Monday, November 1, 2010

The hope to which He has called you...

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” (Ephesians 1:18)
My sister, her boyfriend and two children are moving to California on Wednesday... I said my goodbyes today :( The above verse caught my eye and I thought of my sister. This would be my prayer for her and her family:

That her eyes and ears are opened to God's promise of hope that He keeps repeating and repeating and that He has called her to a place more glorious and enriching than California ♥ Even though I will miss them so much though, this is definitely a blessing and I'm so happy for them. Praying that God keeps them safe, hopeful and courageous!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hiding God's Word in My Heart

The fasting retreat was so amazing. My mind was so clear and distraction-free and I loved the feeling of constantly setting my thoughts on God and reading His word. Such an amazing peace!

We got together during meal times to "fill up" on worship & praise and sharing scriptures and praying. I never really felt hungry once; I did get small hunger pangs a couple times, but thinking on God and His word made it go away. It was amazing to see how His word becomes so real in a situation like fasting.

Everyone who came had a reason for why they were fasting and mine was to increase my faith in God and to reignite the fire in my heart for Him. I felt that if I am not feeling strong in faith & obedience then how can I even effectively pray for others and how will I be able to be a light to others? Well, it definitely worked! I drew near to Him and He drew nearer to me, just as He promised. My heart and mind feels so renewed, but I need to make sure that I continue reading His word every single day, morning and night.

 
Today on the radio I was listening to In the Market with Janet Parshall and her guest was Dr. Frank Minirth and he was discussing his book Boost Your Brain Power: Proven Ways to Keep Your Mind Young (previously published as A Brilliant Mind). It was so interesting! He was saying that you can redirect the neuro-circuitry in your brain to however you want essentially... similar to Aristotle's "You are what you repeatedly do", but more like "You can become who you want by what you repeatedly do (or read)." So, he was saying that if you memorize short Scripture verses, then after time you actually become like those verses. So essentially you become more Christ-like by hiding His word in your heart & mind! (Duh, isn't that what the Bible already tells us?! hehe)

Here is the description of Janet Parshall's interview with Dr. Frank Minirth (click on that link to listen to the program!):
Most people use less than 5 percent of their overall brain potential. Dr. Frank Minirth will help us tap into the other 95 percent of our brains. He will also reveal eight time-proven memory techniques, encourage Scripture memorization, and offer insights into language that will open new doors for any listener. Tune in to this compelling conversation!

I'll leave you with a verse that we all focused on while at the Fasting Retreat.
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

 In the name of Jesus I pray that my mind be conformed to Your will Lord and that my thoughts, which lead into action, may be completely aligned with Your word. I pray that I take captive every thought and if it is distracting or destructive, and if it sets itself up against Your will and Your word, that I demolish it on the spot. Let not the evil one set himself up in my mind Jesus. Lord, may it be only the Holy Spirit who directs my thoughts, that I may remain obedient to You my God and that Your will may be done in my life.
Amen

Jenn

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My soul thirsts

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water."
 

I chose that verse because I really wanted to write about something tonight and that was the Verse of the Day in the Bible Gateway widget in my sidebar. The funny thing is that I thought I was choosing it haphazardly, but after I just read it a couple times I realized was reminded - there is no such thing as haphazard when it comes to my God. He had me choose that verse for a very real reason:

Tomorrow I am going on my first ever fasting retreat.

What a perfect verse to choose Lord. The goal of the retreat is to dig deeper in God's word and to earnestly seek Him. My body will thirst for water, but should I drink, I will just become thirsty again; but my soul thirsts for the Living Water that flows from a never-ending Source and when I drink of it, I feel quenched. I will hunger for bread, something to sustain my body, but should I eat, I will hunger once more; but He who is the Bread of Life, the Sustainer, He gives the sustenance I truly need.

This weekend will be about retreating from life's distractions and focusing whole-heartedly on He who gives us life, but it will also be about deep and serious prayer for our nation, our families, ourselves. For rededicating ourselves to our Holy God, to get away from the noise and listen to God's voice.

