Monday, 30 January 2012

Do What's Right

We (the authors) have decided that for the next few weeks will be posting different reviews on movies, books, blogs, websites, etc, or we will be posting on why we love being homeschooled - which would also be a review =}

As I thought about what I wanted to give a review on, the first thing that came to mind was a movie that impacted my life.  I kept trying to think of other things to write about, but this one kept coming back so it must be the one God wants me to write!

I have never written a review before so hopefully you'll enjoy this.  (I'm apologize ahead of time if you find it  boring.) we go.

The following is a dialog between the main character and his father.

Caleb - "The issue is, how do you know when a babies life first begins?"

Mr. Hogan - "That's not a biology question you know?"

Caleb - "No, actually I didn't know that."

Mr. Hogan - "No, biology has nothing to do with it.  In fact it is so simple a ten year old can understand it.  He doesn't know the first thing about biology.     Pick a time when you know the baby is alive. Just pick any time when you know the baby is alive."

Caleb - "The day he is born."

Mr. Hogan - "Allright, what about the day before that? Is the baby alive the day before that?"

Caleb - "Of course."

Mr. Hogan - "And how about the day before that?"

Caleb - "Sure."

Mr. Hogan - "Okay then, there you have it."

Caleb - "What do you mean?"

Mr. Hogan - "Life doesn't begin incrementally. It''s not like the baby is any more alive today then he was the day before.  It's ah... it's radical.  It's an event.  And it only happens once in a humans existence."

Caleb - "At conception!"

Mr. Hogan - "No other explanation makes sense. And it is so simple anyone can understand it."

Caleb - "But why don't they get it?"

Mr. Hogan - "It's not that people don't get it. They don't want to hear it...."

Have you guessed what the movie is yet?  drum roll .................................................

"Come What May", a film production put out by Advent Film Group, and filmed on the campus of Patrick Henry College.  I love this movie!

It is about a young man entering his first semester at Patrick Henry College and the decisions he has to make throughout his time there. 

The young man's name is Caleb Hogan and he is assigned to a girl named Rachel as his debate partner to compete at Nationals.  The case they are working on together is the Parental Notification Case.  Rachel wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and show the court how wrong the decision they made concerning the rights of the child was. She wants to fight for principles that are quickly being lost

Caleb agrees with Rachel that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, but he wants to focus on what he believes is a "winning argument" that would "leave Roe and make one tiny exception."  His desire to win runs deeper than Rachel is aware of and therein lies his problem.  He doesn't want to lose because his mom is paying his tuition and will pay for the next year as well, as long as he wins nationals.  If he doesn't win, then he won't be able to attend PHC the next year.

Caleb has to make a decision to do the right thing despite the chance he might lose, or take the path of least resistance and possibly win.

Here is a trailer of the movie.  Enjoy!

This movie is wonderful.  If I was to give it a rating I would give it an A+ because:

1. It's a clean movie. No language, inappropriate clothing or anything that brings your attention to ungodly things.

2. The storyline is fantastic.  As the story unfolds, you end up following 3 plots. a.) Caleb's decision to do the right thing or not, b.) Mrs. Hogan's decision to fight a real case in court that supports Roe v. Wade, and c.) Rachel and Caleb's relationship.

3. You are learning while being entertained.  I learned a lot about the court and Roe v. Wade while enjoying a good movie.

4. Good triumphed over evil (which is a rarity in todays culture) and there was no compromising in the process.

You can check out the website here.

As I said at the top of this post, 'This movie has impacted my life.' How so, you may ask. Well..... as you watched Caleb make his decison to "do the right thing, come what may" it convicted me.  That phrase applies to so many areas of our life.  Our faith, relationships, the stances we take on social issues, and so much more.  I want to make a difference in our country and this movie renews that desire every time I watch it!  The key is doing the right thing no mater what happens, no matter the opposition, come what may.
 I hope it brings as many blessings to you and your family as it has to mine.

