Scripture Monday :)

2 Timothy 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

Hello friends, I am back from a week of camp and still very tired. Sometime in the future I’ll write about the experience. Happy Independence Day!

The Outcasts and the Weirdos

This morning I re-watched an “old” episode of Ask Jordan (Blimey Cow). It’s called “7 Tips For High School.” I watched this video when Jordan released it last October and it really made me think. When I watched it again this morning I knew what to expect, but the message really hit me hard again. If you haven’t watched this video then I suggest that you do that before continue to read this post.

Jordan has some really good pointers for high-schoolers throughout the video, but the last one hit me the hardest. Tip number seven is, in other words, to be friends with the outcasts. It’s a good pointer in and of itself. It’s so important to be friends to people that are called “weird” or “troubled” because you have no idea what’s going on in their lives, and if you do know then that’s all the more reason to be friends with them. Again, the tip was good, but the true story that Jordan told to illustrate it was powerful.

Jordan tells a story about this guy he knew when he was in high school. This guy was considered weird and was very troubled. If you haven’t heard this story then I beg you to check out the video I linked to. Jordan, obviously, tells this story much better then I can. The whole story showcases how invaluable relationships with the outcasts can be. It can save a persons life.

I read through the comment section of the video and stumbled upon a comment made by someone who was struggling with depression. In their comment they thanked Jordan for reminding people that the outcasts are often the people that need friends the most. Another person responded, who had struggled with depression in the past, and the two went back and forth encouraging one another. The second person shared this Bible verse:

1 Peter 5:10

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

I think it’s neat how they were so encouraging to one another. It made me smile. 🙂

I think these comments and Jordan’s video, really opened my eyes this morning. I’ve always known that their are struggling, hurting, broken, “weird” people out there, but I haven’t come across many in my life. Now, as I look closer, I see that it’s not just the people from broken families who are struggling just to live each day that need friends. Everyone is in need of a friend. Maybe I don’t know many people who are outcasts, but I do know many people who are made fun of and laughed at, for simply being who they are. Not weirdos, but just their own self.

So many people are made fun of because they aren’t like everyone else. I know that it’s wrong, but do I do anything about it? Sometimes the answer, for me, is no. Today, and in the future, I want the answer to be yes.

Look On Up

Look On Up – Relient K

This is such a good song on so many levels: the instrumentation (especially the guitar), the buildup to the climax, the lyrics, and the beautiful melody. All the elements just blend together and create this chill musical experience.

Look On Up is about putting down our technology, or really any distraction, and remembering that real life still exists. The message is great, but the way the lyrics portray the message is beautiful.

Have you ever tried to photograph the moon?
Well I have too, I have too
Find it funny how it never turns out right
It’s like someone poked a pinhole in the canvas of the night

I love this song. It reminds me that technology can never be as amazing as creation. We can’t take pictures of the moon that look just right. Something is always just a bit off.

To me, this song means even more than that. There are so many things that can distract us from living our lives. When I look around at everything, sometimes, it all goes in slow motion. I see everything but I don’t feel apart of it anymore. Those are the moments when I realize that life is much more than going through the motions. Life is so much more than pretending and trying to fit in. Life is so much more than surviving. Life is for looking up. Life is for doing and loving. Life is for precious moments and changing lives.

This leads to looking around and realizing that not everyone knows this. I look around and see all the people. I wonder if they’ve thought about life yet. I wonder if they realize how precious time is. I wonder if they see the hurt they cause in other people. I wonder if they even care. When I look at myself I see someone who is desperately trying to find their way, and I wonder if everyone else feels like that too.

Look up into the night sky and let it sink it. This is real life. This is your life. Live it well.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. – Psalm 19:1

There’s a little bird on the porch where I’m sitting. He is a dressed in brown and white feathers with a baseball cap of red feathers on his head. He’s only about four inches long and I watch as he hops around the porch before fluttering away.

