Life's Full of Choices

My family was driving to get frozen yogurt the other night, and a sermon was on the radio. I don't know who the preacher was, but what he said stuck out to me.

He was talking about a man named Michael who was always positive. When asked how he was doing, Michael always replied, "If I were doing any better, I'd have to be twins." One day, the preacher asked him how he could be so happy and positive all the time. He replied (something like this - I can't remember his exact words), "Every morning when I wake up, I tell myself, 'Michael, today you have two choices. You can choose to be in a good mood, or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood." Michael went on to explain how life is full of choices and that we choose if we are going to react in love or anger...if we're going to show God's love or not...if we're going to learn from a hard situation and grow from it or be hurt by it...if we're going to give into temptation or stay strong...if we're going to listen to discouraging words people say and let them deflate us, or learn from them and grow.

One day, Michael fell from a height of sixty feet (I think it was) and was rushed to ER. The doctors and nurses thought he was going to die - he could see it on their faces. The preacher asked Michael what his first thought was when he fell. "My first thought was, 'You can choose to live or you can choose to die,' and I chose to live." When in ER, the doctors and nurses asked him if he was allergic to anything. "Yes, I am," he said. Everyone in the room stopped. "What are you allergic to?!" they asked. "Gravity," he replied simply. They all laughed. "I'm choosing to live," he told them, "so operate on me as if you were operating on someone who is alive rather than someone who is dead." Michael lived.

What I learned from what I heard of the sermon is that life is full of choices. We can't control the things that happen to us, but we can control how we react to them (quoting Soul Surfer). What will YOU choose?

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Bible Bee

My first time ever competing in Bible Bee was on Saturday (two days ago). I had studied 2 Timothy and memorized 117 verses over the summer, and Saturday local competition.

Let me start relaying my experience by telling you that it was a great experience. I loved the Sword Study (study book that studies 2 Timothy). I learned a ton about Paul, Timothy, and the book of 2 Timothy, and the SS got me to dig deep into my Bible to find answers and discover new things I didn't know. It was great. It was also great memorizing the 25 passages assigned. Even if I don't qualify for Nationals, hiding God's Word in my heart is still completely worth it. I know these verses will be in my head and heart for a long time, if not forever. One of my favorites was Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV), which says:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.   Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

That verse is a wonderful reminder that we need to always be prepared for spiritual battle. We need to put on the attributes of a Godly soldier and face the devil with the courage of a soldier of God! We need to be soldiers of God!

Now, to the competition...the first test for my age division was the Written Test. It consisted of 200 questions based on 2 Timothy, cross references, Greek words, and Bible verse content knowledge. We were supposed to try to finish it in one hour. I doubted that I would, but I tried my best, and a couple seconds before the timer dinged signaling the end of the hour, I completed the 200th question. I was very happy! I was shaking from trying to finish them all. Haha! It helped that I did a practice test through Memverse and memorized the Greek words. Want to know how I memorized them? I sang them to the tune of "Call Me Maybe." Weird memorization strategy, I know, but - it worked! Haha! Next was the Oral Test, but I was second to last for the whole day, so I had to wait a while. I was pretty nervous by the time it was my turn. I asked my mom, "How talk should I fast?" Haha! The Oral Test went very well. I messed up and had to start a verse over, but besides that, I didn't need an enormous amount of prompts. You could recite up to 20 passages within 12 minutes, and I am glad to say that I completed them with 1 minute remaining! I was very excited.

I didn't end up placing in top 5 for locals, but that doesn't mean I won't make it into Nationals. We will have to wait until Wednesday to find out. I found out my Bible Bee local scores today...

...drum roll please...

I got 390 on the written test (I don't really know what that means) and 277/300 points for the Oral Test. I placed 11th out of 29 other students in my age division, which I am very happy about! I live a ways away from the local Bee, so I wasn't able to go to their meetings and practices. Plus, a lot of the kids study a couple hours a day, so I just tried my best and am happy with the results!

Bible Bee was a great experience!

