Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Thing/Advent: The Light

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."
1 John 1:7

My Advent One Thing: Jesus is the light, and it is His sacrifice that cleanses us from Sin!  Praise the Lord!

I had a wonderful time with my family and Zachary today!  To all my friends and family who made my birthday special, thank you!




Monday, November 29, 2010

One Thing/Advent: Waiting

They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." [...] But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [...] But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
From 2 Peter 3
  
My Advent One Thing: Wait Well.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One Thing/Advent: Faithfulness


Advent!
Today is the first day of Advent -- a season I look forward to every year.  It is a time of reflection and remembrance.  We look back on God's faithfulness as shown through the first coming of Jesus, and we look forward with faith to His second coming!


One Thing!
 "A faithful man will abound with blessings,
   but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished."
Proverbs 28:20

One Thing: Be faithful, and God will take care of the rest.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One Thing: Myth vs. Truth

"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."
2 Peter 1:16

I had to learn about the four kinds of traditional literature for my children's literature class: folktales, fables, myths, and legends. The definition my textbook gave for "myth" included the following (emphasis added).
Every ancient culture made up stories that answered questions about the creation of the world, the origins of people, and the reasons for natural phenomena.  the Greeks called these explanations mythos, which means "tales" or "stories." Today, people sometimes use the word myth to describe any story they consider to be untrue. However, in literary terms, a myth is a story containing fanciful or supernatural incidents intended to explain nature or tell about the gods and demons of early peoples. In distant past, as in some traditional cultures today, the stories were taken as fact and made sacred by religious belief.
Many people would consider the Bible a myth and attach this definition to the Holy Word of God.  It is not. We can have confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ.

One Thing: Be bold.  We do not tell mere myths; we have been entrusted with the Word of God.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Zachary and Elizabeth

Sweethearts!

One Thing: Gift

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace."
1 Peter 4:10

One Thing: Everyone has a gift.  Use yours to serve others.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

One Thing: Thanksgiving

"To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise..."
Daniel 2:23

This verse is fitting on the day we set aside to thank the Lord for His many blessings. Yesterday's post listed  many things I am thankful for, but I am reminded again today of His amazing provision.  I spent a special Thanksgiving with family and friends -- my last as an unmarried girl -- and there were a lot of questions about the upcoming wedding, Zachary, our plans, etc.  I may not have all the answers, but I am confident that our Lord will provide; He is faithful!  It will be nice to spend Thanksgiving with Zachary next year instead of just thinking about him! :)

One Thing! Give thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One Thing: Preparing for Thanksgiving

"Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious."
1 Peter 3:4

One Thing: Be more concerned about the state of your heart than the outward impression you give others.

In Thanksgiving news, my family is excited about seeing some dear friends of ours and my grandma tomorrow.  Two tired ankles and a burned middle finger means I am able to put sweet potato pies on the table -- you should see me trying to type this with one hand while my blister is soaking!

As I anticipate tomorrow, a few special blessings to give thanks for come to mind:
  1. My incredible fiance Zachary
  2. My supportive and understanding family
  3. My church
  4. My job
  5. Only 3 1/2 weeks of school remaining
  6. My health
  7. And above all, the amazing grace of my awesome God
Thank you, Lord!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Thing: Put Away

"So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander."
1 Peter 2:1

"Put away."  You mean they don't just go away by themselves? No, we must work at it and continue in obedience.  With His help, we must put away these sins and honor Christ.

Later in the chapter, Peter went on to say, "Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 1:10).

One Thing: We are God's people. Honor Him by being true, humble, forgiving, content, and gentle.

Monday, November 22, 2010

One Thing: Mercy

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
1 Peter 1:3

One Thing: I am thankful for God's mercy today!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Thing: Grumbling vs. Thanks

"Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door."
James 5:9

There are so many ways that we can grumble. You can gripe and complain under your breath, to your best friend, to your mom, to a group, to a coworker -- even to yourself by dwelling on a "situation" longer than you ought.  Grumbling comes naturally, but it reflects an ungrateful heart.  We have so much to be thankful for!  Grumbling doesn't help anyone, but a thankful heart encourages, uplifts, and gives glory to God.

One Thing: Be thankful for the people in your life and focus on their good qualities instead of complaining about them.

A Fourth Study in School Books

Monday
I started reading Persuasion by Jane Austen.

Tuesday
 Both classes have kept me busy reading!

Wednesday
I read many contemporary, realistic fiction storybooks.

