Monday, December 24, 2012

A Letter to Jesus

Dear Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Jesus
        This time of year, Christmas Cards are sent all over the world sending best wishes of a happy holiday season, peace on earth, and a happy new year. We go shopping, and even though they say it's the "happiest time of the year" people are fighting over presents, and prices, and who will get all the new fangled toys. People complain about the long lines, and you can't even wish the cashier a "Merry Christmas" anymore because you don't want anyone to be "offended".  Families come together to eat ham, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pie. People are sitting around the fire telling stories, or standing around the piano singing carols. They sing of Jingle Bells, Snow, Snowmen coming to life, Reindeer whose noses light up, A Big Jolly man who comes down the chimney to deliver presents to good boys and girls, Silent Nights, Holy Nights, Angels Singing, and Much more! There are nativity scenes portraying a beautiful scene of donkeys and sheep sitting around a glowing baby in a manger. Of course, you know all of this though! We celebrate people's birthdays year after year with parties, balloons, presents, and cake. But how often do we set aside some time, this time of the year, to celerate your birth? You don't get presents, you don't get parties, you don't get balloons, or cake. Instead we focus on the warm fuzzy feeling of the holidays. I am sorry we so often get caught up in the ways of the world. I am sorry we so often think about the holiday instead of thinking about you.
        So I just wanted to take a minute from the presents, from the food, from the family, from the carols, and the fuzzy feelings to thank you for everything! Thank you for your life, your death, and your salvation. Thank you for being willing to come down from Heaven, to come to this Earth as a baby. Thank you for being willing to be born of a virgin, and for being willing to be born in a manger. Thank you for making yourself lower, so I could go higher! Thank you for the ministry you lead here on the earth. Thank you for coming to pay the penalty of death for my sins. Thank you for the pain and suffering you placed on yourself for me. Thank you for placing all of my sin on yourself. Thank you for rising again on the third day. Thank you for washing my sins away, and making me free. Thank you for taking a rotten sinner like me, and making me a new person. Thank you for forgiving me, no matter how much I don't deserve it. Thank you for the hope that I have in my life. Thank you that I can know what will happen to me when I die someday. Thank you for your Amazing Grace, and Thank you for your Wonderful Love for me!
        I am nobody special, I don't deserve anything special, I am just a normal human being, but you have done something great in my life! Help me to remember that, not only today, not only this time of year, but every day. Help me never to be ashamed of who I am, help me instead to be a light to the world I live in, and help me to grow to be more like you every day.
        Once again, I thank you for everything you've done, and everything you do! Happy Birthday, I love you!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

To Live for the Glory of God

Life! It is such a precious thing.

I wrote a blog post a few months ago that started out the same way. It's such a simple statement, and how true it can be. Do we ever think about it? Do we ever sit back and think about the life that we live? As I was saying, a few months ago I wrote a blog post that started out the same way, except it had a different focus behind it. I focused on death, As this year is coming closer and closer to the end, I have thought back several times on the year I have had, and over, and over, and over the subject of death has come up. Whether a loved one passing away, or questions being asked of me, or reading something, or even performing in a show that deals with that subject. It's not necessarily a bad thing, I had never thought this much about death before this year, and I think it's a very good thing to think about. It will happen to everybody, and as the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

I believe we can do EVERYTHING to the glory of God, including dying. I'm not worried about it, and I look forward to the day that God takes me home. But I won't go fully into that again, if you would like to read some of my thoughts, feel free to take a look at my blog post "To Die for the Glory of God"

A very wise friend of mine commented on it, and in return to the post, she thanked me for sharing, and she stated "To die well, we must live well"

For the past few months, I have wanted to write another post, kind of a branching off of that one. With going from one thing to another, I haven't had much time to, but I have thought about it, and here I am once again. This time, I would like to focus on the importance of life.

Of course death is a very important thing, and I believe we should die for the glory of God, but in order to do so, we must first use the time that we have wisely, we can't waste a second, we must use the time that we have to live for the Glory of God

If you have ever walked through a graveyard, and looked at some of the stones, you will notice there is one thing common amongst them all, of course many of them have flags or crosses, many of them have eulogies or verses, many of them have quotes, but the thing that is common amongst them all is the date. They say: 1859 - 1934, 1862 - 1933, 1858 - 1952, and many, many more. They all have a little dash, a few spikes from a chisel, a little line. We don't pay attention to it much, but it represents something so great!

James 4:14 says,

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
God has given us such a great gift. He's given us that line, those few spikes from the chisel, He's given us the vapour that James talks so clearly about, God has given! It may not be very long, But how do we spend that life? For me, I want to live my life in a way that would be glorifying to God. When I get to Heaven, I want to be able to stand in front of God, and I want Him to be able to say "Well done my good and faithful servant"

Even though God loves me, and he enjoys the relationship I have with Him, I don't believe he has placed me here on the earth for my own good, It's for His good, and His glory, so as for me, I want to live my life for the Glory of God.

There are so many choices to make in life, there are so many paths to choose, I know that I have had decisions to make in the past, and I will be making all sorts of decisions in the future too, sometimes I make the right ones, and sometimes I make the wrong ones, but in the end, I ask forgiveness and try and learn from my mistakes. As I have thought the past few days, I am at a rough intersection in my life, there are so many roads to choose, so many choices to make: What college to go to, What career to go into, What job to get, How to spend my extra time, Who God wants me to marry in the future, etc. and while it's not always easy, and I can't say I will always follow through with it, I have decided just to trust God, do whatever He wants me to do, go wherever He wants me to go, be the kind of person He wants me to be, and follow Him no matter what. I know He has a perfect plan for my life, I know He has it all figured out, and I know as long as I do that, He won't lead me wrong!