(p.s. Quick prayer request...my best friend's family is living in an area where Hurrican Isaac is expected to touch down tomorrow morning. PLEASE be praying for them and everyone in the area!)
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If We're Gonna Be Friends...

{inspired by Jocee, who posted a post like this on her blog}

...you should know that...

-I almost always walk up stairs on my tiptoes. I don't know why; it's just natural.
-I have at least one tuna sandwich a week.
-I'm a big-time procrastinator.
-When I ask someone a question and they answer with a funny answer or a joke, I say, "I mean really."
-I smile when I draw smiling people. I don't always realize I'm doing it, either. I'm just trying to imagine what I want the smile to look like.
-When I hear a song with outstanding vocals, I just bask in it for a minute. It's, like, ear candy.
-I don't hold my pencils and pens "correctly." I rest them on my ring finger instead of my middle finger.
-I feel like when I swim I can "escape the world." Under the water, you can't hear all the noises that are above the water.
-I don't think stupid or corny jokes are funny.
-I can think of a song for a lot of situations. Oftentimes, I start singing it, too :-).
-I know a lot of movie quotes - mostly from Disney movies.
-When I was a kid, I was afraid of automatic toilets.
-I don't like sharks. They scare me.
-I loved the Tigger Movie when I was young. Talking about it makes me want to watch it.
-I was obsessed with Webkinz for a little while. I've got 29, the latest one being a midnight monster named Sully, Jr.
-I was also obsessed with Tinker Bell. I still really like her (though I no longer claim to be "the biggest Tinker Bell fan in the world.")
-I love big, sparkly dresses. I would totally love to get a full makeover - hair, clothes, makeup.
-I'm not like most of my friends. I usually have opposing opinions, interests, and likes to my friends.
-I'm tired of almost every secular song being about "love," "romance," and "sex." C'mon, people.
-I taught myself how to use my vibrato by shaking my head up and down when I sang (it worked).
-I can't wait for NaNoWriMo 2012 to get going.
-I usually keep my feelings to myself. I'm not one to cry a lot. Sure, I'll tell you if I'm ticked at you (most of the time), but I'm not overly emotional.
-I'd say I'm 60% introvert, and 40% extrovert, if that's possible...

Your turn! Comment with the link to your post!

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Unity of God's People

I get in disputes easily.

Not a fact I am proud of, but a fact nonetheless. It's difficult for me to respect others' opposing opinions and share mine kindly. Does anyone else struggle with this?

Before my youth pastor moved away, he talked about the importance of unity within the church. Because, hello, if the church isn't unified, why would nonchristians want to be a part of the church?(when I'm saying "the church" in this context, I mean the body of Christ - the believers) If we're all fighting and getting up in each other's faces and focusing on making sure they know we're right, how on earth can we focus on the things of God? How can we live a godly lifestyle when the people we are supposed to be unified with are in a dispute with us?

There's a story in the Bible about two women in the church, Euodia and Syntyche, who were fighting. Paul knew that unity is an important thing, and so he pleaded with them in Philippians 4:2:

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord

He called them out and pleaded with them to be of the same mind in the LORD. Verse 3 says:

Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

The other day, one of my friends and I were in a small dispute. I was trying to think of how to reply to a comment she had made to me, and I thought of a verse in 2 Timothy 2 that I had read in my Sword Study for Bible Bee. It says this:

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. (2 Timothy 2:14)

I realized that quarreling is immature and unnecessary. I'm not saying that if two people discuss opposing views they are fighting. I am not saying it is wrong to express your opinion. No! What I'm saying is that we need to present our opinions in a kind way and respect others' opinions, even if we don't agree with them. I think it is perfectly alright (and GOOD most of the time) to debate about issues like abortion. (it gets me fired up and angry just thinking about it!) However, how we act and what we say should be done with the love of Christ. I don't think God ever intended for His people to cut each other down instead of build each other up. I don't think God ever intended for His people to backtalk about each other, gossip about each other, and fight with each other. I think God intended for His people to be unified, working towards the same purpose - glorifying God and showing His light to others. And - take it from someone who knows - bickering and disputing does NOT do that.
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Breakfast in Bed (and some rambles)

My family is the best in the world. Seriously. My younger brother is so sweet...this morning, he thought up the idea to make my sisters and I breakfast in bed. So, he presented the idea to my mom, and the two made and brought us cinnamon toast, fried eggs, and Snapple tea. It was delicious! Thanks, Elias!

