November 28, 2011

Through My Eyes

My family loves football. My brothers play it on the computer, outside in the mud, and in the living room. Of course it is not the only sport they play, but I can honestly say that it is their favorite.

So, for Daddy's birthday this year, we got him a copy of Tim Tebow's new book "Through my Eyes".
(For those of you who are not submerged in the football world, Tim Tebow is the Quarterback for the Denver Broncos.)
I think it took him a day and a half to finish reading it.
Matthew, my wonderful big brother, was not at home when Daddy finished, so I got to read it next.

I was excited about meeting Tebow through his book, and getting a glimpse of his life, from his perspective.
I was not disappointed. It was great.
His book chronicles not only his shining moments but also his discouraged ones. The warmth of his personality glows through the pages, showing both his strengths and his weaknesses. Like all humans, Tim Tebow has faults, and because of his position as a pro athlete he has been the center of a lot of criticism. Despite all of that, he has let the light of Christ shine in his life. In his book, he tells his thoughts, feelings and struggles.
The whole style of the book is fun and action packed. How could it not be, since Tebow plays football?
Needless to say, I am a solid supporter of Tebow. :)
It is my prayer that this godly man will continue to stand for what is right, and use the platform God has given him, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world.

I cannot imagine how hard it is, to be surrounded by media and fans, and to be different than everyone else. To be a Christian. But Tebow is not the only one who faces this struggle. Each one of us has a sphere of influence. As I turned the last page of Tebow's book, this question kept coming back to me. Am I using the platform that God has given me, to generate as much glory and honor as I can, toward myself, or God?
Though I don't have a fraction of the influence that this professional quarterback has, I do have the same calling.(Phil. 3:14)
This quote from Pg. 318 particularly challenged me.

"When I leave this world, I want to leave something behind that keeps on making a difference in people’s lives. When you finish strong in life and get to heaven, God’s going to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21).
…The legacy God intended each of us to leave has to do with the impact our lives have had on the lives of others whom He calls us to serve. It has to do with the difference our lives make in the world— in our families, with friends, at work, at school with our coaches, and teammates, and all those others around us. Our legacy should be about building in the lives of all those others, doing something for others that will not only last in their lives here, but for eternity…
What can I leave behind: a life that is marked by always trying to do things the right way, building a foundation in others, something that lives beyond me, helps people, and more important, causes them, in turn to want to help other people. Finish Strong and you help not just yourself; you help others.” Copyright.

(Disclaimer: Every opinion expressed here in is my own.)

November 19, 2011

The Bath Tub

Yesterday afternoon, as I was sitting down to read a PDF book called "Abortion" by R.C. Sproul, (which I will shortly write a review for), Mommy came in and asked if I would scrub the tub in her bathroom. 
Frankly, I did not want to. I wanted to read, and sadly, that is what I chose to do. Thank the Lord though that He did not leave me in my sin. (Slow obedience is no obedience, and I knew I was wrong). It was not long before my conscience started to bug me. I am sure that some of you have experienced it's pricks. 
I couldn't concentrate on my book. So to the cupboard I went for the bleach.
As I looked at the bath tub, it didn't seem to be all that dirty, the grout was a little moldy in spots, but the bleach wouldn't fix that. Why would Mommy want me to clean something that already looked clean?
I felt like putting the bleach away and going back to my book. After all, the tub was clean wasn't it? I didn't though, and soon I was on my hands and knees scrubbing. Thats when I saw a smudge on the wall above me. So I scrubbed that, but next to it was another one. Taking a step back I looked at the tub that had looked clean to me a minute before, and do you know what? It was dirty! Twenty minutes latter, the bath tub was sparkling clean. A thought suddenly hit me. 
How often do I do the same thing with my heart. Every morning when I have my 'quiet time' with God, I think over the day before, and try to remember the things I messed up on so as not to do them again. But just like I couldn't see the dirt in the tub at first, I cannot always see my sin. It blends in. I think that I am doing alright because I am not so cross as my sister or brother. But if I have lost sight of the greatness of God's holiness and perfection. Even though I might be 'better' than my siblings, I am not as good as God.
In 1 Peter 1:15 we are called to be holy because God is holy. If perfection (sparkly clean) is the standard, I do not measure up, just like the bathtub didn't when I compared a truly clean spot with everything else.
As christians we need to strive to be like Christ. We are not told to make sure we are better that everyone we know. We are told to be holy like GOD!
Think about that. It is not easy to grasp.  I am not for one second pretending to know all about it. It is the Word that renews our mind, (Romans 12:1-3) and it is the renewing of our mind that makes us holy.
Let's strive for that this next week.

