Saturday, December 29, 2012

If I Had My Life To Live Over

If I Had My Life To Live Over

The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck 
sometime after she found out she had kidney disease.

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

Image Credit
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.
© Erma Bombeck

Who was Erma Bombeck?

Erma was born on February 21, 1927, to a working family living in Ohio. Her father died when she was nine years old, and she, along with her mother, moved to her grandmother's home. Her mother remarried two years later. 

Erma entered school when she was five years old, and quickly became an avid reader and accomplished student. She especially enjoyed reading the popular humor writers at her time. When Erma entered Emerson Junior High School in 1940, she began writing a humorous column for its newspaper, The Owl.

In 1949, she converted to Catholicism, and married Bill Bombeck, a veteran of the World War II Korean front. The Bombecks were told by doctors that having children was improbable, and they adopted a little girl named Betsy in 1953. Erma decided to become a full-time housewife, and her writing mostly went by the wayside--besides writing a series of columns in the Dayton Shopping News. They later had two sons, one born in 1955, the other in 1958.

In 1964 Erma Bombeck resumed writing weekly columns in her small bedroom for the local Kettering-Oakwood Times. Her writing career grew, and her articles were featured in 36 major U.S. newspapers. By 1978, 900 U.S. newspapers were publishing Bombeck's columns.

Erma Bombeck had been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (a congenital defect) when she was 20 years old, but managed to live most of her life without any problems from it. She had a mastectomy in 1992 after being diagnosed with breast cancer and in 1996, she was brought to a San Francisco hospital for a kidney transplant, which was performed on April 3, 1996. However, complications developed and she died on April 22, 1996, aged 69.
Above information found on the article.

NOTE: We do not necissarily endorse Erma's articles. The above is an exception.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

Source: on Pinterest

Source: on Pinterest

Source: on Pinterest

Source: Uploaded by user via Shale on Pinterest
Merry Christmas!
-Tiffany and Esther-

A Misuse of Imagination--Wisdom Wednesday

Worry is a misuse of imagination.” ― Dan Zadra

Matthew 6:25-27, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Luke 12:25, “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

Psalm 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

We really feel happier when things look bleak.
Hope is endurance. Hope is holding on and going on
and trusting in the Lord.
” ― Michael Novak
{Photo Credit}
Proverbs 12:25, “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Isaiah 43:1-3, “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Don't worry when you are not recognized,
but strive to be worthy of recognition.
” ― Abraham Lincoln
{Photo Credit}

Some quotes about worrying:
I’ll give you some symptoms of a sign that your faith is deteriorating–whenever you face all of your problems and you trust only your plans to get you out–it is a sign that your faith is deteriorating.” ― T.D. Jakes

No one can pray and worry at the same time.” ― Max Lucado

Knowing that God is faithful, it really helps me to not be captivated by worry. But knowing that He will do what He has said, He will cause it to happen, whatever He has promised, and then it causes me to be less involved in worrying about a situation.” ― Josh McDowell

Worry is the sin of distrusting the promise and providence of God, and yet it is a sin that Christians commit perhaps more frequently than any other.” ― John MacArthur

{Photo Credit}

The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.” ― Rick Warren

If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were?” ― Jodi Picoult

I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. ‘Never worry about your heart till it stops beating.’” ― E.B. White

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ― Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, December 23, 2012



Yes, it's finally here!

All the people who get a print copy received theirs last Tuesday, but I haven't had time to post until now on here. I hope you will forgive me. :)

Read/download your free copy here!

Lord willing, I will be starting to put the next issue (#5) together this week, even though it won't be finished until February or March. Several things we will be needing yet:

  1. a short story from the Bible, retold (it can be first- or third-person. Doesn't matter either way.)
  2. a couple poems for the Encouragement Page
  3. several quotes for the Encouragement Page
  4. a recipe (or two!)--just make sure that they are fairly easy to make. Preferably ones you've made before.
  5. a short thought, something God's shown you, an answered prayer--doesn't have to be longer than one paragraph. We'd use them to fill up the gaps at the bottom of pages.
NOTE: If you send in any of the above that you haven't written, please give us the source--we'd like to see where you got it! ;)

Stay true to Him,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Prayer For Help

Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Picture Credit
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

~Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dead Ducks Don't Flutter

Many years ago, a wealthy man went duck hunting with a hired hand named Sam. They took a horse and carriage, and along the way a rim came off one of the wheels. As Sam hammered it back on, he accidentally hit his finger. Instantly he let go with some bad words. He quickly fell to his knees, asking God’s forgiveness. “Lord, it’s difficult at times to live the Christian life”, he prayed. “Sam” said the man, “I know you’re a Christian, but tell me why you struggle so, I’m an atheist, and I don’t have problems like that.”

