Category Archives: Blog Posts

Just Do It

runner feet Junior High. I’m sure you just groaned. Yes, that was the year when everyone hated you and your life sucked. Your classmates each had that one thing that ticked you off and nobody could shut up. Well, guess what? I’m in eleventh grade and, sure, it has gotten better, but to be honest with myself, I still feel unpopular and overlooked.

In 2011, the Denver, Broncos had a 1-4 record and a back-up quarterback who threw like a girl. People still called for Tim Tebow to take the field. The former star of the Florida Gators began in week 7 and won the game 18-15 in overtime. After that, the Broncos went on a streak of miraculous victories to end the season with a 7-4 record. People hated Tebow not just because he stunk but because he had the guts to speak up and take his underdog team to victory.

It’s always intrigued me that almost every great main character or player is unpopular and overlooked. They’re always the underdog: Harry Potter, Tebow, Frodo, even Christ. But we all sympathize with them because we feel like them at times. We just can’t seem to realize that we’re in The Story, The Game and we’re the main characters. When you look at it in that light, being an underdog is actually essential to the story sometimes. It’s hard, but God has given you the challenge to ‘just do it’ as Nike would say. We’re called to have dominion over everything in this world (Gen. 1:28) so go out and take it.

One of the key factors in Tebow’s success (besides a miracle) was the fact that he didn’t care what other people thought about him. Even if he threw like a girl and even if he was a Christian, Tebow still made that gutsy move to play his hardest and speak up for his faith. G.K. Chesterton once said, “…how much happier you would be if you only knew that these people cared nothing about you! How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.” Tebow realized that everybody is interested in himself. They don’t care about your looks or failures because we all live in our own little lives. Once you know that, it’s easy to get excited about other people and to be gutsy.

So next time you’re feeling a little low, be gutsy and ‘just do it.’

Kiale P.

Loving Yourself

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image16390712What do you see when you look in the mirror? What are the thoughts that spring to your mind when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a window? I would hope that you smile to yourself, think “I look good today!” and go on with your day, but the sad truth is that most likely you spend hours in front of the mirror picking out every single zit, scar or rash, then attempting to cover them with makeup.

I used to be really into “beauty gurus,” as they’re called, on YouTube. These girls, most likely between fifteen and twenty-five, shared their favorite makeup products each month, did hauls where they showed off their recent purchases, made tutorials on hairstyles and makeup looks, and filmed look books showing off the latest styles. I don’t know why I got so into them, I mean, I live in Japan where we have hardly any of the stores mentioned in their videos, my hair is really thick and never stays curled or straightened (I’m serious, it’s the worst. Help me out??), the most “makeup” I’ll wear is maybe some lip balm, and I’m a self-proclaimed “Not a girly-girl” who wears jeans every day and wouldn’t be caught dead in a skirt. Not your typical demographic.

Anyways, one of the things I noticed while watching these videos was that these girls would talk about “covering up your imperfections” while covering their faces with the latest concealer or blemish-eliminating cream. Hearing this always made me wonder. I mean, I get it, you want your face to look perfect, but you have an unwanted mark appear, therefore making it an “imperfection.” I always hated when they would say that, as it made me wonder if my blemishes or freckles or spots defined whether I was perfect or not. And maybe I’m reading too much into it, I know they don’t literally mean that you’re not perfect, but it always bothered me.

You may already know this, but I want to remind you that God doesn’t look at your outer appearance and your so-called “imperfections” that apparently need to be concealed by eight layers of makeup. He looks at your heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) Those who follow, obey, and love God with all their hearts are already extremely beautiful to Him without mascara, blush, and lipstick.

God made you in HIS image, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each person is unique in the best way possible, and everyone’s a little bit different from each other. Isn’t that amazing? I’m sure you’ve heard this analogy before, but each person is like a snowflake-there’s none that are exactly the same. Your exceptional features are what make you yourself, so why do we try so hard to conform to one specific standard of beauty that society has constructed? Be yourself, because everybody else is already taken.