(I just wanted to let you know that we are going out of town for Thanksgiving, a probably wont be back for a week, so you wont be seen any posts till our return. :)

In Christ,

November 16, 2011

Excerpt from "Its Not That Complicated"

Here are a number of excerpts from the Botkin ladies new book. These next few chunks were pulled from “Chapter Seven: The Heart: Victim or Perpetrator? Getting Your Heart to Follow YOU.”

Emotional Purity Revisited
We’re very grateful for the groundwork that has been laid by the Emotional Purity advocates, people who first began to seriously address the problem of handing out bits of our heart with reckless abandon. We, for two, needed to hear about the concept of guarding our hearts, keeping our emotions under control, and being faithful to our future husbands in thought and deed. But we believe this foundation needs a little more built onto it. For many, the concept raised more questions than it answered.
As one girl wrote to us: “My friend + i hav both decided that wee r neva goin 2 d8 + we want our 1st kiss 2 b on our weddings. …[but] i was tellin sum of my friends @ school about the decisions ive made and another question came up, is it wrong to have a crush on a guy? my friend says that you can’t control whether u have a crush on sum1 or not and im not 100 % sure how 2 answer that. Can u guys help?”
Once the idea of emotional purity is introduced, the questions breed like rabbits. “Can you keep from having crushes?” “Is it wrong to have a crush?” “When is it technically a crush, anyway?” “Whatever it is, is it a sin?” “Will they come back to bite me later?” “Will each crush that I’ve had make me love my future husband less?” “Do I need to go find and marry the first boy that I ever liked?” “Did the crushes I had when I was two count against my emotional purity, or do they only start to count at age 13? Is there a crushing age of accountability?” “I’ve given away my heart so many times – is it too late for me to even care?”
To those on the outside, these sorts of questions might sound like silly wranglings over definitions to see what we can get away with, or the perfect ten in female ditziness. But these questions are actually legitimate, and the confusion a big deal, because at the heart of it, we’re talking about our moral responsibilities. When we don’t understand our actual moral responsibilities in this area, we can feel ridden with guilt over things that aren’t actually wrong, and completely unpricked by things that are. We can have a fatalistic “It’s too late to guard my heart because I’ve already botched things so badly” attitude towards doing right in the future. And we can develop an unbiblical fear of doing the things we are actually commanded to do.
We torture ourselves over quandaries like, “At exactly what point in my thought process did my favorable thoughts towards a young man turn into sin? Did I cross the line when I started naming our imaginary future children? …or was it back when I was wondering what color the bridesmaids’ shoes should be? How about when I first admired what a servant’s heart he has?”
We ask the wrong question when we ask, “Is having a crush a sin?” The Bible doesn’t actually say, and the reason is because “emotional purity” is a made-up moral category. And it’s giving a lot of us feelings of (unbiblical) guilt for committing some dreadful nebulous crime that there is no definition for, when the answer would actually be very clear if we phrased the question using biblical terms. There are plenty of real moral categories for real sins – like lust, covetousness, idolatry, fear of man, vain imaginations, and presumptuous sins. How much clearer would things be if we would just go ahead and say, “I’ve made an idol out of a young man; is that wrong?” or, “I’m having lustful thoughts for this guy – is that a sin?”
The Bible gives plenty of clear commands, both positive and negative: Guard your heart. Love the brethren from a pure heart. Think on what is pure and what is true. Don’t covet. Don’t lust. Have self-control. Take every thought captive. Going against any of these clear commands is a sin. This should answer our questions.
See? Now it’s not that complicated again.