Thursday
I wrote 1 1/2 book evaluations about Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi and Working Cotton by Sherley Anne Williams.  I also finished reading my favorite Jane Austen book: Persuasion. 

Friday
No school! Zachary and I spent the day at the zoo. We had a marvelous time. I will post a picture later when I get it from Zachary (taken on his camera).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Thing: Humility

"There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?"
James 4:12

I am often too quick to judge or criticize others, but the Bible shows me that this is not my place. Verse 6 reminds me that, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

One Thing: It is not my duty or right to judge others; be humble and let the Lord handle the rest.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One Thing: Peaceful Wisdom... and Zoo News

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
James 3:17

One Thing: Make God's wisdom a priority to be sought after with all diligence.  Practice gentle manners and a peaceful spirit.

For today's news, I spent a wonderful day with my fiance at the zoo!  We had so much fun, and it was a blessing to having a schedule free day and just enjoy spending time together.  Check back later for pictures or visit his blog to see a video he will post sometime on Saturday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One Thing: Slow to speak

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger..."
James 1:19

I read our One Thing! scriptures out loud to my mom tonight.  We decided our One Thing today should be "Keep your mouth shut" -- at the appropriate times, of course. :)  I am so thankful for a mother who has read the Bible out loud to me for so many years.  Now, I can read to her while she crochets, and we continue to form wonderful memories together.

James was very pointed in his instructions, and both my mom and I agreed that we need to work on being quick to hear and slow to speak.  Oh yeah, and slow to anger too.  A lot of trouble -- and sin -- will be avoided if we slow down, listen, and consider our words carefully before speaking.  We must not be hearers only of the Word, but doers also.

Thanks, Mom, for being an example of a godly woman who desires to become more like Christ!

One Thing: Be slow to speak.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Thing: Joy During Trials

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:2-3

Stuff happens.  Trials are inevitable.  How do I react?  It my faith tested and found true?

Questions.

I don't like being inconvenienced.  I don't like being wronged.  It hurts when people misunderstand me or think I am not doing something "just right."

"Count it all joy."  How do I count it all joy when I am not happy?

It is not about happiness or what is going on around me.  It is not about everything being just so.  I make mistakes.  I cause more problems for myself than anyone else could ever manufacture.  God will help me find His joy in every situation and problem.  I am being tested, and I trust that it will produce steadfastness.  Steadfastness will have its full effect in my life, and I will (with God's grace) be made perfect and complete -- lacking nothing.

One Thing.  Live in God's joy -- regardless of the trial.  Be steadfast and use every situation as an opportunity to grow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One Thing: Contentment

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"
Hebrews 13:5

Am I satisfied with what God has blessed me with?  Do I have peace of mind?  One of the definitions for "content" from Webster's 1828 Dictionary reads, "Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition."

One Thing! Whatever my situation, be content with what God has already given me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

One Thing: Peace and Cake

"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."
Hebrews 12:14

One Thing: Strive for peace and holiness.  It is worth the effort.





The carrot cake with pineapple was frosted and eaten with gusto tonight.  I couldn't let the autumn go by without this annual favorite!  This year, I chose not to put nuts in the cream cheese frosting, and I used almond extract instead of vanilla.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Thing: Discipline

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

I don't like being wrong, and I hate it when others think I am wrong. Discipline isn't something I ever enjoy, but I am thankful that my parents loved me enough throughout the years that they took the time and effort to train me.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!

My parents aren't the only ones who have disciplined me, however.  I have the Holy Spirit who is working in me as He transforms my life. While painful at times, I pray that it will yield peaceful fruit of righteousness.

One Thing: Accept discipline -- from God and others -- with grace.
In other news, I baked an October tradition in November this year.  This carrot cake will be frosted tomorrow!

A Third Study in School Books

Monday
I wrote my essay about Jane Austen's Emma on Monday.  I made edits throughout the week and submitted it on Thursday.

Tuesday
My modern fantasy book evaluation was about Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans.
 
Wednesday
I wrote an essay about suspending disbelief in modern fantasy and used the example of Mary Norton's The Borrowers.
 .
Thursday
My Intro to Children's Literature midterm examination was on Thursday morning.  I continued to read from my textbook and poetry books in the afternoon. 
 
Friday
I read a lot of poetry by many authors, but I wrote my essay about Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses.