I look at people like Hudson Taylor, Billy Graham, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, Fanny Crosby, even Peter, James, John, Luke, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, and Jesus himself, all of these people lived extraordinary lives. God used them to do AMAZING things, and all they had to do was give their life over to God. No, of course they weren't perfect (aside from Jesus) but they decided they were going to follow God, they gave everything they had to do whatever God wanted, and they lived their lives to do all for the Glory of God.

That's what I want for my life too. No, maybe God won't use me to change millions of lives. No, maybe He won't call me to do anything extraordinary, and I will be the first to tell you, I am FAR from perfect, but I pray that I won't waste a second. Life is too short! While I look forward to the day God takes me home, however that may be, until then, whatever God has planned for me, in life, in death, in good times, and in bad, I want to Live, Die, and Do All to the Glory of God. That's not a wasted life for me!


Thanks once again for reading! I'm glad I had the opportunity to finally sit down and put these thoughts in words. I hope it made sense! The Lord has been laying it on my heart for a while, and I know in my life I want to live, and die for God's glory! As I said in one of my last blog posts, We shouldn't live every day worried that it could be our last, We should live every day is if it would be. Let us treat every day as if it were our last day. Let's do everything to the glory of God. You'll notice I changed the title of my blog, I think it's fitting for my thoughts, and maybe, someday, if God lays it on my heart, I can elaborate a little more. I will look forward to writing again very soon. Have a blessed day!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Loving your neighbour

    It's another late night, Another Subway sandwhich has been eaten, another fantastic rehearsal of "Our Town" has finished, another couple hour long nap in the recliner has been had, and I am awake again. As I look through all of my new facebook statuses of the day, I stumble upon this blog. I can't say I agree with it all, I can't say I condone it all, there is in fact even a little bit of language in it too (as a warning)  and at first glance, I can't even say this person himself is a "Christian" (He after all says himself that he's not religious), but he brings up a very good point, and I think the blog is worth reading.

    It is kind of a long blog, so if you don't have time to read it all, I will try and sum it up. He talks about a friend of his, that he had talked on the phone with, and his friend He says that he lives in a town that homosexuality is still frowned upon, and as a whole, people deny this person. They ignore him, reject him, and shun him because of who he his. The whole message behind the blog is about love, and no matter who the person is, what they are like, or what they believe, we should show love to everyone. This as well has been on my heart a little bit, and after reading Mr. Pearce's blog, it prompted me to write one of my own.

    I believe as human beings we should show love to one another, but allow me to take it one step further. As Christians, I believe it is even more so important for us to do so. As Christians, I believe we have a, a calling to show others love. The Bible says in Matthew 22:37-40:

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

    "As you love yourself"? Really? Think about it, how much do we love ourselves? Sometimes we can too much! We love ourselves a lot! We love ourselves enough to take hours each day cleaning up, getting dressed, making ourselves look nice, etc. (not that this is bad, I do it myself!)  Then of course there's all those times that we worry about what other people think of us. There's all those times we make excuses not to do something because we are worried about our self image. I think if we were all honest with ourselves, as human beings, we could all say that we love ourselves a lot! So as we think about others, Jesus said that after loving God with all of our heart soul and mind, as the second GREATEST commandment, we should love our neighbour as we love ourselves. So why don't we live it! Too often we look at people of the world, whether homosexual, gothic, pierced, tattooed, alcoholic, smoker, ______..........Well, I'll let you fill in the blank, We look at those people, and we think "Ooooooo, yuck!" These are the kinds of people that we don't want to be around, these are the kinds of people that we ignore, we avoid, and we shun, but should we? What does the Bible say? Is that how much we love ourself? I don't think so! As Christians, I believe those are the kind of people we should go up to, we should shake their hand, pat them on the back, if you know them well enough, sure, even give them a hug, pray for them and show them a little bit of God's love.

    When we were born, we were each born a sinner. Romans 3:23 says:

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"

    So are we any different from them? We each are sinners, and I believe that anyone can look at us and could think "Oooooo, yuck!" All of our sins are as filthy rags, and of course, if we know Jesus as our personal saviour, He has washed all of our sins away, but that doesn't make us any better than those who don't! That doesn't mean we have to ignore, avoid, or shun those other people. Of course we as well have to be careful not to get too caught up that we get involved in some of the things of the world, but we should show them God's love, we should pray for them, and we should love them as we love ourselves. I think too often we are quick to jump to conclusions as well. We judge people based on their looks, their sounds, their smells, their actions, and sometimes we don't even know the whole story! The Bible as well says in Matthew 7:1:

"Judge not, that ye be not judged"

    We all know that we don't like being judged, so why are we so quick to jump to conclusions with other people? As I said before, we are all sinners, we were all created equal, we are all God's precious creation, so why do we judge other people as filthy rags? We should:

"Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour" Ephesians 5:2

    As I have taken it one step further, allow me to take one more minute to take it one more step further. I think about the church. So often we are quick to judge in the church as well. You can step into church, and there are people talking in little groups here, and little groups there. It's often turned into a school yard where there are jocks, cheerleaders, band members, glee club, the popular kids, and the new kids. Everyone is split up into little groups, and people are quick to judge each other. These people think they are better than others, these people have more money than others, these people are more athletic than others, these people are better looking then others. and the list goes on and on and on! To be honest, I get tired of it all! I don't believe that is the way God created the church to be! He wants us all to be a family. He wants us all to love each other equally. He wants us all to live together in unity, and that's the way I believe God meant it to be! Psalm 133:1 says:

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity"

    People worry about so many silly things. Whether people wear shorts or not, whether people still use hymnbooks or not, what kind of music is listened to, what version of the Bible is used etc. While I think it is important to know what you believe on some of those things, I don't think it's worth judging people over! It's not worth starting fights or quarrels, and I don't think anything is worth ignoring or avoiding anyone for! We should all live in a way that is glorifying to God. In fact, we shouldn't judge other churches either! I think while we may have different beliefs, while we don't know some of the people very well, while we may not like some of the same things, we should still take some time to pray for other churches as well too! While it is good to focus on our core church family, I think it is as well good for churches to come together, to pray for each other, to lift each other up, we should show the world God's love. And as Christians, we should live together in unity.