Conquering Love
But keeping our love in its proper place is easier said than done. Our hearts want to love. They want to fasten themselves to someone. As woman was taken from the side of man, she yearns to be restored to the side of man. We’ve all known since our highchair days that that’s where we belong. We’re wired to find them fascinating, attractive, and loveable. This is why one of young women’s biggest struggles is keeping that desire to love under control.
A girl once wrote to us, “For a long time I have struggled with unrequited love. I just cannot get over this one young man I know. I love him, but it seems that God has just not ordained that he should love me in return, and I am having the hardest time trying to accept that.”
There is no pain quite like realizing that what we desire most is not what God desires to give us – a pain we’re both keenly familiar with.
The truth is hard to accept, especially when we’re hurting, realizing that we made a mistake when we staked our hopes, our futures, our love, on someone who had no commitment to us in return. The girls who write us such emails are hoping for advice on how to get the young man to return their feelings, but truly the kindest (and hardest) thing we can tell them is this: that their own affections are out of place to begin with. The earlier girls would realize this, the more pain they would be spared. Love doesn’t have to go out of control and harm us. The young men God has placed in our lives don’t have to be sources of pain and heartache. There is a better way. And it requires learning to set boundaries for our own feelings.
But even those who recognize that little schoolgirl crushes are immature and fruitless can still wonder, “Is it wrong to deeply, sincerely desire a young man who is really worthy? One we could really marry?”
One thing our father taught us is that it’s not wrong to respect and admire a godly young man; not even to realize we could marry a man like him. But our legitimate and pure-hearted regard crosses the line into out-of-place love when we stray into one or more of these five mistakes:

1. Seeking our will above God’s
God already has a plan for what must happen with you and every young man you know. In His grand design, He knows who should be married to whom in order for His will to be accomplished, and your duty is to embrace that design as surely as you embrace God Himself. If we really, truly, sincerely love God’s ways, we will be able to do the impossible: Rejoice even if God gives Brandon to someone else, and take joy in the plan He has for us instead. Whenever we feel that we would not be happy with God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven, if that will is different from ours, we’re out of place. If a young man becomes more important to us than God’s will and preferences, he has officially become an idol.

