmities, weaknesses and temptations. To me, that doesn’t sound like we’re supposed to be ashamed of them, to try and hide them. Instead of hiding the things we struggle with, we should be open about them. Knowing that others have gone through exactly what you’re going through, or just even knowing that other Christians do struggle, can be such a comfort. Not only can it be a comfort to someone else when you share, but as a general rule, it really isn’t that healthy to hold all the sadness, heartache and pain inside of you. Talking to someone does help. And even when we’re being bogged down by things, it doesn’t mean we can’t also be thankful that we’re going through a tough time because it will bring us closer to God!

What’s even worse than trying to hide the fact we’re hurting from other people is trying to hide it from God. Not that we can, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes we won’t try. It’s almost as if we feel guilty about having struggles. God allows these struggles to make us stronger! Of course He knows all about them, and He doesn’t think any less of us for having them!

Do we actually allow ourselves to believe that God will think less of us for struggling? Uh, God has already seen us in our most vile and weak state of sin, and He still loved us! He died for us! And now we’re thinking that He will look down upon us because we’re going through something that is hard for us? He has already forgiven all our sins. God has never looked down on you. He has loved you, and always will continue to love you! The trials we have are meant to bring us closer to God. If we try to hide what we’re going through from Him, that won’t bring us closer to Him at all! He wants us to fully depend on Him for strength. God gives us struggles so that we can learn to rely on Him instead of only ourselves.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” —1 Corinthians 10:13

I guess what I’m trying to say is: Know that someone always will understand. Even if no one on this whole planet understands you, the one who lives in Heaven DOES. He understands exactly what it’s like, and He cares tremendously. God does give us more than we can handle by ourselves, but that’s the beauty of being a child of the Living God—we don’t have to handle it ourselves. He can handle it for us!

He knows all about your scars from the past, and your gaping wounds in the present. He knows everything about you, and He knows that you can’t make it through your life without His help. And sometimes His help is going to come from the poeple around you and the people you will meet. Which is why you can’t just shut everyone out and pretend like your life is all rainbows and sunshine. I tried that for way too long, and though I was happy in a way, deep down I was in a tortured state. I wasn’t healing because I wasn’t facing the problem and letting God get to work on fixing it for me!

I’m telling you right now that it’s okay that you’re not fine. It’s okay that you struggle with temptations. It’s okay that you’re hurting. It’s okay to go and tell someone about what’s in your heart. If you don’t feel you can trust someone in your life, then go and find someone you can trust. Tell God about your problem and ask Him to bring you to someone you can talk to, and the amazing thing is…He will! God wants to help you, but He can’t do that unless you are open to Him. Maybe you’re not ready to talk to another broken human about what pebbles have been thrown into your pool of life (or maybe they’re boulders?), but you can always talk to the one who already knows it all: God.

Remember, everyone struggles with something, even if they’re not willing to admit it. No one has a perfect life, absolutely no one. You don’t need to be ashamed of what you’re going through, because a true friend can be found, and He isn’t going to judge you for it.
Love in Christ,
~Bekah

PS: I love this YouTube video from Blimey Cow, and it perfectly relates to what I’m trying to convey in this post!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring and Nostalgia

As I walked through the back door I was greeted with the delightful smell of freshly fallen rain, the sting of cold air filled with thousands of microscopic water droplets rushing against my face, the sky filled with dark rolling clouds, and a chorus of birds singing their little hearts out at the top of their trilling voices.

Oh Spring, how I've missed you.

I stood in complete awe for a few moments, just trying not to collapse from the sheer wonderment of it all. I thought my heart would break -- it was all so enthralling.

*A-a-a-a-choo!*

Oh yeah: that. I knew there was a reason I shouldn't be so glad to see you, spring.

Ah well... I love spring anyway! I mean: THE FLOWERS.

There are daisy's, daffodils, and just generally a ton of flowers blooming now. Have I ever mentioned how much I adore flowers? They're so... perfect. Even when they start to wilt, I think they're just lovely, in their own special way.

I wish there was words to describe how much I love this broken old world. I'm eternally grateful that God put so much beauty here on earth.

Oh, and the puddles! I love puddles. I know, it's weird. I've always been fascinated with them -- that fascination may stem from mom forbidding me to jump in them on Sunday mornings in the church parking lot... She let us jump in them whenever we were at home, though! I have an really cool mom.

Spring reminds me of the old place. As a lot of you know, we moved a few years back. Spring there was so amazing!
The winter so mild with occasional snow,
Seems to make the world with beauty glow,
Spring time comes with her beauty and grace,
Her delicate fingers make this a magical place.

That's a stanza from my poem "My Childhood Home"... I wrote it a day before we officially left the old house. You can read the whole poem here

I used to live on a hazelnut farm. Spring there was like walking through fairy land, I'm not even joking. The trees were full of dainty bright green leaves, magnificent spiderwebs were filled with dew drops every morning, the field was the perfect place to go and stare up at the brilliantly blue sky. We had a creek running down by the field, it was magical. I remember the day I discovered a small waterfall surrounded by young trees and tall grass, I was so excited! I always have loved waterfalls, there's just something so... beautiful about them. 

I'm afraid I over-use the word beautiful. But I like how it sounds, and it can convey so many different types of beauty.

We had the largest daisy's there, and SO many blackberry bushes. We actually made a fort inside the blackberry bushes one year, it was pretty epic. The games my siblings and I made up were the best, though. Playing with Jordan the neighbor's kid... And when Benjamin fell out of the tree and broke his arm! Oh my. 

My secret place to go and spend hours on end reading by a giant cottonwood tree...

I miss it all so much. 

There now... I'm crying. *Sigh*. I'm so thankful I had such a wonderful childhood. 