Sam didn’t know what to say. Just then two ducks flew overhead. The man raised his gun and two shots rang out. “Leave the dead one and go after that wounded bird!” he shouted. Sam pointed at the duck that was fluttering desperately to escape and said, “I’ve got an answer for you now, Boss. You said my Christianity isn’t any good because I have to struggle so. Well, I’m the wounded duck, and struggle to get away from the devil. But you Boss, you’re the dead duck!”

That insight fits Paul’s description of his Christian experience in Romans 7:14-25. Struggle is one evidence of God’s work in our lives Forgiveness of sin is available, so don’t despair. Remember, dead ducks don’t flutter.

–Dennis De Hann

Struggle, yes, it’s part of living
Nothing’s gained on beds of ease;
But when our heart is set on Jesus,
Struggle drives us to our knees.

–D. De Hann

If Jesus lives within us,
Sin need not overwhelm us.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Will YOU Write For Us?

Well, I’ve just had a sudden inspiration. Tiffany and I would like to have more things from other people in our magazine (and I’m sure that anyone who has ever written a magazine, blog, or other such-like stuff could identify!). So, I was thinking…what about an article-writing day? Both Tiffany and I would write an article, and if you would like to participate (which I REALLY hope you want to!) that would be great. So, here’s what we would do:

You can write/send in anything.
Yup, anything—you could write:
Photo Courtesy
  1. a story 
  2. a poem 
  3. a recipe 
  4. a craft or sewing idea 
  5. a bibliography biography of someone in the past that has been an inspiration to you
  6. an answered prayer 
  7. something God has taught/shown you 
  8. an encouraging quote, and why it’s encouraging to you. 
  9. an embarrassing moment, and something God showed you through that 
  10. something you learned from a book of the Bible (such as Job) 
  11. an exceptionally frustrating situation, and how God helped you conquer your frustration 
  12. a devotional 
  13. a question (yes, we do have a question corner, but no-one’s ever asked anything!) 
  14. a book review 
  15. about a treasure from the Scriptures that you found 
  16. …let your imagination go wild! There are many other subjects I haven’t included! 

There are a few rules:
  1. You can write anything. If you have something you wrote another time, that’s okay. Just send it in. 
  2. The length doesn’t really matter. We can use whatever you send in. If it’s longer than 1 ½ – 2 pages, though, we’d have to break it up and put it in two magazines (which ISN’T a problem, believe me!
  3. When you submit your story (I’ll have a form for you to submit it with), please include a short “About Me”—there’ll be a space for it!It would also be nice to have a picture to put at the bottom, but that’s optional. Your “About Me” could include anything (a few ideas below). I prefer at the minimum three sentences, but if you really can’t think of anything to write about yourself, it’s okay to just give your name (age and location would be great, too, but that’s optional). Your “About Me” could include:
        ○ age
        ○ location
        ○ where they can find you on the internet (your blog, etc)
        ○ some of your interests (crafting, baking, reading, writing, etc)
        ○ how to contact you
         …all of the above are optional, but the “About Me” is designed to make the reader get to know you as an individual a little better—you aren’t just an anonymous writer that way. 
  4. You’re supposed to enjoy yourself while you’re writing—it won’t be just another “chore”. 
  5. If at all possible, what you write should be written in one day. But if you can’t manage, then I understand if it takes several days. The longest time I’ve ever taken to write something for JOJ has been about six months! 
  6. Remember this quote: “You must write for yourself, above all. That is [your] only hope of creating something beautiful.” ~Gustave Flaubert. It’s very true. 
  7. We may not put all of the submissions into one magazine, depending on how many there are. We will be sure, though, to put it in somewhere.
  8. Any questions? Comment below! 
So, what do you think? Do you think you’d like doing this with Tiffany and me? If you think you would, please fill out this short survey:
NOTE: We will write on one particular day, depending on what day you all select. I was originally thinking of Monday, but if you think another day of the week would be better, we'd be glad to hear which day you think is best.

Thank you for all your support; we really appreciate it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A thought

Every two weeks I go to a speaking group called Tecorians and this is one of the Christmassy thoughts I had to do, I really like this one:

Blessed is
The season which
Engages the whole
World in a
Conspiracy of love.
-Hamilton Wright Mabie

-Blessings Tiffany

New button on the sidebar--finally! :)

Well, yes...I've been working on it on and off ever since we first got this blog up and going. Ahem, yes. That is a while. And I'm just slightly embarrassed about that fact. Anyway, here it is, in all it's glory:

The Magazines
Yup, very simple. Check the page out, though if you want to read the magazines! (you've probably read all of them, but they're there for reference, anyway!)
Excited to see where this magazine is going next,
P.S. Did you notice that we changed our pictures on the sidebar? :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Worry Box

This post came from The Pursuit. (you can read another one from that website here) It was originally posted on August 3, 2011. Used by permission--thanks, Ariel!

Hey Girls!

Ahh...the summer is counting down! Well, hopefully you're all enjoying it.