On another note, I am now back from Hawaii. I had a really great time! I'll have to post pics soon. The best parts were seeing turtles in the ocean and surfing. That was pretty stinkin' cool. I almost stood up on my first try, and it only took me a couple more tries to get it. It was so much fun riding the waves! There is no feeling like when the wave picks up your board, and it's moving by itself! The water at that beach was shallow and there were rocks below, so my knees got pretty scraped up, but it was worth it. The scrapes on my knees are a good reminder of the fun time I had! Haha! Thanks to my aunt for taking the lesson with me ;). I had a blast.

You could kind of say I kept getting hurt in Hawaii. Haha! But that didn't take away from the fun. I ran into a sliding glass door, broke my flip-flop, finally fixed my flip flop and lost the other flip-flop at the beach (found it on the way back, though!), hit my toe on a rock that broke off a piece of my toenail (ouch!), banged my knees on the rocks (as well as part of both my hands), bruised my stomach, and got majorly sunburned on my back, legs, and arms. But yes, it was a blast.

Some exciting news concerning the Hunger Games has surfaced today. All you Hunger Games fans who have read Catching Fire will (maybe???) be excited about this...

Finnick Odair has been cast!

I was pretty excited when my sister let me know. I was wondering who it would be for a while. The actor playing Finnick Odair in Catching Fire (coming out in November of 2013...I know, so far away :P) is Sam Claflin. You may know him from Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (never seen it, but heard he's in it) or Snow White and the Huntsman (he plays William, Snow's childhood best friend). Some of the other characters have been cast already, like Johanna Mason, Mags, Wiress, Gloss, Cashmere, and Enobaria, to name a few. I don't remember all the names, so you can Google them if you wanna find out :). There's a rumor floating around that Tony Shalhoub (Monk) is currently at the top of the list for Beetee choices. I am pretty excited at the possibility of him being in the movie. I love his acting in Monk! I hope they pick someone good to play Annie (Finnick's love). I have heard some people say they want that Zooey Deschanel (or whatever her name is) to play her, but...I don't. Not really, anyhoo. Not a big Zooey fan. I'm hoping a less familiar actress will play Annie. That way I won't think about the other movies they were in.

Wow, ^that was a long ramble about the Hunger Games. I guess I'm just excited about the next movie and the fact that Finnick Odair has been cast and he's not an actor I despise! Whoot whoot!

On a closing note, yesterday was my parents' anniversary. Happy anniversary, you two! I love you very much! Your marriage and the way you live your lives is so good for me to see...you are both such good examples for me and the rest of the family. Your marriage clearly shows the marriage God wants for every couple. LOVE YOU!!! 


What do you think of the casting for Finnick? Who do you think should play Beetee and Annie? Have you ever tried surfing? How was that experience?
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Aloha!

Hey, all! I'm here writing to you from the Aloha State (and yes, in case you're wondering, people here DO say Aloha and Mahalo! It's so cool!). I having a really good time in Hawaii (though a bit homesick). I will have to post the pics when I get home, since I am typing this on my iPod. Something I really enjoyed about Hawaii so far was when we saw 3 turtles! It was so cool! At my favorite beach, we saw a really big turtle that was about a foot away from me! I prefer the ocean to an aquarium, since in the ocean you can see them living like they always do. It's really an incredible sight.

I will post more later, but for now - aloha!



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To Travel

You step off the plane, grab your suitcase, and breathe in deeply. You take in your surroundings, watch people going by, each with a different story, a different destination. Things are so different here; you don't know if you've ever experienced something so exhilerating.

