Friday, June 29, 2012

A Word from the Wise (The Wise Being God)

Dear Nadia,

There is a girl in my class who joined my school in the middle of the year.  She has been at the school for a few months now, but she still seems to keep her distance.  I want to be friends with her, so I have tried talking to her.  "How do you like ACE?" "Cute headband!" "I love your belt." She gives short answers then stays quiet.  So, do I just leave her alone? Or should I keep trying to talk to her?

-Be a friend?

Dear Be a Friend,

I honor you for reaching out to this girl! You are living out God's
command to "be openhearted to your [sisters]" (Deuteronomy 15:11).
Maybe one thing you can do each day is ask her how she is doing or how
her day has been. If you consistently are showing her you care, she
will be blessed by it even if she does not show it.

Also, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. If you are alert and listening
for his promptings, He can lead you into conversations beyond anything
you could have planned. Ask Him, and He will give you the perfect

You are being Jesus to her, and I know he is so proud of you and
honored by even the littlest things that you are doing for Him! Keep
it up - "for you are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14)! May He
bless your efforts!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Worlds Idea of Beauty~ Renee Arnold

We as teenage girls are wired to want to measure up to others in the way we look and act. Girls buy magazines that feature clothing and makeup used by celebrities and diets endorsed by famous people are extremely popular. As harmless as it may seen to want what everyone else has and look like they do, this can have some major consequences on your physical and spiritual health.
   First, our world is so focused on things that lead to problems and unforeseen consequences that aren't worth the price we pay. Peer pressure might seem like an elementary concept and you might feel like you are above temptation from friends and peers but nobody is. Please know that anyone who makes you do something you know is wrong is not a true friend and your "friendship" needs evaluating.
   Secondly, in a world obsessed with image and status, it can be tempting to want to look like a certain singer, actor and emulate them in the way you dress and do your makeup. There is nothing wrong with having a look inspired by a celebrity but make sure you don't start sizing yourself up to them. You are a perfect individual created by God and made in his image and you don't need to look like anyone but yourself to impress him.
   This can also go the other way and you can start comparing other people to yourself. You can start thinking you are better then others because you have better hair, clothes or are thinner. You could also start labeling people as "bad" because of decisions that they make in their lives. No one deserves a label, we as humans have no right to give people labels because we have not lived out the same situations they have.
Remember that you are beautiful and God has a divine purpose for you life!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thank You for Feeding Me~ Emily Ciszewski

I see this world, I see people rushing and running to work.
They want peace and fulfillment. They’re hungry. They’ve never been fed.
I see all the little girls.
I see all the little boys.
And they all grow up.
Without the love.
Without the hugs.
Without the stories.
Without the tears.
Here are all the Fathers,
Without Fathers to lead them.
Here are all the Mothers,
Without Mothers to teach them.
Here are all the little boys, the little gents, the handsome men,
Without the Leaders.
Here are all the little girls, the little ladies, the beautiful women,
Without the Teachers.
Here are all the people,
Without Father.
Without Mother.
Without love and hugs and stories and tears.
Thank you for the love Mother and Father.
Thank you for the hugs Mom and Dad.
Thank you for the stories Mama, Pa.
Thank you for the tears Mommy and Daddy.
I just want to say,
Thank you for feeding me.
Thank you for life.
Thank you for love.
Where would I be?
Without you?
Thank you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Forever21 Store Review~ Mikayla McMahen

For this store review I chose forever 21, I love this store for many reasons! Number one, no matter what style of clothes you like you're pretty sure to find something here you'll like, they have everything from more vintage styles to rocker chic. number two, most of the clothes are modest and affordable! Now I'm not saying that all of the clothes are modest, but they do have a very large selection :)

When I saw the price of this shirt I literally had to do a double take! This shirt is an incredibly low price of $7.80. I find it quite adorable:) An eye popping blue with ruffles give it a nice airy look for summer.

Jean shorts are a great piece to have in your summer wardrobe! They go with practically everything and I find them to be quite comfortable. These are more fitted to balance out the loose airy shirt. These shorts total at $17.50
I love hats! floppy hats, cowgirl hats, baseball caps, there are so many to choose from! One of my personal favorites would have to be the fedora :) This fedora wold be great for a hot, humid, summer day when your hair can't decide what it wants to do. Since it's a straw fedora it would be nice and light on your head, while the accent strips around the band are perfect for spicing up an outfit! It's also only $10.80

I didn't want a whole lot of attention drawn to the shoes, but I didnt want them to be completely plain either so when I saw these flats, they fit the bill exactly! With the cute bow and peephole at the toe they are the perfect shoe for this out fit. These shoes cost $16.80 

The total for this adorable outfit is, drum roll please.......... $52.90!

