Friday, June 22, 2012

Pure: Mind, Body and Spirit

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things"
- Philippians 4:8

     As followers of Jesus Christ, we are told to dwell on good, honest, noble and pure things. Are we dwelling on pure things? In Rebecca St. James' book "Pure," we see that purity is not only physical, but something that we should also strive for spiritually and mentally.

"Striving to live a pure life physically is obviously a huge goal, but in addition, the way you turn over your fears and priorities to God, the way you forgive others, the way you think about every subject in your life --and your life to come-- are also part of living a pure life before your Father."
- Rebecca St. James, Pure

     Purity starts from the inside out. What we think about and what we let into our minds will be reflected in our words and actions. So what are we allowing our minds to dwell on? What are we allowing to seep into our souls? When we have the choice of exposing ourselves to something wrong (e.g. through movies, music, etc.), which choice are we making? Of course, somethings we cannot really help; we are constantly exposed to stuff, so something is bound to make an impression. But are we dwelling on it?

"We all face times in life when we find that we, in our humanness, are not sufficient for the task at hand. That’s when we also have the opportunity to discover firsthand that in our weakness, God is strong" (ibid.).

     God knows the intentions of our hearts, which we, being human, are not always the purest. But He is strong and He can make us clean; God can make us pure. How wonderful is that? When we accept Christ into our life, God begins to clear the cobwebs of sin from our spirit. And then when we begin to delve into His word and seek His will, we find our minds dwelling on pure things. And then it is reflected in the way we live.

"There are many reasons why I believe purity is so important. I am passionate about purity because it works. I am passionate about purity because it protects me --and my future husband and kids. I am passionate about purity because it is romantic and beautiful. And I am passionate about purity because it makes my Father smile. Many people think of being pure as an action --something they must do-- rather than approaching it as something they can be" (ibid.).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Katherine von Bora


“I will stick to Christ as a burr to cloth.” 
- Katherine von Bora

Today is Katherine von Bora's 513th birthday. Most people do not know who she is, but she was someone who inspired and helped one of the leading characters in the Reformation (Martin Luther). Someone who put him through, as Luther said, “The school for character.” With a life devoted to God, Katherine von Bora was a remarkable woman; showing her strength, wit and faith throughout her life.


On January, 29, 1499 Katherine von Bora was born, in Lippendorf, Germany. At the age of five her mother passed away, and her father sent her to a boarding school. When Katherine was nine she was taken to the Cistern convent at Nimbschen in Saxony. Although she had never sought the secluded life of the convent on October 8, 1515, at the age of sixteen, Katherine von Bora made her vows to become a nun (or as some say, she “married Christ”).  Two years following her vows, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on a church in Witterburg. 

Word of Luther began to travel throughout Germany, and it reached the ears of the convent at Nimbschen. In the early 1520’s, nine nuns from the Convent wrote to their parents stating that, “the salvation of our souls, does not allow us to continue any longer to live in a cloister…” This made their parents begin to fear the penalties that would follow should their daughters try to leave the convent. They warned them not to, for many had tried and failed before them – And were severely punished! But not heeding to what their parents said, they wrote to Martin Luther, who agreed to help. He acquired the assistance of two respectable men (Leonard Koppe and Wolff Tonitzch). On the Eve of Easter, April 7th 1523, they helped Katherine von Bora and eleven other nuns sneak out of the convent. The nuns got into empty barrels that were on the back of the men’s wagon, and when asked what was in the barrels Koppe replied, “Herring.” They were then taken to an old Augustine convent where Luther resided. Though many doubted the nuns would ever escape, Katherine showed strength until the end, and rejoiced when she had made it safely out of the cloister and into Luther’s life.

