Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Random (6)

I realized I haven't done one of these in a while, so here ya go! Enjoy a little encouragement:)

Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Prove What???

When I was reading in Romans this morning, this verse kind jumped out at me:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

I had to do a double take on that one. Prove what?? I have heard this verse nearly my entire life and it just hit me. We have to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God??

That really caught me off guard. As I read this verse over and over, it started to sink in. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice...." A living sacrifice??? 

What does a living sacrifice mean? To me, it means choosing to sacrifice, or give, your life.

Thinking about it this way gives this verse a whole new meaning. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God..." Makes sense, right?

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." This is telling us how we can present ourselves a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable unto God. Don't do the things this world does (be not conformed to this world), but stay in the Word and walk in the Holy Ghost (but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.)

This verse now has a totally different meaning to me. God wants us to willingly give our lives to Him by not doing things of the world and staying in the Word and filled with the Holy Ghost. If we give our lives to God, then we can prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Wow! What a powerful verse!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Secret Ally

I know I haven't posted in a few weeks, and I am sorry about that. I finally completed my daily schedule so I should have time to post regularly.
As for A Secret Ally.....
This is a short story I recently completed. It is a little far-fetched, but hopefully you all enjoy it:)

A Secret Ally

“Mommy!! He threw the ball at me!”
            “You threw it at me first!”
            “No I did not!”
            “Did to!”
            “Mom, he’s telling lies!!”
            Bethany sighed and pulled out her headphones. Her little brothers were always fighting. For some reason they just couldn’t seem to get along. She plugged her headphones into her IPod and hit the play button. She only had two more subjects to do before she could take a break. Her brothers’ yelling faded as Casting Crowns began to play. She finished those two subjects in an hour and set them on her mom’s desk. After letting her mom know where she was headed, Bethany headed outside. Wishing she had a friend to run with, she leaped across the field. Homeschooling could get really lonely sometimes, especially when your only friends lived an hour and a half away.
Stopping on the bank of the creek, she looked around. This was by far her favorite spot to go on her breaks. She sat down on a nearby rock and looked around. A butterfly caught her eye and she watched it flutter across the creek. With its blue and orange stripes, it was very beautiful. Bethany watched as it flew across the creek and hovered right over her head. It was a very strange butterfly, or maybe it was just its rare colors that made it stand out. Sitting perfectly still, she watched as it flew back and forth in front of her face. It hovered closer and closer, until, finally, it settled on her shoulder. As many times as she had been out here, that had never happened before. Bethany smiled and carefully moved her head to look down at it. As she sat admiring it, she heard a strange voice.
“Hi, I’m Katherine.” Bethany jumped to her feet and cautiously looked around. No one was there. She sat back down but kept watching the path. If there was a chance someone lived out here, especially a girl her age, she had to know. Just when she was about to give up, she heard the voice again.
“Well, aren’t you going to tell me your name?” Again, Bethany jumped up and spun around. It sounded like it was nearby, but no one was there. Tempted to run home, she turned toward the path.
“Don’t go home; I just want to be your friend. Don’t be afraid.” Bethany stopped and glanced around. Someone had to be out there because voices didn’t come out of nowhere. It was then that she noticed the butterfly was still sitting on her shoulder. That was weird because butterflies don’t just sit on your shoulder when you are jumping around. Bethany stared at it. Could it be?
“What’s your name?” Bethany jumped and looked down at the butterfly. Butterflies don’t talk, that was not normal. But who else would be talking?
“B-B-ethany.” Hesitantly introducing herself, Bethany looked around and then looked back at the butterfly. To her surprise, Katherine flew up and, making a figure eight, landed gently on her nose.
“Nice to meet you, Bethany.” Katherine glided up again and hovered in front of her. “Hold up your hand.”
Bethany cautiously held up her hand and she watched in amazement as Katherine settle in the palm of her hand.
“There, much better. Flying is hard work, you know.” Bethany giggled and brought her hand up close to her face.
“I wouldn’t know, I’ve never tried it.”
“Oh that’s right! You humans have these things called legs. It must be boring to have to walk all the time. You can get to places so much faster when you fly.”