Monday, June 25, 2012

This Dance~ Hogan Stevens

She was dressed in pure radiance, the very picture of beauty. But her smile, though lovely, was anything but real. She had been to so many balls before that she had quickly lost count, and this one was just like any other.
Already she had been asked to dance with the usual men. They were always the same. None were ever right. None were ever the one she searched for. They were always more concerned about her status or her looks rather than who she truly was.
Then again, she doubted anyone really knew just who she was. A princess, yes. But lonely. So lonely.
"Dance with me, Princess?"
A young lord bowed before her and she rose with a soft sigh. Beaming, he swept her off toward the crowded ballroom floor. The room was a flurry of movement and color as the guests danced together. Laughter could be heard over the sound of the stringed instruments providing the lively music.
The princess allowed her gaze to sweep the crowd as she danced with the young lord, and she could not help but wonder when the king was going to appear. It was by his invitation that she was in his kingdom at all, and she knew that everyone here was earnestly awaiting his appearance. No one had ever seen him before, but everyone knew that he was the most wonderful, kind king in the whole seven kingdoms.
She wanted so badly to meet him.
A murmuring suddenly filled the room, replacing the laughter. A new, lovely song filled the air as the people quieted, and some even stopped dancing. Everyone had turned to look expectantly at the large open doorway.
Even her dance partner had taken an interest in whoever it was arriving. He gave a quick bow and then hurried off deeper into the crowd. The princess stayed where she was, suddenly afraid. What if the king did not like her? Or worse, what if he did not even notice her? There were so many people...
A man entered the ballroom. He was young, and he had the most pleasant face the princess had ever seen. His clothes were of pure white and even though he was obviously of great royalty, he smiled and talked openly with anyone that addressed him.
"Is that the king?" the princess asked a nearby dancing couple.
Glancing up from his wife, the dancing man took one look at the new arrival and shook his head. "That is his son, the prince of the seventh kingdom."
Hope filled the princess as she watched the prince make his way through the crowd. Would he notice her? She was too frightened to go up to him herself, so she simply watched from afar. He danced with many women--young and old--throughout the night, and he even spent the time to talk with the men as well. But he never came to her.
It became very late. It seemed to her the prince had danced or talked with everyone in the ballroom, and the princess was the only one that sat alone, quiet and anxious. She wanted so badly to meet him...
"Why are you afraid?"
Startled from her thoughts, the princess glanced up--right at the prince himself. He smiled down at her, and a peace blossomed within her. He had come to her...even though she had nearly been hiding from him.
Many people had left the ball by now, and the people were no longer dancing. A sadness filled the princess's heart. She desired to dance with the prince. A sudden conviction came over her, telling her that if she danced with him it would somehow change her forever. To be in the presence of such a magnificent, powerful man...The princess was too shy to ask him to dance with her. She told herself she was just being silly. Why was she so disappointed that she would not get to dance with him? Silly.
"I...just am." she said softly, avoiding his gaze.
He laughed, and the princess could not help but look at him again. He was so pure, so unlike the other men she had met.
"I thought that if you did not come to me by this time, I would have to go to you myself," he said with a smile. "Because there is one thing I must ask you."
A small gasp escaped from her mouth as the princess stared at him in surprise. He had been waiting for her all night? For the first time in ages, a smile graced her face as she listened to what he had to ask. And this time, the smile was genuine and full of joy.
"My princess, can I have this dance?"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Glory of God~ Heather Young

Many times in the Bible, there is evidence that God appears to be an egomaniac, all about Himself and His glory.  Actually, that is true, but perhaps not in the sense you may think.  In the following verses, there are clear statements that show how much God cares about His glory:

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Exodus 34:14

“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
Deuteronomy 4:24

For My own name’s sake I delay My wrath; for the sake of My praise I hold it back from you,
so as not to cut you off.  See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For My own sake, for My own sake, I do this.  How can I let Myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another.”
Isaiah 48:9-11

If God was not all about His glory, we would not be alive today.  We deserve death, but God has mercy on us because of His glory, not because of anything we do or are.  In thanks, we should give glory back to Him, so that He may be even more magnified through us.

