Joy, Thankfulness

Thankful for the Little Things

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Sometimes when we get back into the school year, and are so overwhelmed with busyness that we lose track of the important things in life. Sometimes we’re so busy that we forget to take time to look around and observe. We forget to be thankful. Now, don’t think I’m trying to point fingers here, I’m sure I’m just about one of the worst with this, as I always tell myself I don’t have time to do these things. School is important, and so are a lot of those other things, but sometimes we need to take some time to breathe, and to observe.

You might notice I’ve said the word observe multiple times here… what do I mean by that? Well… I mean that you have to notice the little things. And be thankful for them. You don’t have to take a ton of time doing this! But it’s not as hard as we make it!

As you walk out the door, notice the bright blue sky.

As you get in the car, be thankful for a running heater!

As you step out of your car, notice the beautiful fall leaves falling from the trees!

When you eat lunch, be thankful that you have a lunch to eat.

And as you crawl into bed, be thankful for those warm covers.

As you glance at yourself in the mirror, be glad that you have a reason to smile.

When you wake up, be thankful to God that you have another day to live and breathe and worship him!

During church, be glad that you have the freedom to be a Christian!

When you sit and cuddle with your pet, be thankful that you have companions and friends in life!

Now all of these aren’t just “little things”, but there are plenty of obvious, AND plenty little things – all of which we should be thankful for.

You might already do all these things, but I’m sure each one of us could use a reminder every now and then.  And what better time for a reminder than when we’re less than a week away from thanksgiving!? So, as you rush around your busy life, take time to be thankful, even if it’s for the littlest things, and take time to shoot a silent prayer of thanks up to God for all that you have. And, hey, if you’re feeling extra grateful, why not share some of that with a friend by commenting on how beautiful of a day it is, or how happy you are? Sometimes just one happy, grateful person, can make a whole crowd of people thankful again! You might just light a spark. 😉

No thankfulness post is complete without a few verses, so I will leave you with just that.

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

1 Corinthians 16:8

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(All verses are KJV)

This was kind of a short post, but I hope you enjoyed it!

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Faith

Filled Up

filled up

Would you rather be full of God, or full of Satan? The answer is simple: full of God. In order to be full of God He has to be our complete focus, the one we turn to for making every choice and every decision. When we put Him first in each situation and go to Him for counseling when we need advice, His presence grows inside of us. I personally don’t believe you can lose your salvation, but I do believe that you can lose a strong bond with the Lord when you are a Christian. I’m sure all of us have seen people that we think are Christians but don’t have a strong walk with the Lord, and people that we KNOW are Christians and we KNOW have a strong walk with the Lord. Even if both are Christians, some may not be as attuned with God or as willing to put Him first as others.

What I’ve recently realized is that all the space that doesn’t have God in it can be taken up by Satan’s influence. When you are completely filled with Christ, there is no room left for Satan’s lies anywhere in your heart. But when you slack off and your heart isn’t as full with God, there is room for Satan to step in. So if you have a lot of God in your heart but aren’t completely full with him, then Satan can still come in and take over part of it until you surrender it to God–ONLY God, and no others. When I say Satan, I mean more of our human flesh. As a human, there are things we may say to one another without realizing that it hurts them, and there are things we may do to others that make us feel good, even when it’s mean. When someone disagrees with us, our first instinct is to stick up for what we said in the first place (which starts arguments). When someone says something rude, we want to shoot back something meaner.

This is our flesh that does this. God is not like that. He doesn’t do that. Satan uses our fleshly instincts to go against what God wants. But when you let God enter your heart and you invite him to come ALL the way in, when you pray daily and read your bible, he will enter more and more until there is no room left for Satan to use you or for sinful instincts to take over. It’s just God in there. When you really let God in so that he can handle your life, it’s so much better. And it doesn’t stop there. He can continue to fill you until his presence is overflowing out of you. When you fill up a cup, it stays full. But if you just keep dumping water in, it will overflow! That’s what we want God to do. To fill us up so much with him that it overflows to everyone around us: his love, his faithfulness, his trustworthiness, and his joy!