    I'm not trying to beat it over your head. I know as I'm writing, I'm reminding myself as well. I think it's something important to remember. We shouldn't be so quick to judge. God created us all equally, and while some people may seem as filthy rags, that's the way we were/are at one point or another. Instead, we should show other people God's love. As well, We shouldn't worry about silly little things. We shouldn't create our own group and leave others out. God wants us to live in Unity, and we all should live for the same purpose of glorifying God.



P.S. Thanks for taking a little time to sit down and read. I hope it all made sense. I always worry about whether my thoughts come out the right way in words, so I hope the main point was able to come across. I would love to hear what you think too! I always enjoy discussion, so feel free to share your thoughts with me too. I apologize that I haven't been able to write recently. It takes some time for me to sit down, think, and write, so I'm not able to do it as much as I would like to, but I am always thinking about it, and I want to be able to do it more often. I still have an idea in my mind that I want to write about, but I feel if I'm going to do it, I want to do it right, so please stay tuned. Thanks again for reading, and hopefully I will write again soon! Have a Blessed day! :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Day that will live down in history

    Ladies....Gentlemen......My Fellow Americans, Novermber 6th, 2012, is a day that will live down in history. It is a day we will tell our children, our grandchildren, and generations to come. It is a day that will be written in History books, newspapers, and will be shown on TV for years to come. Today was the 2012 Presidential Election.

    This year was my first opportunity, and a privelege at that, to vote. As the election has now ended, political ads and calls have simmered down, and facebook is starting to heat up, I read the many different responses. I have read things from people rejoicing, to people mourning, people saying they will move away, to the plea of our country's unity. I must say I have mixed feelings about our election......In fact, I'm almost speechless! I have to say that part of me is surprised, and part of me is not at all.

    I can't say I believe we will ever have an election where everyone will be happy. We'll always have people deciding Democrats, or Republicans, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, Homosexuality, or Straight, Liberalist, or Communist......Well, I think you get the point. There will always be someone taking sides. But when you get to the bottom of things, It doesn't matter what political party you are a part of, there is a power higher than any person that could ever be elected. As wonderful as our country may be, there is a place better than America, and there is a plan greater than any Bill that can ever be passed.

    Of course no man is perfect, We will always be able to find something wrong with anyone. So why do we put our trust in the imperfect humans of this world? They are no more perfect than we are! As for me, I know in the end "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand".

    Will the next four years be easy, I can't say they will! Will we be fixing some mistakes that people past, present, or future may make. Yes, I believe we will! But I know that God is in control.

Psalm 118:6 says:

 "The LORD is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do unto me?"

    As an American citizen, I believe it is not only my privelege, but my right to vote. And while sometimes I will have to decide between Democrat and Republican, I am happy to know that the Lord is on my side. Whichever wins, I don't have to fear! As President, Man will have to make some decisions, some will be good, and some will not be so good, but God has a perfect plan for each of our lives, He knew who would be president, even before George Washington was born. He knew how our economy would turn out even before Noah was floating his stock. And he knew the plans He had for us before the creation of the world (Jeremiah 29:11)

    So why do we worry? Why do we fear? Why do we think the end of the world is drawing near? I know God is in control, and He has a perfect plan, so just try putting your trust in God, instead of putting it in man.

    I hope this post made sense. Whether this is the end of our country as we know it, I can't say for sure, whether God will come back in the next four years, He very well could, I know I'm anxious and ready!

 Whatever happens, I know these 10 things will always be true:

1. God will still be on His throne
2. Jesus will still be King of kings and Lord of lords.
3. The Bible will still have all the answers to every problem.
4. The tomb will still be empty.
5. Jesus will still be the only way to heaven.
6. Prayer will still work - it will still make a difference and God will still
    answer prayer.
7. The cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.
8. There will still be room at the cross.
9. Jesus will still save anyone who places their faith and trust in Him.
10. God will still be with us always - He will never leave us or forsake us.
But let's not focus on which party won, and which party lost, let's focus on the one that is in control of it all!

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" ~Romans 13:1

    So this election, whether you voted for Democrat or Republican, I thank you for being a part of the great country we live in. Our President has now been elected, and whatever the outcome of our country may be, I'm putting my trust in God. I look forward to seeing what He has in store for the future! God Bless!

P.S. I apologize for not writing in a while, I want to write more, and I have a topic in my head that I want to write about next, that is branching off of my last blog post. I just now need to find the time, energy, ideas, and words to put it together. I feel if I'm going to do it, I should do it right! Anyways, Feel free to share your thoughts with me, I'd love to know what you think too. Have a great night!

~Daniel~ :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

To Die for the Glory of God

Life! It is such a precious thing. There are so many aspects of life, there are so many questions about life, and there are so many stepping stones. First there is birth. then the first day of school, the last day of school, the first job, the first date, the engagement, marriage, the first child, the first grandchild, retirement, and death. To life, just as anything else, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. I understand we are only three quarters of the way through the year, and I just as much as anyone else wants to enjoy the rest of it while I can, but this year has been quite an interesting year. So many of those stepping stones have been pointed out to me whether one way or another. I have seen birth, I have seen marriage, I have seen engagement, I have seen the first grandchild, and sadly I have seen death too. As I think about the year I have already had, death is the one that has stood out to me the most. Of course it is a part of life, 10 out of every 10 people will die, I have heard of slow deaths, sudden deaths, accidental deaths, and purposful deaths. No matter how it happens, it can always be a painful situation for many, and it has given me a great opportunity to think.

