Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Love Despite the Consequences


This morning, cuddled up to my cat, despite my allergies, I noticed something. There are choices we make we know we will suffer for. Yet we do it anyway. This can be good – or bad.
When it’s good: I think it’s a good thing to show my cat love despite my sneezing and itchy eyes. Every morning, eager for my attention, she flies down the stairs in front of me, stops at the bottom, drops, shows me her belly and meows. She might as well say, “Rub my belly.” I selflessly oblige.
When it’s bad: Take drinking to excess for example. The consequences: loss of balance, inability to think clearly, lack of judgment, throwing up, vertigo, hangover, blackouts, fights, car accidents, abuse, liver damage, alcoholism and the ultimate penalty – death, yours or someone else’s.
The list of poor choices we make despite the consequences is endless: Lying, cheating, stealing, temper tantrums, immorality, eating too much, road rage, being lazy, etc, etc, etc. I can’t list everything, but I can tell you what is at the heart of these poor choices – selfishness – love of self.
The source of good choices is the opposite – selflessness – love of others. These include things that involve some sort of sacrifice such as charitable donations, volunteering, sharing God’s word or, the ultimate sacrifice – giving your life to save someone else.
Since there are consequences to every action we take, how do we know if we’re making the right choice? Find out what the Bible has to say about it. All our answers are there if we take the time to look. The best thing we can do is follow the two greatest commandments found in Matthew 22:37-38:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
                When in doubt put others before yourself. The key is to love – the real, Godly, 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love – despite the consequences.
His servant,
~Jenn

Meet my cat, Molly. She loves boxes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day


When I was a kid, I loved Memorial Day. Why? Because I got to stay home from school and see a parade. I didn't get it.
Every day American men and women fight for our freedom. These soldiers are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. They don’t get a holiday. They don’t get a parade. They serve, away from their families, away from the comforts of home, placing their lives in danger 24/7. Some of them never make it home.
These men and women willingly offer their lives for us, for our country, for our freedom – whether we are grateful and deserving or not.
I am grateful that I can worship freely and share the word of God without fearing for my life. I am grateful that I can vote for my president. I am grateful that I am allowed to own a home, start a business and write a book without a forced political agenda. I am grateful that I can educate my child at home and choose the curriculum. Without the sacrifice these soldiers make, we would not have the freedoms we take for granted today.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on all that we have. Let us be grateful to God for blessing our country. Pray that He continues to bless us. Take a moment to express our gratitude to Him.
Please also pray for the families of fallen soldiers – for their comfort. If you know anyone who has lost a parent, child or sibling serving our country, take a moment to express your gratitude. Their sacrifice was not in vain. To those of us who finally get it - Memorial Day is much more than a day off and a parade.
His servant,
~Jenn

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Highway of Life


                A little while ago, my husband and I volunteered to chaperone a weekend trip with my church’s youth group. A trailer, with a giant smiley face painted on its back and sides, hitched to the lead car held most of the kids gear. A number of cars carrying leaders and kids followed. The caravan of us driving toward the Canadian border was quite the sight.
                My place in line was a number of cars back. It was not difficult to keep an eye on and follow the car ahead on the sparsely populated back roads. The highway was another story. I kept a sharp eye on the same car I’d been tailing from the beginning. When it passed, so did I. Wherever it went I followed like a baby duck follows its mother.
                For some reason, I decided to look up beyond all the cars ahead, in search of the smiley face. It was gone. I panicked, wondering how I got lost following the same car from the beginning. My husband didn’t know where it was either. He was just along for the ride – trusting me.
                I stole out past the car in front and gunned it, in search of the smiley face. Relief washed over me when my husband spotted it. Once it was in my sights, regardless of how many cars back, it stayed. There was no swaying me. I wouldn’t follow anything but the smiley face for the rest of the trip.
                 A few times, larger vehicles blocked the smiley face from view. Those moments made me nervous despite the fact that I knew it was still there. I kept an eye on the left as my husband kept an eye on the right, just to ensure it didn’t slip out into another lane without our knowledge. Relief washed over me each time the smiley face reappeared.
                During that trip, it occurred to me. My experience is much like our walk with Christ. When we take our eye off Him and follow others, even if we think they’re following Him and will help us stay on the right path, we get lost. Nor should you sit in the passenger seat, trusting you’ll get where you need to be without remaining vigilant. And if you do get lost, ask for help - others can help you find your way again. There is strength in numbers.
Keep your eyes on Him, always, especially when the highway of life gets congested.
His servant,
~Jenn
Trafic Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, May 25, 2012