In His Steps,

Friday, 27 January 2012

Guilty Prayers

Every night, before I lay my head on my pillow, I say the Lord's Prayer. I'm usually tired from a night spent cleaning offices with my family; it's probably 11:30 PM or 1:00 AM, and even if I was wide awake a few minutes ago, my eyes will start to droop as soon as I get underneath those warm covers and start "My Father who is in Heaven...." Many, many nights, I realize with a pang that this is the first time that I've talked to the Lord all day long. That morning I woke up late, read a little, jumped on the treadmill, and kickstarted a day of running and doing and talking and running and working, without taking even a few moments to speak with the one who is responsible for every breath I take. And do I feel like plunging into a lengthy bout of intersession at this time of night? No, I want to turn off the lamp and wrap myself in homemade quilts, rolling around until I'm comfortable and drifting off to sleep.

Oh, the guilt. It's all-too-familiar. Sometimes I feel it after sitting down to pray for a relatively long period of time; when I'm finished I usually think, "Isn't there someone else I can pray for? Shouldn't I do this for a few more minutes?" That is why I paid attention to this passage when I ran across it this morning. It's from Emily Freeman's book Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life (which I am absolutely loving, by the way), and it shone a light on the way prayer might look under the old Law, and how it looks under Jesus' grace.
...there is a difference between the discipline of sitting down with God and the pleasure of knowing his voice. It is one thing to make yourself do something. It is entirely another to find pleasure in relationship. 'The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God' (Heb. 7:18-19 NIV). 
Let's stop for a moment and concentrate on what we just read, "the pleasure of knowing his voice," and "pleasure in relationship." When was the last time I felt real pleasure in my relationship with God? When was the last time you did? Every now and then I feel satisfied after praying, but that is probably a) because I'm proud of myself for actually dedicating time to prayer, and/or b) it's still accompanied by that sense of guilt and an I-should-do-this-more-often feeling that niggles at the back of my head like a greasy worm. But this kind of thinking is "weak and useless," a theology of burdens which no one can bear. How much prayer is "enough", anyway? If I spent 24 hours on my knees, maybe someone could find fault with me for not fasting as well! The Bible does not give us a detailed road-map for prayer, complete with on-ramps and rest stops.

Emily goes on to say this:
To wear the mask of the spiritual disciplines is to turn back to the old way. I could pray for five minutes or for two days and I would still be as righteous as I would be had I not prayed at all. But the amazing reality is that now I know I am righteous in Christ, there is new motivation to spend time in intimate communion. You and I can now go to him in freedom and joy, not to gain favor but because we already have it. 
"Intimate communion" in "freedom and joy," what a blissful thought! This is the kind of prayer like that I would like to have. What about you? Do you ever feel guilty because you "miss" your prayer time? Are you trying to earn your own righteousness by adhering to a law of your own making that stipulates how much quality time you should spend with God, or are you cultivating a vibrant relationship with him by speaking little things to him throughout the day, punctuated with longer sessions of intercession and digging deep into his Word? Structure and schedules are great things, and following Moriah's tip to set aside 10 minutes a day is a wonderful idea, but I'm learning that guilt is not bringing me any closer to my Father. I need to set aside what is "weak and useless" and pursue a relationship with the one who longs for my words and my listening ear. 
The Bottom of the Bed, a photo by Alyssa L. Miller on Flickr. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Small Things

I apologize that this post is a bit late! I really wanted to do a longer post, but I just came home from the hospital this afternoon recovering from MRSA, so this is going to have to be a brief post, and not particularly articulate.

Credit foxypar4 on Flickr

Praying for the small, insignificant things in life is something about which most praying people have probably experienced inhibitions. In the same way we might feel bad for asking a number of small favors of a friend, sometimes we don't want to bother God going into a job interview or suffering a cold when there are people out there starving and dying.

While it's true we need to keep things in perspective, we must also remember a few things. For one, God is the master of multitasking. Time He spends nurturing and guiding us isn't going to take Him away from other people, and He won't tire of caring for us.

But most importantly, in praying for every detail in our lives, we are demonstrating our dependency on God. We need His help in everything we do, so that we are best able to serve Him and others. Praying for the details isn't complaining, or asking too much. It's fully surrendering ourselves to a higher purpose.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Cry Out!