There is a verse in James 4:14 that says:

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

As the verse describes here, life is but a vapour. Of course we can plan ahead, Of course we can think about the future, but we as well don't have any guarantees.

As I have been thinking about this, I have thought about death in my life, what does it mean? I think there are several things I can say about it.

There is another verse in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that says:

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ALL to the glory of God."

I realize I may have discussed this before, but does this mean everything?
Absolutely! I believe if we are making dinner for our family, we should do it for the glory of God, if we are carrying a tired kid on our back in hot sweaty weather, we should do it for the glory of God, if we are putting Contact lenses in a bin to be shipped out all over the country, we should do it for the glory of God, if we are opening, and cutting up clams, as disgusting it may be, we should do it for the glory of God. But what about death? Can we die for the glory of God?

I believe we can! I think back a few months on the blog post called "To Die Well by Joshua Eddy, I think what he was talking about signifies what I mean by dying for the glory of God.

As I read his blog post I could picture myself thinking the same thing. I have always dreamt of being a hero. of throwing someone out of the way of a car, of tackling a murderer before he unleashed his fury, of catching someone before they fall on the tracks of a Subway. Of course those are all possibilities, but what if we were to die for our faith? There are people every day all over the world being persecuted for Christ. Could that be me?

I don't think I will ever know how I will die until it actually happens, but however it is, I hope I do for God's glory.

I, as a Christian, know what will happen to me when I die, I know I will go to Heaven and eternal life will be great! But until then, I'm not scared, I'm not worried.We shouldn't live every day worried that it could be our last, We should live every day is if it would be.

When we all get to Heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be! I can't wait to get there! I can't wait to walk the streets of gold,  I can't wait to see Jesus face.  I can't wait to see all the loved ones who have gone on before me, I know it's going to be a great day!

A few months ago, I was asked the question, if I were to die, and my funeral was held, and they started passing the microphone around for people to share what they thought about me, what would they say. In my mind, that was a difficult question. Of course we won't know exactly what people think of us, but my return question was if this person was asking what WOULD they say about me, or what would I WANT them to say about me. The hard part about that, was they weren't the same things.

This has been a recent challenge for me. I want to use the time I have for God's glory as well. I want to make in impact in other people's lives, and if I have lived and died for the glory of God, that's not a wasted life for me.

The truth of the matter is, we could die any day, any second, any time, and in my life, I want God to be glorified. I know God can do some great things. Whether he uses me in my life to lead someone to the Lord, or whether someone is lead to the Lord through my death. Whether I am a hero and save someone's life, or whether I only do things that God will notice, I want to make it an ulitmate goal in my life to not only live well, but to die for the glory of God.

I understand this may be a long shot, I know I may die at the ripe old age of 93, but I think it's something worth thinking about. I don't think you can ever be too prepared.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My wonderful week of camp

As I sit here quietly, I reflect on the past week. I know I post so often about how blessed I am, but it's so hard not to think about how truly blessed I am to be a Christian. So many times we take for granted the things we have. We complain so easily, we have what I like to call "First World Problems", and we forget how much we really have to be thankful for. But God always sends me reminders of his great blessings. This week has been one of them. Just a few hours ago, I arrived home from Sunset Bay State Park. I had the second of hopefully many more opportunities to be a counselor for our church's annual "Jr. Camp".

Our church has put together a Bible camp for the kids every year for the past seven years now. I was one of the original campers, and I once again have the opportunity, like last year, to be there for it. Over the years, God has blessed so much, and what a week this has been..

There are so many different things I can say about it. We have been preparing for it, raising money for it, gettiing all the kids ready, and praying that God would open hearts. The kids have been talking about it for several months, they've been counting the months, days, and even hours until this week finally came.

I decided to go down a few days early to help set up the camp before the kids arrived. We had a great time together. One of the teenage girls that went with us to help, rode down with me and the camp director. It was a few hour trip, so to pass time he asked 50,000 questions. It gave us a few interesting things to think about. We arrived, set up the trailers, set up the kitchen, and sat down for a little bit to relax. In the midst of it all, we found out there was another church group there from Medford, OR who was having their coastal campout. They all went down at the same time, and they were planning on having a church service on the beach. We went out for seafood for dinner, and came back to the campsite, where we decided that we would go for a little walk, so we started walking towards the beach where we heard a little talking, a little singing, a little clapping, and it sounded like they were having a good time. We wanted to hear what they were saying, so we blended into the group, and we joined in a little bit of their service. We didn't stay for it all, due to needing to set up my tent, and it getting dark, but we stayed for a little while, as the church was singing songs, doing hand motions with them all, telliing jokes, and having a great tiime in the Lord.

I ended up not setting up my tent that night.. I knew I was going to have to move it the next day, so I decided I would spend the night in the trailer with one of the couples that went with us. So we went to bed fairly early that night. We had a great nights sleep, slept in until about 9, then had another great day. Our camp director had found an old sermon tape on Revelation, so we had our own little church service in the campsite. We listened to that, then got back to work, we set up our chapel, we set up our tents, and we got already for the kids to come the next day. We had a nice steak dinner that night, and we had another opportunity to listen to a sermon that night. I ended up sleeping in the tent that night, and we woke up early the next morning to prepare for the kids

