Thursday, July 23, 2009

Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus

Yesterday I remembered a time a few years ago when I was listening to a CD of beautiful Christian Folk music. I was with my sister at home while my parents were out. I enjoyed the CD so much, that I wanted my parents to hear it when they got home. So I planned to play it for them as soon as they walked in the door, so they could be blessed by it as well. I wanted to share the music with them.

As I was thinking about that, I thought of how much it seems that children want to please their parents. Then I thought, "Well, God is our eternal Father. Shouldn't we strive to do things with the goal to please Him?" When doing homework, we should do it as if God were our teacher and was going to grade it. We should do it at such a high quality, that God would be pleased with it. Write neatly, study, do all your work. Hand it in on time.
When playing an instruments, play it well and joyfully to the Father! Lift it up to Him as a beautiful offering to Him. If you have an audience, also ask Him to use it to bless others, and bring Him glory.
When doing chores at home, do them at excellent as you would if you saw Jesus standing next to you.
When giving in the offering at church, worship Him with your giving! Do it joyfully, out of a thankful heart.
When your parents ask you to do (or not to do) something, obey them. Honor them. Cheerfully!

No, salvation is not based on works. But we should be so in love with God that we want to do things to please Him. Even in the small, every day things, He wants us to do them to Him. To commit our way to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:31
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
Philippians 2:14
"Do all things without complaining and disputing"
Colossians 3:17
"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

My challenge to you is to follow those commands today. And not just today, but every day of your life. As long as you are alive, those verses still stand.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Free Audio Book

Okay, so I know most of you who read my blog also read Camden's, so you probably already know this, but I thought I'd post about this anyway. A website,, is giving away a free book every month. This month they're giving away an audio book called, "Crazy Love," by Francis Chan. I've listened to part one, and it is absolutely amazing. I can't describe it well enough here. But if you want to know more about how amazing God is, and about His love for us and our response to His love, definitely check it out. Just go to the website, and on the right side bar you'll see a thing for the free audio book. Click that. Then on the next page, click on, "Add to Cart." Then go to Check out. It will ask you to set up an account if you haven't already. It's a safe, secure website, and I haven't had any problems with it. On the next page, when it asks for a coupon, type in, JUL2009. Make sure you type that in!!! It's what will make the book free. Click on Checkout, and then follow the instructions. Make sure you download all four parts of the book. :)

Also, please note that the author touches some rather controversial topics. If any questions about Christianity rise from listening to this book, be sure to talk to your parents about it, and, most importantly, talk to God about it. See what the Bible says about the subject.
I hope you enjoy the audio book!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Template

Well, I finally got around to changing my blog template. I really enjoyed the last one, but I thought it would be nice to have a template that went with my username.

I've actually been looking for a new template for awhile, but it's hard to find violin templates! I really wanted one with a Scripture verse on it, but this was all I found. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to make my own blogger background, and do something like that. Someday. :)

Anyway, what do you think of the new template? Do you like it better than the last template?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dry Branches

Yesterday marked the end of probably the busiest two weeks of my life! Every weekday morning I went to an orchestra day camp, which started at 8:30, and lasted until noon. The first week we worked on five songs and performed them on Friday, and the second week we did 4 songs and performed them on Thursday. In addition to spending all morning at the day camp, I had to practice on my own in the afternoons - sometimes for almost two hours. All that plus my daily schedules equals two very busy weeks. The goal was high - to perfect four to five difficult songs by the end of the week for the concert. And we did it. I was also challenged to step outside my comfort zone and make new friends. I also was challenged to talk about God more, and to make it clear what I believed about music by putting a quote by Bach on the front of my music folder in big, bold, letters. ("Music's only purpose should be for the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit.") I really think God wanted me to go to this day camp, and I'm glad I went.

But during the day camp I had to get up earlier than usual so I could have enough time to read my Bible and pray. This was especially important to me because I knew I'd be surrounded by high schoolers who might not all be Christians, and I wanted to renew my mind so that my words and conduct reflected Christ. So during those two weeks, I put more emphasis than usual on spending time with God each morning. I relied more on Him, and would look up Scriptures about Christian conduct, and such. But on Friday after the camp ended, I didn't really feel the need to read my Bible as much. I mean, of course I still read it, but not with the same "God, I need You today!" mentality. But then later that day I started feeling very... inadequate for reasons I don't have room to get into here. I saw my weaknesses up close, and started dwelling on them, getting distressed about it.

Last night we had a prayer/worship meeting at our house. As my dad led us in worship, playing songs I knew almost as well as my own name, I sang them like they were songs I'd never heard before. And as I sang, I focused more on God, and less on my own weaknesses. I felt His presence, for the first time in a while. It struck me how that when it's when I feel inadequate and distressed, that it's easier to enter into God's presence. During the meeting, my dad mentioned John 15, and how we need to continually abide in Jesus. Later that night, I looked up the chapter.

John 15:1-6 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5I 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. 6If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned." (NASB)

I began to realize that we are branches in the true vine - Jesus. In order to live and prosper, we need Him abiding in us! And we need to abide in Him. If one day we decide we don't really need Him, we are blocking the supply of nutrients and life that comes from the vine. Eventually, we'll dry up and not produce fruit anymore. God can't use us when we're not abiding in Him. We need to give God more and more room so He can work through us. As we decrease, He increases, and therefore His strength works where our weaknesses would have been. And fruit is produced.
I love it where it says that apart from Jesus, we can do NOTHING!! It's so... wrong that we, who are so inadequate and filled with weakness sometimes think that God doesn't know what He's doing. That we know the situation better than He does, and if we can't hear Him say anything, then we're just going to do my own thing. NO!!!! Apart from Jesus, we are nothing!! All our plans will fail if they aren't from God and if we're not doing them for Him.

John 15:8-11 ""My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." (NASB)

If you want to glorify God, then abide in Jesus and bear much fruit. There are times when we need to be pruned. When we get prideful, and try to do things on our own. When a certain sin arises in our lives - we need to let God prune it. It hurts, but when we let Him, we produce even more fruit, and therefore bring more glory to God, which needs to be our ultimate goal. Abide in His love by keeping His commandments. When we do this, our joy is made full!
Don't be a dry branch.