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

I am so excited to devote an entire weekend solely to God. No T.V. No blogs. No work. No cell phone. Just quiet time with my God and fellowship and worship with sisters in Christ. I look forward to encouraging each other and praising Him together. I already feel blessed by it and I haven't even attended yet!

"As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?"

Pslam 42:1-2



Jenn

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done

This song broke me down in my car on the way home tonight. Thank you Jesus for using music to reach my heart. It's so beautiful and it's amazing that You know what methods to use and you use what you know will reach a particular person. Some people may not be moved by music, maybe they are moved by the sight of the sunset over an ocean or by reading a poem or by a simple act of kindness; whatever it is, You know what reaches our hearts and You use them just at the right time. Your timing is perfect.

I am continually in awe of the fact that You, who can see the past, present and future all at the same time (a billion years is like the blink of an eye for You) - that you still SEE our hearts and KNOW us and CARE, even though we are here today and gone tomorrow. We came from dust and we return to dust in the blink of an eye, and YET, You LOVE us and You know our name - You call us by our name!!! And we can call You by name and You HEAR us and have compassion for us ♥

Note from person who created video:
"The bible verse at the end is incorrect! Wow...I feel bad. It's actually Psalm 143:5"
Lyrics for
"Who Am I?" by Casting Crowns

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Distraction & "Nothing to write about"

T.V. is off. All is quiet. (...with the exception of my cat cleaning herself... be quiet Maddie!) The pain of my toothache is dulled and therefore my earache pain has also dulled. I think I am distraction free??... ... great, the cat just climbed into the back of the couch. Ugh. I'll just ignore it even though I should be trying to get her out... Trying to write a blog post here! ;)



Lord, life is so full of distractions! Help me keep my eye on You. Ashamed to say that it's very often that I feel like Peter, climbing out onto the water, only to take my eyes off Jesus when I realize "I'm not supposed to be able to walk on water!!" and then I begin to sink, just like he did. O' we of little faith... Why do we take our eyes off Him when we know the outcome is a mouthful of salty water?!

I really want to a write a blog post every day, but it seems like I always find an excuse to distract me -- by the way, I pray that I don't write any posts in my fashion blog until I have written a post on this blog that same day.

Sometimes there's just a mental block (or a heart block?!) when I try writing here.

Many days I think that I won't have anything to write about and I don't want to write a post that has no substance to it... but the Spirit is making me realize right at this very moment that that's about the silliest thing I could ever say!! The Holy Spirit just brought some lyrics to my mind - from a song that we sang in church just this morning. I had never heard it before, but it was so full of truth and beauty. It basically says exactly the opposite of what I've been thinking/worrying about with this blog:

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies
of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll
contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Thank you God for putting it all into perspective. It is NOT about ME!!!!! I have been thinking that I have nothing to write about because my life is basically, what some people might call, BORING! I very rarely have any of real excitement going on -- well what some people might consider excitement anyway... I go to work (new challenges, different day), come home, watch T.V., go on Facebook, blog a bit (not here as often as I should, but on my fashion blog), go to bed - rinse, repeat.

But this blog - again - is NOT about ME!!! I'm not sure when I started thinking that it IS about me, but that stops tonight! Maybe sometimes I even think that on days when "nothing" of spiritual significance has happened to me that I have nothing to write about, but those are the days that I should be writing so that I can think upon God and all His wonder and glory and I will see that when you have Christ in your heart, there is no such thing as a day that is devoid of spiritual significance!!

If I just dwell on those thoughts how could I ever, ever, EVER run out of things to write about?!!!

As the lyrics in this song so aptly put it: To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry.

Thank You Jesus ♥

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Through the day

I have lots of days where lots of things tend to go wrong (just like everyone else!!), but I rarely call the entire day a "rotten day" (although I know I did do this a couple weeks ago....), because I do truly believe that God makes each day and therefore NO day is ever really a "rotten" day. They are all GOOD because He made them:
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Today though, was definitely one where I needed to just keep turning to God or I would have cried.. It's hard to "rejoice and be glad" in a day where it seems like everything is going wrong... like the world is against you!! I've just been feeling so much pressure at work and there are so many things I need to get done before I leave for San Diego on Monday (for business, not pleasure!)... It's just so hard to sit there working on something, knowing that there are so many other things I need to do also and half of them I can't even remember what they are because there's so much that it's just spilling out of my brain and I can't retain it all!!! phewwww.... breathe in the light, breathe out the darkness....