“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.”
Ephesians 1:4-6

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

We were created to give Him glory in everything, but we don’t have to choose between God getting glory and us getting joy.  Instead, “we were made to find our capstone of joy by forgetting ourselves in the presence of magnificence.” (–John Piper) God is the one Being in the universe for whom self exaltation is not an act of a needy ego, but an act of infinite self-giving for our enjoyment.

“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:6-7

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11

Moreover, God is a just God, and deserves whatever praise we can give Him.  When we disobey Him, however, He must deliver punishment.  Although we don’t deserve a satisfying “reward” (the cross), God gives it to us anyway.  The cross is the heart of Christianity.  God put Christ forward to absorb His wrath and His anger against our sin; the punishment is removed from us when we choose to accept His gift.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”
Psalm 103:8

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
Romans 3:23-26

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in sinful man.”
Romans 8:3

God’s God-centeredness is a powerful test of our God-centeredness.  Ask yourself these questions: Do I love for God to love His glory? Do I love for God to magnify His name? Or do I love for God to be centered on me?

Finally, if Jesus is more glorious than anything, what better could He do than ask His Father that we could be with Him? (See verse below.)

“Father, I want those you have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory you have given Me because you loved Me before the creation of the world.”
John 17:24

There are many ways to give God glory in everything, and here is just one example that a pastor at my church shared:
            When you get up in the morning, as you pour your orange juice, thank God for all the work that went into getting it to your hand.  Thank Him that you didn’t have to peel and squeeze the orange yourself.  Thank Him that you have money to be able to buy orange juice, and a fridge to store it.  Thank Him your family members didn’t drink it all.  Thank Him you have a cup from which to drink it.

Maybe even more ways can be found how to thank God for that one little thing.  Wow, right there are six reasons to give glory to God for what He has given you.  Just imagine how much our lives will be changed if we focus our attitude on God all the time, giving Him thanks and praise for all He has done.  We could turn the world upside down!

Did you know that Heather went on a missions trip to Mexico last summer?!?!

Sugar-Free Pineapple Cream Pie~ Hogan Stevens

I'm really not a big fan of pies, but this is absolutely one of the best that I have ever eaten. The recipe was given to my mother by an elderly lady at our church, and ever since that day it has become a favorite of my whole family.
Don't let the sugar free part fool ya, girls! It's to die for! ;)
1 8 oz. package light cream cheese (softened)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup splenda
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 oz. light Cool Whip
1 small can of crushed pineapple (drained)
1 graham cracker crust

First, you'll need to blend together the cream cheese, splenda and vanilla. Once it is creamy, add in the crushed pineapple.
Fold in the Cool Whip and nuts.
And then simply pour it all into the graham cracker crust and chill for 1-2 hours before serving.
Did you know that Hogan once shattered her wrist while roller skating?!

What you will need:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Night to Remember... Forever by Nataleigh Robinson

