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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Facing Crossroads


Psalm 84:11 "For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."


Have you ever faced a difficult decision where you could either hold on to the familiar in fear, or step out by faith into the unknown? It can be really scary territory, but it can also be really exciting. And if you are too afraid to step out and find what God wants you to do, you will be missing so much! 

So here are four ways that God can and will help you in these tough, and potentially life-changing decisions, taken from this verse. Ask and ye shall receive! 

1. "The Lord God is a sun..."
What does the sun primarily do? It gives light! God will show you what the next step will be. We all know the verse that says His Word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path; well, why don't we apply it? All you have to do is act on what you know God wants you to do today...five years from now you will be exactly where He wants you to be if you are following Him day by day by day!

2. "...and shield"
Do you think God can protect those who are walking in His path? I do! So many times we look at the unknown, and draw back for fear of the dangers that may be lurking beyond that decision. But how many times has God let you down when you were doing His will? Never. It doesn't happen. If bad times come, He is still there to hold us up and keep us from being overcome. In the words of Psalm 91, "...He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:"

3. "The Lord will give grace..."
Wherever this path leads you, God will give you grace to walk it. Whether it turns out to go through a dark valley, or a beautiful meadow, He can grow you through it if you let Him! When you are trusting Him and walking by faith, He will make you stronger and more like His Son, Jesus Christ. 

4. "...and glory"
God will bring to pass great and mighty things when you trust His plan!! Such great things that you can't even begin to imagine everything He has in store! He will bring glory out of your decision to follow His Word, no matter how big or small the choice may be. God is glorified in the lives of His children who faithfully follow where He leads. 

This last part of the verse is the most beautiful of all, in my opinion. "No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Did you catch that? NO GOOD THING! That means nothing!! God will not withhold His blessings when you are walking uprightly and without reproach. He will bless so much more abundantly than what you think is possible! God is not looking to thwart you. He is looking to give you the absolute best. So if your plans or dreams get in the way of that, He will replace them with something so much better. And yet many, many times we look at our life during that "replacement process", and moan and groan about how unfair it is that God is ruining our plans. What foolish people we are! God will not withhold any good thing from those who step out in faith, trusting Him to do what's best, and walk day by day uprightly and with a pure heart before Him. If you face a scary decision today, think carefully on this verse. If you ask Him, God will give you light, protection, grace, and glory. He will not withhold any good thing! 
Mykaela

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Male and Female...Born That Way After All! (Guest Post)


Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Matthew 19:4, 12 "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, [...] For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Today I am excited to have another guest post! I haven't done a guest post in some time, so I am grateful to my wonderful dad (Papa ;) for guest posting today. This topic is very important to me, and is something that is usually either grossly mis-taught, or worse, not talked about at all in many of today's churches. The hatred of action and words that flow out of many of today's Christians concerning this matter should be a cause of great shame. If you want to know more about anything talked about in this post, please contact me (mkmcdpiano@gmail.com) or go to Born That Way or Josh Agan for more information. This Page, (Also written by my dad) goes into more detail as well. 


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There is a lot of emphasis today upon the subject of "transgender people." Proponents of transgenderism, the homosexual lifestyle, and the "transgender community" make it clear that they do not agree with the biblical definition of marriage, male, female, and other terms used in the Bible that violate their beliefs concerning these issues. How should a Christian respond? What should our mindset be? As Bible believers, we state that the Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice. Do we use it to guide our thoughts and words in relation to these topics?

It is clear from Scripture that God created us male and female. Organizations like Glaad (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) try to tell us that sex (the classification of people as male or female) is something that is assigned at birth and is based upon the physical characteristics of the infant. They then state that it is actually a combination of many different factors (hormones, chromosomes, etc.). However, we merely recognize sex at birth not assign it at that time. A baby, from the time of conception, is male or female. Psalm 139:14-16 tells us that God knew ALL of our members (even those related to our sex) when we were still in the womb, and that we grew according to the plan that God had for our bodies (our DNA). The very fabric of our being establishes who we are, whether male or female.
Many though, do not feel they "fit" society's definition of a male or female, so they must be a homosexual or a transgender. What they do not understand, and what most Christians do not understand, is that society's definition is not God's definition. To be a male does not mean that one will have an intimate desire for women, and to be a female does not mean that one will have a desire to be a wife and mother. Not everyone will possess a desire (in an intimate manner) for the opposite sex. God has created some without that desire. The Bible describes them as eunuchs "so born from their mother's womb" (Matthew 19:12).
When one is born without this desire, it does not mean that they have a desire for the same sex, but our current culture automatically declares it an either/or situation. The Bible describes homosexual desires as unnatural and inconvenient (Romans 1). 

