December 11, 2012

Remembrance: God's Story

     Now that it is the Christmas season people and churches go through a lot of time and energy to help us remember the true reason for the season. I love remembering about how Jesus, who lived in heaven ad was there for the creation of the world, came as a baby who was so dependent on His parents, as Augustine so perfectly put it,"He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute."
     
     I love to think joyously about hope finally fulfilled on Jesus' birthday, and that salvation and peace could soon be for all. But there is also something else I really like to do when it's near Christmas time: remember. 
     
     I'm not talking about the whole make thankful lists again, I'm talking about remembering how Jesus' birth fit into the whole scheme of God's epic love story. It's hard to describe how amazing it is when you think of how this seemingly simple baby fit into the amazing plan of God's love that reaches from the expanses of all time: from the eternity of the past to the eternity of the future. Yesterday a friend of mine shared this video, The Story of God by MattPapaTv, on Facebook that did a much more powerful job than I ever could in looking through the story of God's plan. I hope you all take these 10 minutes to remember and dwell in the love, might, awe, sovereignty and holiness of God. 






"be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."
Deuteronomy 6:12

November 14, 2012

Obsession

     We live in the technology era. To have technology, we are told, is what makes a person normal. We are expected to have it. We are expected to have cell phone (a smartphone of course), be on Facebook (and have tons of friends), have a computer (a laptop also), and maybe even have a tablet. I am living proof that a normal person doesn't need those things to be normal and to connect with people..... or am I?



     For me, not having a cell phone disconnects me from my friends. They know all the recent updates about each other. It kind of makes me feel like a lousy friend sometimes, but really, I'm glad I don't have one.

     There are always those people who rave about how terrible technology is, how it makes us stupid, how there are better things for us to spend our money on etc. You've heard them. I've also heard from others how we need to take advantage of these new inventions and how we should be like the hipsters (or you're doing life wrong). I've also hear that technology can be used for the advancement of God's kingdom. 

      In my mind I gravitate towards the arguments in favor of technology. Technology is an important thing. I love all the new modern ideas and the modern style. I don't know why I really like modern things, but I do. There is a reason God gave us knowledge to make these things. What I don't like, though, about technology is that it hinders my relationship time with my God.

     Before leaving for home after going on the mission trip to Nicaragua I was a different person than I was when I left. I mean living surrounded by bat poop can do a lot to a person's psyche. I no longer cared what people thought, I no longer cared about technology, I no longer cared about a lot of things I cared about before. I had my mind fixed on the things it should be on all the time.

     My mind was fixed on God. It was fixed on heaven, dwelling in truth (not just speaking it), not letting people put masks on me, and loving others. In Nicaragua all I had was God. Even my I-Pod had been wiped clear of any music even resembling non-Christian. We were living surrounded by nature and truth. We were living simply, if you can call truth simplicity. 

     Something changed once I got home. My focus slowly has been shifting from being in God's Presence to living comfortably. Sometimes I've taken notice and stopped the shift for a while, but then it just keeps on going after a while. I've been trying to figure out what causes a person to feel so close to God out in the middle of nowhere, but yet so far from God when they are back at their house. Even though I am homeschooled and spend more time by myself in my room then I did while in Nicaragua, it still happens. It make no sense unless you think about technology and all of our American comforts. 

     Here at home I have all the food I want, I have carpet on the ground, a trash can, beautiful running water, books all around, a computer at my fingertips, pretty clothing items and accessories to look at and think about, hygiene to constantly worry about (I can worry about it because I can actually do something about it, unlike while I was in Nicaragua). If you think about it, all these things take up so much of our energy. 
I could blame all my problems on my circumstances instead of on my possessions. I have a bunch of school, my social life is crazier than it has ever been, I have a bunch of student council stuff to worry about and I have various things I do at church. Those things aren't much different than the things I did in Nicaragua though.

     I need a simple life. My possessions take away from that. Those possessions in turn rob me of my energy for quality time with my Savior, and they rob me of my peace, joy, truth speaking, and love. What can I do?
I could decide to cut all ties with my possessions, but as I said in the beginning, there's good in them and I have been given them by God. I should actually be thankful for them, not discard them as trash. I could force myself to go on mission trips all the time and then to be a missionary. The problem is, I don't know if that's God's will for my life. In fact, I'm not suppose to go on more mission trips for the time being. I'm meant to be at home for now. So I can't do that.....  What can I do???

     I read this book a while back. It is by my favorite author, Ted Dekker. I have loved his books for a long time and have almost read all of his books. This particular one I'm thinking about is titled The Slumber of Christianity. Unlike most of his books this one is non-fiction. The gist of the book is that we need to be obsessed with Heaven. Our hope for Heaven is what will keep us from being a sleeping Christian. The problem is that we need to be like the brides in one of Jesus' parables and we need to be ready for the bridegroom is coming at anytime now (See. Matthew 25:1-13). The book goes on to describe different ways we can get obsessed with Heaven. 
  • Seek the Light 
  • Use your imagination to hope (dream of Heaven)
  • Meditate on scripture about Heaven 
  • Study books about meditation (The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and The Way of the Heart by Hinri Nouwen are a couple books Ted Dekker suggests)
  • Read passages of the Bible to ignite your hope for Heaven such as Revelation, Isaiah, Ezekiel  Song of Solomon, and the teachings of Jesus near the end of His ministry. 
  • Celebrate communion (celebrate to show your hope) 
This is an answer to my question. Hopefully I can begin to be like someone who is obsessed with Heaven. 

