25 Days of Christmas (Day 21)

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(Day 21) Joel Thomas and Benson Samuel

Joel: Last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away.

Benson: God gave us hands for one use: ADHI!

25 Days of Christmas (Day 19)

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(Day 19) Abigail Thomas

“Last year for Christmas, I went to Nina’s house (points at me) and umm it was very fun because we have close family across the street and umm we just all come together at her house and her mom is a very good cook.”

25 Days of Christmas (Day 12)

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(Day 12) Samantha Bendernagel

“Warning to all believers.  Stop, do not read.

My family moved when I was in fourth grade and then I was worried that Santa wouldn’t know my address and think the other kids were me and I couldn’t have that.  So I wrote him a letter in July so he would know, [saying]

‘Dear Santa this is Samantha J Bendernagel, I used to live at, my old address but now I just moved here.  I don’t want you to forget about me.  Sorry for the extra trip, but I can make it worth your while.  Do you like chocolate chip cookies?  Do you like regular milk or chocolate milk?’

So my parents were cracking up about this and thought it would be funny to write back.  They wrote me this letter and I’m in school the next day saying ‘Santa Claus wrote me back’.  My mom made the candy cane outline, it was the real deal.  Yeah, so I was so pumped about it.  And a lot of kids were trying to say ‘He’s not real’ and I was like ‘But he didn’t write you a letter though’.

Christmas eve that year I got the cookies and milk he wanted.  Every Christmas eve I would go to bed and my parents and my sister would help put up the tree.  But then I realized I forgot to give Santa milk. I go downstairs and see my parents put presents underneath the tree.  I’m at the top and I went back to my room and cried myself to sleep.

I woke the next day and was like, ‘LIARS!’, needless to say, I was not happy.”

Humble Beast | What is humility?

In the midst of a culture that praises those in high places, what does it look like when Christians actually choose to make themselves lower? In this video I talk briefly about why humility is so important and how being humble can positively impact our daily lives.

Learning how to love yourself

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Is love something that we are born knowing how to do?  Is love really a choice?

I learned late in life that writing is a lot about learning how to edit, and this is exactly what I’m doing to do in this post.  It started as a post about learning how to love, period.  But now it is a post about learning how to love oneself because this is something I feel a lot of people fail to do.

I grew up most of my life believing love was something natural, something we were born conditioned to do.  And I believed even more strongly that the ability to love was not a choice.  I didn’t love my family because I choose to love, I loved them because I just couldn’t feel anything other than love for them.  Now that I’ve grown up, somewhat, I’ve come to some sort of conclusion.  Loving someone isn’t simply a choice or not a choice.  I know this because sometimes I force myself to show love to people, this is me making a choice.  But there have been times when I’ve been so hurt that all I’ve wanted to do is hate someone, but still I found myself loving them.

There are times when loving people feels so hard.  My mom will say or do something that upsets me and the idea of showing love in that situation seems impossible.  There are times when I find it really hard to love myself.  It doesn’t make sense but sometimes the most hurtful things are not said by strangers, they are thought by ourselves.  We fail to recognize the power and authority held in words, even when these words are said to ourselves.  The bible tests to this fact as well.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

In the above verse we are taught that life and death are in the power of our tongue!  This doesn’t just apply to what we say to people we love, this is found in the words that we tell ourselves.  The devil is a liar.  To anyone who has ever thought that they were meaningless, that their lives were meaningless or that they are alone- do not believe that lie.  Your body is the temple of God!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

This is how precious we are!  And we are never truly alone in this world, never at all.  The amazing thing about God is that even if everyone we ever love leaves us, we always have him.  This is something we can put our hope and trust in regardless of circumstance.

I mentioned this in passing earlier but love can also not feel like a choice.  I find myself unwilling to let go of some friendships because regardless of pain I may have felt, I still love that person.  With the same token, sometimes it make feel like we don’t have a choice in how we feel.  Although I believe this is somewhat true- we always have a choice. We may not be able to dictate the way we feel, but we can choose the way we act on these feelings.  This is even more true in regards to how we respect ourselves.  Please, love yourself enough to respect yourself.  If you are feeling hurt by someone or something, remove yourself from that situation.  And if you are hurting yourself, please learn the value held in your life.

The saddest thing for me to think about is the fact that so many people fail to see how amazing they are.  Those people who can be told time and time again that they are beautiful but fail to see it!  If you are someone like that, please just take a second look.  Give yourself a second chance.  Because you are valuable and you are loved.  I can guarantee it.

What do you stand for?

 

Daniel 3 introduces the reader to the story of Daniel and his three friends.  Just in case you don’t know this story or don’t want to read the passage, let me give a brief summary of what it’s about.  Daniel and his three friends entered a new land in which they were asked to eat and do things they knew they could not do because of their beliefs.  Instead of abandoning their beliefs in the face of obstacles, they choose to hold fast unto their God.

This even came to the point where they were subjected to death in a fiery furnace.  But God delivered them.

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18

Their dedication was so strong that they were willing to hold unto their faith even when faced with the prospect of death.  How many of us hold faith like that?  How many of us are able to love God like that?

Do we all even know what exactly we stand for at the end of the day?

Someone once attacked my religion and I sat there in a sea of doubt.  But when they attacked my major I spoke up because I knew I was proud of what I was studying in college.  I was willing to defend my major, but not my God.  I was willing to defend something so small but when my faith was attacked, I collapsed.

Hold strong unto your faith.  There is nothing more powerful than God’s love in our lives.

I know that despite every heartache or pain that I go through, that God is always there.  He will always be there.  His love wraps around me and this assures me that despite trials and tribulation, I am secured.  It has already been promised to me.