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Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Few Survival Tips (From the only perfect Guidebook)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
I was reading this passage in my morning devotions the other day, and was overwhelmed once again with the sheer richness of it. It's like a mini survival manual, tucked into the end of this short book of the Bible. I could write a separate blog post for each of these commands. For sake of brevity, I'll just break each of them down a little bit in one post. ;) This is such a practical section of Scripture that easy to work on applying on an hourly and daily basis. Notice I said "work on" applying. None of these things are innate; it takes effort to walk in God's ways. However, these are super straightforward and simple to understand. Let's look a little closer at the instructions...

1. Rejoice evermore.
Ok, wow. Right off the bat, we are getting into convicting mode. Does rejoicing mix well with complaining, gossip, bickering, or griping? No. No, it does not. So when I do ANY of those things, I am not rejoicing in The Lord. Which means I am sinning. Wow.

2. Pray without ceasing.
The issue of prayer has really been heavy on my heart for the past couple of months. I know my prayer life is one of the things I tend to let slip the most, and yet it is so utterly vital to my walk with God! Satan knows this, and he is quick to jump on opportunities to lure me into thoughts like, "Oh, I'll pray later when I have more time", or "I prayed some earlier, I don't need to spend more time in prayer now, do I?" Hello?! What better way to spend time than in the presence of my Saviour? And what other things do I hold as being more important? How dare I spend more time talking with my earthly friends or even my family, than I do talking with Almighty God who saved my soul?! I recently asked a dear friend to keep me accountable about my prayer time, because I want to strive more than ever to make prayer a daily and constant habit. Not just praying now and then throughout the day, but dedicating time to talking with God. Praying through the day is great though, don't get me wrong! It is so important to incorporate talking to and praising God into our routine tasks. <3

3. In every thing give thanks.
When my paycheck comes in early? Yeah, I give Him thanks. When I get to do something fun or special with a friend? Yep. When I am having a really, really good day? Sure. But what about when nothing is going right? When my body is hurting? When my friends are far away and I can't talk with or be with them like I want to? When I lose something or someone I loved? Do I still thank God? Do I still sing a song of praise to Him when my heart is breaking? In EVERY THING give thanks. Why? Because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. And I need no more reason than that.

4. Quench not the Spirit.
When I see things from God's Word that contradict what I'm actually doing in my life, so often I have pushed it away with a feeble excuse. So often I am guilty of quenching the Spirit's whisperings of truth in my heart. The very One who was given to guide me, I turn away from. God forgive me.

5. Despise not prophesyings.
When I sit under the preaching of the Scripture, I should have an attitude of humility, searching my own heart. Not ever a spirit of criticism or annoyance at having to listen. So often, even as I walk in the doors of church, Satan is actively attacking. Whether it's me getting my hackles up about some silly offense, or a younger one straining my's a fight every time to have my heart prepared to be still and listen. And I don't always win that fight, but I'm going to keep trying.

6. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
One of the most popular Bible verses that the lost, (and many saved actually, too) like to twist is "Judge not, that ye be not judged." They usually just conveniently ignore the rest of the chapter, and even the second half of the verse, and chop it down to a simple and blanket statement: "Judge not." However, we as children of God SHOULD be judging certain things! Not looking down on others and beating them over the head for their sin; of course not! But we DO need to judge things that we come in contact with, be it as "small" as a movie or book, or as large as a new doctrine or idea being introduced. We have to look on these things with discernment, and judge whether they are right or wrong, using God's Word as the standard. We don't judge things or people out of our own hearts, because our hearts are corrupt, and trusting the heart is foolish. (Jer. 17:9, Prov. 28:26) But we do hold things up to the standard of the Bible, and if they pass the test, we should hold them fast. If not, we should run far away from them.

7. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
What if someone were to look through your life today? As in, everything from your Instagram and Facebook accounts, to the clothing you wear, to the books you read, to the movies you watch, to the friends you hang out with, to where you spend your weekends...everything. Would there be any evidence that you are a Christian? Or would there be so much appearance of evil that they would have a really hard time figuring it out? Man. That is really thought provoking.

8. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
This last section is so important, because we cannot even do one of the above mentioned things without the help of God. He is the One who sanctifies us, and gives us peace. He preserves us when we are following Him wholeheartedly. He is faithful to grow and lead us in His way, for He has called us by name. How precious to be guided and strengthened by God's hand! How earnestly we ought to strive to follow His commandments, for they are not grievous!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fun Post: April Favorites

Hello there!

*fervently hopes no one thinks I'm super annoying for posting April favorites halfway through the month of May*


Life happens, and I apologize for this post's lateness. ;P Some of the things I've been loving this past month...