     Today I was reading a blog by Katie Davis author of the book Kisses from Katie. She is an inspiring woman to whom God gave a big heart to for the children of Uganda, Africa. From what I remember right now from the book, she has adopted 13 African girls and continually cares for the people of her African village. In her blog post she describes how hectic and depressing her days are, but yet she still manages to maintain such a lovely view of God.
     
     She writes,"God is on the throne. All the angels and all elders and all the saints and all the believers are gathered at His feet. And they can’t stop worshiping Him. They can’t stop worshiping Him. Forever.
And so this week life is hard and it is heavy. Because I love so many and I want them to know Him and I want Him to heal them. I want the hurt to be over, but I know that one day, it will be. And in the mean time I just ask it, I beg it, that we would be people who cannot stop worshiping the Lamb who is worthy. That through the hard and the struggle and the moments that just seem so hopeless we would cling to the hope that He’s already won and our only response would be adoration and praise."

    She leads a life I would like, a simple and truth filled one in which God is the  number one, whom you turn to in your mind constantly for insight and encouragement. It's just so difficult for me to do. I go into a day claiming I will do it, but I loose track so easily. I even did this while in Nicaragua, but I succeeded in talking to Him more throughout the day there than I do now. Maybe it was the fact that I had nothing else to think about or do other than let God be glorified through what I did. That should be the goal of any Christian.

Can you all think of any other ways to be in communication with God throughout the day?

November 8, 2012

My Story of My Life

Mariposa Flower
     Different people have their different stories. In Nicaragua something that brought each of us closer together was telling our testimonies to each other. It was radical to me just to think on how God had/would work through the unique experiences in each person's life. Now, my testimony is not the most exciting and awesome as a lot of people's, but it's mine.
   
     I am growing up in a Christian household. We take our name as Christians seriously. We strive to follow God in all we do. This means that I was exposed at an early age to the gospel message of Jesus Christ coming to earth, living sinless, dying on the cross for my sins, and then coming back to life again and going to live with God in heaven where He is now. My parents were big into an organization called Child Evangelism Fellowship and strong supporters that children can understand the gospel. So, I accepted Christ as my savior from sin when I was 4. Thus, I really don't know a time when I was not saved from my sin and wallowing in pure hopelessness.
 
     I was a really good kid. Of course I had my bad days, but I respected my parents and that they were bigger than me and would punish me. Then the days came when I started growing up. I was no longer that little girl who was content to play with her Barbies and looking at picture books all day off in her own little world. What started happening is I was realizing that there was more to life then just having fun with make believe, there was more to being me than that.This began when I was in 3rd grade. I am part of a Star Wars fan family. I've been watching Star Wars since I was like 5 years old. It was only natural that I would go and see Star Wars III when it came out, even though I was only 8.
   
     I didn't know it at the time but the part about Anakin Skywalker falling into lava and burning freaked my psyche out or something like that. I was then really scared about volcanoes  I would stay up until 4 am a lot of nights just because I thought that if I went to sleep a volcano would decide to pop up in my backyard and I would be burned alive. Then one day I decided to start singing songs to God every night as I fell asleep and when I started doing that my fears went away.
   
     Up until then I had never thought about getting to know God. To me He was the powerful and mighty One ruling and controlling everything. I knew He loved me, and I knew He died for me, I just didn't appreciate it. It never occurred to me that He would want to get to know me or want anything from me. When I started singing those songs to God I realized that He could work in my life and that He cares for my life. Before that I guess in my child like way I thought He only worked in other people's life.
   
     This started my soul wanting something even more. So I decided to fill it with friends. It's hard for a homeschooler to start making friends, when before she only had one or two fellow homeschoolers as her friends. But I wanted friends, so I started living for fitting in with the girls at my church. I needed to act correctly, I need to dress correctly, I needed to listen to the correct music and I needed to talk about the right things. That was my life.
   
     It still, of course, didn't make that want for something significant in my life to go away. So, I started filling it with books, fantasy books to be exact. Those were my idols. I loved my books. I would read Gail Carson Levine, Tanith Lee, Shannon Hale, Inkheart Trilogy, Eragon (then) trilogy, .... all those books and lots of other ones. They were my new friends. I dreamed all day long that I was in their worlds, because I didn't like the non-adventure of my own.
   
     This was my life until I got into 6th grade. In my church 6th grade means that you're in Youth Group. That means you get to go to the girl's retreat. That girl's retreat changed my life. During it I saw all these other teens who were so content with God. They loved God and actually got to know Him. I learned from them. I learned all about reading the Bible and praying. I learned about what it looks like to model your life after what it says in the Bible.
   
