Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jesus, I am Resting

The Wissmann Family are very gifted musicians and singers...this song by their family blessed me, so I thought I'd share it with you! :) 


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Lovely Calling

Good morning, ladies!

Today, instead of a post like I'd normally share, I'd like to share with you a wonderful blog I discovered. It's A Lovely Calling. It is an absolutely fantastic blog whose tagline is "Virtuous Women Desperately Passionate For God".

From their mission statement:

"The whole package is embracing God’s lovely calling for your life. As a woman we should pursue biblical femininity with all passion and put our whole hearts into discovering what God wants us to do in our brief time on this earth.


When you look at women in the world nowadays, what do you see? I see a world of women with their hearts dead set AGAINST God. Even Christian women don’t set a standard of Godly character. The way I see it there are three types of girls:
1. The girls who don’t know any better and slip easily into the worldliness of our day and age. They are young and have no biblical guidance in their lives. They, like many of us, follow the crowd (sometimes down the path of destruction)
2. Then there are the quiet girls, who still dream, who still want the life every girl wanted when they were little: to be a mommy and to raise a family, to have respect and be a beautiful woman of God without all the feminist arguments being pointed at them day and night. But the quiet girls don’t know how or when they should strive after their dream when so many other girls around them idolize celebrities, secular lifestyles and Victoria’s Secret.
3. Then there are the Christian girls whose moms have taught them Gods dreams and desires for women who seek Him wholeheartedly without restraint or stained vision of a biblical lifestyle. However, there are no girls their age encouraging that calling.  Only the older women tell them that this is right. The other girls run with the crowd, so why shouldn’t they?

BUT what if… what if there was a whole generation, a whole group of young girls (their age) girls who knew what true biblical femininity and virtuous womanhood really meant in the eyes of the Lord? What if all the girls around them went back to the days when being a godly woman was the most important, most honorable, most worthy job in the world, and actually encouraged them in it? What would happen?
Well I only pray and hope that that generation starts with me and you. God has given us girls (Lisa, Christy, Sarah and Anna) a “Lovely Calling” and ministry online and through writing to help girls and young women, the quiet ones, the girls who don’t know any better, the secular girls who need a new perspective, and the Christian girls who are scared to make an endeavor on their own.  We want to help them see that being a woman after God’s Heart is the highest calling anyone could ask for.  BUT WE CAN NOT DO IT ALONE.  We need help and words of wisdom from other girls with the same ambition."

Two of my personal favourite posts:
How to Be a Woman Worth Pursuing
Godly Womanhood in the 21st Century

Do check out their blog! It's fantastic!
- Bonnie

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's all Christ

Take advantage of every opportunity to 
...know Christ...
...think of Christ...
...speak of Christ... 
...and reflect Christ.

-Paul Washer-

Monday, October 12, 2015

In His Hand

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."  
~ John 10:27-30 ~

This is just such a wonderful scripture. It's such a comfort. It gives us a glorious promise that we, believers in Jesus Christ, have eternal life and will never be snatched out of Christ’s hand that holds us. What a reassuring promise! What a beautiful picture! We are safe in the hand of the omnipotent God and nothing can remove us from His grasp! 

The Greek word in John 10:28 used for pluck means to take by force or seize. Thus the word snatch in this verse is an action done without the consent of the recipient. In other words we could say that no one will kidnap, take by force, or seize us out of Christ’s hand. This is the promise Jesus gives us. However, we don’t live in God’s hand by default; we must choose to come to Him. As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 91:9-10...

"Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."

 Does this mean that bad things will never happen to us? No, Christians are persecuted, martyred, and afflicted all the time. So what is the promise then? It’s that no evil shall befall us without our Heavenly Father’s permission.

By making God our dwelling place, we trust in His supreme sovereignty. He is more than able to take care of us, and the painful things that do come into our lives are lovingly filtered through His gentle fingers.

So I ask you….are YOU dwelling in God’s hand? Have YOU made Him your home and place of permanent residence?

There is no safer place to be than in the hands of the Almighty, Omnipotent, and Sovereign God. God, who has called you by name, is now inviting you into His sanctuary. It is an open invitation, and the only thing that can stop us is ourselves. Therefore, let us live in the Palm of His Hand! And let us make it our permanent and everlasting abode.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Single Eye

--Written several years ago --- :)

Matthew 6:22 (emphasis added):
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (KJV)

It's really important that this verse is read in the King James Version. This is one of the only translations that translates that word (I made it bold so you can see which one it is) as 'single'. (Most other translations translate it as 'good', 'healthy' or 'clear'.)

Anyway, this verse tells us that if our eye is single, our whole body will be full of light.

