Friday, May 31, 2013

summer camp week 1

One of the devil's most successful schemes is busyness: friends, work, sports, even ministry sometimes. Even though working hard and being successful is great, often very good things can become idols if they take away from our relationship with God. This is what I'm finding as I work at summer camp: it is so hard for me to find time to spend with God. This fact really bothers me because I need to be preparing to be a missionary in Peru. My relationship with God is really important to me- actually it's everything. Without God, I'm nothing and have nothing going for me. With God, well God makes all things beautiful at least in His time ;)
The amazing thing about camp is the great spiritual atmosphere, positive friends, and beautiful nature-- the hardest part is definitively personal devotions. Yesterday I was able to go on a run with God and just look up at the stars. They were so beautiful. As I was talking to God, I saw a shooting star. Shooting stars are really special to me because to me, it's like God's promises and at the same time a sign that He is with me and that He will take care of me. God gave me three shooting stars to show me that I should go to Peru, so by Him sending me another shooting star- it just gave me such perfect peace.
I really trust God right now and I'm so excited for how he will lead this summer. My prayer is that God would help me to have the wisdom and perseverance to invest an hour in personal devotions and Bible study every day this summer. This is my hope and prayer- that by doing this I can grow closer to Christ. It won't be easy but it will be worth it.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Last Days

2 Peter 3:3 First you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this coming they promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on since it has since the first day of creation. But they deliberately forgot that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of heavens and out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly men.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand his slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
So then dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that the Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away with the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be all glory both now and forever. Amen!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fast and Furious

Fast and Furious: (based on the 5th movie)
..a story where the good guys are really murderers and thieves, and the bad guys are both cops and drug dealers... car racing is unrealistic.. and romance with two sexy people is on fire, having a baby is just a plus--it's unrealistic and it's messed up. I mean movies like that are fun to watch but I think there is a danger to watching too many movies like this because of the illusions and lies that the media's sharing. For one the action in these movies in unbelievable and the violence is crazy. You watch a ton of people die and see a lot of blood-- all of this violence numbs your mind and your emotions. Then the plot is twisted because morals are thrown around and totally out. Like for one thing, did Jesus say that murder was ever ok? Two, stealing is always wrong and we are told to turn the other cheek. Third, the romance story is totally against what God teaches about purity and waiting to have sex with one man. I could go on and on.. So I know I just went totally Christian here and am judging this silly movie whose goal was never to prove good morals..
I just feel convicted that as Christians we are called to challenge everything that is being put into our minds. The media is teaching so many lies these days that are totally being ignored and many of them are corrupting our families and societies. I believe small things even movies can make a big difference in our character and more importantly our walk with Christ.

I struggle with "Christians" who claim to be following Christ and then sin and don't seem to be working to change that. I know that everybody has faults. But I know that being nice is not enough, being good is not enough, we are called to act like Christ. He was perfect. He was blameless.

"The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best."-Chambers

"The danger with us is that we want to water down the things Jesus says and make them mean something in accordance with common sense."- Chambers

Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Staying Christian

It's funny because every once in a while someone makes this comment to me about how good of a Christian I am. And I HATE it when people say that because they are generally narrowing my life to a list of things I do or don't do, or generalizing my personality into being a cookie cutter Jesus loving freak who has no selfish desires or even struggles with sin. And they make my life look and sound so easy... like following Jesus for me isn't difficult at all. And I'm like, honestly? Do you even know me?

Because yes I love Jesus and praise God you see Him in me (that would be a miracle) but the struggle is as real for me as it is for you. (Ask my brother ;)

Sometimes I don't feel like a good Christian. I don't feel like being nice. I don't feel like reading my Bible, listening to Christian worship music, or being kind to people. Sometimes instead I want to watch Netflix movies instead of having worships or gossip or lie instead of having painful conversations. And maybe you say that's nothing compared to my sins? Well to God it's all a level playing field and often Satan loves to start ruining our lives by creeping into the smallest "harmless" activities.

My moods contradict often contradict Christ's character when I struggle with feeling selfish, anxiety, depression, lusting after things or humans instead of Christ... If I fulfill my feelings and momentary desires I will be reaching for things of the flesh like guys to talk too, friends who satisfy my immediate needs by telling me the right things, activities that seem like fun but hurt my purity and brain overtime, or even making idols out of school or work.

The world, and often my friends, may justify me for giving in to some of these desires. After all, all Christians "need a break" right; should "lighten up" and "everything is good in modesty" right. If it's not an addiction and it's just a one in a while thing is it ok?

Trust me, I'm just like you, I struggle with selfishness, self-worth, and waiting and following God. I struggle with the desire to read my Bible. Spending personal time with God daily is not always easy.
But here's the thing guys it's SO Important.

Becoming Christian isn't some one time thing, it's not a great story that happens and then you get there. There will be highs and lows and there will be those great miracles that God does in your life. I know I feel like parts of my testimony are really powerful but then there's other times when I'm just like "I need help" times when I am hurting and feel alone in life or in my faith.