I guess I'll leave you with a couple quotes from the Anne of Green Gables book.

...Winter was over and gone with the thrill of delight that spring never fails to bring to the oldest and saddest as well as to the youngest and merriest.

Everything is new in the spring... Springs themselves are always new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness.

Thanks for that, Anne-girl.

~Bekah

P.s. I officially made it a week and didn't miss posting one day! Woot woot! I'm proud of myself. We'll have to see how long I can keep this up! 
Oh, and that picture is one I took this morning when I was outside. It's the path leading towards the backyard.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Re-Reading Is SO Worth It!

Entirely too often I am caught off guard by something that is beautiful. This world, as broken and disheveled as it is, is still incredibly beautiful. The people in this world, as broken and disheveled as we are, are still incredibly beautiful.

There is so much loveliness that goes unnoticed around us because we're 1) Too busy to notice, or 2) Too focused on things that aren't beautiful.

Even worse then missing the beauty that God has placed in this world, and in the people filling it, is missing the beauty in the word He has given us, too. And, I miss a lot. There are SO many things that I pass over while reading the bible, but when I'm re-reading, I discover something beautiful in the thing that I passed over before. I go back, and slowly catch onto something that I missed before, and it is beautiful.

No matter what though, I never seem to really see all the beauty in scripture, because every time I got back and really look, I find something new! There's always something I had missed before. The upside of this being I'll never be at a loss of something new to learn, or something that I need to re-learn.

It's actually sad how much I have to re-learn lessons.

Anyways, that's not what I was planning on writing about. I was thinking about that because that's how I came to be thinking about the subject at hand, though.

I was thumbing my way through II Corinthians one Sunday morning a while back, and came across a verse I had highlighted (well, one of many that I have highlighted). I read it, and thought something along the lines of:
"I really like this verse because it tells me that God lives in my heart!"
And then started to move on. But, something prompted me to look back, and when I did I saw something even more beautiful than I had originally seen.

II Corinthians 4:6
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ."

Before I had only looked at this verse skin deep: God gave me the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and shown in my heart His brilliant light.

Simple, true.

But as I re-read this verse, I realized that I didn't full comprehend what this meant.

The first thing I noticed when I was reading through this verse again, was that God likened our hearts to something He'd done in the past -- the very beginning of time. So, if I wanted to know more, I needed to understand what exactly this reference was.

Genesis 1:2-3
"And the earth was without form or void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light': and there was light."

Before diving in, can I just say: wow. Isn't it wonderful? God spoke, and there was light. Light came from Him: God is the creator of light. That in itself could be enough food for thought to last for days... Anyways.

The first thng that the verse from Genesis tells us, is that the earth (likened to our hearts in II Corinthians) was without form, or void, and that darkness covered the face of the deep. This tells us a few different things.
1) Our hearts are "without form nor void".
2) Our hearts are covered in darkness.
3) We are deep creatures -- there's more to us then meets the eye.

So far, this isn't a very hopeful picture. We're formless, covered in darkness, and why does it matter if we're deep creatures if we're this miserable?

Thankfully the bible doesn't stop there. The verse continues, and says (paraphrasing here) God's spirit moved in our hearts.

4) God works in us.

And God said "Let there be light"

5) God can, and will, illuminate our hearts.

So what does this all add up to? We are lost, broken, and filled with darkness -- But there is HOPE.

Let's examine these points a little more closely.

1. Our hearts are "without form nor void"

"Form" is defined as: a visible shape or configuration of something; a mold, frame, or block in or on which something is shaped. (This definition is just from the generic definition Google gives when you search for the definition of the word -- sorry, I'm in bed and don't want to go and find a real dictionary!)

So basically, we're being told that our hearts have no frame. Nothing to be based off of. They are without a visible shape.
Well now, isn't that comforting? Just that gives me a sense of despair. It makes me think of something that is lost, and doesn't have any real meaning. Our hearts don't have a solid foundation, which means they're pretty liable to be tricked and deceived because we don't have a definite position to come back to.

"Void" is defined as: completely empty. Synonyms: vacant, blank, nothingness, bare, unfilled, uninhabited.
 Definitely depressed now. Not only are our hearts foundationless, they are also completely empty! They have nothing inside them... It makes me want to cry.

If all this isn't bad enough, it goes on.

2. Our hearts are covered in darkness.

"Darkness": The partial or total absence of light; wickedness or evil. Synonyms: Gloom, dimness, murkiness, shadow, sin, iniquity, immorality. 
Have you ever truly realized how God views your heart? He tells us all of this. That our hearts are formless, empty, void of light, wicked...
I think we're apt to think that we're not really so bad as all that. But we are, even though it isn't something most will admit, or possibly even believe.
Don't these words send chills up and down your spine?! Murkiness. This word fills my mind with thoughts of sluggishness, fog, confusion, the opposite of clarity.
There is a small piece of hope in this point though. It doesn't say that our hearts are these things, but that they are covered in them. It's not a lot, but it is something.

3. We are deep creatures.

I'm not really sure how this is helping my point, but I think it is worth putting in here anyway.
"Deep": extending far down from the top or surface; very intense or extreme.
 We are more than meets the eye. I think this kind of goes with the previous point where I mentioned that our hearts are "covered" by this darkness -- in other words, there's more.

[As a side note: I do believe we are inherently sinful beings. But my point here is that the darkness can be replaced with God's light].