What do you suppose that means?

If your eye has a single focus, your whole body will be full of light. Single focus! Wow! 

So it's not saying that if our eyes are good and work as they are supposed to, we'll be able to see well. That's what a lot of people think. It's saying that if we have one goal in mind, if our eyes have a single focus, our whole body will be filled with light.

Now let's look at verse 23. "But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

The Greek for that word I made bold is a word called poneros that can be translated to mean 'full of anxiety'. What happens if we are full of anxiety?

Our eyes flit around here, there and everywhere. We start looking in lots of directions. Isn't that the exact opposite of what we should have: an eye with a single focus?

I want to put it to you this afternoon that our single focus should be Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV (emphasis added):

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Interview :: Mrs. Heather C

Remember this post a couple months ago? Today, we have our first interview to share with you! A huge thanks to my dear mother for joining us for this interview. :) 


JOJ (Rachel): Thank you for joining us today, Mom! :) Can you please share a bit about yourself to our readers?

Mrs. C: I am the very happy wife to my dear husband. We have been married almost 20 years. God has been very good to us and has entrusted us with 8 children. I am passionate about making our house a home of rest, creating an environment full of creativity, joy and a home where God is sought, taught, and glorified.

Rachel: Thank you! :) Now, on to address some questions our readers have submitted. What is the most encouraging thing that has ever been said to you?

Mrs. C: Probably when you said I was your best friend ~ it is the desire of every mother to have her daughter's (and children's) heart.

Rachel:  Could you share any tips you might have for time management?

Mrs. C: Conquer the procrastination monster. Say NO to being away from home for everything. Get rid of excess! Minimize and you will be so surprised how much smoother and easier it is to live a fully and truly happy life. You will enjoy cleaning! :) Also, go to bed before 10:30 pm. Stay off the computer. An orderly life is priority ~ NOT the computer. That is only after our tasks and responsibility are done well.

Rachel: What is the best thing you think a young lady can do with her time?

Mrs. C: Here are two things: Seek Jesus and HIS will for your life. Serve your family and church families...Ask mother how she needs you to help the most.

Rachel: Thank you so much for joining us today! Do you have any closing exhortation to share with us young ladies?

Mrs. C: True contentment is great gain. Live the life God has given you and desire to be content. If you are discontent with parents, family, and direction your life is headed, Seek Jesus like you never have before. Everything will fall into place. Grace, Peace, and Joy to you!

Mommy, sister, and I :)

Stay tuned ~ We hope to have an interview with a sweet young lady out before too many months! ;)

Friday, September 4, 2015

The God-shaped Hole

I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching for answers only you can provide
'cause you know just what we need before we even say a word
- lyrics from 'Good Good Father' by Housefires

It's funny, isn't it, how people the world over are searching for answers here, there and everywhere. They want meaning. They want purpose. They want something more in the their lives.

Sometimes they have tried God. They may have had preconceived ideas of what He is like, or they may have encountered obstacles or things that put roadblocks in their minds. But they leave Him and try elsewhere for answers. They haven't earnestly sought Him with every ounce of their soul and committed to finding Him. If their hearts are lukewarm, their experience of God may be lukewarm and so they leave again, frustrated.

Sometimes they haven't tried God. They know there's an emptiness inside them that they were designed to have filled. So they search for meaning, purpose, something... to fill the void inside. To find answers to their questions. They might try new age, astrology, buddism, humanism, atheism... whatever it is, it won't be satisfying and fulfilling.

Because nothing in life is satisfying and fulfilling. Each human born onto this earth was created with a God-shaped hole in their hearts that only God Himself can fill. God is the only one that can absolutely fulfill and satisfy. To answer all our questions, to provide meaning, richness and purpose in life.

It's only God who can do it. Only God. Nothing else.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Can I really?

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13


Lately, God has been teaching me a lot about trusting Him for strength. In June of this year I signed up for the National Bible Bee. Although I’ve competed for the past three years, I’ve never made it beyond the state level. This year I was hoping to make it to nationals – but I felt so out of focus. I lacked concentration when I studied, and I was soooo busy,
Then July came. Four of my siblings and I were supposed to volunteer at a summer camp. I was super excited about the trip when, the night before we were scheduled to leave, I got really sick. I had really, really wanted to go and I felt like God had let me down… I prayed and prayed that I would wake up the next morning and be well enough to go, but it just didn’t happen. Instead, I spent the next week in bed.
That morning as my siblings pulled out of the driveway without me, my sister leaned out the window and said, “Beth, maybe God is keeping you home from camp because you need the time to study; you’ll probably make it to Nationals!” I shook my head and thought, “No way am I going to make it… I’m only a few weeks away from my test and nowhere near ready.
Time flew and before I knew it, the test day was only a week away. I felt so unprepared, I almost gave up altogether; but a dear friend of mine talked to me into persevering. She told me I had committed to compete and I shouldn’t’ be a quitter. I knew she was right.
During the last seven days of study, I began to pray. I prayed really hard that God would show me exactly what to study in the little time I had left. When testing day arrived, I felt completely at peace. I wasn’t nervous at all, even though I had not completed all of the study I had wanted to get done.