I'm so glad that I joined the Gratitude Community and I am doing the Multitude Monday challenge... it helps me to stay focused on the blessings. Like, for example, that I even have a job at all in this economy!! And that my boss really does care for me as a person first and an employee second... Oh, and even in the midst of my computer freezing on me multiple times today, the Spirit reminded me to stop and thank God that I have access to a computer and the internet at all!

So, thank you Lord for getting me through the day... I'm here, I'm alive, I'm saved... and that's all that matters.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Smile

Multitude Monday: One Thousand Gifts, by A Holy Experience


God is so good. That small sentence has such enormous truth and meaning and comfort behind it. He is good, He is good, He is good.

I was feeling very down and dejected and insecure and UGLY this morning. Wishing I was as beautiful as a model and that I had awesome clothes and gorgeous, flowing, effortlessly-tousled hair. I know that sounds really shallow and petty, but... everyone's messed up in one way or another, so please don't judge me. My husband hugged me and tried to make me feel better, but it just wasn't working.

So I continued to sit cross-legged on our couch, wrapped up in Jon's sweatshirt, with the hood hanging low over my face, arm crossed, pout in full force, pathetically pitying myself and agreeing with the evil thoughts in my head, "You are not nearly as pretty as all the other women you see on fashion blogs, etc. You could never look that good." And on & on I listened to satan's lies. (By the way, Dear Spell Check, stop trying to make me capitalize the word satan. I just won't do it!!!)

Anyway... the alarm on my phone went off. Jon turned it off, read the calendar event on the phone and asked, "What's 'If my people'??" I said, "Ohh thanks, that's my reminder to pray for the 40 Day prayer campaign thing... sometimes I'll forget to pray if I don't remind myself... :-/"

Thanks God, for that very timely reminder :)

So. I turned my head up and began to pray: Thank You God, You are so good. Fill our home with Your Holy Spirit and let Your light shine through us. Lift me up O' Lord, lift up my spirit that I may face the day. And on & on I went... and He did as I asked.

Spirits lifted, I opened my eyes and grabbed the laptop with the intention of writing a blog post. I wanted to thank God for... being God and being faithful... and so I ran a google search on "Lift Me up O Lord" hoping to find a verse of scripture that I could base the blog on. I stumbled upon a blog called Daily Grace and at the bottom of the first post I read was a blog button that said "Walk with Him Wednesday". I thought, oh that's cool I should do that too, so I clicked through on the button {so that I could get the code to use it on my blog as well} and landed on the A Holy Experience blog... Hmm, I've been here before... Yes, I've stumbled across and have been blessed by this woman's words before, about a year or so ago... Anyway, at the bottom of her latest entry about Guatemala's poor and how the poorest people pay the highest price, she listed things that she was grateful for: a pillow at the end of the day, shoes, stable roads, electricity.... And at the end of that post, was another blog button, except this one said "Multitude Monday: One Thousand Gifts".

I smile. "Well. It's Monday... and I sure do have a multitude of things to be thankful for :) Let's do this."

So, from now on, every Monday will be Multitude Monday:

#1. First and foremost, above all else, Thank You God for being You. Your qualities are too many to list, more than I can even fathom, but You are Good, which I feel encompasses lots of qualities. We tend to think very lightly about the word "good" because we hear it so often throughout our day, but this tiny word is jam-packed full of GREAT meanings that all point to our Creator, King and Father. Some definitions of "good" are:  

full; morally admirable; having desirable or positive qualities; beneficial: promoting or enhancing well-being; of moral excellence; agreeable or pleasing; dependable; most suitable or right for a particular purpose; resulting favorably; appealing to the mind; capable of pleasing; superior to the average; satisfactory; worthy of respect; honorable; competent; skilled; complete; thorough; beneficial to health; valid or true; genuine; real; able to pay or contribute; able to elicit a specified reaction; upright; benevolent; kind; ample; substantial; bountiful; loyal; rich and fertile; not ruined or decayed; etc. etc. etc!!!