4. God works in us.

Up until this point, it looked pretty bleak for us, I must say. But the fact that God "moved on the face of the deep" tells us that though our hearts are formless, empty, and full of darkness/wickedness: God still will work in us.
I love how the verse specifies that it was the 'Spirit of God' rather than just "God" because it is yet another parallel between the two concepts. The Holy Spirit is what moves in this world now, and it what convicts our hearts and moves in them.
Are you really grasping this?! Despite our broken and sinful nature: GOD WORKS ON US. Why on earth does He do it?! He loves us. He loves us because He created us. He loves us, despite who we are. He loves us even though we are polar opposites of everything He stands for.

Not only does He just work in us,

5. God can illuminate our hearts.

Our hearts are full of darkness, but God can still move in them, and even more importantly: illuminate them with His light. And what does this light do? It gives us the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the savior of sinners like ourselves!

It means more than that too, though. It means that we will have the ability to understand the things in the bible because God can shine a light on them for us.

And although sometimes, (or more like always), we don't see the beauty of it all, God continues to illuminate our hearts! We can count on Hi to teach us lessons -- new ones and old ones. He can shine a light on the beautiful things we so often miss in our daily lives.

Thank you, Jesus!
~Bekah


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Lesson From Music (Part 2)


I sing, a lot. Just ask my family, friends... or basically anyone who's spent any amount of time with me. I always have a song in my heart and a tune on my lips.

You'll always find me with music, whether it's singing along to something, singing by myself, humming, whistling, or at the very least just listening to music. When I was little I made up songs to go along with what I was doing. Actually, I still do that. When I walk through the grocery store I mindlessly hum a tune while picking out onions, sing a duet with myself while searching the shelves for a specific spice, and make up a song about grasshoppers when I grab a block of cheese... needless to say, I get some pretty odd looks sometimes. Whether or not my singing voice is tolerable is beside the point. The weird stares and snide comments I've gotten are also beside the point. 

The point is: I mindlessly sing lyrics all. the. time.

In my post yesterday (A Lesson From Music (Part 1)) I talked about how what we let our minds consume effects our (or at least my) spiritual, and emotional state. I also briefly mentioned that even if you're exposing your mind to things that are good and Godly, it doesn't automatically mandate that you'll be more Christ-centered because of it.

"If you're feeding your mind with what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), then it will be easier for you to have a God-focused life. But feeding it is not enough. You have to work at it, pull the weeds and cultivate the flowers. Becoming someone who is centered around Christ takes work, you can't expect fruit without effort." - Me ;)

It takes work. I am careful about my music consumption because I know how it effects me when I'm not... but even so, I find myself entirely too often singing along to the radio, and not paying any attention to what the words I'm saying are. More on this later.

Sunday morning during church I was caught off guard by that thought of mindlessly singing along to songs as I watched the people around me singing a old hymn. I looked and saw so many different faces, and each one seemed to have a different feeling while singing.
Some were brought to tears (myself along with them)
Some looked so placid that it pierced my heart with grief
Some seemed to enjoy the singing, but weren't listening to the words
Some didn't understand what these words really meant
Some didn't look like they were even in the room
Some faces were filled with joy
Some, with sorrow
Some weren't even singing, only listening
Too many were singing mindlessly

I was in a room filled with Christians, and it struck me to the core that most of the people in that room were singing mindlessly. They weren't interested in what the words to the song were, they were interested in what it sounded like, or were only singing because everyone else was: none of it had any meaning at all for them. We were there to worship God, and be rejuvenated spiritually, and from my quick assessment of the room, most of us were placidly singing some of the most beautiful words ever penned -- in the pretense of praising God.
I don't think that robot-ishly singing words is praise to God, and it doesn't do you any good, either. Praising and worshiping God is not about words coming out of your mouth, it is about what is in your heart.

These are the lyrics to the song that we were singing at the time.

"Man of sorrows!" what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim! 
Hallelujah! What a Saviour! 

Bearing shame and scoffing rude
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He:
"Full atonement," can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

"Lifted up" was He to die,
"It is finished," was His cry:
Now in heaven exalted hight: 
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

This is just one among many beautiful songs that have been written to glorify out Savior. And it's definitely not the only one that has been sung with placidity, and ignorance of the words.

In fact, I do this on a regular basis. I sing, a lot. Too much of that time I am just singing for the sake of the fact I love to sing, and I'm not at all paying attention to the words that are coming out of my mouth. I have sung words that if I had really meant them, would've changed the way I live my life.

Yes, it matters immensely what you're putting into your mind through music. But even if you're listening to music that will encourage you, teach you, challenge you, glorify your creator.... it won't do you any good if you're mindlessly singing along to a song that you've never taken the time to understand.

Am I saying that it's wrong to just sing along to a song? No.
What I am saying that is if you're striving to grow in Christ, you need to be aware of what your putting into your mind. I monitor what goes in through my headphones by listening to stations that I can count on to play edifying music. But even if the music I listen to is God-focused, unless I actually apply what these songs teach, it won't really do me that much good. Listening to good music isn't enough, I have to actually put work into it if I want to actually gain from these songs! All of this is part of the act of "Taking every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5). 

Tenth Avenue North, "By Your Side"
OBB, "All Eyes On You"
Francesca Battistelli, "Write Your Story"
Matt Redman, "10,000 Reasons"
Finding Favour, "Say Amen"
Rend Collective, "My Lighthouse"
Gungor, "Beautiful Things"

Countless times I have sung along to these songs, and songs like these, and not payed any attention to what God could possibly be teaching me through them.

Songs are full of other peoples thoughts and feelings. They hold valuable lessons that have been made available to us through music. Music is fun. Music is beautiful. Music helps us process emotions. Music is used by God to reach us. But we have to be listening. Don't get so caught up in the beat of the song that you don't hear what the lyrics are saying.

