Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reflections on 2012

Another year has come to a close. It's hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. I look back at this year, and see that my life has changed in a lot of ways. I have done more growing spiritually this year than ever before, and I find myself more and more in love with my Jesus every day.

When I think of words that sum up this year for me, the lessons that I've learned, these are the words that come to mind.

Surrender --- Trust --- Contentment --- Patience --- Self-control  --- Discipline --- Witnessing --- Brokenness

There is much more that God taught me this year, but these are the main words that come to my mind. God has taught me how to pray, and given me hard lessons on just learning to be still, and listen to Him.
At the end of last year, I made several goals for myself. I actually accomplished a three of those. My goals that I accomplished are:
  1. Read my Bible and journal every day.
  2. Tell at least 50 people about Christ, even if it is just by handing them a tract.
  3. Get my weight down to a certain level.
I am excited that the Lord gave me the discipline, and the self-control, and the passion that I needed to get these three things accomplished this year!!
These are all of the journals I have filled this year. 8 journals, which comes out to 1539 pages. I can't believe how much I wrote about my life this year! But I am glad I did, because so much happened, and I have every single bit of it is written down to remember for years to come. There is a verse about writing down the things that God has done for you (can't remember where the verse is), so that you can remember them, and generations after you can know of God's faithfulness. Well, I have definitely done that this year, and I plan to continue this discipline next year, and hopefully each year after that. I would have to say that a great deal of my spiritual growth is due to the fact that I did journal this year. It is as if God was waiting for me to sit down with a pen and paper before He just started pouring out insights to me. I also discovered this year that I pray much better when writing it out in my journal. That's not to say that is the only way that I pray, but some of my deepest most heart-felt prayers are the ones I wrote in my journals. It's amazing now to be able to go back and see the prayers I have prayed, and the way that God answered them so specifically. Journaling has been an amazing journey for me, and it's one I encourage each one of you to embark upon yourself.  
Something else I completed this year is "My Utmost for His Highest" 1-year journal. These have been wonderful devotionals to do every night! Oswald Chambers is a very wise man, and a lot of this has been life changing for me.

So I am going to share with you some of the ways that God has taught me those special words this year.
Surrender --- Trust --- Contentment --- Patience
These four words all kind of go together for me. Can you guess why? I think any single young woman can identify that these four are the hardest for us to obtain.
Surrender: Surrendering all our desires, hopes, and dreams to God. Laying them on the altar, not taking them back up unless He gives them back. I had to learn to surrender some things this summer, which was so hard for me that I told God that I couldn't do it. I told God I couldn't, and only He could. He had to work in my heart, and bring me to the point of surrender. And He did!
Trust: Trusting our future in the hands of the Almighty, who has a much better plan for our future than we could ever plan. Trusting Him with the pen to our story, and not making any suggestions as to how the story should go. This has been pretty much the hardest lesson for me to learn, for me to simply let go, and trust God. Even when I don't understand what is going on. I find it interesting that this is the lesson that it seems God keeps taking me back to, since the meaning of my name, Faith Christine, means "A Christian who places their trust in God". It's amazing how God uses our names. Recently, I started trying to create pictures of different things in my mind. Just a couple of nights ago, the Lord gave me a picture of what trust is. And He also gave me a verse to go along with this picture in my mind.
(The Beautiful necklace my sister Grace made me for Christmas which will always serve as a reminder to me.)
My picture of Trust: Me, a blind girl, walking down a path. I have no idea what lay in front of me. I cannot see. I try many different ways of finding my own way down the path. I try different people. But alas, all of them lead me astray. They all lead me into danger. But then One with a soft and gentle voice comes behind me saying, "...This is the way, walk ye in it..." (Isaiah 30:21). I know this is the voice I can trust. This is the voice of The Only One that I can trust. I just have to trust that He will keep me from the dangers that lie on each side, and keep me from falling. He will lead me down the right path, even when I think I know a better way. I just have to trust Him, because only He can see the road ahead of me.
Contentment: Learning to be content with my present circumstances, even if I desire greatly to be somewhere else. This has been the hardest for me to learn. Contentment in singleness. This summer was especially a hard struggle for me, but the Lord gave me victory, because I kept asking Him to create in me a heart that was willing to be content right where I am. And then the Lord opened up the door to Taiwan...and I knew I was content right where I am.
Patience: Sometimes this can be the hardest to learn. Patience---waiting for God to fulfill His perfect plan in your life. Waiting for God to come through on His promises, which He ALWAYS does!
This year, the Lord has given me great victory in these areas. This does not mean by any means that I have perfected these things, but I have come a great distance. About two months ago, I was reading in the book "Sacred Singleness", by Leslie Ludy. She talked about Mary pouring out her most precious ointment, which was the thing of most value to her, onto the feet of Jesus. How much should we be willing to pour out what is most precious to us onto the feet of Jesus? I decided right there and then that I was pouring what I held as very dear to me, my desire to someday be a wife and mom, onto the feet of Jesus. It is all His, and if He has a life of singleness in store for me, then I am ready for it.
There is so much more in each of these areas, but it would take many hours to tell you every step along my journey.
Self-control: God has helped me greatly develop in the area of self-control, mainly getting my weight under control, which has been a huge struggle for me. Also just in controlling my temper, which has been a huge stumbling block for me in the past. Not perfect yet, but I am being perfected.
Discipline: I wanted to become more disciplined in reading my Bible on a daily basis, and this year I have! I'm praying this discipline will carry over into the rest of my life. Gaining this discipline helped to carry discipline over into other areas of my life where I greatly needed it. Still working on this one, but it's well under way.
Witnessing: This has been a huge year for me in witnessing. I have come "out of my box" so much. I have started to get excited about witnessing, and leaving tracts for people. I even start to pray now before plane flights that God would put an unsaved person on the plane next to me (because they can't go anywhere...). So needless to say, I am DEFINITELY looking forward to my upcoming plane trips, if only because it will give me an opportunity to share Christ with someone. I have become more excited than ever about sharing my faith, and have lost a lot of the fears that I used to have about witnessing. God has done an amazing overhaul on my heart in this area. I just learned that I should not fear man who is going to die. Rather I should fear God, and what He will say to me if I didn't do my duty in sharing the Gospel with the lost and dying world.
Brokenness: I would have to say this was the hardest for me to learn this year. Not holding tightly to any earthly friendship, and not placing my trust in a friendship I always thought would be there. I won't go into great detail, but I did lose a friendship that was very near and dear to me, one I was sure would always be there for me. They broke off our friendship, and that did break my heart.
But I realized that God worked through even this to answer my prayers. Exactly one year to the day before this happened, I wrote in my journal "Lord, break my heart so that I might draw closer to you. Crush my spirit, Lord. I want to be so close to you, Jesus." Exactly one year later, I had my heart broken in a very real way, but Jesus did use it to draw me closer to Him, because I realized then just how real the phrase "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" was to me. Jesus means even more to me now, because I know that He will never leave me, He will always be with me. He is the one and only one that I can depend upon to ALWAYS be there for me.
God used this to answer another prayer in a very real way. Five days before this happened, I read 1 Peter 1:6-7, and wrote these words in my journal: "If You need to take me during a season of testing to try my faith, if You need to try it by fire, then do so. I know that this means I am asking for testing, but I want my faith to be found precious and honorable in Your sight." And He did purify my faith through this. So I am able to look back on this brokenness that happened in my life, and I am able to thank God with my whole heart for this, even though I don't understand.