Is it just me, or is traveling really exciting? It's so fun (an sometimes scary, but worth it) to go somewhere new, to experience what that place has to offer.

I remember when our plane landed when I was meeting one of my best friends, Kara, (who I'd met online) for the first time. My heart sped up really fast. I was nervous, but very excited. The same thing happened flying to Indiana to visit some of our best friends and Louisiana to meet another online bestie.

Today, I am going to Hawaii. And let me tell you, I cannot wait. I am especially excited to swim, surf, and snorkel (everything water-related). It's been on my bucket list to surf and go to Hawaii, and AI am so excited to cross those items off the list!

What has been the most fun, exhilerating, exciting, or scary place you have visited? If you could go anywhere in the world, where wouldyou go?


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Just...Wow

Adoption is so beautiful, guys. I can't even put into words how beautiful, incredible, and wonderful it is. It is such a great example of how God adopts us into His family when we repent and put our trust in Him. James 1:27 says: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. John 14:18 says: No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

I saw this video today, and it touched me so much. It almost brought me to tears. Let me say it again...adoption is just so beautiful.


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Girlz Like You Interviews: Natalia L., 13

(picture courtesy Natalia)

Natalia from "The Journal of Natalia Rose" (a blog I love) has generously agreed to do an interview for us! Thanks so much, Natalia! {see more interviews}


Tell us a little about yourself:
Hi, there! I'm Natalia.  I'm thirteen years old, homeschooled, a Christian, and the oldest of five.

What are some of your hobbies?
I love playing guitar, reading, taking pictures, hanging out with my friends, blogging and working on Project 147.

When did you get saved?
I became a Christian when I was six years old. Lots of people at my church were publicly declaring their acceptance of Christ by getting baptized, and hearing their stories of becoming saved got me thinking about letting Jesus into my heart. I vaguely remember asking my parents (and some other adults who played a special role in my life) questions, praying, and even though I was young, it was the best decision ever.

What is one thing you have learned this year?
This is extremely tough.  This year has been one of the busiest and life-changing years for me, and a couple times I have really had my heart broken.  Yet through these trials, I am reminded of something I heard at a youth group one night. It's just a cheesy little thing I heard, but it's totally true.

God never wastes a hurt. 

This really stuck out to me, and comes to my mind a lot.  Sometimes things happen to us that seem like horrible, unfair things.  But God never wastes a hurt, and works for our good because of His love for us.

What is your favorite thing about God?
His love.  My friends and I will argue at times, my family and I will not be getting along, but God will always love me.  I am astounded that someone can have so much compassion and love for a broken mess like me.

What is your favorite way to serve God?
My favorite way to serve God is by telling others the gospel.  I love to use the gifts God has blessed me with to glorify Him, and I think it's awesome when people use their assets for serving God.

Tell us about your blog.
My blog just started off as a place to rant about everything going on in my life. All my thoughts, all the things that filled my days, things I liked, all my pictures. Now I'm really hoping to make it into something bigger. I actually am on a blogging break right now, but I hope to "relaunch" soon and make it a place on the Internet that other people can be inspired by, as I've recently realized that it's one other way I can show others Christ's love.

What is the main goal of your blog?
Well, I am constantly changing it, but right now for me it's to glorify my Savior.  I'd love to be able to point others to Him through my words.

What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
This is incredibly tough.  I am always finding new ones I love, and trying to live out old ones I've known all my life.  One that really speaks to me is 1 Timothy 4:12. "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in faith, in love and in purity."

I think that this is a really amazing verse. To think that God can use me at a young age as an example is almost overwhelming. 

Who is your #1 inspiration?
Hands down, Jesus Christ.  He died for us.

What is your view on purity and courtship?
I think it really is important to keep your heart protected and save yourself physically and emotionally for one special person.  I personally have chosen to stay pure until after marriage, and my hope is that other girls will choose that road as well.  I also believe that courtship is a lot better than just dating to date.  I'm only thirteen, so it's only been in the past few months I've begun to think about these things, but I definitely know that I don't want to just go from guy to guy giving out pieces of my heart.