I will never forget the Halloween of my 16 year for 2 reasons: 1. My mom was finally trusting me enough to let me go to a Halloween party at my friend Carly’s house. And 2. It was a night that changed my life forever.    
          I spent a great amount of time on my costume trying to decide what I would go as and in the end decided to go as the Roman goddess Ceres, the goddess of growing things.  My mother made an amazing green dress that looked like it was made out of leaves and I painted leaves and flowers on my arms and face and tied flowers in my hair.  It was an amazing costume if I do say my self and I would like to think I would have been the center of the party if I had ever arrived.
          About 6:00 pm Halloween night I dressed up into my outfit wished my parents good night and departed from the house.  I climbed into the back of the family car and gave our driver directions to the house. 
          Now is probably as a good a time as any to mention the fact that my families rich.  Both of my parents have pretty incredible jobs: My mom’s a lawyer and my dad’s in the FBI.  Since I’m their only child I pretty much get anything I ask for and since I’m so rich not to mention an A+ student I’m pretty poplar with both my peers an my teachers. 
Some people say I’m spoiled but I don’t see it that way.  The way I see it I’m just blessed or at least that’s what my mom says.  My mom’s a Christian and goes to church every Wednesday and Sunday she used to take me with her when I was younger but after I met Carly I began to hate the fact that I spent half my weekend at church and backed out.  
          My dad used to go to church to but that was before he got so grounded in his job.  Now he only goes for Christmas and Easter and since he goes I go too.  I guess I figure if Dad can take a break from his work to go to church on a holiday I can take a break from my parties and shopping sprees.  But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
          Anyway back to Halloween:  I sat in the back seat of the moving car as Bert, our driver, drove the young goddess to Carly’s party.  We had barley pulled out of our gated community when my cell chirped and I pulled it out to discover Melody had sent me a text.
          “R U goin 2 prty 2nite?”
“Ya” I sent the text and waited a second sure enough a moment later the phone chirped again.
“Wat U goin as?”
I soon was so caught up in my text conversation that I didn’t realize when Bert started heading the opposite direction of Carly’s house.  15 minutes later I heard the car turn off and looked up to realize I had no idea where I was.  “Bert, where are we?” But as I looked up I realized that the man who was staring at me through the rear-view was not Bert at all but a complete stranger.  “Who are you and what have you done with Bert?”  The man just smiled at me wickedly and got out of the car. 
In a panic I tried the door handle but the man must have set the child lock because I couldn’t open it.  I snatched up my phone and started to dial 911 but before I could hit send the door opened and I was pulled out of the car.  I was thrown into a completely dark and empty room where my captor said I would stay.  Until my father paid him the money he was owed I would stay right there.  Than he slammed the door leaving me in complete darkness.
I don’t know how long I was balled up in that room but I do know this:  It was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I know it sounds strange for me to say something like that but it’s true.  Let me explain.
While I was in that room I thought I was going to die.  Plain and simple, I thought my life was over.  I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch since we were supposed to be eating at Carly’s and I knew that if my parents didn’t pay, my captor would either kill me or let me starve.  Either way if my parents didn’t do something I was dead.  Soon my thoughts overcame me as I began to think:
  I thought about the party I was missing and began to imagine what it would have been like if I had actually succeeded in arriving.  My green flowing dress would have been the star attraction no doubt and maybe just maybe I could have stolen a dance or two from Jared Blare. 
I thought of my parents and what would they think when they received the call telling them I had been kidnapped.  How long would it take them to gather the money?  Would they even care?  I had always been a disappointment to them constantly asking for money to buy this or that but never having the tiniest bit of compassion in my heart to go to church with my mother. 
I thought of my childhood.  How I used to go to church every Wednesday and Sunday with my mom then just on Sunday and now only when Dad went which was barely ever.  I remembered a time long ago when I had sat between my mother and father and listened to the pastor preach his sermon.  I suddenly realized that I missed those days.  I had always felt safe in church and then I had met Carly and safety was replaced with pleasure.  I had spent the last 2 years of my life searching for something but not really sure what that something was.  And now as I sat reminiscing about my childhood I realized the one thing that had been missing from my life: God.
I soon realized tears were streaming down my cheeks and suddenly a thought popped into my head actually something my mom used to always say to me when I was younger.  Pray Heather, when ever you’re in trouble don’t ever hesitate to pray.  He’ll listen to you even if you don’t think you deserve to be heard.”
So right then and there I prayed.  I prayed that God would get me out of this dark room,  I prayed he would release me from my captor and most of all I prayed he would change me from the inside out.
I was in captivity for about a month.  My captor who’s name was Bill- at least that’s what he told me to call him- let me out of the dark cell within a day and locked me in another room with bared windows and a camera in the corner.  But at least I had a bed, lights and my own bathroom-void of camera’s and window’s.  Bill told me that he had given my parents one month to get the money before he would do away with me.  I was frightened but thanks to my Sunday school memorization program when I was 10 I had all the encouragement I needed to get through the month. 
The end of November brought great fear to me as the money from my parents never came- I found out later that my parents had been struggling financially for a long time but hadn’t told me and so trying to come up with the amount required to rescue me had become impossible to get.  One night Bill came into my room and he was carrying a gun.  I was frightened and thought suddenly that this would be my last night on earth.  But he suddenly started crying.  When I asked him what was wrong he told me.  “Heather, I have never met anyone like you.  There’s no way I could ever kill someone as amazing as you.  The threat of death has been hanging over you for the last month and still you smile as if nothing was going on.  I can’t do this to you or your family.  You’re free to go.”
I could hardly believe it.  I thought for sure that he had something up his sleeve but he wasn’t and about an hour later I was safe in my mother’s arms.
          I went to church with my mother that Sunday and at school I told Carly about my changed life.  Needless to say she thought I was crazy and I never spoke to her again but I soon made new friends at my parent’s church.  I never saw Bill again but 4 years later I received a letter in the mail.  The letter was from Bill thanking me for being such a wonderful example to him and putting him on the “Straight and Narrow”.  Attached was a picture of him and his wife and his beautiful new born daughter.  I was completely thrilled to know that I had made a difference in this mans life when at the same time he had made a difference in mine.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Modest Swim Suits Part 1~ Renee Arnold

