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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Searching the Scriptures...


Here I am in Oklahoma, with my awesome friend, Kimberly!! I am so excited about being able to visit with her for about 10 days...we are going to have a blast. :) Since we are together, and it is a Sunday, we thought it would be fun to write today's Sunday Snippet together! We'll be talking about some of our favorite verses/passages, and why they are special to us. Hope you all enjoy! (P.S. The initials delineate who is speaking. In case anyone was in the dark on that. ;)

M: Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

I love this verse because each description of The Lord is so applicable to our everyday lives. He is our Rock to stand on, our fortress to hide in when trouble comes, and our deliverer from temptation. He is the Great I Am! It's a very all-encompassing verse.

K: 2 Chronicles 14:11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.

This verse reminds me of the absolute power and trustworthiness of the LORD. I turn to this verse when I feel like I'm facing a wall of trouble or fear or defeat, myself. I love resting in the boldness of this verse, and reiterating Asa's prayer for myself and my own battles. 

M: Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

When we are witnessing to others, whether a person on a bench in the park, or a neighbor we know well, God's Word is NEVER wasted. When you plant the seed of Scripture, it will accomplish what God wants it to, no matter whether you are eloquent or not! For me, this is encouraging when I feel like I "messed up" during a witnessing conversation. It's never a failure if the Word of God was presented!

K: Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

Hardly a day goes by when I don't need this reminder! Sometimes I deceive myself into thinking that I might be able to persuade somebody into Salvation or a specific conviction, or something like that, and this verse brings me back to the reality that I am nothing. God doesn't need me. I need Him. None of my fleshly efforts will work if His Spirit is not in it. 

M: Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

This verse is special to me because it reiterates the principle that we are all one in Christ Jesus. Rich or poor, small or big, physical appearance doesn't matter...there are no social barriers within the family of God. It breaks down every wall of class and distinction that we as foolish men have built between ourselves. True Christianity unites men in one glorious purpose--to honor and serve their Creator.

K: Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

In this day and age, more wicked than any the earth has produced before, I find this increasingly applicable. Darkness is nothing; darkness is only an absence of light. It has to be pretty dark for one little candle to light up an entire house. The world is pretty dark today. Let us be candles, and together be cities. Let us not be afraid of being called out or held to a higher standard; let us use this opportunity to shine for Christ that they might glorify our Father in Heaven, as they might never do if it were any lighter out. 


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There are so many more verses we could have done...we cut it down for the sake of length. ;) What are some of your favorite passages? Leave a comment and let me know! Have a wonderful week!
Mykaela




Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fun Post: Book Tag!!


Hello, Everyone!
I hope you all are having an absolutely lovely week so far! :) Today's post is kind of a diversion, a little different than my normal posts. It is a book tag, started by Lauren at One Bright Corner, (awesome blog, by the way), and then tagged to me by Kimberly at Peculiar on Purpose. (Also awesome! :) Since I currently work at a library, and do read a lot, I thought it would be fun. And just for the record, I read because I enjoy it, not because of my job. (You would be astounded at the amount of times people have asked me if I just read the whole time I'm at work. Like seriously? That's like asking someone at JCP if they just try on clothes all day for fun.) Small disclaimer, it is assumed that God's Word is not included in these questions. If I say a book is "in my top three" for example, that does not include the Bible among them. God's Word is on a plane entirely it's own, so I'm just going to answer these tag questions about non-Scripture books. :)

I think I'm supposed to start this off by talking about when I first fell in love with reading. But to be perfectly honest, I can't...because I really don't remember. I have loved reading ever since I can remember. From sounding out "Pat the Bunny" in St. Louis, with my grandma, to reading every horse novel I could get my hands on in Fossil, Oregon, to now, (three moves in four years later), when I read a wide variety of stuff. (When I have time to read, that is. ;) So here goes: the book tag extrodinaire.

1. Name a book you're embarrassed to say you haven't read yet.
Umm...that's a toughie, cause there are quite a few, I'm sure. I've actually never read "Through Gates of Splendor" all the way through, which I feel like pretty much everyone else has read and enjoyed. Just never got around to it, I guess.