I had a lot of people praying for me that day. As I took the test, God brought all the things He had been teaching me to mind. As I clicked the “finish” button on my test,  I somehow felt like it had gone really well. In fact, I even dared to hope that maybe I had a shot at getting to nationals after all.
A week later I went to the Bible Bee awards ceremony to receive my score. I had been praying all week that God would help me to be content with where he had placed me – whether I got to go to Nationals or not. As the host read off the scores I waited for my placing fully expecting that I either wouldn’t make it all, or that if I did I would be #120 (the lowest position which can qualify). Then they said my name, followed by “you placed #88 in the nation.”


Here I was, ready to give up altogether, discouraged because I had missed camp…shaking my head in disbelief when my sister had suggested that maybe God was keeping me home so I could study… and now I was on my way to nationals!
I wasn’t ready when testing day came along, but God showed me that He can take my weaknesses and use His strength to show himself strong. As Christians when we are facing an “impossible” task, we don’t need to fear because we serve a God who does the “impossible” all the time.
“For we know that with men this is impossible. But with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
A huge thank you to my dear friend, Bethany Stelzl, for sharing with us. :) I am so excited that we made it to Nationals together...I can't wait to compete with you in November! :D Bethany occasionally blogs over at 1 Love for Christ. 
Photo Credit: Flickr

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fear of the Future

I was talking to a friend a few months ago, and I was surprised to discover that he was actually afraid of the future at times. I was only surprised because I suffered from that same fear (and still do, sometimes) not very long ago.

I meant to post this sooner, but I actually forgot all about it. Sorry! I don't know how many others out there are afraid of the future, but for those who are, I hope this is helpful in some small way.

My fear of the future consisted of being worried whenever I'd hear someone reading in the book of Revelation. I didn't like hearing about the antichrist, or verses where it talked about anything bad happening to the church. I got worried when I thought about what might happen in the future. Because I like to know what's going to happen. And I don't know what's going to happen in the future.

It got so bad that I'd purposefully try not to think about the future. If I heard someone talking about it, I'd purposefully try not to listen because I didn't want to hear about it and be scared. I didn't think of it as a 'fear' as such, just something I didn't like to think about.

Until I realized it was a full-blown fear. I'd blown it way out of proportion. Sure, some uncomfortable things may end up happening to me, and sure, I might not like them very much, but the truth of the matter is that God is in control, whatever happens. And I can trust Him. It sounds so easy and simple, and it's difficult to believe because we like to have our fingers in every pie, so to speak. We like to have our futures under our control.

And something we have to accept is that our future is not in our control. If we have a fear about the future, the only way we will be delivered from the fear is to speak the truth. And the truth in this situation is that God is in control. We have to accept that He's in charge. We have to give him the reigns and say, "Lord, I have a fear of my future. I'm struggling to trust you and I'm struggling to trust that you have a good plan for my future. I'm struggling to accept everything you have planned for me.  But I want to trust you. Help me to trust you and give me a peace that whatever happens comes from you. Replace all my wrong thoughts with the truth. I choose to believe in the truth of your word no matter what my mind tells me. I love you and know that you have a good plan for my life. Amen."

You might not feel very confident after praying that prayer. But you'll need to consciously pray something along those lines every time you experience fear or doubt about the future. Every time you face fear, pray, give the fear to God, and leave it with him. He can handle it. And then eventually, when you think of it, you'll feel peace, because you'll know he's in charge.

Something I did when I had fear of the future is to write up a whole lot of inspiring verses about not being afraid, and having peace through trusting Jesus. Then I'd go back through the list of verses (I have them sitting here in front of me, actually) and read them aloud, declaring the promises of Jesus. That helped me not feel so fearful. My list is like three whole pages long.

Maybe doing something like that will help for you. Here are five or six of my very favourite 'do not fear' verses, copied straight off the list in front of me.

Psalm 3:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Exodus 14:13-14
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Deut 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 27:1-3
The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Daniel 10:19
"Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed," he said. "Peace! Be strong now; be strong."

Isaiah 43:1-3
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.

