December 15, 2008


1 Peter 3:3 (Amplified Version)
Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes;

Proverbs 31:30 (Amplified)
Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!

In our day of dressing to impress, the concept of modesty seems the furthest thing from the mind. I've heard it said in Christian circles that the world dictates fashion, and Christians should be just a few years behind that trend. Well, that seems to be misleading. Modesty is so rare in what we see in movies, shows, and magazines. If we girls were to dress as the world was five years ago, that would just have them influencing us in our attire. I believe Christ told his followers to be the light and salt of the world. Paul told Christians not to be conformed to this world. If they are influencing our actions, that's us in the wrong place. We are called with a divine calling to be DIFFERENT. Peter said we were a peculiar people. Some have rendered that peculiar as odd, or strange. No matter you or I see that word, we need to recognize our calling is of GOD, not the message the world sends us on our attire. It hurts my heart to see Christian young ladies dress like any other girl in this world. I pray that as you read this you are encouraged in Christ to continue setting an example in godliness in your attire.

December 9, 2008


Hey! I'm Tonya, one of Amandas friends and future contributor of Royal Daughter. I am excited to be part of this blog. I will be posting something soon, not sure when. (but soon) But if you would like to know who I am, please visit my other blog at

Have a very Merry Christmas! (Enjoy time with your family (and friends).. savor every moment with them you get!:) )



December 7, 2008

Revive Us Again, cont.

I've been continuing my study on God's role in Revival. I didn't know until yesterday that the word "revive" is not found very often in the Bible. I generally read the Holman Christian Standard Bible, and in my concordance the word "revive" appears only six times (it appears seven times in the KJV) and the word "reviving" appears once. Interestingly, though my study is on Revival, the word does not actually appear in the Bible!

I've also discovered that most of the passages that do include the word "revive" are primarily discussing physical revival rather than spiritual revival. But I came across Psalm 19:7 and I realized a fundamental necessity for spiritual revival. "The instruction of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul." The Word of God is the essential element in bringing about authentic and lasting revival.

Thus I started a short study on the "instruction of the Lord" (Word of God) and it's many effects in the lives of Christ Followers. Psalm 119, though long, is very thorough in discussing the Word of God ("instruction" "statutes" "commands" "commandments" and "words" are used interchangeably to describe the Word of God.)

A few Scripture References that discuss studying and knowing the Word of God:

Psalm 119L11 - "How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules." (NLT)

Psalm 119:11 - "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (NLT)

Psalm 119:33-35 - "Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it." (ESV)

Psalm 119:48 - "I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes." (HCSB)

Psalm 119:130 - "The revelation of Your words brings light and gives understanding to the inexperienced." (HCSB)

There are five observations that I made while reading the above passages.

Studying and Knowing the Word of God :

1. Keeps Christ Followers pure (verse 9)

2. Keeps Christ Followers from sinning (verse 11)

3. Brings delight to the hearts of Christ Followers (verses 33-35)

4. Invokes worship (verse 48)

5. Gives wisdom and understanding to the simple and inexperienced. (verse 130)

There are many more passages in Psalm 119 and throughout the Scriptures that discuss the Word of God and the benefits of studying it and applying the truths found within the pages of Scripture. But I found it particularly interesting that the passages listed above, along with the benefits, naturally lead to a sort of revival! Think about it - if Christ Followers saturate themselves in the Word of God, then according to Psalm 119 they will be living pure, sinless lives, their hearts will be filled with delight, they will have a renewed sense of worship, and they will experience wisdom and understanding in life's many situations. I don't know about you, but to me that seems like a pretty great description of spiritual revival!

I think when planning and praying for revival many churches forget the importance and necessity for Christ Followers to be saturating themselves in the Word of God. This is an individual necessity. I know it is easy for me to forget how essential it is for me to study the Bible. I must remember that without the Word of God, there can be no revival.

November 27, 2008

Revive Us, Again.

Continuing my study on Revival, I've spent quite a bit of time dwelling on what I ready in regards to God's place in revival, or rather His work in revival. I guess I always viewed revival as it is commonly seen in today's churches: planned and dictated.

For example, a moder day church is planning their annual revival. Everything is predetermined, from the evangelist to the musicians and special music. Goals are even established as to how many new visitors and conversions the church wants to aim for. While setting goals and planning for a revival are amiable and God honoring, I can't help but wonder if it leaves very much room for God to do His work. I doubt the the new Christ Followers at Pentecost had set so many goals....

So like I said, I've tried to focus on God's role in revival. Today I'm going to focus on God's role of Restoration, as described in Psalm 85:4.

A few Scripture References Regarding Restoration:

Job 33:26 "He will pray to God, and God will delight in him. Tha man will behold His face with a shout of joy, and God will restore his righteousness to him."

Psalm 23:3 "He restores my soul...for His namesake."
(The soul is defined in my Bible dictionary as the emotional, spiritual aspect of our lives, and our essential being.)

Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation and make me willing to obey You."

Joel 2:25 " I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten."

There are four observations that I made while reading the above passages.

