Thursday, October 30, 2008


Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it joyfully. Action is the key; do it immediately. Joy you will receive. Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Some of you might have heard this children's song before, some of you might not have. The song contains amazing insight, even as just a little children's chorus. It can be broken up into separate phrases to further be analyzed. "Doing exactly what the Lord commands." How many times does God tell us to do something, but we do it our own way and in our own time? It has to be full obedience or no obedience, because partial obedience isn't truly obedience. Our pastor's daughter explained it to the kids this way: Say your mom tells you to clean your room, and she wants you to pick everything up and take your trash out. You really aren't in the mood to clean up, so you hurriedly stuff all your toys under the bed and stomp on the garbage in your trash can until it looks as though there is hardly any trash in there. Your mom asks you if you've cleaned your room like she asked. "Yes!" you tell her and think, "That wasn't so hard." That's not really obeying. Your room might look better, but its not really all the way clean. Not to mention that you didn't follow your mom's instructions exactly. Another phrase of the song says, "Doing it joyfully." Hmmm. Yeah, sometimes doing things aren't as hard as doing them joyfully. I've been guilty of doing this more than once when told to do something - especially when told to practice piano. Reluctantly, I would half-heartedly drag myself over to the piano and pull the bench out and plop down, frowning the whole time. My parents always seemed to pick the most inopportune times to tell me to practice, and I really didn't want to. When God asks us to do some things, we may take the view I did in practicing. It's a chore, but I guess I'll do it since it pleases my Father. We realize that whatever God is asking us to do will no doubt benefit us in our walk with Him, but He seemingly has picked an inopportune time to call us to do that. Why can't we just wait a little longer, you know, just go on our own time, God? Why now? And we complain and drag our feet the whole way, at the same time thinking that we are being such good children of God to obey Him the way we do. However, God has called us to be joyful in whatever we do for Him. Obedience simply isn't just doing something you're told to do - it is doing exactly what your asked when you're asked to do it without complaining and dragging your feet the whole way.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Romance Novels: How Early Is Too Early?

Right up front, I’ll make a confession. I personally am a hopeless romantic. Sometime ago, a friend asked me about my writing and reading. I had to admit that Christian fiction romance was what I was into. She agreed that it was fun to read, but then brought up an idea that I hadn’t thought of. She said that young girls may often have the ability to read at a higher level than what is generally expected of their age, or that young teenage girls don’t really have any “teen books” – novels that are written with their age in mind. Most “teen novels” for girls include some type of romance, which as my friend brought up, gets girls thinking more about crushes, dating, and romantic things all together. Her opinion was that girls today are as silly and immature when it comes to guys because they begin reading their mother’s romance novels at too young an age. To be honest, I thought she had a point. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic at age eighteen. I suppose that could be a bad thing, but the worse part of that is that I was already this way by the time I was thirteen or fourteen. So is it true? Do girls stuff their heads with too much romance at too young an age? When is an OK time for girls to start reading romance novels? Is the way girls are more flirtatious and the way they act around guys effected by reading?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's Up with Them?: Prejudgment

I know this is a subject that we have heard quite a bit about, especially since we started our freshman English Composition class, or our Analytical English class, as it should be correctly dubbed. Some may be tired of the subject, but it has struck me more forcefully in just the past few days as I pondered my own prejudgmental actions. We all have at one time prejudging someone, and no doubt, have been prejudged ourselves. I know it's hard to admit, but I'll be the first to admit it. I wrongfully prejudged people before. At one point and time, I saw this person or that person and mentally prejudged them. Not just the teenage girl in the grocery store carrying around a baby or the gothic teens at the mall walking around in their black, baggy clothes - no, I'm also talking about those people who have way-out-there personalities that are totally different from mine. As time has gone by, I've realized that some of those very people that I'd never really thought I'd hang around with have become my good friends, and I've realized how ridiculous I can be when it comes to prejudgment. There is of course, the extreme of that, that a person can prejudge everyone they do or don't even meet. However, is there another extreme? Is it possible to give everyone the benefit of the doubt? I believe that's possible, too. I've had some friends before that I thought would be my best friend forever. Then there came a day when communication slowed down until there was little or no contact. A year went by before I talked to one of them. She promised me that when she got back from traveling, we would do something together. It's been three, maybe four years, and she hasn't called me yet. By this time, I've given up hope. Perhaps there is a reason people prejudge those they meet. Perhaps it's not always a natural reflex, or at least there is a reason behind this matural reflex to judge others. Perhpas we as humans are insecure. We need people, but we are afraid of being hurt. I'm not saying that is a definite possibility, but it could be one. So why do we prejudge? Or is it just a natural reflex that is somehow built into us, that we don't even think about?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Who's In Control, Anyway?