2. Thinking we have a claim over the young man

It doesn’t matter how much we think we understand him, appreciate him, love him, deserve him – if we do not have his ring on our finger, he is not ours. In God’s bigger plan, this young man we’re lavishing so much devotion on might be another woman’s husband. And we might be another man’s wife. If there is no marital commitment, we don’t belong to one another.
Our love may feel pure, perfect, transcendent – but once it lights on a brother in Christ and says “He’s mine – hands off,” it has become selfish, possessive, and jealous. And this is part of the reason we need to resist crushes – because they’re incompatible with real love. That’s right – real love for the young man, and also the people around us. Do we truly love Brandon, enough to want the very best for him? Enough to want something better for him than… us? (If we truly cared about a fellow, would we necessarily think, “Brandon is so amazing… he needs a really special girl. I know! Me! Why, he couldn’t do better!”) How about the other girls? Do we love Amber enough to hope that she will also get a really amazing husband? Even if it’s… Brandon? (“But she can’t have him! Ideserve him!”) If we love the other girls around us, it really will change the way we love the other boys. Because true love conquers all – even crushes.
3. Forgetting who the man is
We’ve all heard it a thousand times, and yet we still forget: It’s the man’s job to choose, the woman’s job to be chosen. And no amount of active searching and window-shopping on our part will actually make our chosen chooser choose us any faster. Wrapping ourselves up in a bow and throwing ourselves at his feet doesn’t count as letting him be the initiator, either. It’s hard to feel powerless, but now is our time to learn patience and trust, to be at peace with the fact that it’s the man’s call. For a girl to “pick” a young man who may never be an option for her is presumptuous, at best. It can be asking for heartbreaking disappointment, at worst.
4. Building castles in the sky
The truth is, we open the door for heart wrenching pain when we stake all of ourselves, all of our thoughts, our whole world – on something that we have no guarantee will happen. Even in a courtship-type situation, when the young man’s interest is certain, it doesn’t guarantee that your future with him is. God may still have other plans (Jas. 4:13-15), and it’s best to be emotionally prepared for them.
5. Letting your brain go out the window
…as our father always put it. Dad taught us that when you’re facing one of the biggest decisions of your life is the time when you most need your wits about you. We all know infatuation is blinding; during this season of getting to know young men as friends, and especially in the next season of getting to know one of them as a potential husband, we will need to have our minds prepared for action (1 Pet. 1:13) and our eyes wide open.
Moreover, as appealing as it may sound, we shouldn’t expect God to lead us through our infatuations. Our hearts, feelings, “intuitions,” and romantic inclinations can all be wrong, no matter how strong they are or how right they feel. One friend of ours was so convinced that her feelings for a particular young man were a sign from the Lord, that she wouldn’t let them go even after his engagement to someone else. On his wedding day, she confronted him for going against the will of God, and told him it was still his destiny to marry her. Obviously, her feelings weren’t proof of anything but the fact that… she had feelings. God leads us through the truths in Scripture, not though our fickle human hearts.
We learned a lot from watching our dear friend – now sister-in-law –Nadia face all five of these temptations. It wasn’t long after Nadia became one of our family’s closest friends that she realized our older brother David was exactly the kind of man she had been praying for. As she describes it, “I was gripped by his humility and purity of heart before the Lord and his passion for proclaiming the Word of God.” She’d never met another man she thought she could help, follow, and complete as well. And yet… she had no guarantee that David was really the man God had chosen for her. Any girl in this situation would be tempted to check out from reality, fixating, wishing, speculating, wondering, hoping… To place her happiness in the contingency that it would work out. To view the young man as “hers.”
But Nadia knew the battle in her heart that she had to fight and win had nothing to do with David. It had to do with finding her satisfaction in God alone. She knew that no matter what happened – even if she married David – she could not be happy until she learned to love God more, know Him better, and desire His will over her own, even if His will for her future didn’t include David. She wanted to learn to love David rightly and desire what was best for him, regardless of whether it would involve her or not. She wanted to be focused on reality – growing and working to be more like Christ and serve Him in the here and now – not distracted by possibilities or fantasies.
Some girls think if there’s a chance the relationship could work out, they should hold on to their infatuations… just in case they were to need those feelings someday. The angst in their hearts isn’t even over “I just can’t stop loving him!” but “Should I stop, or shouldn’t I?” In Nadia’s mind, the question was “Are these feelings right before God, right now? Am I putting my hope in marrying David, or in God? Has my sisterly regard crossed the line into idolatry?”

Wash Me and I Shall Be Whiter Than Snow
Some girls fear that they will have permanent scars from mistakes they have made. They fear that part of them is gone and they can never be made whole again. But the concept of inner purity deals more with the present state of the heart, the mind, and the affections than it does with the past. What we need to be doing is developing a state of heart and mind that is self-controlled and faithful to one man. It’s never too late to repent and do what’s right.
Going back to Ephesians, we see that the Church of Christ was not naturally pure, but had to be sanctified and cleansed “by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:26) before she was ready to be presented before her Groom. David cried, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps. 51:7) Being clean means having been washed. Being pure means being purified – tested, matured, and refined by fire.
More than that, it means being forgiven. Our hearts, if not the rest of us, have all played the harlot, committed murder, and sinned against God. But what did Jesus tell the woman taken in adultery? “Go, and sin no more.” The same love that was extended to her has been extended to us by the same Savior. “If we confess our sins,” says 1 John 1:9, “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When Christ saves us, He gives us His righteousness so the Father can accept us as righteous and see us as completely pure – as He is. This is the essence of forgiveness in Christ, which makes us clean in God’s sight. If we have been purified by Christ, we need to learn to dwell in this forgiveness rather than dwell on our former impurity. So think about your future, ladies, not your past. We should live every day in the comforting assurance of this position, and in a way that honors the Savior who bled and died to exalt us to such a place! Once you understand your forgiveness in Christ, you will be able to think and act like a pure woman, and your future husband will be able to truly see you as such.
In King David, we see a heart that was already “after God’s own heart,” but still needed constant maintenance. We should take a lesson from the way he cried out to God in the Psalms to give him continual heart surgery: “Let… the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD.” (Ps. 19:14) And after his affair with Bathsheba: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)
Some girls have fallen so deeply for someone in the past that they feel they’ve lost that part of their heart forever. But does he own real estate in your heart, or is he just a squatter? We say we can’t get that part of our heart back, but it’s not gone. It’s still in us – still generating special thoughts and feelings for that someone, cherishing sentimental longings and wistful regrets, not letting go. But we can get this corner back. As with conquering sin, this could require taking a knife and cutting away a part of our life. It’s not easy, and it’s not painless – but it’s not impossible. The most emotional, impulsive, anxious, romantic, or vulnerable girl is not powerless to rule this area of her life. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us how:
Do not be anxious about anything
Not even Brandon.
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
He hears your cries for a godly husband.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding
He can envelop even the most stressful, anxious area of our lives with His peace.
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This is why it’s possible to guard our hearts and minds: because He makes it possible.