That way, people that look at us and see God overflowing from within us, and not anything else. I truly realized this when I got back from my missions trip to Mexico. It was actually more like a youth camp, and we were in TX most of the time. But it was SO amazing, because being around the people I was around just brought so much joy to me! They were always smiling and happy, and I just KNEW they were like that because God was inside them. And when I was around someone like that and I could see that God was like that in them, I really wanted it for myself.

I knew I was a Christian, and I prayed, but I hadn’t fully devoted myself to Christ. I prayed quite a bit actually, and when I came to troubles, I looked to him for help. But I wasn’t taking time to thank him for everything as well. And I wasn’t looking for the little things in life that are amazing. I never made time to read my bible, and I’m ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. I KNOW and realize how important that is, and that it HAS to come first every day, or else God will not fill you up and there will be room for worldly things: what Satan wants you to do and what your human flesh is telling you to do. So sometimes you have to get away from all that (even somewhere away from home literally–for me that place was Mexico) and get your eyes fixed on GOD and what HE wants to do in your life. And then he will fill you up.

Have you ever been worried to be around someone who wasn’t godly, because you didn’t want them to rub off on you and make you rude to others like they were? I have! But at the same time you really want to be a good influence on them? I get scared sometimes that it might flip flop and they would be a bad influence on me! But when you stop worrying about all that, and strengthen your walk with God and let him take care of it, then he will be SO full inside your heart that there won’t be any room for worldly things that try to work there way in there. So when you feel like you have a strong walk with God, and you feel temptations pulling at you, you have to just say “NO. God is leading my life. He is the master!”

I’ll leave you with a couple Bible verses I found. One I came across just this morning!

Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Proverbs 27:7 “The full soul loatheth a honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

So when we’re not full, we mistake bad for good. That’s what I get out of that last one. The first one is kind of straight forward. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this post! And I’m not saying I’m perfect with this yet. I’m still trying to work on it. I really want to make sure I’m being a godly influence on others. And when I say go to God first, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to other Christians and talk to them. God gives us people like that because he knows that sometimes we need another person to talk to. Anyways, I hope you liked it! Thanks so much! And have a blessed day “filled” with God’s love! 🙂

K.A. signoff

Beauty, Courage, Kindness, Love

You Matter

you matter

Hello everyone! K.A here today with you! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. Life gets busy, things happen, you forget… you guys know how it goes! This probably won’t be a super long post, but I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement today.

All of us go through a time when we feel like no one cares. Like we don’t matter to the world. Everything around us is a blur, and even though we love the people we know, it seems like they’re so far away, and you wish for things you don’t have. There are so many “ifs” filling your life that every time you try to run away, you’re faced with a different one. Should I go to college? Will I get married? You know what you want in life, but what if you have this or have that? What if you want to be a stay at home mom, but you really want to have a job as something else? There are so many options today, so many things spinning around and around you, putting a fog between your questions and the answers. We all go through this time in our lives when we’re figuring things out.

We are looking for someone to tell us everything that is going to happen, and exactly what turns to take in the years ahead. Well, sorry, but it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes, there isn’t a clear answer for the things ahead. Sometimes, we have to rely on God to help us know what we need to do now, and deal with the future when it becomes the present. When you just need someone to talk to, to cry out to and spill your problems to, there are people there. You can talk to your parents, animals, and even your journals. But no matter how far away he might seem, God is always right there next to you waiting for you to give him your burdens. You can even come and talk to any one of us here at YLFC. There are so many people in the world that love you. Even when you don’t think anyone cares, we do! I love you, and more importantly, GOD loves you. There are so many doubts that are killing people’s good thoughts about themselves. You don’t want to be prideful, but it doesn’t help to tell yourself that you are the ugliest being on the earth, either. I know what it’s like.

There are so many critics in the world today. But you know what? GOD LOVES YOU LIKE YOU ARE!! Every one of us was made special by God’s own hand. I heard a song recently that said “Those hands that carried the cross are now the hands that carry us.” (Held in your hands, by Rush of Fools. I don’t know that I’ve heard the entire song).