God Restores:
1. Righteousness to man (Job 33:26)
2. Our Soul, or essential being (Psalm 23:3)
3. Joy to His people (Psalm 51:12)
4. Wasted and barren years (Joel 2:25)

Please note that all of the above can be restored exclusively by Almighty God! No action of man, no chance encounter or spiritual exercise can restore mankind to righteousness, it is the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, and His work alone! Likewise, because our souls are emotional and spiritual rather than physical or chemical, they cannot be revived by exercise and medicine - our souls are only restored and refreshed by our loving Shepherd, Jesus Christ. While happiness can be induced by many factors (material things, exciting circumstances, etc.) joy is inherently the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22 -" But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of") Thus, joy can only be restored by God! Lastly, wasted and barren years - isn't it amazing to know that God can and will restore lost time? He is so full of goodness and grace, and He alone can take our wasted years and restore them for His glory and fame.

As I seek personal revival, I pray that God will restore these four things in my life. Will you pray with me?

November 14, 2008

Revive Us Again

Earlier this month Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States. Because of his liberal policies and voting record, many conservative Christ Followers are concerned about the continued decline (and likely free-fall) of the moral standards in our country. Since that the election, I've heard many Christian leaders calling for prayers for the salvation of President-Elect Obama, as well as a spiritual revival in our nation. I too feel the need for a spiritual revival in this country, though it is not solely based on the results of the 2008 elections.

So I started thinking and realized that I can't very well pray for a national revival if I do not first desire and pursue revival in my own heart. I've spent the past week and a half studying revival in the Word of God, and here's some of what He revealed to me:

Psalm 85: 4-9 reads, "
Restore us again, O God of our salvation,and put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever?Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again,that your people may rejoice in you?7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,that glory may dwell in our land."

According to my Bible Dictionary, "Revive" literally means, "to bring to, or come to life." Except for the supernatural resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, if something is going to be brought back to life, there is a definite need for a purposeful action of someone else.
(Example, performing CPR or using a resuscitation unit in a hospital ER.) So here's what I learned about the active roll Almighty God plays in spiritual revival:

1. God Restores His people (verse 4)
2. God Revives His people (verse 6)
3. God Shows Mercy to His people (verse 7)
4. God Grants Salvation (verse 7)

Psalm 85 shows us that revival ultimately depends on an action from Almighty God. He must take my heart, and your heart, and renew it for His passions and for His glory. He must actively revive His people. He must show His unconditional love and mercy to His people. And He must be the giver and source of Salvation. Quite simply put, Jesus Christ is the source, the reason, and the means for revival.

After realizing that revival is primarily about God, I started wondering what roll Christ Followers play in revival. According to Psalm 85, there are two actions a Christ Follower must take in order to pursue revival:

1. Listen to What God is saying (verse 8)
2. Do not return to foolishness (verse 8)

Because Christ is the source and means for revival, my primary action is to listen to Him, to heed the Holy Spirit's prompting, and to honor and obey His Word. Christ Followers need not follow a method for revival. There is no formula or inspirational song that can induce revival. Rather, it starts in the heart of a Christ-Follower who is listening to the heart of God.

If your pastor or youth minister calls you to prayer for national revival, and for President-Elect Obama, I urge you to heed their leadership and honor their request. However, I cannot stress the importance of praying for a spiritual renewing of your own heart for the passions of God. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you. Honor the Word of God. This is my own prayer and desire for myself.

I changed my font at

September 6, 2008

Ichthus - the simple meaning behind the unsual word.

Do you know what an Ichthus is? It's that "stick-man" fish symbol that many Christians put on the back of their car, or on their Bible. It's considered a Christian symbol, and when I was a kid I thought the meaning behind that symbol was related to passages in Scripture where Jesus tells His followers, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17) This week while I was doing some reading for my History of Christianity class, I came across the meaning of Ichthus and how it became a Christian sympbol.

Ichthys is the Greek word for fish. (Hence the illustration of a fish.) In early Church history, Christ Followers developed an alternate spelling for ichthys. They changed the spelling to Ichthus. This new spelling was an accrostic that stood for:

Greek....... English

I esus......... Jesus
CH rist....... Christ
TH eou....... of God
U ios........... Son
S oter......... Savior

The alternate spelling was pronounced just like the orginal spelling, so early Christ Follwers would use Ichthus as a password in conversation to determine whether or not they were talking to a fellow Christian.

Christ Followers living in today's culture do not have to hide their faith in order to preserve their life. We are blessed in this culture to be able to worship God freely. But the History of the Christian Faith is stained with the blood of the early Church martyrs who died willingly and joyfully for their faith in Christ. One early Church historian wrote so poetically and accurately: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

The next time you see an Ichthus on the back of someone's car, I urge you to reflect on it's origin, and thank God for those saints who gave themselves for the cause of Christ.

September 1, 2008

God's no Genie in a Bottle!

I suppose everyone has heard jokes and stories that involve a magic genie in a bottle. Most of the time the genie agrees to grant three wishes. I think most people use up their three wishes asking for more money, to be more beautiful or younger looking, and for a bigger, nicer car. That in and of itself illustrates the selfish, materialistic world in which we live. Honestly, in those jokes no one ever asks for a cure for cancer or enough food to save the starving families all over the world...

I think many Christ Followers perceive God to be sort of a spiritual genie. I am guilty myself of spending plenty of time in prayer asking god to answer my specific prayer requests. (Not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with presenting requests to God. He tells us countless times to "Tell God what you need." Philippians 4:6.)