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar. This is my second time through this two book series, and I love it so so soooo much. <3 It's a fiction about an unusual young woman's adventures and spiritual growth in the Persian empire. I love the heroine because she is so... real. Her life doesn't go as planned, and unlike many "perfect heroines" she doesn't immediately grow and learn and become even more perfect. It takes her a lot of time and frustration before she begins to see God's Hand in her life. (He has been working all along, she just hasn't recognized it...sounds familiar somehow? ;) Anyway, awesome read that I would highly recommend, along with the one that comes after it, Harvest of Gold. :)

A new skirt I got at Goodwill; it's floor length, black lace ruffles. Guys. It's so me!! :O Also, a super soft and comfortable Curious George shirt that I got in Leavenworth. ;P

Grieg's Wedding Day at Troldhaugen. As some of you already know, a church member has graciously provided me with a set of piano lessons, (my first ever!!). It has been so awesome, and I'm really going to miss my amazing teacher. Anyway, last month and this month I am learning this song, and it is pretty hard, but I love it! It's so fun to push myself to new heights and try something I probably wouldn't have previously gone for. :) When my teacher first played it for me though, I was thinking, "There is no way I can learn this song, what are you even doing assigning me this?!" ;P

With the whole family, in Sunriver Oregon. How much more perfect can a vacation get?! It was amazing. We thought that Micah, (my next brother down), wouldn't be able to come due to work, but he was able to after all! We rode bikes, went in the hot tub that came with our house, got lost on the bike trails, picnicked next to the river, drank coffee floats from Brewed Awakenings (love that name ;P), and played games. It was so special. <3

Reaching out...
To over 4,000 people during Wenatchee's Apple Blossom Festival. It's a two week long celebration that people come from two and three states away to attend. It's like the Olympic games, traffic is insane, and my workplace becomes not much more than a bathroom and a place to come and be rude (thank you, Seattlites. ;P) Kidding, not all people from Seattle are rude. Just a lot of them. ;) Anyway, in the midst of all the craziness of parades, shows, etc., we had the youth group from Stanwood, Washington come over to help with outreach. And did they ever!! They worked sooo hard, walking miles and miles every day passing out tracts and witnessing. With thousands of people in town just for the festival, we had a very easy time finding people to talk to!! ;) So thankful for the many Gospel tracts that got into people's hands, as well as the personal evangelism that was done. Praise God!

Visiting with...
My friend Jenny. During the time that the youth group was here, Jenny "happened to be" house sitting for the pastor of a nearby church. That house was only 2 minutes away from my place--just down the road!! I was able to spend the nights over there to free up some bed space here, and it worked out so well. It was super fun and special to spend some time with her! :) There was one night when we had a discussion on how we would go about embezzling money without getting caught (which sounds dreadful until you realize that we are writers and were trying to help a friend with writing a fiction paper... :'D). Then there was the night that we watched Facing the Giants, and as usual, something got in my eyes and they ended up watering a lot. :') Heh heh. And of course there was lots of snacks and ice cream. I mean what would a visit from a friend be without junk food?! (Right Kimberly?? ;D Haha!) Anyway, I had a great time.

HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA. Ok guys, I have always had a chip on my shoulder about Kombucha. I thought it was weird and sounded gross and icky and I would never drink it. Ahem. Then a church member gave me a bottle of her homemade stuff, sweetened with fresh grape juice, and WOW. I'm hooked. ;P It's so good!!!!! I've never tried the store bought stuff yet though...

The hills around Wenatchee slowly turn green. It looks like Ireland around here, and until the summer gets insanely hot, I'm going to continue to marvel at how beautiful the surrounding mountains are. Thank you, Lord!

Well, that's it for this month, folks! Hopefully I can get my next favorites post out in a more timely fashion. ;) Have a lovely week, everyone! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Making Music is having a Centennial!!!

Psalm 126:3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Today's is a big post!! The blog is not a hundred years old, so this is not technically a centennial. ;) However, this IS my one hundredth post on Making Music for The Master! 100 posts! I never really thought I would be able to be consistent with putting content out there, and am so thankful for The Lord allowing me to continue doing this for over a year now. In celebration, I have compiled a list of 100 of my favorite things in the whole world. They are NOT in any particular order. I sat down and started wildly typing, just putting numbers on things so I'd know how many I had... thus, it is most definitely not in order of importance. ;) Just wanted to make that quite clear. These are a bunch of somewhat random, but lovely things that are special to me. Hope you enjoy!