WOW!!! HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!? HE IS SOO GOOD! Thank You Thank You Thank You God, for being YOU and for being GOOD!

I lift up Your Name O LORD, in honor and praise :) Love You with all my heart and soul and mind <3

Update: If you would like to join the Gratitude Community, please click here.
"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." John Milton

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"If My People Pray" Campaign, Sept 1-Oct 10

Heard on the radio today about a national prayer campaign that begins tomorrow. It is called the "If my people pray" campaign and it's really very simple:

1.)  God is holy and keeps any and all promises He makes.

2.)  God tells us, in 1 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive them their sin and will heal their land." {God has kept this promise many times when the Jews had gone astray and then turned from their sin and called upon His Name.}

3.)  Our country {land} is... well... I don't think I need to say anything there... Let's just say we've certainly "missed the mark"...

4.)  If all believers fervently pray every day and turn to God in intercession for this country, then God WILL hear our prayer and heal our land and He WILL restore us to faith and bless us. {God CANNOT break His promises BECAUSE He is Holy!!!}

      There is no set "Agenda" or "Motive" for this campaign, except that we turn back to the LORD and that He blesses us with righteousness so that we, in turn, can bless others in His Name.

      There are 3 Steps described on the website {www.ifmypeopleprayusa.org}, but since there isn't a set agenda, you take however long within the 40 days that you need to make sure you get each step right.

      Step 1: Make a choice. Will you join the campaign, Yes or No?

      Step 2 {in short}: Humble yourself {accept/admit that you and we really NEED God}; Pray {let God search your heart}; Seek {desire to hear God speak and be willing to listen when He DOES}; Turn {follow God and turn your back on your sin and self-centered life}..... Take as long as you need to on Step 2 until your spirit is renewed and you feel a new sense of life and fire in your Heart that burns for God and holiness.

      Step 3: When your spirit is renewed, begin intercession for this country, for your neighbors, for your unsaved loved ones, for your saved loved ones, for our president and authority figures, for your pastors, for your enemies...

      Visit the website {If My People Pray USA} even if you are just stumbling on this blog post years from now... I know no one really reads this, but... who knows, maybe someone will and I hope that God has spoken to you through this post and that you follow the above 3 steps... Easier said than done, I know, but as Jesus says, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." {Matthew 19:26} Since God gave you free will, it is your choice, but you can choose to let Him use you in great ways, if that is your choice....

      My Wish for You: An Irish Blessing

      Thought this was so beautiful just had to share. My wonderful older sister sent it me via email this morning and it brightened my day:


      Saturday, August 21, 2010

      Asleep at the Wheel

      I don't know why I haven't written. At first I had the excuse that I was getting married and on my honeymoon, but I have been avoiding this moment for the past two months...

      I have felt guilty about it; I have a quick link to Blogger in my Bookmark Menu Bar and at night when I am online doing completely mindless things like going on Facebook and creating fashion designs on Looklet.com, I will look up and see that bookmark and think, "I know, I knowwww.. but.. maybe tomorrow".

      I think I haven't written because I have been feeling asleep in my faith... Asleep at the wheel and driving along in life blindly without asking God for directions... when really I should just be letting him drive!

      But I was reading some Proverbs tonight and several of them are about laziness and, I dont know, I just.. didn't think too much about it so I didn't have the chance to talk myself out of it (or conveniently let myself get distracted!) and double-clicked on the Blogger bookmark.

      I need Jesus so badly in my life right now. There isn't anything devastating going on in my life or anything like that, but I feel under attack from satan (yes, I know that is a pronoun and should be capitalized, but the devil doesn't deserve capitalization). I don't know why, but I was feeling very depressed last month and now this month I've been very angry. On top of that I haven't even attempted to pro-actively protect myself against satan. I haven't gone to church all summer and I haven't read the Bible in the past few months. I have been - for quite some time now - the epitome of laziness.

      My hope is that I start blogging again almost every day, even if it is very short. Maybe I can focus on specific verses or I can write out my weekly Bible study "answers" that I've been meaning to do ever since I bought my Women in Faith Bible 7 years ago...!!