Did you know there is actually a Biblical example of Christ asking the people around Him, "What do you want?" John 1:35-42 shares the story of two of the first disciples who followed Jesus. John the Baptist introduced them to Jesus, declaring that Jesus is "the Lamb of God." The two men sought out Jesus and in greeting them Christ literally said, "What do you want?" (John 1:38 - this verse is also translated, "What are you looking for?")

Let's pause for a moment and let this sink in. I mean, do you realize that the Creator of the universe, who has no beginning and no end, who was slain before the foundation of the world, says, "What do you [Royal Daughter] want?"

Some of the possible answers the new disciples could have asked for:
- "I want you to prove you are Messiah"
- "I want you to vindicate every injustice against me"
- "I want more money"
- "I want to be more Godly"
- "I want happiness"

There are hundreds of possible answers the disciples, and we as modern day Christ Followers, could ask for. But notice the last part of John 1:38. "They replied, 'Rabbi, where are you staying?'" These two men wanted to know where Jesus was staying - they wanted to
be with Jesus. To follow Him, observe Him, learn from Him. If Christ asked me the same thing, "Royal Daughter, what do you want?" would I be so bold as to answer "Lord, I want to be with you!"

Psalm 37:4 states, "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." and Jeremiah 29:13-14 reiterates this theme: "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you - the Lord's Declaration." Just like the disciples asked to be near Christ, to abide with Him when they met Jesus, we too, as Royal Daughters must make it our first priority and one request to abide with Christ.

He is not a genie in a bottle, He is Almighty, Unspeakable God - and He will be found by you!

August 31, 2008

How can a place so empty, be so full?

An empty house, so full of memories.
A backyard that no longer hosts Easter egg hunts and cricket matches.
A kitchen that no longer smells of warm, home-cooked meals.

An empty house, so full of memories.
A silent hallway that once echoed the sound of children playing tag.
A bedroom that is empty without a bed.

An empty house, so full of memories.
That smells of being cooped up, with no fresh air.
Walls bare, that now have tiny nail holes where precious paintings and pictures once hung.

An empty house, so full of memories.
A living room that now boasts of plenty of floor space, as the TV and chairs have been removed.
Closets that were once packed full of trinkets and treasures are empty and the doors kept closed.

An empty house, so full of memories.
A front door forever closed.
A front porch light that no longer flashes "goodbye", as no one is left inside.

August 10, 2008

"Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win."

The eyes of the world recently turned to Beijing, China to watch the 2008 Summer Olympics. I have been a pretty dedicated Team USA fan - at least I've spent plenty of time in front of my TV watching the competitions! My favorite competition to watch is gymnastics, but I also enjoy the swimming, diving, and cycling competitions.

While watching the opening ceremonies on Friday I learned that many nations that are represented at the Olympics have never won a medal, and most likely will not win a medal at these games. It is quite inspiring to me to realize that men and women spend hours training for the Olympics, dedicating their entire lives in preparation for these games, knowing full well that they will not win a gold, silver, or bronze medal. But they are Olympians, nonetheless. One athlete whom was being interviewed (I wish I could quote the source, but I cannot) stated that his country has not sent him to Beijing to start the race, but rather to finish the race, to cross the finish line. There are powerful spiritual implications to that statement!

Today (which was actually yesterday, due to the time difference) the competitors have faced a bit of set back with the weather. There has been a pretty consistent drizzle that has hindered the women competing in the bicycle race, and the men competing in beach volleyball. Watching the competitors plod on through the rain reminds me of the passages in the New Testament that equates the spiritual life with a race. The author of Hebrews eloquently describes the Christian race in chapter 12: “Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of Him, so He endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought Him. Then He received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God.”

Let’s break this down. Frequently American TV viewers are given a view of the stands and spectators that are watching and cheering on the competitors. Just like former Olympians and gold medallists have migrated to China to cheer on this year’s contenders for the medals, so we as Christians are surrounded “by a great cloud of witnesses.” Among these witnesses are the great “Heroes of the Faith” discussed in Hebrews 11. In addition to the Biblical patriarchs, kings, and prophets, we are also surrounded by excellent examples of faith, many of whom have already completed their race.

The author of Hebrews boldly exclaims that we as Christ Followers have no reason not to finish our Christian race! He entreats his readers to get rid of any distractions, especially sin that so easily slows us down! What sins slow us down? EVERY sin! Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to persevere, never give up in our Christian race. How do we persevere? Stay focused on Christ! The Message version of the Bible translates verse 2 so appropriately, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed.” Perseverance requires absolute focus on Christ and Christ alone.

It is true that out of thousands of Olympians, only a few will be worthy of receiving a medal. The Apostle Paul writes to the Christ Followers at the church of Corinth, “You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got.” There is no question about the coaching we receive from Paul in this passage. We are instructed to persevere and aim for the eternal prize. Don’t just start the race – finish it. Finish it well.

Peter writes of the glory (or prize) that we are to receive. I Peter 5:4 states, “When [Jesus] appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” The prize for which we are running is an eternal prize, and not just a gold medal, but rather a crown of glory! Revelation 1:6 confirms Peter’s description of our prize, “He has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him.”