God loves you. He made you with His hands. He formed you, and he loves you. The hands that made this world are the hands that made YOU! He made you different than any other person in the whole wide world. You are special. Whether you feel like you’re in a deep pit, and no one notices, or you feel like you’re invisible to the world around you, you are never invisible to God. He doesn’t care if you wear the latest fashions, he doesn’t care if you’re a blonde. He loves everyone, the perfect and imperfect alike.

Matthew 18:12-14 says:

12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 15:4 says:

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

See? He loves us. When you don’t feel like anyone notices you or anyone cares about your future, when you’re lost and confused and can’t think about anything but how no one loves you no matter how hard you try, remember that God loves you. And He is so strong and courageous that he can give you the power to fight, and he can easily get you through whatever you’re going through. God will help you know where to go in time, and He’ll give you hope for the future! Meanwhile, get in your Bible! You’ll find more evidence of his great, great love for us sinners. Jesus loves you!!! You MATTER to Him. God will reveal what you need to know in time. But for now, let Him fight the war in front of you. He gave you this life so you could enjoy it, but also use it to live for and glorify HIM!

YOU MATTER.

This is one I just heard yesterday. It was really good, because I could really relate to it with some of the feelings I’ve had lately. I hope it helps you. This one nearly makes me cry. It’s not the type of song I would usually listen to a lot, but I really like this one!

Another one I heard yesterday on the radio. It’s a very good reminder that God is right there, and He cares about you!

One last one for you all. You are More. I’ve liked this one for a while. It’s definitely worth listening. And another slightly sad hanky-jerker. You don’t have to listen to any of these, I just thought I’d put them on if you did.

Oh wait, there is one more. 😉 Whoops. Here you go:

I just came across it and had to put it on. Our music group has sung this before for people. It’s a really good song.

I hope this gave you an extra hope for tomorrow. You do matter, and God cares about every one of you out there. I hope that you’ll remember that there are other people going through hard things, too and that you would give them an extra hand up. Tell them that they matter too, and that they are loved by God. Help them know they’re not alone. I love you all. Don’t feel scared to talk to any of us here at YLFC. We’re always here for you guys. We want to talk. You are all so precious to God. Remember that. Remember to lift others up with your words this week. I love you guys so much.

K.A. signoff

Beauty, Faith

It’s Your Choice…

It's Your Choice

Something I’m sure every one of us knows and has heard a thousand times is that every fingerprint in the world is different. There are no two that are the same. Even for identical twins. You’ve probably all heard that from a young age in your science books, or from your parents. I know I did. But that’s not all God made different. It’s not just your fingerprint, your eyes, your hair, or your scars that are different. It’s your heart. It’s your personality, your characteristics. God made each one of us SO different.

I’ve gone through many times of saying “Why can’t I look like her?” or “Why can’t I have as pretty of a voice as that person?” I’m sure we’ve all compared ourselves to others before. We’ve wished that we could be like them. But, there’s one thing that will never ever change through your life. It doesn’t matter what the choices you make are, where you go, what you do… you will always ALWAYS be you. Just you! You may make yourself act like others or look like others. You may have surgery changing you to be different. But that never really changes you. Even if you go to try and be like someone else, God made you just the way he wanted you! That’s who you’re supposed to be!

You have the choice to make you into whoever you like. But people see you as you. If you choose to be a doctor, that’s what people see ‘You’ as. If you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, that’s what people see ‘You’ as. You can form yourself, you can decide to an extent who you want to be. But God made you different than others. Sure it’s hard not to want to impress people, to make them think you’re amazing. I’m a teen (almost). I know what it’s like! You want to be cool, you want people to notice you and how responsible you are, or how much you have to show off. Our flesh can’t help but want that.

To a certain extent that’s not a bad thing, but you have to keep control of it. You have to keep from blending in with the crowd too much. It’s okay to stand out every now and then. Don’t you think Noah stood out? He thought water was going to fall from the sky! But he TRUSTED GOD. He didn’t go with trying to please others. To act like he knew better than to trust God! He did what he was told. He stood out, but wasn’t it worth it? Sure, you might not be in the middle of the flood, but you have choices you can make to for yourself.