2. What's the strangest thing you've ever used as a bookmark?
I dunno. I tend to be a page cornerer, myself. I know, I know, that's awful, but I really only corner the pages a tiny bit!! I do remember grabbing a sock once to hold the book while I got a drink. I guess that counts. :P

3. Look at your bookshelf. What's the first book you see with a yellow spine?
"In the Field of Grace" by Tessa Afshar. Amazing author, amazing book. Seriously. It's a retelling of the Biblical story of Ruth. So good! The ONLY thing I don't care for about Ms. Afshar is that she doesn't use KJV when she quotes Scripture. :( 

4. If you could have one new book from a deceased author, who would it be?
E.D.E.N Southworth or Louisa May Alcott. Both childhood staples of mine!! (Still are staples today.;) Oh oh, or E. Nesbit!!! Or another Narnia installment...oh man. This could go on for way too long.

5. Name an author who deserves more readership. 
I'd have to say E.D.E.N. Southworth again. Her books "Ishmael" and "The Hidden Hand" just never, EVER grow old to me!!! I have read those two at least 6 times each in the last few years. Such, such riveting books.

6. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Again...I'm a horrible person and corner pages. ;P If I'm actually going to use something, I'll grab whatever is handy. Like a sock, for example.

7. Can you stop anywhere in the book, or do you have to finish the chapter?
I can pretty much stop anywhere if it's a book I've read before. If it is a new one, I usually like to get to the end of the chapter before I break, if possible. If not, I at least have to get to a good paragraph end/division point.

8. One book at a time or several?
Usually, several. I have no problem switching between books, though I know some people hate that. If it's a truly incredible book, one that I haven't previously read, I will stick to it until I'm done. (Which is usually ridiculously fast if I love it that much. I've been known to stay up until rather pathetic hours of the morning reading. Yes, I said morning for a reason. XD)

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?
Depends. New book, absolutely not. Re-read, possibly, if there's a part I either know extremely well, or don't particularly care for. I'll just kinda skim it to get it over with.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I am so weird. As I was typing that question, the first thought that popped into my head was "HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF SOMEONE BROKE YOUR SPINE?!" Heh. Anyway, now that you have a random glimpse of Mykaela's crazy side. :P If I actually have a new book, which is really rare, I will keep it nice for as long as I can, or until I want to read it while working out. In which case, it must needs be done, for the good of all. 

11. What books do you regret reading?
"Though Waters Roar" by Lynn Austin. I have read other books by this author, and enjoyed them, but somehow this one REALLY just did not do it for me! The storyline was difficult to follow, because there were SO many jumps back and forth between time periods. There was also such a very little bit of the salvation message portrayed, it was just sad. (She's done a fairly good job of that in some other books!) It was, overall, just kind of depressing and weird. :( I kept hoping it would redeem itself, but it didn't.

12. On average, how many books do you read per year?
I have no clue. Maybe 30-50? Somewhere in there?

13. What book could you read hundreds of times and never get tired of?
"The Atonement Child" by Francine Rivers. It has to be in my top three books, hands down. I love it soooooooooo much!!!!!

14. What's the biggest lesson you've learned from a book?
I don't think this is the biggest lesson, but it's a good one for me...From Chuck Black's "Wars of the Realm" series, I learned to take spiritual warfare seriously. Angels and demons are just as real as you and I, and just because I can't see the battle that's transpiring around me, does NOT mean it doesn't exist. Those books were not only so incredibly good I couldn't put them down, and have read them coming up on a dozen times, but also they just made me look at things in a new way as I lived my daily life.

15. What's the most recent book you've read?
"The Treasure Seekers" by Edith Nesbit. This is maybe the fourth time I've read it, and the writing is just so fun! She has a way of writing her "children's" books that somehow seems to grow up with you--I'm reading them again as an adult, and I'm just now "getting" new jokes and fun little tidbits from her books that went over my head as a kid. (Nothing inappropriate or anything!! Just cute hidden satire and/or sarcasm that I didn't quite get when I was younger.)

16. What quote from any book will you never forget? Why is it significant?
I'm not going to list all of my favorite Bible verses right now, because I don't think that's what it's asking for. ;) One of them is Psalm 18:2, though. 