As we woke up the next morning, we ate our breakfast burritos together, we did some last minute preparations, and everyone was excited and ready for another great week with the kids. The kids arrived, and everyone was well rested, excited, and dare I say "pumped" for a great week. We knew God was going to do some great things, and we knew we would have a great time too. The first day consisted of many adventures. We went down to the beach and had a sand castle competition. the winner was the sculpters of a sand ship. The other two entries were a city on the rocks, and a little village, with a bridge over troubled water. I think everyone had a great time. We got showers, and we had a delicious dinner, we made a craft, and played some games. We quickly found out though that the devil was working overtime. That night a young boy that came with us was playing a tug of war game we had, where you had to stand on a stump, and try and stay on while trying to get your opponent off. As we were finishing up dinner, I heard a scream, and I looked up to see what was going on, It got louder and louder, so I turned around to look for it. As I turned around, the little boy walked out from behind a bush with his bone crooked, was evident it was broken. He started crying "I want my mommy" and started screaming in pain. I saw what was going on, and seeing as someone was holdiing his arm still, I threw down the trash I had picked up from the ground, and ran to look for our camp director. Unfortunately I couldn't find him, but fortunately when I came back to the campsite, he was there getting his first aid kit. I didn't know what to do from there. I wanted to help as much as I could, but I didn't want to get in the way. I was all shook up, the kids were shook up, so I gathered all the other kids together, put my arm around their shoulders, and we said a prayer. I had never been a part of an emergency situation like that. But I knew what I should do. I was shaking terribly as I was praying, and I don't know if it helped the kids at all, but God knew our needs, and it was a special moment for me. We prayed for wisdom for all the doctors and counselors, and that God would have his perfect will in this little boy's life. I know for sure God answered our prayers, and he definitely used that to comfort me. We didn't let that get us down though! We got him all splinted up, put him in the van, and one of the couples with us took him to the hospital. They called his mom, talked to the doctors, got some X-Rays done, and God worked it all out. We continued the camp as we normally would. We continued to pray for him, and we had our chapel service that night. As our camp director was speaking, he talked about our lives, and how we should filter all of the bad thiings out of our life. We sang some songs, had a snack, and took everyone to bed. I ended up sleeping in the tent with the boys for a little bit since their counselor was at the hospital, but in the middle of the night, he came back, and I gave him his bed back,which concluded the first night.

The second day as well was productive. We knew we weren't quite off to a good start of the week, even though many decisions had been made, we had one trip to the hospital, and we didn't want any more. So we prayed that God would keep us safe, and that the rest of the week would run smoothly as planned. We weren't sure whether the young boy who broke his arm would be able to stay or not. The doctor said it shouldn't be a problem as long as he slept in a trailer instead of the tent, and took it carefully. We talked with his mom, talked with him, and even though we were all doubtful he would stay, God was good. He ended up deciding he wanted to stay, and he had a wonderful time. We had breakfast, Did our devotions, had our morning chapel time, and then we got to go to the Coast Guard. Everyone seemed to enjoy that! We took a tour of one of their boats, we then got to walk through their lounge, and cafeteria, and then we got to see a video about their training, and ask a ton of questions. There were a few questions that were asked several times, there were a few people who raised their hands, but then forgot what they were going to ask, but all in all, everyone had a great time. We then stopped at the beach, where they had a scavenger hunt set up. we were given a list of things to look for, and then there were X's in the sand. If you dug under the X's, you would find a message in a bottle, a note, or even a treasure box.. After looking for a while, we undug a few things, but nobody could find the treasure box. We dug for quite a while, but we ended up having to leave it for some lucky person to find some day. We then went back to the campsite, got showers, had dinner, and got ready for the evening chapel. The theme of the day that day was Proverbs 3:5

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding"

So that night they learned about that verse. We had a skit, and our camp director talked about making the right choices in life. We then had a snack, sang some songs, and went to bed that night.

The next morning, we woke up refreshed and ready for another great day.God had already done some amazing thiings, but the week wasn't even half over. We were excited to see what else he had in store. We had breakfast, Did our devotions, Had our morning chapel time, and then we got ready to go to the beach. That day we played some relay games there. We played frisbee horse shoes. The kids didn't seem to like that too much, but it was fun anyway. We played volleyball with waterballoons and sheets, then we played a relay race to see who could fill up their buckets the fastest. We each had a plastic cup, and we had to run to the ocean, fill it with water, hold it above our heads, dump it in the bucket, and then tag our next team mates. I have never yelled so much as I did that day, Of course I was yelling for good reasons to cheer on my team, but nonetheless, it was still fun. We then played tug of war. This time without the stumps, and then we got to swim in the ocean for a little while. After all of our fun, we headed back to the camp, took showers, had dinner, and got ready for our evening chapel time. That day our theme was Proverbs 3:6

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths"

So they learned about that verse. We had a skit, and then the camp director talked about doing some research before we make a decision in our lives. We then had a snack, sang a few more songs, and then went to bed once again.

The next morning, we woke up, sad to see our week was beginning to come to an end. We had one more full day left, so we tried to enjoy it while we could! This day we did it a little differently, we woke up, and had breakfast, but then we headed to the tidepools. We had to get there early because we needed to get there before the tide came in, so we went there before anything else. The kids enjoyed looking at everything for a little while, but then they were ready to go, so we headed back a little early. We had lunch, and it was a beautiful day! The sun was shining, but we had a nap or rest and relaxation time scheduled. We decided instead of making all the kids take a nap, we would switch the schedule around, so we did our morniing chapel time, our devotions, and then we went down to the beach for a little while. Everyone had a great time swimming in the ocean. We stayed down there for a little while, but then we headed back up to the campsite, took showers, had dinner, and got ready for chapel time. That day, the theme was Proverbs 3:7

"Be not wise in thine own eyes, Fear the Lord and depar from evil"

So they learned about that verse, had one last skit, and the camp director talked about listening to the Holy Spirit. As we finished up chapel, the devil began working agaiin. It started thundering and lightniing. We finished up, and then started singing songs. By that time, it was pouring down rain. We didn't let it get to us though. We stood aroound the fire, sang songs, and had a great time anyway. The devil may have been working, but the Lord was fighting even harder. We grabbed our sweatshirts, tried saving everything that we could from getting soaked, and we went to bed. We were ready for a long day the next day. That night, the thunder roared, lightning flashed, and rain poured.. We had a few bags get wet, a few shirts get soaked, and few things get dirty, but God was good.