Believers attempt to force society's definition upon others as well, and when someone feels "different," and acts "different," we look down our noses at them. Generally not accepted by believers, these souls find acceptance with open arms by the gay community. We have allowed the world, with its depraved mentality, to define the terms. And we wonder why the battle for society (and for our children, who are entering the gay community at an alarming rate) seems to have a bleak future.
Those created by God without sexual desire are in a position to serve Him in a very special way, without the "distraction” that those desires create. We need to recognize the special gifts God has given to each of us, utilize those gifts, and allow these individuals to serve in the capacity they were intended. Let us recognize God's created order of male and female, but not put a worldly definition upon what those terms mean. Above all, be thankful for how He created you, and fulfill that role in a godly, Christ-honoring way.

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Thank you again to my dad for writing today's guest post. :) He is such a Godly example to me in my Christian walk. I hope you all have a blessed week filled with service to The Lord!
Mykaela

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Why All the Trials?


Numbers 11:11a And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant?

I want to share with you a short devotional that I read the other day, by C.H. Spurgeon. It really touched my heart, and I hope it is an encouragement to you as well. So many times we ask God this question. "Why am I being afflicted? What's the purpose of this trial? What have I done wrong?" Sometimes trials are for the purpose of correcting us, but I think more often they are not. They are to grow and refine us! Anyway, here is the devotional. :)

"Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable: but that is true faith which holds by the Lord's faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father's countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him," is heaven-born faith. 

The Lord afflicts His servants to glorify Himself, for He is greatly glorified in the graces of His people, which are His own handiwork. When "tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope," the Lord is honoured by these growing virtues. We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the wine-press; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. 

Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified? There are many other comfortable answers to the question of our text, let us muse upon it all the day long."


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Psalm 119:67 says, "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word." Let's remember that when trials come, we need to lean on The Lord and trust that He is bringing about our growth and His glory! Don't let your trials make you bitter. God knows what He is doing! I hope you all have a wonderful week! :)
Mykaela

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fun Post: 20 Thoughts On Turning 20


As some of you know, I turned 20 on October 4th. As an ancient person now, I have some thoughts for all you young'uns. ;P (I am totally joking...my dear great-grandma, who is 96, always says, "I will do _______ when I grow up." That's how I want to be at 96. :) Anyway, I don't have it all together in any way, shape, or form, but I was pondering some things yesterday, and thought I would share them. If only to get them written out for my brain's benefit. ;) Hope you enjoy!

1. Your relationship with the Lord isn't going to suddenly get better as you get older. You have to work on it. You can't just coast along, reading His Word once in a while, and praying at mealtimes and expect to have a close relationship.

2. You have to treasure every day, not just the "special" ones. Though I always love my birthday, I was thinking about how I need to love every day for the blessing that it truly is!

3. You need the advice of those older than you, now more than ever. This process of growing doesn't end until you're with The Lord! Those who have spent their years in growing closer to God truly do have wisdom that you don't yet. 

4. You are not old. ;P There are a lot of people who would give anything to go back and start at their 20th birthday again. Right now is the perfect age! Just as 30 will be the perfect age then! And 40 after that! :) Make the most of the opportunities you have during your current stage of life.

5. Don't be a stick in the mud. Go on adventures!! Be spontaneous once in a while! For goodness' sakes, do something you'll remember for the rest of your life. :)

6. Tell others about Christ. And if you already are doing this, do it more. It will never be a waste. 

7. Drink more water. While I very often fail to take this advice, please do it because it's really important. ;) 

8. Learning new things is awesome! I think sometimes I forget that even though I'm out of school now, I need to be constantly learning new things, preparing myself for whatever God brings into my life. From life skills to being patient with siblings, it is good to have a thirst for knowledge!

9. Don't take anything for granted. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above...Don't take anything for granted.

