Change Your World With Love

‘Cause you know without a doubt, you can change your world with love.

So says Michael W. Smith in his awesome song, Love One Another. This statement is actually very true, and is inspiring for all Christians. This amazingly popular song, and this wonderful lyric specifically proved to be influential, becoming the namesake to not only the Michael W. Smith album, but also to the following tour. I posted the full video for that here, if you’re interested. Goodness knows I could do several posts talking about how great Michael W. Smith is, but that’s not actually my point right now. Today, I just wanted to talk about what it actually means to change your world with love.

We all share the same world.

While some of us seem to live in our heads more than the world around us (namely me), we all still live together striving to make things better in this world we live in. While we’re told that we can accomplish great change by becoming speakers and diplomats, sharing our thoughts with the world and working for peace, I wonder if it’s true. Sure diplomats and advocates are great and all, but it seems a rather unlikely goal for just an average girl like me to work towards.

Sometimes, when dwelling on melancholy thoughts of never being able to make a difference and fulfill the part that God has waiting for me, I become easily discouraged. It’s at moments like that, though, that I have to calm myself and reaffirm what I know to be true.

For one, it’s true that I do know without a doubt that I can change my world with love. We all can. Jesus came to be an xample setter, and we all know how greatly He changed His world (truly, not only did He live in this world, but He literally created it!). Shouldn’t we follow His example, and change our world with love?

Love isn’t always felt, but it can always be shown. Be kind and loving t o those around you, and you’ll make more of a difference than you know. Here I am, attempting to share God’s love with others through my blog. Sometimes I feel unsure of how well my blog is actually helping others, but Michael W. Smith sure got one thing right:

I know without a doubt I can change my world with love.

Keep sharing God’s love,

Watching the Rain

It is raining.

In just acouple of short weeks we seemed to go from late summer to full autumn. This week we are experiencing lots of rain, and it’s amazing to see it all. My little brother is so bored without being able to go outdoors! I’m seriously going to have to feature a post of ideas of things you can do inside. Actually, that’d be fun. I think I will dot hat.

Anyway, as I watch the rain, my mind turns again to thoughts of our amazing, wonderful, generous God. The fact that God has made sure that we always have water available right now is amazing. As I see the water filling things up and creating small floods, I think of Noah and his family, and how odd the entire experience must have been. Not only had it never rained, but now it was raining for so long.

Yet Noah trusted. He trusted that God was good to His word, and that He would provide for them. In the midst of hard times, when practically everything Noah knew was being destroyed, Noah had faith. How many times in the Bible has someone had to do something on faith and faith alone?

I also think of the passage when Jesus walks on water and calls Peter to him. We all know the story of Peter and his faith, and we all kinda think that we would have faith to trust that Jesus would keep us from falling under the waves, but do we actually carry that faith into our lives? We ‘walk on water’ with everythng we do. Sometimes we sink when we lose our way, and sometimes Jesus pulls us up again.

As I look at the world around me, especially in the rain, I pray for fath. Faith for all of us. I pray we hae the faith to continue on our way and to continue doing what is right amidst hard times and troubles. As we start this week, let’s fight through the storms of life and have faith that Jesus will see us to the other side.

God bless you,

Important Words

Words are important.

Really, they are.

Today, we see hurtful words in our world. We see people using words to hurt, and to harm others, instead of using praiseful words that lift spirits and moving words that convey truth. Words are wasted by insignificant thoughts and idle sayings. Few people treasure words or enjoy them, because they’re constantly busy hurrying through them to move on to the next thing.

But words have power. The words we say bear power that is stronger than our world gives them credit for, because people are afraid of the damage that can be done by using words. Like so many things in this world, they can be used for either good or bad. As everyone has been hurt by words, everyone is afraid of what can be done with the full force of words. Because of this, very few people use words to their full extent.

If an idea is worth conveying, though, it’s worth conveying well. The great people of history have been forced to choose not only what they want to share, but how they want to share it. When you look to the Bible, you can see the richly worded pages upon pages of rich thoughts and great ideas, orchestrated to meet others and share ideas. When you read the words of the brilliant and caring God, you find no light or unimportant words. Instead, you find words and rich blankets of wonder resting to share a vibrant and living idea.