What is your view on modesty?
Modesty is another thing I had never given much thought to until recently. But I do think it's a very good idea to dress modestly.  I don't think we should dress to draw attention to ourselves. I always make sure I dress in clothes that are pleasing to others (and most of all, to God.)

What do you think about having guys as friends?
I have always had guys who are friends, and I think it can be a wonderful thing if they're Christians and are really just friends. But I always make sure it's in a group setting when I hang out with them, because once again, I don't want to become attached to a certain person when there will be time for that when I'm older.

What was the best week of your life?
I have had many awesome weeks in my life. Most of them have been times when I've felt closest to Christ -- I actually just had a great week like that when I went to Harrisburg for my missions trip.  Anytime I go somewhere with my youth group it always leaves an impact on me.  Some other great weeks have been while traveling to places like Ohio, Niagara Falls... anything different seems to stick out to me as a great week.

Do you have any advice for girls on life, faith, or guys?
Turn to Christ. Pray, read the Bible. He is always, always the answer.

Thank you so much!
Thank YOU. It's a pleasure <3 p="p">
Be sure to check out Natalia's blog!

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Summertime Rambles {4}

{1} {2} {3}
Yesterday, I had an orthodontist appointment. I only have a couple more til I get my braces off! YES! Honestly, braces weren't that bad, though. You really get used to them. They don't hurt that much (they're only a bit sore at times). I'm excited for the day they will finally be off, though.

This week, I'm trying to get as much Bible Bee done as I can before I go to Hawaii, because I don't know how much time I'll have to do it there. I'm almost done with the final week of the Sword Study, and I have 8-9 passages left. I'm going to try to do four or five today and three tomorrow. Let me just say that I've loved doing Bible Bee...I'm so glad my friend Sarah told me about it! It is such a great experience. Seriously. I would totally recommend it. I love digging into the Word through the Sword Study and hiding God's Word in my heart. It felt like I hadn't done that in a while.

Today, I am planning on getting all packed up and painting my nails. The problem is, I'm not sure what to paint them! LOL! Any ideas? I'm thinking either red with white flowers, as suggested by my friend Ashley, or dark blue or green to match my swimsuit. Any other ideas? Pink and orange might be pretty...(okay, so I can be pretty indecisive).

Online, I saw earphones that had been wrapped in thread to help keep them from tangling, and I thought that it was a good idea and that the earphones were very stylish! So I wrapped mine up a couple days ago. I like how they look, but some of the thread is coming loose. Hmm, any ideas how to tighten it up and make it stay put? It would be a pain to re wrap part of it...

I forgot to mention that Project 147 is no longer a Virb website. It has a new location (I need to find the link, but I'll give it to you later). The BLOG is still the same, though - no worries. Ha, that just reminded me of Hakuna Matata. Gotta love Disney. Anyhoo...

Have any of you been watching the Olympics? Who are you rooting for? I've watched swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, diving, and a bit of pole vaulting. I love watching volleyball, gymnastics, diving, and pole vaulting, haha. I'm rooting for Gabby Douglas! I am so glad she won a gold medal and gave credit to the LORD! That is so awesome!!! What is your favorite Olympic sport to watch? I am pretty excited to watch synchronized swimming, but I'm not sure when it's coming on.

That's all the rambles I have for now, but before I leave you, a bit of post love...
SO TRUE!
"What?!" a post about me and pinterest
Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall (I Will Break You So Watch Out)
Lolo Jones, Gabby Douglas, and Why I Love the Olympics
simply, raining.
God is love...
THIS beautiful untitled post


That's all for now. What has been the best part of your summer?
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My Thoughts on the Chick-Fil-A Controversy

I'm sure many of you know about the Chick-fil-a controversy. If you don't, allow me to enlighten you...
The owner of Chick-fil-a, Dan Cathy, recently said about gay rights, ""We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that." His statement created an uproar of sorts. Many gathered at their local Chick-Fil-A's on August 1st (which Mike Huckabee declared Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day) to support Chick-Fil-A and Dan Cathy's stand. Gay rights supporters organized a "Same-sex Kiss Day", and many protesters gathered at Chick-Fil-A to support gay rights. Graffiti reading "Tastes like Hate" was even sprayed on the wall of a Chick-Fil-A building.