I am not intending to distract in any way from the amazing athletes and their accomplishments. But honestly, in 20 or 30 years, what will mean? What will it be worth? They will probably still have their medals, proudly displayed in their homes. And the lucky ones will once again grace the cover of People Magazine or Sports Illustrated in a special edition of “Where Are They Now?” Some of them will continue the rich tradition of the Olympic games as sponsors and coaches. But most of their world records will have been beaten, and the accolades and praise will be for a younger, faster, stronger competitor.

This is NOT so in the Christian race. As Christ Followers we have one goal, Christ Jesus. Ultimately our eternal prize (a crown of glory) will be given back to Christ in an eternal act of worship. Revelation 4:10-11 describes this ultimate worship; “They threw their crowns at the foot of the Throne, chanting, Worthy, O Master! Yes, our God! Take the glory! the honor! the power! You created it all; it was created because you wanted it.” The race in which we run is indeed for a prize, but not for ourselves. The glory, the honor, the accolade is for Almighty God – He alone is worthy of any prize we receive.

August 9, 2008

Not-so-identical Fingprints

It is pretty easy to identify identical twins because they look so similar - identical in fact! But did you know that identical twins have nearly identical DNA? That's because identical twins are formed when a zygote (fertilized egg) splits after fertilization, forming two embryos. The two identical embryos develop into two completely separate, yet identical individuals.

I imagine it might be difficult to be an identical twin. Growing into your own individual and unique person is hard enough in this culture that promotes "going with the flow." Then add to the mix another person who looks just like you and literally shares your DNA! In this society it is easy to claim the well known cliche' "I'm unique - just like everyone else!"

Sometimes as a Christian I forget about my individuality in Christ. I often feel like there is a Christian mold that I have to fit into to be a good Christ Follower. This week, while I was reading Psalm 139, verses 13-17 really stood out to me: "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous, and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life is recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable!" I find it amazing that God's thoughts about me are "innumerable!" That literally means that God thinks about me (and you) more times than we can imagine or count. Isn't it amazing to realize that God THINKS about you - as a unique individual?!

Do you know what is really amazing to me about identical twins? Even though they look exactly alike, and have nearly identical DNA - their fingerprints are different! They leave a completely unique imprint wherever and whenever their hands touch something. Isn't God wonderful to use this small detail to remind us of our own individuality and complexity?! We are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made."

August 3, 2008

Merchant's Ship and Wal-Mart Semis

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is worth more than precious rubies.
She is like a merchant's ship; she brings her food from afar."
Proverbs 31:10, 14

"Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over." Proverbs 3:9-10

Do you ever feel like the Proverbs 31 model woman is just a little unattainable for you? I do - often! I mean, this woman seems to have more than 24 hours in a day, and it is easy for me to compare myself to her and find myself lacking. But today I had a little personal victory realized that, at least for today, I lived a little bit of Proverbs 31.

Verse 14 describes a woman who provides food for her family from "afar." As a young home school girl, one of my assignments was to illustrate the Proverbs 31 woman. The picture I drew for verse 14 was a large box of Cheerios aboard a ship. Little did I know that 15 years later I would realize how close to the truth that drawing is!

Today I went price match shopping at my Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. I nearly always prefer to go to Kroger, Albertson's
orTom Thumb, but this week's sales were SO good at all three stores, and none of my coupons were eligible to be doubled grocery stores will triple all coupons up to $0.39 and double coupons up to $0.50 - Wal-Mart accepts coupons at face value.) and I wanted to take advantage of "one stop shopping." After price matching and using coupons, I bought the following items for about $16.00.

11 tubes of Speed Stick deodorant
8 bottles of Advil
2 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios
2 boxes of Strawberry Yogurt Cheerios
2 boxes of Raisin Bran
4 boxes of Eggo whole wheat waffles
8 boxes of Pop Tarts

I estimate the original Wal-Mart price for these items to be about $125.00 - that's a savings of about 88%. The Kellogg items are also part of a mail-in rebate that is available, so after I receive the rebate check I will have spent a total of $6.00 for all of those products!

In this modern day in which we live, Cheerios and Advil may not come to us via merchant ships. Most of the items above are made in the good old US of A - and arrive3d in Fort Worth via a Wal-Mart semi...but it did still come from "afar."

Shockingly Seventeen

Yesterday, while I was at the nail salon waiting to get my nails done, I perused through the June 08 edition of Seventeen Magazine. I was interested in the article about country music sensation Taylor Swift, and I ended up reading the whole magazine! I have to admit, I was shocked at some of the content in Seventeen Magazine - and even more shocked to realize that it's target audience isn't actually seventeen year old young women, but rather girls, ages 12-17. I admit, I'm far past the target age group, but I feel that the some of the magazine content is wholly unacceptable for Royal Daughters of any age.