"There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and
delightful than that of a continual conversation with God."
~Brother Lawrence

crista moriah photography

It is so important to develop a close relationship with our Savior.  He must become so broken hearted when we {sometimes, not even meaning to} distance ourselves from Him with our silence.  The other day, Jesus opened my eyes to what His heart must feel like when that happens and we do not have a regular prayer life with Him.  I wrote a letter about it, sort of like a heart to heart from God to us...


My Child,

It's been quite awhile since I've heard from you.
My heart has grown very lonely from the lack of our conversations. 
Please cry out to me.  Your lips have been silent too long.  I need to hear from you!

Where have you been?  The stretch between us has grown so far.  Our hearts need to be reunited!  We must share every little thing with each other once again. You casting your burdens on Me, knowing that I will take them without hesitation. You sharing your hopes and dreams; Myself smiling, looking ahead at the future and deciding what is the wisest thing for you.

I miss you.  I want to be close to you.  I love you.  Cry out to me...soon

Your Father in Heaven


The key to having a good prayer life is being disciplined about it. 

It seems as though when I try to have time with Him, things come up. Satan will not waste any opportunites to distract us from prayer, reading the Word, or anything that will benefit us spiritually.

Francois Fenelon once said, "Time spent in prayer is never wasted." How true are these words! Commit to praying for 10 minutes a day to begin with, then add a little more each day. Simple, right?

Sometimes, it's easy to view prayer as "just another thing to do" or a chore, but instead it should be an intimate part of our relationship with Jesus.  We should view our prayer time as precious moments to spend pouring out all of our hopes, dreams, and fears to His compassionate ears.  He cares.  He loves us dearly and longs for a close relationship with us!  As Jesus says to us in the Love Letter to us, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you..." {James 4:8} 

Once we start pouring our hearts out to Him, it creates a feeling of joyous freedom in our souls--
It causes us to draw near to God--it strengthens us!

crista moriah photography

I believe it is important to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ as well.
So many times I have been encouraged by a friend saying that they are praying for me. 
It always seems to lift your spirits knowing someone cares about you.

"The greatest gift we can give to others is our prayers."

If there is anything you would like to share with me, please do not hesitate to drop a comment at the bottom of this post--I would love to be able to pray for you. :)


Stay strong, dear sisters!  Let us strive to cry out to Him each and every day!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Prayer Effortless and Wonderful

The question often comes up in classes on prayer. "How many of you struggle with prayer? Raise your hands, now."

It probably sounds hopelessly arrogant, but I've never really struggled with prayer--not with the crafting nor frequency of it. Many times, I'll drift off to sleep with a prayer that's been going on all day long. Prayer has, for as long as I can remember, been an internal monologue deep within, from me to God, full of hopes, dreams, ambitions, requests, and worship. In fact, the hard thing for me is to just shut up and let him talk back to me.

To be completely honest right off the bat, I don't know why this is. I don't know how I've managed to do this, nor do I know how you could, too. In fact, I'm pretty sure that a prayer life can't be taught. It has to be something that comes from within. I suppose that, in large part, my opinion on this subject isn't worth much. But I'll give it a shot anyway.

I suppose the first thing to do is simply to develop a habit of running to your Father with everything. God knows every facet of your situation better than you could, of course, and I believe He's always ready to help us--but I also believe that He wants us to ask. So, in your everyday life, foster a habit of asking God for help in every situation, no matter how trivial it seems to you. When you wake up, begin the day by speaking to Him first of all, before you ever open your mouth to say a word to another human being. Thank Him for what He's done and what He will do.

Just cultivate a habit of speaking to him at every spare minute, whenever something occurs to you. Something I've found helpful is, when a certain person, no matter how long it's been since you've seen them, pops into your head, to simply say a quick prayer for them.