“I’m sure.” Bethany sat down and leaned against a tree.
“You live around here, right?” Katherine folded her wings and appeared to sit down, that is if butterflies can sit.
“Yep, just across the field. I come here every day when I am on my morning break. What about you?”
“I live on the other side of the creek in a little house way up in the trees.”
“You live in a tree house? That must be so awesome!!”
“Of sorts. All butterflies live in what you call tree houses.”
“I didn’t know that. I thought they lived in the flowers.”
“We work with the flowers every day and I do enjoy them, but I would not enjoy living in them. Besides, I wouldn’t want to go home to a flower when I work with them all day. Those flowers can get really feisty sometimes.”
 “You make the flowers grow, right?”
“Yes, but not just the flowers. We pollinate everything.”
“Wow. That must be a hard job.”
“At first it is, but when you do it every day for 15 years, it becomes second nature.”
“How many brothers and sisters do you have?”
“Well, too many to count, really….”
And this is how their conversations went for months. Katherine told her about the strange life of a butterfly and Bethany showed her the equally interesting life of humans. They talked about nothing and everything. As spring came to an end and Bethany finished the last of her schoolwork for the year, they became inseparable. Everywhere Bethany went, Katherine was always nearby. On one particular day, as summer was ending and fall was creeping in, Bethany and Katherine were walking along the Creek. They were exhausted from running back and forth across the field. 
“I’m going to have to leave soon.” Katherine stopped and landed gently on Bethany’s outstretched hand.
“Why?” Bethany froze and stared at her.
“Well, because butterflies don’t come out of their houses very often in the fall.”
“So I won’t be able to talk to you anymore?”
“Not during the fall and winter, you won’t. At least not every day, I will try and visit you as much as I can, though.”
“How come you don’t work during the fall and winter? Is it too cold for you?”
“Yes and the flowers have to rest. They go to sleep for a while and then in the spring, we bring them back. Besides, we have to rest sometime.”
“Ok, but when will you come and visit?” Bethany wiped a tear away and ran a finger gently across Katherine’s wings.
“I will try and come as often as I can. I can’t tell you how often that will be.” Katherine fluttered up to Bethany’s shoulder. “Don’t cry, my friend. I’ll still be here, and if you ever need me, just call and I’ll come.”
“But I want you every day!” Bethany held back a sob and lifted Katherine off her shoulder.
“I must go, but just remember, making friends means being a friend.” Katherine opened her wings and fluttered up. Bethany watched as she gliding higher and higher until she disappeared into the trees.
Katherine watched as Bethany slowly walked back across the field. It was going to be hard on her at first, but Bethany had so much more in store for her now. Katherine sighed and flew, up and up, until finally, she reached her home way up in the trees. She had done her job, now it was time to let life run its course.
As soon as Bethany reached, the house, she ran to her bedroom and shut the door. Katherine was gone and would never be back. She was such a good friend, always there at the exact time they were supposed to meet and never judging her. Her day dreams were interrupted by a knock on the door. Bethany wiped her eyes and stood up.
“Come in!”
“Are you finished with your work for the day?” Her mother swung the door open and put her hands on her hips.
“No, I just got back from my break.” Glancing at the time, she realized she had spent way too much time outside. She was thirty minutes late getting back to work.
“Are you okay, sweetie, you look like you’ve been crying.” Her mom pulled her into a hug and kissed her cheek. The tears came even though Bethany tried to hold them back. “Sweetie, what happened? Is your brother picking on you again?”
Shaking her head, she said, “I lost my best friend today, Mommy.”
“What do you mean your best friend? You mean Cassie?”
“No, mommy, she isn’t my best friend.”
“She isn’t? Who is then?”
“Katherine! Katherine was my best friend.”
“Katherine?? Who’s Katherine?”
“Mommy, she’s the girl I meet every day down by the creek! She had to leave today and won’t be back until spring.”
            “She did?” Bethany’s mom stood up and looked worriedly down at her little girl. No one lived anywhere for miles and miles. The closest people lived 5 miles away and they didn’t have a little girl.
            “Yes, and I miss her. I want her to come back!!” Bethany’s tears were gone now and her temper had set in.
            “Bethany, calm down. I’ll go to the neighbors and see if their little girl can stay for a little bit longer.” She stepped toward the door, knowing full well the neighbors didn’t have a little girl.
            “No, mommy! She won’t be there! Katherine doesn’t live at the neighbors.”
            “Where does she live then?”
            “She lives up in a tree, in a little tree house, with lots and lots of flowers and butterflies fluttering around.”
            “Ok, I’ll ask around, then.” Puzzled, but playing along, she took another step toward the door.