     These girls had what I wanted, and God knew it. That girl's retreat came at just the right time. After that girl's retreat I started to get to know my God who saved me when I was younger.Everyday I would read my Bible and pray to God like I learned how to do on the retreat. God filled that void. My life still was so not perfect, but I can truthfully say that is when I started growing to be more like God and when He officially took over my life.
   
     As you have probably noticed from my blog posts a lot has happened in my life since I was in 6th grade. A lot of my desires have changed, my type of friends have changed and my hobbies have changed. Instead of reading my fantasy books I now read Ted Dekker, Elsie Dinsmore books, school books, and other devotional books. I'm O.K. with that. God gives me back so much more in return for giving up what took His place in my devotion.
   
     Because of my story of my life I now have a passion for discipleship. I do not want others to waste their time with God. Just recently I read this quote from Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little, "Because Christ is our High Priest in heaven, each of us has access to the Creator at any time and at any place. How the angels must wonder that we make so little use of this privilege of audience with the King!"
   
     Some of you who know me in real life probably know that a desire of mine is to be a missionary. A big part of me loves teaching others and helping them to get to know their Savior. My story is what causes me to want that. Ever since I started to get to know God I've wanted to act. I wanted to do something, anything, for God. When I was first starting out there wasn't much for a 6th grader to do, so I just focused on getting ready for those days God had set out for me. I guess my plan is not for sure to be a missionary, but I do want to do something with my life to enhance God's kingdom here on earth. Slowly, each year more serving/discipleship opportunities have come about. The next bigger than the one before it. My work for the past 4 years of studying the Bible and getting to know God are paying off.
   
     I am able to be a leader with my friends and someone people actually look up to. It's all because of God I tell them. Use to I had no want to follow God. It's only because I responded to God calling out for me and putting things in my path to lead me to His loving arms that I am who I am today.
   
     It's only because I am doing what human beings were made  by their creator to be. They were made to live for a being higher than themselves. They were made with something significant in their lives. It was their choice to choose what to fill it with, but God was watching. He was working through their lives, trying to make them realize that He was the thing that fit perfectly in that void. He would leave no empty spaces in the hole of their soul, unlike the other things they could find to stuff in that hole.
   
     God knew that that hole was much more than a hole. If a human could not find a way to fill it with Him that creator of all things, they would not have eternal life with Him in His home. They would go to Hell and be separated from Him. Their hole would burn in their hearts forever.

     He went so far as to even send His very one and only son to them, that they might receive eternal life. Of course, if they rejected Him they would not see life and His wrath would remain on them. Yes, He loved His creation so much, but that was how things worked. He was too just for them to rebel against His loving ways. If only they would realize that not one of them is righteous, no not one, and that they had all sinned and fallen short of His glorious standard. If only they would say that His Son, Jesus, was Lord and that He was  raised from the dead after having died, taking the replacement of what they all deserved because of their sin. Then He would be able to fill their void, and they would have eternal life with Him who loves them more than any other could.

October 26, 2012

My Thoughts on being 16

   
     I turned 16 this week! On any special day I always like to make a few lists. I have folders full of little pieces of paper with lists scrawled on them. These lists usually include what I have learned, what I am thankful for, or what I want to remember for the special time that dictates the making of a list. When I write something out on paper; that makes it more than just a thought. It makes it something worth remembering, even if it just sits in a folder for a long time.
   
     I decided to get a little spiritual on my sweet sixteen. So I sat down and made a few lists: 16 things I'm thankful for, 16 of my favorite things I did this year, and 16 hopes I have for my future.



 16 Things I'm Thankful For 

  1. Growing closer to God.
  2. My God's love that is overwhelming and surpasses my entire understanding.
  3. My family that loves, accepts and appreciates me. 
  4. My church family. I'm so blessed to have a church family that I belong in. I've heard many teens don't feel like they belong at their church.
  5. All the friends God has blessed me with. They are all truly sisters in Christ, and they act like it. 
  6. That God got me through one year of being on my home school teen group's student council successfully.
  7. That my sister has a boyfriend that really treasures her. (Yes, those kind of good guys still existed.)
  8. That I went on a MISSION TRIP TO NICARAGUA!!!!! : ) 
  9. Cute kids who have a want to learn about God, and to learn about God from even me. I wonder if I get more of a blessing out of teaching them then they do. 
  10. Fun things to watch on tv and do on the computer that aren't too ungodly.
  11. My memory foam squish pillow!!!! I love that thing!! It got me through my mission trip (well it was one of the things.....).
  12. Spanish Class.
  13. School and a love of learning that God has given me. 
  14. God's Promises in Scripture.
  15. Beautiful Lake Nicaragua that I was able to gaze out on everyday during my mornings with God on my mission trip.
  16. That I have been able to see God working in different events in my life. 