For me  the hardest part of following God for me is staying Christian in the day to day grind of life. Like how do you stay close to Jesus without falling away, without giving in to the mood swings, without getting distracted from the things this world throws at us to distract us? And I believe that also the most powerful part of our testimonies is the waiting part, it's the dark before dawn, it's the preparation period where we chose to be faithful- where we chose to stay Christian. And not just "Christian" in that we went to church and claimed the label but where our day to day walk shows us daily surrendering everything to God, praising Him daily, experiencing His true joy.

Friends, we are often so impatient. We are taught that we should be able to get what we want by taking the quickest route, maybe even the drive through. Pit stops to Starbucks for a latte are encouraged as long as we don't get too off track. But the journey to God is so unlike anything else on this planet. It is a long life changing process where God literally strips us away from self and everything from our old life. It is not fast and short cuts will quickly lure us to Satan's counterfeits. Pit stops are dangerous where the devil waits to tell us lies.

The point of me writing this is that I want to share that I am just like you- a struggling Christian. I believe we have to get beyond the comparing others relationships and take ownership for how our personal walks are going. If I am not actively reading my Bible and prayer that is no one's fault but my own and if I cannot share how Christ has been working in my life in the past week, maybe He has not been working.

My life has not been easy or perfect. I've had my own personal struggles and journey with God just like you have. And even though I've followed God for a while, and spent times as a missionary and even as a camp "spiritual director"- every day for me is a totally new day to get to know who God is and see what He's doing new in my life. I just encourage you for one, stop labeling people and making assumptions, or trying to pressure them to meet your expectations .But for two, most importantly, take accountability for your own Christian life with God. Stay Christian and don't just stay on the fence but learn to be a mini disciple of Christ. Start focusing on Him instead of you and He will totally turn your life around and give you this crazy joy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Don't Waste Your Life

"Only one life will soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last"
In a world where each day is uncertain with people dying every second, how can I live without wasting my life? Just three days ago, I was in a car driving through Oklahoma the same day the Oklahoma tragedy tornados hit Moore. The tornado was right behind our vehicle and it was a pretty scary situation. We often fail to think about death and just how short our life is until it looks us in the face. There are no guarantees or no promises when it comes to life. There's no second chances either.

"Your life is in God's hands. Your life hangs by a slender strand of sovereign grace. You exist for Him. God has a right to take and give life as He pleases."

Job after all his suffering understood this and said "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord." How often do we witness this genuine faith nowadays? Instead we often have anger towards God and blame him if anything bad happens.

Look at the Oklahoma tornado tragedies, look at the tragedies happening all around the world right now. Just today children are starving not because of anything they have done, girls are raped and sold and have nobody to defend them, parents are left childless because of their children dying from terminal illnesses- it should not make us cry and moan and groan- but it should make us realize life is short, the End times are soon.. take your life seriously. Don't waste it.
Life is not a faerie tale. We are being misled. The American Dream is a hoax. The American dream is to to get money, fall in love, and live happy, worry-free lives in a big house. Once you realize that you are being deceived by the media into wanting what you want you will realize that material possessions will never make you happy. The American Dream will never give you true joy neither will it give you eternal life.
It is dangerous to pursue selfish ambitions and vain conceit. It is dangerous to want the American dream and live for money or success. You are wasting your life.
Go back to God. Pursue Him with everything you Have and you will find more than you could ever imagine.
 The only way to not waste a life is to surrender the life totally to Christ and to glorify Him with every breath.
Phillipians 1:20,21says "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
Life and death are given to you that you might display the supreme glory of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What is love?

Please read this article about romance/ love.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21410275

So what is love? Why are people so confused these days? Marriages are costing fortunes. Getting a date is the biggest theme of highschool. It seems almost any popular movie has a romance plot tied in. People are crazy about love. We have valentines day, couples cruises, dating services.. yet still a ridiculous amount of divorces- even in the church. If not divorces, look at family lives these days many couples are unhappy.

I think we have it wrong! I think America is illusioning us into what love looks like. There is a problem in wanting a faerie tale relationship- it's a lie!
You will never be happy if you are expecting that CRAZY crazy passionate love all the time. A person, sinful human being, cannot satisfy your heart and your feelings. Only God can. We are looking in the wrong places. We are expecting far too much.

In addition, to unreal expectations, we have a totally wrong attitude when it comes to long-term relationships. We think about us: what we want. We make lists. We think can he make me happy? Will he make enough money? Does he care about me?
Well what about him? Can you make him happy? Can you serve him?

What if we changed our attitudes about marriages from loving to serving? What if our definition of love was messed up?
After all we use the same word love to describe ice cream.. maybe we are confused about what love is.

Love is not holding hands with a sexy guy and walking on the beach- that's easy. Love is not having sex in bed- any couple can do that. Love is not happiness, joy, and always looking cute. It's not always smiley and ushy-gushy wonderful. Love is not an emotion. Love is a choice.
Love is the opposite of indifference. Love means caring enough about someone to do the best thing for them. Love is service and putting the needs of someone else's above your own.

If we truly served another in marriage and made the decision that for the rest of our lives we would live each day with the goal of doing the best thing for that person think how beautiful marriage could be?