Saturday
I wrote a book evaluation about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.  I am happy that I have only five weeks of school left!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Thing: Dripping

"A continual dripping on a rainy day
   and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
to restrain her is to restrain the wind
   or to grasp oil in one’s right hand."
Proverbs 27:15-16

It has been raining for two days.  It is slightly irritating, but at least the walls and roof of my house keep the rain and wind from sounding like it will never stop. These verses remind me of the kitchen faucet, however, since it will drip continually if you don't turn it off right.  I know I don't last very long in the kitchen without adjusting it.  The dripping can grate on me, and I am compelled to get rid of the sound as quickly as possible.

What if the dripping kept going, and there was NO WAY to turn it off?

I am going to be a wife in seven months, and I don't want to be compared to dripping water that won't stop.  I don't want to irritate my (future) husband as much as the dripping faucet irritates me.  So, what do I do?

One Thing: Practice peace.  Work at avoiding a quarrelsome attitude.

Friday, November 12, 2010

One Thing: Faith

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

There are many things we can't see, yet we know they exist.  I can't see oxygen -- yet I breathe it.  I can't see my college diploma, yet I expect to earn one soon.  I can't see the home Zachary and I will live in next year, yet I know God will have a place for us to live.  This is normal.  This is faith.

Yet, it isn't always easy -- especially when it comes to God's promises.  A spirit of doubt has overtaken much of the world.  Even Christians are not always immune.  We can have assurance that God is faithful.  He promised his followers eternal life with Him.  He promised that our needs will be provided for.  He promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.

The list is virtually endless.  Do we believe it?  Do we trust Him?

One Thing!  Have faith in God's promises.  Not seeing something doesn't make it any less real.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Thing: Confess

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

Confess.  What does that even mean?  In part, it means "to own, avow or acknowledge; publicly to declare a belief in and adherence to" (Webster's 1828 Dictionary).

How public is my declaration of the work of Jesus in my life?  This is a work in progress for me, but I trust that God will help me get out of my quiet comfort zone and declare His good news with boldness.

One Thing: I must not waver in my confession of Jesus Christ.  He was faithful, and He will help me be faithful too.

By the way, I took my midterm for Children's Literature this morning!  I don't have a grade yet, but it wasn't traumatic!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Thing: With God

With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.
Psalm 108:13

My One Thing!  Do not worry or take too much onto yourself.  With God, we are victorious!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

One Thing: Deliverance

He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
Psalm 107:20

I am sorry I do not have much to say today. I am tired beyond measure.  On one hand, I am counting down the hours until I can go to bed; on the other, I am overwhelmed by the school work that still needs to be done.  At a time like this, it helps to look at the big picture.  Because school is the most time consuming thing in my life right now, the big picture can look no bigger to me sometimes than the 12 week courses I am in right now.  But that isn't the big picture.

The real big picture is that I am eternally grateful for God's continued grace. I don't deserve the magnificent grace He has given -- and continues to give -- to me.  He sent me His word.  He healed me.  He delivered me from my destruction!

No wonder we can say:

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 107:1


That is my One Thing! today.  Give thanks!

Monday, November 08, 2010

One Thing: Loving Justice

"Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live."
Ezekiel 18:31b-32

Many people turn their backs on Christianity because they think God is mean, judgmental, vengeful, etc.  Ezekiel shows us that our God is just and righteous, but he finds no pleasure in disciplining His people.  It is our choice to obey or disobey his righteous law.  I am thankful for His mercy -- which gives us the opportunity to turn from sin and rely on His loving forgiveness.

One Thing: Our God is just, and it is His love for us that causes Him to say, "Turn, and live." 

Sunday, November 07, 2010

One Thing: Mind and Heart

I will put my laws into their minds,
   and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
   and they shall be my people.
Hebrews 8:10b
.
The One Thing! Challenge is now in Ezekiel, Hebrews, Psalms, and Proverbs. The Old Testament readings have been about the blatant disobedience of the nation of Israel. Despite their consistent unfaithfulness, we learn in the New Testament that God chose to send a Savior and initiate a new covenant.

Israel did not deserve it, and we do not deserve it today.  Yet, God loved us so much that he made a way for the law to be on our mind and heart instead of just on tablets of stone.  Jesus died for us so we could have the special relationship with Him that Israel was always meant to have.  He said, "I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

The choice is now ours.  Will we accept His gift -- the gift of having his law on our minds and hearts?

My One Thing!  Thank you, Lord, for your continued faithfulness.  Thank you for putting your law on my mind and heart! 

A Second Study in School Books

Monday
I read my textbook on Monday. It was a long but blessed day!

Tuesday
I worked on my Jane Austen class and read more of the textbook.  As you can see, it was Election Day!

