Saturday, December 21, 2013

Celebrating Christmas 365 days a year

Okay I know what you are thinking "um, is this girl crazy?" But Christmas is about celebrating our Savior's birth and giving thanks to Him. Why don't we celebrate that every day? Christmas isn't meant about decorations, boxes wrapped up under a tree, it's suppose to be about praising God. He gave us His only son so that we might be saved from our past, present, and future sins.

"Oh, how I praise the Lord. How I rejoice in my Lord and Savior! For he took notice of a lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed. For he, the Mighty One, is holy. His mercy goes on from generation after generation, to all who fear Him. His mighty arm does tremendous things! How he scatters the proud and haughty ones! He has taken princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel! For He promised our ancestors-- Abraham and his children-- to be merciful forever."  Luke 1:46-55

Mary sang this out with great joy when she met with Elizabeth, praising God for blessing her with a son, and for entrusting her with His only son. Some people think that Mary was bring prideful, but she wasn't. She was accepting the position and gift God had given her with humbleness and joy, and giving Him praises for all that He is and all He has done for her. How would you feel if someone didn't accept a gift because you felt it was too much? what if they sent it back? Wouldn't that hurt? Just yesterday I received my birthday present from my best friend Ashlyn and her mother, they sent me a laptop. It was far more then ever expected when she told me she was sending me a gift, she said it was to help with my schoolwork, which I had admitted to her I was having trouble with. It stirred my heart so deeply. I didn't know what to say to her but thank you. It was a great blessing from God to receive such a gift. I wanted to sing out in thanks, but I figured that I didn't want to scare Ashlyn with my horrible singing, since she was on the phone with me when I opened my present.

"I love you Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold. I will call on the Lord who is worthy of praise, for he saves me from my enemies" Psalm 18:1-3

The book of Psalm is filled with so many beautiful songs singing praises to God, more and more lately I have felt my heart singing out to Him, praising Him for everything he has bestowed upon me, his child. I want to burst out into song when I hear good news for my friends and family, even complete strangers, which they did a lot back in biblical times. Music is such a huge part of our lives. So if you feel the need burst out into song, sing to your heart's content, cry out your joyful noise. I found myself having a hard time communicating with God, I felt like my prayers were hitting the ceiling? have you ever felt like that? I talked to my friend William, he suggested a few things. He said to try dancing, drawing, writing, or even singing to Him, God will listen to what I have to say, I just had to break through that mental barrier I'd put up. It worked wonders for me, so why don't you give it a try?

"But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry reached his ears" Psalm 18:6

I have been listening to the song Let it go from Disney's Frozen, mostly the version by Demi Lovato (Her voice is so beautiful)

And I can't help thinking about how Elsa felt to be free, and how much I want that myself. I know much of how she felt, even though I am the youngest. I had to struggle to be the "Good girl" to be what everyone else wanted me instead of what God wanted me to be. The mask I wore to please the people around me almost became permanent, along with the torture in my heart, but God revealed Himself to me, saying this was not who I was meant to be, nor should I try to be anyone else but who I am. Relief was one of the many things felt when Christ began filling my heart and soul. So let go of the past, let God's peace and freedom envelope you, for He will take all your fears and pains to a place where they an never reach you again.

There are so many ways to celebrate Christ, don't miss the chance to praise him for all the wonderful blessings He has placed before your very eyes, you never know if He's setting down another one, maybe even under the Christmas tree.

Coming soon to, a devotional inspired by God and written by Kaitlyn W.


 Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cloak of the Light Review

Another book from Blogging for books!

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

With Chuck Black’s Cloak of the Light I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I got something better then I expected. We all imagine the world we cannot see, but believe in with all our hearts; the world of Angels and Demon. He brings this world to life with surprising detail, though he had little to go on, Chuck Black used the few biblical facts about angels and demons that he could find.