Three of the nuns returned to their families. The others, with the help of Luther, found husbands or a respectable position. Soon all of the former nuns were married, except for Katherine. She had acquired a job however, serving a respectable family. Katherine had fallen in love with a young man, but his parents strongly objected to her, and he married another; leaving Katherine heart broken. Luther tried in vain to find other suitable young men, but she turned them all down. Luther began to grow quite agitated. After one attempt to find Katherine a husband, she told Luther, “If you were to ask me to be your wife, I wouldn't say no.” Luther did not take this seriously but smiled, after all there was a sixteen year age gap between them. He was not against marriage at all, but he was certain that it was not right for him. In fact, Luther had stated before, “God can change my heart as he pleases; but now at least, I have no thought of taking a wife; not that I do not feel some inclination for the married state: I am neither wood nor stone; but I am in daily expectation of the death and punishment due to a heretic.” But Luther's objections soon came to an end. Katherine had "grown on him," and he soon found himself writing to a friend, “If I can swing it, I’ll take my Kate to wife ere I die, to spite the devil.”

On June, 13, 1525 Doctor Martin Luther married Katherine von Bora at the converted monastery (also known as the Black Cloister), where Luther lived. He even sent a letter to Koppe (one of the men who helped the nuns escape) saying, “I am going to get married. God likes to work miracles and to make a fool of the world. You must come to the wedding.” The wedding raised many skeptics’ eyes. Some people began to say, “Their first child shall surely be the antichrist, for there is a prophecy that he is to spring from a monk and a nun.” Despite the opinion of others, Luther and Katherine’s marriage was a great success. And a year later Katherine gave birth to their first son, who turned out not to be the antichrist after all. ;)  

Katherine spent a great deal of time making the cloister where they lived homey. Many say that she was the perfect example of the Proverbs 31 woman. Katherine kept cows for butter, milk, and cheese; grew her own garden and planted an orchard; stocked a pond with fish; and kept a piggery, because Luther liked pork. Luther then gave her the nickname “My Lord Kate, Mistress of the Pigsty.” She also ministered to people all over Wittenburg. She would listen to their problems, counsel them in their sorrows, advise them in their business affairs, and give them care and medicine in their sickness. 

Martin Luther often commented on Katherine’s cleverness, helping him to always keep his spirits up. During a very difficult period for Luther, who was usually very happy and smiling, he began to grow depressed. Katherine endured the gloomy Luther for a few days, but then decided to take matters into her own hands. One day Katherine met Luther at the door in a black mourning dress.
“Who died?’ Luther asked.
“God,” She replied.
“You foolish thing!” Luther exclaimed. “Why this foolishness?”
“It is true, God must have died or the great Doctor Luther would not be so sorrowful.”
Her plan worked, and Luther became quite jolly from the jest and was his old self again. Katherine von Bora’s wit was always ready, when the time called for it.

It is said that Katherine von Bora’s faith is what kept her going. Although she was cast out by her father, lost two of her own children and was threatened by the thought of Luther being burnt for a heretic, Katherine continued. Near the end of Martin Luther’s life, Katherine spent a great deal of time tending to him. Luther passed away on February, 18, 1546, at the age of sixty-three. Later on, war broke out in Germany, and Katherine took her family away. They returned to their home after the war to find it desolate. Katherine never finished returning her home back into its previous state for the plague broke out, and once again Katherine and her family had to leave. On the wagon taking them away, Katherine was thrown out into an icy ditch. Her daughter, Margaret, spent several days tending to Katherine. But Katherine von Bora Luther wasn’t to recover. As she lay upon her death bed she said, “I will stick to Christ as a burr to cloth,” showing her strong faith in God, even as she faced death.

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may mature and complete, not lacking anything.”   
- James 1:4

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Giving God the New Year

The following post is from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, January 1 - Evening.

"We will be glad and rejoice in Thee."
- Song of Solomon


We will be glad and rejoice in Thee. We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of sackbut, but the sweet strains of the harp of joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness. "Oh come let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation." We, the called and faithful and chosen, we will drive away our griefs, and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their troubles, we who have the sweetening tree to cast into Mirah's bitter pool, with joy will magnify the Lord. Eternal Spirit, our effectual Comforter, we who are the temples in which Thou dwellest, will never cease from adoring and blessing the name of Jesus. We WILL, we are resolved about it, Jesus must have the crown of our heart's delight; we will not dishonor our Bridegroom by mourning in His presence. We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies, let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New Jerusalem. We will BE GLAD AND REJOICE: two words with one sense, double joy, blessedness upon blessedness. Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be camphire and spikenard, calamus and cinnamon even now, and what better fragrance have they in heaven itself? We will be glad and rejoice IN THEE. That last word is the meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text. What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, ay, and every drop of their fullness in Him! Since O sweet Lord Jesus, Thou art the present portion of Thy people, favour us this year with such a sense of Thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in Thee. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close with gladness in Jesus.