Anyway, I was on vacation with my family at a Christian family camp in NH. It's absolutely beautiful and refreshing. They have activities for the teens, and one day they split up the guys and girls and had devotions. Most of what they talked about was the same old stuff you hear all the time. But one thing struck me: our leader was talking about anxieties and worries and how they don't honor God. She said that she has something called a Worry Box. Let me explain.
Nope! You don't have to be fancy.

She keeps a small, decorated box on her desk with a particular Scripture that comforts her written on the outside (for instance Matt. 6:25-34). She keeps a pen and paper inside it. Whenever she becomes worried, anxious or stressed out, she writes the issue down and puts it inside the box. By doing so, she gives each concern to God and trusts Him with the result. After that, she doesn't allow herself to worry about that issue. Instead, she simply reminds herself that it is already in God's hands.

I love this idea! But what if I expanded that idea to something called My Thought Box. You see, I also struggle with worrying, but my bigger problem is my thought life. I am constantly fighting a battle to think pure thoughts and not let the Devil speak lies into my mind. So, for me, writing down anything I'm struggling with in my mind and putting that in a box (i.e., visually handing it to God), would be even better!

This is by no means a magic fix. And there is certainly nothing wrong with simply praying or journaling about your concerns...I do this as well. But for those like me who are very visual, this can be a great way to hand over worries and concerns to God. I can't wait to try it!


Megan Brainerd, from New York, is a busy nursing student who loves to hang out with her friends, read, and play the piano :) Her email is piano93+@+verizon.+net. (take out the "+'s" to email her)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


"God never said the road would be easy but he also said he would never leave you nor forsake you." ~Unknown

Today's story: Lessons From The Crypt, by Chris Jackman. Be sure to read all four pages--they're worth it!!! 

Have a blessed day, and trust in His Unfailing Love!
Pictures Source
Be watching for another post Sunday!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Only Way Things Will Get Better (Part 2 of 2)

This is continued. Read Part 1 here.

The Mule and the Horse

Once upon a time in a land far removed from here stood a mule and a horse in a meadow filled with luscious grasses and sparkling waters. Neither animal had much to do so they both ate and drank to their hearts content. The mule told the horse that this was the life to live. There could be nothing better. The horse just neighed and kept eating. Eventually the day came that the stream dried up and the grass turned brown and inedible.

The horse knew enough to trust that his owner would soon come to care for him. The mule, on the other hand said he knew of another pasture where the water always flowed and the grasses never withered. He was desirous to seek it on his own. The horse, being the wiser of the two tried to stop his companion. He ran ahead of his friend and blocked his path. But the mule, being stubborn and bull headed simply lowered his head and butted the horse out of his way.

In short order, the animals owner did arrive. He called his horse and his mule. Only the horse responded. The mule had set out on his own search. The farmer told his faithful horse that he would lead him to a pasture where the waters never stopped flowing and the grasses were always green. “But you must follow me closely. The trail is narrow and twisted. The mountain on one side is steep and the valley floor is far below. Follow in my steps and you will arrive safely,” said the farmer. The horse recognized that he would soon be in the place the mule had described.

As the path grew narrow and dangerous, the horse was careful to step exactly where his owner lead him. And indeed the way was treacherous. Only the careful leading of the wise master kept them safe from sure destruction. Often the horse wondered how the mule could possibly find his way—or arrive safely to the place they were headed. At long last, the path once again descended into a valley. Indeed it was flowing with a continuous stream of living waters. Indeed the grasses were the lushest, richest, greenest grasses the horse had ever seen. But there was no mule to be seen.

Days passed and the mule never arrived. Weeks went by and still no mule. One day the horse was munching his grass close to the foot of the mountain which the treacherous path had circumvented. He absentmindedly bumped into an old leather bag laying on its side. There lay the mule, in the green pasture where the water never stopped flowing and the grass was always green—but life was not in him. He was broken and torn and withered and dead for the path had not been kind to the feet of the unsuspecting fool of an animal.

Often we see what we think is the right path to take. We may attempt to venture that way. But the Lord always puts blocks before us if it is not His way. He will not allow us to wander in our own ways without first attempting to turn us from our error. We have a choice. We can go God's way and live, or we can go the way of the fool and risk certain death.

Are you a mule or a horse?
Will you follow your own paths or let God be your guide?
Is your total trust in Him?

{words credit}

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Only Way Things Will Get Better (Part 1 of 2)

“Having faith in God is the only way things will get better.” ~Unknown~

Matthew 15:28, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

1 Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.