Note to Graduates


Congratulations to all you graduates out there! Time for the age-old question: What are you going to be when you grow up?
I struggled with this question for years. I only figured it out a couple of years ago – and I’m old. The funny thing is - from the time I was little, I wanted to write. Why was it so hard to figure out? Because writing is not easy and the chances of making a lot of money are slim.
Mistake #1: Money was my primary goal
Mistake #2: I tried taking short-cuts
Mistake #3: I dismissed God’s will for me
Do you notice something about these mistakes? They’re greedy and self-centered. Nothing good comes from living for yourself. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Check out my testimony if you want to see where these mistakes got me.
Here are some things you should consider:
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY?
God has given us the personality we have for a reason. Do you love to write? Do you enjoy making movies? Are you fascinated by the human brain? Are you passionate about government? Do you want to defend America’s freedom? Chances are, whatever you enjoy, there is a reason for it.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
Even if you can’t see it, we all have strengths. God gifted us with certain skills for a purpose. Are you a decent writer? Are you nurturing? Can you remain calm in emergency situations? Do people tend to listen to and want to follow you? Are you a good speaker? Can you handle the sight of blood without feeling ill? God gives us all certain skills for a reason. If you don’t know what yours are ask your parents or close friends.
Remember:
1.       Never make choices rooted in greed and selfishness.
2.       Always seek God’s will for your life. Who knows better than He who created you?
One last bit of advice: If you’re off to college, join up with Campus Crusades for Christ or another Christian group on your campus. Stick to like-minded people who will support you and keep you on the straight and narrow. Don’t succumb to the way of the world. It might be tempting and it might seem to work for you for a while, but it leads to certain disaster.
Who are you going to live for – yourself or God?
His servant,
~Jenn

Graduation Cap Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Rainbows End


We are forever searching for the end of the rainbow in hopes of finding the elusive pot of gold. The irony is – a rainbow has no end. So we search in vain. Always seeking – never finding.
Many adults tell themselves things like this: “Once I’m married, I’ll be happy.”, “When I get a new car, I’ll be happy.”, “When I get a promotion, I’ll be happy.” or “Once we have a baby, we’ll be happy.”
Many teens tell themselves things like this: “When I get those designer jeans, I’ll be happy.”, “Once I get my license, I’ll be happy.”, “Once I have a boyfriend, I’ll be happy.” or “When I get out of this house, I’ll be happy.”
Notice the trend? We lie to ourselves. It doesn’t matter what thing you’re waiting for to find joy. Once you have it, you’ll be looking for the next thing. Why? Because the happiness these things bring is fleeting – temporary.
Let’s stop searching for that which does not exist – the end of the rainbow. Let’s take the “l” out of “gold” and capitalize the “g.” Let’s begin searching for God – only He can deliver the joy we seek.
His servant,
~Jenn
POT OF GOLD!! Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Loading Bars of Life


                If you’ve watched streaming movies, odds are you’ve experienced a temporary break in service or a buffering issue. Waiting for loading bar to scroll across the screen to resume the movie is irritating. In my home, this is met with grumbling, sarcastic spouts of “wonderful” or exclamations of “oh come on” and “seriously?” There is no end to the ways we show our irritation as we stare at the painfully sluggish bar. WaitingWaitingWaiting… Impatient to get on with the show.
                One night, as I stared at the bothersome loading bar, I had an epiphany. The way we view interruptions in our movies is similar to how we handle interference in our day-to-day life. We tend to go about our lives, expecting much the same as the day before, and the day before that, and so on. When that doesn’t happen, we tend to get annoyed. Yet, when those obstacles don’t occur, are we thankful? For many of us, the answer is no.
                Why is that? It’s clear why we get upset when things don’t go smoothly. But why are we ungrateful when it does?
                Mind you, I’m not referring to pleasant interruptions. There’s no real character necessary for that. I don’t know anyone who would get angry if a sweepstakes van appeared in their driveway with a giant check inside - unless someone else’s name was written on it.  
                Might it be that we need such interruptions. Perhaps they give us a chance to learn something – to grow our character. How can we become patient without practicing patience? How can we learn to remain calm without irritations that allow us to practice?
                So, the next time the loading bars of life get you down, do what I did. Get off the couch. Write a blog. Learn something. Build character. Grow.
                And if things are running smooth – give thanks.
His servant,
~Jenn

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