I've Moved!

This little blog has moved over to the official AHeartSurrendered.com! Check it out; can't wait to see you there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"...this is eternal life"

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
{John 3:16}

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
{John 17:3}

Love is always seen as the greatest thing- the highest aspiration. Even in the world. Look anywhere in the media, you see love conquering all; money means nothing, position means nothing, stuff means nothing. Love is what everybody wants- both emotional and physical. This is where so many young people get into trouble. They go looking for the fulfillment of this longing in all the wrong places.
Jesus is the answer to this longing for love- we have that void in our hearts because He wants us to seek after Him and to desire His love for us. When we repent of our sins and ask for His forgiveness He gives us eternal life, which is what? That we may know Him. The word “know” here is the same as earlier in the Bible when is says that “Adam ‘knew’ his wife” (Genesis 4:1) which would indicate an intimate physical relationship. The Lord promises to fulfill our every desire. He is everything that we need both in the spiritual, emotional, and even physical sense.
This intimate relationship causes us to have a sense of non-negotiable commitment, as though we are “married” to the Lord and His Word. When an atheist comes up to us and tries to pin us to a wall with a “scientific” fact that disproves the existence of God, if we are not thoroughly grounded in the Word, and do not understand an intimate relationship with Him, it would be easy to falter; to doubt and to question His existence. But when we recall His love, all that He has done for us, remind ourselves of His promises; when we can see evidence of His intimacy in our lives, how can we doubt?
I know that I am in this for life; I am His beloved and He is mine- and His banner over me is love!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Check your motives...

  An idea that always hits me, right between the eyes is that our motives are not always what they seem. Nor are they always pure. I know, shocking, right?

 Take this blog post for instance, I could have two different motives here.  I could be writing this post so that you, my dear reader, are blessed and encouraged in your walk with the Lord OR I could be trying to make a good impression on you and trying to make you think that I'm a super-Christian "mature beyond my years" with a lot of impassioned speech and fancy rhetoric.  With these two perspectives in mind, which would be the better mindset to write a blog post from?  Which post would be better?

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves..." 
(Philippians 2:3 NASB)

 You see, our motives tint what we do.  If I were to regard you, my reader, as more important than myself I would need to drop my pride, let go of my desire to be highly regarded, and focus on the bettering and the lifting up of you.  Even if it's at my own expense.  Again, I ask, which would be the better post?

I love how the scripture goes on, because it brings everything full circle.

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  
(Philippians 2:5-8)

  What makes me better than Jesus?!  Jesus is God.  If anyone had a right to His own motives, wouldn't it be Jesus?  But He didn't take it.  Jesus had God's motives in mind- He put God's mission ahead of everything else- He emptied Himself out for God's sake- and for our sakes.  His motives of considering God as better than Himself (which He is God, therefore, He would be in fact, equal to God) were so pure that He gave everything at His own expense to fulfill them.

  It all goes back to pride.  Yep, you may remember my previous post about pride - it seems that so many sins can be rooted back to this deadly feeling.  PRIDE gives us a feeling of superiority which gives us an inferior view of those around us.  PRIDE causes us to view ourselves as "entitled" to "something", when in fact, we have no entitlements whatsoever.  PRIDE can tint our actions, our work, and make it ineffective for the cause of Christ!  

  When we have humility of mind and can understand who we are without Christ, then we will have God's motives in mind and wish to glorify Him in our actions and our work.  Which will be the more quality work?  That which was done to the glory of the worker, with the subjective standard of the worker in mind?  OR the work which is done to the to the encouragement and edification of the saints according to the objective standard of glorifying God and making His name known?

My dear reader, I know that my own standards and motives are shallow and too small a thing to live for.  I know that in the past sometimes it effected the quality of my work- therefore you and this little blog- and I deeply apologize for this!  With God's grace and help I am moving forward, with a higher vision and higher standards in the forefront of my mind so that I might encourage and lift you and those around me up, as well as to 
"In the same way, let your light shine before others,
 that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 
(Matthew 5:16)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: Life with Lily {Litfuse Publicity Tour}

For a child, every day is a thing of wonder. And for six-year-old Lily Lapp, every day is a new opportunity for blessings, laughter, family, and a touch of mischief. As she explores her world, goes to school, spends time with her family, and gets into a bit of trouble with her friends, Lily learns what it means to be Amish and what it means to grow up. From getting a new teacher to welcoming a new sibling, Lily's life is always full of adventure.
Written for girls ages 8-12.

“Based upon Kinsinger’s own childhood, it’s reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books.” —Romantic Times

Upon first receiving this book I was a bit surprised- it was so thick and long for girls aged 8-12!  But as I began reading I realized that the number of pages nor the size of the words mattered at all- the simplistic writing style pulled me in to Lily's level and enabled me to see life through her eyes.
  I loved how informative the story was, it truly reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie books in that I was able to "watch" Mama make cheese, do laundry, bake and sell goods!  It was so interesting to be thrust into the life of the Amish, to go to school and church with Lily and her family as well as just everyday life around the farm.
  The writing style was fabulous for portraying within the mind of a little 6-year-old girl.  I was able to connect with her, to bring myself back to those innocent, curious years and see things through those simple eyes. I really enjoyed it-  descriptive but it still conveyed a simple, to-the-point message that kept me turning pages.
   However, I did find some bits and pieces of the wording to be a bit too advanced for the intended point of view.  Words, for example, like "loomed", "pandemonium", or "coax" seem to me to sound a bit too mature for 6-year-old thoughts.  Another thing was that I wish that Lily had her own relationship with Jesus.  This was an element I found a bit lacking- Lily's love for God.
  I was truly blessed by the lessons of integrity taught within the story.  The faith of Lily's parents shone- their love for God and desire to follow His will and to please Him were an inspiration and such a breath of fresh air!
  All in all I truly found this to be a sweet book.  Lovely fiction that I can offer to my younger sisters and not be worried about any sort of elementary romance or a skewed world view.  I look forward to letting them read it!


Celebrate with Suzanne and Mary Ann by entering their contest and RSVPing to the “Life with Lily” Facebook Author Chat Party on 10/16!

Two fortunate winners will receive:
  • Either the new Kindle Fire or new Nook HD
  • Signed copy of Life with Lily for you and a young reader in your life.  
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 15th. Winner will be announced at the Life with Lily Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/16. Connect with authors Suzanne Woods Fisher and Mary Ann Kinsinger for an evening of book chat, Q&A about Mary Ann’s Amish childhood, trivia, and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of Life with Lily and join Suzanne and Mary Ann on the evening of the October 16th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 16th!

This book was given to me free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review and opinion.