The wet street reflects the blue sky, bright with clouds after an afternoon rainstorm. Clumps of rain clouds hover ominously all around, but the rain has already come and gone. A beautifully sunny evening awaits.

Even when the rain does pour down, the Glory of God is still proclaimed. Regardless of circumstances, emotions, and sin the sky is always above us telling us that God is still at work. He hasn’t abandoned us and He never will.

 

Scriptures Sunday

I think I’ll actually start a “segment”-ish thing on my blog today. I will try to post a quote from scripture every Sunday. Sundays are a day that I spend at church and with my family, and I usually don’t have a lot of time for blogging. I think something really quite simple like this would be fun. 🙂

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  Romans 11:33 

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump done vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?  Romans 9:20-24

God’s great sovereignty! 🙂

Sovereignty and the Cotton Candy Sky

I’m hungry and it’s going to be a busy day.

The sky was cotton candy colored earlier. You know, blue with stripes of pink throughout. I like the way that looks.

I’d rather pick flowers than fights.

I woke up the is morning and was very glad that I had set my Bible beside my bed last night (this morning at 1:00 actually). I woke up at 5:45 am, strangely refreshed, and picked up my Bible. Opening it to Romans chapter nine, I read.

Guess what?

God is Sovereign

Can you believe it? Sometimes I forget and pretend that I’m actually the sovereign one. I pretend like I’m in control of everything. In reality, I am in control of so little. God controls the turning of the earth. He controls the movement of the sun. He made me and chose me. He chose me even though I disobeyed Him. He is sovereign in everything He does. He knows where I’m going and will be right there with me at all times.

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. – Romans 9:14-16

I am not my own, for I have been made new. Please don’t let me go. I desperately need you. – Meteor Shower (Owl City)

The truth is that no matter what happens today, God is still in control. And, He still loves me. 🙂

Fresh Encouragement Everyday

Encouragement is something that seems hard to get these days. Everything in our lives seem so big and scary and bad that we  simply don’t see the beauty in the small, good things. It is only when something comes out at us that is as big as the problem that we feel encouraged. This simply should not be. There is so much encouragement to be found everywhere.

Sometimes I have bad days (today isn’t one of them) and when I do it’s usually because I’m being selfish. Rarely is it because something bad is actually happening. Yet, I’m always amazed at the encouragement that I get when I’m in these bad moods. Sometimes it’s something as simple as seeing the sun rise in the morning while the grass is wet with dew. The colors spreading across the sky like fingers or floating across it like water-color paint. Seeing this beautiful example of God’s love and sovereignty makes me realize that my bad morning doesn’t matter. It makes me look at things in a new perspective. Why does God give us such undeserved encouragement? (Love) 

Everyday fresh encouragements meet me, but sometimes I miss them. Here are the ones that I didn’t miss today:

  • Ephesians 4
  • Deck ball with siblings
  • Cinnamon popcorn
  • Playing the piano after church

If you need encouragement than read Ephesians 4. Actually, read all of Ephesians. It’s a good book. 🙂

Farewell and listen to good music. 😀

Contentment

Peace and contentment

Some days, I find this easy. I wake up on these days, and the whole world is a beautiful place. I find school easy to focus on, people easy to get along with, God easy to talk to, and beauty easy to find.

Other days Most days though… I struggle to find peace and contentment. I struggle to keep my temper. I can’t see anything beautiful in anything. School becomes either a mindless chore, or something that I simply can’t focus on. I struggle to talk to God, most of the time because I feel so… guilty.

I don’t know what to do about it, because I won’t do anything about it. That’s the problem. I want to to see the beauty in the simple things. I want to help others and love life. I want to live for something more than myself. Some days, I just can’t. 

I think there is a problem in our society. Well, there are many, but the one that I notice the most is the lack of contentment. All we see is what we can get and there is so much we can get.

We fail to see the beauty in the little things.