All spritual growth aside, this has been an amazing year!! I had a nephew and a niece born this year, I joined professional adult orchestras in the area, and I found out I was going to Taiwan. Some friendships have gone, others have grown stronger. But my family is even more precious to me, and I am learning to treasure and value the rare family that I have even more every day. I also started going to a girls' accountability group, which has been amazing!!

But most of all, nothing is more precious to me right now than my True Love, Jesus. If He is not your first love, I urge you now, don't waste another minute making Him your first love!! Jesus is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I will leave the whole world behind before I will leave my Jesus. And you can have a deep relationship with Him too. Just tell Him that you want it!

So this has been an extremely long blog post, but God has done so many amazing things for me in 2012, and this isn't even the half of it. I can't wait to see the exciting adventures and surprises that God has in store for me in 2013! Bring on the new year!

My prayer for this next year is that both you and I as Christians will use every breath we have to proclaim the goodness of God, and the love of God to a lost and dying world, before God comes to take us Home. May 2013 be an amazing year of surrender to God, and of telling of His goodness! God bless your new year! Stay strong, and hold fast to Jesus!!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Recital 2012

It's been over a month since I posted on my blog, but I just wanted to give a quick update on some things that have been happening recently. The most recent event is that my mom and I had a joint music recital for our students last night (12/20/12). It was a wonderful time! I have six students now, four violin and two piano students. I was SO proud of every single last one of them last night!

It's always different going to a recital as a teacher than as a student. In fact, I think it's harder. Because I feel that how your students do can reflect on your teaching. So I held my breath through each of my students songs, but I was so proud of each one of them, who each did such an awesome job!! So to all my precious students, your teacher is very proud! (I guess you needed to hear that just one more time...)

Here are my amazing students!
(Left to right, back to front) Jacob (violin), Angel (violin), Me, Stephanie (violin), Hailey (violin), Stacey (piano), Alexis (piano).
Didn't get a chance to get a picture with Alexis, but just wanted to say a quick word. Alexis is 9, and she has been taking since about April/May, and I started her from the beginning, and she has made quick progress! I can always tell that she comes to lessons well practiced. She's very quiet, so it's extra fun when I can get a smile or laugh out of her. I can tell she really loves to play, and even laughs at her own mistakes. It is such a delight to teach such a sweet little girl. 

Here is my sweet student Stacey, who is 9 years old. I started teaching her around early summer this year, and she is my first transfer student. Accepting a transfer student was a little nerve racking for me, because you never know how she was taught by the previous teacher. But when I had that first interview/placement session with her, I was blown away and so impressed about how far she had already come. Stacey's family just moved here from India at the end of last school year. She is such a little joy for me to teach, and we always have so much fun during our lessons (or I definitely do anyway). I can't wait to see where the years of teaching this precious little girl are going to go! She is already at the beginning intermediate level, and only 9, so I am ecstatic to see where she will be by high school age. Anyway, can't say enough about this sweet little girl. Also a plus is having her little sister come in on occasions and watch me teach her.

Jacob is 12, and took lessons from me for about 2 years, and then had to stop for a semester, but picked violin lessons back up this semester. I am so glad he did, as it is such a delight to teach him. He also takes piano from my mother. He has become my first student to change sizes in violins. When he left, he was playing a 3/4, and when he came back, I realized right away, he was no longer such a little boy, and definitely needed a 4/4. He is progressing so well, especially since he has having to adapt to a new size of violin. Always so sweet, and quick to do whatever I ask him to do. I look forward to the years ahead with Jacob!

Angel is 14, and also another student that takes piano from my mother. She has been taking lessons from me for 1 1/2 years now. She is just like her name. Such a sweet angel during her lessons. We have a lot of great conversations, and fun, but she's always ready to buckle down when we need to get started with the lesson. I'm so proud of the progress she is making, especially since she not only plays the piano and violin, but also plays the flute in band. Three instruments is not easy at all, and I don't know if I'll have her forever, but while I do, I sure am enjoying it!!
Last, and certainly not least, here are my sweet little friends, Stephanie and Hailey. They are not only my students, but also like extra little sisters to me. These two little sisters are both adopted into a sweet family at church. When their mom asked me this summer if I could teach them, I was more than thrilled to take up the "challenge"! They started taking lessons in September, and it has been SO much fun! Stephanie (left) is 6, and is so enthusiastic about playing the violin. She aspires someday to play in an orchestra. Hailey (right) is 8, and she really loves coming to lessons, which always makes my job as a teacher so much more fun. Both of them are so sweet, and bring a special joy to my week with their "little girl giggles". I give them group lessons right now, and just recently, their "little girl giggles" became contagious, and had me laughing too. I'm always thrilled to get the young students, because then they get to grow up knowing you. I can't wait for the many years ahead teaching these precious little girls!! And it's also SO fun to be able to go to the same church as them, and get those precious little hugs multiple times a week. Having known them for several years, and watching these girls grow up, both of these precious girls have found a special place in my heart, and I can't wait to see what God has for them in the future!

So, there's just a special little highlight from this week. I look forward to picking lessons back up in full swing after I get back from Taiwan, and will definitely miss it while I'm gone. Have a great weekend, and a very merry CHRIST-filled CHRISTmas, because CHRISTmas is all about Jesus!! Stay strong in Jesus!!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving - #3

Day #3: Today I am thankful for my sweet little violin students, Hailey and Stephanie. They are such sweet little girls, and so enthusiastic. I had a lesson with them today, to make up for missing our regular time on Wednesday. They came to my house, and then they and their mom ate dinner with us, and then went to my first FWCO (Fort Worth Civic Orchestra) concert tonight. Afterwards, I asked Stephanie if she wanted to be up there playing some day, and the sweet little thing nodded her head. They are such a delight to teach!

Also thankful that my first concert went well! We played Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, a couple of nocturnes by Debussy, a cello solo by Tchaikovsky, with an amazing cellist from Russia, and then played music from Pirates of the Carribean. I've never seen Pirates of the Carribean, but I must say that it was my favorite thing to play. Loads of fun! Also thankful that I had the perfect orchestra attire already in my closet, especially since my previous black formal has outgrown me (yes, I said that right). Anyway, thankful for a wonderful day, and the small blessings that come along with it!
Also thankful that I get an extra hour of sleep tonight, because we get to push our clock BACK and hour!! Well, I hope you have had as blessed a day as I did! Stay strong in Jesus!
Because of His blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

30 days of Thanksgiving - #2

And here is my post for today (November 2nd). A few things that happened today for which I am very thankful.

#1: My passport came in the mail today! It hasn't even been two whole weeks since I sent in my application, and it's here! With the little bit of trouble I went through to get my passport, I was so thankful to see this in the mail today, and WAY ahead of when I thought it was going to be!! Praise God for even working out the small things for me! Now it is legal for me to leave the country!

And yay for a decent passport photo! I hate the photo on my driver's license, so am glad for a nice photo on my passport!! That made me happy!
#2: Thankful for fresh goats' milk, that tastes wonderful, and gives me the calcium I need to keep me strong. This may seem like a little insignificant thing, but when you start drinking it, and then you can't drink it for a while, and have to switch to Almond milk, or store bought goats' milk....
The fresh goats' milk we get just tastes so much better!
#3: Thankful for a new swing set!! My dad bought this awesome swing set, that he, along with some of our assistance, assembled today! This is Hope and Arthur working on it. I pointed out to my dad that this swing set was even courtship appropriate, since you can't sit right next to eachother because of the table in the middle. Thankful for a swing set to go and sit on in the backyard to have a Bible study on, or just a quiet place to think, or to study school.
#4: A beautiful big new cauliflower from our backyard! We have been working on a garden, and to see such beautiful produce from it is quite a blessing to us!
#5: Homemade, 100% healthy, chocolate-oatmeal-applesauce-raisin cookies! With trying to go sugar free (as much as possible) for four weeks, and having a family with a sweet tooth (or sweet teeth....:P), I decided I wanted to try an alternative to cookies, making them super healthy, using whole wheat flour and honey. I'm still tweaking the recipe a little bit, but my family loved them, and ate every single last one of them, so I guess they must be a hit!