      In conclusion, I will leave you with some insightful information I got from a website (linked down below) that describes laziness (as portrayed in Proverbs) so truthfully that I feel so ashamed and sorry for every time I have ever acted lazy. I'm sorry Jesus, You deserve so much more... and at the risk of sounding corny for quoting this song:

      And for the first time in a long time
      She bowed her head to pray
      She said I'm sorry for the way
      I've been living my life


      I know I've got to change
      So from now on tonight


      Jesus, take the wheel
      Take it from my hands
      Cause I can't do this on my own


      I'm letting go
      So give me one more chance
      To save me from this road I'm on


      Oh Jesus, take the wheel

      Laziness <=> Folly and Shame
      Laziness <=> Wise in one's own eyes
      Laziness <=> Unfulfilled Needs and Desires
      Laziness <=> Doesn't prize his possessions
      Laziness <=> Cowardice and Excuses

        Prov 26:15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish.
        He is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
        Prov 19:15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep.
        The idle soul shall suffer hunger.

        *Be sure to check out the link above and read the questions at the end for some self-evaluation...

        Forgive me LORD. Thank you for Your mercy & love,
        Jenn

        Thursday, May 20, 2010

        I Can Explain!

        I am 99% sure that no one reads this anyway, but this message is for the passerby or blog-wanderer:

        I can explain that really long hiatus from the last blog until this one. And I can explain why it will be another couple weeks before I post again.

        Because in less than 32 hours from now, I will be marrying my best friend, my partner, the love of my life :)

        Praise GOD for His perfect plan!!

        I thank Him that He made our paths cross at the time in our lives that they did so we could find one another. No other timing would have been as perfect, because this was God's timing. Praise the LORD our God for His Ways that are so far above ours.

        Though you may not know me, pray for our new marriage. Pray that we keep Christ as the cornerstone of our relationship and that we each always put HIM first and each other second and then ourselves LAST. Pray that we love each other as He loves us and that we grow in our love for each other by increasing our love and faith in HIM. Pray that He guides us in our ups and downs, our prosperous times and our downtrodden times. Pray that we never lose sight of the One who joined us together and that we hand over our marriage and our lives to Him, that He may mold us in the way He wants us to be.

        Can't say it enough: Praise Jesus. Thank you LORD my God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, who loves us so much that He wants us to find that one true soul mate so that we may show each other the same love the He shows us every day <3

        Amen and Hallelujah :)

        (and here is a sneak preview of our wedding cake that Jon made, since none of you are coming to my wedding so it doesn't matter if you see it!!!)



        Wednesday, April 28, 2010

        To be a Survivor in this Amazing Race

        This video pretty much speaks for itself :) The TALENT God gave this woman is awesome and it is even more incredible that she is using it to glorify Jesus and bring young people to Him.
        I hope you enjoy it!



        USE THE TALENTS HE GAVE YOU AND BE BLESSED!

        Tuesday, April 27, 2010

        Keep on keeping on

        The other day Jon and I went hiking nearby our home. It was supposed to rain that day, but it held off and we just went for it. We love hiking, but very rarely do it. In fact... we rarely get much exercise at all! :-/ {Jon moves around a lot more at his jobs than I do... Like I said over there in my bio, I do internet marketing and website content management.. so that equals sitting on my butt all day!}


        Anywho, I love taking nature walks and looking at and taking pictures of God's beautiful creations.

        Like.. just check out this tree!!! A beaver totally went at that thing like it was his job!.. because it IS his job!! that was the job that God gave him in life. I just love it! I love love love God's creations! He never ceases to amaze me and that's one of the main reasons why I cannot wait to homeschool. I just get so giddy with excitement when I learn about nature or science or culture, etc., because we are all God's creations and I love learning about His laws of nature and science and how the human mind works and how we are all different in this wonderful world.


        Jon wanted to climb to the top so he could take pictures, so even though I knew it'd be a rough road ahead of us, I happily said yes. {who could say "no" to that face of his? ;)}


        About 10 minutes into walking uphill though, my breaths were getting shorter and shorter and my chest was getting tighter and tighter.