If love is of God then love is pure. I want to love and I want to know what true love is.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What do you want more?

To want a good relationship with God is not simply enough just like wanting a nice body is not simply enough. I can want positive relationships, toned abs, & good grades in college-- but wanting is different than working towards. Investing, committing, and sacrificing are way different descriptions than wanting, and things Christ is calling us to do. Yes actions are motivated by a desire and Christ wants us to want Him- but simply desiring Christ and continuing to live our natural, sinful ways will not work.

Jeremiah 29:13 says You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.
ALL YOUR HEART- that's a lot. Let me just ask you Are you sure you want God? Do you want Him more than anything else? More than a boyfriend or girlfriend, more than best friends, more than family, more than beauty, and more than popularity, riches, or fame? And it's easy to say that we want something more or love something more than anyone.. but are our actions showing that?

Psalm 119:10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments

1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

I can say that I want God more than anything, but sometimes my actions speak louder than words and prove me a liar. My thoughts are often on things of this world more than things of God. This is something concerning, something I must work to change. It's a battlefield for your heart and mind when you choose to serve Christ Jesus. I pray that we together work towards loving God and gaining a better relationship with Him every single day. I pray that we invest, commit, and sacrifice for Christ because we want Him more than anything else this world has to offer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

sad



what's right is wrong & wrong is right

We're in a world that treats faerie tales as real and what's real as faerie tales, that says what's wrong is right and what's right is wrong.

How then can we Christ followers look and live like everybody else if we are following God and they are following the world?

What's right in God's eyes is totally contrary to this world. (Feed the children, go the extra mile, forgive those who steal from you instead of going to court, taking the job that nobody wants so that you can serve, keeping a marriage when everything has fallen apart Love not indifference. Caring when you are tired. Overdoing yourself and putting others needs before our own.)
Isn't it enough to simply follow the ten commandments to the law? Isn't it enough to be nice? Or should we Christians be living a radically different lifestyle from the people around us?
Christ speaks in a small voice. He speaks through our conscience and will never contradict scripture.
Oswald Chambers writes "The one thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the continual habit of being open to Christ on the inside. When there is any debate, quit. "Why shouldn't I do this"? You are on the wrong track. There is no debate possible when conscience speaks. At your peril, you allow one thing to obscure your inner communion with God. Drop it, whatever it is, and see that you keep your inner vision clear."

The World Says                                                                      God Says

Love yourself for who you are                                                Hate your natural self
Stand up for yourself                                                               Let people take advantage of you
Save your money and enjoy it                                                 Work hard so you can bless others
Show off your talents                                                               Use every talent to glorify Christ alone
Fix your attention on food, clothing, & your needs                 Fix your attention on God who supplies
Grab all you can for yourself                                                   What you own will soon perish
I'll be satisfied when I have more $$                                       The love of money is the root of evil
I am rich because I have gained for myself                             Riches and honor comes from God
Lend to those who can repay you                                            Give to everyone who has a need
You have a right to be happy                                                   True happiness comes from surrendering
No one will know                                                                     I see all things
How you look is everything                                                     God looks at the heart
I love you because...                                                                 I love you in spite of..
Date around                                                                              Take relationships seriously
Sex is recreation                                                                       Sex is a commitment of pure love
Love is a feeling                                                                       Love is a decision

Oswald Chambers writes "Our circumstances are the means of manifesting how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily pure the Son of God is." May everything we say and do represent Christ. When people watch us eat, play sports, or hang out with our families.. may they say "There is something different there.. these people have so much love." My prayer is that I shine for Christ in a dark universe declaring His glory to everyone I meet.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Shopping & "Normal"

This afternoon my mom took off work to take me to a travel clinic in Austin TX to get a yellow fever shot. At the clinic I was told about all the various diseases to which I could be exposed too in Peru. In the car my mom told me about how careful I needed to be about my safety and how I could easily get raped.
Then afterwards we went shopping. I actually got quite a few things because I needed some new clothes and swimsuits and stuff for camp, but there was a strange feeling of regret. I just feel bad spending so much money when I know how much it could do for people in a country with poverty.
Most people will say- sweet Brooke- just get over it. Life will be unfair. Well let me ask you if you would feel the same way if you were them?
It's just we have so much here and so much in abundance. Sometimes when I think about it seems so unfair and so unjust! Like why can't we share? Why do we Americans need to be greedy hoards. Don't get me wrong, I know some great Christian examples and giving people in America, but even they have everything they need plus more.
For a crazy statistic consider that the worlds richest 100 people- just 100- could end poverty worldwide times four.
http://www.live58.org/are-you-in#live58pledge - This is a really cool website working on ending global poverty.
I guess since I'm going to Peru next year, I've been thinking a lot more. I've been thinking about life on a deeper level, thinking about what really matters. I mean you know what could happen over there.
I'm really excited about going to Peru but it's scary as well. I'm excited for how it will change my life and how it will impact my relationship with Christ. At the same time, I'm like Am I really ready for this? Can I do this? Can I really make a difference?
And then how will I come back to the US afterwards and readjust? I know my parents want me to go to college...
I will be still. I will have faith. Guys please pray for my devotional life with God right now and our time together, I've been struggling with that. Thank you =)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