10. I AM NO LONGER A TEEN?!?! What in the world...I no longer have "-teen" at the end of my age? It feels so weird to be 20, I dunno guys... ;P

11. Save! Don't squander your money!! Looking back, I am realizing that if I had been a bit more frugal with my money, and put more away, I would have a lot bigger nest egg than I do right now. It's always good to be prepared for whatever may come along! 

12. I am learning to not sweat the small stuff. I'm LEARNING. ;) But seriously, loosen up a little. If it won't matter a year from now, it's not a biggie.

13. Life is too short to drink bad coffee, watch bad movies, or read bad books.

14. Life is also too short to hold grudges. Let it go.

15. Learn to acknowledge those who are usually overlooked. Smile and say hello to the janitor. Look into that homeless woman's eyes instead of looking through her. Show the love of Christ.

16. Smile!!

17. Be confident. Act in a way that is pleasing to The Lord, and be who He made you to be! Hold your head high (but never your nose). You are valuable and loved by God! Lift up others who struggle with trying to change to meet others' expectations. Let them know who they can be through Christ.

18. Give generously. Of your time, your money, your talents; just give. And if you get hurt, keep giving. Your reward is yet to come!

19. Save everything that you can for your future spouse. :) Don't give away anything that you would be disappointed to learn your future husband had given away. It will be worth it!

20. Pray. Everywhere you go, any time of day, talk to God in your heart. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (Colossians 4:2)

There you have it! Random advice that I've learned in my two decades of life. :) Most that I am still working on. 

Funny story: yesterday I was at work, and a patron came in who comes nearly every day. His name is Jonathan, and he is such a sweet guy with a ready smile and laugh. Jonathan has a developmental problem, so he is simple but so so kind, and I love seeing him come in and chatting with him. Jonathan is absolutely amazing at remembering names...if he meets someone one time, he will remember them and their name forever! Anyway, yesterday he came with a young man who is a friend of his (and works at the home where Jonathan lives), and as they were checking out, Jonathan mentioned that someone he knew had a birthday that day. I told him that I had just had a birthday on Tuesday, and asked him to guess how old I was. His friend laughed and said, "That's a dangerous trap!" ;) Anyway, Jonathan guessed 30, and then hesitatingly went down to 25. Oh, dear. Do I look that old?! :P Haha!! Anyway, when I told him I was 20 now, he congratulated me and said happy birthday, etc. His friend, though, was totally blown away! I asked how old he had thought I was, and after I had promised that I wouldn't be offended, he said, "I legitimately thought you were 25 or 26. You are just very mature, I guess." As promised, I was not offended, but I thought that was so funny! ;)

Anyway, I've rambled long enough here...I hope you all are having as gorgeous an autumn as I am! If you need some incredible music this week, listen to Dan Forrest's Jubilate Deo. I think I'm in love. You can read in the description of the video what the different movements mean and everything...basically it's Psalm 100 in 7 or 8 different languages and music styles, representing the whole earth praising The Lord. It's too beautiful...I don't think I could even take going to a concert of it live (though that is now a dream of mine), I think I would probably go into cardiac arrest from the sheer incredibleness of this piece of music. :) If you want to hear my favorite movement, you can find it here. So much amazing. I hope you all have a lovely week!
Mykaela

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday Snippets: The Simple Truth


Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Today will probably be a short post. I just want to take the time to thank God for the beautiful simplicity of His great Salvation. As I was falling asleep last night, I was thinking about this concept. There are more aspects and facets to the salvation of a soul than I will probably ever understand. The doctrines of imputation, justification, sanctification, etc., while all true and wonderful to think about, does God require someone to fully grasp and understand each of them before He allows them to be saved?? Of course not!

How precious is it that the God of the universe sent His only Son to do what no human could ever do (For all have sinned…), and though the act of fulfilling the covenant and fully keeping the law was something that we would never completely grasp, He still made His salvation so perfectly simple that even a child could understand it. Even myself as a 10 year old girl, steeped in the blackness of my own sin, had only to turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus Christ, and my life was altered forever! 