So these are just a few things I am thankful for today. What are you thankful for? Hopefully I can keep up this challenge for the rest of the month.

Stay strong in Jesus, and may He bless you tremendously!!

Because of His blood,
Faith Christine Rohlin
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 days of Thanksgiving - #1

Thankful for a few small, yet significant things.
First thankful that I live in a country where I have the right and freedom to vote for those in government, and a chance to make a difference in this nation.

Next, I'm thankful for the fun little times that I have with my siblings, and the fun little jokes that we have. Right now, until Thanksgiving, we are trying our best to go "sugar free". So the kids keep asking if we can get ice cream, and I have to keep saying "no", and that we can wait until Thanksgiving. Yesterday, one of my sister's (who shall remain nameless *ahem* *Harmony*) gave me a shopping list to take to the grocery store. And at the bottom she wrote "ice cream (he he he) (non-optional)". Haha...I love my family!


Last, but not least, I'm thankful for the opportunity to watch the next generation come, and see the interaction between three different generations. My older sister, Melody, and her family came over for dinner last night. 
This is Christiana (7) and Danielle (2) reading together. Christiana is my little sister, and Danielle is my niece. Different generations, yet they are going to be so close, being so close in age. It was just so sweet watching them sit on the couch and read together! (Christiana was reading, and Danielle was "reading". She likes to pretend she's reading by saying random words. It's so cute!)
Then later the same evening, I walked into my Dad's office to see this sight, and immediately ran upstairs to grab my phone, so I could snap this picture.
Daddy, aka Granddaddy, reading to his daughter (Christiana) and granddaughter (Danielle). Such a sweet sight!

So these are just a few small things that happened yesterday (since I'm posting yesterday's post today) that I am thankful for. Just small ordinary things that make a difference in my life, and bring a smile to my face. What are you thankful for?

Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you! His death covers everything!!

Because of His blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Updated info on my Taiwan trip

Howdy, y'all!! I just thought I'd give a brief update on my upcoming Taiwan trip (which I am so excited about!......Did I mention how excited I am?!)

Preparations are starting to come together. I have started learning some new Chinese phrases such as "Is that fun?" "Excuse me, let me ask, do you speak English?" "Slow down a little. I don't speak Chinese well." And other useful phrases such as "I don't want any pig's blood." I am so grateful to have both my mom, who is very fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and my Dad here to teach me new phrases, and work with me. Also thankful for my Grandparents who have taught me a few phrases as well. I just called my Chinese teacher, who taught me Mandarin my last two years of high school, and she will be coming over to help write out the Chinese phonics (which is what I learned by) on some children's songs (because I just can't seem to get the pinyin down). She told me I can feel free to ask her as many questions as I want. I am so thankful to God for all the people that He has put in my life who are helping me along my journey.

Speaking of my journey, the mission trip has now been extended, which I am absolutely thrilled about!! Our trip will be from January 15th-February 11th! 27 days!! I am SUPER excited! Also, I will get to experience Chinese New Years in Taiwan, which my grandparents and mother tell me is madness, but I will just love the fact that I get to experience Chinese New Years at least once in Taiwan.

It also looks now like I will possibly be taking a trip up to Verity the week before we leave for Taiwan, so I can do some training with the rest of the Taiwan team.

So all this to say, I am super excited about the opportunities that God has brought, and that lie before me! Also though, I crave your prayers as I make some decisions, and also as I raise money. This is not a task that I can do on my own. And if anyone feels compelled to, all donations are very much appreciated. Just contact me if you would like to know how you can donate funds to send me to Taiwan to share the gospel of Jesus.

I am grateful to God my Father, who is faithful in all that He does. Two verses I am clinging to right now. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." And Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

I know that the Lord wants me to go on the missions trip, so I know that He is able to provide, and that He will provide, because He is faithful to make happen whatever it is that He calls us to, if we step forward and faith, and trust Him.

Well, I will try my best to give any further updates as they come along! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you! His death covers everything!!

Because of Jesus' blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A New Door In My Journey -- Taiwan

Hello all! I know it has been over three months since I have posted anything on my blog. That is not to say that life has become dull and boring, and thus leaving me without anything to post. No, the exact opposite has been true for me. My summer has been so full of many activities, and many lessons that the Lord has taught me. I would have to go back and look through my journals to see everything that God has shown me, and everything that has happened this summer. Wow, God has been incredibly amazing, and I find myself more in love with Him each day, and trusting in His power, and His love for me even more. I know more now than I did at the beginning of the summer that God only has the absolute best in mind for me. He has a perfect plan for me.

So speaking of God's perfect plan for me, that brings me to an exciting announcement. The Lord Jesus has opened a door for me to go to Taiwan on a mission trip!! I am going to Taiwan! My lifelong dream, to see the place where my grandparents were missionaries for 40 years, and where my mother grew up! God's timing is so amazing, and I know that His hand has worked out every single detail to make this possible, even when I do not see every detail worked out yet.