We only see the cars and not the people inside. All those people with lives, problems, opinions, happiness, and souls. All we see are the problems that these people create for us. Why can’t we see them as hurting, struggling, living, breathing humans? Why can’t we see the hurting behind the eyes of people? Why can’t we see the brokenness in the way they walk? Why do we see them and not feel something other than passiveness or annoyance?

We never see the bees buzzing around spring flowers. We never stop to just admire how all the colors of all those flowers can blend together in a single field and look so beautiful. Not one is out of place and none of the colors clash. Why do we never slow down for even a second to look at the trees and admire them for being what they are? Can we not stop, for even a second, and see how perfectly all of creation fits together like a puzzle?

Why can’t we look and see the details in everyday life? Why can’t we notice the color of the shutters on a house, or the tininess of a baby’s fingernails, or the way clouds look at different times of the day? Maybe some of those things seem unimportant, but they’re not. These little things make up big things. Little things are never unimportant. It’s only when we stop noticing them that we ever think that way.

What are the answers to the questions? We can’t see these things because we let “bigger” things get in the way. We let life get in the way, our own busyness, of the important things. Loving others and realizing that simplicity is absolutely stunning, is something that can change the way you look at the world.

I guess I’m saying all of this because I’ve realized that people and their lives are important. I’ve realized that the simplest things in life are some of the most fulfilling. Yet, I always try to fill my life with busyness again. It’s a constant struggle.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Ephesians 4:8

One last thing… None of us can do this by ourselves. We all need God’s help. So ask for it.

Don’t Let Your Heart Be Troubled

It’s hard not to get discouraged when:

  1. there are mountains of schoolwork in front of you
  2. dishes piled in the sink to wash
  3. a blog post to write
  4. no time to do anything fun 😦

I get discouraged by these things all the time. Here are a few of the ways that I use to get un-discouraged. XD

Exercise

I am not very good at exercising regularly, but whenever I do exercise (usually in the morning, buy anytime will work) my whole day is 10 times better. I have more energy to get done what I need to get done and it makes me happier. 🙂

Bible

I know that reading the Bible every morning isn’t easy, but it can really shape your whole day. I don’t know about you, but I need a daily reminder of what life is really all about. It’s not about serving yourself, but serving others. It’s not about getting everything done on my checklist, but glorifying God. Sometimes, reading the Bible doesn’t lift my mood, but it gives me the push I need to change my attitude.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! – Psalm 115:1

Music

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Music has a way of motivating me and turning a bad day into a good one, especially classical music. For the past few days whenever I can’t focus in school, or I feel overwhelmed I will listen to the Pride and Prejudice (2005) soundtrack. It is literally the best soundtrack in the whole world. I also find that listening to anything that makes me nostalgic also works. But seriously. Go listen to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. right. now.

 

I hope this post helps someone have a good day. 🙂 I find that the earlier in the day that I do these things, the better my day goes.

Always remember that God made you special, and He loves you very much ~ from every Veggetales episode ever! 

 

Little Changes

I’ve really learned a big lesson over the past week that I really want to share. I guess I’ve learned it before, or maybe it was just head knowledge, because now I’m implementing it. I’m actually changing! And that’s exciting.

I learned two things last week on Sunday.

1. I am so conceited

2. I can only change that by actively deciding not to be conceited anymore.

It might seem simple, but it’s really not. I’ve tried before to stop being so selfish, conceited, and mean towards those I love, but it’s never worked. This time it’s different. I think the difference came when I realized that I don’t think of others like I should. It’s very embarrassing to say that I sometimes think of others in terms of what they can do for me. Once I realized this, and wanted to change that, I learned that I can only do this by making a conscious decision to change and implement those changes.

It’s been really hard to change who I am, but I’m struggling along slowly. I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve also had some pretty great days that remind me that I can do it. Ultimately, I know that it is God who has helped me to change in the small ways that I have. I’m so glad that he’s forgiven my many flaws time and again.

Conceit is a hard habit to break, but little by little God is showing me that selflessness and loving others is much more satisfying than pleasing myself.

Here’s to change (and short blog posts),

Claire