1 Corinthians 15:14-17 “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1 Peter 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

“No matter how tough it gets in the journey of our lives or how lonely we may think we feel, there is always God’s presence, in every step of our life to guide us through life’s storm.” 
~Kemmy Nola~

“There is something you can’t fix, can’t heal, or can’t escape, and all you can do it trust God. Finding ultimate refuge in God means you become so immersed in his presence, so convinced of his goodness, so devoted to his lordship that you find even the cave is a perfectly safe place to be because he is there with you.” 
~John Ortberg~

“Faith don’t come in a bushel basket, Missy. It come one step at a time. Decide to trust Him for one little thing today, and before you know it, you find out He’s so trustworthy you be putting your whole life in His hands.”
~Lynn Austin~

Strength of my heart, I need not fail,
Not mind to fear but to obey,
With such a Leader, who could quail?
Thou art as Thou wert yesterday.
Strength of my heart, I rest in Thee,
Fulfil Thy purposes through me.”
~Amy Carmichael~

“…You say to God, ‘I have never seen you provide for me.’
God says to you, ‘You have never trusted Me.’”
~Corallie Buchanan~

“We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally. It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.”
~Charles R. Swindoll~

“I had no real communication with anyone at the time, so I was totally dependent on God. And he never failed me.”
~Diet Eman~

“Dedication is writing your name on the bottom of a blank sheet of paper and handling it to the Lord for Him to fill in”
~Rick Renner~

…and next Sunday, come back for Pt. 2! (it’s a story!) :D Don’t worry, it’s scheduled. So it should be on time! ;)

P.S. I'm sorry I haven't had time to post; I hope you can forgive me! Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A story [couldn't think of a title]

I am feeling a bit guilty of not having written anything by myself for here. :-\
So here is my first story hope you like it...

She sat on her bed, glaring at the mirror, at the slightly upturned nose, and at the plain, faded blue-grey eyes that were staring back at her. The ugly face that only hours before had seemed lovely, breath taking and enhanced by layers of makeup. It was her last try at being beautiful, her last attempt at being stunning but it was all in vain. Her eyes travelled down to her dress's plunging neckline - even that hadn't been enough to keep someone's attention.
All the words of self assurance had faded at the party door. All the work gone into preparing herself seemed worthless, no one had given her a second glance. She had spent the rest of the evening leaning against a wall and trying to lose herself in her wine glass, all the while painfully aware of the other, prettier girls swaggering about in shorts and t-shirts, evoking large amounts of attention. The depth of her abandonment pierced her like a knife.
So here she was in her room wishing she could stay here forever; away from disapproving crowds, locked behind this door; where she could be safe... ugly... and dreadfully alone.


Bethy too looked in the mirror.
She tore off her covering and swiftly unbound her hair. As the locks fell about her waist, she grabbed the back section of her dress and pulled it tight so every curve of her body was accentuated.
Maybe people would look at me if my dresses were tighter, she thought looking at the figure reflected back at her. She looked away; it was wrong to unveil herself to just anyone. Her gazed turned back to the mirror. Maybe her future husband - who ever he was- would wake up and see that she was, well a woman. No! she exclaimed backing away from the mirror, it was wrong to act so selfishly, to be a stumbling block for others.

Yet some part of her still screamed out in pain; somewhere deep down this pretending that beauty didn't matter was killing her. Her heart was still crying out, "Do you like me, do you like what you see?"

The ache for beauty isn't contained by the girls in makeup and towering heels. It is a world wide search.

Haven't you ever wondered of you did a little bit more, people would notice you?
Well, have you?
Have you ever wanted to be known as pretty -even just for a while?
I have. And I'm sure deep down you have too;
Every girl wants to be a blooming rose, that is gasped over by others.

Just as every boy wants to be known as strong and courageous.

But imagine if someone said to you;

The look in your eyes... has stolen my heart.

What would you do? I'm sure you'd look round pretty fast to see who had dared.
But imagine being called that -really imagine; stop reading if you have to... what would it be like...
Imagine being called that, not because you'd done anything or worn anything... Just because you are you...

What would you think/say/ do if Jesus said that to you? What would you do/think/say if said that He had? What would you do/think/say if I said it came straight out of the bible? Pause and have a look at Song of songs 4v9... Did you know that this book portrays Jesus' love for his bride? For You. Love as powerful as death.. [songs 8v6-b]

God delights in you! Y.O.U

Love and blessings Tiffany



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When God Gives You Lemons...

Ariel, used-to-be editor of the Passion Magazine and blog, has graciously given us permission to use the posts from their blog for use on here! Yay! Enjoy, and be richly blessed. 
Today's article came from here. And be sure to check out the whole blog! :D

So when life gives you lemons, what do you do? Well, you make lemonade, as the saying goes. I absolutely LOVE lemons and lemonade, and I especially love lemonade stands! Which is why I am now suddenly reminded of a hilarious commercial! You know, the one with the little girl where she makes her lemonade stand into a giant business? Well, here’s the commercial in case some of you girls have never seen it:

Look at that little girl! I mean, talk about using one’s resources! She uses everything she can! Her father entrusts her with his expensive-looking smart phone and instead of simply using the phone’s calculator, little Susie uses every possible feature on that phone to make a profit!