In the midst of trying to please your flesh, remember that God is always more important and he doesn’t love you more when you wear make-up. He doesn’t prefer you when you have some amazing hairstyle. I’m not saying this stuff is bad, but sometimes you have to zoom out and remind yourself that God doesn’t think you need all of this. It’s not bad to want to please others, or to want others to think of you as responsible. Those are good qualities. But you have to make sure that they don’t go to limits of doing things that you know wouldn’t please God, just so that you could please others. Cause in the end, it’s not worth it. You want to serve God. You don’t have to go down the same path as others. You can take the narrow road. God made you just the way you are, and just the way he wants you to be.

God made each one of us different for a reason. Not just so that we could spend 24 hours a day trying to be like everyone else. So, what I want you to get from this is when you form your character, when you’re making your personality, rely on God to help you. I’m not saying that friends are bad, and it’s bad to rely on your sibling and parent’s help. No, not at all! But when you feel your conscience saying that you’re around bad influences, listen to it, and most of all, listen to God. He loves you. No matter how pressured you feel to be someone you aren’t, don’t give in, and remember that God loves you, and he wants you to follow and love him.

And if you do, then you’re already on the right path. Sure there’ll be struggles, don’t doubt that. Just because you have God by your side doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get the thorns in the rosebush. But you’ll have him by you to help you every step of the way. It’s your choice who you want to be. What do you want to be? What are you going to choose? Who are you going to make yourself into? Are you going to go with the flow of others, or are you willing to take the risk to stand out? Are you going to choose the hard right over the easy wrong?

It’s your choice…

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My Testimony

My Testimony – by K.A.

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Hello! Today, I’m going to tell you my testimony. I haven’t ever shared this on a blog, and I don’t share it with others very often, but I’d like to share it with you all now.

When I was little, I believed that if you were young enough, you would go to heaven even if you weren’t a Christian. You know, when you didn’t know how to become one yet. When you didn’t understand it. Well, I remembered on my 8th (or somewhere around there) birthday, and I was SO scared. I didn’t want to be 8 yet. I had decided that was probably the age that if I died I wouldn’t go to heaven anymore, unless my salvation was true.

Of course, I know now that if I was old enough to understand that much, I was probably to that age already. Sure, I had prayed the prayer, but I didn’t feel like I was a Christian. After I was that old, I lived my life in constant fear. Every time I hollered for someone and they didn’t answer right away, I freaked out and thought “The rapture happened, the rapture happened! I’m here all alone!!!” I was always scared. I could never actually concentrate on anything, because I was so scared that the rapture would happen and because I wasn’t a true Christian that I would be left here all by myself. When I couldn’t find my sister where I had seen her last, I panicked. All the time I was scared.

I probably prayed “the prayer” a thousand times, just trying to get myself to think I was actually a Christian. I guess I thought I would KNOW when I was a Christian, and that in itself would be an immediate feeling or something. I asked my mom about it, and she showed me some verses about assurance of salvation. Over time, I realized that I wasn’t fearing over those things anymore, that I was no longer living my life in dread, fear, and anguish. I wasn’t constantly worried of those things, and after a while, I knew that if the rapture happened I was going to be right there with the rest of my family in heaven.

I used to be scared that I wouldn’t ever have assurance, that I would live the rest of my life hiding from the rapture instead of looking forward to it. Now, I can rest assured that I’m a Christian. I know that if someone were to ask me if I was, I would be able to truthfully say I KNOW where I’m going when I die, and I know it’s heaven! Now, I am willing to stand up for my faith. I’m not entirely sure what helped me gain assurance. I know it was God, but I think it was also the Bible, my mom, and time helped as well.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you struggle with assurance of salvation, I hope this was a help to you!

K.A. signoff

Courage

In the Mirror

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Whenever I go into the bathroom, I can’t help but look in the mirror; mainly because it’s above the sink…but also because I want to observe myself. It may sound weird, but I sometimes look in the mirror for rather long periods of time, just staring at my reflection. I look into my own eyes and wonder what God sees in them that He wants to use. I wonder how I can make a difference because I KNOW I can. I want to serve God. I don’t want to waste my life. I see my Bible sitting on the piano and say “I can just read it tomorrow”, and go about my life. I don’t want to be the person saying that I read my Bible, but can’t say all the books of them in order. I don’t want to be the Christian that doesn’t read her bible more than once every week. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say “where did time go?” I don’t want my last moments to be in regret.