Taking advantage of any summer theme they could get their hands on, the writers/editors of Seventeen Magazine had a 4 or 5 page article about bathing suits to fit any body shape. Please remember that the target age group is preteen and teenage girls. Most of the featured bathing suits were bikinis, and the few one-piece suits that were featured were mostly "cut out" suits (exposing the waist line, chest, and other unmentionable areas of the female body.) From string-tied bikini bottoms, to low-cut halter tops, there were a handful (if that) of modest bathing suits. Seventeen Magazine encourages girls to expose and flaunt their bodies at the beach/swimming pool. However, the Word of God gives explicit instructions for Royal Daughters, "
I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves..." (I Timothy 2:9) Peter, a disciple of Christ also writes in I Peter 3:4, You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

There were several articles about summer love. In "How to Meet the Hot Lifeguard" and "Getting Any Guy at the Beach", readers are encouraged to take the initiative in summer romances. According to Seventeen Magazine, girls shouldn't wait for hot guys to approach them - but be bold and introduce themselves and even give out their phone numbers. When it comes to kissing, girls should once again take the initiative and make the first move. Seventeen Magazine also consoles the girls whose new crush is leaving the beach with his family. They write, "for every one hot guy who leaves, three more hot guys show up, and now you've got your pick of three!" The adolescent girls that read Seventeen Magazine are reading that fickleness and promiscuity are completely normal and acceptable behaviors. This is completely anit-Royal Daughter behavior! In Song of Solomon we read,
"Promise me, O women of Jerusalem...not to awaken love until the time is right."

In the OMG! (basically a most embarrassing moment) section of the magazine young readers write in with stories about being caught making out with their boyfriends (one girl was making out with a boy who was actually dating someone else - talk about OMG!), being embarrassed in front of their crushes, being heard describing their new underwear to their boyfriends, etc. What is exceptionally shocking about this is that the readers who wrote these OMG! moments were 12,13, and 14 year old girls! They have probably never read the Bible,where it says that Royal Daughters should
"live wisely and be pure...then they will not bring shame on the Word of God." (Titus 2:5)

I say, shame on you, Seventeen Magazine for leading astray vulnerable young girls! They are created by, and in the image of God, and they are precious in His sight! I wish the girls could read Proverbs 31:30, "
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God."

August 1, 2008

Slow Fade

Slow Fade - Casting Crowns

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

July 27, 2008

Life, Liberty, and the (never-ending) Pursuit of Happiness

The marketers for Cadillac, the luxury line of cars manufactured by General Motors, pretty much hit the nail on the head when they came up with their new slogan: "Life. Liberty. and the Pursuit." Taking this great slogan directly out of the Declaration of Independence, they correctly placed the emphasis on "the Pursuit" really is all about the pursuit, isn't it?

In case you don't remember the middle school test question, here's the small, and probably most famous part of the Declaration that we've all heard: "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Have you spent any time dwelling on the statement above? I think many Americans take some of those Rights for granted, yet our Founding Fathers thought them so important and innovative that they felt compelled to include them in the Deceleration of Independence. This "innovative" thought is actually centuries old! In fact, Christ offered these same Rights to any and all that would follow Him.

– Jesus Christ spoke extensively about Life, both physical and spiritual. He offers Eternal (spiritual) Life to any person who believes in Him. In John 3:16 we read, " This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." John 10:10 reiterates this thought, "I [Jesus] came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." Again in Acts 16:31 Luke, a disciple of Christ writes, "Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you'll live as you were meant to live."

Christ gave explicit directions to Christ Followers concerning their physical life: Do not worry! In Matthew 6:25 we read, "So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing?" Again and again He stresses to Christ followers, "If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." (Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, and Luke 9:24) During His short earthly ministry, Jesus Christ redefined the meaning of life. He transformed a physical, materialistic view of life into a spiritual and eternal view of life. In Luke 12:15 we read, "Beware! Don't be greedy for what you don't have. Real life is not measured by how much we own." Luke 12:15

Liberty – The Gospels are full of Christ’s offer for liberty, or freedom. The nation of Israel spent years in captivity and bondage, and at the time of Christ’s birth, they were seeking a Messiah to free them from the Roman Empire. The Pauline Epistles and other New Testament books reiterate Christ’s offer of freedom, not just for Israel, but for all peoples of all nations. Paul writes in Romans 8:21, “Creation itself will also be set free [liberated] from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God's children.”

The liberty that Christ offers is freedom from the Old Testament Law. In Romans 6:14 Paul describes our liberation from the Law, “Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.” Christ Followers are also offered freedom from bondage to the Devil and worldly desires. Romans 12:2 instruct Christ Followers, “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” You see, while Christ offers everyone freedom from the Law and freedom from sin, He calls all of His followers to a higher standard of Christian excellence.

Pursuit of Happiness – Did you know that the word happiness does not appear in the New Testament at all? And happy appears merely six times in the New Testament. For the context in which we are discussing the word happy – only five of those six verses are appropriate. In John 13 we read of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet. He explains to them that He is acting as an example to them, and concludes his discussion by saying, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” The remaining four verses (Romans 14:22, James 5:11, I Peter 3:14 and II Peter 4:14) attribute being happy to those who endure persecution, ridicule, and suffering on behalf of Christ Jesus. This Biblical model of happiness certainly doesn’t match our culture’s model for happiness!

Perhaps that’s because this culture constantly emphasizes the pursuit of happiness instead of emphasizing being happy. In today’s society, just as the makers of Cadillac so aptly remind us daily on TV, happiness is always just a little out of reach. Buying a luxury car, the latest gaming system, a bigger home (with a pool), name-brand clothes, designer purses and shoes, etc, etc. does not inherently equal happiness. It’s all just part of the pursuit of happiness.