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time because the days are evil. Wherefore ye be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.*
I have often heard that passage of Scripture as I'm sure you all have, but I had never quite put it into the perspective I'm about to share with you, until sometime last year, when I heard this two or three times. I thought, God must be trying to teach me something. I had always thought of this passage as being one about not getting drunk and speaking against the evils of strong drink, as some of you probably have. It is to a point speaking of drunkeness; however, it is really speaking on the subject of control. Just like we can let alcohol control our bodies, we can let other things control us, such as friends and family, people's opinions, circumstances, our own will, and many other things. This passage is saying that we should be wise and do what God wants us to do and not allow other things to control us. God should be chiefly in control of your life. You gave your life to Him when you got saved. Not letting Him be in control is hypocritical. It's as if you gave someone a gift and said, "You can have this, but you're not allowed to use it." Most of the time, it's not that we tlet other things control our life, but that we try to control it ourselves. The only problem is, we forget that we're not in control of anything to start with. God is in control; He is over all that happens. If something good happens to you, you didn't cause it to happen; God did. So many times, we let our own successes and the praise of others fill our head until it swells, and we get the idea that we can do all things without Christ. But that is the ONLY way we can do anything; in fact, we can accomplish greater things when Christ is with us. Our lives would be such a mess if we were in control of them, but with God, amazing possibilities pop up. God works in our lives in amaizing ways. Why would we ever want to be in control? There is a poem by Shel Silversteen that tells of a little boy who asks God if he can run the world a while. God agrees and gives the boy the wheel. The little boy starts asking tons of questions, such as the following: how long do I do this? When do I turn the wheel? How many days do I get to do this? How much do I get paid? Then God takes back the wheel and says, "I don't think you're ready yet." The thing is, we are never ready to take over our lives, because we have the innate ability to mess things up. God is waiting and willing to take over our lives if we let HIm. So...who's in control of your life?
* Ephesians 5:15-18, KJV

Thursday, October 2, 2008

God's Love Is Exciting!

In the next few days for my blog, I am going to be doing some devotional/discussion question topics that I have been working on for a while now. The title of this particular little essay/devotional is: God’s Love Is Exciting! Our family’s last vacation was to Holmes County, Ohio – the largest Amish community in the world. Mom and Dad were worried that since this particular vacation spot had no theme parks or dinner shows, that I might get bored. However, I was excited and found it interesting to be in Amish country. It’s interesting how people these days are so easily bored with things, searching for happiness in one area and discarding the object or idea when they are bored with it. Today’s society wants instantaneously and on whim, throws an idea out that doesn’t fit their lifestyle or habits. Today’s society has to be entertained. The advertisement world keeps people hanging on to the every word of the infomercial and wanting whatever is being sold. The action movie keeps people on the edge of their seat, to entertained to want to watch or do anything else. These days, it isn’t just the everyday things that bore people, and not even those who are unsaved who are easily occupied with the latest attraction. Christians seem to be completely distracted with the attractions the world has to offer in the entertainment realm, whether good or bad. So much so, that God, church and devotions seem boring or a waste of time. Many kids, teens, and even adults find church to be dull and boring. Maybe they wouldn’t exactly put in those words. Maybe they have to much on their mind to concentrate on the sermon. Maybe there are distractions around them. Maybe they just seem to have the fidgets and can’t get comfortable. Maybe they’re hungry and can’t wait for service to end so they can eat. Sometimes the church services seem so long, it’s hard to endure. One of the many things I learned while in Amish country, was the order of the church services. The Amish sit through services as long as three hours on hard wooden benches. They listen to two sermons, the second of which, (the Bishop’s sermon), may last up to an hour if the Bishop so chooses. In between the sermons and songs, there are thirty to forty minute prayer times. The songs they sing are the original German hymns, written in the 1500s, and sung very slowly acapella. Did I mention that these songs can have up to thirty verses? To be truthful, the Amish have learned to be more disciplined than many “Englischers” or “modern” church-goers. Sometimes, people try to commercialize church, and use all sorts of enticing things to ensure church attendance. But God’s love shouldn’t - and doesn’t – need help to entice people! God’s love is exciting in itself. What is it, that we can become as bored with something as exciting as God’s love and the Gospel He has given us? The word “gospel” translated means “good news.” Why don’t we treat His Word and salvation like the good news that it is? The idea of Jesus dying on the cross, taking on death and all the suffering and persecution He did for our sake – that idea alone should confound us and place us in awe of the great Redeemer. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loved us, even before we were in existence; He loved us so much, that he gave His only Son as a sacrifice for the sins we had yet to commit, that we might be able to spend eternity with Him. God also pours out many blessings on us day by day. Did you have a bed to sleep in last night? Clothes to wear the next morning? Did God provide a small blessing for you outside of your day to day blessings? Praise God! He loves you enough and cares about you enough to take care of the smallest details of your life. If God gives us so much love, thought, and care, why do we not give Him the same amount of attention? When you love someone and you devote time and energy toward your relationship, you expect them to do the same, don’t you? God loves to hear from us! He has given us so much love and devotion, yet we spend so little time with Him. Perhaps because we have become bored with our relationship with Him. However, God’s love in itself and the great gospel we have to share with others should fill our hearts with joy. Loving God and serving Him is exciting!
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1
Because Your loving-kindness Is better than life, My lips shall praise you.
Psalm 63:3