November 14, 2011


(If you are reading this through your goggle reader or e-mail you may not be able to see the video)

November 10, 2011

Guy/ Girl Relationships???

Have you ever been confused by Guy/ Girl relationships? Or asked yourself, "Where are the boundaries?" "Why do so many things seem to be gray instead of simple black and white?" I know I have. Over and Over again I have asked these questions, and others like them.
But where are the answers? What is the solution? Hold it! I know what you are thinking. But I am not saying that this book has all the answers. In fact, I have actually never read it. Ok? So, what's the point, you ask? 
The point is that though I haven't actually read this book I read the first book that these wonderful ladies published and for that book I can vouch. I am going to get a copy of this book, and I think that you should too. And if I haven't convinced you of its worth yet, why don't you check out the Authors site (Visionary Daughters) where they have posted excerpts from their book. 

"How do young men and young women interact with one another when marriage is not in view? Can young men and young women be ‘friends’? And how does a young woman guard her heart, preserve her purity, and walk in integrity without treating young men with disdain? In It’s (Not That) Complicated, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin address these and other questions with wisdom, grace, transparency, and biblical acuity."
— Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr.

About the Book

Boy-girl relationships are hard. They’re hard because they’re made of people, not mathematic equations, formulas, or quantifiable factors like numbers. When talking about relationships, we’re dealing with fluctuating factors like motives, irrational feelings, and a nature that was made by God to be one way and twisted by sin to be another. Numbers are easy because they are predictable, but the heart, as Jeremiah 17:9 says, “is deceitful above all things… who can understand it?” And if one person wasn’t complicated enough, just add another person, multiply their sin natures, and we’ve got an equation too hard to solve in our own strength. When we do try to boil these relationships down to simple rules and formulas, they can come out looking something like the diagrams below. Because when it comes to each of these quandaries of the heart… it’s just (not that) simple.

About the Authors

Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin are the only girls in a family full of boys. At 25 and 23, they work with their five brothers in their media production company and with their whole family at the Western Conservatory of the Arts & Sciences. They authored So Much More and produced the documentary Return of the Daughters in response to the needs they saw for a biblical study on daughterhood. It’s (Not That) Complicated was inspired by conversations with their girl (and guy) friends on the subject of relationships, as well as by hundreds of letters they’ve received from girls around the world. They enjoy studying history, playing music, homemaking, and hiking in the rolling hills of Tennessee, where they live with their wonderful parents and three of their brothers (for whom they don’t bake nearly enough cookies).

"It's (Not That) Complicated" 

Go Here for your copy of this revolutionary book!

(Disclaimer: I was under no obligation to favorably promote this book)

November 07, 2011

A Nation Once Again

A Nation once again!

 My favorite verse-

“It whisper'd too, that freedom's ark,
And service high and holy,
Would be profaned by feeling dark
And passions vain or lowly;
For, Freedom comes from God's right hand,
And needs a godly train;
And righteous men must make our land
A nation once again!”