Early Christ Followers (Paul, James, Peter, John, etc.) frequently utilized the word joy rather than happy. Joy is found in the New Testament ten times more often than happy – that’s sixty times in the Gospels and Epistles! John 15:11 introduces readers to the (not so secret and yet oh so attainable) Source of joy: “[Jesus said] I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” How amazing that despite our circumstances, status in life, demographic location, gender, race, and social standing, Jesus Christ offers us His never-ending joy! Society and culture will constantly bombard us with the never-ending pursuit of happiness, and all the while, we have available to us a constant supply of joy – Christ Jesus Himself! Again and again Christ Followers are assured of Christ’s joy in its fullest! Christ even goes so far as to say that, “. . . no one can rob you of that joy.”

The makers of Cadillac want us to believe that happiness can only be attained by purchasing a luxury vehicle. The truth is, it really isn’t about the pursuit, or happiness, at all. It’s really all about joy.

July 26, 2008

In My Weakness He is Strong

Many of you know that I often suffer from pretty severe back pain. 5 years ago I had emergency surgery to remove a herniated disc in my lower back and since that time I've had to endure frequent back pain and weakness. When I first injured my back the Lord used that time in my life to remind me of my utter dependence upon Him. At that time in my life I was 21 years old and 100% dependent upon my parents fore everything from turning on the bath water to tying my shoes. Being physically dependent upon someone allowed me to remember my spiritual (and often physical) dependence on God.

Since January of this year I have once again been faced with back problems. This time around I'm not as dependent on someone to care for every detail of my life, but I am very aware of my weakness and often I must ask for help lifting and carrying things that are too heavy for me. It doesn't take long for me to start feeling sorry for myself. It often seems that I have more limitations than I deserve, and that I am too weak for a 26 year old woman. Such are the thoughts I've been dwelling on for the past couple of days.

Today the Lord brought to mind some scripture verses that have been an encouragement to me. In 1 Corinthians 1:27 I read, "God has chosen the world's foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world's weak things to shame the strong.
God has chosen the world's insignificant and despised things--the things viewed as nothing--so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something." And in 2 Corinthians 2:10 Paul writes: "Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size - abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."

Many Biblical characters that God used to lead the Nation of Israel were weak according to man's standard. Moses felt that he was an inadequate leader for the captive children of Israel, and he actually begged God to choose someone else to lead Israel out of Egypt. King David was but a small insignificant shepherd, and yet he was HAND PICKED by God to rule Israel. The Apostle Paul wrote several times of a "thorn in my flesh", which likely could have been a physical disability, and it is also recorded that he had poor vision. Yet God used Paul to pen nearly half of the New Testament!

I am reminded that when I embrace my weakness and rely on God's almighty strength, I am made stronger, and He is glorified. His strength carries me through the pain, difficulty, and inconvenience of lower back pain. And He reminds me that His plan for my life is perfect, and His plan will be executed despite my physical weakness!!

Perhaps you too are facing a physical limitation or weakness. I hope you will be encouraged by these verses and remember that when His children are weak, God's strength becomes evident and His name renown. Won't you pray with me for His glory and power to be revealed, even if it means a disability or weakness for you?

The following song by Chris Tomlin is an encouragement to me as well.

"Great is Your faithfulness oh God, You wrestle with the sinner's heart. You lead us by still waters in to mercy, and nothing can keep us apart! Great is Your love and justice God, You use the weak to lead the strong. You lead us in the song of Your salvation, And all Your people sing along. So remember Your people, remember Your children, remember Your promise Oh God! Your grace is enough, Your grace is enough, Your grace is enough for me."

Let's dwell on His strength and sufficient grace, and not on our weaknesses.

July 17, 2008

Will You Accept this Rose?

It's no secret - I am a huge fan of ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette! If I miss a Monday night episode, I am quick to log onto to the website to watch the episode online. You might wonder why I'm so addicted to this show...and the truth is, I have no idea! I am fully aware that, though it is called "reality" TV, it is nothing like reality. Even if you are one of the most beautiful and personable women in the world, or if you are the most attractive and accomplished man in the world, you will most likely never have the opportunity to date 25 men or women at a time.

The dates that take place on The Bachelor are far from reality too. Have you every watched the show? There are some AMAZING dates on that TV program. This season the Bachelorette took one of her dates to Frank Sinatra's home and they danced in his living room to, of course, Old Blue Eye's classics. I mean, WHO gets to do this kind of stuff in real life??

The other day, I was thinking about how so many "spiritual" experiences in life are not that far off from reality TV. As kids, we attend a week-long Vacation Bible School and we learn new Bible songs and stories, memorize Bible verses, and are introduced to the importance of international and homeland missions. I think that in a way, VBS is sort of a primer for youth camp and church camp. Once again, a week out of the summer is dedicated to delving into the Word of God, and the focus of every camp activity is to strengthen our spiritual life.

Youth summer mission trips and youth camps are similar in that kids spend the entire day running themselves ragged, and then attend evening worship or fireside devotions that are deeply meaningful and emotionally charged. I know I always came home from camp renewed and refreshed spiritually, but physically exhausted.

Adults have their own version of youth camp. Women and men alike attend church-sponsored retreats and nationally renowned conferences (and might I add - pay a pretty penny) in order to rekindle their passion for the Word of God.

Please don't misinterpret my meaning here. I am not bashing VBS, church camps, and church retreats. I am, however, presenting what I feel is the "reality TV" aspect of Christian living. Just like reality TV is a poor representation of life, so are VBS, mission trips, etc. poor representations of the Christian life. In real life, Satan is using every distraction to woo us with the ways of the world. (See Mark 1:13, II Corinthians 11:14, and I Thessalonian 2:18) Realistically speaking, Christ Followers must make a diligent effort to memorize the Word and pursue righteousness through Christ on a daily basis. One or two weeks out of the year, partnered with Sunday morning worship are not enough for Christ Followers to maintain a relationship with their precious Savior!

I think I enjoy watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette because I am (and will always be) a romantic at heart. That's why it is so amazing to me that the God of the universe is constantly and daily pursuing me. Scriptures are full of examples of Almighty God expressing His love for His people Israel, and for His church, whom He gave Himself for. (Ephesians 5:25) The Song of Solomon is a beautiful book that so eloquently expresses passion and love. It is considered by some to be an allegorical depiction of God's love for His people. In Song of Solomon 2:1 we read, "I am the rose of Sharon..." Can you just imagine that Almighty God asks us, "Will you accept this rose?" THAT is true reality...and He asks us daily!

July 9, 2008


This weekend my grandparents are moving out of their home of more than 60 years. Because of their age and poor vision, living independently has become very difficult for them, and they have decided to move into an assisted living facility in Houston.

This time of transition is difficult for them and their family. Their home holds so many fond memories, spanning 6 decades and at least five generations. Every major holiday has been celebrated in that home, as well has fun-filled sleepovers, and birthday parties.

This week I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I want to go visit their house one last time. Part of me wants to go visit them and see the house, and make sure that they are okay. I also want to see their new home and know for myself that they will feel at home at Hearthstone. But at the same time, I don't want to see my grandparent's house packed and full of boxes. I don't want to see bare walls and empty closets. This internal conflict has plagued me most of the week.

I finally decided not go this weekend. I want my grandparent's house to remain in my memory the way it was when I was a kid. From the plastic table cloth on the kitchen table, to the gold mail box on the front porch, I want to remember every detail the way it is supposed to be. I want to always remember the yellow curtains that hang in the spare bedroom. They've been there my entire life, and I remember pulling them back to look out at the huge back yard when I was a kid. I'll always remember the pink polyester night gown that hangs in the spare bedroom closet. I couldn't wait until I was big enough to wear Grandma's night gown - it was a :grown up" night gown and I as soon as it fit me I claimed it as my own every time I spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

I remember the creaking sound of the latch on the screen door in the kitchen. My brother and cousins and I spent a lot of time in the back yard, and the small metal latch on the screen door was sometimes tricky for us to open when we were younger. It makes this wonderful soft creaking sound every time the door opens.

I love the HUGE dictionary that sits on the table next to my Grandpa's chair in the den. It must be about 6 inches thick, and contain EVERY word in the English language. When I was a kid I couldn't even lift it! It is blue and and I think my Grandpa has read it cover to cover....

I love how my Grandma and Grandpa's house smells...sort of a mixture between toothpaste, cookies, and natural gas. That doesn't sound like it smells good, but it does. Older homes have that natural gas smell, and that, mixed with the clean smell of toothpaste and the sweet smell of cookies makes for a wonderful fragrance that smells like Grandma's house.

In the next few days the house will be emptied, cleaned, and left vacant until Grandma, Grandpa, my mom and uncle decide what to do with the house. When they leave this weekend, there will be an enormous vacuum that will fill all of our hearts with sadness and a sense of lost. We are losing what was - their independence, their sweet home. This tiny house, lacking so many modern amenities has meant so much to my family, and is to me right now, a dream house.

June 19, 2008


This has been a really hectic week for me. I usually get Friday, Saturday and Sundays off, but last weekend I had to work on Friday and Saturday, and on Saturday night my husband and went home (about 3 hours away) to see my Dad on Father's Day. Less than 24 hours later we were headed back home, and I went right back to work on Monday morning.

I worked late on Monday, and on Tuesday I worked almost 13 hours without a break. The girl who was supposed to work late on Tuesday got sick and went home, so I worked for her. By Wednesday, I was out of scrubs to wear to work. I came home yesterday and found one pair of clean scrubs. My sweet husband knew I was out of work clothes, and he washed a quick load of a little of everything. (We were out of other items too...and getting desperate!)

At my job we have a "schedule" of which color scrubs to wear each day. M-W-F we wear green, and T-TH we wear blue. My husband can't keep track of this schedule, so I was quite surprised to see that he had washed the blue scrubs, the ones I needed to wear today. He explained that he saw that the blue scrubs were on top, and he guessed that's what I'd worn on Tuesday, so he washed them thinking I would need them today (Thursday.)

I really appreciated this small gesture from my husband to help out with the laundry (truth be told he does most of it anyway.) And I love that he took the time to try to figure out which scrub I would need.

Isn't he wonderful?

"Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church - a love marked by giving, not getting." - Ephesians 5:25 (The Message)

June 8, 2008

Why a tree?

Genesis 3:8 "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden."

Today my pastor mentioned this tiny, almost insignificant detail during his sermon: When Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness and their sin, they hid among the trees of the Garden of Eden. I've never noticed this before, I just remembered that they made for themselves coverings out of fig leaves.