This might sound strange, but the emphasis of words in this quote from the Mark of the Lion series (Francine Rivers), is almost as important as the words themselves. In the scene, a Roman master is confused as to why her faith is so all-consuming to this Christian slave girl. He asks her, "Why do you give up everything you want to serve this God you have never even seen?!" Or something to that effect. Her reply:
"Because He is God, Marcus! He is God!" 
I don't know exactly why this quote is so powerful to me, but the way she emphasizes the words hits me every time. We serve God because He IS God. He is GOD! There is nothing greater, better, stronger, holier, or purer than Him! He is the superlative of every good word or attribute we could apply to His name! Anyway, that was a long answer, but it means a lot to me. :)

17. How many books do you own?
*runs away to try to count, even though most of my books are in storage boxes somewhere*

Somewhere around 60, as near as I can figure it. I know, it's not that many. I have a lot more on Kindle, or from the library, but those don't really count for this question. ;)

18. Of the past year, what's the greatest book you've read?
Probably "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare, and "Land of Silence" by Tessa Afshar. Yeah, I know. I like her a lot. ;) She has only written 5 books so far, and I am dying for her to write more!!!!

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Well, there you have it! That was a really fun tag for me to participate in, and I hope you enjoyed it as well! Sorry it got so long. If you enjoyed it, I'd love to see your answers to it as well...if you decide to do it, link your post in the comments! Thanks to Kimberly and Lauren for a fun post idea. :) God bless you all as you serve Him this week!
Mykaela
P. S. I am flying out this Saturday to see Kimberly!!! Ahhh! So very excited to spend some time with her in Oklahoma and Missouri during the next couple weeks. So if I'm a bit late on the Sunday Snippets due to being in a plane at the time, please bear with me. ;) It may be a Monday or Tuesday snippet, but it will come. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Are We There Yet?!


1 Timothy 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain."

1 Corinthians 7:17 “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.”

I was talking with a dear friend this last week, and an interesting subject came up. She mentioned something she was guilty of doing that I TOTALLY related to as well!! All throughout life, we look forward to things. (That's not the bad part, it's just a fact. ;) As children, we look forward to Sunday School when we can see our friends. We look forward to our birthday, or Christmas, or maybe the beginning of summer break.

As we grow older, we look forward to things even more intensely. We just yearn after different things than birthday cake. We look forward to future stages of life. Sound familiar? As teenagers, we are looking forward to graduating and being done with the tedious grind of school. Then we graduate, and if we are 'single' we look forward to marriage. (This is a big one for a lot of us young women. Not all, but lots.) We look forward to getting a raise or promotion, or a different, bigger and better job altogether. We want to "upgrade" everything...from smartphones to airline tickets--and we look forward to that future day when we'll have the money to do so. The money to live life like the party it's supposed to be, right?

Let's think about this mindset for a moment. When you graduated and got your first job, was it really so much better than the "tedious grind of school"? Uh, no. Actually not. It's a lot longer of a grind per day, plus you don't get the entire summer to goof off. If you're lucky, you might get three weeks of vacation time in the entire year. 

How about when you upgraded your smartphone to the biggest and best? There was a biggerest and bestest already out in stores by the time yours was 2 months old. (And yes, I'm aware that those are not words. Thank you for your concern, grammar cops. ;)

It seems to me that we spend so much time longing for the future, that we miss the blessings of being content, and being thankful for the stage of life we are in right now!

One major area I do this in is that of a relationship. The concept of marriage is one that is so sparkly and shiny with joy, that I forget everything I have heard about marriage being difficult, uphill work sometimes! I tend to always focus on the wonderful and romantic parts of marriage, rather than realizing that it's not all dark chocolate, rose bouquets, and perfect date nights. ;) There will be times that we will disagree, or I'll be feeling cranky and tired and snap at him, then cry. I'll leave things in the oven too long sometimes, and the smoke alarm will go off. There will be broken dishes and stubbed toes and clogged toilets, just like there are now. He'll come home exhausted and grumpy once in a while, and I'll need to learn to deal properly with that. I'll miss my family, especially the young ones. It will be different. And I need to be preparing myself now!! There will be wonderful, incredible things about marriage, I know. But. I put it on way too big and beautiful of a pedestal sometimes, instead of realizing that it will be only through God's grace that I will be able to be a good wife, and a help meet for whatever man God has for me.

I have grown better in this area in the last couple of years. I can honestly say that for the majority of the time, I am truly happy to be at home, serving God in the stage of life He has me in right now. However, there are days when I start being discontent, and once that seed is planted, it grows so quickly! I need to work on valuing the time I have today, right now. To quote what my friend said a few days ago:


I need to remember to live in the moment and not take present comforts for granted, nor future dreams at face-value.