(Above) He said to me "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
"Where Lord? Where do you want me to go?" "Wherever I send you, Faith. Walk with me, and I will lead you."
(Below) John 3:16 in Mandarin Chinese. This is where He is sending me for now. To share the message of John 3:16 to the lost people in Taiwan.
I have always had a love for the Chinese people, since I was raised with hints of Chinese cultural influence, my mom having grown up in Taiwan. I grew up eating Chinese food, and since we were young, my mom has tried on many occasions to teach us her first language --- Mandarin Chinese. I have had certain words engrafted into my English, one word, which until I was 18-years-old, I did not know was a Chinese word. It had been so engrafted into my vocabulary, that I used it just like an English word. Aside from this, I have two adopted Chinese aunts/cousins (aunts by adoption to my grandparents, cousins being the children of my grandparents foster son) who have been in my life, and have made me quite accustomed to the Chinese.
So for the last several years, I have had a longing to go to Taiwan, to serve there, just as my grandparents had served. At one time, I considered taking TESOL and going to Taiwan for a year to teach English. But that door just seemed to close when God showed me I was supposed to do college. I had dreamed of maybe this next summer going with my grandparents to Taiwan, if they revisited. I had also thought of the possibilities of going with the ATI program to teach Children's Institute.
This summer, the Lord did a lot in my life, working in my heart, and causing me to gradually surrender each area of my life to Him. One of the things that I had surrendered to Him was my ministry. I did not know what God wanted me to do, but I told Him that if He wanted me to be involved in ministry, then He was going to have to open the doors for me. After I surrendered to God in some major areas of my life, I finally saw God start to open up some doors for me.
The newest door that has been opened is one that fulfills a longing that has been in my heart for years. A couple of weeks ago, I was checking on facebook, and saw that one of my friends from Verity Institute, who is in my graduating class, posted on her facebook wall that she was going to Taiwan. I immediately felt jealousy...I too had that longing in my heart to go. I commented asking what how this opportunity came for her. In a reply, she said that she was going on the Senior Mission trip with Verity. I thought "No way! That is way too awesome!" Verity takes their seniors on a mission trip every year. I will be enrolling in Verity come January to (Lord willing) finish up the last semester of my schooling. So supposedly, I would also be in the "graduating class of 2013". I had a passing thought "How cool would that be if I could go too?" This desire haunted my heart. I wanted so much for this trip to be a possibility for me. Could this desire come true for me?
After a few days, I mentioned to my parents this desire. "Guess where Verity is taking my "graduating class" for their senior mission trip! Taiwan! I really wish I could go...." I kind of left it at that for a while. The more I casually mentioned it to my parents, the more they seemed to like the idea. When I first chose Verity as my school of choice, my dad said that he would love me to go there so I could go on the senior mission trip.
Last Friday, I called Verity, just to see if there was even a possibility that I could go, since I am not officially enrolled yet. I received very encouraging news. Yes, there was a possibility. The very sweet lady on the phone told me to email the president of Verity, who is coordinating the trip and the team, and to present my request to him. That evening, I was ecstatic. The only thing that I could see as a possibility of hindering me from going......was the money. Later that day, I prayed that if it was God's will for me to go, that He would give me full confirmation from my parents.
Last Saturday, our family went out on some errands. The more I talked to my parents, the more in favor they sounded. Especially my mom. I kept saying "if I go to Taiwan..." and then would talk about something with my mother about Taiwan. The more and more I talked about it, the more my desire grew. That night, I could not sleep at all, because that is all I could think about.
Earlier this week, I received confirmation from the Verity team that I was accepted onto the Taiwan team. This made me all the more ecstatic! Yesterday, my dad told me that I was going, and that we would trust that God would provide all the money I need for the trip!! I have had nothing else on my mind, and am so amazed and humbled by the way that God has opened doors for me!!
I have had a longing to go to Taiwan + my "graduating class" is going to Taiwan for their mission trip + my parents being open and excited for me to go = Coincidence? No. This is the very hand of God at work in my life.
I recently read "The Prayer of Jabez" by Bruce Wilkinson. That was life changing for me. I have since prayed Jabez's prayer: "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." God has indeed enlarged my coast, and His hand is indeed with me. I cannot wait to see what God is going to do through me and the rest of the Taiwan team when we go to Taiwan!!
We are going to Taiwan to conduct Children's Institutes, and reach out to the needy youth in Taiwan. I cannot wait to get there and love on all those little Chinese children, and tell them of Jesus' love for them!! The trip is from January 15th - February 8th. 24 days in Taiwan!!
So for those of you have taken the time to read this very lengthy blog post, I would like to ask you to pray for:
1. The children in Taiwan that the Lord is going to bring into our lives, that God would open their hearts to receiving the Gospel message.
2. The Taiwan team, that God would bless us, enlarge our coast, place His hand upon us, and keep us from evil.

3. That God would prepare our hearts to reach out to those in need.

Personally, I would also appreciate prayer as I study my Mandarin. I took lessons for two years, so I know the basics of pronunciations, and tones. Now it is just a matter of building up my vocabulary. I am hoping to memorize some verses in Chinese, and have already memorized John 3:16 in Chinese. If nothing else though, I hope to be able to tell each child that I come across "Jesus loves you, and I love you." I would also appreciate prayers as I am trying to raise money for my trip. I know God will provide, because He is always faithful in providing for my needs.

All of this reminds me of the verse: "Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4. I have chosen to delight myself in Him, and He has changed the desires of my heart to be His desires for me, and He is now giving me those desires. Praise God from whom all blessing flow!! Have a blessed week!

Because of Jesus' blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reflections on 2011

I wrote this post on December 30, 2011. These are my reflections for last year.

As I look back on this last year, I see that a lot has happened. A lot of big things for me. So much has happened to me, but I will just name a few highlights.
First off, I graduated from high school in May. That was a big hurdle jumped in my life.
Second, I got my driver's license, and turned 18 this summer. Which that meant a lot of extra responsibility. Now I can go anywhere I need to go, and if I have any personal trips to take, that means paying for the gas for the trip. It's been awesome "having my wings" (as my sister-in-law puts it). I've been able to do a lot of things since this summer that I wouldn't have been able to do, if I had no license. My sister and I took a trip to Tyler Texas in July by OURSELVES. I've also taken trips to the other side of Dallas, and then the other side of Fort Worth, by myself. So, that has been a major change for me. I think it has also been a huge help to my mom though. There have been many times when we needed something from the grocery store, and she was not available to go get it, so I ran the errand myself. Me having my driver's license has definitely been a help in the family.
Third, I got my first real job this past summer. I worked three months for iX3 technology, which a father in our church graciously gave me that job. I learned a lot in that job, both mentally, and spiritually. I had the opportunity of working with some people who were very gracious and patient with me, and took plenty of time to explain things to me. God taught me patience through this job, both what it looks like, and how to practice it.
Fourth, I started college. I am working through Thomas Edison State College, to get my Bachelor's degree in Music. God has used this time to teach me to trust Him more, and to trust Him completely for the finances, and I am happy to say that this whole next semester is provided for. So far, I have been able to pay for my schooling on my own, which is partly due to my job this summer. This past semester was a little stressful trying to map out my college plan, and there were some tears shed over it, but my parents were very patient with me, especially my mom, who sat with me when I was crying from being stressed over this. But, after giving it all to God's most capable hands, and trusting Him to lead me, that removed a tremendous amount of stress from my life. I have had a lot of worry about where the money would come from, but God told me to stop worrying, and to start trusting. I did, and I have not been lacking for funds yet. Praise the Lord for His goodness to me! This last semester went a little bit slower than I wanted it to, but I'm still on track. I have finished 18 hours of schooling, and by the beginning of summer, I hope to have finished the rest of my 60 hours of basics.
My spiritual life has changed dramatically this last year. And I don't say that to be prideful, but to give thanks to God and show how amazing He is. There are a couple of things that have really worked in my spiritual life changing to what it is now.
First, I started journaling. Back in March, I started journaling my devotional times, and I was inspired to do so by my sister Grace. That changed my devotional life dramatically, because it seemed like God was waiting for me to sit down with a pen and paper before He started revealing things to me from His Word. I am at the end of my third journal, and plan on finishing that journal tomorrow, and starting a new one at the beginning of the new year. I definitely encourage everyone who reads this to consider journaling their devotionals. I also started journaling different prayers, and it has been amazing to go back and look at my journals, and see the way that God has answered those prayers.
Second, God moved on my heart back in May to share something with my father, and he helped me to clear this problem up in my life, and once this thing was removed, I felt a heavy burden lifted from my life. It was after that that my spiritual life started to really grow.
Third, God brought some people into my life this past summer who really showed me what it is like to love Jesus. I felt so small by their love for the Lord, and wondered why my love for the Lord was not greater. Some of these people had not known Jesus as long as I had, but their love for Jesus far surpassed my love for Jesus. After seeing their love, it made me strive to love Jesus greater. I also saw their great love for reading God's Word, and their desire to learn more and more about Jesus. This made me feel so small, and start to wonder why I did not have this same desire. I prayed and asked God to give me this desire for His Word. Ever since this summer, my devotional time has become more and more precious to me, like I can't get enough. My prayer time has been tremendous, and I can really talk to God, and hear Him speak to me through His Word. If I go a day without praying or seeking God's Word, I feel like I have starved myself. I know my love for Jesus, and God's Word is not near where it should be, nor do I ever think it will reach what it should be, but I pray every day that God will make my love for Him to abound more and more.
Fourth, back in April, I asked God to put some young ladies into my life that I could mentor, and influence for Him. God put two young ladies into my life this summer, who have been a great encouragement to me, and have shown me where my heart lies, and where I believe God is calling me.
Fifth, I went to family camp back in October, and heard Mark Cahill speak, and he gave me a new passion for winning souls for Christ. I have sinced ordered his books, and tracts, and have had opportunities to witness to some people. I have found myself striking up conversations with complete strangers, which is not something I normally do. A week ago, I ran to the grocery store to get something, and struck up a conversation with the check out lady. I asked her what she was doing for Christmas, and she told me that she had to work. I told her that I was sorry that she had to work on such a wonderful day, but that I hoped she had a very Merry Christmas. After she finished checking me out, I handed her a tract, and said "This is for you. Merry Christmas." She had a look of delight on her face that some stranger would give her a Christmas gift. I felt so incredibly happy after handing her the tract, that I practically skipped out of the store. Jesus commands us to "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." I pray that I will be better at fulfilling this command this next year than I was this past year. I don't come across many unsaved people, living at home, and doing school from home, but I pray that God will bring lost people across my path this next year who are looking for the truth.
Again, I don't say any of this to make y'all say, "Look at Faith, she's some great spiritual person." Because I'm not. I want this to be an encouragement to everyone who reads this to live their lives for Christ, and to win souls like we are commanded to do. Remove the things from your life that may be hindering you from having that wonderful and sweet fellowship with Jesus. If something has become more important to you than Jesus, you should remove it from your life. We can even allow good things to become idols in my life. I also encourage you all to get Mark Cahill's book "One thing you can't do in heaven", read it, and start winning souls for the kingdom.
If you are reading this, and you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, I plead with you now to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. "For God so loved the World, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. All you have to do is accept the gift that God offers so freely, the gift of eternal life. "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." All you have to do is repent and turn away from your sins, and accept the free gift that God has given. If you would like to know more, please comment below, or order Mark Cahill's book "One Heartbeat Away". It goes into great detail explaining that there is a God, and that the Bible is true, and why we need to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We are not going to get to heaven by our good works. The Bible says so multiple times. So if you are trying to get there by your works, you are only going to fail. So I plead with you to believe on Jesus, who shed His own blood for us, who payed the penalty for our sins, that we might have eternal life, and spend an eternity glorifying God.
Well, this has been a rather lengthy blog post, but this was a good year! I'm looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in the next year of my life! Go with God in this new year, and may God make your love for Him more abundant with each passing day.