The more I really listen to what some of the songs I'm listening to are saying, the more I realize how much I still need to learn. I realize that these are not just songs, they are the stories of people who have gone through an experience, and have been taught something. These are broken people finding peace and comfort in Christ. They are people who are seeking to glorify God with their work. They are people who wrote their song so that we would hear, and learn from their experience. These are not just feel-good lyrics with messages that only go skin-deep. They are profound, insightful, and full of wisdom.

I mindlessly sing along to the very words that could change my life.

Feeding your mind with healthy material is good, but actually gaining from that material is better.

Love in Christ,
~Bekah

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Lesson From Music (Part 1)



 


There is something wonderful about music. Music has so much power. It has the ability to change your mood completely -- good or bad. It can speak when you don't know how to say something. It comforts when you're sad. Music inspires us, it moves us in ways nothing else quite can.

Music is beautiful.

 I love music, and I listen to it nearly 24/7. I have the radio playing in my headphones while I sleep, and generally having something playing throughout my whole day.

I'm sure this is nothing new for you, though. 

Music is something that is beautiful, and was created by God. Just like so many other beautiful things that man gets a hold of: music can be twisted into sinful, ungodly things. Music itself is not good or bad. Music is a gift from God to us, and it is what we choose to do with that gift that matters. Music is a way for people to process their emotions, whether it is by listening to music, or making it. Artists make many, many, different types of songs...and we listen to them. We all live in a culture that glorifies all sorts of sin, and unfortunately a lot of that is found in music we listen to on a regular basis.

As I mentioned in my post "Follow The Yellow Brick Road?", GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out, or my version: Godly In, Godly Out (point number 5, just fyi).

Basically, what you are putting into yourself is what you will get out of yourself. Everything you interact with will have an effect on this: movies, books, people, music... etc, etc, etc. Everything around you is being processed in your mind. Just like people say "You are what you eat", well, "You are what you feed your mind", too. 

What does that even mean, anyways? When people say "you are what you eat" they're saying that what you're eating is affecting your physical health. This doesn't mean that because you eat unhealthy food you're going to be physically unhealthy -- it just means that if you are eating junk food (no matter the amount) it's going to be harder for you to be physically healthy. But if you eat healthy food, it'll be easier for you to be physically healthy as well. Of course, even if you eat healthy you might not be physically healthy anyways. You have to work to have a physically healthy body, you can't just eat your way there, you have to work at it with exercise. 

It is the same with what I'm saying here about feeding your mind. If you're feeding your mind with what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), then it will be easier for you to have a God-focused life. But feeding it is not enough. You have to work at it, pull the weeds, and cultivate the flowers. Becoming someone who is centered around Christ takes work, you can't expect fruit without effort.
The flip side of this is, if you're putting in unwholesome (sinful) things in, it'll be harder to be a God-focused Christian. When you have worldly ideals, ideas, and thoughts poring into you through your music, it is bound to have some effect on you. 
Please don't think I'm condemning you and saying that you're a bad person because you listen to certain types of music, or that because you hear about certain things you're going to go and do all of them. You are an inherently sinful being, but that is not based on what type of music you listen to, it is because you were born to humankind. No matter what music you listen to, you still have a choice for your actions, and thoughts. It is not impossible to be a God centered person while having the worlds ideals promoted to you through your music -- it will just take more work. 

I do not pretend to know what is best for everyone, because quite honestly, I don't! What may be God's will in my life, may not be God's will in your life. For me, the type of music I listen to has a profound impact on my spiritual state, my emotions, and how I perceive the world. 

There was a period of time where I listened to almost exclusively non-christian music artists. The music I was listening to was certainly not as blatantly anti-God as some of the stuff out there, but nonetheless fed my mind dangerous ideas. During that time I had huge emotional swings, difficulty hearing God's voice, general irritability, and depression (self diagnosed) among other side-effects. I found myself turning towards music for comfort, thinking that it would help. Sometimes it did, but more often then not it only made me feel worse. Especially when the respective song described exactly how I was feeling: usually the message of the song was that I had a right to be upset about whatever issue, and as such it only fed my bitterness and self-pity.

God's beautiful gift of music was being used against me. Because of the ideas and ideals behind the songs, I was letting my guard down and allowing even more sin to enter into my heart. 

Thankfully God opened my eyes to how this music was affecting me, using the folks at Worldview Academy to do so. I was taught how to discern what I was consuming, and why that mattered.

Because now I know how obviously what music I listen to effects me, I've chosen to basically give up listening to anything other than "Christian" music. Almost exclusively I now listen to either Air1K-Love, or some other Christian based radio station. This has helped me immeasurably! These stations play music that is encouraging to me as a believer, music that glorifies God, and music that feeds me spiritually, instead of draining me spiritually. It gives me hope, and strength, instead of self-pity and feeling like giving up.

As I said earlier, what God has for me is by no means what He has in store for you... But the lesson here is that we should take a good look at what we're feeding our minds. This doesn't only pertain to the realm of music, it comes at you from every direction.
Perhaps you are a stronger person than me (which is more than likely true), and listening to non-Christian artists does not have the same effect on you as it does on me. This would not surprise me at all, really. The questions here are: 
Does it glorify God? 
Does it edify yourself and others? 
What is the message behind the song you're listening to? --> Does it encourage the things of the World, or the things of God? 
Does it feed you in the things of God?
Or, does it feed your lust, temptations, self-centeredness, etc, etc?

What music you listen to is between yourself and God. I do not mean to in any way dictate what you should, or should not listen to, because what may be right for me in this regard may not be exactly the same as for you. God's perfect plan for you does not equal His perfect plan for me. 

That said, these are questions I believe that every Christian seeking to honor and glorify God with their life needs to ask themselves about everything in their life. 