In the end, my one piece of advice is to simply create a life of prayer. Never stop praying. Make it part of your life, like breathing or eating. Make it effortless, and then it will become a wonderful part of your friendship with Christ.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Simple Stillness

That one word which sums up my time with my Heavenly Father.
I can sit and talk with Him, praise Him, bless Him, cry out to Him, and fellowship with Him.
He is my Father, Redeemer, and Friend. To sit and talk to Him is such bliss!

Yet, I have come across a new thought regarding prayer. Growing up I have loved praying, and it is a dear and cherished time to sit with my Heavenly Father. But sometimes, I simply do not know what to say.

Yes, it is that time when I am confused or discouraged or just simply undone that words escape me. Or when I am filled with boundless joy and thanksgiving that no words are sufficient!

Christ gave us a perfect example of how to pray in Matthew 96:9-13, but at times, the words won't come... My heart is distraught, and I am speechless.
Then I came upon this wonderful exert from "Stepping Heavenward", quoting the works of Fenelon, concerning prayer. It says...

"It is not necessary to say much to God. Often times one does not speak much to a friend whom one is delighted to see.; one looks at him with pleasure; one speaks certain short words to him that are mere expressions of feeling. It is not so much a variety of thoughts that one seeks in intercourse with a friend as a certain repose and correspondence of heart. It is thus we are with God, who does not disdain to be our tenderest, most cordial, most familiar, most intimate friend. A word, a sigh, a sentiment says all to God...

...In fine, it is necessary to content oneself with giving to Him what He gives it to give, a fervent heart when it is fervent, a heart firm and faithful in its aridity..."

Simply put, when you are at a loss of words, it may be then that you are best able to pour out your heart, to do as the Psalmist says... to

Be still, and know that I am God.
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth!”

{Psalm 46:10}

Simple stillness, mediating on His love and goodness. Sometimes that is the best thing to do in prayer.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Prayer: Our Link To An Amazing Relationship

I would like to invite you to open your imagination with me for a few minutes and allow me to paint a few strokes across your canvas.

It's early in the month of October.  You are looking at a brilliant colored sunrise just peeking over the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.  You know the type I mean; scarlet red, deep, rich orange, with hints of pink softening the edges.  The first rays of sunlight streaming through the clouds.

You can hear the soft "slap, slap, slap" of the waves as they ripple across the shoreline and almost smell that salty spray, while the colors from the sunset are reflected.

Sitting on the sand close together with their eyes captivated by the sunrise before them, you will find a young couple.  Both are unaware of the beauty that is radiating from them.  Joy is reflected in their eyes.  Peace and trust are found in they way they are sitting.  There is truly a sense of deep contentment in their presence.

Behind them are the rocky cliffs of the Maine shoreline followed by wave upon wave of the rich, pure colors found in the New England foliage.

The young man looks down at the woman he loves with a love she can not imagine.  He holds her hand with such gentleness as it rests between the pages of a book he wrote for her.  You see, the young man can not verbally speak to her, but he can and does write to her.  He can write of his love for her, his plans for their future, he can encourage her and give her the leadership and guidance she desires.  He fulfills every longing  she has had and is the one she has given her heart to.

The young woman looks at the sunrise and the waters reflecting its beauty and a tear comes to her eye.  What had she done to deserve such love.  Nothing. She looks into the eyes of her young man and reads within them the love, forgiveness and understanding she has sought for.

He points at the sunrise and sweeps his arm across the ocean and then behind them to the beauty that surrounds them.  She nods her head.  She understands.  He has made everything for her.  It was one more way He showed her how much he cared for her. 

She rests her head on his shoulder.  There was no place she would rather be.  The more time she spent with him the closer they became.  Whenever she had a question or needed help, he was there and had written something in their special book to encourage, direct and guide her.  No matter the time of day, no matter the situation, he helped her and she could rest in knowing he was in control of everything.

Yes, this was an allegory.  An allegory to what I believe God wants my relationship and your relationship  to be with Him.  Just as the girl knew that she was safest and happiest in his presence, so must I learn to spend more time with Him and seek His face.

If you were that young lady, wouldn't you want to spend all your time with Him.  Talking with Him about everything because your heart was held safely with Him.