I want to change the world. I want to live for my Lord and Savior. I want to make a difference. But wanting something and actually getting it are two different things. You have to work for it. If you want to make a difference, then sitting in your house hiding isn’t going to do that. You have to get out and do it. Sure, there’s a time for having fun, but there’s a time for getting something done. I’ve already lived 12 years without making a much of a difference at all. Well, not that I’m aware of. I want to step out. I want to be the change. I want to make a difference. Anyone can do it, but not anyone will.

Maybe you’re like Moses, telling God He’s chosen the wrong one for the job, that He’s made a mistake, that you maybe don’t think you’re good enough. Well God doesn’t make mistakes. Jesus can use any one of us Christians He wants for the job. And if He’s chosen you, then who are you to tell Him He’s wrong? God loves you. He died for YOU.  If you won’t even go out and tell the world what He did – If you won’t even go and make any difference for Him, because you’re too scared, then what kind of Christian are you? Are you going to be the Christian who doesn’t ever read your Bible, but goes to church on Sunday? Are you going to be the Christian that reads your Bible every single day, but never goes out to make a difference? Or, are you going to be the Christian, who reads your bible, prays, and tells the world about the good news? It’s your choice. God gave us those choices.

You can make a difference now. God chooses some for the bigger things. But not everyone is going to do the big things. You don’t start with the big things. You have to start small before you can go big. Every famous person in the world started small before they became big.  Some of them never even became famous. A tree starts small before it gets large. You have to be that sapling that grows into a huge tree.

When I think about these things, I want to change the world. I want to change lives. I know God put me here for a purpose. It doesn’t start with changing the world. Changing one person, then two, three, four and on and on! It’s not going to seem like you’re changing the world. And you can’t, and won’t, change the world. The world can’t change. But the people in it can. When I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference, I put it off. I don’t want to be the person that does that anymore. I want to change. And I’m going to change. I’m taking the steps into change. I want to live my life for Jesus and make Him proud. I don’t want to be one of the people He looks upon and says aren’t ready to serve. I want to be one of the ones that catch His eye. One of the ones that He smiles upon. I want to praise God in everything I do, and I want to help others to do the same.

Ou pastor gave the example (he taught about sharing the Gospel with others – after I had already written this post the first time through): If you had 100 dollars, and you gave 50 to your friend, you would only have 50 left. But with the Gospel, if you have information, and you give it all to your friend, you still have the same amount as you started with. It would be like having 100 dollars, then giving 100 to your friend, and still having 100! then they can give 100 to their friends, and it will just multiply, bringing so much money all around. But the Gospel is worth SOO much more than money. So share the Gospel with YOUR friends, so that they can share it with theirs.

Anyone can be the change. Anyone can make a difference. Anyone can change lives. But not everyone is willing to take those steps. It’s scary, I know, but I want to do it still. Don’t you think if it were you, it would have been hard for you to get on that cross and die for SO many people, knowing everything that was ever going to happen? Knowing that some people wouldn’t even care what you did? Well, Jesus still did it. Next time you look in the mirror, remember that God put you here for a reason, and know that you can change lives. When you look into your own eyes, see eyes that are observant, loving, and kind. When you look at your face, see someone who is loyal, brave, and wanting to serve. When you look at your mouth, see a mouth that is edifying, careful with what it says, and caring for others. When you look at your hands, see hands that work for the Lord, hands that are used to flipping pages in their bible, and hands help others in what they do. And when you look at your attitude, see an attitude that respects others, loves the Lord, and wants to use their life to glorify him in everything they do. You may not feel like you’re worthy to be chosen to change the world, but it comes with time, thought, effort, prayer, and a lot more. When you see yourself in the mirror, tell the person staring back at you that they can change the world. Because they can, if they have the desire to.

Mat 22:37
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

K.A. signoff