        Although I could barely go twenty feet without saying something along the lines of, "Oh... my... I .... I... this.. is.. hard!", I kept on keeping on!

        Jon was pretty much flying ahead of me, stopping every once in a while to let me catch up {thanks hun!}


        Howeverrr... About half way up, I started getting a little dizzy. My chest was burning. And I could barely get 1/2 a sentence out my breathing was so shallow.

        I gave up. I just couldn't do it. I had to sit. I let Jon climb the rest of it and I made my way back down.


        I was thinking about this hike earlier and thinking how unconditioned I am. My older sister wants to climb Mount Monadnock with me this summer... but if I don't get conditioned then I wont make it to the top! {we tried last year and I could only make it 3/4 of the way up.. disappointing}


        I was also thinking that I could compare this with my life as a Christian. 


        Climbing the mountain is... well.. life as a Christian. It's being a follower of Christ, which is not an easy road! It is very tough and sometimes you feel like you can't go on when life's obstacles come up against you.


        And exercising is like prayer. Without consistent and dedicated exercise I cannot get to the top of Mount Monadnock.. at least not without collapsing from exhaustion! And without consistent and dedicated prayer we cannot make it through our Christian walk without always feeling totally defeated and tired of life. Connecting to God through prayer is our fuel that keeps us strong and spiritually healthy and when our legs feel like they are going to just give out from underneath us, He is there to help us keep on keeping on.


        "I lift mine eyes unto the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Maker of Heaven and Earth." Psalm 121:1-2

        Friday, April 23, 2010

        Slavery is Alive and Thriving

        Today I started following @AaronCohen777 on Twitter... I liked his bio description: "abolitionist".

        Aaron is author of the memoir "Slave Hunter: One Man's Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking". I would really like to get this book to become more informed about the current situation. His website is www.abolishslavery.org, so check it out... {after you finish reading here of course! :p}

        Many people don't know the extent to which slavery is thriving in today's world, but it is a booming business and a staggering 800,000 people are bought and sold each year, adding to the already approximately 27 MILLION people enslaved today {more than double the amount of 3 1/2 centuries of African slaves}. The sad thing is, most people also don't realize that America is the largest purchaser of slaves (majority being sex slaves, both women as well as boys). Supply and demand. Americans are keeping the business as alive as ever.


        {Faceless Victims}
        These two little girls are already sex slaves in Cambodia. They will grow up to be among the countless faceless victims of the sex slave industry. Image of two little girls from www.aim4asia.org. Collage made by me at Polyvore.com

        Sure, slavery has a new face now and a new name (Human Trafficking), but the reality is that people are still being SOLD like merchandise and held against their will. Doesn't seem like that part changed much since the Civil War.

        I learned about modern-day slavery a couple years ago (a few years ago now? not sure, time flies) by watching the Lifetime mini-series "Human Trafficking". I was completely astounded and really saddened and truly sickened. I just don't understand it. It's times like that where I wish God did not give us free will and then there wouldn't be the ability to show so much cruelty and hatred toward one another. But then I come back to reality... If we didn't have free will then we also wouldn't be able to know the other extreme: unconditional love, true joy, sincere generosity....

        I then was introduced to the organization called Love146 through an online friend on Polyvore.com (a DIY graphic collage website, where I made the image to the right).

        I read more about it, learned more facts, felt more sadness, became more angry.... and then forgot about it again.

        Why is it so easy to turn away and forget? Busy-lives, I know... that's my excuse.

        It's quite unfortunate that it isn't easy to just up and leave and join one of these organizations. But... maybe it just isn't everyone's calling. Maybe some people's calling is to stay home and teach their kids the love of Christ so that there isn't a chance that another sick pervert will be born into the world. Then when they grow up, if it is their calling, they can go help.

        Does that sound like a cop-out? Are you thinking sarcastically to yourself "Well that's why there aren't enough people helping! They all need to be selfish and stay home and focus on themselves!"

        Well... personally I would truly LOVE to live my life as a volunteer or missionary. Who knows, maybe someday God will provide the means for such a calling. I'm not saying I know what God has in store for my life, but I think that if we do not have the means to help the way some people can, then all we can do is try to improve the lives of those around us and in our own neighborhoods.