Let me start by saying that I completely agree with Cathy's statement. While I'm not going to go into detail about why I think homosexuality is wrong, you can read my thoughts about the subject here and here.

Mike Huckabee posted this on the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day Facebook Page: "We are for the freedom of Americans to speak their mind and practice their faith. There is no need to lower ourselves into childish name-calling and screaming. That is what people do when they can't defend or explain their point of view." I agree wholeheartedly with what he said. Cathy wasn't putting down gay people. He simply could not tolerate and stand for what they believe. He was NOT discriminating gay people. Just because I think the Twilight books look pointless doesn't mean I am discriminating the author. What I find fascinating is that, for some reason, people who are for gay rights are not allowing Cathy the same freedom of speech that they themselves wish to have.

Let me clear something up:  I do not believe that gay people should be hurt or discriminated. I believe that the best way to get the love of Christ through to them is by living it out - by loving them. Also, I do NOT believe that in Dan Cathy's statement he was at all discriminating gay people. Just because I don't care to read/watch Twilight and do not agree with the values and morals it portrays does not mean I am discriminating the author. In a post titled "God is Love" on my friend's blog, she posted a few links to articles I thought were really neat. Check it out:

"And love is some of the Chick-fil-a restaurants giving out free cold water to protesters even after graffiti was scrawled on the wall of one of their restaurants...

Giving out free water / sweet tea -
here, here, and at the end of the article here." - Klarabelle Candy

That's right - Chick-Fil-A workers handed out water and sweet tea to gay rights protesters! That is love, my friend.

Well, I hope my little rant has made you think a bit...I'd like to hear your opinion as well (done respectfully and in love, of course). I encourage you to go check out THIS post as well.

GO CHICK-FIL-A!

(from google images search)

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Leaving Everything

Living for God is guaranteed to be hard. God didn't promise the life of a Christian to be easy or painless. No! As Christians, we will go through many trials and face many obstacles for Christ. For some of us, that may mean being physically or verbally persecuted for our faith. For others, that may mean not fitting in, getting teased for our faith, or losing friends. Whatever trials we go through, we should know one thing:

If we want to follow God, we have to leave everything else behind.

We can't let other things distract us from the big picture. We can't let other people and things distract us from God. As I said, sometimes it's really hard following God. If we truly want to follow Him, though, we have to leave everything, trust wholeheartedly in Him, and take the risk of following Him, fully knowing that it will be hard.

My youth pastor of three years moved away with his family today. While it breaks my heart that they are leaving, I am eternally grateful (not like the three-eyed aliens on Toy Story, mind you) for the impact my youth pastor had on my (and many others') life. I distinctly remember a time when he had tears in his eyes as he was talking about leaving everything for Christ. I remember him saying this:

"Take my family, take my house - I want Christ!"

I used to not know what the phrase "take up your cross and follow Christ" meant, but now I do. It means that we have to die to ourselves. It means that we need to take whatever is standing in the way of us and Jesus and give it to Him. We need to acknowledge the sins that are without-a-doubt in our lives and beg for forgiveness from God.

Luke 9:23-26 says:
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.

I've been reading through the book of 2 Timothy for Bible Bee, and it is such a great book of the Bible. 2 Timothy is a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7-8:

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

Following Jesus won't be easy, but know this...