AMOR Projects- Brooke Bernhardt

AMOR Projects- Brooke Bernhardt: 2nd video

Peru Promo Videos

http://flixtime.com/video/detail/058dd488c5c42d9991e4fb598e04984dgAl79Yuo6HyqmEJDtG

Mothers

Mothers deserve so much respect and love. Sadly today, many mothers are denied this from husbands and even their children. This saddens me so much. We must learn to respect our mothers ALWAYS even if we don't agree with them because we will never understand how much they have done for us even when we don't even realize it. Even if we don't appreciate their attention or don't want their input, Christ teaches us to listen and obey what our mothers say.
A mother has such an impact on a child's life! A mother gives life to a child and then is their primary caretaker, teaching them how to love, how to be gentle, how to care, teaching a child to laugh and smile.
So many mothers these days are being forced to work long days just to go home and take care of their ungrateful children. Moms are stronger and braver than you realize. Their love is so abundant and often so unconditional.
Nobody knows me like my mother and nobody loves me like my mother. My mom is my best friend- and I thank God for giving me a woman of such faith and courage. Every day, actually normally about 3 times a day, I call my mom. I tell her everything that goes on in my life and she gets such joy from simply hearing my voice. I LOVE her so much!
Maybe your relationship with your mom isn't that great. Maybe you don't think your mom deserves your respect and love. I challenge you to forgive your mom for the mistakes she has made in your past and thank her for being your Mother. I challenge you to invest time in your mom even when it's not popular or fun. Love and respect her because Jesus calls us too.

 A mother has a baby and provides everything that child needs but then as a relationship with the child grows a mother must learn to let go of the child and trust God.

Mary mother of Jesus: What faith, what trust, what fear she must have had. Just a young girl she was, most likely between the age of 11 and 14. That would be around grades 5th through 8th these days- imagine that! She had never had sex; she was still a virgin trying to follow the will of Jesus. When an angel told her she would have a child, imagine what feelings she must have felt. Like how God? I've never had sex. I'm not married. What are others going to think? How can I explain this to Joseph, won't he think I cheated on him? Won't I get in trouble for having sex with Joseph when we weren't married even though I didn't? Her story is crazy- just the childbirth of Jesus- is phenomenal. Yet then the angel spoke to Joseph in a dream and convinced him that the baby was of the spirit. And then Mary and Joseph a very young newlywed had baby Jesus in a manger with donkeys and sheep probably they gave birth to the Son of God. What a privilege- what great joy- but with such unusual, uncomfortable conditions. Mary did her best to raise Jesus well but soon Mary had to learn to surrender Jesus to God fully. Later Mary had to watch her son die on a cross. Would Mary identify to the grief mothers who lost their children feel? Definitely, but Mary was a strong mother. What a blessing and a burden- for her son to be Immanuel.

  Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life. ~Ephesians 6:1-3 

Who can find a virtuous woman? She is far more precious than jewels...
Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.
Her sons rise up and call her blessed.
He husband also praises her:
Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
~Proverbs 31:10, 25-30


Proverbs 31:26-37
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 16:20 My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching

Proverbs 23:22-25 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Jeremiah 31:16-17 Restrain your voice from weeping
    and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,
declares the Lord.
    “They will return from the land of the enemy.
17 So there is hope for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
    “Your children will return to their own land.



Passions

It was a prayer far too short and selfish-" God if it's your will please let me surf this weekend, you know how much I want too" but nevertheless a prayer God chose to answer.
In this big world with hundreds of variables, people, and decisions.. God chose to answer a 19 year olds prayer to surf. To Surf! I was asking a lot considering Port Aransas, the place where our family is camping, is hardly known for it's surf- most days the waves are far too small. In addition, the weather predicament was rain rain rain.
But for some strange reason ;) God answered my prayer to surf this weekend! I might know why.. Maybe because He loves me! Oh how much He loves us- if only we could grasp the love of our Heavenly Father.
When I surf, I see God. In the ocean, I feel God and His power. Every wave that hits me and knocks me around reminds me of God's immense grace and forgiveness.
Surfing is my passion!
Do you believe that  God created each of us with a unique passion? Something that He created for us to do and love together! He wants to bond with us through the things we love. He loves to see us experience joy and praise His name for it.
I believe that God wants to be a part of your passion. He wants you to glorify you with it and surrender it totally to Him.
God's passionate about you and He's passionate about being part of all of your life! Tell Him about your passions today. Invite Him to show you new passions that He created in you when He transformed your heart.

Friday, May 10, 2013

mirror


Have you ever thought about what other people think about you?
You realize that nobody sees you the way you do because you are a biased viewer. They don't judge by your standards. They can't judge or justify your actions by excuses or good intentions. They look at you and judge you.
By looking at you do they see the hands and feet of Christ Jesus?
More importantly than what others think about you is God Himself. How does he view you? He has eyes of mercy and a heart of compassion but are you justified through Jesus' death. Does he say "Look at her my faithful servant" or do your actions hurt him more? Does he grimace when he sees your selfish heart or smile at your gratitude in awful conditions?
Have you ever heard the saying Beauty is held in the eyes of the beholder. No matter what you think about your life, you are beautiful to Christ. You are loved by Him. And if you choose to walk in His ways and ask for forgiveness- you are justified by His blood.