I think that God does the same thing with us. God gives each and every one of us our own lemons in life. But what are we supposed to do with the lemons that God gives us? Multiply them! In the parable of the talents (check it out in Matthew 25:14-30!), Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven will be like will be like a man who goes on a journey and entrusts his servants with his property. In the parable, the man gives money (in the form of talents, a measurement of money at the time) to three servants. The first two servants eagerly get to work and double the money they’re given, making a profit for their master. But the third servant does absolutely nothing for his master with what he was given. He just buries his master’s money in the ground. So when the master returns, he’s delighted with the efforts and profit of the first two servants. He entrusts them with more money and invites them to celebrate with him!

Photo Courtesy
However, the master is angry with his third servant and takes away what he had. You see the third servant is lazy, wicked, and useless. He’s lazy and wicked because he doesn’t care to even try to please his master. (He could have simply put his master’s money in the bank and just sat around while it made interest! That would have been super easy, right?) And he’s useless because he does nothing for his master. He makes no profit; he’s a branch that bears no fruit at all. All the third servant does is complain about how “hard” his master is.

Can we sometimes act like the third servant though? Sadly, I know I can. So often we search, wonder, and pray about how we can serve God. We may dream of amazing ways to glorify God this summer, next year, next month, next week, even tomorrow. But sometimes we feel like there’s nothing we can do now. Maybe we don’t know where to start, or maybe we’re scared to try because we think God is too harsh. Or maybe we’re blind to what God has entrusted us with.

But just like little Susie in the commercial and the three servants in the parable, our Lord and Heavenly Father has entrusted each and every one of us with VERY valuable things. As Christians, we’ve all already been entrusted with the greatest treasure in the entire universe: God himself! (And like money, this gift definitely grows and multiplies when shared and invested!) We’ve also been given the people we know (family and friends at school or work) and the opportunities available to us (all of the places we can go). Imagine if we used all of that that God has given to us and eagerly went to work today like the first two servants!

Well let’s stop imagining now and let’s do it! Girls, I want to challenge all of you (and myself because the Lord knows I need it too!) to pray and search for ways to invest and share Jesus Christ today and this coming week, and then to act! Let’s be like the first two servants: let’s look for every opportunity today to serve God, serve His people, and share the treasure of Jesus Christ in our lives! Is there a new girl at school who’s having some trouble making new friends? Befriend her, love her like Jesus does, and pray and search for opportunities to share the Gospel with her! Is there a community service club at your school? Join it, and even suggest a new service project that you’re passionate about! Does your church need some help with watching children, phone calls, cleaning, greeting, or anything like that? Volunteer yourself today! Pray for such opportunities and God has promised that He will open the door!

Peace and God bless, girlies!
Feel free to email me or check out my blog!
roseeflores (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, October 19, 2012

Put Your Trust in Him!

Here are a few encouraging verses and quotes I came across recently...

Psalm 33:4-6 "For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."

Zechariah 4:6-7 "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it."

"I'm taking the Lord at His word, and I'm trusting Him to prove His Word. It's kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket, but we've already put our trust in Him for salvation, so why not do it as far as our life is concerned?"
~Ed McCully~
The Martyrs of the Ecuador Mission (Christian Martyr - died with Jim Elliot)

"God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for himself the knowledge of them, that he may train us up in a dependence upon himself and a continued readiness for every event."
~Matthew Henry~

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"God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to."
~Elisabeth Elliot~

"There are always uncertainties ahead, but there is always one certainty--God's will is good."
~Vernon Paterson~

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1 Chronicles 16:11 "Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually."

Keep praying, but be thankful that God's answers are wiser than your prayers!
~William Culbertson~

Don't give up! Have...
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"Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
(in Matthew 17:20)

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Father's Love Letter

My Child,

You may not know me, 
but I know everything about you. 
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. 
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. 
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. 
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. 
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. 
Acts 17:28

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I knew you even before you were conceived. 
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. 
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, 
for all your days are written in my book. 
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth 
and where you would live. 
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. 
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. 
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented 
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, 
but am the complete expression of love. 
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child 
and I am your Father. 
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. 
Matthew 7:11

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For I am the perfect father. 
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. 
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. 
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. 
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless 
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. 
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. 
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul. 
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. 
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, 
you will find me. 
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you 
the desires of your heart. 
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. 
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you 
than you could possibly imagine. 
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you 
in all your troubles. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, 
I am close to you. 
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, 
I have carried you close to my heart. 
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away 
every tear from your eyes. 
Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain 
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you 
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. 
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. 
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, 
not against you. 
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression 
of my love for you. 
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love. 
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, 
you receive me. 
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you 
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party 
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, 
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child? 
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. 
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications 
© 1999-2011

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Battle Surrendered--Part 5 of 5

The last in the series! How fast time has flown! I hope you've enjoyed the story; I certainly have! If you haven't read the other stories yet, here they are: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Enjoy this last installment! 

Part Five

“What? I don’t get it. You’re training me not to fight the shadow creatures? But they’ll keep bringing me back to that tower!” I was beginning to panic again.

Jesus placed His hands on my shoulders. “Dear heart, this is what I’ve been trying to teach you. Listen to Me. I want you to surrender.” He continued slowly and deliberately, “You will never be able to defeat the enemy. They are far too cunning…. But I can defeat them for you.”

At last, His point was starting to click inside my thick head.

He went on, “You have to let Me do it. Dear heart, I want so badly to help you. Surrender to Me.”

“But…,” I attempted an excuse and failed. There was nothing to say. His words went against every instinct in me, but He had to be right because He was Jesus.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement among the trees. By the time I turned to look, they were just a few feet away.

I screamed and fled, pulling away from Jesus as I ran, but the shadow creatures moved faster than I did. They were on me in a moment, their icy hands pulling me down.

And then I did the dumbest thing. I fought the shadow creatures. I tried to claw at them and bite their hands. I pushed and squirmed and screamed, but they held on.

The now familiar light suddenly bathed me in its unnatural glow. My head lolled and I felt my muscles slow down. Completely groggy, I couldn’t keep up the fight.

Something brushed my ear. “Follow meee…,” the creature beside me whispered.

No, I couldn’t. Why not? I didn’t know why not. The light made me so dizzy….

A sliver of sanity crossed my mind, telling me to surrender. Surrender to Him.

No, I could fight! I had to fight! I could do this!

The shadow creatures’ fingers felt so soft and smooth. The light made me so sleepy….

Surrender to Him.

This was a battle I could never win.

With the last strength I had, I made my choice. Covering my eyes with my hands, I cried, “Jesus, help me! I can’t do it without You!”

Not one second passed before He came. I sensed Him standing in front of me. I looked up into His face. The creatures were behind Him, but they were no longer gentle and alluring. Furious at His interference, they launched themselves onto His back, trying to tear at Him with their nails and teeth. He ignored them completely, untouched by their attacks. It was like they were just shadows to Him.

The shadow creatures’ false light still shown, but my mind was clear. Though their deceptive fingers had released me to attack Jesus, I was too shocked to stand.

Jesus watched me with a smile tugging at the corner of His mouth. I noticed His strong sword hung at His side.

He saw my glance and shook His head. “You still don’t understand. Dear heart, they have already been defeated.” He reached down toward me, the wounds made by the nails that held Him to the cross clearly visible. Grasping my hands in both of His, He pulled me to my feet. “You cannot defeat them. You cannot even resist them, except through Me. Use My strength; don’t depend on yours. I am faithful. I will provide a way out so that you can stand up under them.”

It was so easy, and yet so difficult. I suddenly felt like I wanted to cry, now that I was beginning to understand. “So,” I said past the lump in my throat, “all I have to do is…?”

“Hold on to Me.”

Gripping His hands tighter, I said, “Ok. I trust You.”

The smile that burst upon His face was the grandest I had ever seen.

Soon after, some of the shadow creatures tried to bring me back under their power. They whispered in my ears and pulled at my arms, but I kept a firm grasp on Jesus’s hands and never looked away from His face. It was almost funny, actually; what chance did the shadow creatures think they had while I was holding onto my Savior?

Eventually, the shadow creatures grew tired. Their light faded, and their masks of white skin disappeared with it. They slid, one by one, into the forest.

“We have arrived,” said Jesus. He turned me around.

I was in my bedroom. The first rays of dawn shone through the window, chasing away the night’s darkness. Jesus had disappeared.

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There was a book lying open on my bed. I looked at it more closely and realized it was my Bible. It had been turned to Romans, Chapters 7 and 8. Some of the verses near the end of Chapter 7 were highlighted. I read:

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

The words brought me to my knees. I prayed, “Jesus, I want to keep holding on to You. I want to delight in this Book more and more so I can stay focused on You. Thank You for rescuing me.”

I looked down at my Bible again and noticed the last three verses of Chapter 8:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The End

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Battle Surrendered--Part 4 of 5

Here's part four already! Whew; how fast time has flown! Tomorrow I'll post part five. Enjoy!
Read the first three parts if you haven't already read them:

Part Four

A gentle touch pulled me from my slumber. I looked up. It was Him.

As fresh tears ran down my face, He pulled me into His arms. “I’m sorry,” I said, sobbing.

“Dear heart,” He said tenderly. “I forgive you.”
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He held me until my wails evolved into hiccuping spasms. Then He helped me stand. “Come on,” He said. “You can’t stay here.” Taking that small gold key from his pocket again, He unlocked the chains on my hands and feet.

I followed Him to the rope dangling into my prison through the crack in the wall. He gestured at our escape route and said, “After you.”

I tried to pull myself up the rope, but the sides of my prison had somehow become smoother than last time. My feet couldn’t find a good hold. If I hadn’t been so weak from days without eating, I may have been able to climb it, but I’m not sure.

After a few tries, I turned to Jesus. “I can’t do it. I can’t climb up.”

He nodded. “It’s always harder to escape the second time.”

“So, we’re stuck in here?!” I cried, panicking aloud.

He waited.

I remembered Who I was talking to. Not even a sealed tomb could keep Him in, much less my prison. “Can You help me get out? Please?”

With an ear-to-ear grin, He replied, “I was hoping you would ask.”

He climbed the rope as easily as a fish swims. When He was above ground, He told me to hang onto the rope. I obeyed, and He slowly drew me up. We were both under the blue sky in a matter of minutes.

Jesus untied the rope from the tree He had secured it to. As He began coiling the rope, a thought suddenly hit me, but I hesitated to say it aloud. He stopped His work and looked at me. “Go ahead,” He said.

“Jesus,” I said, “I know my capture was my own fault; I shouldn’t have given into the shadow creatures. But… why didn’t You help me? Didn’t You… I mean, You must have known what was happening. Didn’t You wake up?”

His eyes grew deeply sad. “Yes, dear heart, I knew what was happening. I was watching.” His voice cracked just a bit. “But,” He continued, “you didn’t ask Me to help. You were too busy trying to fight them on your own.”

“I have to ask for Your help?” How could He have just stood there and let me be dragged off? I was incredulous.

He was patient. “You have to want my help. I never force it on anyone. I will only help you if you want Me to. My way is the perfect way, but I gave you a free will to accept or decline My help.”

So it was still all my fault.

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We started walking through the forest, covering the same ground we had covered days ago. Jesus gave me some water and bread to eat as we walked. The sun moved across the sky slowly, but I kept a close eye on it. When it was past noon, I spoke up. “Hey, um, Jesus? Do You think now would be a good time to start my training? Because, those shadow creatures might come back for me tonight and I want to be prepared.”

“Your training has already begun.”

“What?” I cried. “But all I’ve done is get captured! You haven’t even given me the smallest bit of advice on how to wield a sword!”

He stopped and turned to look at me. “Did I ever say your training would involve weapons?”

“Um, well, not exactly….”

“I never hinted at anything of the sort.”

“But that’s what training is!” I protested.

Shaking His head, He explained, “You train to become better at something, and it doesn’t have to be with weapons. Athletes train to compete better, not battle.”

“But I thought You were going to train me to be a warrior to fight the shadow creatures!”

He looked me in the eyes before responding gently, “Dear heart, I am training you not to fight.”

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Battle Surrendered--Part 3 of 5

(Sorry I couldn't get this up earlier! We have been b.u.s.y.)
Here's part three! Read part 1 and part 2 if you already haven't! Enjoy!

Part Three

We continued walking. And walking. And… walking. The forest floor was free of debris and, much to the relief of my bare feet, a soft carpet of moss covered the earth. But after several hours of walking, and walking, and… walking, I said, “Ok, don’t get me wrong. I want to follow You wherever You go. But can You give me some clue where we’re going? Please?”

“We are going home,” Jesus replied.

I gasped loudly, feeling both excitement and fear. He took one look at my face and cracked up. “No, dear heart! I mean your house. It’s not your time yet.”

“Oh,” I said. Then I saw the funny side of it and laughed along with Him. After a few minutes, it finally dawned on me what He had said. “Hey! Why are You taking me back home? You said You were going to train me!” I cried.

“Don’t worry,” He said. “We won’t arrive until you’re trained.”

It took me a while to try to sort that out. “So… You’ll be training me on the way?”

“Yes. We won’t get there until you’re trained.”

“Oh, ok. Gotcha.” Little did I know that I had no clue what He meant.

We walked some more. And walked. And… well, you know. But it wasn’t as boring as it sounds. The forest was beautiful and quiet, and I was walking beside the Prince of Peace.

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After a while, Jesus finally stopped walking and said, “We’ll make camp here for the night and continue your training in the morning.”

I can’t deny that I gave Him a funny look. Continue? I didn’t know we had started. I hadn’t even touched a sword or a bow yet!

Jesus stripped the lower branches off some nearby trees and soon had a small fire going. He took bread, canteens filled with water, and light blankets out of the leather bag He carried on His back. We ate and then slept on the soft moss with the blankets over us. The weather was perfect. I didn’t feel cold until early in the morning.

Shivering, I pulled my blanket more tightly around me. My eyelids fluttered for just a second, but what I saw in that moment made me sit up and scream.

The shadow creatures were back.

Again they pulled at me with their freezing hands. I cried, “No!” and tried to stand, but they kept me firmly fixed to the ground. I looked around for Jesus, but the shadow creatures surrounded me and blocked my view of Him.

Suddenly, there was the same dizzying light, the same trance-like feeling, and the same urge to give in.

No! I willed myself to fight back. I couldn’t fail again. I couldn’t let myself give in.

But the shadow creatures didn’t let me go, and I couldn’t tear myself from them. I started to wonder if I really wanted to. Was that prison so bad? Were the chains really so heavy? And Jesus would rescue me as soon as I asked Him to. He was nice like that.

The overwhelming feeling of false peace washed over me. The creature leaned over and whispered, “Follow meee….”

I don’t even remember the first step this time. All I know is that I found myself starting awake, once again, in the prison tower with the vague memory that I had chained myself there.

I had never thought I would fall into the same trap. If it had been horrible the first time I failed, it was double the horror now.

And then I thought of Him. I’d let Him down. And that was the greatest heartbreak of all. How could I have ever thought He would rescue me again? And even if He did, how could I face Him?

My shame overwhelmed me. My guilt was heavier than my chains. I mourned and moaned in the tower for days. No one came, which only made my sorrow deepen until it was so deep I felt like I could drown in it.

I was hungry, thirsty, tired, and cold. It was the closest to death I have ever been.

Finally, just when I thought I would burst from the pain, I did the only thing left to be done. I cried out for help.

“God,” I whispered, “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. Please… help me. I’ll die without You.”

I cried myself to sleep.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Battle Surrendered--Part 2 of 5

Here's part two of this story!  Read part one here. Enjoy (and come back tomorrow for installment no. 3!)

Part Two 

“Can… can you get me out?” I asked.

His smile grew even larger. “That’s what I came here to do.” His face drew back from the hole as he stood.

I waited while he hacked away at the stone, making the crack large enough for him to crawl through. It was a few minutes before I realized that he was using a sword to send the bricks of my prison tumbling down. That was one strong blade.

Finally, he secured a rope outside the dungeon and used it to climb down through the gap he had made. He looked like a prince out of a fairy tale; dressed in white from head to toe, a long cape thrown over his shoulders. Gold thread was stitched in flowing patterns on his cape. A leather bag was strapped to his back.

When he stood in front of me, I lifted my shackled wrists and said, “I’m chained. I don’t know where the key is.”

He reached into a pocket on his tunic and took out a tiny gold object. “You mean this key?” Grinning, he quickly bent to unlock the chains on my wrists and ankles.

“How did you know I was here?” I asked as he unbound me.

“Er, well,” he said, “I’ve known for a long time that you would be here. I’m here to train you. But I can’t train you if you’re locked up like this.”

“Train me? Why?” I had read stories about kids who were sucked into fantasy worlds and trained to be warriors for special missions. The thought that I could be like them filled me with jittery excitement.

“‘Why?’” he repeated, letting my final shackle fall to the floor. “You think you don’t need training?”

“No, no! It’s just that… why me? Why was I chosen to be trained? Does it have something to do with those shadow creatures? Why were they after me?”

He looked me in the eye. “They are after all of you, dear heart.” With that, he turned back toward the rope, leaving me to follow and wonder what he had against direct answers.

It was pretty easy to climb out of the dungeon with my feet braced on the wall and my rescuer beneath me to give me a lift if I needed it. Soon, he and I were standing in the green grass outside my prison. I shaded my eyes from the sun as I turned to look at the awful place. It was a single tall tower without any doors or windows, sitting in the middle of a forest.

“Um, so, Sir…?” I let my sentence trail off and turned to look at my rescuer, who was busy coiling the rope. “Sorry. I didn’t get your name?”

“Jesus,” was the calm reply.
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My jaw dropped. His grin returned as He added, “You wanted directness.”

Was it a complete miracle or complete lunacy? The fact that He could read my mind pretty much ruled out insanity, but could it really be Him?

Before I could say anything, He stretched out His hand toward me. One look at the ugly puncture wound marring His skin was enough to convince me. My mind spun.

He pulled me out of my circling thoughts by pointing out, “You were about to ask Me something?”

“Uh, yeah. When do we start… um, that is, when are You…?”

“When does your training begin?” He said.

I nodded, still dumbfounded.

“When you are ready,” He said.

I managed to squeak out, “Am I ready now?”

He smiled. “You tell Me. Are you?”

“I think so.”

He waited.

“Yes. I’m ready.”

“Good. Then let’s get to work.” He shouldered the coiled rope and strode into the forest.

I scurried after Him, calling, “Wait! Where are we going?”

“Follow me.”

I stopped. “Did You just quote Yourself?”

Thankfully, He understood my sense of humor and laughed. “Yes, I tend to do that. It makes it easier for people to see things the way I do.”

“And that’s supposed to mean…?” I asked as I again hurried to keep up with Him.

“That I never change. I am the same at this moment as I was two-thousand years ago, and as I was at the creation of the universe. Today, tomorrow, and yesterday, I remain the same. And so I can quote Myself in everything.”

Come back tomorrow for part three!