This is an Irish folk song that I am thinking about using in my book.
I hope you enjoyed it.

November 04, 2011

November's FREE Audio

I just love things that are free. They are so amazing, and I am sure that you all do too. Thats one reason why I love . Every month they have one audio for free, and this month the free-be is an audio recording of Brother Yun's autobiography The Heavenly Man
Here is a short blurb of the book-
"You've seen the headlines - government crackdowns on Chinese house churches; mass arrests and human rights violations...But this intensely dramatic autobiography makes it real! Learn how God took a young half-starved boy from Henan Province and enabled him to stand strong on the front lines for Jesus, braving horrific opposition and impossible odds."

Just click on the picture for a link to download your free audio. I hope you enjoy it!
Hurry its only free for the month of November.

November 02, 2011

I'm Crazy!

I really am! but I guess that is a part of life.  
Just last week I found out about a program called NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month)
The point is to break away from the editing mindset, sit down, and actually spend some time writing. For me, I have a really heard time writing because I get distracted by the flaws and imperfections of my project. So this is going to be a big leap. You see, the goal of the NaNoWriMo is to write a book with a minimum of  50,000 words, which is the equivalent of about 100 typed computer pages. 
The project I have chosen is historical fiction, based off of the sinking of the H.M.S. Birkenhead. I haven't written a blurb yet or actually even started the first chapter. But Lord willing, I will soon be rolling around in the world of words. So stay tuned for more updates on how its going.

November 01, 2011


            "Hon. Stephen Allen, one of the most eminent and useful citizens of New York, died on the steamer 'Henry Clay' which caught fire on the Hudson River. In his pocket was found printed rules by which he had been guided, and among them the following:
  • 'Good character is above all other things.
  • Never be idle. If your hands cannot be usefully employed, attend to the cultivation of your mind.
  • Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts.
  • Make no hast to be rich if you want to prosper.
  • Never play any kind of game of chance
  • Earn money before you spend it
  • Live within your income
    (And my personal favorite :)
  • If any one speaks evil of you, let your life be such that none will believe him.'

             Longfellow said, 'The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, without a thought of fame.' Osborne, writing for the Merchant's Magazine, said, 'Success in life consists in the proper and harmonious development of the faculties which God has given us.'
The youth who makes the most of himself is successful. A man with five talents and small opportunities may improve them so as to be of more real service to mankind than one having ten unimproved talents.
One has said well, 'Every man has a mission to perform in this world, for which his talents precisely fit him, and having found what this mission is, he must throw into it all energies of his soul, seeking its accomplishment, not his own glory...Having found out what you have to do- whether to lead an army or to sweep a street, to keep a hotel or drive a cart, to harangue senates or address juries, or prescribe medicines-do it with all your might because it is your duty, your enjoyment, and the necessary road to your success.'
             These are the qualities which are found in the career of every successful person; and there is success in even the humblest occupation for him who will pay the price. The irresolute, limp young man or woman who expects to find success 'marked down' some day, is doomed to disappointment. It is a fair price that God has set upon it, and he is not half a man who attempts to get it for less.
             These conditions admit of no such alternative as 'luck.'
             A 'lucky hit,' a 'lucky fellow,' are common expressions. There is no such thing as becoming learned or great without forethought, plan, or purpose; it must be the result of well-directed and persevering effort.
            When the time comes that idleness reaps rich harvests and industry begs bread;that economy goes to the poor-house and the prodigality to the palace; that temperance invites want and drunkenness revels in plenty; that virtue is condemned and imprisoned and vice extolled and crowned- then, and not until then, can a sensible man embrace the popular delusion about luck. It had nothing to do with the triumphs of the great and good in the past, and it can have nothing to do with the triumphs of this class in the future. The successful are self-made, through God's grace.”

(This is an excerpt from a book originally published in 1893 titled “Gaining Favor with God and Man” which is now out of print. I hope that this was encouraging for those of you who read it all the way through. God Bless!)