16 of My Favorite Things I Did This Year

  1. <3 NICARAGUA MISSION TRIP <3 
  2. My times with God in Nicaragua. 
  3. Girl's retreat 2011.
  4. Fellowship nights with my friends (COFFE!!!!).
  5. Summer Camp at Frontier Camp.
  6. Cruise to Bahamas and Key West in January 2012.
  7. <3 Mission Houston with my youth group <3 
  8. Writing my many poems.
  9. Posting on my blog.
  10. When I decided to never stop living for God- ever- no matter what happens. 
  11. Helping out at a kid's bible club. 
  12. Playing in a foam pit at church (in other words: acting like a kid in front of a lot of people).
  13. Finding out my love for ORANGE SODA. 
  14. Leading Alex Correo to the Lord (one of the kids in my AWANA class).
  15. Trying to lead a Bible study at home, and also co-leading that Bible study in Nicaragua. 
  16. Hearing God talk to me.

16 Hopes for My Future 
(no matter how fanciful they are)

  1. Survive being the President of my home school teen group's student council.
  2. Continue posting on my blog every week
  3. Help the kid's in my 3rd grade AWANA and Sunday School Class feel loved and truly understand more about God. 
  4. Have a fun Christmas party with my friends. 
  5. Loose weight.
  6. Be content with everything and joyful in everything.
  7. Hear God talking to me everyday.
  8. Truly live my life as a human sacrifice and die to myself everyday. 
  9. Show love to my family how they all deserve to be loved. 
  10. Be fluent in Spanish.
  11. Read all the books that I own and haven't read yet.
  12. Memorize lots of Bible verses. 
  13. To be able to apply scripture to everyday situations and temptations- as they happen.
  14. Find out what I'm gifted at, and find places to do those things. 
  15. Be a camp couselor. 
  16. Do longer mission work/trips. 


October 19, 2012

More about Prayer

     Prayer has been a big part of my life in this spiritual season. I know I've written a bit about prayer in my past posts, but I just have to write more.
   
     Even before going to Nicaragua I had to step out in prayer. I had to choose between going to Guatemala or Nicaragua. Adventures in Missions had a 1 month trip to either one. I knew God was calling me to Latin America, but I had no clue where. I prayed for about one week. I went back and forth between each one. Whenever I resolved I would sign up for Guatemala, I kept on thinking what would happen if Nica is where I should go? Whenever I resolved to sign up for Nica, I had peace. It was awesome. God answered my prayer! Looking back I can't imagine having gone to Guatemala instead. I needed team Nicaragua. I needed the leaders. I needed the place. I needed the ministry. It was perfect for me. God is so good!
  
     After I had chosen to go to Nicaragua I still had a lot of prayer to do. I was so nervous about every aspect of the trip: money raising, if I would be ready spiritually, if I would be ready physically, if I could handle being away from my family for a month, and if it was really what I was suppose to be doing. Everyday at my quiet time I would pray about these things. Later on when it was time to send out my prayer cards, I prayed for those things too. I prayed for safety, team unity, fluency in speaking Spanish, the ability to show God's love, and opportunities to make a difference. These were the things that God laid on my conscience that I just really desired for my team and for the people of Nicaragua.
   
     Again, looking back, I see God answered my prayers, and the prayers of those who were praying along with me. My team was united ever since we met. We just... meshed. It was amazing to watch. We were all very, very different, but we all loved each other, cared for each other, and appreciated each other. I don't know if it was the worship, our leaders, testimony time, or just prayer, but God worked mightily in giving us team unity. As I wrote in an earlier post, our living conditions were not healthy. God protected me from getting sick, and protected all of us from getting anything serious.God fixed up the whole fluency in speaking Spanish thing in a way that blessed all of us. He gave us the best translator ever, Maricela. She was part of our team. She hung out with us, shared her testimony with us, and was so good at her job. I sometimes think she didn't even need us. Yes, when I prayed for fluency I meant it for myself, but I think things worked out for the better.
  
     As to showing God's love and opportunities to make a difference: GOD IS AMAZING. My team was able to pay for a wedding for a couple. I'm sure that spoke volumes of love into the lives of the whole community. We also made a difference in that community by leading 7 people to the Lord. We even gave them Bibles, and some of them we were able to do Bible studies with. Those studies were some of my opportunities that God gave me.
      Then, when the mission trip was going on, prayer came alive. About a week before leaving day our newly met on Facebook leader, Jessie, suggested that we all bring a new book or two to read on the trip. I had no new books at the time, so off to Barns and Noble I went. After skimming the Christian isle, picking up books, putting books back, almost deciding on a book, and then putting the book back again (it's such a big decision to pick out a book for a mission trip) I decided on buying the newest book by Ted Dekker (to read when I got home) and then Praying God's Word by Beth Moore.
  
     I'm looking at that book right now. It's well used. In Nica I never knew what to pray. Even whenever we would pray healing over the elderly women Socorra, I had no idea what to pray- until I started reading my book. That book has gotten wet, is totally grimy, has bat poop stains on it, water stains, smells, and been underlined to almost the point of death. Praying God's Word is powerful. I recommend that everyone read it. Sometimes you know verses that are so triumphant and so powerful, but you just don't know how to get them into prayer, and sometimes you can't find the verse to fit your need. The book does all that for you. The topics cover depression, idolatry, bitterness, battling the enemy, and lots of others. Even after coming home that book has been put to good use.
 