I read this a few years ago in a book that I cannot for the life of me remember, but one piece of advice that stuck to me was to stamp your thumbprint to a mirror you’ll look into daily, and remind yourself each time you see it that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God thinks you’re beautiful. It’ll give you a more positive outlook on the day, I promise. Another piece of advice that I would give you is to smile at yourself each time you look into the mirror. Often when we see ourselves in the reflection we take it as an opportunity to pick out all of our “imperfections.” Instead, pick out a couple of things you like about yourself that day, and give a big smile. It’s amazing how much more happy and positive this makes you. Shine in the outside, and it will reflect on the outside and in how people see you.  And who cares about these “imperfections” anyway? I rather like freckles.

Anika H.

Compromising our Faith

crossNo matter how strong their faith in God may be, people still compromise their faith for wordly desires. David and Judas Iscariot are both examples of this. They were both men of very strong faith. David set his faith aside for human desire. Judas compromised his faith for money. Yet even though they both committed great sins, God still forgave them, just as he forgives us when we sin.

 

David was called a “man after God’s heart,” but that didn’t stop him from committing sin. He compromised his faith for human desire. He had been running away from Saul, when he came to a temple. He was very hungry and didn’t have any food. He asked the priest to give him the consecrated bread that was kept as an offering to the Lord. The priest gave it to him, and David ate the consecrated bread. God had said, in the Law, that the bread was only to be eaten by the priests. David was so hungry and consumed by fleshly desire for food that he ate what he shouldn’t have.

 

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He was one of his most loyal followers, but that didn’t stop him from betraying Jesus. It is unknown what made Judas want to compromise his faith, but it is most likely because he had a thing for money. He was the treasurer for the Twelve. During the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him later that night. None of the disciples thought that it could possibly be them. Later that night, the Romans came to Judas and offered him thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus. Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Judas had told the Romans, “The one that I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Judas went into the garden, and greeted Jesus with a kiss. The Roman soldiers arrested Jesus, then eventually crucified him.

 

Even though David and Judas were both men of strong faith, they compromised their faith for selfish desires. Yet in spite of their great sins, God still forgave them. David was still considered a “man after God’s heart.” Jesus still died for Judas’ sins. These men are examples of how everyone, no matter how strong their faith is in God, still sins. We are all tempted at one point or another to trade our faith for objects of the world, whether that be fame, money, or something else that we desire. Satan has many tricks up his sleeve. He knows our exact weaknesses, and will aim for those points in our life. We need to learn to ignore these temptations, no matter how enticing they may be. When we are faced with temptations, we should pray to God, and ask Him to step in to the situation. We should remove ourselves from the situation, and keep focusing on God. He is the only one who can guide us through those times in our life.

 

David and Judas both compromised their faith for worldly desires. David left his faith temporarily to fill his physical desire. Being offered a large sum of money, Judas betrayed Jesus, a man without sin. God still forgave them both. Even though we sin many times, and are tempted to set aside our faith for something that seems much better, it is never a wise idea to leave God. The things of this world are only temporary, and will not matter in the end. We should keep our focus on God, and not compromise our faith for worldly things.

Shoot Me, Please.

booksA guide on surviving school by Kiale P.

 

Anxiety. Stress. Tests. Shoot me now. Ah, the joys of that wonderful establishment called school. Yes, I am one of that overwhelming crowd of students. School. Stress. School again. There. My life in a nutshell. But what on earth are we supposed to do with it? Freak out? Ask our classmate to shoot us? Ignore it and procrastinate?