In order to properly use words, we must supply ourselves with the ability and vocabulary to do so. The best way to do this is through the influences we surround ourselves with. For instance, the majority of the words we use come from the people we interact with, the books and blogs we read, the movies we watch, and the podcasts and music we listen to. Although they may not seem important, these are the influences that fill our minds.

Once, when listening to a Sally Clarkson podcast (there’s a chance it was actually one of her books), I was inspired by a beautiful mental image she painted that day. I don’t remember her exact wording, and I’m sorry to admit I don’t even remember which podcast it was on, but I definitely remember the idea. I think she was talking about children, and she mentioned the fact that she viewed a child’s heart and mind as a treasure chest, that you can fill with whatever you want to be in your child’s heart and mind. To this day, I’ve begun to view my own heart as a treasure chest, and the words I use are the combined product of the items in that treasure chest.

So, be careful of what you fill your mind with. You only get one treasure chest, and it can be full of the most wonderful things this world has to offer. Beautiful friends, rich podcasts, lovely blogs, great pieces of literature, wholesome films, and rich musical pieces. I’d love to do a post on recommendations soon. Of course, it all depends on what inspires you to use your words wisely, but these are just a few of my recommendations. Whatever you pick, the things you store in your chest become important. These are all items that you can save in your treasure chest, and they will contribute to the items that you spin from this treasure chest, and share with the whole world.

As we approach the midpoint of our week, I encourage you to examine your words closely. The pen is mightier than thesword. What we say has bearing on what happens, and our words should only be used to communicate a message of truth and hope, just as the Bible conveys a message of truth and hope to use. If you choose your words wisely, people will not only listen to you more, but they will understand more, and they will be taught through your words and grow.

God bless you,

Seeking the Kingdom of God

How do you seek the kingdom of God?

As you may know, I just opened my Etsy shop, AllToTheGloryOfGod, and one of my first items was a PDF print of a calligraphy work I designed, that said ‘seek ye first the kingdom of God’ (Matthew 6:33). You can find it available for sale here. This is one of my favorite little snippets of Scripture to repeat and remember, because it just feels so perfect. I picture someone seeking for this great kingdom, like an explorer searching for a lost kingdom with unspeakable treasures.

It’s pretty, right? Not the watermark, just the calligraphy. I really like how my sort of minimal and simple look turned out, and the doodle of the binoculars just completes the look. I totally love it! If you’d like to buy it, please do, because it earns towards my Christian college education! Once I get my business going, I’m actually gonna start tracking it, and I’d be happy to let you guys know as I reach my milestones!

But, this post isn’t actually to talk about my new Etsy shop, as I’ve already told you guys all about that. What I wanted to share was this beautiful mental image of someone seeking for God in the evidence of His kingdom and the light of His truth. I love hearing of great quests, both from fiction and from the past. I’ve heard of the explorers who discovered great civilizations, and of the people who pioneered forward in search of something stunning and spectacular.

What is more spectacular than the kingdom of God? What is more stunning than the world that we may see through His grace ater this life? Surely the riches and prizes that we may find there are greater than what may be found in the fountains of youth and the cities of gold that have been sought by explorers before us. And while these explorers chased nothing but myths and legends, we have a more powerful bond that holds us to what we seek.

Instead of an empty and vain myth, we have a gleaming promise. Instead of riches and opportunities that are only whispered legends, we have a truth that proves the goodness of God and the rewards that we will receive. Everything we see around us is a living and real witness to the glory of His righteous vow that He has made for those who seek His kingdom, and His kingdom alone.

We are not called to seek things of this world: money, power, fame. We are called to seek Him, and we can find Him if we only have the eyes to see. If we can look around ourselves and see His witness in the commonplace and everyday things, then they will lead us to the kingdom that is waiting beyond our eyes. While we are on this earth, our ears are numb and can only hear a muffled silence of the real things; our eyes can only see a stained and dirty bit of the glorious picture waiting for us. But through God’s word, we can see more, and we can see the path that leads to the glory of the entirety of His promise and greatness.

Like the great explorers of the past, however, we too must have courage to pursue and to seek. It will not be easy to defy the world that tells us that seeking something that ‘isn’t real’ is a waste of time. It is real. God and His kingdom are more real than the things that are the realest to us. What we can touch and prove is only a temporary reality; what lies beyond the boundaries of this world is what is real and good, pure and perfect. The courage to seek that is greater than the strongest or bravest historical figure.