The girl's relationship would not grow unless she spent the time.  How many relationships do you know that grow stronger and stronger everyday, when there is no communication, no thoughts towards the other person, no time spent cultivating the relationship?  I don't know of one.

God loves us more than we can imagine.  He can and will fulfill every desire that comes from Him.  However we won't experience that joy, peace and complete trust found in the presence of the young couple, with our Heavenly Prince, unless we spend the time with Him and cultivate that relationship.  Talk to Him.  He wants us to.

I've read many times how people have spent hours praying with God and I've thought to myself, "How do they do that?  How do they spend that much time praying and staying focused while finding that much to pray about?".....And then I read Sarah Mally's book (I talked about this book in my first post)She gave an example of how to pray for an hour.  Breaking it up into 5 minute increments.  Her example was:

5 minutes ~ Worship
5 minutes ~ Thanksgiving
5 minutes ~ Confession
5 minutes ~ Pray Psalms to the Lord
5 minutes ~ Pray for your authorities
5 minutes ~ Pray for your missionaries
5 minutes ~ Pray for your unsaved family and friends
5 minutes ~ Other general requests
5 minutes ~ Ask for wisdom, grace, and humility is specific areas in which you know you need to change
5 minutes ~ Personal requests
5 minutes ~ Ask God for abundant blessing
5 minutes ~ Praise and Thanksgiving [1]

Obviously you can personalize the list, but you would be surprised how fast time goes! When I tried it the first time, I found I had to give more time to certain requests and the hour was gone.  It was a special time, and when I finished, it reminded me of how I feel after I've had a long talk with a friend that I haven't seen in ages. - An inner joy at having shared with each other things that have happened in our lives and knowing that the link between the two of us has grown stronger.
If that young man was your fiancee or husband we would make the time and plan ahead.  Just think how much God loves us and how important our relationship with Him is.  We need to plan it into our day and spend the time.  He is our dream Prince Charming if only we would only spend the time.

Footnotes: 1. Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally pg. 217

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Pep Talk and Reconnaissance

So, girls, how are we doing so far? Now that you've heard from all six of the Altogether Separate Bloggirls, as we've shared our personal goals and struggles in the new year, we need you to share!

  1. Are we hitting home? If anything we've written in the past couple of weeks has encouraged, inspired, or strengthened you, please share it. If not, give us some helpful advice!
  2. What do you want to hear about? We want to write on the subjects that you're interested in, getting you involved and changing your life! But we need your help, so tell us what you like to read.
  3. Can you tell your friends? This is a community, after all, and a community needs people! I'm so glad to see those who have followed us through Google friend connect, Facebook, the discussion boards, and the RSS feed. It would be awesome if you could spread the word to reach more Christian homeschool girls!
We've got a lot of exciting things planned for the future, so stay tuned! This community is just getting started, and Jesus said that "where two or more are gathered, there I will be." 
Can it get more encouraging than that? 
P.S. Our next blog topic series will be on prayer. Is there anything in particular that you have to say on this subject? 

Friday, 13 January 2012


#24 Melissa Raddatz Henwood , a photo by smith_cl9 on Flickr.

It's been nearly two weeks since the beginning of 2012. How are you feeling, sisters? Excited, anxious, enthused, ambivalent? By now you've had enough time to make lots of great resolutions, and either break half of them and forget the other half, or begin to see some progress. 

Nobody's perfect (how many times have I heard that one?), but we all have things that we want to accomplish or a vision of who we want to be. Maybe you want to be thinner, better educated, more self-disciplined, closer to the Lord, or more fashion-conscious. I have  a number of goals (not resolutions, not dreams) for 2012, involving the growth of my face painting business, graduating from college, buying a really nice camera, hosting Compassion events, et ceteraet cetera, but I know that it's going to be impossible to accomplish all my goals to their fullest extent. That's why there's one big, overarching theme that I'm going to strive for in this new year: pressing on
"Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." 
(Philippians 3:12-14)
My awesome uncle/pastor inspired me with his thoughts on these verses. What is the one thing that Paul says he is doing here? He is pressing on toward the goal. How does he do this? By forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. The image here is of a race, and Paul is giving us his tips for success. We'll never forget what kind of sinners we are and what Jesus has done for us, but we are called to forget the successes and failures of the past that could distract us by indulging our self-importance or our self-pity, and we are to reach out to grasp the magnificent things that God is calling us to!