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Friday, June 29, 2012

Counting Blessings: #2

Blessing #2:
Family reading time. Occasionally my father will read to us from books, while we sit around and crochet, or draw. Sometimes it will be an old book. Like one written in the 1800's, called "Uncle Ben". It was my great-grandfather's book that my mother inherited when he died. My father also reads books to us on soul-winning, or other good Christian living book. It is somethign that I will always remember as a special time, and something that I plan to do with my children when I have them. It's so special for a Dad to read aloud to his kids, and for any Dads out there, I would definitely encourage you to take the time to do that for your kids! Anyway, it is such a blessing to me when our family gathers together to read, and that my father takes that time out of his busy life to do that with us. I'd rather us read together any day, than watch a movie.
So, there is another blessing in my life. Have a blessed day! Stay strong in Jesus!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Magnifying Christ

I was reading Philippians 1, and I got a lot out of that chapter. But verses 20-21 stuck out to me in a way that it had never stuck out at me before.
"According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Especially the phrase "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."
Christ shall be often do I put myself on display, instead of putting Christ on display?
Christ shall be magnified in my body...when people look at me, do they see Christ?
This caused me to question myself. When I dress in the morning, am I causing Christ to be magnified by the way I dress and the way I look? After all, my body is the temple of the Lord, so should I not look like it? In my conversations with others, am I causing Christ to be magnified? In the music that I listen to, am I causing Christ to be magnified? Christ must be magnified in everything I do! Do the motives of my heart magnify Christ? Do I strive to make Christ magnified in every area of my life?
So, I leave you this challenge. When you get dressed in the morning, and especially for going to church, is it in a way that would most glorify and magnify the name of Jesus? After all, when we go to church, we are there to worship Jesus. Does He not deserve your very best? Does your appearance represent Christ, and magnify Him? You are the ambassador for Christ, so you should look like one! When you are listening to music to drown out noise in the house while you work or do school, is it music that would magnify the name of Jesus? Or does it magnify yourself, and your flesh? When you go to church to worship, are you just there to impress others, or to truly worship and magnify the name of Jesus? Do you strive to do everything in your life to bring glory and honor to the name of Jesus, and to magnify Him?
I know I definitely do not always strive to magnify Christ in everything I do, and that is wrong, and I crave His forgiveness for not doing so. I hope that this was as challenging to you as it was to me! God bless you all! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you in His hands!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Live at Peace

This post from my previous blog dates September 18, 2011:

As I was doing an in-depth study/memorizing Romans 12, this verse really struck me.
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peacebly with all men." (Verse 18)
My first thought was, "Okay, God wants us to do everything possible to be at peace with those around us." But, as I analysed it more and more, the phrase "as much as lieth in you" stuck out to me. I thought on it, then it hit me! Jesus lies within me! I have all the power of God lying in me! So what God is saying is that with every bit of strength that we have within us, which as Christians we have the strength of Jesus Christ, we are to live at peace with those around us. Isn't that amazing?! God gives us infinite strength to leave at peace! We just need to seek that strength that lies within us!
Romans 12 goes on to talk about not revenging ourselves, but rather repaying good for evil. This has to do with living at peace with all men. It's not easy to let go of our anger at others, and let go of our so-called right to avenge ourselves. But we are told to live at peace, and we are told to seek that peace from within us, where Christ dwells.
Well, that is my thought for today! I hope it was a blessing and challenge to you, as it was to me! God bless your weekend, and may we all strive to live at peace with all men, using the strength of Jesus Christ that lies within us!

Have a blessed day! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you! His death covers everything!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Graduates Response

Here is another old post from my previous blog. It is my Graduate's Response that I would have given at my high school graduation (which was May 14th, 2011). I was too choked up at the time to give an address, so I wrote this a week later.