The next morning,, we woke up to find two of our pop up canopies had bent and collapsed drastically from the weight of the rain. Fortunately nobody got hurt, and there wasn't much damage done aside from the canopies. But we didn't let that get us down. We got it all cleaned up, had breakfast, had our morning Bible time and devotions, for the last time for the week, and then the kids had one more activity. We had originally planned to go play kickball on the beach, but due to the rain, the beach was all wet. We didn't want the kids to get all dirty and sandy, so we decided that they would go to the rose garden instead. There was a little meltdown with one of the kids that morning, so they only had about 45 minutes to go. But it seemed like they enjoyed it for a little while. So we packed all the kids up, and sent them on their way. I hated to see them go. Our friendships had grown closer, and I love those kids. No matter how many times I had to take them to the bathroom, or no matter how many times they didn't listen to me, they were great kids, and I hated to see them go. It was a great week though. After we gave our hugs and said our goodbyes, we sat around the fire for a little bit. We were all tired, and quite a bit of work had been done already, so we were taking a quick breather. We were reflecting on the week, and a young boy who was supposed to go to camp was not able to, so we were talking about him, and someone mentioned that we should pray for him and his family. That's when someone else said "We should pray right now" and that was another special moment of the week. We each took turns going in a circle, thanking God for the wonderful week he had given us, for the wonderful works He had done, and for the many decisions that were made. We prayed for safe traveliing for each of the campers, and we prayed for this young boy who was not able to come, and his family. We didn't worry about the time, or the work that had to be done, we just spent some time together talking with God. When that was done, we finished up some more work. We took down the kitchen, took down all tents, dried out the rest of the canopies, and put them away. By that time it was dinner time, and boy did it taste good. We had leftover steak and some people had chicken. I was starved, I even ate a hole through my paper plate. Anyway, we sat around the fire for a little bit, fed a squirrel, went to Dairy Queen for dessert, and then came back for bed to end another wonderful day.

We then woke up this morning, We ate breakfast, hooked up the trailers, and hit the road. Thus ended another amazing week.

I said all that to say this, that God has truly blessed so much. He was good through the good times and the bad, the broken bones and the smiles, the storms and the sunshine, He was good through it all! This week, many wonderful decisions have been made, and I pray that lives have been changed. He allowed me to make some new friends, as we stayed up late each night around the fire telliing stories and jokes, and he allowed me to grow closer to the kids as well. He provided an opportunity to talk to one of the young boys about some things he was going through, and I hope that he will continually grow in his relationship with the Lord.

He has reminded me how blessed I truly am. As so many of the children have to go back to rough homes, and so many of the children have rough lives, I am so blessed to have the family I have, the home I have, the church I have, and the wonderful Saviour I have.

It has been a great reminder, that He has a great plan, whether there are meltdowns, or broken bones, or stormes, he can work it all out for good.

And it has been another great reminder of how good God really is!

Anyway, I need to be getting off, I've already spent too much time on the computer, and where I still need to unpack, and take a shower tonight, I should probably get to it! I have church in the morning, and I can't wait to see all the kids again! I hope you have a wonderful night, and May God bless you as He has blessed me this week! :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Battle of Christianity

As I mentioned in my last blog post, a friend of mine lost his life in a hiking accident last weekend. Many things in the past week have been swimming around in my head. I have been reexamining my life. I have been trying to treat each day is if it will be my last. I have been trying to show other people love instead of putting them down. I have been attempting to think before I speak, I have been attempting to accomplish something in my life instead of wasting my day in bed.  I can't say I have fully succeded, but it's a challenge for me to consistently work on in my life.I have been attempting to not only spend time with God in prayer and studying the Bible, but I have been trying to gain Wisdom from it and take in every second with God that I can. I want to grow to be more like Him, I want to grow in my relationship with Him, and I pray that every day with Jesus will continually get sweeter and sweeter. But that's not the main focus of my blog tonight.

Another thing I have been attempting to do is sit down and write some of my thoughts of the past few days, and as hard as it was to find time to do it amongst so many other things, I finally found a few minutes. Anyway, let me hop off this rabbit trail and get to my main thought.

This past week, I have specifically been thinking of the family and friends of my friend that passed away last week, and how just a few moments changed their life forever. It can't be an easy time for them right now. He was supposed to be the best man at his brother's wedding this August, He was preparing to go back to the ALERT program this September, He has a little brother that could have a hard time remembering who he is. His family won't even be able to see him walk down the isle someday, but enough sad thoughts. As I was saying, my heart goes out to that family. I know that it hasn't been an easy thing for them, and the memories will continue to be sad until they see him one day in Heaven. But I have such a great respect for the family and the loved ones. For the church family, and for the people that were there to experience the accident. Through it all they have been giving God praise. They have lifted Josh up to God, and they know that Josh is in God's arms! They have quoted scripture verses, they have cherished the memories, and they have praised God through it all. Which led me to think a little bit more. I tend to do that a lot, and sometimes too much, but I feel that this thinking is good.

As I thought about the Christian life, I thought about all the struggles that come. We live in a wicked world. There is temptation all around us! From pornography, to abortion, to homosexuality, fornication, stealing, killing, even bad thoughts, or bad actions. It's everywhere! Then there are things that may come into our life, such as trials and testings. I have to be honest, and I have to say that being a Christian isn't always an easy thing, As I have read through the Bible, and I grew up hearing stories several times, there are so many stories that come to mind.