I know that I am perfect in Christ, and yet "I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet." In other words, I'm not taking my salvation for granted. This year will hold so many challenges, so many temptations, so many opportunities--and I can't just sit back and say, "Jesus is going to handle it." No, I am going to "work out" what Christ has "worked in"; I'm going to press on toward a goal that is so far beyond me that I will only reach it in eternity. But I will press on nonetheless. After all, why make goals that you can easily reach? What good are they then? If all of your New Year's Resolutions are realistically achievable, you should go back to the drawing board and dream bigger.

I'm all about getting down and dirty and making things practical, but there are so many times that I find myself writing or saying highfalutin things that I never apply to my life. So this year I'm going to try to change that. I'm going to practice what I preach. If I preach at you in the coming year, it's because I'm preaching to myself. If I challenge you this year, it's because I'm challenging myself. 
I want 2012 to be my year of growth, and I hope that you want to grow along with me!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Don't Dream. Do.

Image credit BaronBrian on Flickr
I don't know about you, but the coming of the new year is usually a sad time for me. As others discuss the year that has gone and all the things they did and the wonderful memories they made, I realize just how little I've done with the precious gift of life given to me.
The thing is, when people talk about living life to the fullest, they often mean physical feats; skydiving, perhaps, pocketing money to travel Europe, or embarking on a new business venture.

That's all well and good, but it isn't exactly practical or possible for some of us to do those things. I'm just a lowly highschooler! My parents don't have the money for a big trip, or anything so exciting, so what can I do but sit around and wait till I'm old enough to do something with my life?

By the time 2011 came around, I'd had enough of it. Maybe I couldn't visit London. Maybe I couldn't go to Harvard. Maybe I had a chronic illness that prevented me from doing things. Maybe I couldn't serve God the way I wanted to, by leaving all my earthly possessions behind and suffering the harsh winters of Mongolia as a missionary.

But I could--and always can--serve God the way He wants me to.

So in 2011, I pushed myself to the limit making the most of my precious little time on earth. I read the Bible cover-to-cover. I spent many sweet hours in prayer for the afflicted, the oppressed, and the lost. I devoted myself more than ever to my studies and attacked math problems with vigor (although not with a paper shredder, as I would have liked to).

But the most important things I did were not physical actions. They were matters of the heart. I severed my attachment to the material things of this world. I let go of the past. I presented my troubles to God. I realized that my present trials serve not to hinder but to prepare me for my future by instilling the qualities--the perseverance, the patience, the trust, the empathy--that I will need later in life. I submitted, even in the midst of agony, to whatever may be in God's will.

And in things like these, I took up my cross and followed Him.

The biggest things in life are often the simplest. So even if you aren't yet in a position to work your dream job, or to become a mother and raise children, or whatever your passion may be, remember that each passing moment is an opportunity to ready yourself for the future--either spiritually, mentally, or physically. And the longer you have to wait, the more prepared you will be--if you take advantage of your time to prepare.

No matter how impossible that passion of yours seems, either financially or physically or otherwise, if God wants it to, it will happen. No matter how far-fetched it sounds that I could serve in Mongolia in my current condition, if that's what He tells me He wants, He will give me the strength to serve. And if that's not what He wants? He must have something even better planned.

Life is an occupation of unknown duration. Don't waste it dreaming. Live it doing.

Monday, 9 January 2012

New Year, Fresh Start.

The new year, 2012, has dawned, thus bringing us to a new bend in the road.  
With the coming of each new year, we like to reflect on the old year and face the new.

crista moriah photography
For me, it's always important to reflect on what my walk with God was like in the previous year. I feel a need to 'rethink' my relationship with Him.