If only when we looked in the mirror we could see ourselves the way Jesus does, I believe our whole perception would change. If we could look at other people and see them the way Jesus does, I believe we would love in an entire new way.
Jesus give me your eyes so I can see people the way you see them. Give me your eyes so I can understand the spiritual things and the war around me for my mind and soul. Give me your eyes so I can comprehend genuine love. This is my prayer in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

ugly naked love

It's easy to love the lovable: the prescious children who giggle sweetly, the beautiful but lonely single mother, maybe even the dad who is funny but disrespected. It's easy to love the cute, kind, and caring but harder to love ugly, stubborn, and harsh, foul language, disrespectful, obnoxious, and annoying- even people who drive you insane.

I've lived my life for nineteen years believing that it was ok for me to not love those people. I thought that acting kind at a distance was enough- you know, choosing not to care or get involved in their messy lifestyle. Then I realized that this is indifference- and isn't indifference the opposite of love?

Do I really have to love them? Do you?
Well what does Jesus say and what has Jesus done?

I don't about you but I've had some very ugly times in my live. Times when my heart is ugly, selfish, and sinful. Jesus loved me when I was ugly. He chose me while I was a mess. How much more shall I love others who are ugly or suffering from a similar sinful condition?

Brothers and sisters, may we stop talking about love and may we start truly demonstrating it in our actionis in everything we do- with everyone we meet. Teach me Lord to love the unlovable, to kiss the foreheads of disgust, care for the hard-hearted, to share with the greedy. Help me to always be a servant and take away my "I'm better than you" attitude.

When I was at Campion Academy I worked at a nursing home as an activity coordinator for a year. I hope I never forget that year and everything those old people taught me. I still remember Betty- my dear friend whose hand I would hold almost every day- as we walked into the sunshine. She would simply hum contently and joyfully in my presence everytime I took her for a walk. Even though her face was old and her body was wrinkly and smelly- she was beautiful. I saw past her ugliness and was able to see through to her joyful, genuine heart. Unfortunately I also remember another lady at the nursing home who wasn't so beautiful to me. I regret this but my memories of her are stained with ugliness. This lady's face had huge wrinkles and a big wart right on the tip of her nose. She had long disgusting fingernails- and I was warned that she could be carrying a variety of awful diseases. Her hands would shake violently and uncontrollably throughout the day. Every time I walked past her door she would cry out for help. She was disgusting. She was ugly. She always had pants that needed to be changed. I remember writing about her and her ugliness one day in my journal. I thought it was the saddest thing that nobody would help her and then finally realized why not me?

My question to God was Do I really have to love her? She's so ugly.
What a shameful question. I wish I didn't have these sinful, selfish thoughts.
Sure she was ugly on the outside- but aren't we all ugly in some way? We are all broken and in sinful nature, God chose to love us in the midst of our disgusting mess. He said I will go and I will love them.

Sometimes you won't feel like loving, but love is not an emotion. Love is a choice. Love is a choice to care and do something to make a postitive difference in someone else's life.

If we want to love like Jesus we have to love the ugly, the spit, the throw up, the blood, the poop, and the mess.

I used to say that I never wanted to be a nurse because I didn't want to see people naked or to wash their poopy buts. Slowly, God's beginning to teach me what a privilege it is to love people in their ugliness- just not their beauty- because that's how Jesus first loved me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Help me to hurt

The opposite of love is not hatred but indifference. - Elie Wiesel

Today around 21,000 children died around the world with the biggest causes being poverty, hunger, and easily preventable diseases and illnesses. I can write this without shedding a tear. I can write this without even feeling sad. I'm guessing you can read it without much emotion as well?
I mean he there's too many children out there to feel sad for- what can I do right? It's unrealistic for me to hurt for every child in the world?

We, Americans, our constantly bombarded with various charities and causes asking us for money, time, and resources. One of the biggest strategies they use to get these resources is the pathos or emotional appeal. . It's almost like people and voices are constantly yelling at us or nagging at us "Help me; help this; Do this; Do that." but then they don't stop there.
Instead of just saying Help is needed here they do everything they can to rip out your heart and get your emotions going. They pick the most gruesome and heart wrenching pictures one could imagine and post them in places where you will often see them. They love to target the Christian heart- which is stereotypically more giving and caring. They love it when they get the opportunity to show videos which include the saddest pictures and most touching or atrocious stories meant to make you cry or pull you to action.
A good example of a charity that does this a lot is Compassion International. I love Compassion International and I think it's a great charity, but I've watched their videos probably about six times. Every time I watch it, it seems that I care a little less. This is sad and I feel like this is wrong. But I don't always have money to give these people. I can't give money to every organization in the world. So what can I do right? I believe that I can't do anything and the attitude of indifference in my heart is born.

Every time you see something wrong and don't do anything, the attitude of indifference gets a little bit stronger.