            “No, mommy. People don’t know her. She has to rest for the winter and then in the summer she will come back out. Don’t disturb her sleep; she’s worked hard this summer. Katherine needs it.”
            “So you don’t want me to make her come back?”
            “No, just let her sleep.”
            “Ok, then. Come and finish up your work for the day. Try to finish early because dad will be home early and he has a special announcement to make.” As Bethany headed downstairs, her mom lingered at the door. Did that just really happen? A little girl named Katherine? Living around here? She paused to think about it. Bethany was only seven; it could be an imaginary friend. Was Bethany really that lonely that she would conjure up an imaginary friend?
Bethany headed downstairs and got back to work. As soon as she finished, she rushed outside. Daddy would be home soon, but she had a few minutes to talk to… oh yeah... Katherine was gone. Bethany sighed and plopped down on the porch. Now what would she do on her breaks? She stood up and headed inside. She could do some extra reading while she was waiting for Dad. Momentarily putting Katherine in the back of her mind, she immersed herself in her book. A few minutes later, she heard her dad’s car pull in the driveway and ran downstairs. Everyone was already gathered in the living room, so she quickly sat down and waited for her dad. The walk from his car to the door seemed to take forever and Bethany just couldn’t wait any longer. Jumping up, she ran to the door and flung it open.
“Daddy!! You’re home!!” When her dad reached the door, she threw her arms around his big belly and squeezed.
“Whoa there girl! It’s good to see you too.” Chuckling, he lifted her up off her feet and carried her through the house. Her laughter rang through the house as he tickled her all the way to the living room. When he reached the living room, he plopped her on the couch and took off his hat. Without saying a word to anyone else, he kissed his wife and headed into the kitchen.
“Daddy, aren’t you going to tell us?” Bethany ran from the living room with her brothers close behind.
“Yep.” He opened the fridge and pulled out a pitcher of tea. Then, he walked to the cabinet and reached for a glass. The process of pouring himself a glass of tea seemed to go on forever. Finally, he was done and they headed back to the living room. When they were all seated, he began.
“We’re moving.” He sat back and took a sip of his tea.
“What???? We’re moving??” Bethany scooted forward on her chair, as if she was ready to start driving now.
“Yes, sweetie.” Her mother cut in. “I know this is a big blow for you, but we’re moving where you can have lots of friends.”
 “We’ll have real friends? That we can see every day?” Bethany jumped up and ran to her mother.
“Will I have one that I can talk to on my breaks?”
“If she is homeschooled like you are, then yes.” Her mother stood up and pulled Bethany into a hug. After a few seconds, she pulled away and jumped up and down.
“Yay, yay, yay!!! We’re going to have real friends that we can talk to every day!” She turned to her brothers. “Did you hear that? We’ll actually have real friends!!!”
Her little brothers joined in the rejoicing. “Yay, yay, yay!!”
Weeks passed and soon the day came when they were to move. As her parents loaded the last of the boxes, she slipped away and headed down to the creek. In just a few minutes, she would be leaving behind the only home she had ever known and the only best friend she had ever had. Would she have a favorite place like this creek, or would she have to stay inside all the time? If only she could talk to Katherine one more time. Just to say goodbye and thank her for being such a good friend.
“Katherine? Are you busy right now? Cuz I really need you.” Bethany carefully watched the air around her, hoping Katherine was flying nearby and could hear her. “Katherine?” For several minutes she stood there, perfectly still, waiting, hoping Katherine would come. 30 minutes passed and still, nothing. Looking at the sunset, she turned toward the path. Before she could take a step, a movement caught her eye. Spinning around, she saw a faint flutter in the distance. Holding her breath, she waited. She watched as the figure grew closer and closer, appearing to come out of the horizon. Gasping, she ran toward it. It was Katherine!! She did come!!
“I knew you’d come, I just knew it!!” Carefully holding Katherine in her hand, she lifted her hand up to eyelevel. “I have to move, Katherine, but I’ll never forget you, never!”
“I won’t forget you either, Bethany. Just remember, making friends means being a friend.”
“I won’t forget, Katherine.” Bethany smiled at Katherine and lifted her high into the air.
“Bye, Katherine. I hope I make as good a friend as you at my new home.”
“Bye, Bethany. Remember, making friends means being a friend.” Gliding up, she hovered just above Bethany’s head. Making a figure eight, she fluttered away until she was out of sight.
Bethany ran back across the field and gave her mom a big hug. She would make friends, lots of them. All she had to do was be a friend. They all hopped in the car and began the adventure of a lifetime. One that would challenge them and encourage them, one that would forever change all of them for the better, but most of all, change the world they lived in.