Monday, August 29, 2011

If I Only Had a Brain

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt."
- Mark Twain

     You find yourself in a conversation about your Christian faith, your beliefs upon various subjects, etc. When all of a sudden the person you are with asks, "Why do you believe that?" Caught off guard you might timidly say, "Because the Bible says so." "Where?" He/ she counters.  And you freeze. Where does the Bible say that?

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
- 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

     The Bible tells us to always be prepared to give an answer for the reason we believe what we believe. God gave us a brain to think and reason with; we can't effectively be His ambassadors, if we don't take the time to learn about what and Who we are representing. Now obviously we are not going to have the answer to everything; sometimes we'll just have to say, "You know what, I don't know" (and that can be really hard to say). However, we need to study God's word and seek answers.

     Below are several suggestions to help you "renew your mind" and find answers.
               - As you are reading your Bible, and doing your devotions, keep a notebook by you. List the categories that you want to find verses on. Each time you find a verse, write it down.
              - Listen to theology podcasts (ask your parents or someone at church what they recommend).
               - Read theologically sound books

     By studying God's word and learning more about Him, the next time we encounter a conversation about our beliefs, we will be able to discuss our views intelligently and in a way that is glorifying to God. And who knows, maybe the answers we give can help bring someone to Christ. God gave us brains, it is time we used them for His glory.

"The mind of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning and persuasiveness to his lips."
- Proverbs 16:23 (AMP)

Monday, August 22, 2011

You Don't Define Me

"Put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its creator."
-  Colossians 3:10

     What are we reflecting? What/who do we turn to for our definition? Our culture has set up an image of what we are supposed to be like. We are told we have to act, think and dress a certain way. This is what we call expressing our individuality (although we're being like everyone else). But we aren't called to conform to the world's image; we are called to conform to God's image.


     This is a pretty hard task for all of us to tackle, especially when we are constantly told the exact opposite (e.g. you must watch this movie, everyone else is; you must look this way, everyone else does; you must do this, everyone else has). Plus, we are only human, reflecting God doesn't come easily to us. However, instead of being a reflection of the world, we should pray that God will help us to reflect Him. Our definition should be found in God.


     We can try to look for meaning elsewhere, but it will never satisfy us. One fad leads to another, and we are just left wanting more. So we may not watch what everyone else is; we may not look like super models; and we may not be cool. But God doesn't call us to be cool; He calls us to be faithful. It is time that we stood up, and looked at the image the world wants us to model and say, "You don't define me." We are created for so much more, than just to fit in. And we will never fulfill our calling, until we let God define us, and we put on the image of our Creator.


"Every one of us... is deeply longing for something on the inside... Every one of us is unhappy, and nothing can make us happy until we find God... God has made us so that we're not complete until He has His place in us."
- The Iron Lady (Gilbert Morris)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NOW AVAILABLE!!! The Adventures of Warp: The Dark Knight

     The Adventures of Warp: The Dark Knight is now available on Amazon.com and the CreateSpace eStore. For 20% off at the CreateSpace eStore use the code: LTYV6MA4 . You can also preview an excerpt from the book if you click here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Adventures of Warp: The Dark Knight

The amazing book cover that my sister illustrated 
and my brother designed.

     I have always LOVED to write; it has been a dream of mine to publish a book. And now God has provided me with an awesome opportunity. I am so excited to announce that I have a book coming out on August 16 (it will be available on Amazon.com). The book is called The Dark Knight, and it is the first in The Adventures of Warp trilogy. I wrote The Dark Knight five years ago, when I was fourteen, so this has been a long work in process.

     Here is the link to an excerpt from my book: Click Here for the Book Preview. Also, below is a promotional video that my brother created; he really did a terrific job on it (as did my sister, who drew the characters and the background they are on, in the video).

video

     I am so excited about this book, and I hope you guys will enjoy it.

"...Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
- Ephesians 5:20