If indifference is the opposite of love. Then indifference is of Satan just as love is of God. God calls us over and over again to care for other, to do something to help others, to stand up for the orphans and the abused. He says that true religion is to look after orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27). Matthew 5:42 says to give to the one who begs to you. Matthew 10 says to heal the sick and help without pay. Luke 3:10-11 says to share our clothes and food with others who don't have any. It is our responsibility to love others in the same way that Christ has loved us (John 15:12). Christ died for me, He gave me life, He healed my sicknesses, He cried with me, He held my hand when I was sad, He listened, He stood up for me, He helped me even when I didn't ask...
And God promises whatever we do for the least ( the poor, orphaned, abused, hurt, dirty) we do for Christ himself.

Kisses from Katie -- "I believe that every human being on the planet is God's child, perfectly made and beloved and cherished by Him. I believe that His heart hurts, even more than mine does when my baby is hurting, for each and every one of the hurting, dying, starving, crying children in or world. So I have to believe that if my heart was truly seeking to be aligned with the heart of God, that I would hurt for each one of these children as well. But sometimes, I forget. Sometimes I'm busy. Sometimes just hurting for my children just feels like enough. I believe the world says this is okay. I believe it's wrong. And this keeps me up at night...
Help me to hurt, not just a little, but the way you hurt when your children are overlooked and perishing. Help me to never be too busy or too comfortable to remember the people who suffer. Help me to never stop desiring to do something about it. Lord, help us remember that as the body of Christ, this is our responsibility. Thank you for loving us, even when we forget. I never, never want to forget again."

I plead as Katie does: Teach me to hurt. Help me to feel pain when you are pained. Help me to see needs the way you do. Give me your eyes for the broken hearted. Break my heart for what breaks yours because I want to love like you.


Monday, May 6, 2013

So much uncertainty

I'm anxious, and although I'm tired I doubt I could sleep right now.
There's far too many thoughts manipulating my brain.
Like what about this summer? How can I drive a boat when I can barely drive a car? Will I do a good job as lake director? Will my brother respect me?
What will happen in Peru? Will all of my old friends forget about me? Will I get sick? Will I like the mission field which has been my dream for a long time?
What about when I come back? Should I switch my major? How can I go back to college life after serving dying people and healing the hurting?
How am I supposed to raise $4000 in the next two months?
It's too much to think about and I know I can't think too hard.
I'm working for Christ and I'm following Him so I have to trust Him.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I ask God for the peace I need for tonight and I trust that He will provide for me.

the crowd

"A scripture I had memorized for years kept creeping into my heart and mind. "No servant can serve two masters" (Luke 16:13). In context, the verse pertains to serving God versus money, but I realized as I read that I could not serve God's eternal purpose and man's earthly desires. I couldn't fulfill both God's call on my life and my parents' desire for me to secure a "normal, successful future" with a college degree."
"God taught me over and over again that it did not matter what the world said, that it did not matter that almost none of the people closest to me believed in what I was doing or believed it would succeed, that it did not matter what they said was impossible, because God did this, and He was going to continue doing it." -- Kisses from Katie
I am absolutely in love with this book. I highly recommend you read it. It's inspirational and down to earth. This girl has a beautiful, touching, and intriguing story.

Today I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. Both the hygienist and the dentist were quite intrigued by my ambitions to go to Peru next year. In reality, they didn't understand. I tried to tell them that I was a Christian and was going to do service. They wondered if I was getting some kind of credit for the class or why I would be going. I told the dentist that I could be doing dental work down there but I hoped I would just be in the clinic. She made the comment "Oh I'm sure you can't manage that", smiling while she said it. I wanted to comment back or say something like if only you knew.. but I decided it wasn't the most Jesus-like response.

I haven't left for Peru yet but I've already ran into downers and doubters. People have told me to wait. People tell me that college is more important. Others say "Your only 19" but I say My God is bigger and He's the one who called me. Many people don't understand. It took even my parents months of pleading to allow me to go, but I praise God that now they are supporting me in my decision and being very understanding. I know it is hard for them to let their only daughter go.

Sometimes God's callings will not make sense. Sometimes they will not be the popular decision or get a lot of support. People will not always congratulate you or tell you that you are doing the right thing for serving Christ. It matters most between God and you. When He shows you His will it is up to you to listen and follow. The crowd doesn't matter. After all, the crowd persecuted Jesus Christ. Who will you choose to follow?

Moving On

Sometimes you have to think about your character and how the people and situations around you are impacting the person you are becoming.
For example, when I went to Southern Adventist University my relationship with God grew due simply to the fact that I relied on Him more as I had to make totally new friends. Because I missed my family and the way things used to be, I prayed harder and more often, learning to trust God in an entire new way.
I've heard that as you go as a student missionary, many college students' spiritual walks greatly grow simply due to the fact that it is terrifying, scary, and you are NEEDING God all the time! God becomes your Rock. You realize that you can't live without Him and you can't be Jesus to the people around you without His help.
I'm not saying that you should leave all the people you love and the situations that are going well in your life just so that you can be challenged and your relationship with God can grow, but maybe you should consider making changes. If you aren't putting God first in your life, then what would it take for you to really trust Him? If you are not truly loving others, what would teach you to do so or change that?

Matthew 5:30-- And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Proverbs 13:20--Those who walk with the wise grow wise, but a companion of fools suffer harm.

In different situations, we react and respond in a different way. I act differently based on where I am at and what is expected of me. To the people I trust the most, I act the craziest. To people I barely know, I reserve myself or act more polite. In certain situations, I act with more dignity than others. Sadly enough with strangers I often act more Christ like than I do with my very own brother.

We are responsible for our actions and we are responsible for our characters and who we are becoming. Are we demonstrating Christ's love for us in everything we do? Are the situations we are placing ourself in providing an atmosphere that can lead us closer to Christ? Do our best friends challenge us to walk with God closer and show us where we are going wrong?
If you said no to any of these questions, then I challenge you to make a change that will benefit a transformation in your spiritual walk. I challenge you to put yourself in positions where you will get to know Christ better and to take opportunities where your trust in Him will improve.
After all, when life is over, the only thing that will matter is your relationship with Christ and how you have shared His love for others.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fears

"What if your fears and dreams existed in the same place, would you still go there?"
Fear limits you- it's like a chain- only you can unlock it.
To name your fears is the first step to destroying them. If your not ready to get rid of your fears, you probably won't.

What are you afraid of? What are your really and truly afraid of? I dare you to stop and make a list right now. Be honest with yourself. Here's mine.
1. snakes
2. driving
3. spiders
4. never finding a good guy
5. not being pretty enough
6. hospitals
7. doctors
8. getting hurt

Alright now that we've identified our fears, we need to decide why we are afraid of them. How realistic are these fears? Are these fears helping us or holding us back?
For example I'm afraid of snakes because I'm afraid of getting bitten. My fear is greatly exaggerated. Because I'm going to Peru in the Amazon Jungle, it would be useful for me to overcome some of my fears about them and work on having a healthy understanding of snakes. It's ok for me still not to like them or want to touch them- that's healthy. But for every time I see a snake to run, scream, and have a panic attack? That is not the safest or most necessary response. My second fear driving is an unsafe fear that is definitely majorly holding me back. I'm working on overcoming it this summer as I let my dad practice driving with me, but it's not pleasant. Realize that overcoming your fears may not be fun. But the freedom that results from being fear-free is worth it! As Meg Cabot says "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” As I go to Peru, I will work on overcoming my fears of spiders and snakes since there will be an abundance of them. In Peru, with God's help I will also overcome my fear of doctors and hospitals. I will learn how to be a doctor in Peru which is something that would be (naturally) be total contrary to my character. My fears number four and five are things that God has been teaching me this year and helping me overcome. I praise God for everything He's done to give me more confidence and faith in Him.

 Eleanor Roosevelt says "Do one thing every day that scares you."
We should work to overcome all our fears so that we don't limit our self or what God wants to do in jus.
 God is bigger than any fear we may have.

2 Timothy 1:7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Martin Luther: A Reformational Missionary

Who is Martin Luther? Luther was a boy born in 1483 in Eisleben, Germany by parents who tried to teach him about the way of God. He became very involved in the Roman Catholic church and was a devout monk who practiced self- flagellation for a long time. As Luther began to study the Bible more his eyes were opened to some of the evils and false teachings of the Roman Catholic church like indulgences and confessions to popes. He began to preach Biblical messages and expose some of the churches errors. In 1517 Martin Luther nailed a Ninety-Five thesis on the university's chapel door exposing the errors of indulgences. Martin Luther played a big role in starting the Protestant Reformation and getting people to look at the Bible again. Luther was a missionary because he proclaimed the word of Christ even through persecution. Luther started the Lutheran movement and religion in the 1400s.

"To pray well.. is the better part of the study." - Martin Luther

"One day as Luther was climbing these steps, a voice like thunder seemed to say. "The just shall live by faith." He jumped to his feet in shame and horror. At that moment he saw more clearly than ever before how wrong it was to trust in human works for salvation. He turned his face from Rome..."

Luther wrote to a friend.. "Your first duty is to begin by prayer..." Hope for nothing from your own labors, from your own understanding, Trust in God alone and in the influence of His Spirit. Here is an important lesson for those who feel that God has called them to present to others the vital truths for this time. Going against the powers of evil requires something more than intellect and human wisdom.

"I am like Jeremiah, a man of strife and contention; but the more their threats increase, the more my joy is multiplied. Whoever wants to proclaim the word of Christ to the world must expect death at every minute"- Luther

This is what I'm learning. The Reformation of Truths:
1. 1300s-  John Wycliff - Lollards - persecuted as a cult
2. 1400s- Martin Luther- restores altar of sacrifice- Lutherans- persecuted as a cult
3. 1500s- John Calvin- direct prayer/ altar of incense- Presbyterian- persecuted as a cult
4. 1600s- John Smith, Roger Williams- Submersion baptism- Baptists- Persecuted as a cult
5. 1700s- John Wesley- Street evangelism- Methodists- Persecuted as a cult
6. 1800s- Ellen White- rediscovering blueprint- SDA's- Persecuted as a cult
Isaiah 58:12-14
3.



