Running the Race

I’ve been really liking the picture of running, striving, pressing on towards the goal, full of the joy of Christ Jesus. I’ve also been really liking The Gray Havens music lately. And Mike Winger videos.

One particular song from The Gray Havens fills my imagination with swirling scenes. I think of the bursts of light, the tiny glimpses through the darkness of a beauty yet to come. I think of throwing off my burdens, running with all my might. I think of longing, deep longing, to know the Light, and to see what is to come. Amidst so much darkness, and I mean so much darkness, every glimmer of light matters. Oh with what joy do I await the dawn!


Now I’m just waiting for the day // In the shadows of the dawn

But I won’t wait resting my bones // I’ll take these foolishness roads of grace // And run toward the dawn

And when I rise// And dawn turns to day // I’ll shine out as bright as the sun // And these roads that I’ve run will be wise.

-“Shadows of the Dawn” by The Gray Havens


I’ve always loved Psalm 19 and its story of God’s word shown throughout creation, echoing in truth, pure and beautiful in everything. I also love the picture of the strength contained in their beauty, when the psalmist describes the voice of the heavens going “out into all the earth” and God pitching “a tent for the sun,” with the sun “like a champion rejoicing to run his course.”


“The heavens declare the glory of God…they use no words, yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.”

-Psalm 19:1,3-6 (NIV)


As painful as I often find running in reality, I’ve never thought of running as drudgery. I think of freedom, joy, and peace; not in desperately running away, but in joyfully running towards the end, the result, the upward call. More like the final race of an athlete than the painstaking training it takes to become one.

I don’t know where that picture fits in with my everyday life. Like pretty much everything in life, I’m still figuring it out. But I do know I want to run.

Maybe it’s a reckless desire for a meaning. Maybe it’s a passion to devote everything. Maybe it’s a longing for freedom from the entanglements that drag me down. Maybe it’s because in peaceful moments like this, when I’m waiting on the Lord, strength I never knew fills my heart. Maybe it’s because I am still growing in patience and often fail to see the meaning in day-by-day toil.

But day-by-day toil is running. It’s all about where my eyes are—set on the course in front of me, set on Jesus the founder and perfecter of my faith.


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

-Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)


Frustration: both an emotion I feel at the entanglements that surround me and an entanglement in of itself. So many things cling to me, and oh how closely they cling!

Shame, frustration, distractions, irritations: they are everywhere. But I am not alone, for Jesus himself endured the cross and “despised the shame”.

And there’s the joy again. It is interesting to me that it says for us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” and that Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before him.” There’s that joy, that freedom, of not just letting go, but “laying aside” the weights and sins that cling so closely, and running.


“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”

-Hebrews 12:11-14 (NASB1995)



I want to run, but I feel I have not been fully trained. Without strengthening my hands and my feet I am indeed in danger of putting it all out of joint. Discipline is painful. If I am honest I would rather not pursue peace with everyone. I want perfection, but I do not want to be sanctified, because it is painful.

But to run, I must train.

I must strengthen what is weak if I am to yield the fruit of righteousness. Laying aside my entanglements is not just a reckless letting go of everything. It is a day-by-day submission to God’s sanctification, it is seeking out the straight paths, walking in the pattern of the founder and perfecter of our faith: Jesus.


“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

-Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB1995)


I lay aside my entanglements and lay hold of the joy set before me. I want to press on, I want to run.

Sometimes I wonder if I really understand what “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” means. Still, it inspires a deep desire to keep going, to breath in deeply and run towards the dawn.

In a recent Mike Winger Q &A video I watched, someone asked how to gain a godlier perspective in a very blessed life (here). In other words, how to not complain in a 1st world country. I was very convicted.

I get so stuck on every little inconvenience and annoyance. I am so bad at forgetting what lies behind and am often guilty of “keeping a record of wrongs” (1 Cor 13:5). I need Paul’s exhortation to press on and reach forward to what lies ahead.


I don’t know much about running. I’ve never done track, cross-country or anything like that. I haven’t the slightest clue how fast I can run a mile.

But when it comes to my spiritual walk with God, I want to press on and lay aside with joy everything that keeps me back. I truly want to run.

Finding your identity

Dancing for the Holy One

Finding your own identity can be hard. Sometimes we try to find it in objects, how much money we have, material things. And it’s so hard that it can feel impossible. Well, that’s because it is.