Here is a list of 3 simple steps to follow
that will help us all get back on track in our Christian walk.

(1) It is always essential to spend time with God daily.
Try setting aside a part of your day to read your Bible and pour your heart out to Him. 
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." 
{John 15:4,5,8}

If we remain in Christ, we will grow spiritually.

(2) Immerse yourself deeper in God's Word.  Find a good source of spiritual encouragement {i.e. subscribe to online devotionals. I read Holley Gerth's...they are fabulous!}. 

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." 
{Psalm 119:105} 

(3)Ask the Lord to help you grow in your walk with Him.
Pray that He will renew your heart and that you would want to spend more time with Him.

"Create in me a clean heart,
O God; and renew a right spirit within me." 
{Psalm 51:10}

May the Lord richly bless our New Year as we strive towards the goal of knowing Him more!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Dreaming Big in 2012

We all have faith. Whether small or large, no matter the degree, we all have faith. We have faith that, in the morning, the sun will rise. We have faith that the moon won't suddenly decide to crash into the planet. We have faith that the laws of physics will remain in place. We have faith that our desk chair will hold us up. We have faith that God exists.

But sometimes, I wonder if we don't let that faith carry us through existence like a life-raft, and don't consider just what it is and how much it could be. We settle for the life-raft when we could have a yacht.

God has called us to a life of radical, life-changing faith. To demonstrate just what this faith implies, Jesus once told his disciples:
If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
I'm sure we've all seen a mountain, if only in pictures. It's a majestic crag of rock, a piece of tectonic plate that got shoved up towards the sky. Mountains are the stuff of poetry, literature, and song. There's just something about them that inspires the human imagination. Perhaps it's the immutable nature of their existence. In any case, they're impressive.

Compare to that majesty a mustard seed. It's so tiny, it's practically insignificant. Yes, it has the potential to be something relatively great--at least, greater than it is--but it's completely unimpressive. The idea of this tiny seed being more powerful than a mountain must have provoked a few laughs from Jesus' listeners. They might have thought something like--first he goes on about camels passing through needle eyes, and now he's talking about a mustard seed moving a mountain!

But that was Jesus' whole point. Yes, it's laughable that a tiny mustard seed could move a mountain. And, in the midst of his parable, he was pointing out that it probably is laughable that a tiny bit of faith could carry a person through the toughest trials. We look at all our problems, no matter what they are, and then turn to God and say, "God, what's going on?" Sometimes, we get to looking at our mustard seed of faith and then at the mountain of our problems and we become hopeless. We wonder why God would give us so little faith to carry us through. So we're reduced to tears as we pray, hoping God will work a miracle.

But Jesus didn't want us to become hopeless as we consider the mustard seed-vs-mountain analogy. No, of course not. This was supposed to inspire, to build up. Jesus was saying that yes, your faith may be small. But it can change your life, and the lives of the people around you. You can move mountains through faith.

So, as we go into 2012, consider this: faith is life-changing. Faith is the most important thing. Don't be afraid to test it. Don't be afraid to dream big. God wants us to dream big! He wants us to attempt to move mountains, because he'll always be there to help us, to give us a hand. To answer our prayers and blow our minds. Give him a chance to do that this year.

This is a quasi-companion post to one I made on Teenage Musings.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Only One Life..

When I first stumbled upon this poem, I fell in love with its words right away. We can get so easily distracted with the cares of this world, and forget that we are to live each moment for Christ. What my words are, my actions, and thoughts should all be for His glory. As I find myself getting distracted, the repeating theme of this poem continues to ring in my mind... "only one life twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."
As we come upon this new year, may we refocus our priorites, and live for His glory...

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God's holy will to cleave;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e'er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,"Thy will be done”;
And when at last I'll hear the call,
I know I'll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last. ”

~C.T. Studd~

May we daily ponder this thought, and live for His glory.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Goals for 2012!

Hello Everyone,
Happy New Year!
    As with every beginning of a new year, we tend to look over our shoulders at the past year while combining that look with one into the fresh, untouched future.