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kisses from Katie

Tonight I started the book Kisses from Katie. My dad gave it to me and I'm so in love with it! I can't wait to go to Peru and be a missionary. This book really touched my heart. God has done so many miracles already to make it possible for me to go to Peru. I just know He's working in my life.
The scary thing about this book is how much I relate to Katie. I really have felt the call in the past to possibly be a missionary as a career or at least for ten years. Honestly though, I wouldn't mind being a missionary for the rest of my life.
I was talking to my parents and my friends about this the other day. I was joking around saying that it didn't matter if I got bad grades because I hoped I never came back to college. Ok don't kill me or strangle me, but I really don't think I'd mind that too much. I feel like the hardest part about being an SM will be coming back to the states. I'm pretty sure that being a missionary will be lifechanging and I will fall in love with these kids. But how then do you come back to the selfish USA and think of yourself. Like who cares if I make good grades in school if kids are dying? If kids are starving why can't I feed them? If kids are hurt, and I can help, isn't that more important? I just know that I am going to struggle with this because these kids are really gonna be on my heart.
So basically I admit it, I want to be a missionary for the rest of my life. It would be kinda nice though to have a guy by my side, but even if not, if God called me I guess I would be ok with that.
If my parents were reading this right now, they would be really concerned. Already tonight they told me, Brooke after 1 year of missionary stuff you have to go back to college.... hmmmm really mom and dad? Do I have too?
Maybe going to Peru will change my mind. But honestly I hope not =)
Even though I'm scared to death of doctors and needles ect. I am pumped to learn how to take care of the people in Peru and treat their illnesses and diseases.  I really want to help these people. And I know this is something Christ is doing in me because it is directly opposed to my own character.
It's 12:52 which explains why my writing is so crazy but I recommend the book Kisses from Katie to each of you. I also pray that God helps you love the people around you in more tangible ways =) Goodnight ya'll..
I'm back home in Texas =) And ya everything's bigger and better!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Pure Relationship

I don't see the need to date a lot of guys. People tell me that you should date to decide what you want and what you like. I might be wrong, but I think I know what I want in a guy. I want a guy who loves God more than anything else, who loves nature and being active, and who loves serving people. Of course it would be nice if he was cute, funny, athletic, and loved surfing at the beach as well =) I don't believe that I need to go around looking for guys or trying to get them to pay attention to me. I believe that God will put the right guy in my life at the right time and lead me to pursue a relationship with him.
I'm different. I'm not like most other girls. I've never dated and never kissed a guy. I don't enjoy wearing dresses all the time or going shopping. I would rather be outside, play in the mud and get a little dirty.I don't want a guy who dresses super nice or has a job that gets a ton of money. I don't want a guy that drives an expensive car or takes me out to expensive dinners. I want a guy that's not afraid to be a family man: a guy that wants to go camping with his kids and wife and hang out with them all the time.
My parents were a great example of how a family should raise their kids. Three nights a week when I was young, my entire family would go to a place called Ingleside where we would ride four wheelers, play basketball, roller-skate, and cook dinner on the grill. Sometimes we would have bonfires there. Other nights, when we weren't in the "country", our family would go to the beach or we would all go swimming together in our pool. Afterwards, my dad and I would sit in the hot tub together and make up silly adventure stories. These were some of the best memories ever! It seems like more and more now days, dads don't spend time with their kids and with their families. I hate this so much! It makes me so sad and so mad! I want a guy that wants to put his family second- right after God and before money and his career.
I want a pure relationship with a guy. I want to put God first before any other thing in the relationship. I think it's extremely cute when couples pray together and when couples pray for each other. I believe that if you are praying and asking God if the relationship is His will and He says yes, then it's probably going to work. It's hard to find guys that are like this. I want guys to step up- be a man- and lead us girls to God. I know some really great guys out there that are already doing that and putting God first in their life. I really respect the guys that are loving God more than girls =)

I will trust you

I'm runnin' back to Your promises one more time
Lord, that's all I can hold onto
I've got to say this has taken my by surprise
But nothing surprises You
Before a heartache can ever touch my life
It has to go through Your hands
nd even though I keep askin' whyI keep askin' why
No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what, I'm gonna need You
I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, if not, I'll trust You
No matter what
No matter what
When I'm stuck in this nothingness by myself
I'm just sitting in silence
There's no way I can make it without Your help
I won't even try it
I know You have Your reasons for everything
So I will keep believin'
Whatever I might be feelin', that You are my hopeAnd You'll be my strength
No matter what, I'm gonna love YouNo matter what,
I'm gonna need YouI know that You can find a way to keep me from the painBut if not, if not, I'll trust You
No matter whatNo matter what
Anything I don't have, You can give it to me
But it's okay if You don't
I'm not here for those things the touch of Your love
Is enough on its own
But no matter what, I still love you
And I'm gonna need you
No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what, I'm gonna need YouI know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, if not, I'll trust You
I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, if not, I'll trust You
No matter whatNo matter what
* Kerrie Roberst "No Matter What"