        Who knows, maybe I'm completely wrong. Like I said before, God gave us all free will right? And as the saying goes, "Where there's a will, there's a way."

        Then again... even though God gave us free will, we are supposed to trust in and follow HIS will alone. So.. I guess we just need to make sure we are fully in tune with the Holy Spirit so that we have the wisdom to discern what God's will is for our lives, whether it's being an abolitionist, activist, missionary, or stay-at-home mom.

        Every calling is a respectable and honorable calling when it is in accordance with God's will.

        Thursday, April 22, 2010

        Thank you for being By My Side..

        Heard on the radio this morning that Tenth Avenue North won the Dove Award for Song of the Year for the song "By Your Side". Congrats to them! That song is so amazing and it has definitely touched my heart and actually broken me down to tears on several occasions. After a bad day or if I'm feeling stressed and I hear that song... I just feel so grateful for Jesus and the Holy Spirit and I can't understand WHY He loves us because we are so undeserved, but that's what makes it so precious. He will always be by our sides, even in our lowest depths, because He understands because He has been through the worst of it - tortured and killed.. but He has overcome it too - raised back to life by His own power & authority to be victorious over death and sin... to break the chains of slavery that sin has us tied to. He did it so we can be restored to God and I'm so utterly grateful that my King died for me just so I can have a relationship with Him again!

        Well, here are some of my favorite lyrics from the song "By Your Side"... You know what, I'm just going to post all of the lyrics to the song because they're so beautiful :) Below the lyrics is the music video for the song.

        Why are you striving these days
        Why are you trying to earn grace
        Why are you crying
        Let me lift up your face
        Just don't turn away

        Why are you looking for love
        Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
        To where will you go child
        Tell me where will you run
        To where will you run

        And I'll be by your side
        Wherever you fall
        In the dead of night
        Whenever you call
        And please don't fight
        These hands that are holding you
        My hands are holding you

        Look at these hands and my side
        They swallowed the grave on that night
        When I drank the world's sin
        So I could carry you in
        And give you life
        I want to give you life

        (Chorus 2x)

        Cause I, I love you
        I want you to know
        That I, I love you
        I'll never let you go

        (Chorus 2x)


        Wednesday, April 21, 2010

        The Great Online Commission

        Yesterday I was driving home from an enjoyable game of mini-golf with my so-soon-to-be husband, and since the signal was going out on one of the two local Christian radio stations I listen to (Hope 94.9), I switched over to The Light (91.9FM in my neck of the woods).

        I started listening just in time to hear the host say,

        "What do you know about Internet Evangelism? Well, stay tuned to find out..."

        I turned the volume up. This really piqued my interest since a) that's what I pray to achieve with this recently created blog {to share the good news & how it affects my life}... and b) I'm a big nerd and love me a little bit of techy-talk :)

        A spokeswoman came on from Global Media Outreach (GMO), explaining how 2 million people log onto the internet everyday all across this beautiful planet and they search... for answers, for truth, for God. She then started listing off more statistics: how many hits they get on fundamental questions like, "Why am I on earth?" and "Does God love me?"; how many visitors to their sites request to receive online follow-up from a Christian to talk about these questions; and how many of these people from around the world ultimately accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

        The numbers astounded me... and excited me!! {You know, as a side note: I heard on the radio the other day that technically Christianity is the fastest growing religion when it comes to conversions and the only reason why Islam gets the prize for "fastest-growing religion" is because their birth rates are so high! There's your "learn somethin' new everyday" fact for today!}

        Well. I wanted part of this. For the last 3 years I have been working at a company where I am in charge of content-management for our website, do Internet marketing and Social Media Optimization, etc. and I've always known that God has a reason for why I am learning the things I'm learning at my job. I just didn't know why yet. Maybe this could be the start of God having me use those talents I've learned???

        I pulled up the driveway, finished listening to the program, shut off my car and quickly went inside to the computer. I went to GMO's Facebook page to sign up for their free webinar - which unfortunately, I found out was this morning, during work hours, so I couldn't attend :( but I did sign up for more information on Online Missionary Volunteering.