Today, I encourage you to remember these truths. If you buy my calligraphy print (here), I hope that it reminds you of these words, because they’re powerful. Anything that speaks the truth is powerful, and anything that tells a lie is vain. Have the courage to chase the truth, and the perserverance to seek God’s kingdom above the things of this world. Remember that we must chase that above everything else, and never lose sight of it. And if we do, we must use blind faith to find our way back to the trail that leads us to that gleaming kingdom, for there we will find true happiness.

There we will find Him.

God bless you,

Let the Lord Lead Your Adventure

Adventure is out there!

No, seriously, it is.

I love adventure stories. There are so many great ones. Great, epic quests. I like reading Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, for one. Not only is it filled with a great adventure spanning over the entire globe, but it’s also filled with fun characters, and my little brother loves it, and the movie of it (the one with David Niven!). Seriously, it’s a great story, and one that most people know. The distinguished gentleman makes a calculated journey around the world with setbacks and inconveniences.

I like to kind of think of our lives as adventures; as if we are all taking trips around the world, undertaking great journeys and bearing great courage and perserverance. Some of us aren’t really doing it very honestly, like Mr. Fix, and some of us join the journey a little late, like Princess Aouda. There are people out there that want to stop you on your journey, and there are people who want to help. There are those who need help, and there are those who give it. The important thing is to just keep traveling.

What is proved by Jules Verne’s great novel, however, is that you can never plan everything. From Indian attacks to unfinished railroads and scheming detective, there’s nobody who can plan out everything. Even when executing the best plans, something will go wrong, no matter how brilliant it is.

Sometimes we have lots of trouble with this truth, however. Myself, especially. I’m big on planning. Planning everything, all the time. I’ve got lots of plans, and I like making plans. I find it a little hard to stop making plans, sometimes, and that’s when I think about Around the World in Eighty Days and Mr. Phileas Fogg. True, his plans are a lot more clock-like than mine, it’s true that I’m often guilty of over-planning. Perhaps this is because I’ve been given the luxury of a life that’s stable enough to make plans for my future.

Throughout history, though, there have been thousands of godly men and women, living in the moment and unsure of where they will be or if they will even be alive from day to day. You read the uncertaninty of the Psalmist as he faces death and uncertainty every day, and you see the Lord prove that he is capable of preparing safety for His people. He leads our paths as he wishes for them to be led, and He prepares for us better than our own plans.

Although plans are great (as both Phileas Fogg and I will affirm), our lives are truly adventures, being led day by day. We get to choose what sort of adventure we will live, and we will choose which part we play on this exciting adventure, planning as we can but trusting the Lord above all to choose where we go, and to see where he leads us and appreciate the beauty of adventure.

Adventure is out there.

And so is He.

God bless you,

-Erin

What I Did Today…

Just a short post!

I just wanted you to know that my mom bought the beautiful John: So That You May Believe study by Kari Denker. You can buy it through Ordinary Kari, if you want, but we’re gonna go through this. If you don’t want to do it, that’s fine, but I just thought I’d recommend it to you.

Everything’s going great here. It was our Sabbath, so we’ve all been kicked back and having fun. We’ve been working on getting our basement together, so today we were able to go down there and have some fun, playing around. I’ve also practiced my guitar, and listened to Michael W. Smith (yes, I am listening to it as I write this post). We had a long insightful talk about the prophecies of Jesus (always interesting!).

The smoke is really bad outside because of some fires nearby, but my family and I are perfectly safe. If you could be praying for the people closer to the fire, I would appreciate it.

All in all, a great day, with lots of time to read God’s Word (I’m moving through Numbers right now). I pray that you all have great days, and I’m keeping everyone online in my prayers. Thank you for reading my blog. It’s really fun to hear what you have to say in the comments. Thank you!

-A Christian Girl

Jesus Died For Me

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man may lay down his life for his friends.” -John 15:13

Have you ever loved someone enough to die for them?

That’s a question I came up with while dwelling on the subject of which characters should make it through the fantasy trilogy I was working on last year. Obviously, some characters are expected to die in a fantasy trilogy. I didn’t want to ignore that fact, otherwise instead of proving a metaphore for God in our lives, I would sound like a Disney fairytale. That’s not exactly what I was going for.

Now, I’m not going to tell you which characters made it through my books, otherwise when I get it published you’ll know all about it. But, this question has stuck in my mind ever since. Instead of wondering which of my characters would lay down their lives for their friends, I ended up asking it about myself. It brought me closer to my family as I realized that they are my friends, and that I would do anything for them, even lay down my life.