    Another good book about prayer showed up into my life the day I left my Nicaragua team and went home. We were all hanging out in the Atalanta airport after having debriefed at a hotel the night before. All of us were dreading the inevitable good-bye time. We were joyful. Yes, of course we were sad and crying, but we were joyful. For what we knew was the last time we worshiped God together (yes, we did that in the airport), we prayed together, we hugged- a lot, and we said our final words of encouragement to each other. Maybe we looked different from everyone else in the usual Saturday in the summer crowd at an airport or something, but the airport chaplain came over and asked if he could pray with us. He had never seen a group of young people praying in the airport before. He then gave us some books. The book he gave to each of us was a book called Psalm 91 God's shield of Protection: Military Edition, it was military edition because the Atlanta airport is the one soldiers deploy from. That book is amazing. I read that thing the entire time during my 2 hour plane trip going home. It explains how we can reap God's provision when we pray for things, and those things are listed in Psalm 91. It also gives numerous stories recounting God's faithfulness in saving people's life when they called out to Him to save them. One of them is about an American airman in world War II, Captain Eward W. Rickenbacker, who was stranded, near death, in the South Pacific for 24 days. He is forever thankful to have called out to God for deliverance. He, and the seven other men with him, experienced numerous miracles. The first one was that their four motor engine plane crash landed in the ocean without serious injuries. Another was when, eight days into it, a gull landed on Captain Rickenbacker's head, right after they held their prayer service, and stayed there long enough to get caught. Before this they had been surviving on 2 oranges. After they ate the bird they were able to use the innards as bait and catch 2 fish. They were also sent a rainstorm by God so that they could catch drinking water (they had not been able to rescue any drinking water from the sinking plane). 
   
     All this is because of the power of payer. It's the power of crying out to the God who is in control of every little thing that goes on. It's a lot of power to tap into, and prayer is that tap. As Psalm 91:14-16 says:


Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; 
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him. 
With long life I will satisfy him 
and show him my salvation.”

There is also one last verse I just have to share as well, Isaiah 63:9:
In all their (speaking of those He gives Salvation to) distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.



October 11, 2012

I'm Not Who You Think I Am

     A couple months ago something that a close friend said to me once, that hurt me, resurfaced again. Because of what she said, I felt completely worthless as a follower of God, I felt that I was unable to do anything of worth and would never make any difference. My point? Words hurt.
     I don't know if it is because I am a writer, but words just stick with me. There is some way that words just never go away from me. I'll always be battleing with words that hurt, and I wonder if you are like me too.
     I decided to write a letter to the person that hurt me. Even though I was not able to give the letter to my friend, it helped me to defeat those words, or should I call it that curse? Words have more power than one might think. With the 20,000 words a day that we say each day, it's likely if we don't walk with the knowledge that words are powerful, we might hurt someone. Here's what God says about the power of words:

 
 The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.
-Proverbs 18:21

 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
-Provers 12:18

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
 -Ephesians 4:29


I hope my letter to Anonymous will help you in your own battle against the words of others. 


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Dear Anonymous, 



     I will not succumb. I cannot be beat by your thoughts that you thoughtlessly said aloud, and which hurt me. They hurt me. Yes, they did hurt me, and they still do. Did you think they wouldn't? 
     There is a heart beneath my cheerfulness; there is a knowledge in the dreaminess. To you, I view life to be all made up of elves, fairies, and rainbows. It is not. Witches exist in life too. I may dream, and I may look like I have no care- but I do. How dare you hurt me. I am not naive- just pure. As I dream I observe the serious things of life.
     Those fairies die too. They are not mortal. Through stories I learn of life and death. I also learn of hurt and I learn of truth. I know of good and how it ultimately will win over wickedness. Why else have I chosen to follow the Lord God Almighty? 
     Yes, good wins over evil. That is why you won't beat me. I will rise up past your words- and I will be victorious. As I sit here in despair because of my wounds- I look forward to when my God wins. I will be all my God wants of me, so that He will say well done when He is the world's Victor. Will He say that to you?
     I know of what effect evil has on this world. What you don't know is that good has more effect than evil. Little goods can effect big evils. Why else would authors make little fairies win against witches? My heart can effect the power of your judgement. My pen can beat evil. 
     You say my talent for poetry is finally something that makes me worth something? I say it is a culmination of who I am. I say I had it all along, only getting more added to it so that I can impact God's Kingdom with my talent.
     Who I am is not bound by your words. Who I am is not bound by anyone's words. I am someone who can vanquish evil. Actually, I am someone who has done that from the time I received Christ as my Savior from sin.

Forever His,
    Brooke



PS. I forgive you. You didn't know what you did.
    

October 3, 2012

A Fall Poem

   Lately I've been really attacked by Satan. This poem kind of explains how I have been feeling and the spiritual walk I've been going on ever since I came home from Nicaragua. As of right now, I am good. I am not depressed. Who knows when that gust of wind called Satan's Discouragement will come around. 

     I've been talking to a friend today and I have been watching some Beth Moore videos. I am out of my pit for right now but I am teetering on the edge. I learned that it is possible to get out of where I am. No matter how I perceive it. God's word is truth- and He says He will get me out. I just need to be brave. I need to declare that it is for freedom that I have been set free. I need to rebuke Satan and tell him to go away. That is what I will do. 
 
 Seasons
By Brooke Budewig  




Tears fall down my face, as leaves fall off a tree. 
That gust of wind comes - always without warning.
Yesterday all was well, as in the summertime. 
Today, I am just a brown, shriveled-up leaf. 

What was it You said about well-planted trees?
What was that about? And that peace in Your Presence?
I don't feel it now, as I cry by myself. 
I desire it now. Don't let me down, Lord. 

Though I desire, too, to wallow in it-
I know I must get out; there is something wrong. 
All this is not normal- I need spring to come. 
Why won't it come now- when I need it most?

So I wait, and slowly, my hope falls away. 
One by one, as the tears fall, my hope falls too. 
Defeat, after failure, after anxiousness. 
When will this sad story have its tragic end? 

This cannot be all I get from my toils;
There has to be more to life then this rejection.
My pit has frozen over in hopelessness. 
I don't want to be like this; how can I stop?

Slightly- there is a change. I feel a warming. 
Maybe life was not as hopeless as my tears. 
My God wants to help me out of my despair.
It is time for me to feel no rejection. 

I feel again that you can regain my trust.
You can change in me how I have been feeling. 
Thus, with a hint of hope, I renew my trust.
From the depths of my icy pit- I call You. 

"Give me a new heart of flesh, my Lord, my God. 
Remove this hopeless one of pending defeat."
My Lord and Savior hears me and lifts me up. 
I will not see defeat- He is on my side. 




September 26, 2012

Poems.... I Love Them.....


While Watching the Sk

By Brooke Budewig

I am watching,
I am gazing, 
At the dreamy sky.

I could almost...
Almost... almost...
Reach out and touch it. 

Then it comes by...
A tiny speck-
A bird way up high.

It is so small,
So miniscule
Compared to the sky. 

How small am I,
Compared to it-
To that high-up sky?

The mighty sky;
That dreamy sky,
That gives joy to all. 

That bird up there:
It's an eagle-
 The mightiest bird. 

What am I then-
Compared to them?
What am I to God?

Well... I am loved;
I am chosen.
They are simply not.

 ____________________________________________________

Light 

By Brooke Budewig


 Your faithfulness, Lord,
 Is like Your sunshine.
Ever present even
As the moon reflects.  

Light is everywhere,
It's eternal and 
Unchanging so that 
Plants can rely on it.

Light is hidden. In 
Some places: it's blocked.
There darkness lurks around,
Unhindered by the light. 

Flowering faces 
Look up to it and-
Upon seeing it- 
Rejoice and open. 

The Morning Glories 
Open up wide for 
Even a few hours,
 Just because light.  

Hibiscuses blow
Their golden trumpets,
Just for you to notice. 
So that You can enjoy. 
 

September 18, 2012

Inspiration from a Butterfly

 Waitin
By Brooke Budewig

 
 Dear dear butterfly,
Why are you waiting?

Are you scarred to fly,
or weary of your past?

 Should I help you go,
or just wait for you?

I want to see you
fly in your glory.

You are meant to soar;
 don't rest forever.

You have no limit,
to where you can go.

God gave you your wings;
you are enabled to fly.

Many wish to be 
like God made you to be.
 


September 12, 2012

Don't Give Up

Hi Followers and Visitors,

      I've been blogging for about a year and 3 months now and I love it! But I have noticed that my posts are so sporadic. Whenever I talk to people about my blog they tell me to post on a schedule, so that then I will get more followers and reach more people.

     Well, now that I have made a few changes to my schedule this school year so that I'm not as busy as I was last year, I can commit more time and energy to my blog. That is why I am now going to make the commitment to post once a week, on Wednesday. Here is my first blog of my new commitment. It is titled Don't Give Up.
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     Lately I've been very discouraged about all I do for God. Satan has decided to attack me after I do anything for God. It comes in the forms of feeling like I did nothing right, feeling just totally drained, feeling depressed, feeling unable and unwilling to do anything, and feeling like I can't talk to God. Why Satan has continued to attack me after I've come home from Nicaragua (where he attacked me every chance he got), I don't know. All I know is that I want to give up, but I know I just can't in good conscience.

     One day when I was feeling the lowest ever, God helped me out. I was surfing YouTube when I came across a video by Beth Moore, a teacher whom I respect deeply, taped at the Passion conference. In her teaching she used a verse that automatically caught my attention. The verses were Galatians 6:7-10 which says, " Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." 

     These verses are the ones that keep on showing up in my life whenever I'm very discouraged about my work for God. The fact that I found this video was a total God thing. Beth Moore made a good point in her video. She started out by saying that she is a type of person who likes to be warned about what is to come, and then she told us that the Bible warns us. 

     One of the things Beth Moore says  it warns us about is that we are going to be attacked by Satan. Satan hates anything good that we do. It says in 1 Peter 5:8-9a, "Be alert and of sound mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him.". Wait! How do we resist that!? A human can't beat a lion... We can beat Satan though, with God's Word. As it says in Ephesians, God's Word is a sword; it is part of the armor of God: it can beat Satan. 