Let us start with step one. Identify your stress and the reason for it.
You shouldn’t be stressed, especially when it’s for a bad reason. If it’s a test, you’ve got to realize why school is important. As a student, I know how hard that is. I’ll be blunt. Often, school is a pain. But you’ve got to realize why school is so burdensome. For some, it’s laziness, for some it’s an interest in other things. But in every case, the problem originates with you and your approach.
We can be troubled about a ton of things, but Christ Himself has said that all our needs are nothing compared to the greatest need of all. As Luke writes in Luke 10:41-42, “And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” ”

Step 2: Consider the author of your play: God.
How can we think he would ever stop caring for our every need?
Matthew 6: 25-34 tells us,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

A good dad will never let his child go uncared for, so how could the greatest Father in history ignore his? Even the smallest things like tests are under His control. Your Dad up in heaven wants you to talk to Him because he will always answer. Philippians 4:6-7 exhorts us,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The only way to get peace is to trust your Dad and rely on His help.

Step 3: Read.
Yes, read. Read Scripture. You just groaned. Admit it. I should know how hard those two words are, me being one of a couple million teens in the world and all. The Bible is hard. It can be boring and hard to understand. But again, this is all because of how you approach it. Try your best to read it anyway. It helps. I don’t know how, but God’s word is just as comforting as some tea and a book if you really try to understand it.

Psalm 94:19 says, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comfort delights my soul.”
Oftentimes, we have a billion different thoughts running around in our heads, but the Psalms tell us to turn to our Dad’s words for comfort. Let them comfort you and stop being a stubborn teenager who refuses to listen to her father.
Next time you feel the need to shoot yourself, try trusting Dad.

We’d love to talk to you! Leave a comment down below telling us your favorite and least favorite part of school!

Kiale P.

If Miley Cyrus Time Traveled

galaxyLet me begin by saying that I belong to the broad category our lovely culture likes to call “youth.” I pass my days with cotton balls in my ears trying to tell all those advertisements to shut up for just five minutes. I don’t blame advertisers. I mean, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry just for teens.
So what is getting shoved in our heads every minute of the day? I’ll shorten it down to two declarations; we’re told either, “believe in yourself” or “don’t believe in yourself.” The “believe in yourself” crowd tells us that even though our parents raised us and even though they have more experience, we apparently know better than they do and, therefore, have the right to rebel. The “don’t believe in yourself” crowd is more subtle. They remind us of the fact that our parents know better and so we’re too young to teach others and too inexperienced to influence the world positively.
Both these views, however, conflict in many ways with Scripture. I Tim. 4:12 states, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” This verse takes the middle road between the two views.
Maybe an example will serve to illustrate this verse. When King David was a boy, he demonstrated this verse quite beautifully. David made his first infant cry in a barnyard of sheep and the smell of sweaty men. When he was just old enough to sling a stone, he began his career as a shepherd, shoving sheep and guarding them against predators. Now, when the Philistines attacked David’s country and his big brothers guarded the country, puny little David had to guard the sheep.
Every once in a while, David brought food to his brothers in the army so he could get news of the battle. On one of these occasions, he overheard the Philistine’s champion, who happened to be a giant man, threatening the army. He dared the Israelites to send out one of their men to fight him: if he died, the Israelites would be enslaved forever, but if the giant was defeated, the Philistines would give themselves up. As David heard those words echo through the valley, he saw that the men were terrified. The Lord’s army was afraid. He couldn’t believe it. So David, ashamed for his people’s sake, volunteered to fight the giant without armor, holding simply his sling with five smooth stones.
As David walked out with the jeers of the giant echoing in his ears, he prayed, confident that the giant would die that day. And so he did, with a stone in his forehead. David beat the giant with just a sling and stone and his faith in God.
David is a great example for any ‘youth’ in this day and age. If Miley Cyrus time traveled and told David, “believe in yourself,” he would have laughed.
“Believe in myself?” I don’t think so. “I will believe in Jehovah.”
On the other hand, he didn’t listen to Goliath either when the giant told him to give up and go home.
“I’m not too young for this fight,” David thought.
Does David’s situation sound familiar? It should. We’re getting the same things yelled at us from both sides. So what should we do about it? Are we to rebel? Are we too young for this fight? In I Timothy 4″12, Paul tells Timothy to be an example, despite what everyone tells him and despite his youth. In some ways, he calls Timothy to imitate David. Likewise, we shouldn’t be afraid to teach and influence others just because we are so young.
On the other hand, we can’t take this “be an example” thing all by itself. Paul commands us to be examples, but he continues, “in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Control your words, act like a child of Christ, love what God loves, learn to be Godly in spirit, have faith like the martyrs, and be pure. Control your desires. Don’t believe in what you want. Believe in what God wants.
So I exhort you: “Be courageous. Go out there and lead… but do it by believing in God first.”