I think of Abraham who was asked to kill his one and only son that he was blessed with at an old age. I think of Daniel who was thrown into the lion's den because he was praying every day. I think of David, a young shepherd boy, who had to stand up and fight against a giant that nobody else would face. I think of Noah who had to spend several months alone on a boat with his family and animals of every kind. I think of John who got shipwrecked on the isle of Patmos. I think of Paul who had to walk miles upon miles on end just to preach the gospel. I think of Esther who had to get married to a wicked king to save God's chosen people. I think of Hosea who was told to marry a prostitute. The list could go on, and on, and on and on of people in the Bible who went through tough times in their lives.

I'm not trying to put down Christianity at all, I'm not trying to say I regret a single minute of it, but God never said in the Bible that life would be easy, He never said life would be a piece of cake, but He did say so much more.

In James 1:2 He says,

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."

Count it all joy? Wait....What? How can you count it a joy when you face a trial or temptation? It's a daily battle in our lives! The devil is always trying to put us down. He is always tempting and trying us. He wants us to be upset, Then there is the other side of things.....Christ. He says Count it all joy! It's the complete opposite.

So when we face trials and temptations in our life, how can we count it all joy? Take Paul for example. When he was on his death bed, he had been through so much in his life. He faced trials, temptations, and the battle of life in 2 Timothy 4:7 he says some of his last words,

"I have fought a good fight!"

 And that is what we should do in our lives too! It is a daily battle! It is a struggle, And No, It's not always going to be easy, but in our lives, we should fight the good fight! It's no wonder he also said in Hebrews 12:1

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."

Have you ever seen a race that was easy? It takes a lot of work to race. It's a lot like a fight. You have to train for it, You have to work for it, You have to prepare for it, then you have to give it everything you've got.It's not going to be easy, but in Romans 8:28 God says

"All things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to his purpose."

So of course, things in the Christian life aren't always going to be easy, but God is always going to work them out for His good.

As I am fighting the daily battle, Aside from remembering that he will work it out for His good, I also remember two things and I always rely on it. As God says in Hebrews 13:5

"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"

 I always remember that no matter how tough life might seem at the time, no matter how fierce the battle, and no matter how hard the Devil is fighting, God says that He will never leave us or forsake us. He is always right beside us, and while we have to choose whose side to be on, He is always there fighting for us and carrying us, in the bad times and the good.

Another thing I remember is in Proverbs 3:5-6.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths."

So even though we don't always understand why we are facing a trial or temptation, or what the outcome will be, we can trust in the Lord, and he will direct our paths. He will take you by the hand, he will comfort you, and help you fight the good fight.

I know that was a lot for me to think about, but I know I will never regret the day I became a Christian. Jesus came into my life and changed it forever. Of course it won't be easy. God never said it would be, but if we trust in Him, He will take us by the hand, He will help us every step of the way, and in the end we can count it all joy because he worked it out for good.

Thank you so much Lord that you are always there fighting with me!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Am I So Blessed?