     We should read God's word like our life depends on it. Just as a person stranded on an island must find food and water before they can even think to do anything else. The well known Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path." This verse shows us that God goes before us preparing our path- but we need God's Word to encourage us down that path, to help us see it more clearly by its light, and to give us joy as we trudge along.
 

     From all of this I learned not to give up. I shouldn't let Satan make me give up. What I reap; I sow. What I put into what I do; I get out of it. If I sow into the Bible, I reap its blessings. 

     Different things make me want to give up my work for God. If Satan makes me want to: I should meditate on verses about how God can conquer the enemy. If I think I should get more out of what I do: I should meditate on verses about pride and contentment. If I struggle with laziness; I should meditate on some Proverbs about the fruit of laziness. 

     I praise God for how His Word can empower us and encourage us. God gives us all we need to "fight the good fight." As Psalm 18:31-34 says,"For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze." God trains us and equips us with all that we need for battle. 
  
     "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.They are brought to their knees and fall but we rise up and stand firm"(Psalm 20:7-8) I cannot let myself trust in the things of this world. They have no strength compared to seeking God's power to help me. For my God promises in Isaiah 45:2-3,"I will go before you and will level the mountains;I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures,riches stored in secret places,so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." 



September 3, 2012

A Poem from Nicaragua

In Nicaragua I did something I've always wanted to do: write a poem someplace else besides at my desk. One Sunday in Nicaragua I was a bit bored, so I wrote a poem (I wonder what it was inspired by.....)


My Child
By Brooke Budewig 

My child smiles up at me, 
An inviting smile- 
A trusting smile.

Before she ran away from me.
 She didn't want me;
She didn't trust me. 

I love you, beautiful child,
With innocent eyes 
Reflecting my face.

Come into my comforting arms,
Let me love you and
Fill your life with love. 

My love is all you are needing;
All you require.
I will sustain you.

You don't know it for right now,
But until you do-
Continue in rest. 




August 3, 2012

I Am Amazed: Nicaragua

     So many things happened in Nicaragua, I don't even know if I can get them all in one post. God showed himself in mighty ways, just because we were willing vessels to be used to show His love. We prayed for opportunities to make a difference and God gave them to us.
At the School
     I came into my month in Granada, Nicaragua not knowing what to expect. Basically, my mind was so overwhelmed with the new things happening that I didn't even have enough brain power to think of any expectations. I'm glad I didn't have any. God would have blown them away anyway.
     At first it was terrible. When my team first got to Nicaragua it was night time. Weird noises were going on everywhere around the house where we were staying. All I knew was that it seemed like we were out in the middle of a jungle with what sounded like wild people and wild animals all around us.
     We had accidentally left our door open for too long as we were getting all of our luggage in the house, so mosquitoes had flocked in. That first night was horrible; for the first time ever I wanted to die. If the rest of the month was going to be like that, I was thinking with everything in me that I could not make it. I ended up just laying on my thin mattress in my room with 3 of my teammates, praying that we would all just go to sleep as soon as possible. Thank God, He gave all of us sleep and did not let us die.
     I woke up that morning to one of the girls in my room throwing up in a bag at 5 in the morning (what a wonderful wake-up call). Since it was so early we all got up, found out there was Lake Nicaragua in our backyard, and went to go watch the glorious sunrise. We had made it through the first night.
Our Backyard (Lake Nicaragua)
     We had to then figure out how we would live in a gutted house, infested with bats in the attic, no working toilets, one shower that shut off at 1pm, no trash pick-up and no air-conditioning. We flushed our toilets with buckets of water, we got us some trash bags that we ended up burning at the end of our stay, we swept the bat poop that fell from the attic daily and some of us, including me, got in the routine of waking up early and taking a shower daily, but most of us just bathed in the lake. Eventually we settled in, even though we had to forgo comfort and just hang in there for a month.
     Even with all of us being out of our comfort zone, as far as living conditions, transportation, language and culture went, God still pushed us out of the way and used us in mighty ways. He showed how mighty He is through our team.
Kids' Bible Club
     Our accomplishments while we were there are these: we threw a wedding, led about 7 adults to the Lord, held 2 everyday adult Bible studies, gave out 6 Spanish Bibles, led many kid's Bible clubs (including Bible skits, crafts, games and many songs), gave our testimonies at the local church, gave a few sermons there as well, comforted a family in the community whose family member had passed away the 2nd day we were there, comforted a couple families that had family strife, and shared God's love with a lonely elderly lady by visiting with her and singing songs to her. We also all grew closer to God as we saw Him work His truth and might through us, high-school students who haven't learned much in the world compared to the people we were ministering to.
     I gained so much experience from the two Bible studies we led. My friend, Kirah, unofficially lead the Bible study, and I basically co-led it. I loved it! We went through half of John and all of James. In the morning I would read what we would go over and just ask God to reveal to me what He wanted to teach. Then I would just take notes and make sure to tell them. Yes, I had to step up and say these things, make sure I studied the chapters we would go over, and pay attention the whole time, but really it was all God. God moved me out of the way during the Bible study and blessed my time devoted to Him and blessed me by using me.
      At one of our door-to-door times we met a couple who believed and accepted that Jesus died on the cross so they could be forgiven of their sins, but they were confused about all other things besides that. We were able to start a Bible study with them, give them Bibles, and teach them how to use those Bibles. During one of our Bible studies they asked us a random question: could they still go to heaven if they were not married, but still lived together and have 3 kids together. We explained to them that yes, they still could go to heaven because God had forgiven their sins past, present, and future, but that God wasn't not as pleased as He could be with them, and they were also missing out on some blessings. They then told us that they would have gotten married but they did not have the money required to get a lawyer to marry them (about $20). We then offered to pay that money (how could we not) and then that offer turned into to us deciding to throw  them a wedding.