I'm still learning, SO much. And I hope I will continue to learn, and learn, and learn in the things of Christ. Music is just one small facet of what this applies to. Being a discerning young woman of what I let penetrate into my heart is something that I'm learning still, even if I think I've understood where I stand in this one area of it. I'm a work in progress...but I am in progress

I fear this may be a rather touchy subject... Music is something that our culture holds high up. It was a idol in my own heart for a while there! I wrote this in love for you, because you are my brother or sister in Christ, not because I wanted to ruffle feathers, try to conform to what the world thinks, or any other hidden agenda there might be. 

Here's a few passages from the Bible I thought pertained to the subject.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. - 1 Corinthians 6:12 

This verse is basically what I'm trying to convey here: we are free in Christ to all things... but don't let yourself be brought under the power of any thing other than Christ. The type of music I was listening to I let myself be "brought under the power" of. 

Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another conscience? For if I by grace be partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: even as I please all men in things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
- 1 Corinthians 10:29-33

We are not subject to eachother's personal convictions. If you can be a partaker of something that I cannot, give thanks for it without worrying about what I think about it! But everything you do: do it to God's glory. "Give none offence" I think means that if what you're doing is going to stumble another Christian, don't go and flaunt your liberty in front of them. It's like one man having a beer is fine (so long as he does not get drunk), but for another man having a beer would lead to numerous sins. So the first man should not go and guzzle a beer down in front of the second mans face, because that would likely be a stumbling block for him! Don't seek your own personal gain: seek gain for all.

I have a follow-up post in progress, that I hope to have up tomorrow sometime. 

Comments are welcome! Questions, too! :)

Your sister in Christ,
~Bekah 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The best is yet to come.

The more I learn about God, the more I realize how broken and in need of help I really am. Every day I spend with God, I'm finding things, one after the other, that need changing. Habits that need either broken or cultivated... My failings, my faults, my sins... they are impossible to count. The more I find out about God, the more I find out about how impossible my situation really is.

I can try so hard to be perfect. I want to be perfect, and live every day to God's glory...but always, without fail (oh, the irony) my sinful nature kicks in, and I can't even complete the most minuscule of tasks without ending up falling right back into sin. It is overwhelming how much sin I have, and my own inability to do anything about it. 

But then...I don't have to do anything about it. God already did. Jesus dying on that cross 2,000 years ago freed me from the bondage of sin. He has given me the strength, through Himself, to fight against all temptation. That said, I am still human. I still have the sin nature inside of me. I am inherently sinful. So, even though through Christ I have the ability to overcome temptation, ultimately: I am still only human. Until that glorious day when I arrive at home in heaven... I'm still going to have that sin nature fighting my every effort to become more Godly. 

It's really frustrating, really. I want to live every day on this earth wholly, and purely, and have my every moment reflect God's amazing grace and goodness for humankind!... But I can't. I never will be able to while I'm here on earth. I'll never be truly free from the burden of my sin until I arrive at the gates of heaven. I want so badly, to be able to glorify God in all that I do... and I can't. 

If you're a born-again believer, I'm sure that you can understand what I'm talking about. Because we know the one who is perfectly holy, blameless, spotless: perfect; we realize how much we fail, and perhaps even worse, we know who we're failing.

It sucks. 

There are days when I want to give up. I am tired, I'm worn down. I don't want to fight it anymore. It's hard work... And I start to wonder: why? What is the point, anyways? If I'm likely to give into the temptation tomorrow that I'm fighting today, why? I want to give up. 

It is so hard.

It would be so much easier to just stop fighting, and give in. 

These next words are for you as much as they are for myself.
Don't.
Give.
Up. 
We are broken, sinful, worn down, creatures of sin. But God, in all of His wondrous glory, all of His love for you and me... He sent His most beloved one, God sent His Son, so that we have hope. More than hope, we have a promise
You will fail. I will fail. We will stumble, and fall, and break, and cry, and want to give up. We are sinful, unholy, imperfect, impure, and we have the most dire addiction of all: sin. 
But everything that you aren't, God is. He will never fail, He will never stumble, fall, break, cry, or give up on us. He is not sinful, He is perfect, pure, and He has never sinned. And the best yet: He loves us. He is everything that we are not... We are an abhorrence to His holiness. But He loves us. He loves YOU. He loves ME. 
We have been promised the strength of God in us. God dwells, in you. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God's strength, is in you. God does not give us that so that we will give in to our weaknesses, but so that we can fight them.
Stop trying to fight your battles: let God fight them for you. Don't tell God you have problems, tell your problems that you have GOD. Nothing in this world can stop Him. You are the weak, failing person you've always been. But you are not alone anymore, you have God on your side! 
That sin you want to give in to? It is nothing to God's wonders. The pleasure that sin can bring you now, is absolutely nothing in comparison to the bliss that will be yours in heaven.

So, why keep fighting? I keep saying that we've been promised something. Let me enlighten you to what that promise is: we are promised an eternity of perfection, holiness, pureness... we are promised to be as Christ is: Sinless. 
For I consider that the sufferings we have now are nothing to the great glory that will be revealed to us. - Romans 8:18
Or the more modern translation: The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming.
The more pain, suffering, temptation, sin, that you go through now, will only make your joy in heaven the greater! 

There is one who believes in you. He has not given up on you. Don't give up on yourself when you have someone infinitely better then yourself who believes in you, who won't give up on you, and who will help you through it. He wants you to have the fullest joy possible when you come to be with Him for eternity. 

In this moment, you may be beaten down, and ready to give up. But for great things to happen inside of you, time needs to pass. It is true, you will continue to struggle, and the struggles may get harder. But for you to become the best you can be, you have to let God work inside of you. 
The thing we need to remember as we go along our paths, is that it's not for this life that we're living. This is only temporary. The reason that we live, is to go to a better place. 