That pretty much sums it up. Let's trust God to bring the future in His own time, and stop trying to hurry it up. Time is not going to move any faster just because you want to graduate, get married, or upgrade! ;) Live right now, right here. Redeem the time, for the days are evil. If you have godliness with contentment, you have great gain.
Mykaela


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Loaded, Overflowing, and Abundant!


Psalm 68:19 "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation."

This is one of my Dad's favorite verses, and I love it as well. He uses an illustration to demonstrate this verse, that I think is so apt. 

Think about the phrasing here: he "loadeth us with benefits". What is a load? Well, a good example of a load would be if someone took a bottle cap, put it inside a grocery bag, and placed it on my back. I mean, that is a LOAD. I would probably have trouble walking even a few feet with that burden on me, right?? No, of course not...that's ridiculous!

A load would be if I was to try carrying a king size mattress and box spring up a staircase. Now that would be difficult, most likely impossible for me to do. It would be a staggering, pretty much debilitating weight. 

And God loads us down with benefits. Daily.

His benefits and blessings are so overwhelmingly vast: the illustration I just gave doesn't even cut it! If we sat down and thought carefully about all the benefits He has provided, just in the fact that we are alive and breathing the air of this earth--we can't even comprehend it. 

When we as finite beings try to fathom eternity, or the existence of God from everlasting to everlasting, we can't do it. Our brains can't understand it no matter how we may want to. The blessings of God are like this as well. That He would choose to pour out His infinite mercy and goodness on us...pathetic, tiny, insignificant specks of humanity?! And He does this day after day after day after day...?? Even the workings of plants and animals to provide an ecosystem perfectly designed to support human life proves that God is actively working in our lives--even when we don't recognize it as His hand at work.

The Bible tells us that He sends His rain on the just and the unjust. God doesn't only bless those that love Him! As we strive to be more like the Master, we need to realize that our lives should be an outpouring of the benefits He has given us. Freely we have received, freely we should give. As we look at the lost world around us, do we withhold showing love to them because they "aren't nice"? What were we before salvation?? Let's share the Gospel of Christ to those who live daily under the load of His benefits, (just as we do!), but do not know that their Creator has also made a way for them to know Him. Praise God for His overflowing goodness to the children of men!
Mykaela

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Come and Dine!


Isaiah 55: 1 "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

As you all have probably already guessed, I love Isaiah a lot. Every time I read through it, or even just scan all the verses I’ve previously marked, it is SUCH a good book!! So many encouraging and uplifting verses, each of them deserves their own post. This one is so beautiful to me…The Lord is calling to those who are thirsting for Him. He offers them beautiful, satisfying blessings—without money and without price. These people, who have nothing to give, nothing to offer, and He offers them His abundance in return? Wow. This is such a testimony to the everlasting love of God. 

It makes me think of myself before salvation. I came to God with NOTHING to offer Him. All my righteousnesses were as filthy rags. Filthy Rags!! Go to any hospital, and go to the laundry ward. There are some pretty seriously filthy rags there. And I am telling you, they are not pleasant. But that's all that my "good deeds" were before salvation. Paul said that, "In me, (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing..." There was nothing good in me. 

Notice how it says COME YE to the waters. God doesn't ever drag us to the springs of living water and force our faces into them for us to drink. It's our choice. We just have to ask Him.

When we come to God with nothing, asking to partake in His mercy and grace, He will fulfill our needs abundantly. Not just with some old moldy bread and tepid water... No!! Wine (Fruit of the vine), and milk, and honey! The fat of the earth! 

The next verse says, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." 

Why do we run around chasing after things that are never going to satisfy our deepest needs? Why would we spend time or money on frivolous amusements that have nothing to do with the bread of life? When will we learn to simply come, ask, and hearken diligently to His righteous commandments? He has offered us innumerable blessings--if we choose to follow His way. Not throwing our relationship with God in as an afterthought to the rest of life that's so much more "enjoyable". Enjoyment does not equal contentment, peace, or true joy. Let's learn to delight ourselves in doing His will with a pure, single minded faithfulness. His rewards will be more fulfilling than you can fathom. Without money, and without price. Priceless. :)
Mykaela