Wednesday
More Christmas music!  Oh, and that paper has my assignments on it.  I wrote my discussion post for Children's Literature and kept reading.

Thursday
Believe me, I did school. It was a long day, so I didn't get a picture taken.  Thursday was also the day I had my last coaching call with CollegePlus!  I will miss my coach!  I was blessed with two wonderful ladies during my CollegePlus! days.  They provided needed accountability, prayer, and encouragement.  What a blessing their friendship has been!
Friday
Friday found me working on an essay about the four types of traditional literature.  My midterm is next Thursday, so I have been devoting a significant portion of time to studying for it.

Saturday
I wrote a book evaluation about Rapunzel -- retold and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.  I am also spending a lot of time on the chapter about modern fantasy from my textbook and reading The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

One Thing: Active Thanksgiving

Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 106:1

The Lord is perfect in his goodness.  He does not falter or waver.  It is His nature to love forever.  So, when the going gets tough, and I wish there was a pause button for my school and work schedule, I know He is with me, and I will make it through with His love.  Thank you, God!

One Thing: His love is forever!  Be active in your thanksgiving.  Complain less; praise more!

Friday, November 05, 2010

One Thing: Life

"...that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 14:11

This is my prayer for my city, state, and nation... though I don't pray as I ought.  I attended the annual fund raising banquet for our local Christian pregnancy center last night.  They provide guidance, pregnancy testing, limited ultrasounds, baby supplies, referrals for adoptions, etc.  The annual event raises public awareness for its ministry and raises the funds to provide these services to girls and women in crisis pregnancies.  It is always a heart wrenching... and encouraging event.  The room was full of people who support life.

The speaker, who had been adopted as an infant, spoke about how she had always taken life for granted -- until she met her birth mother and was told the miracle story of her birth.  She discovered that she was a twin, and an abortion attempt had been made on their lives.  She survived; her twin did not.  The speaker told us that she no longer takes life for granted.  Neither should we.  I pray that our nation would turn from its sin and not defile itself anymore by killing those that are most vulnerable.  A mother's womb should be a place of safety -- not murder.

Find out if you have a Christian pregnancy center in your area, and please support them with your prayer and resources.  Every little (and big) bit counts.

One Thing: Don't take life for granted.  Pray faithfully for revival and restoration in the hearts of fathers, mothers, politicians, and others throughout the nation.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

One Thing: The Unexpected

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Proverbs 27:1

I never know what a day will bring.  Surprises can thwart the best made plans.  For someone like me -- one who appreciates structure and planning -- it can be unsettling to not know what tomorrow, next week, or next year will bring.  Yet, I know I can leave it in the Lord's hands and trust him today to take care of tomorrow and every day after that.  I may not boast in my plans, my intentions, or my dreams.  My hope is in the Lord.

One Thing: Do not rely on your plans or become upset when expectations are disappointed.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

One Thing: Grow Up

"But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil."
Hebrews 5:14

I want to be constantly growing in my relationship with God.  It is never mature to be content with what we already know. I pray that God would give me powers of discernment and I will be diligent and practiced in distinguishing good from evil.

My One Thing: Do not be dull of hearing.  Do not settle. Instead, grow in maturity by practicing discernment of good and evil.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

One Thing: Help in Time of Need

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

I don't know about you, but I need lots of grace.  I was just getting used to it being October when I was forced to flip my calendar page to November.  A horrendous sight came into view.  Every day of this first week of the month is full of events and abnormalities... and this calendar did not even include my school assignments!

When I get overwhelmed, little things can seem really big.  I knocked my head this morning on my way to work, and all of a sudden it became an emotional as well as painful event.  Shock and stress made me vulnerable, and I felt like a target as unforeseeable issues arose at work.  On days like this, I need to draw near to the throne of grace and receive His mercy and grace in my time of need.

One Thing! I am needy, but His grace is enough to get me through my day.  Thank the Lord!

Monday, November 01, 2010

One Thing: Unaffected

"Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house."
Ezekiel 2:6b-7

Here in the United States, we don't have the kind of persecution that many Christians throughout the world face; we won't be arrested, beaten, or killed for our beliefs. Yet, many of us remain quiet about our Savior.  Why?  Some of it may be because we don't want people to look down on us.  We have become afraid of what they will say or how they will look at us.

One Thing: I am going to take these verses from Ezekiel to heart and remember that only God's words and thoughts matter.  Today, I resolve to remain unaffected by people's tones, remarks, and looks.