If you try to put your value and identity in material things, it will just leave you unsatisfied, and wondering if you’re even worth anything. That’s bad. That’s so bad, in fact, that I am now sitting here at 11:30pm writing to tell you that there’s something better. Something so much better, that it’s hard to describe.

In Ephesians, chapters 1 & 2 Paul writes to the church in Ephesus. He tells them so many things about who they are in Christ.

To start off, who am I in Christ?

I am blessed

I am chosen, which means that I am wanted

I am adopted into Christ’s family

I am redeemed by the…

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The Avid Readers Award Tag

Hello everyone!

My friend Martha, from Beyond the Literary Horizon nominated me for the Avid Readers Award Tag! It looks super fun and I’m really excited to jump in!

Here are the rules:

1. Display the blog award logo on your blog.

2. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.

3. Do not forget to link to their blogging website.

4. List your 5 favorite books.

5. Answer all the questions they have given you.

6. Nominate 4 bloggers of your choice.

7. Ask them 10 questions.

Thank you so much, Martha! Here is the link to Beyond the Literary Horizon (her blog).

I love a lot of books. So it’s super hard to choose just five. But I will do my best.

Annnd…I might stretch the rules a bit and include two series’ rather than books.

My five “favorite” books:

  • The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
  • The Green Ember Series by S. D. Smith
  • Romanov by Nadine Brandes
  • God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
  • Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis Majors
  • + a ton of other books 🙂

Here are my answers to Martha’s questions (and they were really good questions):

1. What is the weirdest book you’ve ever read?

Ummm…probably like this old-time travel book I started reading once (I think it might have possibly been H. G. Well’s The Time Machine). Also, I thought the second book of The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis was pretty weird (I didn’t finish it either) but maybe I need to reread it sometime.

2. Who would you say is your #1 favorite character of all time, and who is your #1 least favorite character?

My #1 least favorite character (to answer out of order) is currently Mrs. Bennett (in Pride and Prejudice). Or maybe Diana (or whatever her name is in White Christmas). 🙂 As for my #1 favorite character of all time…ugh I don’t even know. I’m really liking Parvin Blackwater (from the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes) but there are far too many other competitors and I haven’t even finished the series so I couldn’t really say. 😁

3. What is at least one book which you wish you could change the ending of?

There are lots of books I’ve thought that of, but I can’t recall most of them at the moment. One book where I struggled with the ending was “When Tomorrow Comes” by Janette Oke. This is what I wrote in my review:


When Tomorrow Comes (Canadian West #6)When Tomorrow Comes by Janette Oke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not expecting this book to end the way it did. At first, I was almost disappointed. But when I thought it over it seemed…right somehow. It was how it should have ended and after struggling through it (like few other books I’ve read) I finally agreed with Christina. As a Christian, life’s not about following your heart, even in romance and dreams. Sometimes we have to give up what we think is most important and walk in God’s will.

You’ll probably want to read #5 in the series, but you don’t need to read 1-4 to enjoy this, even if it makes you appreciate why Christina loves the North so much. Highly recommend this book. Probably more like a 4.5 rather than a 4 star, but I couldn’t bring myself to put a 5 star simply because I don’t like to give too many 5 stars. 🙂

View all my reviews

So while I wanted it to end one way, after mulling over it for a while, I decided it was best the way it was.

4. Have you ever cried over a book? If so, which one(s) was it?

Haha, yes I have definitely cried over a book. Some books that come to mind are The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson, A Time to Die and A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes (also Romanov by Nadine Brandes), and the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, and the If I Run series by Terri Blackstock. And a bunch of others.

5. What is your favorite book that has been made into a motion picture? If you can’t think of any, give your favorite motion picture which you know was made off a book, even if you’ve never read it.

I love the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis and This Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, and I know both of them have been made into a motion picture.

6. If you could travel into a story, which character(s) would you want to meet the most?

Hmm…maybe Nia Wingfeather from the Wingfeather Saga, but I’m really not sure.

7. Have you ever read a book which has a character strangely similar to you? If so, which character and book was it?

I mean there is Jo from Little Women. There are parts of Janner from the Wingfeather Saga that I relate to. And then Parvin Blackwater from the Out of Time series felt strangely similar to me.

8. Who is your favorite bad-guy-turned-good-guy character?

Well, there is Will Reynolds from the Beyond the Mask movie, but someone already mentioned that and it’s a movie after all. Then there is Ky from the Unblemished series, but I don’t really think he’s my favorite. So maybe Kaphtor from the Out of Time Series?