1.The Lord Jesus Christ
2. My salvation
3. God's Word
4. My precious family, who puts up with me. ;)
5. All of my dear friends, who also put up with me.
6. A large house, perfect for housing guests
7. Technology, and the ability to do this blog.
8. My blog readers :)
9. Books
10. A good job
11.  Food of all descriptions
12. God's provision
13. Cozy blankets
14. Espresso
15. Half and half
16. Whipped cream ;P
17. Jumping into a pool
18. Travelling
19. Airports
20. 50's style clothes
21. Sunglasses that actually look good
22. Laughing so hard I can hardly breathe
23.  Imperfectly beautiful things
24. Small flowers
25. Freshly cut grass
26. The smell of home made bread
27. A comfortable bed to sleep in
28. Long naps
29. Fuzzy socks
30. Playing racquetball
31. Driving with the windows down on a warm night
32. Listening to music with earbuds
33. Beating my own record at something
34. Coffee shops
35. Huge comfy chairs
36. Candlelight
37. Giving gifts
38. Getting gifts ;)
39. Writing
40. New pens
41. New journals
42. Vintage things
43. Picnics
44. Hiking
45. Seesaws
46. Playing piano
47. Winning a prize
48. Playing board games
49. Thrift stores
50. Yard sales
51. Close harmony
52. Singing at the top of my voice (alone. ;P)
53. Huge picture windows
54. Blossoms in spring
55. The smell of rain
56. Thunderstorms
57. Fireplaces
58. Leather boots
59. Catching something at the last second and feeling like a ninja
60. Staying up late talking
61. Free stuff
62. My birthday
63. Good hair days
64. Comfy AND cute shoes
65. Sharing my faith with someone
66. Bacon
67. Dresses
68. Super lightweight shoes
69. Breakfast dates
70. Self serve Froyo
71. Phones (love 'em, hate 'em, you know?! ;)
72. Window seats
73. Beautiful photography
74. Snail mail, package or letter
75. A good workout
76. Cold milk
77. Cereal (especially Life cereal! And Honey Bunches....and granola...and...I'll stop)
78. Summer nights
79. Purses and skirts with pockets. ;)
80. Family vacations
81. Music stores. All those new unexplored instruments!!! :O
82. Discovering a really good book or T.V. series that already has several released items.
83. Rereading a book from your childhood
84. Sleeping in
85. Long hot showers after being chilled or working hard
86. Hot chocolate (with the aforementioned whipped cream, of course. ;)
87. Baby animals
88. Ranch Dressing!!!
89. Bluetooth speakers
90. Eric Whiteacre, The Pettits, The Galkins, and Dan Forrest. <3
91. Taking little siblings on outings
92. Roasting marshmallows
93. Roller coasters, zip lines, bumper cars
94. Swimming
95. Slippers
96. Retreats
97. Conferences
98. Family road trips
99. Good dreams
100. The feeling of completing something, like a 100 item list, for example. ;)

I really could go on and on I wrote I kept thinking of more and more things I could add. This could easily be a 10 or 20 part post if you want! (Totally joking, I would never do that to you guys! ;D) Anyway, I am so, so thankful to The Lord for all that he has done in my life, and all He has taught me through this blog so far. I am hoping that my words will make an impact in at least one person's life...if that happens, it's worth it. :) I say this a lot, but I would like to thank you, my readers, again for continuing to stick with me! :) You are so wonderful to subscribe or check the blog, read my posts, leave comments...I appreciate all of it so, so much!! You guys are awesome! :) I hope all of you have a great week to come. Keep your heart focused on The Lord! Lots of love,

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Day The Earth Cried Out

The middle of a sunny afternoon, and the sky suddenly darkened to a thick, menacing black. Day turned to night in a moment's time. 

Then came a low rumble, deep in the heart of the earth's foundations. It grew and built until the world seemed to be shaking itself out of orbit. 

Great cracks ripped across the ground like a garment being torn apart at the seams. The sky itself roared with a cacophony of thunderous sound. The planet cried out---its Maker had just laid down His life. 

The Creator. His breath had spoken the universe into existence. And His breath had just left His body.

The Lamb. Slain from the foundation of the world, yes. And now that prophecy had been fulfilled.

Jesus. His hands held the fate of mankind. And they were nailed to a wooden cross. His heart was so perfectly compassionate, so eternally and deeply loving. And it had just stopped beating. 

Is it any wonder that the creation itself was moved? The day His life ended, every prophecy concerning the coming Messiah was completed. The atonement for man's sin was fulfilled. God's law was satisfied, his wrath appeased. When He cried, "It is finished!", it was. Nothing was left to do for the salvation of man. Nothing. 

The day Christ faced death was the day He made sure we wouldn't have to. 

If the creation trembled on this day, imagine how it must have rejoiced three days later. For on the first day of the week, Jesus took up his life again. He has the power and authority to lay it down, and to take it up again. The day that borrowed tomb opened was the day he proved once and for all that He was the perfect Son of God, the One who holds the keys of death and hell!

The day Christ rose to life eternal was the day He granted it freely to you and me!

Will you take it?