In the book our focus is on the character Drew Carter, a man who’s had a very hard lot in life, and an unbeliever. Three deaths hit him hard in the gut, change his life for the worse, strengthening his resolve that there is no God and that in this world only logic and good sense will serve you well. There were so many times I wanted to whack him over the head and tell him to get a clue. Even when his crush brought him to a bible study, the pastor even felt a need in his heart to change the sermon, and used very good logic Drew refused to believe.

Drew’s best friend Benjamin was a science wizard from the start, but when his collage professor goes missing after an amazing project is completed he believes the FBI is after them, because the invention could speed up light and what they thought to be aliens were revealed. Benjamin came to Drew with this, and to prove he wasn’t crazy took drew to the lab and let him look through the machine. But one of these beings saw them, and wasn’t too happy. The machine exploded, leaving Ben badly burned, and Drew completely blind.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

So many times we rely on what we understand, what we think is possible and impossible, but we forget that the Lord is the Almighty, and he has the power to do anything. He did create every single one of us after all. But Drew knows nothing of Him and such a thing is going to be dangerous for him with an army of demons wanting the young man dead.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23

What I liked most about this book was the character Sydney. Her faith in Christ was so amazing; she kept it with her and let the light in her heart shine. Even Drew noticed there was something different about this girl, though he could never place it. She refused to date someone who did not share her faith, though she loved Drew greatly she kept her heart on guard for she knew the effects it would make if she compromised. Sydney also showed great strength even when she knew the situation looked really, really, bad! But she prayed to the Lord to watch over them and to save them, and she showed Drew that power, though again he didn’t know it.

All in all this is a great book for reader’s young and old. It stays at a good pace, keeps you interested, and wanting more. I cannot wait for book two of Wars of the Realm!

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Pre order this awesome book today!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

To Family (Blood related and non blood related) and Friends, this is for you.

This is a thank you and an confession to my friends and family, who have been there for me through so much.

So many times before I came to Christ I held bitterness and resentment towards my family, for holding me back, telling me no, for cancelling plans last minute, I blamed them all for it. Every night for three years I cried myself to sleep, wondering why everything hurt so much, why I didn't have any friends, and why God was punishing us. I never got an answer to my cries, at least not right away.

A year and a half before I joined I went into a serious state of depression, anytime I found a spark of happiness it faded before I could hold onto it, no matter what my family did I couldn't put on a real smile. After so long the thoughts of suicide drifted into my head, I thought anything could be better then this horrible pain in my heart, better then crying night after night, better then feeling a burden and a waste to my family. I even had a dream that I put a knife in my chest, went to bed, bleed to death, and my family didn't notice till it was far too late to save me. It scared me to the core, not because the thought of death scared me, but because I knew I could do it. I really wanted to kill myself and I felt I had nothing to hold me back from it, but all that time I could have done it, so close to doing it, something told me NO. 

After that ordeal I thought of cutting myself. I knew my family would see, so I didn't, I wouldn't have able to handle their questions. Everyday my anger and bitterness grew, turning it towards my family brought some relief from it, but it never lasted long. Then I just stayed in my room, keeping myself as far away as I could from my family as much as humanly possible. Then medical problems started to arise, though I gave little care to them, the thought of suicide coming up again. If I let my medical problems kill me then I wouldn't have to answer any questions, I wouldn't have to do anything except not take my medicine and go to sleep, my body would take care of the rest. Again I felt something screaming in the back of my head saying NO.

One day my dad found, a place for aspiring authors to show off their work, he knew how much my sisters and I loved to write. It was my chance to make friends, I signed up right away. It took me about a week to make a friend, I didn't have too much experience in that department, but I gave it a go with a girl who commented on one of my stories. Her name was Faith. My first friend in years, and her name just happened to be Faith.

With that friendship growing more each day other friendships were brought into my life. A girl with the username Ashlyn James befriended me in a Roleplaying group, there I also met a girl named Julia, all three of us stuck together harder then super glue. To have so many wonderful friends surrounding me was something I had never imagined, but there was still a pain in my heart. 

I met a boy through my sister, David. My sister and I became good friends with him, he was funny, a good listener, loved to talk even if it wasn't about anything particular. He was there for us through the tough times when it seemed our family would tear apart at the seams. I fell in love with him. I told no one, not even David, of what I felt. Not much later something happened to David, he stopped talking to me, I would try and it seemed he could get rid of me fast enough, it cut my heart to ribbons. I tried talking to my sister about it, but she kept telling me our friendship wasn't that strong anyways and I should just forget about it, those words hurt me even more, more then she knew. I can't blame her now, I didn't tell her how deep my feelings went, but back then I did and felt there was no point in telling anyone, no one would care.

Months went by after that, I let go of my feelings for him and just stopped talking to him all together, but I still felt the heat of anger and betrayal whenever my sister brought him up. I went deeper into my seclusion. After a while I started getting a lot of prayer request from my friend Rebekah, she was having a hard time with medical problems that the doctors still haven't discovered the problem to yet, but I didn't pray for her. I honestly didn't think I needed to, God didn't listen to my prayers, and I felt horrible for not doing the one little thing she asked of me. Then I bought some Christian fiction books at the local booksale that year, just thinking they would be good clean romance novels. The more I read the more I saw what real Christians were meant to be like. In my head I told myself I was a christian, but in my heart I knew better, I couldn't even pick up the bible. I began question myself again and again; was I a real Christian? I believed there was a God, but that was about the sum of what I believed. After a few agonizing days I texted Ashlyn, telling her my faith had come into question. We talked for hours and hours, me going on with endless questions and telling her EVERYTHING, she listened and help me to the best of her abilities, telling me God was there and to just ask for his help. I didn't do it right away. 

On one Sunday afternoon I was reading the book City girl by Lori Wick. The way the main character felt about Christianity was the same way I felt. Throughout the book the world around me changed, the main character went into a church, so did I, she listened to the message the Pastor was preaching to the people, as was I, she asked the Lord to forgive her and that she accepted Him as her savior, I found myself doing the exact same thing as she. I had never felt so relieved in all my life, all those burdens, the pain, everything was gone. Exchanged for a wonderful peace I feel now every time I pray to Him.

I told Ashlyn what had happened and I never thought someone could be so happy for me! I felt loved. I could pray for Rebekah, for myself and my family, I was so happy.

Months went on, I learned about God and the work he did in Biblical times, VERY SLOWLY might I add. I hadn't told any of my family there was a time I had been lost, and I was ashamed to tell them that. A time came when my sister and David got into a big argument, I won't go into detail, but it got really bad, and I was stuck in the crossfires. David talked to me, only to get information about my sister and to be comforted about some of his actions. My sister came to me wanting to talk everything out and hoping to get advice or answers on what she should do. It wore me down, drove me crazy, and brought back a depression I never wanted to come back. Thoughts of suicide came back as well. I told my sister and David to leave me out of it, but I managed to either get dragged into it by them or by angry text message I sent him after my sister showed me couple of his texts (which I then felt bad about and sent an apology an hour after the last texts) I put my foot down again, telling David and my sister not to talk to me about the fighting between them again, I couldn't take it anymore.

The Lord used Ashlyn and her family to get me through the depression that seemed to come with an even greater power then before, giving them the right words to say, and pointing me in the right direction. I can never thank them enough for that.

I tell you all this to say that the Lord is so wonderful, please don't let the chance slip by to get to know Him. This is also for family and friends. I'm so sorry for the pain I've caused you, there are no excuses for what I did and I pray one day the Lord can make them right, for I know I can't do it on my own. Also thank you. I thank my parents for dealing with all my bad moods and hissy fits and for raising me in a home full of love, even through the hard times. I thank my friends who have stuck by me and helped my faith in God grow stronger each day, I couldn't have done it without you! I thank my best friend and sister in Christ Ashlyn and her mom, both have inspired me to be a better person, to give myself up to God, and have been two very strong pillars of Hope in my life.

Thank you to anyone who is reading this. I hope the Lord works miracles in your life, just like he did mine.