This evening as I was watching the Amazing Race on TV, I wake up from the recliner in my living room, and I can't help but wonder a few different things. First off, Who won the Amazing Race, as it was the season finale, and while the three teams left really weren't that great anyway, it really doesn't matter to me, but it's always interesting to see who wins after sitting in front of the TV for a hour each week, it would be kinda nice to know. Secondly, did my sister keep the episode for me? Due to falling asleep, she sometimes deletes the episode without my knowledge, and without me knowing the outcome of the show. Thirdly, Why haven't I written on my blog in such a long time? I know it has been a while, and I keep telling myself I will get back into it, but I somehow keep sliding away from it. And lastly, and probably the heaviest on my mind, How do I get to be so blessed?
You may be wondering, what brought that on? Of course, God is always good, but what brought that specific subject to mind? Well, let me tell you a little story. Yesterday afternoon, Saturday, May 5th, 2012, I heard a little bit of sad news. A friend of mine was hiking along Rainie Falls, enjoying the beautiful weather God had provided, and the beautiful Creation He had made. I personally have never been there, but it hear it can be quite a treacherous hike, however well worth the beauty you can behold, anyway, back to my story. This friend of mine is a photographer, and a beautiful one at that. He sees something God has made, and sees it as a masterpiece that can be captured by the eye of a camera lense. He snaps the picture, and it turns out to be a real work of art. He has a real God given talent. As he was hiking, he had one of those opportunities, He saw something God had made, and decided to snap another picture that could later on be a work of art....However that work of art never came to be. You see as he was taking the picture, he fell of the side of the mountain and fell into the Rogue River never to be seen again. His friends ran along side the River to try and follow him. They hiked over an hour to get phone reception just to reach someone who could help. They notified the Sherriff, They notified firefighters, and everyone went to work to find him. They posted all over facebook asking for prayer, and prayers were spread all over the country. All the way from Oregon, to Texas, to Georgia, and people everywhere were praying for his safety. They searched all night last night until they decided to put the search on pause for until the sun came up. They started up again in the morning with even more help, this time with pilots to search from up above.....Yet still no luck. They searched both sides of the river, and they searched all through the water for hours on end...But he was still never to be found. This evening, they called the search off. After hours of searching, there wasn't much more they could do. Hearts are broken, Family and Friends lie awake sleepless, and it may never make full sense. Which brings me to my thought, Why am I So Blessed?
Last night I lay awake in bed reading this young man's blog. Reading his testimony, and reading his thoughts as he poured out his heart. He wrote about different things, from his love for his mom, or his want to be an Emergency Search and Rescue worker, to his longing to finally go home. As I lied awake, I wondered how did I end up being the one, safe at home, in a comfy bed, reading on an ipod, and so many other people are in misery. There is a whole church family mourning over this missing young man. He had a big family who loved him very much, he had a church who loved him very much, and he had friends who thought of him as a brother. People lied awake last night wondering how the day started out wonderfully, but ended in a nightmare that they would never wake up from. They didn't even know what happened to him. "Is he still out there, safe and sound?" I'm sure many people wondered, I know I did! So why is it that we treat every day as if there could be a tomorrow? So many times we take our days for granted. We get upset over silly things such as who is going to the grocery store and who is going to stay home. We get upset over missing items because somebody has moved them without our knowledge. We get upset over a stain on our favorite shirt. We get upset over cold French Fries at our favorite fast food restaurant. We allow people to leave the house without saying "Goodbye" or "I love you".
My first thought when I think of this is, why do so many people take things for granted. We really are sooooo blessed. Think about it. Do you have a house to live in? Do you have a computer or TV to sit in front of? Do you have delicious food to eat? Do you have family and friends who love you very much? There are people in the world that don't have those kinds of luxuries. There are people who don't know where their next meal is going to come from. There are people who don't know whether they will survive another day due to a life threatening illness. Then there are people who can't sleep at night because their day started out as a dream come true, but ended as a never ending nightmare. So this has been a great reminder to me of how truly blessed I am. I can lay in a comfy bed, surrounded by a loving family, reading on my ipod, and knowing that God is good in my life. I never want to take those things for granted again!
The second thing it reminds me of, is the verse in James 4 that says "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." This young man I mentioned was 19 years old. He's my age! He's a few months older than me, but to think that my life is but a vapour. Any second I could go to do something as simple as taking a picture, and my life could vanish away. I don't want to take for granted the precious time I have. I want to spend every day as if it's my last. Because life truly is a vapour. I have heard story after story of people who have gone to do simple things, but have ended in eternity, and someday that could be me too. I know my life could end at any second, so why spend time getting upset over silly things? Why spend time teasing someone when you could show them love? Why not take a few extra seconds from your life to give someone a hug and tell them how much you love them, because life is but a vapour, and today could be your very last day.
As I ponder some of these things in my head, and I prepare myself to hop into bed, my heart goes out to the family, friends, and church of this young man. He was a great man of God. He loved the Lord, and he was loved and cherished by many. As he is now in the arms of our saviour, I read all the inspiring words from people that love him. He made a great impact in many peoples lives. In mine, in his family's, in his church's, and even in the lives of people that didn't even know him. Over fifty-five posts on facebook about him just last night. All from people that loved him. That's not including the ones posted today. I pray that God will be glorified through this whole situation, and that God would comfort the family and everyone involved. I pray that as someday, one day, it will be my last day, I will have had an impact on as many people's lives as he did. May I always show people God's love, May God be glorified in every aspect of my life, and may I always treat each day as if it will be my last.
Thank you Josh for the wonderful reminders you have given me. You have been an inspiration in the lives of many including mine, and will do so for many years to come. May God be glorified in the life that you have lived, and in the lives you have impacted. You are loved, and will be missed by many!
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." ~Revelation 21:4~
I know I look forward to that day!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life is Precious!ot

I am reminded over and over again of all of the precious things in life. There are several of them. Things such as God's Amazing Grace, Marriage, Becoming a parent,, the sunshine, the smile of a child, and oh so many more things I couldn't count them if I had a million fingers and toes. But how often do we consider life itself? One of the first shows I was in was at Barnstormers Theatre. A homey little place, but that's beyond the point. The show was callled "Little Old Ladies in Tennis Shoes" I was the Assistant Stage Manager, and my brother played the role of Jeff Bernstein, one of the starring roles. It wasn't the best show in the world, there was unnecessary language, arguing, and even a scene of a married man coming down the stairs of a ladies house who was not his wife, needless to say, he was cheating.It was a great learning experience though. Anyway, let me get back on track. One one of the biggest lines in the show was by one of the little old ladies, She was preparing to go on a trip to get away from reality. The person she loved the most was Jeff Bernstein, and he had just gotten out of the hospital from a bad car accident. One of her very last lines in the show, which I still remember to this day was "Life Is Precious, L'Chaim".
 Short, Sweet, and to the point. I believe too many people take life for granted. In 2007 alone, there were 34,598 accounts of suicide. Even more shocking, there are appriximately 115,000 abortions, worldwide, in one day. The world's point of view is, if you aren't happy, then there's no point to life. But I belief there is so much more to that! In Jeremiah 29:11, God says to Jeremiah,
"I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"
He also says in 1 Corinthians 10:31
"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God"
God has a perfect plan for each of our lives. He wants to use each of us in a special way, and whether you are 969 years old like Methusala, or you are not even born yet, God can use you in an amazing way.
As this past week was the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I am reminded of all the little lives, past, present, and future, who have never had a chance to see the sun's light. I am reminded how precious those lives are, and how careless people can be. How do you not realize it is a living human being? If a baby is born premature, does that not make it a life? It's not fully developed yet, but it is still a living a breathiing, and moving life. God cares for each of those precious lives and so should we. People all over the world grieve when they lose a loved one, Whether young, or old, they would give just about anything to get them back, and yet people are carelessly giviing lives away..
But just as these little lives are precious in the eyes of God, so is yours. It's amazing to me, to think,, how a lowly sinner like me, can be loved by such an amazing person as God. He loves me, He loves you,, and He loves every single person he has created. We are all precious to Hiim.
So,, how should we live our lives? I belive that with the lives God has given us, we should not waste one second of it. God has given us these lives for a reason, and he wants us to glorify Hiim through it all. We should not waste our lives complaining about the things we do not have, or being depressed or upset We should long to serve God, and glorify Him in every aspect of our lives. I know, that no matter what age, gender, size, or race, God can use you in a special way. He has a special plan for our lives, and we should not waste one second of it, We should long to glorify Him in every aspect of our life, because it is precious to Him.