We were not made for this world, but we must go through this one to be ready for what is yet to come. 

This world is temporary, but how you deal with it's troubles, that is eternal. Think to the future, and where you will be then. Don't get bogged down in the now, let God lift you out of it! 

The best is yet to come.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This song by Tenth Avenue North has helped me SO much. Listen to it. I mean, listen to the words. Really understand what is being said here...


Love in Christ,
~Bekah

P.S. To give proper credit, this post was inspired by this post, check it out! :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Help Me To Be More Selfish...


Thank #God for His #Grace when He #saved me!
Are you ever just reading the Bible, and not really thinking about what you're reading? Like you're reading, but your mind is a million miles away, and you're not at all engaged in your reading. The Bible is jam-packed with the most beautiful, meaningful, and applicable things...

Way to state the obvious, eh?

What I'm trying to say is that the Bible is how God speaks to YOU. You, personally. Me, personally. What do we do with that? There are times when I become so aware of what God is telling me through scripture that it frightens me. It's the most awe-inspiring experience, I wish I could live there every moment of my life! 

Sadly, I don't. I sit there, reading...and reading, and reading, and reading, and reading. And then I realize that I wasn't really paying ANY attention to what I was reading. I was just, reading. Nothing more.

I'm ashamed to say I do this entirely too often.

But, why exactly does this happen? If you're reading the bible, isn't it because you're trying to gain something from it? 

Well... no... At least for me it isn't. Sometimes I just do it for the sake of doing it. Not because I'm interested in listening to God's word, but just for the sake reading it. I think "Oh... I should read the Bible every day..." and then go and read. I'm not reading because I want to, but because I feel like I should. 

Of course, feeling like I should isn't the problem here, it's the attitude behind it. My attitude isn't "I should read the Bible because I know God will speak to me through it, and it will benefit me". No, my attitude is "If I'm going to be a 'good' Christian, I need to read the Bible every day. Might as well get it over with."

O-u-c-h

Ugh. I literally disgust myself. "Might as well get it over with." ???? As if it's a CHORE. My goodness. 

How can it be a chore? I mean, really? We're talking about having a sacred bond with the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE...and it's a chore? The God who made ME, and who is the only one who can make me complete, and the only way that I will ever be truly happy. Like I said earlier, it's when I'm reading the Bible that God speaks to me, it's how He talks with me, it's how I become more aware of Him, others, myself... It's the only thing that can sustain me, the only way that I can live. He is the only one who can bring me Joy, and the Bible is how He speaks to me.

Why on earth am I thinking of it as a chore? I don't even understand it myself. And yet, I know in not too long, I'll find myself doing it all over again. 

How can I stop from doing this? Why can't I see how utterly backwards my thinking is?...I mean, other then in these rare moments when I realize what a selfish-pig I really am. 

Really, the most selfish thing I can do is read the Bible, and let God speak to me! The only way that I will ever be happy is through Him, and Him teaching me. So really, if I want what is best for me, and will bring me fulfillment, then I should do the most selfish thing that I can: read the Bible, and let God speak to me!

Lord, help me to be more selfish. 

Now isn't that a strange prayer...

I really want to live every day, hour, minute, to God's glory... but I can't. I fail, SO miserably. I can't even manage to listen when God speaks to me. My eyes gloss over, my face has blank expression, and I get nothing from it. In one ear, out the other. 

And still, God loves me, and cares for me, and wants me! I think I feel bad about not listening when I read the Bible... Imagine how horrible God must feel?! I mean, think about it.

You're talking to someone who you love, beyond measure! You're sharing with them the most important things they could ever know about you, about life, about themselves. You're giving them the tools for success, for happiness, for everything they could ever want or need. And as you speak to them, you watch as they detach themselves from what you're saying. You watch as their mind travels into a completely different world, a world where you're not present. You keep talking, and they keep not listening. They hear you, but you know they're not listening to you. Sometimes they occasionally come back to what you're saying, and you see as their soul is filled with the light you've been trying to instill in them...and then it's gone again as they slip back into the darkness that envelopes their life. You tell them that you have the light that will cause the darkness to run and hide! And... they're not listening.

And He still loves me...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Can Only Imagine




This is one of the most wonderful and horrible parts of having a active imagination. Within you're mind you can travel to places that you can never go, places that never even existed. As much as you love your imaginings, you wish that they would just come true. That you could really go to these wonderful places you imagine. It's as if those places are more real then anything place in your real life, and yet, they're untouchable, and unreal. And you want to there so badly...you're homesick for a place you've never really been. The beauty in the real world, only seems to remind you that there is something even more beautiful and better somewhere. This world is like a shadow of what the real thing is. The shadow is nothing in comparison to the real thing, but you can still see a little of the beauty because of it.

"It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond-only a glimpse-but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile." 
~ Anne Shirley

Oh, Anne. Such a wonderful way of putting everything. Though all of it causes such a aching for something that is unattainable, it's one of the things that makes life worth living.

It is so beautiful that it hurts.

I'm afraid I have a bad case of Hiraeth. I'm far to apt to detach myself from reality. I love to lose myself in the magic of a good book, the beauty of a sunset, the stirrings a song causes inside of me, letting my imagination run wild, laying in the grass... and those are just a few. But they all end in the same thing: I want to live in a whole new world. A world where everything is beautiful, and wonderful, and peaceful. A place where all we do is learn new things, fun things, where everything is revolving around what is good, and true, and beautiful. A place where there is no more war, crying, sorrow...

In short, what I'm saying is that I want to live in Heaven.