        I also sat there for a long time and watched the site eGreatCommision as the real-time numbers showed people from around the world visiting sites like 4 Steps to God, and proclaiming either "Yes" or "No" to their belief in Jesus, and then requesting follow-up from an online missionary. It was so so exciting to watch! You should really check it out, it's a real blessing to see Christ in action.. even if it is virtually :)

        Well.. I will leave you today with this video from Global Media Outreach's YouTube channel.
        Be blessed <3

        Sunday, April 18, 2010

        "It's just greener out here"

        As a follow-up to my last post, I want to share some of the wonderful and not-always-so-wonderful things about life in good ol' New Hampshire.

        My friends and I used to say, "It's just greener out here." The air is fresher and everywhere you look you see different shades of green - grass green, pine tree green, moss green, maple leaf green... even the not-so-pleasant-looking bog green. God sure did bless New Hampshire with beauty!

        So, in tribute to the wonderful state I call home {and in keeping with my love of lists}, here is a run-down of all things NH -- preceded by a collage I made in honor of that list :)

        {Leave me a comment if I left anything out!! or if you're from NH and wanna say hi! or, for whatever reason!!}

        Live Free or Die.
        Maple Syrup.
        Fall Foliage.
        Stone walls.
        My Mount Monadnock.
        Covered Bridges.
        Farms.
        Corn Mazes.
        Knee-deep snow.
        Sheep.
        Horses.
        Cows.
        Pancake House.
        Blueberries.
        Apple Trees.
        Friendliness.
        Honey.
        Ice storms - a beauty and a beast.
        Deer.
        Colonial Homes.
        Salt Box Houses.
        New England Folk Art.
        Colonial Flags.
        Old Home Days.
        Mosquitoes and gnats. ugh :(
        Wild Turkeys.
        Pumpkin Patches.
        New England Churches.
        Old Man in the Mountain - R.I.P. :(
        Fresh Eggs.
        Canoes.
        Antique Stores.
        Predictably unpredictable weather.
        Yard Sales.
        Moss.
        Dirt Roads.
        Trees of all kinds :)

        I love love love where I live and I'm glad my kids are going to grow up here :-) Thank you God for Your perfect Plan!

        Out of Egypt...

        God assigns each of us a time and a place.

        A time or generation to be born into. A place to be born and to grow up. A time to find Him. A place to live in Him.

        He leads people in and out of our lives, brings us to Egypt and delivers us out of Egypt. He constantly uses circumstances in our lives to lead us to Him. Sometimes people understand what's going on and open the door to let Him in. Others keep the door shut.

        Up until the spontaneous moment my mom decided to buy a mobile home in small-town New Hampshire, our family was Boston-bred, born and raised. But, our dad died in '94 and apart from having extended family scattered around metro-Boston, we had no other reason to keep living in the projects we had called home for so long.

        Just like the appointed time when the Jews were delivered out of Egypt, we were appointed to pack up and move to a small, "boring", no-action town in New Hampshire. The nights were pitch black and silence was deafening, until the coyotes howled and the fischer cats wailed, and the sound of crickets took over in a cacophony of chaos.

        And just like the Jews, we pretty much complained the whole way, not yet able to see the big picture. But there isn't a mall or movie theater or anything in walking distance?! What are we supposed to do all day?!

        Life went on. My sister and I got on the bus that would take us to our new school, all the while conscious that we were the new kids and that everyone was staring at us. Not to mention... Did no one ever hear of Contempo Casuals around here?!

        And, in a strange twist of events, we made friends. Good friends. Great friends. Friends that we couldn't even imagine what our life would've been like without.

        Well, whaddyaknow.. it wouldn't be so bad after all.

        As "bad" as it was at first, I thank God that He brought my family to NH and - as strange as it sounds - I thank Him that He used the circumstance of the death of our dad to bring us out of our Egypt.

        Had we not come here, my sister would not have two beautiful and amazing children, I would not be marrying my soul mate, and only God knows how else our lives would be different.

        I trust in God's plan and know that this is where we were meant to be.
        This is our Promised Land.