As some of you know, I graduated this last Saturday from high school, and also had my senior music recital. Well, I found out the day before my graduation that I was supposed to give a graduate's response after my dad had finished speaking. So, I planned some things out in my head, but never really had time to sit down and really plan something. I was prepared to say some things, but after my dad had finished talking, I was so choked up, I couldn't say anything. I take after my mother in that area. I can get up in front of people and play, but when it comes to talking, I just can't do it without crying. Especially if it is something like saying thank you to people. So I thought that today I would type up my thoughts of what I was going to say, plus some more things that I thought of saying.
In the last 12 years, I have learned so much, academically speaking, and spiritually. I have grown from being a little girl of 6, to being a young lady of nearly 18. In all of my 12 years of home schooling, what has been the most important thing that my parents have taught me? They have taught me to love the Lord. They have taught me that the Lord should always be first in my life, and that life is not worth living without the Lord ruling your life. May 14th, 2011 was not only my graduation date, but it was also the 12th anniversary of having asked the Lord into my heart. I can say without any doubt in my heart that that was the best decision I have ever made. But the second most important thing I have ever done was deciding to live my life wholly for Christ when I was 14 years old. Yes, I lived for the Lord before then, I did read my Bible, but there were moments when I backslid, and I did feel like reading God's Word was a chore. My dad could usually tell when I did not read my Bible, because I would have terrible struggles with anger that day. He would ask me, "Have you read your Bible today?" and I would answer "no". He would tell me to go read my Bible, but I didn't have a real passon for it. It was something I did because my dad told me to. From about the age of 10-14, my Bible reading was irregular. In August of 2007, I attended the "Journey to the Heart" through ATI. I went thinking in the back of my mind, "Oh, this will be something good to add to my checklist of good Christian things that I have done". I was excited about it though, because I would be spending three weeks with my sister Melody, who was working with IBLP ministries at the time. On the journey to the heart, we had a lot of quiet time of seeking the Lord. They encouraged us to memorize Scripture, and to really just pour out our hearts to Christ, and talk to Him about everything. One day towards the end of the retreat, which was in Michigan, they had us all go on a 5-mile prayer walk. At the time I was memorizing Psalm 27. I started out just quoting that passage. But as the time went on, I started just talking to God, and then started to pour out my heart to Him. I don't know exactly what happened, but that prayer walk is what changed my faith. After that walk, the Lord started to become more dear to me. I started to want to spend time reading God's Word, and not just doing it as a chore. When I came home from the retreat, my dad said he saw a major change in my attitude. I was more loving towards my siblings, and spent more and more time reading God's Word.
Within the last two years, Scripture memory has become a real joy for me. Before then, I did memorize Scripture in AWANA, and completed the 8th grade level of AWANA. But I don't think that my full motivation for memorizing was always doing it because I wanted to grow closer in my walk with the Lord. My main motivation was probably being able to "pass" a section, and ultimately finish the AWANA book, so I could get the trophy. Within the last two years, but especially within the last 8 months, I have had such a hunger for memorizing God's Word. Let me tell you, there is nothing more important that you could ever do! It has drawn me so close to Christ, to the point where He is my dear friend, and I want to do things to please Him. It has made me fall so deeply in love with my Lord! He is definitely my dearest friend, and the one I run to when my heart is heavy and burdened. Memorizing Scripture has also enable me to think and decide things more clearly. This last year especially I have been seeking the will of God for the next step in my life, mainly college. Memorizing Scripture has made His will clear to me. The more I started to memorize, the more I wanted to do it. I guess you can say that I started to get addicted (but that's okay, right?). God has also been teaching me a LOT about depending on His source of strength, and not on my own. He has also been teaching me in many ways to be patient, and to trust in Him, and His perfect plan for my life. I know He has a perfect plan for my life, and I can see part of what that is, and that excites me!
Now, I tell all this, not so that you can think that I am the perfect Christian, because I am far from being perfect. Just ask my siblings. They would no better than anyone. I say all of this in hopes that it will encourage you to surrender your life to Christ, to "give your bodies as a living sacrifice". I hope all of this will encourage you to start memorizing Scripture, which I can honestly say is the best thing I have done, and the most important thing that I have learned, in all of my home schooling years.
I'd like to thank all of you who were there at my graduation to support me. It meant more to me than words could ever express. I'd like to thank my parents, who have put up with this strong willed child for nearly 18 years, and have helped me in placing my strong will under the Lord's control. They have supported me in everything I did, and corrected me in the wrong that I have done. Aside from the Lord, they are the main reason that I am who I am today. For that, I sincerely thank them, and I love them so much! I'd like to say thank you to my siblings, who have put up with me as a strong willed sibling, who did very often growing up want to get her own way. They have been my best friends, and I wouldn't want any other siblings to replace them. They are such a blessing in my life! I am thankful for the "new" siblings that God has given me, as they have married into my family. They are also such a blessing in my life! I am very thankful to my grandparents for leaving such a godly heritage for me. I am thankful for all of my dear friends who have supported me, and encouraged me throughout the year. You all mean so much to me!
I look forward to what God has planned for my future, and excited to see what He will do in my life, and how He will use me. My theme verse for my life is, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.

Have a blessed week! Stay strong in Jesus!!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Monday, June 25, 2012

Taking Life for Granted

This post dates February 28, 2011:

As Christians in America, I think that we tend to take things in life for granted too often. In fact, I think that we have made a habit of doing so. Last night on the way home from my grandparents' house, driving down 360 S, we came to a sudden stop. In the middle lane, there was a car stopped with its emergency lights blinking. On the side of the highway, there was a hummer. So, from what I saw, I assume that the car had rear ended the hummer. The hummer had no damage done to it, but the car was smashed up in the front, and there was glass on the road, which I had to drive around. About another mile down the road, there was a police car and a fire engine, then we saw another vehicle that had had a terrible accident. The part of the vehicle that we saw was completely crunched. It was awful. As I continued driving down the road, I thought to myself, "I think that we often take God's protection for granted. That could have been us." I was telling my dad my observation before going to bed last night, and he said that when people have wrecks, they often ask God why he did not protect them. They never think of all the other times that God did protect them, and gave them safe car rides. Or if they do have a wreck, how God protected it from being any worse, or from anyone being seriously injured. Even if someone is seriously injured, that person did not die, and even if they were to die, if they were a Christian, then they are just better protected from the harm of this world then they ever will be. So, when you think of it that way, God's hand of protection will never leave His children. He may cause something to happen to us to chasten us when we have turned aside from following Him, or he may just cause something to happen to us to show His glory through our lives. And if that is the case, you should feel very humbled that God would choose to reveal His glory in you.
I think that another thing that we take for granted in America is the Bible. A thought came to me this last weekend, that I would really like to share with y’all. I was remembering part of a book I had read before called Safely Home by Randy Alcorn (if you haven’t read it, it should definitely be a book on your list to read!). It’s about persecuted Christians in China. A lot of the information is true, but he does change things around a bit, and of course changes names to protect the innocent. But, it was an eye opening book for me on what is actually happening to Christians in China. Anyways, I was remembering that when one of the men was in prison because he was preaching the Word of God, that he could not have a Bible, but because he had memorized so much of God’s Word, he was able to write out what he had memorized, and read that, and share it with others in the prison. Then the thought came to me. What if someday, God called me to be a missionary somewhere, and my Bible was taken away from me, and I too was thrown in prison to suffer for Christ? The only Bible I would have would be the Bible that I had memorized. This thought has given me a renewed passion for memorizing God’s Word. Just think about it for yourself. If your Bible was taken away from you, the only Bible you would have would be the Scripture that you had stored in your heart. Just think about how precious it is. Here in America, we have Bibles everywhere! I mean, I myself own a pocket Bible, a small New Testament, a bigger Bible, a Bible on my phone, and goodness sakes, there are multiple websites out there for the Bible. I can even go down to Dollar Tree and purchase the whole Bible for the small price of $1. In fact, right now in my room, I have a sack of 10 New Testaments ready to hand out to people. But it isn’t the same on the other side of the world. People are paying high prices just to get one Bible, that the whole church shares. People are paying their lives to smuggle in Bibles. They treat their Bible so sacred, and are willing to give their lives for it, and try to memorize as much as possible, so when they have to pass the Bible along to another person, they can still have God’s Word with them. I am not saying that we don’t treat our Bibles sacredly, but are we willing to give our lives for the sake of having a Bible? Are we willing to hide as much as we can into our hearts, so if our Bible is ever taken from us (God forbid), we still have God’s Word with us in our hearts?
Well, here are just some thoughts that I have been thinking on this last weekend. I hope it has been a reminder to you to not take the seemingly "small" things in life for granted.
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In and Out of Season

This post dates February 26, 2011:

This last Sunday, my grandfather (who is the pastor of our church) asked a young man in our church, who has surrendered to preach the Word of God, if he believed in being ready "in and out of season" to bring a message from God's Word. He answered my grandfather that he most certainly did. My dad (who is the Administrative Pastor) being sick that Sunday was not able bring the message that afternoon, so my grandfather asked this young man to do so. He brought an excellent message from Judges chapter 1, talking about the importance of conquering even the small sins in our life.
Well, back to my original thought for this post. I am not a preacher (nor will I ever be, because I strongly believe that God forbids such things as women preachers in the Bible), so asked myself a question. Since I am not a preacher, how can I be ready "in and out of season"? Does this just apply to preachers? Or can it apply to all Christians? This is a thought I had been meditating on this week. Well, I got part of my answer. Today, my mother was supposed to accompany our next-door-neighbor on her flute solo for the high school UIL solo/ensemble competition. As my mother was practicing with our neighbor on Friday afternoon, she discovered that her time was not in the afternoon, as my mother had believed it to be, but that it was in the morning. My mother had already planned her day around this, and was going to have a meeting with some relatives of ours to discuss our upcoming family reunion this morning. My mother went next door to see if they could possibly contact the band director, and change her time. They did, but were unable to contact him. Then suddenly, my mother had a thought! "My daughter Faith can play for you tomorrow." Well, after discussing this a little more, my mother came home, and called me downstairs to the family room. "Faith," she said, "with all of that time spent practicing the piano, and those lessons that you have, and with your piano accompanying experience...I volunteered you to play for Tori tomorrow morning. She is going to be here in 10 minutes to go over her flute solo with you." A little panicked, I raced to the piano to look at the piece, and was relieved to see that the piano part was learnable. With the 10 or so minutes that I had, I quickly learned the piece, thanks to the grace of God. I was able to go with our neighbor to play for her this morning, and my mom could have her meeting with our relatives.
After arriving home, it seemed as if God was saying, "See Faith, you wanted to know how you can be ready in and out of season, and this is one of the ways that I have planned for you". God gifted each and every one of us with individual and unique talents, and He expects us to use them for His glory, and to serve Him, whenever we are needed. So there is just a little more of a look into my life this week. I am so looking forward to seeing what God has in store for next week, and especially tomorrow as we worship in His House tomorrow. God be with you all!

Have a blessed week! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you in His hands! His death covers everything!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Friday, June 22, 2012

Counting My Blessings: #1

Something that I have been thinking about doing recently is listing the blessings that the Lord has given me. Everybody knows the old song, "Count your many blessings, name them one by one." Well, I have decided that I am going to start naming my blessings. Who knows how high I will go. My plan is to take at least five minutes every Friday to write about a new blessing. We'll see how well this goes!
So, here it goes. Blessing #1:
My Bible. I am so thankful to live where I can freely own a Bible. If you read my post, "Taking life for granted", I talked about how we tend to take the small things in life, like our Bible, for granted. I am so thankful that God worked through the lives of 40+ men, over a span of 1500 years, so He could perfectly and completely give us His inspired Word. I find something new in my Bible every time I read it, and as I am growing more into an adult, I find more and more things to apply to my life. I also find a new way that God loves me whenever I read His Word. Just think how precious your Bible is. It is the very words of God Himself!

Have a wonderful week! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you! His death covers everything!

Because of Jesus' blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

An Angel to Watch over me?

I am getting rid of one of my blogs, but there are a couple of posts from that blog that I would like to save, so I am going to post them here. If they are tagged "archives" then they are from the previous blog.
This post dates February 24, 2011:

In FBI (Faith Bible Institute [taught by Pastor John Yates]), Pastor Yates was teaching in the book of Psalms, and he was talking about how we each have angels to watch over us. He told a story of how he was at his job (he did not say what the job was) and that a couple of tons of equipment fell his direction, and everybody saw him fly back 40 feet. Everybody was afraid that he was hit, and that is what caused him to fly back. They were sure that he was dead. Pastor Yates did not get touched by the equipment, but somehow from a squatting position, he was able to do a 40-foot back-flip, and thus avoid being crushed. Amazing, huh? He said that he had never done a back-flip before, nonetheless a 40-foot back-flip. He is positive that he had an angel watching over him. But this is not the whole story. There was a man on the other side of the equipment that fell, but he was trapped in his space, with not much room to move. Why did the equipment not fall his direction, and fall the direction where there was a 40-foot space? An angel was watching over him too. God really does take care of his own children.
Just within the last week, I have had three near-accidents while driving, where in all cases, it would not have been my fault if it happened. The first two times, a driver tried to merge into my lane right as I was passing them. Both times, I was going 60 miles an hour, and I was driving a 15-passenger van. There was no way that I could have stopped! Thankfully, I knew exactly where the horn was located on my steering wheel. The third time, I was exiting onto I-20 W, and started to slow down to take the exit, and this truck cuts across the median, right pass me. Thankfully I saw him, and managed to slow down so there was no collision. (Why can't drivers learn to be a little more patient with people who like to abide by the law?) After ranting and raving about the little incident, my mother said, "Well, I guess that we just had an angel watching out for us". Do you realize how many safe car trips you have? It is because God is faithful to watch over His children that you have all of those safe car trips. In FBI last night, Pastor Yates was talking about counting your blessings. Maybe it could be hard for you, but did you realize that every time that you take a breath, that is a blessing? So, every time that you have a safe car ride, be sure to thank God for it, and to add it to your blessings. Especially with the way that people are driving today...

Have a blessed day! Stay strong in Jesus!!

Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Purity 101

Recently, I have had several young ladies talking to me about what it means to be pure. I mean, yes you can save sex for marriage, not date until God brings the right person, but is that enough? I started thinking about what Purity means to me, and what I do to keep myself pure. I knew that I did those things, but then I started thinking about why I did those things. What does the Bible have to say about the things I do to keep myself pure?
As I am asking myself these questions, God continues to bring Scripture to my attention that helps to place my conviction on a solid foundation, rather than just saying "I don't do that" or "I do this"..."just because". "Just because" does not seem to be a good enough answer for some people. What ground do you have to stand on to support what you do? That is something I have been doing lately. Re-evaluating every single one of my convictions, and seeing what the Bible has to say about them.
I am going to do a couple of blog posts about what I do to keep myself completely pure, and the Scriptures that God has shown me to strengthen my conviction. I know that most people who read this will probably not agree with what I have to say, and that is fine. Each and every person needs to come to their own personal conviction about any subject. I just want to share what the Lord has shown me, in hopes to get you to also re-evaluate your convictions and standards.

#1: Physical Touch

This has been quite a big discussion among my single girlfriends and I. What is okay between yourself and a guy friend (not someone that you intend to marry)? Is it okay to give them a casual side hug? Is it okay to put your arm around their waist for pictures? What is okay?
As for me, I refrain from any physical contact with a young man. I don't want to give a young man (especially a young man who is not going to be my husband) any wrong thoughts about me. And yes, even a side hug sometimes could cause a guy to have a wrong thought for a split-second. So as for me, I don't hug guys, hold hands with them, anything of the sort. Yes, I have shaken hands with a young man when first introduced, but that is as far as it ever goes. The first young man I ever intend on a hugging is my husband.

I was reading 1 Corinthians 7 this last week, and God gave me a few verses to help strengthen my convictions.

v. 1 "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman."

I looked up the words "to touch" in the Greek, and it refers to such handling of an object as to exert a modifying influence upon it or upon oneself. Could also mean touching for the purpose of manipulating.
So to me, if I were to hug or touch a young man in such a way that would cause him to have a wrong thought, or that would cause me to have a feeling I'm not supposed to have about that young man, this is not right. I do not want to be the cause of my brother in Christ stumbling.

v. 4 "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife."

A main reason to remain completely pure is because I don't have power over my own body. It belongs to my future husband. And until I know who that man is, and that man is my husband, I have to save it completely for him. Just think about it. Would you want your future spouse going around and hugging people of the opposite gender? Girls, would you want your future husband to be having wrong thoughts about another girl? Then don't do that to other girls' future husbands. If you want your future spouse to save themselves completely for you, then you need to save yourselves completely for them.

Here is another passage to consider from 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7.

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness."

We are to treat our bodies as vessels of honor. We are to be separate, pure, consecrated. Girls, you are like a beautiful rose. You are precious, and you are worth waiting for, and it is completely worth saving all of your body. We are not to treat our bodies like those who do not know God. We are not to defraud our brothers/sisters in Christ, because the Lord will avenge them. God has called us to be different from the world. He has called us to be holy.

I think the rest of it comes down to these two verses.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

Our body is not our own. Christ shed His blood to purchase us. Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost! Examine your actions towards your brother/sister in Christ, and think about if your motives are completely pure, your thoughts are pure when doing that thing, and if it is something that the temple of Christ should do. If they do cause your brother/sister in Christ to have a wrong thought, or cause you to have a feeling you should not have, then you should refrain from those actions.
I am not by any means trying to shove any of my beliefs on anyone, but I just wanted to give you something to consider. Ultimately, whatever you do, you have to do it out of love for your brothers/sisters in Christ, and because you love Jesus. That is most important thing. Remaining pure because you love Jesus, and want to honor Him! For me, since I do not know what a young man is going to think, I just will refrain from giving a guy a hug. Period. I want to save all that I am completely for my future husband. And if I never get married, then I have left my body completely pure, un-scarred, holy, sacred, all for Jesus Christ, which should be our ultimate goal.
Well, there was my first, and rather lengthy post on purity. I'd love hear any of your thoughts on what the Lord has shown you. Have a blessed week! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you! His death covers everything!

Because of His blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Five months of journaling!!

At the beginning of the year, I had the goal to journal every single day this year. Well, I am happy to announce that I have journaled every single day for the last five months!! Yep! I'm super excited about it! Not only that, but I have completed four journals, just this year!

Here is five months of journaling every single day. I'm a crazy journaler. I journal about 4-5 pages every day. Sometimes 6....or 7. My record for one day is 15 pages.

Several people ask me, "What on earth do you journal that much about?" So I will tell you. I did do a video blog post on journaling. But I will tell you what I have been journaling about for the last five months. Whenever I sit down to read my Bible, I sit down with my journal. I record the chapter of Scripture that I am reading that day, and then as the Lord shows me a new insight, I write down the verse number, and the specific insight God has given me. Sometimes a verse that I read leads me into a specific prayer, so I will write the prayer down. I write a lot of prayers in my journals. Most of my journal entries are prayers. If something significant happens that day, I will also record it.
It has been super amazing to see how God has answered very specific prayer requests! God has been so faithful to me the last five months, and it is amazing to be able to go back and read about God's faithfulness to me! I also take sermon notes in my journals. It's neat to go back and see the different sermons that I've heard this last year.

I think journaling is definitely something that everybody should do! I think it is important to record the things that God does for us, so when we are in the rough times of life, we remember God's faithfulness to us. I know it has been a tremendous blessing to me this year!! And I can't wait to see what the next seven months of this year hold! So all that to say, I definitely encourage each one of you to start journaling. Even if it's just a small prayer to Jesus, thanking Him for something He did for you that day, or just to write down how much you love Jesus.

Here's a thought. What if you were to be martyred someday? What kind of legacy would you leave? Jim Elliot comes to my mind. He journaled very faithfully, and now we know what kind of things the Lord was doing in his life, and it was amazing to see God's hand at work in his life. Do you want to leave a legacy for your children? I certainly do!

So there is my challenge to you all! Start journaling, so that you can leave a legacy for your children, and your grandchildren to read someday! God bless you all! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you! His death covers everything!!

Because of His blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Marriage...Worth Waiting For

I read this quote from Matt Chandler today:
"Can I say something to young ladies here? I'm trying to pick my words carefully here. Your husband, whoever he is, single ladies, will have an unbelievable amount of influence over your sons and daughters in regards to spiritual things. If you want your children to love Jesus deeply, hold out for a man that is godly. And let me tell you this: I am well aware that Godly men are rare. Lots of neat Christian boys, not a lot of Godly men. And we're working our tails off for you to try to develop some into that. But don't settle, because it's better that you be lonely now than you be married and lonely later. Are you tracking with me? It is better that you be lonely now than for you to get married to a man that will teach your kids everything but the way of Jesus."
This post is mostly aimed towards my single young lady readers. However, I do have a few words to say to the men reading this post.

This stood out to me, being a single young lady myself. Sometimes as girls we can be so anxious to start a relationship, or to be loved by a man, that we throw ourselves at the first "good Christian guy" that comes along. Can I tell you girls, that the term "good Christian guy" is so easy for a guy to obtain? Basically, if he is a Christian, and goes to church, possibly doesn't smoke, drink, or have tattoos, we think that this automatically qualifies him as a "good Christian guy". I'm sorry girls, but if those are the only good things you have to say about a guy, is he really worth it? Is he worth losing pieces of your heart over if the relationship doesn't work out? Is that the kind of man that you want to have an influence on your children's spiritual life?

For me, I want a man who is going to be a strong Spiritual leader. Someone who loves the Lord with all his heart. Someone who loves to spend time talking to the Lord. Someone who loves to spend time reading the Word. Someone who loves to talk about the Lord, and starts up Spiritual conversations. Someone who has a heart for leading others to the Lord. That is the kind of man that you should want to be the father of your children. A man who demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit in his life: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, meekness, faith, and self-control. Girls, don't throw yourself at the first guy that shows any interest in you. Wait out patiently, and examine the character and the Spiritual life of this young man before even thinking about entering a relationship. And another word of caution: watch for signs of anger in the man. Usually anger and lust are connected. If a man is angry, he probably has problems with lust. If he is a lustful man, he probably has problems with anger.

It is most definitely worth waiting for the right guy to come along. This decision will affect the rest of your life. So this is my word of exhortation to you single young ladies: start praying for your future husband. He's out there. God knows who he is. I think that sometimes men stay in the "good Christian guy" category because we are not doing our job of praying for them to rise up to be a Godly man, and a spiritual leader. And don't just pray for your future husband, but pray for all the Christian guys that you know, because they will also be apart of the next generation of fathers. Proverbs 31:12 says "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." She will do her husband good all the days of HER life. Wait a minute, we are obviously not married all the days of our life. So how do we do him good now? By praying for him! I could say much more about how we can do him good, but I'll leave it at that. Pray for him to grow to love the Lord more each day. Pray for him to have discernment between the things of the world, and the things of God. Pray for him to be refined as fine silver. Pray that he will set his eyes on Jesus. Pray that the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in his life. Pray that he will be bold for Jesus, and that God will use him to bring many souls to Jesus. This is our duty.

Guys, if you are reading this, rise up to be a Godly man that will stand in the gap. Set your eyes on Jesus. Run the race that is set before you. Read your Bible. Love your Bible. Delight in the Lord. Go out and win souls for Jesus! He will lead you to just the right woman in His timing. I plead with you, rise up to be Godly men! Oh how few there are now! Let this generation of men be the generation that turns the world upside down for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!

To those of you young ladies who are waiting, and keeping yourself pure, and praying for your future husband: Well done! Go out and teach other girls to do likewise!

To those of you young men who are pursuing Christ, and seeking to love Him with your whole heart, and waiting for Him to show you just the right woman: Well done! Go out and teach and disciple other young men to do likewise!!

Well, that's all I have to say today! Stay strong in Jesus! He's got you! His death covers everything!!

Because of His blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10