The Wedding
     So we went into town (on a chicken bus), bought a dress for the bride (in a classic 3rd world market...), shoes for the bride, a dress and adorable little shoes for their baby and 2 cakes. The day of the wedding we got chairs, gathered wild flowers (me and my friend's job), bought some Big Colas, and threw a wedding complete with beautiful vows that our guy leader, Sandy, wrote. It was so beautiful! The couple loved each other so much and I am so grateful that I could just watch as their lives were transformed by my amazing  and almighty God while we were there.
     We were also able to see other lives transform. One day we met this elderly lady named Saccora. We tried to talk to her about having a relationship with God, but she was quite set in her ways. So we just ended up planting the seed of the gospel in her and visiting her everyday to pray for her, sing for her, and show her how we valued her. The news must have gotten around about us, because one day we got to meet her 20ish year old grandsons. They decided that they and their friends wanted to talk to us alone about God and ask all their questions. God must have been working mightily through us because we ended up being able to lead 2 of them to the Lord and getting them all to go to a good church where they could ask questions and each get a Bible.
     Bibles, I found out, are big transforming tools. God's Word is so powerful in transforming people. I am so grateful to a person at my church who gave me 6 Spanish Bibles to give to people in Nicaragua. I was the only one on my team who brought Bibles, and there were no other places to get Bibles except for at the church we got the young men to go to. I am amazed at how God just works everything out for those who serve and need Him.
     One last story I'd like to share is one that continued throughout our time there. The day after we arrived we were walking back from dinner when we saw a girl with her friend walking past us. The girl was sobbing uncontrollably and was just a wreck as she cried out in Spanish. Naturally we went to go find out what had happened. Our translator told us that the girl had just lost her mom unexpectedly and was crying out "Why God, why?". As it turns out she was our next door neighbor.
     In Nicaragua we had what I call squatters in our backyard. The house we lived in had been unoccupied for a long time so this family had just decided to build their house in its backyard. This family is the girl's family. Since the city we were in had such a sense of community we were expected to comfort the family, so we did. In the process we were able to lead the woman who passed away's husband, sister, and daughter to the Lord. We also were able to give them Bibles as well and start a Bible study with them.

A Bible Study Group

     A couple weeks after we arrived we were doing door-to-door visits again. We were led by God to go to this random house we walked by. It turns out that at that house lived the woman who passed away's parents. We were able to comfort them, lead them to the Lord, give them Bibles and get them to go to the Bible study. It is amazing how God can turn a hopeless situation into something that brings life.
      I am blessed to have gone to Nicaragua on a mission trip. Ever since I could remember I've loved listening to stories about how God worked in a situation and made that situation awesome. Now, I have stories like that of my own, I can't wait until I can see more of God's awesome works showing that He does not sit up in heaven doing nothing. No, He is active in everything going on in His world.


"But as for me, it is good to be near God. 
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds."
-Psalm 73:28

 
Allyson and Me




(For more pictures click here)

Pictures from Nicaragua


Team Nicaragua
The Group I Went Out With: AIM

The house I lived in, it looks nice, but looks can be deceiving.


This is bat poop caused by the bats in our attic. We swept almost daily, but still woke up to this.
This is the lake we bathed in.
We could bathe in that lake, or take a shower here.


                       
This is the church we helped out, while church wasn't going on, it served as our  dining hall.
Our Average Meal: red beans, rice, plantains and some kind of protein

Our street that we walked on everyday, to get everywhere we needed to go.

An Average Neighborhood

Samuel: a kid who lived near the church

Kids From the Area

Mi Amigo: Christian who's the pastor's son

 My Best Friend: Najelie


Playing Games at a Kid's Bible Club
Everyone Smile!!
Another Kid's Bible Club
A Bible Club at the Local School
Pato, Pato, Gonzo (aka. Duck, Duck, Goose)
Preforming a Bible Skit about Jonah
We made "whales" for each of the kids.
 


The Wedding for Norman and Sylvia
                                 
The Bride
The Bride and Adorable Baby Norma


The Vows

Saccora, the Elderly Lady We Visited
The Men We Met through Saccora


Nicaragua's National Flower

Beautiful Nicaragua Sunset

"He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, He who turns dawn to darkness and treads the high places of the earth- the Lord God Almighty is His name."
-Amos 4:13



"Be still and know that I am God; 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth."
-Psalm 46:10