Bathing suit shopping is a rite of passage every teenage girl must endure before she can enjoy the summer at the pool, beach and water parks.
Swimsuit shopping can be stressful enough without having to keep modesty and purity in mind but thankfully many stores feature fuller coverage suits that can be bought a very reasonable price.
First, I looked at Kohl's because they are very well known for their swim separates which feature a large variety of tankini tops and boy shorts. I found two that really stood out because they featured adorable prints. Both of these suits are separates which means the tops and bottoms can be bought without each other. The pieces vary in price from $28-$36 but if you've ever shopped at Kohl's you know that you rarely end up paying the advertised price for anything so you might be able to snag them for prices within the $16-$20 range.
Candie's Striped Swim SeparatesMudd Tie-Dye Swim Separates
Next, I know from my own past experience that most Christian summer camps require a modest one piece suit so I wanted to include a couple of those. I shopped around at Macy's to get a feel for the kind of suits they sold there and I was very pleased with their selection, although their suits were more expensive. One piece suits at Macy's were in a sold price range of about $170  (which is a little too pricey for my liking) and $50 (a little more reasonable.) The high waisted one pictured is $50 and the black floral suit is $98.
I know that it can be difficult finding a trendy suit that covers cleavage, midsection and leg but I hope this article helped you in your search for a modest swimsuit this summer!
Have a blessed and safe summer,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Water Games~ Heather Young

While you’re having fun in the sun this summer, don’t forget the water! Just a drop can add a refreshing feeling that will leave you wanting more! Although you can add water to any outdoor game, here are some more original ideas – maybe even a few you may not have thought of before:

·         Water Balloons
o   Volleyball
§  Using a volleyball or badminton net, toss water balloons over the nets and catch them with sheets.  The more water balloons you add, the more fun it will be!
o   Hot Potato
§  Sit in a circle with some friends, pass the balloon around the circle until someone pops it.  Then, that person sits out and you keep doing that until there is only one person left.  Instead of passing the balloon around the circle, you could toss it across the circle for more of a challenge.
§  Also, you can have someone playing music, and when they pause it, the person holding the balloon has to pop it on themself.
o   Balloon Toss
§  This game is probably the most common.  Have people get into teams of two and stand across from one another, face each other.  Every time a team makes a successful catch, one person takes a step back.  If the balloon breaks, that team is out.  The last team standing wins.
§  You can also use bowls or old plastic containers to catch the balloons.
o   Dodge Ball
§  In this case, of course, you will be using water balloons instead of balls.  Water balloons may even be safer.
o   Team Balloon Race
§  Have everyone get into teams of two, stand back-to-back with one another, and link their arms together.  Place a water balloon between their backs.  The first team to the finish line with their balloon intact is the winner!
·         Squirt Guns
o   Target Practice
§  Build a target with whatever material you have available, then shoot away! (Don’t forget to put a board behind the target in case you miss!)
§  To create a competition, put different-colored food coloring in the water in each person’s gun.
o   Squirt Fight
§  Divide players into teams, each with a different color of water.  Have everyone wear white shirts, and after everyone runs out of water, determine who wins by looking at which color appears most on the shirts.
§  To prevent running out of water too quickly, you can use trash cans or large buckets to hold large amounts of water for each team to refill their guns.
o   Shoot the bottle
§  Set up bottles on a table and see how many you can knock down in 3 tries!

Please don’t hesitate to add comments if you know of any other entertaining water games!

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photography taken by Abby Whear.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury~ Review by Michelle Pell

Brad Cutler’s life is finally falling into place. He’s about to marry the girl of his dreams and he’s climbing the corporate ladder at his Manhattan ad agency. Anyone would say that Brad has the fairy tale life, but on the inside Brad is falling apart.
A decision he made ten years ago has come back to haunt him. As memories of his high-school girlfriend and innocence lost come flooding back, Brad can no longer be sure of his future. All he knows is that before he can start the next chapter of his life with his fiancée, Laura, he must attempt to repair his heart. He knows the only place to find healing is to return to Holden Beach in search of his first love and search for forgiveness both of them need, but neither has ever known.
Will the repercussions of what happened long ago tear Brad and Laura apart? Or will the healing and forgiveness Emma, Brad and Laura need, give them a freedom to live the rest of their lives in peace?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Washing Feet: Local Volunteering Ideas~ Emily Ciszewski
“But moooommm! What can I do? I try to help…but there aren’t very many opportunities!” Are you sure about that? Or is your idea of making a difference going to a third world country?