9. What is your favorite genre?

Generally historical fiction, but I also like contemporary, fantasy, and an occasional extremely well-done romance, and a very occasional exceptional dystopian (like The Out of Time* series).

10. What are some books that have covers you really like?

Hmm…let’s see…some of the ones that come to mind are A Time to Die, Never Say Goodbye, Unblemished, Dandelion Dust, Ivy Introspective, Untitled (which I haven’t read yet), and The Girl Who Could See (which I also haven’t read).

And I think that wraps up the questions!

Now for nominations. I nominate:

Here are my questions for you!

  • What is the #1 worst beginning to a book you have ever read?
  • What is a book you read almost every year (except for the Bible)?
  • Which do you tend to enjoy most: Prologues or Epilogues?
  • How many books do you tend to average every month (or year)?
  • What book do you first remember reading (all by yourself)?
  • What is the most boring book you’ve ever read?
  • What was the last book that made you laugh out loud?
  • What is a book that you are constantly referencing?
  • What’s your favorite quote from a book published before you were born (again…with the exception of the Bible)?

Have fun! Hope you enjoyed this post.


“Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

-John 5:24 (NASB)


20 Things I’m Thankful for in 2020

Here’s what came to mind as I reflected on all that I’m thankful for today:

  • Integrity
  • Books
  • Good Internet
  • Homemade applesauce
  • Dogs
  • Rhythm
  • Dew on a spider’s web early in the morning
  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Hugs
  • Fresh-laid eggs
  • Faithful believers
  • Imagination
  • Reading aloud
  • Vivid stars
  • Chickens
  • Cozy blankets
  • Grandmas
  • Bright moonlight late at night
  • Family and Friends

Have an awesome Thanksgiving!

“For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting
And His faithfulness is to all generations.”

-Psalm 100:5 (NASB)

To Every Person Who Reads This…

Dear faithful blog followers and every random person reading this post:

In the past few months I have practically forsaken you.

At first my excuse was that I was outlining a book I wanted to write. But then I got discouraged with that. And then I got stuck. And then I got busy. Really busy.

But staring into the night sky giving all my troubles to the Lord and asking him what to do, I felt a pull on my heart. In the one quiet moment throughout my busy day I felt God pulling me to write. I asked him why I felt so discouraged, why even when everything looks right nothing feels right. I asked him what kind of purpose I could possibly have.

In a way he didn’t really answer.

He just asked me to write.

Over the past months I have almost begun to convince myself that I’m not good enough to write anything worthwhile, that I’ll never be good enough, that every word I put on the page is just time wasted.

What can I do to heal the brokenness all around me?

How can I do anything?

I don’t know. I don’t have any answers. None at all.

Nothing is “crystal clear,” nothing makes any sense.

But from deep inside of me this truth yearns to be shared, to be expressed.

You have purpose. You are worth more than you could ever know. Our purpose has nothing to do with whether we will ever be good enough, with whether even our words are good enough. And I’m beginning to think that that’s not what writing is about.

Writing is about taking the pain, the hurt, the confusion and letting God make something beautiful out of it. We can labor over our words, our stories, criticize grammar, critique plot elements, and those might have worth. But they’re not the point.

When God asks you to write, you don’t need perfect grammar and structure. Perhaps, you’ll need something close to get published, but that’s not the point either. Because when God asks you to write he wants your heart complete with all your wounds and scars. ‘Cause he’s the one who’s going to make something beautiful and it’s not up to you.



“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

-Psalm 138:8 (ESV)

“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”

-Isaiah 58:8 (ESV)

“He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.”

-Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

Help Undying Joy reach 100 followers! (Giveaway involved!)

With a September filled with busy Saturdays, I’ve been gone longer than I thought I would be. And, with another busy Saturday ahead of me, and not enough time to craft an actual full post of my own, I thought I’d reblog this post from Erin @ Undying Joy. She’s one of my favorite bloggers to follow, and even if she wasn’t hosting a giveaway of a book by one of my top favorite authors (C. S. Lewis), you should seriously consider following her. Please go support her if you can, and if you want, check out her awesome giveaway as well.

Have a wonderful and fruitful week!


“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

-John 15:5 (NASB)


 

Undying Joy

GUYS!!! I have 78 followers on my blog! My goal is 100 and that’s why I’m running a giveaway!!! 🙂 The more friends you share my giveaway with, the more entries you get. So click the photo or link below to enter the giveaway and then…share away! (Please note: family members are not allowed to enter at this time. Thank you!)

The giveaway will start on September 20th and ends October 1st.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

~Erin H.

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Answering Questions from Tags and Nominations

Today I will not be doing any of the tags or things I’ve been nominated for.

Instead, I will be answering some of the questions from them.

Thanks to these blogs for nominating me for various things!

Questions will be in bold and my answers will be in normal text.

When was the last time you ate McDonalds?

Like at least 5 months ago if not longer. I don’t really eat McDonalds. It doesn’t make me feel that great…..

Would you prefer oatmeal or grits for breakfast?

No idea. Grits sounds good, and I love oatmeal, but I’ve never had grits and I can’t eat oats.

What is your least favorite vegetable and why?

Don’t have one. Why? Cause I live on a farm and every veggie grown on a farm tastes awesome. Also pretty much every veggie if you cook it right can be made to taste good. I love vegetables. I literally can’t think of one I don’t like. Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, they are all so good!!!!!

When you go camping, do you like sleeping in a tent or a cabin?

Probably in a tent. I like roughin’ it a bit. Sometimes a cabin is nice for a change, though.

How long does it take you to read a 20 chapter book?

I’ve read a twenty chapter book in one day before. I don’t really have time for that anymore. I don’t really read a lot of twenty chapter books. Most of the books I’ve been reading lately are like either spiritual books to be read and studied through carefully, or super long meaty fiction. Also, chapter lengths vary a LOT.

Predestination or Free Will?

Not a question that can be answered in a few sentence. It also depends what you are obtaining by predestination vs. free will. Salvation? Acceptance of salvation? God gives us free will. He is also King of kings. Those who accept the salvation God has provided are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are not robots, and God will not “force” us or “irresistibly” drag us into heaven. We have free will, and God gets all the glory. That’s about the shortest answer I can come up with.

How long have you been a Christian?

Since I was young.

What is your favorite type of smoothie?

No idea. I love smoothies but I just kind of mix about everything that tastes good into it. I don’t really know of any particular types of smoothies. I love using strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, peaches, and bananas in smoothies.

McDonald’s or Wendy’s?

Uhhh. Hmmm. Wendy’s salads are better for being fastfood. If I had a choice between a Frosty or an ice cream cone (without the cone) from McDonalds I think I’d probably choose the Frosty. That’s pretty much all I’d get from either places.

What is your favorite thing about your way of schooling (homeschooling or real schooling)?

Wait a second….”real schooling”? Since when was public or private school “real schooling”? Independent learning is the best, because you yourself are the one seeking to learn and grow. You are accountable to God and the people in authority like your parents, and you are free to grow in knowledge as God would have you without the standards of all the worldly things being pushed on schools nowadays. Moving on.

What is your favorite chapter of the Bible?

Isaiah 40.

What is your favorite book?

Philippians. Or Psalms. If you mean a book other than the Bible than I am completely at a loss to give an answer.

If you could live in one country for a week, what would it be?

Either in China or Africa. I’d love to go on a missions trip to either place.

What is an animal you would dream to own?

A Jersey cow.

What is an animal you are intensely scared of?

Hmm. I’m not really intensely scared of anything in particular, but I’d be a bit scared of a Mountain Lion (aka Cougar). I really hope I don’t ever encounter one or have an animal taken out by one.

Do you have a pet? If so, describe it!

A million!! Not quite 🙂 The chickens and the goats are all pretty much pets, as well as our cats, but our real pet is my dog. Mabel who you have all probably heard of is a sweet, needy, active, Bluetick Coonhound, who loves to chase cats, coons, rabbits, moles, and shrews, to name a few. She also loves eating snakes. Ughh. That’s one thing I really wish she would stop doing. Dead snakes really stink.

If you could spend one day hanging out with one character in a book you’re writing or wrote (or for those of you who aren’t writers, a book you’ve read), who would it be and why?

Maybe Malcolm from Malcolm by George MacDonald. Or an older lady in Katelyn Ford who is as a mother to Katelyn and whose name I have not yet figured out.

Out of all the superpowers out there, which one would you want to have? And why?

The power to heal others. I just wish I could simply reach out and heal the brokenness all around. All I can do is point others to the true healer. God is the only one who has the power to heal, whether it is broken limbs or broken hearts.

What is a book or book series that you would recommend to anyone?

The Bible is probably the only book I can truly say that I would recommend to anyone. Other than that there are a lot of books I would recommend to different people. Stepping Heavenward is a book that I would wholeheartedly recommend to pretty much every girl I can think of. NarniaDo Hard ThingsHeather and Snow, and The Bronze Bow, would probably be some other books that I would recommend to pretty much anyone.

If you could go into your own world that you wrote or are writing (or for non-writers, a world you read), where would you go to first and why?

I might like to go to Narnia. Sometimes I wish I could.

What food do you absolutely LOVE the most, and what food do you loathe to the ends of the earth?

What food do I absolutely love the most? What an awful question! How about a list of my favorite foods?

  • Homemade Lasagna
  • Homemade spicy chili Red Robin style
  • Banana bread
  • Bananas in general
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Homemade Alfredo
  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Extreme dark chocolate
  • Cheesecake

To name a few. I love food in general, and I make a lot of really good food. I have learned not to loathe a food to the very ends of the earth. However I really don’t admire cream of rice. And I have to force myself to drink coffee that tastes like coffee. Eggplant doesn’t taste that great either.

Which of the four seasons (summer, spring, fall, winter) is your favorite and why?

I love spring! Spring isn’t too cold and it isn’t too hot. It’s the season of new life and beauty, and I love it so much!!!!!

What is the biggest goal you have in life right now?

To serve in love and be fervent in prayer. In essence, to abide in Christ.

What is the one thing you love doing most in life?

Worshiping God. There is nothing I could love better. Only in worship of my true King can I truly be satisfied, as good as food is, as pleasant as a sunrise is to watch, it came from Him, and I can do nothing better than praise Him for all of His gifts.

I really enjoyed answering these questions! I know I skipped a few, but thanks for asking, I hope you enjoy reading my answers!

Have a wonderful rest of your August!


“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”

-Psalm 95:6 

 

*All scripture quotations are form the NASB translation

Some Liebster Awards

I’ve been getting nominated a lot for stuff lately. And being as I didn’t really have a good post idea for today, I figured I’d do a couple of them.

Actually I’ll “only” be doing two because that’s all that I remember.

I was nominated by Hannah at A Need To Breathe and Elisha at Africa Boy

RULES

  1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Display your award.
  3. Answer the questions you were asked.
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers.
  5. Ask 6 new questions.
  6. Let your nominees know they were nominated and give them a link to your post.

Thank you Hannah!

For once I’m actually doing it in order!

Hannah’s Questions

Would you rather live near the ocean (tourist town) or on a mountain (totally isolated)?

I detest this question. The selfish answer is on a mountain. However being as the Bible says:

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
    he breaks out against all sound judgment.” -Proverbs 18:1 (ESV)

Then I suppose it would be less selfish to live in a tourist town especially being as that would be a good opportunity for evangelism.

Do you prefer the middle of winter or the middle of summer, and why?

Middle of the winter. It’s colder.

Would you rather work with a therapy dog, a therapy cat, or a therapy horse on a daily basis, and why?

Therapy dog? ‘Cause I like dogs. Next would probably come therapy horse.

What is your favorite personality trait (in others AND in yourself)?

Patience and a willingness to listen.

Would you choose to be a writer, an editor, or an English professor?

An editor. 🙂

If you had to become an advocate, what would be your cause?

I would be an advocate of voiceless, the fatherless, and the helpless.


Thank you Elisha!

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Elisha’s Questions

If you had the choice to grow or shrink, what would you choose?

I would probably shrink. I don’t tend to like to be the center of attention…..very insightful question.

Do you play any sports?

Nope.

Favorite animal?

1) My dog.

2) My calf.

3) A nice old fashioned large teddy bear.

What is your funniest childhood memory?

I have no idea.

Favorite movie?

Currently Unplanned.

I have lots, though, among which are Mom’s Night Out, Sound of Music, Courageous, Pride and Prejudice, Gifted Hands, Faith Like Potatoes, Amazing Grace, How To Train Your Dragon, Up, Fiddler on the Roof, The Andy Griffith Show, Ratatouille, and Love Comes Softly. Was this supposed to be an exhaustive list? Oops. “Movie” was singular.

Marvel or DC?

I’m new to them both. In fact I don’t think I’ve watched a DC movie. So I guess you could say Marvel?


My Nominees:

My Questions

  1. What is the hardest thing about writing anything?
  2. What are some things you do when you are feeling down?
  3. What is the most beautiful thing that you can see right now?
  4. What are your thoughts on what God’s will is and how find/seek it?
  5. Which of the fruits of the spirit would you say you are struggling with the most right now? (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)
  6. What is a passage or verse that you go to often?

That is the fastest I have ever done a nomination. Ever. Wow. Probably because I didn’t over think the questions and gave really quick answers to the questions I was given. Also there was only 5 people I had to nominate. A lot quicker than 11-20 people.

Have a great week!

I will leave you with this psalm, one of my favorite psalm as well as on eof the most challenging ones.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever” -Psalm 133 (NASB)

And, of course, this week’s featured song will be Hineh Ma Tov, otherwise known as “How Good and Pleasant” or Psalm 133.

Enjoy!

Why do We Serve Christ?

Love this post.

I’m taking a break from blogging today so I can amp up my word count on my Camp NaNo project.

Enjoy!

Skipping Adolescence

IMG_0928Hello everyone! I thought the most fitting way to start my blog was by sharing the most important part: Knowing God.

In American churches today, a huge focus is on serving Christ. We do it through sermons, small groups, evangelizing, fighting against things like abortion, helping others in the church, and the list goes on. It’s great!

Or is it?

What is the drive behind why we do what we do, the root of our fruit? Why are we doing all these things? To reach the lost? To encourage other believers? Probably. But I don’t think it stops there.

Sadly, for a lot of Christians, it is because they think that if they don’t serve Him enough, they won’t get to heaven, or God won’t love them as much.

I used to think that. Not consciously, and I wouldn’t say that’s what I thought. I knew that God loved everyone…

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Be Thou My Vision + Some Other Tags

I decided something today. Actually, I decided it yesterday and was excited about it all night.

I have finally decided to do it. Like actually.

And you are probably going….”Do what? What have you decided? Aren’t you going to tell us?”

Yes, I’m going to tell you. I mean….eventually, right?

Actually, I’ll tell you now. Here we go.

I have decided to create a tag.

Remember the post I mentioned last week that I said wasn’t ready? Well, after praying a bit about it, at least for now, I don’t think I should post it. Maybe God just wants me to wait, maybe I need to rewrite it, but for now, it will not be appearing. In case you are wondering, it was titled “Before you get a song stuck in your head: Part 3” as sort of part of my unannounced series on songs being stuck in your head. Anyway. So. Let us see….what was I talking about….oh! I have decided to create a tag.

In all seriousness, I really feel like this tag is not just like any other tag out there.

I’m creating this tag for something other than “getting to know other bloggers” (although that is good) and “awarding bloggers for their hard work” (although that is also good).

This tag is for building up, edifying and pointing to Christ.

Here is the tag image:

Be Thou My Vision

The photo of cherry blossoms was actually one I shot yesterday afternoon/evening, right as the sun was hitting the tree-line (cause we don’t really have that much of a horizon, just a tree-line where the sun sets). The wood background is part of the free backgrounds available on Canva.

Also, another decision that I made is that 10 months is not too late to do an award thing. So I’m going to be doing a really old nomination that I got a long while ago, as well as a recent one.

But, first, this newly created tag.


The Be Thou My Vision Tag

The Rules/ Guidelines:

  • Include these rules in your post
  • Pingback or link to this post: (farmgirl4jesus.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/be-thou-my-vision-tag) That way I can see different people doing it which will be really cool.
  • Thank and/or link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the main questions listed below. Two of them are optional.
  • Nominate anywhere from 2 to 20 people to do the Be Thou My Vision tag. Just make sure to nominate at least 2. Preferably, let them know that they have been nominated/tagged.
  • Optional: If you would like, include the “Be Thou My Vision” Tag image in your post.
  • Optional: Ask your nominees 2-5 questions and/or answer any questions the person who nominated you asked you.
  • Optional: Copy and paste the Purpose of the Be Thou My Vision Tag from below into your post.

The Main Questions:

  1. What is your vision for your life, your blog, etc.?
  2. What do you think of when you think of your ‘inheritance’?
  3. What is your first response when something is beyond you?
  4. What is generally your very first thought about, when you wake up?
  5. (Optional:) What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘dwelling in Christ’?
  6. (Optional:) What is something you have been dwelling on or thinking about more than you ought to? In other words, what is something that has been possibly getting in the way of God in your mind?

The Purpose of the Be Thou My Vision Tag:

The primary purpose of this tag is to edify, build up, and point to Christ. Many tags are filled with random questions like “What is your favorite ice cream flavor”, and while they are often quite fun, they can miss out on the big questions. This tag is meant to build us up in Christ and help us look to the High Ruler of all, our inheritance and our vision. It seems to be quite a big struggle in this age and time to lose sight of our purpose particularly when we are trying to build a platform. Often what started out for God, becomes something we are doing for us. Perhaps this tag will help us all to look to our Lord and pray that he would truly be our vision. That is what I pray for you. May God bless you and may you find that he truly is everything you will ever need.


Just for fun, (as well as for building up), I wanted to include the lyrics to Be Thou My Vision, one of my many favorite hymns.

Lyrics to Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

I love this hymn! It really should be our anthem as Christians.


Now to continue with the Be Thou My Vision Tag.

My Answers to the questions:

  • What is your vision for your life, your blog, etc.?

I guess what really comes to my mind is a life of service. Being able to serve others and share the hope I have, particularly with those who have none, would be the dream or vision of my life. As for my blog, it is my vision that people would be uplifted and drawn closer to Christ and that God would use the words I write for His glory.  I really hope that my posts and my words would not just be ‘fun’ or ‘engaging’ but truly from Him who holds my heart.

  • What do you think of when you think of your ‘inheritance’?

Immediately the verse from 1 Peter pops into my mind. It’s a verse that gives me the ‘chills’ (in a good way) and I really want to share it with you.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” -1 Peter 1:3-5

I just love the part where it says “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away”. I also think of the places in the Old Testament where it says that the Levites did not get a physical inheritance because God himself was their inheritance.

And then I think of the place in the Bible where a man tells Jesus to make his brother or whatnot share the inheritance with him. 🙂

  • What is your first response when something is beyond you?

Probably my very first response is to be frustrated or to simply give up. After that, I am generally convicted and go to God for wisdom.

  • What is generally your very first thought about, when you wake up?

Most likely my to-do list. Usually, it is very closely determined by what I was thinking about right before I fell asleep. Often my thoughts will wander where they shouldn’t dwell as I’m trying to fall asleep, so occasionally, my first thought is “Lord, forgive me!”. And when I depressed or discouraged my first thought generally is “Lord, help me….I can’t do this alone.”

  • (Optional:) What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘dwelling in Christ’?

I think of my favorite verse in Ezekiel where it talks about our future dwelling place:

“My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” -Ezekiel 37:27 (ESV)

That verse just always leaves me breathless. It’s just so beautiful……..and so…..so….well, so awesome in the true sense of the word. It is full of awe. I love that verse…..

  • (Optional:) What is something you have been dwelling on or thinking about more than you ought to? In other words, what is something that has been possibly getting in the way of God in your mind?

I struggle to clear my mind of all the things I think about or imagine about to focus on God when it was time to do Bible study et cetera.

Hopefully, this was edifying and encourages you to not give in, and not let Satan take your mind off of Christ.


Since this is the very first time the Be Thous My Vision Tag has existed, I am going to nominate guess how many people?

I’m gonna go for the limit: 20 people.

So here we go, let us find a full 20 people to nominate.

My Nominees:

Wow. That was actually really hard.

No pressure to participate, anyone! Whether you participate or not, I hope you are built up, in Christ, and challenged to look to Christ alone!


IMG_2857 as Smart Object-1

Now for the Liebster Award that I got………………..10 months ago. I think maybe I’m trying to beat a record for forgetting about nominations and still doing them? Here we go, sorry Hannah Gaudette for being so extremely late! I think it got lost sometimes in the middle of busy-ness and I totally forgot about it! Better now than never……right?

More-Flowers

Here are the rules:

Sorry, not doing this one completely.

  • Acknowledge and link to the blogger who nominated you.

Thank you Hannah Gaudette! Check out her blog here.

  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.

Okay.

  • Nominate 11 more bloggers and spread the ‘new blogger’ love.

Ummm…..not doing this. I already nominated 20 people in this post. If I did two Liebster Awards that would be 22 people. So I’ll just do two. Or none. Or something.

  • Ask them 11 fun questions of your own.

Okay.

  • Let them know on their blogs that you have nominated them.

Okay!

Optional Rules

  • Write a paragraph about what makes you passionate about blogging

I’ll skip this one. You can check out this post here if you want to hear all about it or check my About page.

  • List ten random facts about yourself

Okay!

Let us start. My answers to the questions:

  • Why did you start blogging? (I just had to share that one, Anna – thanks!)