Don't you ever wonder what Heaven is going to be like? The world seems to tell us that it's going to be really boring: sitting around in white robes, playing harps, and floating around in a well lighted room.
Where on earth did we get THAT idea?? I don't think that Heaven is going to be like that at all. Heaven sure isn't going to be boring. I mean, that kind of heaven might be okay -- for like an hour, maybe.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm no expert on what Heaven is going to be like. Actually, I'm probably one of the least knowledgeable people you could ask. But I'm 100% sure that it's not going to be boring.
Think of how many people are going to be there!! I mean, woah. Think of all those bible characters that you've read about for so long. Think about actually meeting them, and talking to them, and figuring out things that you never even knew you wanted to know! Imagine the conversations you could have!

I think I love theological discussions now, I can't WAIT until I can have some seriously epic conversations with some of the greatest people who walked the earth!

Not to mention Jesus.
I'm not sure exactly what I'm expecting. I live with the Holy Spirit inside of me, so it's not like I'll really be meeting God for the first time... it's just, wow. I don't think I'll be able to say a single word.
MercyMe pretty much sums up my feelings toward this meeting, in his song "I Can Only Imagine".

Excuse me while I go and crumple into a little ball and weep from the sheer awesomeness of it all (and I mean *real* AWEsomeness). Can you imagine?! My oh my. I can only imagine.
There is so much to look forward to, so much I can try to imagine, but will never really understand. I yearn for a place that I will arrive at someday, though I have no idea when. I yearn for a place where there are so many people all praising God, that I don't think I'll be able to handle it. I'm affected by things so easily, and it'll be the most glorious sight ever to be seen.

I have the opposite of Hiraeth. I have nostalgia for a place that I someday will be, a place that is attainable, a place that I can't wait to be.

Well, that made me cry.

You've just witnessed another musing from Bekah :).
Over and out peeps!
~Bekah

P.s. I didn't really know where this post was going when I started writing... it just sorta came out this way. I love when that happens: you just write, and something beautiful comes out <3

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Inspired.

"Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad to have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition, you see another one glittering up higher still. It does make life so interesting."
~Anne Shirley

Well. I'm inspired.
I've spent the majority of the evening reading over other blogs, and realizing how monstrously I neglect my own! I mean, I might post once a month...maybe. Or several times in one month, and then none for a few months in a row.
So, now, I am going to try something. I am going to write a new post, every. single. day.
And as I read that, I think to myself "Who am I kidding? I'll never keep up on it."
I know myself pretty well (if I do so say myself!) and I know that I'm a procrastinating perfectionist. I want what I write to be exactly how I want it to be, before I post it. But it never turns out that way. Every time I post something, I always feel like there's something more I could change, that could be better. And so I procrastinate horribly, trying to perfect an idea before I start writing about it, and then when I do start writing about it, I procrastinate finishing the post because I can't seem to make it perfect (I have 4 current drafts for posts on this blog... *sigh*).
What I'm saying is, it's gonna be hard. I'm gonna want to make it perfect, and wonderful, and inspiring...and it's not going to be. But if I want to become a better writer (which I do!), then I need to up my game. And the thing is, I actually do write quite a bit every day. I journal -- a lot.
Don't worry, I'm not gonna start journaling on my blog instead of my fast-filling notebook! No, that would just be too strange. I mean, I write stuff in there that I am ashamed of reading myself! I'm so immature sometimes.
Anyways, my point is, I know I *can* write every day. When I write in my journal, I don't worry so much about what people are going to think, or if my grammar is at least tolerable (I love books, and writing, and reading -- I don't particularly like grammar), or if my spelling is correct, or if I'm using the correct forms of then/than, to/too, effect/affect, etc, etc. So, I'm sorry if this is going to be painful to read, but I'm not gonna be too careful about my grammar on my daily posts. I'm not going to go out my way to use atrocious grammar, but I'm not going to go out my way to make it very good either.

Okay, really? Every day????
What on earth could've possessed that girl to do such a thing?!
There are so many objections rising up in my mind right now.

You're already busy enough without adding this to your hectic life.

What about when you're away from home?

What about if you're dead-beat tired, and just don't want to write? (Not want to write? Ha. No, even when I'm tired, I still write. I can't help it. It's like breathing for me).

No one will ever want to read through all your posts.

OH SHUT UP.

Yeah, there's a lot of reasons why I shouldn't do it. I'm gonna try anyway.
Granted, I know I'll fail. The point is, I'm gonna try!
I have a goal, and I'm gonna try. Try, being the key word here. I highly doubt I'll make it a week without missing a day. But even if I succeed in writing just a couple days a weeks, that'll be a great improvement!

Now, if you're wondering what possibly caused me to come up with this idea, well, it wasn't my idea. I came across this blog (click "blog" and it'll open it in a new tab) and it was so beautiful, I couldn't help but steal the idea.

Now, I'm not sure that I'll do objects only, I'll probably do ideas, and words, and songs, and all sorts of stuff. But that's where the idea came from.
I read somewhere once that all great writers are thieves. Maybe one day I'll be a great writer, I'm stealing already!

Well, this concludes my first post in my new adventure... Until tomorrow folks!
~Bekah

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Follow The Yellow Brick Road?


The future can be a scary concept. We don't know what it holds, and we don't know what choices to make now that will make our future's the best that they can be. 

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my future, and what I'm going to do with my life. There's a never ending list of different things I could do, a million different branches off this road that I have to choose from. 

It all comes down to this question: which one is the right one? I know there is a right path, the one that God would have me to follow... but exactly how am I supposed to figure out which one out of the millions is the right path for me?

I wish that like Dorthy in the Wizard of O.Z. I would have the right path just laid out in front of me, clearly marked, and someone would give me the assurance that it was indeed the right path that would lead me to the correct destination.

Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are approximately zero. So what am I supposed to do? I am supposed to be making decisions now that will be effecting me for the rest of my life!

As I was musing over all this one Sunday morning, I came across a verse in Proverbs 4:26, which says,

"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established."

Of course, reading that reminded me of that verse in Psalm 119: 105
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

And as soon as I was done reading that verse, I was startled to have my eye caught by yet another verse, Psalm 119; 101

I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word."

...And guess what, ANOTHER verse popped out at me, that was just across the page, Psalm 119:11

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Needless to say, I was kinda thinking something along the lines of "Ookkkaaaayyy... God, if you're trying to teach me something here, please help me understand!"
I started to look at these verse more closely, and I've (well, not me, God is the one who showed them to me!) from them devised a list of "rules" to guide me on my path to finding God's will for my life.

The first verse from Proverbs tells me that I need to think about how my choices will effect me, and where they will take me. This isn't just talking about the big choices in life, it's talking about everyday choices too. There's a quote, (and it's attributed to many different sources) that goes something like this,

"Watch your thoughts, because they become words. Watch you words, because they become your actions. Watch you actions, because they become your habits. Watch your habits, because they become your character. And watch your character, because it becomes your destiny." 

So basically, everything you think affects your entire life.
2nd Corinthians 10:5 says,

"...Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Naturally, if your entire thought life is revolving around Christ, this will exemplify itself in your choices, and in turn your entire life. So, in everything, we need to be thinking critically through a Christ-like mindset.

The second part of the verse, that says, 

"Let all thy ways be established."

Tells me that no matter what path I end up on, I need to have integrity. Maybe this seems like a simplistic thing, but I've noticed in my own life, it's really easy to follow God until you reach your goal, and then somehow conveniently forget how you got there, and just get too busy with whatever it is. Well, part of having integrity is going to be continuing to take captive every thought, and live every day to the glory of God.

So, from this verse I know I need to:

1. Think about my choices before I make them -- ponder, scrutinize, and examine each path before going down it.

2. Have integrity, no matter where I am in life.

The next verse from Psalm 119:105 immediately tells me that God's word "is a lamp unto my feet". You have to think about this for a minute: what exactly is this saying? If I was walking in the dark, I wouldn't be able to tell if there was something that I would trip over, or stumble on and fall. But this verse is telling me that God's word can reveal those things along the way. That His word will be a lamp, to light the places where I step. 

With God's word light my path, I can avoid the things I would stumble upon all together! Of course, I can't have this guidance without actually reading God's word, every day. This ties in with the last point about integrity. God's word needs to be a consistent lamp to light my way, otherwise it won't do me much good. He is with me all the time, consistently light my footpath with each step I take. I'd like to phrase this one as:

3. Don't Kick The Lamp!

God's word cam always be alight for me, but if I kick it aside and don't pay attention, it won't do me any good.

The second part of the verse says, 

"[God's word] is a light unto my path." 

This tells me that God's help is not limited to my immediate circumstances, but he can light my entire path! He not only can reveal the roots I might trip on, but He also lights up the entire path, so I can see the big warning signs too! God can help me in the present, and in the future! He is not confined to one or the other. 

I'm labeling this one:

4. Look at The Big Picture

If I'm too focused on not tripping, I'll be staring at my feet the whole time! Make sure to keep your eyes on the road ahead, and where it leads, too.

The next two verse are inverses of eachother, really.
Psalm 119: 101 says, 

"I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word."

And Psalm 119: 11 says, 

"Thy word I have hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Basically, keep God's word in your heart [mind] and it'll be easier for you to not sin against Him! These verses aren't difficult to decipher. The underlying principle found in them is that I need to store God's word in my heart, keep it there, hide it there, let it become part of my heart.

Proverbs 4:23 says, 

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

What better way to "keep my heart" than to fill it with what is Godly? If my heart, my core, is where the "issues of life" [a.k.a. my worldview] are stored, the best way to keep that part of myself pure and holy is to fill it with what is pure and holy. 

GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. 

I need to make a conscientious effort to put in what is Godly, so I'll have a Godly worldview. 

Godly In, Godly Out.

Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

The bottom line is, even though it might not always be as obvious as following the yellow brick road, God can still guide you through this life. Read is word to you! You may not even realize God is helping you to know what choice to make at all -- but if you delve into His word, let it saturate your heart, then it WILL guide and help you. 

That's what that verse in Proverbs 4 is saying, (paraphrasing here) what you put into your heart, is what will come out.

5. GIGO - Godly In, Godly Out

Saturate and marinate yourself in God's word!

So my five rules are:

1. Think About Your Choices Before You make Them
  • Ponder them, scrutinize them. Use God's word as a microscope. How will your choice effect you now, and how will it effect your future?
2. Have Integrity
  • Don't hang God out to dry once you've gotten to where you think you need to be. He is vital in your survival!
3. Don't Kick The Lamp!
  • If you use God's word as a lamp to light your footpath, you wont be so prone to tripping on things you can't see -- you'll be able to see them!
4. Look At The BIG Picture
  • Don't focus too much on watching your feet (don't give up on it, either!), you also need to see the big picture. God can light your entire path, He can light up the sings alone the side of the path that will warn you of danger ahead.
5. GIGO - Godly In, Godly Out
  • God may not give you a direct answer to your life questions, but if you hide His word in your heart, His precepts and values will help you make those decisions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Dream Within a Dream

A Dream Within a Dream
by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

~*~*~*~*~*~

Just look at that second verse. I guess we now know where they got the idea for the movie "Inception" ;)

Sorry for all the poetry (well, sorta sorry) but I've been reading a lot of it the last couple days, and some of it's just too good not to share ;).

"Homeland Of The Free"?

Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
The free?
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!
O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!