Isn't it interesting that Adam and Eve hid in the trees? They didn't hide themselves in the bushes, or in the flowers, but among trees. They placed a barrier between themselves and Almighty God, and that barrier was a tree. Do you think that Moses included this fact merely for literary embellishment, or was he divinely inspired to include this detail in order to show the greatness and foresight of a Holy, omniscient God?

How could Adam and Eve have known that thousands of years later, God's own Son would redeem even this tiny detail to Himself, by His death on a tree. I Peter 2:24 states, "Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness." While the first Adam hid behind a tree, the second Adam exposed Himself on a tree. While sinful man used a tree to hide from Almighty God, Christ used a tree to make Himself available to mankind. Isn't our God wonderful to include this awesome detail in His plan to redeem His people?

May 23, 2008

God will wipe every last tear from their eyes.

There are no words to describe the events of this weekend...but I will try. My husband's grandfather has suffered for many years with dementia and Parkinson's disease. He has been faithfully cared for by his wife and daughters, and even now, as he was on the brink of passing from this life into the presence of God, he was at home surrounded by three of the women in this world who love him most.

I've never known this man, my husband's grandfather. I met him about four years ago, and even then his mental state was somewhat diminished. The last memory I have of Granddaddy is last Christmas when he was still able to sit at the kitchen table and laugh with the family. We didn't know if he knew what he was laughing about or not, but his presence was an obvious delight to all of us around him. This is the memory I want to remember for the rest of my life. For this reason I couldn't bring myself to visit him in his room when we arrived on Friday morning.

As much as I would have loved to sit in his room with him and his daughters, wife, and grandson, I couldn't bring myself to go in there. So I spent much of Friday sitting a few feet away from his room, and I was honored to get to observe his family caring for him, and ushering him out of this world and into the next. I was, as the cliche says, "a fly on the wall."

One of his daughters told him probably a hundred times or more how much she loves him. She told him what a wonderful daddy he is, how special he is, and how much he is loved. It broke my heart, and made me wonder why some people (not this family) wait until the end of life to express these tender thoughts? Daddy, if you're reading this, I love you! You are wonderful and I will love you until the day I die. (And in case you don't read this, I'll tell you the next time I talk to you!)

My husband's mother spent a good part of the evening singing hymns to her daddy. He always loved to hear her sing, and I think her singing tonight was a comfort to all of us who could hear her soft voice. The words of the old hymns are so full of meaning, and sometimes when we are grieving, when we're tired and anxious, words fail to come. But the glorious truths that have stood the test of time remain. How our Lord must delight in the praises of His people, even in their darkest hour.

When my husband and I left late Friday night, we both knew it may be the last time to see his Granddaddy on this earth. The next morning, at 10:02 Saturday morning, he went to be with the Lord.

David's mom told us later of his quiet, peaceful passing. The three women (two of Granddaddy's daughters, and his beloved wife) were sitting with him, and the sky grew cloudy just as Granddaddy breathed his last breath. Just a moment later a strong wind made its way around the house, and through the open window, and with that wind, he was gone. His wife, observing the swift change in weather, noted wisely, "It is a dark day when he leaves this earth." Moments later it began to rain, but only briefly, for within minutes the sun was shining again. David's aunt insightfully and poetically captured the tenderness of that moment, saying, "It is a dark day when Daddy leaves us, and with the wind his spirit is taken away. The rain, like tears fall, but the sun shines agains."

Granddaddy's passing was not a surprise to this family, yet we all grieve for the life that is no longer with us. But the women in this family are strong, and while they have shed countless tears for their father, all of them have the promise of being united with him someday. In death there is new life. In grief there is rejoicing. Through tears there is laughter. All a perfect example of the promise in Revelation 7:17, "The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them, will lead them to spring waters of Life. And God will wipe every last tear from their eyes."

May 20, 2008

I love the words to this song by Casting Crowns.

"Stained Glass Masquerade"

Is there anyone that fails?
Is there anyone that falls?
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small?

Cause when I take a look around,
Everybody seems so strong.
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong.

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay.
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too.
So with a painted grin, I play the part again,
So everyone will see me the way that I see them.

Are we happy plastic people,
Under shiny plastic steeples?
With walls around our weakness,
And smiles to hide our pain.
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken,
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade.

Is there anyone who's been there?
Are there any hands to raise?
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage?

The performance is convincing,
And we know every line by heart.
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart.

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be?

Would your arms be open,
Or would you walk away?
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay?

May 17, 2008

Why blog?

What is a blog, and what is it's purpose? According to, a blog is defined as "your easy-to-use web site, where you can quickly post thoughts, interact with people, and more." I take this to mean that a blog is a personal expression of one's self, and a way to interact with other bloggers (would that be other people expressing themselves?) and I'm not sure what the "more" means.

How is this different from myspace or facebook? I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that personal expression is the primary theme of blogging, whereas sites like facebook and myspace are more of an electronic form of networking and keeping up with friends. I think that blogging is primarily an outlet for communicating one's thoughts and ideas to - no one in particular.

So here's to to the start of me expressing myself to the great void we call the internet. Who will read this? I don't know, maybe no one. So why write, if I don't know that anyone will read it? Perhaps it is for the mere benefit of collecting my own thoughts together and realizing for myself what I actually think about something...and that's reason enough.