I feel like I’m not being very coherent here, but I guess all I’m trying to say is that I marvel at how complex and yet infinitely simple it is for us to be saved. It is the easiest and hardest thing you will ever do, to let go of your pride, selfishness, fear of man, and anything else standing between you and God, and simply ask. Ask to receive the free gift He has offered. Ask Him to save you. Call on the name of The Lord! It is so amazing to me that He has done so much…He has literally done everything for us except for the action of reaching out to take the gift!! Who could reject such an offer? Why would you want to? 

I think one of Satan’s greatest tricks is overcomplicating salvation. He wants it to seem like we aren’t good enough, don’t know enough, haven’t done enough…since when was salvation about any of that? We need to be careful when we present the Gospel that we tell it as it is—Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection paid the fine for the law we have all broken. All we have to do is turn from sin to God. That’s it. He hears the cry of our hearts and answers us! Praise God for His mercy in making such a priceless gift free for the taking. <3
Mykaela

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Do You Really See Them?


Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Empathy. Compassion. Sincerity. These are all attributes that most people have to at least some degree, but many squelch these character traits as being uncool, un-manly, and just not something you should strive after. You should be tough and strong, and never show your true heart, never let anyone see you cry. You're bigger than that! 

Seriously?

I get so sick and tired of this mindset, honestly. It's ridiculous and foolish on so many levels...not to mention the fact that it is downright contrary to Scripture. Do you know what the opposite of empathy is? I had to look it up: it's apathy. Wow! Everyone knows what apathy is; an attitude of not caring at all, being coldly detached, and not having any interest in something. So tell me something...when in Scripture do you see our Saviour, Jesus Christ, with an attitude of apathy? Anyone? I can't think of one example. Not one!!

But compassion and empathy? Caring deeply about others and their pain? Wow, I could list dozens! The woman at the well, Jairus' daughter, the woman with the issue of blood, the many lepers and blind men He healed over the course of His ministry, Lazarus, Martha, Mary, the disciples...Jesus' life was a shining, living example of caring for others! 

What about us? When a friend comes to us with heartbreak over a trial or valley they are facing, do we simply listen blandly with a yawn, thinking about the game later on tonight? Or is our heart touched and grieved by their pain? When we hear a story on the news about a family that lost a small child in an accident, is it just another news story that we skim over and humph at? Heaven forbid we actually take 10 seconds to pray that the family of that child will be drawn to Christ through this tragedy. Um, no...that's way too weird. I mean, we don't need to go too far with this whole compassion thing. Well, what if that was your little sister that was there playing with dolls one day, and gone forever from your life on the next? We don't like to think about things like that, and yet it happens every day. Just because it's not you today, doesn't mean it couldn't be. 

I just finished a book about a girl, 17 years old, who was captured in 2014 by ISIS. She went through the most hellish experiences you could ever imagine...the fact that she is alive today is only by the hand of God. Last year, she escaped them, along with a handful of other girls who had been enslaved. She and what's left of her family were able to get to Germany and start a new life. Guess what, though? In all of that, this girl, Farida, does not believe in Jesus Christ. She is Yazidi, and worships Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel. She prays every day to the sun when it comes up, because the sun gives life to everything on earth, according to their belief system. She was raised in this faith. I cannot personally imagine going through what she did without the sustaining power of God within me. I believe God must have saved her life and allowed her to escape for a reason, and now I am praying that He would send someone in Germany to her to tell her the glorious truth of the Gospel. This is a real girl that is hiding out somewhere for fear of her life! She only escaped about a year and a half ago--I promise you she is still haunted by the horrors she has experienced, and will be for the rest of her life. But I think sometimes we tend to detach ourselves with the thought that "this happened so far away, it has nothing to do with me". Well, it actually does. And even if you can't personally reach out to someone in distress, you can pray for them. You can truly see them through the eyes of Christ instead of looking past them and their unimportant problems.

Let's not get so caught up in being strong that we can never be vulnerable with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's not forget to have compassion on those around us, both saved and unsaved. If they have Christ, lift them up and edify them. If they don't, find some way to tell them, or pray for someone to be sent. Let's stop being so intensely self focused and start trying to step into someone else's shoes for once. To feel their pain. To cry with them. To pray for and with them. To do what Christ, the compassionate Saviour, would do if He were here. Believe me, I know that sometimes it can be hard to know what to say or do for someone who is hurting! But sometimes just being there for them is enough. Just listening with an open and loving heart, and caring. Caring deeply. And loving them like Jesus would.
Mykaela