It will be totally and completely worth it.
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Log in My Eye

(note: please don't be scared by the title. I don't have an actual log in my eye ☺)

Judging people is something I do far too often. It's one of those sins that lots of people think of as "not that bad." Sure, we say that judging people is bad, yet we ignore the fact that we are judging people. We disregard judging others as "not that bad." Sometimes we don't even acknowledge that we are judging others when we see a person and negative thoughts instantly come into our minds. I often judge people by how they look. She has a lot of tattoos...she must be a rebel who watches bad movies and listens to explicit music. He looks nerdy...he must be a nerd with no friends who spends his days at home on his computer. I know, it's ridiculous and cruel. It sounds even worse when we put it into words, doesn't it?

(from Google Search)

Not judging others does not at all mean agreeing with them. Judging and disagreeing are two very different things. Take the Chick-fil-a controversy, for instance. While I don't know all the details of what happened, Dan Cathy (the owner of Chick-fil-a) said: "We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” Dan Cathy was simply taking a stand for what he believes in; he wasn't judging homosexual people by putting them down or discriminating them, as some have (sadly) done. What I find fascinating is that pro-gay people often argue that they have freedom of speech, then don't allow another person to have the same freedom if he has an opposing view. But I'm not posting this to rant what I think about Chick-fil-a or homosexuality.

Matthew 7:2-4 says:
 For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?

Boy, is that convicting! Often times I focus on other's flaws and sins so I can ignore my own or pretend they aren't there. I try to get my friends to take the specks out of their eyes (or oftentimes try to take it out myself!) when I can't even see around the humongous log in my own eye!

People may be going through tough times. We have no idea what is going on in people's minds and hearts, so why should we act like we do or try to trick ourselves into believing we know who everybody is and what everybody thinks, feels, etc.? Everyone has a different story. Everyone has trials and obstacles they are going through. NOT everyone knows Jesus Christ. Instead of judging them based on what WE can see, why don't we love others with the love of Christ?
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Today's Happenings

Today was a rather long but pleasant day! Mom woke me up at 5:30 am, I had a breakfast of chicken noodle soup and nutella with pretzels (YUM), then we headed out at 6:30. We were driving a couple hours away to drop one of my sisters off at camp and have my other sister's hair done (she looks adorable).



We dropped my sister off at camp after hanging around for a couple minutes, then headed to the hair salon. My grandma came along on the trip with us (she drove on the way back), so while my Mom stayed with my sister to get her hair done, we went shopping at a Christian bookstore! She got a book for my sister, Bible comic books for my brother, and a movie for my other sister and me called "Monumental" that was produced by Kirk Cameron (great actor). Have any of you seen it? I hadn't even heard of it before, but I've seen Kirk Cameron in "Left Behind" and "Fireproof," and he was great in both, so I thought it looked interesting! Fireproof is a great movie, by the way :-).

We went out to lunch after picking my Mom and sister up, and guess where we went?!?! Chipotle! Yes! I really enjoy Chipotle. Their burritos are delicious. Every time, I get mine with chicken, white rice, pinto beans, corn, cheese, and sour cream. It is blissful. The burritos are huge! I was really hungry since I hadn't eaten since 5:30, so I ate the entire thing! (not a hard thing to do at Chipotle, actually) After that, we went to the store, where we did a bit of shopping. We also got frozen yogurt, which was absolutely delicious! It had strawberries on it. Yum!!! My little sister also got a (early) halloween costume - Rapunzel from Tangled! It comes with a wig, too! She is going to be so adorable! I'm debating in my head whether to be 1) Katniss Everdeen, 2) a person at a masked ball, or 3) Spider GIRL. Which one do y'all think? Two years ago my best friend and I were iPods, but I can't remember what I was last year...hmm...

During the drive home, we only had to take a couple stops for potty breaks. When we got home, we met my Grandpa for a yummy dinner of burgers, fries, and a hotdog for my younger sis, then we came home (very tired, but having had a good time). Tomorrow I am hoping to relax and catch up on Bible Bee.

How was your day today? Do you like nutella? Who are you going to be for Halloween?

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Girlz of God Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. "Genuine," "Girlz of God," and "Tania's Faith" book excerpts Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. All pictures Copyright Talia DeAndrea, unless otherwise noted. Please do not steal or copy anything on this blog without my permission. Thank you :-).

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