And then, I realized that as much as I loved my family to be able to honestly say that, how much more does it mean for Jesus to die for me? Not only did He tell me that He would die for me, an ignorant sinner, but He actually did. He suffered a horrific death to free me from my sin, to grant me eternal life with Him. This thought occasionally makes me feel a little scared: how could I ever approach someone who actually bravely died for me?

After dwelling on this question for a while, I came to an even bigger, harder, tougher question: what kind of person am I if I don’t even try to further a relationship and proudly worship a LORD who suffered death for me? How could I ever consider myself a friend, if when my greatest friend died for me, I ignored Him and shunned Him when He offered to help me even greater than He already has? Sometimes, when we’re raised in a materialistic world such as this, we have trouble grasping some of the most important things that have been granted to us. Some of the things that are bigger than this world.

In a world where death and sacrifice are things that aren’t the same as they used to be (usually when someone dies it isn’t in place for another person), it can be difficult to understand that if Jesus hadn’t paid for us, then we would have to eternally pay it. He saved my life, and my eternal life. Becauseof this, we should try to pay back the debt he paid for us. We should strive to share the truth of the God who shared us in everything we do. The way we walk, the way we talk, the way we interact with people around us. It should all reflect the LORD who gave his life for our’s.

Have you ever loved someone enough to die for them? Jesus did. He loved you and me enough to die for us. We should try to show that love in everything we do and remember it. Remember that it was the LORD who gave his life for us, and that there is no greater love. Jesus loves us in the greatest way possible. When you’re feeling alone and scared, just remember that.

God bless you,

-A Christian Girl

Out from the Grave like Lazarus

While piecing together my Christian Summer playlist, I was listening to a Christian station on Amazon Music, where this song came on, called Rise Up (Lazarus) by Cain. I think I’ve heard this song when looking for Christian music before, because it’s up-beat tempo sounded extremely familiar. It’s funny how a song sticks to you without you realizing it, isn’t it? Anyway, though, that song inspired me to write this article.

We all know of Jesus’ miracles. From delivering people from blindness and leprosy to changing water to wine, there are many great stories to stare back on when you’re feeling like you have to figure out your life for yourself. But, one of my favorite stories would have to be when Jesus raises Lazarus from death in John 11. Part of the reason I really like this is I love the depth we see in Jesus’ character. I feel like often we have the stereotypical stained-glass window picture of a long-haired figure (He didn’t have long hair!) with no emotions whatsoever.

However, if you closely examine this chapter, you’ll find that Lazarus was a person who Jesus knew, and loved, along with his sisters, who had obviously returned His love. Anyway, Jesus starts for Bethany, where Lazarus is sick (even though Jesus knows that he’s already dead). When He gets there, the Jews are comforting both Mary and Martha, and when Martha hears that Jesus is there, she goes to Him, and tells him that if Jesus would have been there, he wouldn’t have died, and that Jesus could still save him.

After Jesus and Martha finish their exchange of words, Martha goes to Mary and tells her that Jesus is calling, and in that moment, even in her profound grief, Mary hurries to Jesus and weeps as she cries to Him, telling Him that if He had been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died (obviously the same thought occured to both sisters). Everyone’s crying for Lazarus, and Jesus isn’t any different.

I’ve heard some people being surprised by this, as it’s so human to cry when your friend dies. But, what I think they’re forgetting is the fact that Jesus is not only all God, but all human, too. He cries for the dead, and then He goes to the cave, and He has the rock moved. When people start to question this decision, Jesus says “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

Then, when they move it, Jesus says “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” And then, Jesus calls Lazarus out of the grave, and saves His dear friend from death.

Well, it’s the same with us. We’re dead, condemned by our sins, and Jesus calls out of our death, calling us to come to Him, because we’re His dear friends, and He cries for us in our condemnation. So, as our greatest friend, He calls us to join Him, to no longer be held by the bindings of death. He invites us to live once again, and to live with Him and by His grace.

He loves us, and today we’re all invited to walk out of our graves, and enjoy the Light of Jesus, as He raises us from eternal death and to eternal life despite our sins. Today, all we have to do is walk out of the grave, and be grateful to our LORD who saves us so mercifully.

God bless you,

-A Christian Girl