 

Written by Kiale P.

Heroes

Amy Carmichael

What defines a hero? Some people say it is someone who saves a life, protects others, and asks no reward. The Oxford Dictionary describes a hero as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. But what characteristics make up a hero? Is it someone who is brave? Someone who is fearless? I believe a hero is someone who is humble, who gives up everything they have to do the work of God, and no one fits this description like Amy Carmichael. By telling you about her life, I hope to encourage you in doing the tasks God has set for you.

 

Amy Carmichael grew up like an average girl. She was born in 1867 in Ireland to a Christian family. At age thirteen, she accepted Christ into her life. A few years later, her father moved her family to Belfast. There she began teaching other women and girls about God in a Sunday school that she formed. In 1882, she felt God calling her to be a missionary to another country. She set sail for Japan and spent fifteen months there. Due to health problems, she was unable to continue her work in Japan and traveled to Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) for a few months to rest. There, she felt at home. After her time in Ceylon, she went to England for a year. In 1895, at age twenty-eight, she was commissioned by a missionary society to go back to India.

 

Amy blended in well with the Indians. She chose to dress the way they did, and adopted many of their customs as her own. While she was there, she met a young girl named Preena who was forced to work as a slave in the Hindu temples. Preena told Amy of the horrible things she and many other children had to do. Amy felt very sorry for her. Thus began her strenuous life as she committed to free and care for as many of the temple girls as possible. Often times, she traveled long distances to save one child from a temple. She worked very hard to fulfill the name “Amma”, the title bestowed upon her by the children she rescued. “Amma” meant “mother” in the Tamil language.

 

In 1931, Amy was crippled from a fall. She was bedridden for most of her life after that. She didn’t let this challenge stop her from working though. She spent a great deal of time writing books and sending them away to be published. These books allowed people all around the world to see what missionary work was like. She never tried to sugarcoat the missionary lifestyle. In one instance, a young woman interested in missionary work wrote Amy a letter and asked what being a missionary was like. Amy replied, “missionary life is simply a chance to die.”

 

Amy Carmichael serves as an excellent example of what a hero should be. She served God with a humble heart, and always worked to the best of her abilities. How hard it must have been for her to spend fifty-five years in India, with no furlough or break. She worked tirelessly to fulfill the task God had assigned to her. Although God may never call you to be a missionary in a foreign country or ask you to give up seeing your family for so long, there is still an important lesson to be learned from Amy Carmichael’s story. That lesson to obey God wholeheartedly and never give up. Even the most mundane things in life, like doing your chores, getting up to go to an office job every day, or maintaining a household can be very tiring and boring. No matter what you do, do it for God. When you do even the simplest chore with Him in mind, you are fulfilling your purpose in Him – to bring glory to Him in everything you do.

Jenny's Easy Oatmeal Cookies

This roatmealcookiesecipe was submitted by one of our subscribers! It sounds so yummy and I can’t wait to try them out myself!!

“I LOVE these 5 ingredient cookies! They are super simple, and they taste heavenly! They are definitely on my favorites list.”

 

 

 

Easy Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1 c. flour
2 c. Quick Oats
1 tsp. baking soda (mixed with flour)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix with hands – form small balls and flatten on greased pan.
Bake for 8-12 minutes.

Variations: add 1 tsp. vanilla, applesauce, mashed bananas, cinnamon, raisins, cranberries, chopped nuts, etc.  Agave syrup or honey can be substituted for sugar, if desired.