Here are some ideas for your summer! Get a group of friends together - your youth-group, school friends, or family and head out to help!
 “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in…”
-Jesus (Matthew 25:35) 
Food Banks
You can volunteer at a food bank using this link - I’m making it easy for you, just click the link, go to the website, fill in your location and hit ‘enter’ - you’ll get the nearest place to your address.

Crisis Pregnancy CentersThere aren’t enough of these in the world but here’s a link for you!
Take this one and search any volunteer position you like! There are many open opportunities to help out there!

Animal Shelters
Here’s another one of those nifty links! Just click and enter your location, and they’ll tell you of the nearest animal shelter or other volunteer position available!

This one here will give you info on all aspects of animal shelters!

Here are some other ideas:
Clean your local Library - some friends and I did this and the library was so thankful!
Clean your Church - give the janitor a break!
Baby-Sit for free - you probably know somebody who could you it!
Have fun - make it a group thing and have a meal together afterwards - you’re washing feet, so be glad!

Love you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Adoption~ Cassie Stout

As a tear rolls quickly down her face,
She fears she'll never find her place.
 She had just received the news,
That she won't be the one they choose.
 She said to her guardian, "Why does no one seem to want me?"
Her guardian said, "I guess they don't see exactly what I see."
 Through her tears, not able to see,
She said, "I don't understand why nobody loves me."
 Not wanting the girl to fear,
Her guardian bent over and said in her ear,
 "When you're alone and all out of options,
God loves you with or without adoption."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Can you Find God in Your Day?~ Freelance by Ariel Gaskill

The school year has finally ended and now we have nothing but time on our hands. Most of us plan to have a fun-filled summer making memories with friends and family, going to the beach, catching up on some much-needed sleep, reading for fun and enjoying countless other activities that will pack the glorious months that await us.  In the midst of the anticipation of finally relaxing after a long academic year, it is important to remember that we still need to make good use of our time.  Maybe it was difficult to read a few verses of scripture during a hectic school week or to take a few minutes on the weekends to talk to God with no distractions, waiting in silence to hear His voice and for Him to minister to our spirits. Well it is not too late!
Exodus 20:5 reads, “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.”  Now that we have more time on our hands, let us challenge ourselves to give some of it back to Him.  More than anything else, the Lord desires to have a relationship with us.  He created us for that purpose; but in order to have a strong relationship we have to communicate.  Our God is so awesome, because He is always speaking; the question is, are we listening?  

We learn a vital lesson through the life of Elijah the prophet in I Kings 19:11-12.  The scripture reads, “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still small voice.” We serve a God who holds the entire world in the palm of His hand, a God that never sleeps, a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever; yet, as big as He is, He can speak to us and give us His full and undivided attention.  His voice does not have to be booming for us to hear it; we just have to listen closely.  I can feel the Lord’s presence throughout my day.  On days when the warm rays of the sun beam on my skin, I think of it as God smiling down on me.  I imagine the soft breezes that brush against my cheeks and make the trees dance as whispers from Him that say, “I love you;” and, whenever I see a butterfly fluttering past me, it reminds me of how important I am to Him, because He took the time to remember that butterflies make me smile. 

God is everywhere at once, just waiting for us to seek after Him.  Like Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  This summer, let us challenge ourselves to find God somewhere in our day, and apply this scripture to our lives, because I suspect that we will discover that God is and always will be our greatest delight.

Copyright ©2012 by Ariel E. Gaskill

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gold: Britt Nicole~ Music Review by Michelle Pell

“Gold” is the third studio release of Christian pop artist, Britt Nicole. I believe this album is such a great hit because of the diverse topics Britt Nicole sings about. Her songs tell boys and girls they’re worth more than gold, she sings about her desire to look like love to others, she challenges listeners to reach the world for Christ, and encourages believers to stand on Christ through the good times and bad. The album is full of intoxicating beats that make you want to stand up and dance. It contains fun and interesting auto-tuning while still letting Britt Nicole own voice to shine. I love that Britt Nicole was able to take the type of music popular with today’s secular culture, put her own unique spin on it, and replace the morally-bankrupt lyrics with God-honoring words that offer encouragement, challenge, and life to her listeners.
1. Gold
2. All This Time (Hit Single)
3. Look Like Love
4. Who You Say You Are
5. Ready or Not (feat. Lecrae)
6. Breakthrough
7. Stand
8. The Sun Is Rising
9. Amazing Life
10. Still That Girl
11. Seeing for the First Time

The Story Behind “Gold”: