Monday, March 30, 2015

A Week of Free Sheet Music!

I am so excited to be sharing six piano solos with you at my music website, With a Joyful Noise -- all about the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Every day this week (Monday-Saturday), I will be sharing an arrangement for you to download. There will be one of pretty much every level, so you are bound to find something for you, your child, or your student. And if you're not a pianist, please share this with a pianist friend!

Visit here for our first piece: At the Cross for beginning pianists:

Prayer for Preachers | Ephesians Study

Ephesians 6:18-19
(18)  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
(19)  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Not only does Paul exhort the believers to pray for the saints, but he also requests prayers for himself.

Utterance - NT:3056 logos (log'-os); from NT:3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ):

Boldly - NT:1722 en (en); a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest (intermediate between NT:1519 and NT:1537); "in," at, (up-) on, by, etc.:
NT:3954 parrhesia (par-rhay-see'-ah); from NT:3956 and a derivative of NT:4483; all out-spokenness, i.e. frankness, bluntness, publicity; by implication, assurance:

Though Paul was known for his boldness, he still requested prayer. Taking his example, we should pray for the preachers and pastors we know: that God would give them utterance and boldness to declare the Gospel. We cannot pray too much for the men of God that we know.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Author Interview | Kelsey Bryant

Today, we have Kelsey Bryant, author of the Six Cousins series, visiting With a Joyful Noise (you will notice me mentioning the two current books in her series: Family Reunion and An England Adventure)! I had such a blast interviewing her and reading her answers. Thank you, Kelsey, for taking the time for this interview!
Me: When did you know that you would be an author?
Kelsey: It came as a decision at my high school graduation celebration; at least, that's when I have the clearest memory of feeling the decision settle its weight inside me. I was 17; people, of course, wanted to know what I would do after graduation, and I told them "something to do with books"; I didn't want to commit to being an author just yet, though I was working on a novel (Family Reunion, as a matter of fact!). Writing stories was something I'd done since I could print, and at age 11 one of my biggest dreams was to publish a book, but it took me until age 17 to fully make the decision. It felt like God's leading. Writing a novel became my main academic focus after high school, since I didn't go to college. That was seven years ago this spring. (How time flies!)

Me: When you began writing Family Reunion, did you know that this book would be your first publication? If not, when did you realize that it would be?
Kelsey: I didn't know it would. When I first started, its plot was so indistinct I didn't know if there was a whole story behind the mist or not. Then plenty of ideas emerged, and I realized, maybe in 2010 or 2011, that my dream to publish truly was doable and this would be the easiest story to pursue. (My others were too ambitious to be taken seriously at my age.)

Me: How long did it take you to write Family Reunion? In comparison, how long did it take you to write England Adventure?
Kelsey: It took me five years to complete every little detail in Family Reunion, but I interspersed it with other writing projects and set it aside some, either because I was getting stuck, feeling intimidated, or waiting for beta readers. I hope it doesn't take me that long again to finish another book! The first draft of England Adventure I wrote in 13 months, which I was rather proud of, given my history. (It was 18 months from conception to completion.) But then came more drafts and other projects (including polishing and publishing Family Reunion); and so it has been in the works almost four years from the very, very beginning. 

Me What is one of the biggest lessons you feel God taught you during your writing/editing/publishing process?
Kelsey: It's hard to pick the biggest one, because He taught me so much. Probably the most important was to trust Him with everything: my future, my dreams, my life, my work. There were times I was afraid I was going to lose everything I worked for, like when my computer crashed. Things like that made me question whether I was moving in the right direction. But God never let me lose my work. He saw me through all the setbacks and Family Reunion was published in His timing and blessed beyond my expectations. He also brought other writing opportunities to me, such as magazines and blogs. Hand in hand with trusting in Him, He also taught me not to trust in and take myself too seriously ... that I'm not ultimately responsible for how my career goes; He is. (I'm still learning this lesson of trust!)

Me: What is your goal/vision in writing?
Kelsey: Before beginning a story, I ask myself if it possesses a truth or lesson somewhere in its makeup that will enrich people's lives and/or draw them closer to God. If it does, I know it's worthwhile to write. We absorb thoughts and ideas from everywhere, especially in our "entertainment" (when our minds are relaxing, they seem to get more elastic or something), so my goal is to provide safe, uplifting, thought-provoking literature that will make readers desire God more and feel that they have a mission to glorify Him, be a light, and do His will for their lives. 

Me: Do you find yourself using struggles, victories, and spiritual lessons that you have personally experienced to help teach lessons in your books?
Kelsey: Yes, I think I do ... in fact, it's essential to my books. Even if I haven't experienced what a particular character goes through, I still have to identify their struggle with mine in some way or else I can't really write about it. Spirituality seems to naturally enter my stories, so I feel that struggles, victories, and spiritual lessons are most effective when they're personal. It's the same case as when I write devotionals ... they have to come from my spirit. 

Me: Do you usually plot out your novels, or have random ideas and just write?
Kelsey: So far I plot out all my novels. Sometimes, in the midst of plotting, when I'm stuck on how I want them to go, I just dive in and start writing at the beginning, just to get over that feeling of immobility, and that usually helps me continue the whole process. I could not write a novel without some sort of plan or outline ... I just don't think that way. That's how I am in the rest of my life, too! Very much a planner, unless I can't see where I'm going, and then I take a potentially risky jump forward so I can actually advance. 
Me: What is one thing that you would encourage younger writers in?
Kelsey: Hmm ... it's a little hard to limit it to one thing! I would say give your talent to God, but it seems like a lot of the young writers I know have that down pat. I really admire their heart of faithfulness! On second thought, I will go with that, because it's absolutely the most important thing to do with any talent: use it to glorify God. It involves different things for different people, but make sure you're writing what God wants you to write. What readers need is uplifting literature, not more stuff that is popular with the world now. 

PictureMe: I remember seeing that you recently went to England (for your second Six Cousins novel?). What is one of your favorite England memories?
Kelsey: I smile whenever I think back on my trip to England. I'd always wanted to go; that desire was where the inspiration for England Adventure(Six Cousins, Book 2) came from, and before I published this book, I was blessed to be able to go on a historical costume tour with a dear friend. One of my favorite memories was actually outside the tour ... my friend and I met up with another young author and her mom who live in England and visited Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, about an hour from the borders of London. It was like a scene out of my book; I felt just like Marielle, my MC, as I walked the wooden floors, admired the curios from Jane Austen's life, and imagined her living there. The entire village of Chawton was beautiful, and we had such a sweet time together as friends. We even had a cream tea at Cassandra's Cup, the tea room right across the street from the House. It's something I'll savor forever.

Me: Who do you find encourages you most in your writing journey?
Kelsey: My mom. She's usually the first brain I pick when I'm asking advice about my writing, the first ear to hear my ideas, and the first heart I share my struggles with. She's always there to encourage me and spur me on to better writing.

And then some random questions. :) 
- What is one of your favorite Bible verses?
Jeremiah 31:33 "But this shall be the covenant I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." 
- What is your favorite hymn?
"Be Thou My Vision"
- What is something that you love about your family?
We understand one another and therefore can be open with each other.
- What is one dream that you have?
To go to Israel.
- What is your salvation testimony?
I don't clearly remember making the decision to trust in Jesus (it was something I always believed, because I was raised that way), but my parents obviously knew I was sincere and I was baptized when I was 7. What happened later I remember better: My spiritual life really became real to me when I was around 13, and I think that came about as a combination of feeling convicted of certain sins, like pride and selfishness, and delving into the Bible and reading certain books on the Christian life. 
- Anything else you'd like to add?
I am very grateful to you, Amanda, for interviewing me! It was fun and thought-provoking. For the rest, I can't encourage you enough to seek God and His honor and to die to yourself. "In all your way acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov. 3:6). Don't get so caught up in life that you miss out on a rich, intense relationship with the King of kings!

A little more about Kelsey:
Kelsey Bryant is a homeschool graduate from Central Texas. Books have been a part of her family for generations. Ever since she can remember, Kelsey has been writing stories and dreaming of the magical moment when her books would join the ranks. She draws inspiration from the Greatest Story Ever Told, which culminates in the Messiah’s salvation offered to every person. Her life would be meaningless without her relationship with Yeshua (Jesus). She’s also inspired by the classics, especially the works of her favorite authors Jane Austen, L. M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Louisa May Alcott. She loves history and even her contemporary fiction has a historical bent.

Website     | FaceBook     | Blog

Note: While I interview different authors on here, I have not read all of their material and cannot personally endorse what I have not read. :)

Friday, March 27, 2015


One hundred!!!

The past two afternoons have been busy for me, {Mom's} printer, paper cutter, and stapler!

Next month, Lord willing, I will be setting up a booth at the Louisiana Homeschool Conference (CHEF). In this booth, my family and I will have music books (, my sister's signs (, short stories (, and possibly more. Needless to say, things are looking quite busy until April 17-18!

I am so grateful that today, the Lord allowed me to get all of the short stories printed up (this is a "special" because online, I currently sell my short stories as ebooks - only those attending the conference will have the opportunity to buy my short stories printed!). It is such a blessing to have one of many things checked off my list.

On the With a Joyful Noise side of things, we're still working on getting music books printed to also sell at CHEF, and another "praise the Lord," I've got my four page-outline for the workshop, "Music and My Child," completed! (now, to get all that info out in one hour means super-sonic speed, right? Don't say it: some of you are thinking "PLEASE don't talk faster than normal!!") I thoroughly enjoy answering parents' questions when it comes to getting their children involved in music.

So, everything is getting pulled together little pieces at a time. Today is one of those days in which my heart is SO grateful to God for His goodness in allowing preparations for my first "big event" to go relatively smoothly! For those of you who have been praying with me, thank you SO much and please - keep the prayers coming!!!

What's on your schedule this weekend?

J | Photoshoot

Another photoshoot! This time, I had fun using the mandolin as a photo prop. I'm getting spoiled on photo props. :)

Canon Pics
I've not posted much about my equipment. My standards is my Canon Digital Rebel T3i with my brother's 17-40mm Canon L-lens. Here are the pictures that I took in my comfort zone.

One of these days I'm going to master the "spinning" shot! :/

A little fun with B&W

Nikon Pics
My brother recently bought a Nikon D7000 so he could better help our Nikon friends use their cameras. The other day, he mentioned that I should pull it out and try it. I'll admit that even though I spent a few days playing with Nikons in December, when it came time to pull it out for the photoshoot I had a hard time finding all of the settings. Hence, I got more blurry pictures which was disappointing, but I did love the different aspects given with using a 35mm lens.

Gaussian blur added

Yes, I was trying different angles for this pose :)

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in Thy presence is fulness of joy, at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guest Post and Giveaway by Sarah Holman

A few weeks ago, I interviewed author Sarah Holman. I'm happy to be part of her blog tour and have her here again with a guest post for young writers! Added to that, she's having a giveaway for her newest book! I have not read Brothers and Betrayal yet, but it looks like something exciting to check into!

Writing for Younger Readers
Growing up, I had a hard time finding books I wanted to read and that was one of the reasons I started writing. I wanted to create books that were full of adventure, excitement, and messages of faith. I wanted to write books that were written for kids that were between the ages of ten and fifteen that didn’t contain a lot of romance, violence, or non-Christian themes.

Too often in our culture, we give young people books full of subject matter that is better suited for adults. While there is nothing wrong with clean, God-honoring romance, a lot of young people really don’t need to be spending a lot of their days thinking about it. While some violence, especially while talking about events that really happened, is not an issue, a lot of young people just don’t want to read about it.

When I started plotting out the Tales of Taelis series, I wanted to write it with younger readers in mind. I wanted to create a series that would spark not only their imagination, but their faith. How did I plan to do that? Here are some of the things that I keep in mind while writing a book for this series:

Romance should not be the main focus of the book and if mentioned, be more hinted at then anything, not because it is evil, but so that kids have one series that isn’t saturated with guy-girl relationships.

Violence should be avoided for the most part. The heroes and heroines of the books should always try to make peace and take the most non-violent path. There are enough books out there that use violence; young people need to hear that there are other ways of dealing with issues.

Morals should be high and based on biblical standards. The heroes and heroines of the series should teach lessons through their actions and show the readers how to live according to God’s plan.

Adventure should be the key to every book. The journey that each character takes should capture the imagination of the reader and keep them turning the pages.

Those are the basic ideas that govern my Tales of Taelis series. Are you interested in reading them? You can find Adventures and Adversities here, or pre-order a copy of Brothers and Betrayal here.

Sarah HolmanSarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of three published books and counting. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

The Discontented Writer

"I wish one of my friends were engaged - I know! I can write a story . . ." The thought ran through my mind casually and then I stopped, almost in horror. What did I just think?

Don't get me wrong - I don't believe that it is a sin to write about people going through an engagement or marriage. But my desire to write this story was summed up in one word: discontentment. In this instance, I was discontent that God did not have any of my close friends in a relationship. My solution? If God didn't give it to me in real life, then I would create a fictional life and create what I wanted.

Of course, written in black and white, this sounds downright unbiblical (now you see why I was horrified?). But I know that as writers (and girls on top of that), it is easy to subconsciously slip into being a "discontented writer" where our goal in writing is no longer to please the Lord but to please our desires and daydreams. It is for this reason, that we must continually check our hearts and minds and pray through the ideas that we are pondering. Some questions we can ask ourselves are:

~Am I sure that I'm following God with this idea? or am I just following my daydreams?

~Does this idea have a message? or does it fulfill the desire of my flesh?

~What is my purpose for writing this story?

If we slowly ponder those questions and answer them seriously, I really believe that we will save ourselves many moments of regret in our writing.

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Word Wednesday #47

"Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock." Luke 6:47-48

The foundation takes work and effort to lay correctly. So it is with a spiritual foundation. It doesn't just "happen" - we must come to Christ, hear His sayings, and do them.

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

According to the Need

"Jesus wept."

John 11:35 has been popularized as "the shortest verse in the Bible." But the verses surrounding this "shortest verse" paint a beautiful picture.

In this time of great grief, Jesus drew near to both Martha and Mary, yet we see that He comforted them differently.

With logical, hardworking Martha, Jesus had a discussion of theology and belief:
"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." John 11:21-27

With tender Mary and her tears, Jesus simply wept:
"When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept." (John 11:33-35)

For each woman, Jesus saw their different needs and met them. This amazing realization encourages me in two points:
            1) Jesus sees my needs and He knows exactly how to fulfill that need according to my personality.
            2) Not everyone is comforted in the same way. As a child of God, I need to follow Christ's example and be sensitive to the different needs of others.

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Armor of God - PRAYER | Ephesians Study

Ephesians 6:18
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Lastly is mentioned prayer and supplication.

Prayer - NT:4335 proseuche (pros-yoo-khay'); from NT:4336; prayer (worship); by implication, an oratory (chapel):

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

"And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:28-29)

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42)

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:4)

"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;" (Romans 12:12)

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)

"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;" (Colossians 4:2)

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;" (1 Timothy 2:1)

"But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you." (Philemon 1:22)

"Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months." (James 5:17)

"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." (1 Peter 4:7)

"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints." (Revelations 5:8)

These verses reveal to us the power of prayer. We must pray believing. And when we pray believing, God works: devils are cast out, men are delivered from the enemy, rain is held. God answers the prayers of His saints - they are before Him.

Supplication - NT:1162 deesis (deh'-ay-sis); from NT:1189; a petition:

"And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day." (Luke 2:37)

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." (Romans 10:1)

"Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf." (2 Corinthians 1:11)

"And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you." (2 Corinthians 9:14)

"Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy," (Philippians 1:4)

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;" (1 Timothy 2:1)

"Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day." (1 Timothy 5:5)

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16)

"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." (1 Peter 3:12)

Supplication is prayer especially for someone else. Supplication, also, is heard by God and answered. Supplication is powerful: delivering others from the hand of the enemy, enabling others in God's ministry, and availing much. I personally believe that this is the type of prayer we could use the most but neglect the most. Not only are we commanded to make prayers and supplications, but Ephesians goes on to say, "and watching thereunto with all perseverance (persistency) and supplication (petition) for all saints;" In case we didn't quite understand what mere "supplication" meant, we are assured that it is to be done faithfully for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Does my prayer life reflect my love for the brethren? Am I faithfully praying for others and their work in the Lord?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Yielding - guest post by Karen Tero

I am honored to have the guest post today from my mom, Karen Tero. I have been so blessed to have parents to disciple and encourage me in the Lord. I pray that her article is a blessing to you!

By Karen Tero

Rom 6:12-23
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

You are always yielding - You are either yielding to sin or yielding to righteousness (God). It is always your choice. If sin is reigning in your body, it is because you are allowing it do so.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Because you are saved, sin does not have the power to dominate you.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Although you are saved by grace, you can still live your life as a servant to sin. These verses were written by Paul to Roman Christians. He was reminding them that they were free from sin and were now the "servants of righteousness." They were struggling, as you are, with the infirmity of the flesh. They were having a difficult time living a life of righteousness. I think that they had yielded so long to sin that they were having a difficult time resisting. This was causing doubt and defeat.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul is acknowledging that they were struggling because of "the infirmity of your flesh." The struggle was not because they were not saved  - it was because they had not learned how to resist sin. They were still living as though they were in bondage to sin when, in fact, they had been set free from sin and were now "servants of righteousness unto holiness."

I think that the marriage of a woman can illustrate this point. For the sake of this analogy, we are going to assume that she has overbearing parents who are always trying to run her life. When she is in her parents' home, she is "under the power" of her parents. Through the years, she has learned to yield herself to her parents. She is "bound" to them - to obey them. However, when she gets married, the "bonds" of matrimony set her free from the "bonds" of submission to her parents. Now, once married, her parents still try to control her life. They try to sway her to continue to follow them rather than her husband. Because she has spent her life doing so, she has great difficulty listening to and following her husband. The voice of her parents tend to overpower the voice of her husband because it is the voice she is most familiar with. As long as she continues to listen to her parents, they continue to have power over her. This does not mean she is no longer married, it simply means that she has chosen to yield to her parents rather than to her husband. Each day she has the choice to yield to her parents or to yield to her husband. Her parents can have no power over her unless she is willing to yield to them. By the same token, her husband now has the right to her "service." However, he cannot force her into submission - she must yield to his leadership. Either way, she must choose: She will yield to her parents - or she will yield to her husband. The longer she is married, the easier it will be to yield to her husband. The stronger her relationship with her husband is, the more natural it will be for her to yield to him. As she learns to recognize and love his voice, the voice of her parents will have less and less power over her life.

This is the way it is in our life with sin and righteousness. When we are first saved, the voice of sin is the more familiar voice. It is the voice we have responded to for years. The voice of the Lord is sweet, but strange in our ears. When faced with a choice, the voice of sin often drowns out the voice of God in our spirits. Our flesh yields to sin - not because we are lost, but because we are in the habit of yielding to the voice of sin. The more we spend time with the Lord, the more we will learn to recognize His voice. Slowly, we will learn to yield ourselves to righteousness rather than sin. It is a daily choice.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Is Your All on the Altar?

E | Photoshoot

I did a quick photoshoot of E the earlier this month. Here's a glimpse of them.

This was actually one of E's picks - the sun was bright!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Word Wednesday #46

As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. 
(Daniel 9:13)

Two important things come before understanding God's truth: turning from our iniquity and coming to God in prayer.

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Unwanted Houseguests

When I was fourteen, I wrote about a family experience we had to a friend on the missionfield. Here is the unedited excerpt from my letter (including the original exclamation points).