Anne Shirley said it so well, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it."  Her comment resonates in my ears as I look forward to 2012, but with it comes a verse that our loving Heavenly Father gave us: Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (ESV)

New "mornings", or years in our case, are wonderful times to set goals.  As I reflected on the past year, with the books I've read, things I've done, places I've been, I realized a common thread that God had woven through each day.

That thread was the lesson of trust.  Trusting Him for provision, safety, finances, relationships, future plans and so much more. 

I don't know about the rest of you, but in our family dynamics, I am the eldest daughter and I tend to want to have "all my ducks in a row."  Everything planned out, with every possibility of disruption of those plans taken care of ahead of time.

Sometimes God needs to remind us that His plans are far better than our plans. A few verses come to mind....
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Isaiah 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

In fact, God knows us better that we know ourselves and He knows where we will be happiest even if we don't.

However, I don't want you to read into the above paragraph that I am saying we shouldn't make plans.
As our Pastor often says, "If you aim for nothing you will hit it every time."  Rather I want you to read between the lines and see that what I mean is that God wants us moving forward, striving towards goal, while being flexible in our plans because we TRUST Him.

So, as I look at the upcoming year of 2012, what goals do I want to strive towards? What can I do that will honor my Heavenly Prince?

Three books come to mind that taught me so much this year as well as reminded me of why I am living a set-apart life for Christ.  The books are as follows:  Sacred Singleness by Leslie Ludy, Set Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy, and Before I Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Malley.

As a young lady of 21 years these books were so refreshing.  My convictions were strengthened, my faith was challenged, my relationship with my King has changed and my goals for 2012 are due in part to these books.

So, you may be asking, what are my goals? Well.....
1. That prayer would become a bigger part of my day ~ Psalm 1:2 "But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."
2. That memorizing Scripture would happen every day.
3. That my relationship with God would be so beautiful that I would be able to find complete fulfillment in Him every day, every moment.
4. That just as a mirror reflects my image, so would I reflect Christ's image when people see me.

Yes, I realize that those goals are ones that should and will be on my list of goals every year, but I will expound upon each one in upcoming posts.

I hope that this post was encouraging to you today.  Perhaps you are also going through God's class of flexibility and trust.  I have come to realize that God love me more that I can imagine and wants the very best for me.  Wherever He places me, in whatever the situation, is the safest and best place for me.

I would love to hear what goals you have decided on for 2012!  As well as how God has been using you or working through you this past year!  It is always an encouragement to hear of other examples of God's work in the lives of others.

Again, Happy New Year and God Bless!

In His Steps,

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Welcome to 2012!

Hello, girls, and welcome to 2012, a year of great goals and opportunities. My name is Abigail Rogers, and I am thrilled to begin this group, Altogether Separate, for the glory of God and the encouragement of Christian homeschool girls!

I think that there are times when all of us feel alone, when we lose sight of our purpose and wish that we had a personal coach to get us back on track and encourage us to keep going strong. This blog is meant to give you some of that support, to be a network of girls with different backgrounds and different worldviews, but similar issues and joys and hopes. I hope that you will all help make it a spring of inspiration, a source of insight and information, and just plain fun :) When girls set their minds to something, what can’t they do?

I’m so glad that this blog already has some followers, and I hope that the number will explode in the coming weeks and months! Here are the top five reasons you should be an active member of this group:
  1. Making friends: Maybe you don't know that many Christian homeschool girls. Well there are a lot of us out here wanting to meet you! 
  2. Mutual encouragement: We can share our personal struggles, prayer requests, etc., and give help to those who need it.
  3. Fascinating information: We can learn so much from one another! Through blog posts, discussion forums threads, emails, etc. we can communicate some awesome wisdom.
  4. Lively discussions: From thorny theological issues to our favorite girl-talk, we can have some great chats on the blog, forum, or live text/voice/video chat.
  5. Working together: If you're passionate about a project, ministry, or other endeavor and you want to get other people on board, this is the place to do it! 

So what are you waiting for? There are so many ways to interact with this group: 
Happy New Year!

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