In summary, here's my list of things I recommend to do when you feel fear for the future (or any fear of anything at all, for that matter!)

  • Pray, give your fear to the Lord, and ask Him to fill you with His peace.
  • Go into Scripture. Read over your list of encouraging and inspiring verses for situations like this.
  • Believe the truth. Don't tell yourself that the future is scary, because it isn't. I heard somewhere that worry is fear of the future without God in it.
  • Know that others before you have struggled with this. I have, and still do, sometimes.
  • Remember that  no matter what happens, God's in charge, and he will never let you down.
  • Put a smile on your face and go to meet your fears with the confidence that God's sovereignty brings!

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Book Review :: The Helper

I'd like to review a wonderful book today. It's "The Helper" by Catherine Marshall.

Interested in the Holy Spirit and want to know more about it?

Confused about the Spirit and what His working in our lives looks like?

Wondering how you can have the Holy Spirit?

This is not just another book about the Holy Spirit. It's one of the best books I've ever read. Catherine Marshall is a wonderful author.

She offers forty inspirational "helps" that contain Scripture, a prayer, and insight into the third person of the Trinity. Catherine Marshall writes about the answers she discovered to questions like: Who is the Helper? How do I experience the Helper's presence? How does the Helper meet everyday needs? What is the Helper's role and function in the Church?

The forty "helps" could be used as a devotional guide, or you could read the book straight like I did. :)

I'd recommend this book for readers who are interested/curious about the Holy Spirit. I'd certainly not recommend it for younger readers, simply because it tackles some slightly more difficult topics. Probably ages 13-14+ would find this book suitable, depending on the maturity of the reader. :)

Overall, this is a great book, one I've found extremely valuable and practical. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Too Busy Not to Pray

Anyone else noticed that things seem to be picking up? I have an endless to-do list and a whole lot of expectations placed on me.  I won’t bore you with the details, but things are pretty busy.  And yet, especially in these times, how important it is to take time in our schedules to pray.  Martin Luther once said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”  Having this much on our plate should drive us to our knees, not away from the throne room.  One of my friends has been studying Esther over the past year, and here’s what she learned from Esther’s story. I hope you will find it an inspiration as well.

So this week has been crazy in my family, like certifiably-should be in some kind of an asylum- kind of crazy. Our family trying to move is like no other experience with 7 kids, and many pets, from a house we have been in for 7 years… Sports can't slow down, school is taking it up a notch, and repairs are being done constantly… we are all about to lose our minds xD! But this made me think of what the Jews were feeling like when facing this certain death! I mean, what would you do if you knew you had just a few months to live?! Yet somehow, the Jews took the time to fast (and presumably pray) with Queen Esther. I find this absolutely remarkable because my situation is SO much less dire than the situation of the Jews and I can barely find time to spend with the Lord, however, the Jews could and did find this time and their situation was exponentially more complicated and panic ensuing than mine!!! I see this as a lesson to all of us that no matter what our situation is, we must find time to stop and spend time with the Lord (and I am the one who needs this lesson!!). A great poem once ended with "[…] and I paused before entering my day, I had so much to accomplish, I had to stop and pray."

May we too be drawn to the throne room of grace even in our busyness, for without Him, we can do nothing!

A huge thanks to Allison for allowing me to use posts from her wonderful blog!! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Testimony Time :: Bonnie

Good morning, friends!

I have had the wonderful privilege of growing up in a Christian family. For as long as I can remember, we've read the Bible together each day (usually multiple times - once in the morning, and once in the evening) and prayed together. My parents have always instilled in my siblings and I the wonderful benefits and blessings of having a relationship with the Lord Jesus.

I don't remember this, but I'm told the time I accepted Jesus into my heart was on the 24th of January 2001, when I was almost 3 years old (I know, young, right??).

I am a sinner, and I know that the wrong things I have done make it impossible for me to attain Heaven's perfection under my own merits. I am a sinner, a fallen human being, and cannot live for eternity with the Lord because of my wrongdoing.

But God, in His everlasting love, faithfulness, justice and mercy, provided a way for me to be saved - His son, Jesus, who He sent down to earth. Jesus lived a perfect life, then was cruelly killed on a cross, a punishment he did not deserve. If I put my faith and hope in Jesus, then his righteousness is transferred to me and I am pure, spotless and clean, making me able to enter Heaven when my walk on this earth is done.

I was baptized in December 2010. That was a wonderful experience, being able to publicly declare who I trusted in and that I was following Jesus.

I think the one word that best sums up God during my walk with Him is "faithful".

Throughout all the hills and the valleys and the ups and downs of life, God is always faithful. And he always will be.

I have found, in my life, that God is always able to be fully trusted. He is in control, no matter what happens. I am most definitely not perfect. I make mistakes, all the time, and botch it up. But God is merciful, gracious, forgiving and loving.... He is my best friend and I absolutely cannot imagine life without Him.

I'd like to close here with a couple of my very favourite scripture references.

Psalm 16:11
You will show me the path that leads to life, in Your presence is fullness of joy.

Isaiah 43:1-3
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

Many blessings to you all! :)
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Monday, May 25, 2015

The Right Kind of Faith

I sat on the hotel bed at 11:30 at night, considering the past few days.  I had just debated seven rounds, given speeches in three rounds.  Overall, I had given 20+ speeches and spoken for more than 150 minutes (that’s two and a half hours).  Now, as I looked over the past few days, I resolved to do better in the next speech and debate tournament.  I sat there on my bed and prayed, “Lord Jesus, I’m going to have faith that you will take my partner and I to finals this next tournament.”  You see, I had been learning about faith, and now I decided to test out an hypothesis.  I wondered that if I had enough faith, if we would indeed make it to finals.

Surely God would grant us this request if we simply believed.  After all, it didn’t contradict any Scripture.  It didn’t expressly go against the Word of God.  On the contrary, there were actually verses to support my position:
“Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalms 37:4

I continued along with this perspective for the next couple of weeks.  My partner and I agreed that we would go to finals.  That was our game set, and I believed it was God’s as well.

However, something just didn’t seem right.  Around 10:30 PM (Just so you know, since I am most certainly not a night person, it has to be a special occasion for me to stay up past 10:00) Monday night, after our speech and debate class, I sat down with pen and paper, and my trusty Bible.  I asked the Lord to reveal how He wanted me to approach this next debate tournament.  For some reason that night, I brought along the Message commentary of the Bible.  It opened to Psalm 113:1-3, which says,

You who serve God, praise God!
    Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
    now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
    keep lifting all your praises to God!”

From that verse, the Holy Spirit reminded me how the Lord is my satisfaction and my reward.  He is the most precious One.

Then the Lord pressed on my heart the verses that say we are to lay up treasures where moth and rust do not destroy.  God also reopened my eyes to a verse I had been trying to shove off in the corner: James 4:3, which says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  When I really thought about why I wanted to not only make it to finals, but also win it (which by the way, means you’re the top team in the whole tournament), it was for my own selfish good.  It wasn’t so that God might be glorified or His kingdom might be advanced, but so that I might be glorified and my kingdom might be advanced.

So, I surrendered that desire to the Lord.  I no longer “believe” that the Lord will take me to finals.  I do believe that He can if He wishes, but I don’t believe that is His foremost goal.

I have learned an important lesson this week.  Faith is not necessarily believing that a certain thing will come to pass.  However, in the words of John MacArthur, “Faith is a God given ability to trust the future that God has promised you.”

You see, it wasn’t that Abel had faith that God was going to allow Him to be killed.  But he did have faith in God’s plan and that faith caused Him to step out in obedience through his sacrifice.

Enoch didn’t have faith that he was going to be taken up, but he did have faith that God was planning a good future for Him.

Faith must be grounded on the Word.  It is grounded in the promises.  If God’s Word says it will happen, we know it will.  God’s Word says that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  God’s Word says that when we ask for the Holy Spirit, He will be given to us.  However, God’s Word never promises a good life. It never promises a lot of money.  The Scriptures never promise that Allison will make it to the final round at her speech and debate tournament.

So now, as I approach this next tournament, I don’t know if we will make it to the final round.  I don’t know if I will win first place in any of my speeches.  But this I do know: Everything will work together for God’s greater good—everything serves a purpose, even losing (Romans 8:28).  I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me and His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  He will work in my behalf far more abundantly than anything I God ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).  He will be glorified (John 12:28).

Now those are promises to stand on.


Allison is a 15-year-old daughter of the King.  Her aim in life is to be pleasing and honoring to Him.  She has a passion for God's Word and has begun a ministry dedicated to encouraging others in its pursuit. You can check it out at: theindwellingword.blogspot.com

Monday, May 11, 2015

I can't change the past... but...

Treasure of my heart and of my soul
In my weakness You are merciful
Redeemer of my past and present wrongs
Holder of my future days to come

(from 'Your Presence is Heaven', by Darlene Zschech)

Someone told me something recently (and I don't want to go into details, so I won't), and it related to something I'd done in the past. It was a silly thing that I hadn't even thought was major. I was really surprised to discover that someone I know who was there at the time hasn't forgotten it and has formed a certain opinion of me because of it. 

I can't change the past. Sometimes I would like to, because it would make some stuff a lot easier!! But I can't change the past.

There's nothing really that I can do about this situation, either. I can't change the past, and I can't change how people feel about me. 

So this was sort of what I was thinking about when we sang this song (at the top of the post) on Church on Sunday. And it struck me.

God is the Redeemer of my past and present wrongs.

No matter what I've done in the past, no matter what you've done in the past... God is the Redeemer of it all. You are forgiven of it all. He wipes it clean and remembers it no more. 

Other people might remember what I've done. And there are still consequences of my actions... that other person will likely always have a certain opinion of me. 

But God won't. 

Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)
 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

We are humans. We make mistakes. We say and do silly things that make us afterward facepalm and be like, "Why on earth did I say that?!?"

God is a forgiving God. 

No matter what silly things you've done in your past (I've done heaps!!!) God is able to forgive. And forget. Forever.

I'm so grateful for that.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Why Do You Follow Jesus?

Today, we are joined by our dear friend, Esther. She was the one that began JOJ, and posted for a number of years before leaving the team a few months ago. Thank you for sharing with us, Esther! :)

You could give the proper Christian answer—“I follow Jesus because I’m a sinner and He died for my sins.”

Yes, that’s true. That’s good.

But why do you—really—follow Jesus? What is it, deep down inside you, that makes you get up in the morning and read the Bible? What is your motivation for praying?

What is it that makes you follow Him like you do?

Picture courtesy of Pixabay/mcpdigital. License: CC0 1.0

For me, the real reason is that He’s showed me what I am without Him.

Without Him, I’m a cup . . . without water.

I’m a moon . . . without a sun.

I’m a star . . . without a galaxy.

I’m a leaf . . . without a tree.

I’m a letter . . . without a word.

Sisters, what makes you tick? Why are you following Jesus?

This is a question you need to answer now.

You see, we are growing up in a culture that is doing its best to undermine our morals, our families, and the core beliefs of our faith. We are called daughters of the Highest.

But when we don’t even have a real grasp on who we are and why we follow Jesus, we become a rowboat without oars. And that, my friends, is dangerous.

Sisters, in a few short years, Lord willing, we will be starting our own families. If we don’t have a grip now on why we are here doing what we’re doing, we are going to have a hard time passing those beliefs onto our children. A Christian family that doesn't know why they believe what they believe is doomed to failure.

So I beg of you—take time to revisit your early life as a Christian. Reaffirm in your heart why you follow Jesus. Ask Him to show you what you are like without Him. Ask Him to show you how to follow Him better.

Now, more than ever, the world is looking for your example—trying to see if you’re truly real or not.

Now, more than ever, the world needs a godly generation. Don’t fall for the trap of easy-believism.* 

God has called us to so much more. The Lord needs you in His battle for right. Your future family needs you to be a good example.

So stand strong, and do what’s right.

The Lord needs you on that field.

*Easy-believism: the belief that the Christian faith is merely repeating a prayer and going on our way, and therefore it doesn't matter what we do or believe—we will get to heaven anyway.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Trusting God in the Hard Times

The following is a devotion I wrote and presented at a camp I attended recently. :) - Bonnie

James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Okay, so the first thing I want us to notice here is that James puts this little thought right at the start of his letter, straight after his greeting is over. Why? Maybe because it's important and he wanted us to take notice of it!

The second thing I want us to notice is that James says "consider it pure joy my brothers WHEN you face trials of many kinds" - notice it's not IF you face trials!

Trials and hard times will come to us. If you haven’t gone through any hard times in your life, don’t worry! No Christian is exempt. Trials will come, unfortunately. It's a matter of when, not if!

It's partly because we're in a spiritual battle and Satan is trying his hardest to draw us away from the faith. He doesn't concentrate on those who aren't Christians because he's already got them. We're the ones he's after, because we belong to Jesus.

I want you to imagine you’re baking a chocolate cake.

The two main processes of baking a cake are:

Blending. After the ingredients are all in the bowl, the electric beater mixes the ingredients so much that they are completely unrecognisable. The mixture becomes all soft, runny, gloopy and sticky.

Baking. The cake is subject to intense heat. It's incredibly painful. But the heat is what bakes the cake and produces something beautiful.

We are like that cake being baked. We go through the intense, difficult hard times and that's like the blending and the baking. In the blending we're mixed so much you wouldn't be able to recognize us! It's incredibly painful and hard. Then we're shoved into the oven and the heat is turned up. All the heat in the oven is concentrated on the cake, sitting there in the pan, being roasted alive.

When  we're being blended or baked, we can’t see what is going on. We don't know that the purpose of the blending and baking is to produce a beautiful chocolate cake at the end of it all. Only the baker knows. He has the finished product in mind throughout the entire process.

The uncomfortable blending, and the painful heat of the baking may seem really pointless to us at the time. But what we don’t know is that we are being fashioned into something beautiful. 

It’s only through the pain of blending and baking that we can become the rich, moist, tasty, beautiful creation of a chocolate cake.

When you’re in a trial it doesn’t seem very pleasant, does it? It doesn’t feel like it’s good for you.

But remember that God can be trusted. He knows what’s he’s doing. He is ultimately in control and he has in mind the cake he’s going for through all this.

I think that there are several reasons we have trials.

James 1:2 (emphasis added)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The testing of our faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that we become mature and complete, lacking nothing. 
The trials are for our good.

1 Peter 1:7 (emphasis added)
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

The trials have come so that the proven genuineness of our faith may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
The trials are for God's glory.

So all the hard times we go through are for our good and for his glory.

I want you to imagine a raging storm.

There are trees, bent low under lashing wind and driving rain, and lightning zigzagging across a dark, threatening sky.

In the center of the fury imagine a bird’s nest in the crotch of a gigantic tree.

And in the nest, a mother bird sits, spreading her wings over her little brood, waiting serene and unruffled for the storm to pass.

The mother bird isn't focused on the storm. Sure, she feels it and knows it's there, alright. But she rests, peacefully, waiting, looking after her chicks, because she knows that the storm won't last and she has faith that she will be kept safe.

When we’re in a hard time it’s hard to not focus on all the lightening around us. But we can be peaceful and rest in the midst of the storm. 

The safest place in the entire world is in the nest of His hand.

We, like the bird, feel the storm, but we focus on Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3 
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.

John 16:33 
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, for I have overcome the world.

Blessings to you all!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Testimony Time :: Rachel

I was born into a Christian family, for which I am extremely grateful! How blessed am I to have been born into my wonderful family…and having my parents emphasis the importance of following Jesus and obeying His Word is something that will impact the rest of my days. 
From a young age, my parents have taught me about Jesus and the Gospel.  As far back as I can remember, I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. I remember praying with Daddy on several occasions, but never really feeling any different or freed. 

The Lord kept working in my life, convicting me. Then, in January of 2006, at the age of 8…one evening I was getting ready for bed. I reached out and grabbed my Bible, and started reading in John. After I had read a while, I came to a verse. I don’t remember what it was, but it moved me and a thought popped into my head: “If I died tonight, where would I be?” I knew in my heart that I would be in hell. I started to cry and my Mother came into my room to say goodnight. She asked me what was the matter, and I told her I wanted to ask Jesus to save me. She went and got Daddy and he showed me some verses, and asked if I was ready…and I said, “Yes!” We knelt and I asked the Lord to cleanse me and to give me a new heart. I still remember how I felt…so clean! Praise the Lord!

I did not get baptized immediately because Daddy wanted me to wait until I understood what it all meant. In 2009, I was baptized, and that was such a blessing. 

I am so grateful that the Lord is a merciful and gracious God, one who is slow to anger and forgives men of the evil they have done. I have failed in so many ways, and struggled through many things, but He is patient and kind and is still working on my life! I have learned that salvation is not a “say-a-prayer-and-you’re-done” matter, but a continual walking with the Lord, seeking HIM, dying to self, and so much more. I could keep sharing on different things the Lord has worked in my life, forming a more perfect salvation in my life, but I will just leave it at the beginning of my journey. Please pray for me! 

This hymn is a favorite of mine, and I think it sums my testimony up really well. :) May the Lord bless you!

My faith has found a resting place,
  Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
  His wounds for me shall plead.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
  This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
  He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
  The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
  Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
  The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
  For me His life He gave.

I need no other argument,
  I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
    And that He died for me.
             -Eliza E. Hewitt

I would love to post YOUR testimony at some point in the future...if you're interested in sharing, please comment! ~Rachel 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Power of the Cross

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. - 1 Peter 2:24

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: - 1 Peter 1:18-19

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. -2 Corinthians 5:21

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; - Eph. 1:7

Friday, April 3, 2015

Some Thoughts for Today

I hope you have a lovely day!
God bless! :)

(Oh, and happy Easter!) :)
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I need YOUR help!

Hello readers!!

I would love to do something new on JOJ...but in order to do it, I need your help! :)

I'd like to interview different Christian young ladies + older women, asking them questions and formulating them into different posts for this blog! 

Here's where you come in - what are some questions you've wanted to ask a godly woman, younger or older? would it be about life, the future, the past, God, the Bible, relationships...what would you ask? :) Please post YOUR questions (any and all!) in the comments below, and I will use some of them in my interviews! 

Thank you so much! Looking forward to what you come up with. :)

{ Rachel }

Thursday, March 19, 2015

God's Workmanship

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” —Ephesians 2:10 

You are so often disillusioned by the terrifying heat in your life. You feel so heated inside by struggles and hurdles that, let’s face it, make you melt. You don’t understand. All you see before you is fire, and you become intensely aware of the ripping and tearing inside yourself, and you start to lose confidence and sink. You question if your Creator is really strengthening you or even cares about you. The heat rises to excruciating temperatures as the flames devour you. You cannot see an escape. 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

He has turned on the furnace. As he gently places the impure gold in the burning flames. He prepares His tools to purify the precious metal. The gold begins to melt, sinking to the bottom of the pot as the impurities separate and rise to the top. He removes the sludge from the gold, purifying and strengthening it. He carefully raises the temperature until the gold reflects his face, and he lifts the now purified gold out of the fire to cool. 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

In the corner of a shadow, she clutches her face in her hands. She’s crying. She’s confused; she feels utterly abandoned. The things she is going through don’t make sense; her life seems to be falling apart. She cries out, “Why, God, why?” And a whisper brushes by her heart. She is calmed, for she knows that He knows the way she takes, and that when she is tried, she shall come forth as gold. 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” —Job 23:10 

P. S. Reread the top and bottom paragraphs, keeping the last verse in your mind. Since we are God’s workmanship, He is going to work on us. In the end, God will be able to see his reflection perfectly in us. But until that wonderful day in glory, let us strive to be moldable and trust that the Goldsmith knows what He’s doing! 

Written by Cosette, who blogs at http://dabyda.blogspot.com - This article was published in the JOJ magazine, Issue 8. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Preparing to: set the world on fire

I first read this post on a friend's blog: Alisha in Progress. She graciously gave me permission to re-post it here. Thanks Alisha! :) Hope y'all are blessed. ~Rachel

~ * ~ * ~

Since April 3rd, 2013 my life has belonged to God! I'm truly set free from all the past sin in my life {praise God Almighty}, but is it only about being saved? Is that what life as we know it all about? Does our Maker want us to only pray, “God forgive my sins, and come into my heart”? This is what most Christians today think! God wants to us to draw close to Him, so He can draw ever more close to us. If the Christian's life isn't about only being saved then what is it about? What does our Father desire?

At 19 I have finally found out for myself what my Father desires...the One who gives us life, desires for His children to be close to Him. It's not just about praying the “prayer of Salvation” and then attending church every time the doors are open. If that's not what it is all about, then how do you become close to our Father?

You start by prayer! Prayer is one important key element in the devout Christian's life. This is a way to communicate with the Lord. Talking to Him on a daily basis ... two times at least is a good start in order to become closer to Him. “Two times a day, when am I supposed to pray to the Lord two times a day?” How about the first time you pray, is when you get up! The first few things you should grab in the morning are your Bible, prayer journal, and any devotional you use. You shouldn't grab your Ipod Touch, cell phone, lap-top, etc. right when you wake up (I constantly struggle with this =/), and leave your Heavenly Father on the back burner of your life! And the second time is...can you guess? How about the second time is right before you go to sleep?

The next step to be ever more closer to Him is Bible reading! This step is crucial in your walk with God. How else is God supposed to speak to you if you aren't in the Word and aren't spending time in prayer? You don't need to read the entire Bible in one sitting {it has been done}, you just need to start your day out in the inspired Word of God. Start by reading a Psalm & Proverb correlating to what the date is. For instance, recently I read Psalms 13 and Proverbs 13 because the date was March 13. Then little by little add in a book of the Bible that isn't too long, for example Micah {if you read a chapter a day, you'll finish it within the week}. Or Jude {you'll be able to read that in one sitting}. Bible reading is a crucial element in the life of a believer!

The last step is application! This is the key element in the Christian faith, and will help your faith blossom like you can't imagine. Our Father doesn't want you to read something and then forget it...He wants you to apply what you read to your life. Whenever you read a verse, and you are able to apply it the same day you read it...take the challenge and try doing what the verse says! Not only is this the best way to grow in your faith, but it is also a wonderful way to be an example to others, and being set-apart for His glory!!

This very last step correlates to the step of application...a willing heart! God can't use you if you aren't willing to change the way you live your life. This is another common problem in most “Christians” today. They aren't willing to die to the flesh, and flee the youthful lusts {1 Tim. 5:22}

 Sweet young ladies, be willing to change for the Good! Allow God to make you, who He wants you to be!

In HIS grace, Alisha