Dear E---,
     Something absolutely dreadful has happened over here. I mean really, REALLY dreadful.
     It all started last Sunday evening. It was around 7:00. First, only a few of the members of the family came.
     They made us eat supper with them. And Rebecca and I had to get up at least six times just for them!
     Next, the family insisted upon sleeping in one of the coolest places (Since it is summer). No where’s else! Mom said to go ahead and put them where they wanted. Rebecca did so and all was peaceful until the next day, Monday.
     They got me up early then made us eat with them again! Several of us were already getting tired of them. Me especially. I had to slave for them from breakfast until lunch (I still have burns from Monday). By then, there were over one hundred members of the family present (It’s ALL the total truth!). And guess what! You got it! Lunch was eaten with them AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mom was even tired of them!
     They let us eat our own supper, but stayed in the kitchen the whole time.
     That night, they stayed in the kitchen. Who knows what all they did?
     Tuesday morning they made us eat with them AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! I was so tired of them I didn’t eat much.
     They’re still in our house, though we chased out most of them. I CAN NOT wait until they are gone COMPLETELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     By now, I guess I should tell you their name. It is Donut. Yes, I spelled it correctly. Donut.
     Rebecca innocently asked Mom for permission to make donuts—a rare treat. She quadrupled the recipe and didn’t see that one recipe ALONE made four dozen donuts!
     And, well, you know the rest of the story. And I promise you; none of us want that kind of donut for a L-L-O-O-N-N-G-G time!


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Armor of God - BIBLE | Ephesians Study

Ephesians 6:17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Several preachers have mentioned that the Sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in this armor. This implies that we can use God's Word to ward off the attacks of the devil. We can use it to defeat the enemy.

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:10)

So far, no effort of man or his logic is even mentioned in the armor of the Spirit. It is all spiritual armor - that takes man's choice to put on and keep on. We know that God's Word is our Sword, but do we sharpen it in our lives? Do we read it, study it, and apply it? The Sword does not offer much protection if it is rusted in its sheath. It has to be brought out and practiced with for us to know how to use it. If we do not use God's Word in the small areas of our life, how will we be able to use it when it comes to the darkness of spiritual warfare?

For a further study of the power, might, majesty, and ability of God's Word, Psalm 119 has the most to say about God's Word. If one doubts its ability to guide, direct, fight, keep, and help, they should read Psalm 119.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Picture - revealed

The other day I posted this picture and asked y'all to guess what it is:

I think the two most popular guesses were fungus and some type of meat. :) Perhaps this picture will help clarify some details? :)

It was probably 9:30 in the morning when I went outside to cut a few boards for Dad. After finding the tools I needed, I stepped out the side of the house.

Shoots of ice popped up from the ground - about three inches high.

It was fascinating to observe this close-up!

The ice was light and easily broke away from the mud. It appears that the water separated from the mud and froze, creating these amazing needle-like points of ice.

Though we had seen this type of ice on our new volley-ball pad, it was nothing like that morning!

Even in small ways, God's creation is amazing to behold!

"The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy . . . He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: He causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow." (Psalm 147:11, 16-18)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Word Wednesday #45

Then the king made Daniel a great man . . . (Daniel 2:48)

Before it got to this point, Shadrach (Hananiah), Meshech (Mishael), and Abednego (Azariah) joined Daniel in prayer ("Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon." Daniel 2:17-18). Yes, Daniel was the one given the wisdom and words, but he had the support and prayer of other believers. We may not be a Daniel, but surely we can work behind the scenes in prayer.

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I had fun taking some pictures outside the other day. Anyone care to guess what this is a picture of? I'll post a few more in a few days. :)

"For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth," (Colossians 1:16a)

In the Potter's Hand

The Lord occasionally places little reminders in my life: that in His eyes, I am the clay and He is the Potter. Within a week's time, I read Isaiah 64:8, a random blog post on Isaiah 64:8, and heard a sermon on Jeremiah 18 (oh, did I mention that Isaiah 64:8 was a reference my pastor used in that sermon?).

I don't think it was of any coincidence that God formed the first man out of the dust of the earth and then used the analogy of us being but clay, the work of His hand. But sometimes I need that reminder. I must come to the point daily of recognizing that I am the one to be molded, shaped, and changed; that God is the One Who has authority to mold, shape, and change me.

God may decide to use trials to shape me. He may put on a little pressure. He may convict me or correct me. If I am hard, He will have to break me in order to shape me. But if my heart is tender and pliable, it takes only a gentle touch of His hand to create that new and better shape.

Just like forming pottery takes hours and days, God's work in my heart and life is not complete in one small instance. He still shapes and molds throughout the years, perfecting and finishing the work which He has begun ("The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands." Psalm 138:8). The question I need to ponder is: am I moldable in the Father's hand?

Some verses that benefit to review:
"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:3-5)

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4)
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