Just read this post to read the whole longwinded version. Basically, I wanted to share what God was teaching me, etc., etc. (I’m trying to make this post as short as possible)

  • What is your favorite blogging memory?

Probably coming back from my two-month hiatus and feeling the keys under my fingers once again.

  • What is your favorite writing memory?

Well, I was writing an idea for a story, specifically a scene I had in mind, and my older sister came over and looked over my shoulder. As she read it she started laughing (it was supposed to be funny). It made me smile that it made her smile. :)😊

  • If you could have any breed of cat or dog (or snake, or hamster, or horse, or whatever), what would it be?

It would be fun to have a Jersey cow to milk. We just have cows for beef and goats for milk, but Jersey milk is way better than ordinary cows milk or goats milk.

  • What is your favorite memory of a pet or pets?

Probably when we first discovered that our Bluetick Coonhound actually liked water. We threw a stick in the pond and pretended it was a making noises, and she jumped in after it. Then she didn’t want to stop, once she had gotten wet. It was so funny. I always thought she hated water. She does hate rain, though.

  • What is the one book everyone in the world should read?

Absolutely the Bible. Other than that….hmm….probably Disciplines of a Godly Man/Woman by Kent/Barbara Hughes.

  • Do you like rain?

Yes! Everyone thinks I’m really weird………no one else likes rain….. 😦

Except when it is Fall and we get our first rain shower and we are all so excited that the grass can grow again and fall pasture will come soon. Often when the first fall rain storm hits the whole family will be dancing in the rain. Meanwhile, all the local teenagers and young adults are shivering in hoodies and shorts while I’m in a short-sleeved shirt and jeans dancing in the rain.

  • Cauliflower or broccoli?

I don’t know…….I guess broccoli ’cause it is easier to grow.

  • What is the longest book you’ve read?

I don’t know……maybe something Charles Dickens?

  • What is the longest book or story you’ve written?

I’m currently at 8,759 words on my Camp NaNoWriMo project!!!!! So exciting!!!

  • What do you consider your biggest passion or cause in life?

Serving Christ.

My Nominees are:

  • Anyone who has a blog with under 50 followers and either follows my blog or is followed by me.

My Questions are:

  • The same questions I answered above.

My Ten Random Facts:

  1. I love Jesus
  2. I am writing a blog post right now.
  3. I love music
  4. I love to sing
  5. I love to play cello
  6. I like to read
  7. I like to plan and schedule
  8. I love my dog (or just Bluetick Coonhounds in general). Actually, I like dogs and animals in general, too.
  9. My first favorite book of the Bible is Psalms
  10. My second favorite book of the Bible is Philippians

 

Now for the recent Liebster Award!!!

THANK YOU LYDIA POTTER FOR NOMINATING ME!!! Check out her blog here.

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  • Display your award.
  • Answer the questions you were asked.
  • Nominate at least 5 other followers to do the same post.
  • Ask 6 new questions to your chosen nominees.
  • Let each nominee know you’ve nominated them and give a link to your post.

My answers to the questions:

  1. What’s your favorite desert? Cheesecake. Or homemade ice cream. Oh wait, are you talking about a desert? I don’t really know of many deserts. Death Valley sounds kind cool, but I’d never really like to stick around for too long.
  2. What’s your favorite meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner)? Dinner.
  3. What’s your favorite brand of clothes? I have no idea. Clothes That Fit maybe? That’s not an actual brand as far as I know but I really don’t have consistent brands that I know of and like.
  4. What’s your favorite time of the day to check on your blog? Often I do it in the morning….when I should be reading my Bible. Anytime really. I should check it less often.
  5. What’s your favorite salty snack? Either homemade popcorn or homemade steak fries.
  6. What’s your favorite sport to watch? I don’t really watch sports. I’ve watched a little football before and it can be fun. Dude Perfect can be fun to watch.

My Three Nominees:

My Questions For You To Answer:

  1. Who is someone who cooks really good food? (i.e. Your mom, grandma, local custom gourmet chef, etc.)
  2. What pets do you have?
  3. What is your favorite board game?
  4. Do you listen to a lot of music?
  5. What are your thoughts when you hear the word ‘religion’?
  6. What is one person on earth that you look up to the most?

YAY!!!!! I’m done!!!!!


Hope you enjoyed this post and were built up by it!!!!!

In case you hadn’t guessed already, “Be Thou My Vision” is the featured song of the week!

Have a wonderful week!!!! May God be your vision.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” -Ephesians 1:18-19a (NASB)

*All Scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted