Thursday, February 27, 2014

We All Have a Purpose

Tears streamed down the little girl's face. She just didn't understand why mommy and daddy weren't coming home. And why was her little brother laying in that bed, surrounded by so many wires and people. What was wrong? Why was mommy crying?

Everything seemed so strange as she stood there, waiting for someone to console her, but nobody realized the little girl's tears right away. They were all listening to the doctor as he explained his latest discovery about her brother. But what she didn't understand was that her little brother was very, very sick.


Her little brother had been born with a rare disease, one known as Maple Syrup Urine Disease or MSUD. Having MSUD meant that her little brother couldn't eat the same food she did and he got sick so quick, often going to the hospital as was the situation this time.

As you fast forward a few years, questions still plagued my little mind. I asked my mother why Jordan couldn't eat or do the same things I did. Taking me aside, my mother began to explain that God did not make a mistake when Jordan was born. He was born for a reason and God had a plan for him.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV).

As I got older, I began to understand that although there may not always be a visual reason for why things happen, God always has a plan for each circumstance. We may not see it right away, but many times looking at circumstances several weeks, months or years after it occurred, we can plainly see what God’s plan was.

Maybe learning comes slowly for you. You wonder what tomorrow may bring. Why can my friends do this, but I can't? God has a plan for you and is working through your life at this moment.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Smile! =) =)


Smiling is contagious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at
me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner,
and someone saw my grin -
When he smiled I
realized, I'd passed it on to him.


I thought about that smile,
then I realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine,
could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin,
don't leave it undetected -
Let's start an epidemic quick


Who have you smiled at today? :) :) :)



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Claiming the Promise

Monday morning. I work on clearing the breakfast table, half-listening to my brothers practising their memory verses. My mind drifts elsewhere as I put the food in containers for the fridge. It’s been three months now since we were first told we had to move out of our rental, and even now the house we are planning to move into has not even been finished. Our deadline for moving is getting closer.

Sometimes, we're falling. And it doesn't
seem like there's anything under us.
That's when we need to just trust.

Photo Credit: “Wings” by Paul Friel
is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Knowing that God has been faithful in the past makes it a little easier to wait, but I still wish that we would be able to just move and get the stress over with. The boys start a new verse, and the words snap me back to attention.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.
 
All things work together? We’ve been waiting for over two months for the electricity to be hooked up so we can move in, but so far it hasn’t been done! That’s the major hold-up—and Dad just said yesterday that we might end up moving whether or not the electricity is in! I do not want that to happen.
 
But all things work together? Yes, maybe mostly everything else is ready over there for us to move in. Electricity is a big thing, though. But if the Bible says that all things, not just some things—but ALL things work together for good, then I believe it. God knew back in early November when we were told that within 2-3 months we needed to be out. He knows now that the situation is getting desperate—we need to move!
 
God knows. And I’m going to trust Him, even though it looks like it could take them two or three more weeks to get everything done. I’ll trust. Because I believe that when He says in this verse that “all things work together for good”, He means it.
 
God always means what He says.
~Esther
 
P.S. I’m sorry I didn’t write last week. We had things going (which will hopefully be explained soon!), and by Saturday night I was too tired to write. Lord willing, these next few weeks won’t be so busy so I have a bit more time to write. :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Your Blog is Like Your Life

     Good morning, friends!
     Since I’ve only just started writing for JOJ, I thought it would be good to tell you about


My philosophy of blogging

     First off, I’m talking about blogs like JOJ and my own blog. They are public blogs, not private blogs or public websites. I view blogs like ours as places on the internet where Person A publishes information and Person B reads it. It is a mainly an impersonal way of communicating with other people.
     I say impersonal because it is not in person. When Person A publishes a post, she does not know who will read it. Many of the Persons B who read the post will not know Person A personally.

Underwood” by Ian Livesey is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
     Because I don’t know who is reading this post, I cannot tailor it perfectly. However, I have a good idea that most of you are unmarried Christian young ladies. :) If someone comments on this post, it may be only the first or second time I have come into contact with her. Thus, what she says may come across in a very different way from in that which she intended it! So, if you don’t understand what another young lady has said, either ask her what she meant, or leave it alone. Keep personal conversations, which are likely to contain misunderstandings, to emails.
     I’m not saying “Don’t post controversial stuff.” I’m saying, keep the controversial conversations/arguments which often follow to emails. Most bloggers have a contact page, so use that to keep the argument private.
     What you say on your blog is your view, maybe not mine. What I’m saying here is my view, maybe not yours. And sometimes it’s best to just walk away and leave people alone. We aren’t going to agree on everything!

     Because I don’t know who is reading this post, I don’t know how they understood it. I’ll never know who read it, who was encouraged by it, blessed by it, etc. (Unless you leave a comment telling me!)

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
(read the rest here)

     Now to my second point:


Why your blog is like your life

     Because you never know who was watching! You don’t know who was reading your blog post, and you don’t know who was watching you hand out the crackers at morning tea on Sunday. You’ll never know who learned something from something you did. And that has two implications:
     First, you should always be on your best behaviour. Not the most important reason for doing that, but still it is one.
     Second, you should be on your best behaviour just in case someone is blessed by it. You never know what God will choose to use for anything!

     We never know what the next day will bring. We never know who has been encouraged by our blog. We never know who we have blessed by our lives. We don’t know so much - but


God knows everything.

     And He works all things for our good.
     Isn’t that worth praising Him for?

-Rhoda


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Mousetraps

Mousetraps (Cheese on Toast)

Butter some slices of bread (we use day old or two day old bread) and place on an oven tray.
licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Cover the buttered bread with tomato sauce. This makes it taste really good!

Grate some cheese and sprinkle that on top. Now you can add slices of tomato, pineapple, capsicum or basically any fruit or vegetable! Note if you use something like potato you will want to boil or fry it first.

Sprinkle some mixed herbs on top now. You can also add a tiny pinch of ginger or something like that to spice it up even more!

Cook in the oven on Grill. They should only be in there for a few minutes or they will burn.

My family enjoys this tremendously. :) Enjoy!
-Elise

A note from Esther: I was surprised when I saw this recipe come in. It’s basically an embellished version of a common snack around our place. We usually spread some mayonnaise on bread, then put sliced cheese on that and grill it for a couple minutes. Then we serve it with prepared mustard.

If we don’t feel like doing the extra step, sometimes we’ll leave out the mayonnaise and just put plain cheese on the bread and melt it. It’s scrumptious! I think this version (above) would taste even better, though!

Also, we need more recipes—this is the last one. Have something to share? Please do not hesitate to stop by the Submissions Page and then hopefully we’ll have another recipe here in two weeks! Thank you!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Guest Post :: Gleaning Gems of Wisdom


Gleaning Gems of Wisdom
-Courtney Minica-

Credit: Minica family
The deep furrows traced on her gentle hand reminded me of a fresh-plowed field of sod. As she cuddled my newborn brother, I marveled at the difference time and trials had made in her wrinkled skin, once so fresh and soft. I held his chubby hand to hers, and realized what a priceless gift I possess in her. I contemplated the difference in their palms; one life just dawning, and the other growing dusky and dim. My mind wandered through all the sweet memories I have of our special relationship...
...”Dranny, tan do outside?” the little girl with bouncing curls begged eagerly. ” See, shoes!” “We just went outside ten minutes ago!” the indulgent granny laughed. “Are you sure you want to go again?” “Me twime on wocks adain. Pwease, Dranny? Me weally want do outside.”…

...”Wook Mama – dere’s Dranny!” shouted the excited child from the shopping cart, pointing towards an elderly lady with white hair who vaguely resembled the said granny. “Shhh, that’s not Granny, sweetheart,” remonstrated the laughing mother. “Dranny, Dranny, hi Dranny!”
Sad indeed was I when the lady didn’t turn out to be “Dranny” after all…
Though I remember little of those days when Granny babysat me, the few memories I have of them are among my most cherished. Even though now I see her less often, I often think how blessed I am to have a great-grandmother still living.
Granny was born during the Great Depression. She enjoyed a relatively peaceful life, but she did not lack her share of struggle. Throughout the course of her many years, Granny began to doubt some of the religious beliefs her family held, and searched the Scriptures to find the truth. She eventually came to see many of the traditions and doctrines her church and family held in a new light, and as a result she became estranged from both. She sacrificed much for her faith. Like silver, Granny was tried, and was found worthy.
Granny married a Minica in 1941. God blessed them with three children, one of whom is my grandfather.
Each time I talk with Granny, I am impressed by her godliness and how God has worked through her life. She is almost 92 years old – I know that every day with her is precious.
One memory of Granny that particularly stands out in my mind was at my thirteenth birthday party over a year ago. In our family, we have started a tradition of throwing a womanhood/manhood party for the one turning thirteen. One of the highlights of the event is when my parents and other mentors share words of advice and encouragement with us, and invite others to do the same. I specifically recall Granny’s words, sitting because she was too weak to stand for long, her loving eyes fixed on mine. She spoke of when she cared for me as a toddler, and how I never wanted anything to eat but bread and peanut butter. She analogized that memory with Matthew 4:4, which speaks of how we should rely on God’s words even more than our daily bread. She encouraged me to always lean on the words of God. I could see how she applied that to her life, which made her words much more meaningful to me.
Thinking through these things as I sat there, I resolved to spend more time with
Granny. I looked thoughtfully at her aged palm that had soothed teething babies, hand washed laundry, cooked thousands of meals, cleaned hundreds of messes, held the Book of Books for hours upon hours, been folded in prayer, and I wondered. I posed the little baby hand next to hers, each one so very different and special. I decided to take advantage of this great gift from the Lord, and use the little precious time I have with my only remaining great-grandparent. Now, while I am young, and my spiritual “skin” is still fresh and unscarred by the world, to be able to interview the years that have gone before me, and gather what wisdom I can from the lessons she learned in her life – this is not a privilege to be taken lightly.
Though many of you who read these thoughts may not have living great-grandparents, or some of you even living grandparents, I urge you to learn from your parents and other elders! When they are gone, their years of wisdom will be gone with them, never to be found again. Question them, unearth long-buried lessons from their failures and their triumphs, their struggles and their victories. Soak in their stories, never get tired of listening to them speak about their lives. Do not spare any pains in order to learn as many things from them as you can! You will be glad you did.

...........................................

Courtney Minica (14) is a daughter of the greatest King, and her greatest desire is to serve Him. Her hobbies include babysitting, crocheting, painting, playing piano and participating in the National Bible Bee.


Friday, February 14, 2014

So...

February 14th used to be one of my favorite days of the year. I always had something planned for my significant other, and I always anticipated something from them. It was great. It was lovey-dovey. It was "romantic" (in every 9th-grader sense of the word).

Until I became single.

Like now.

Now I get to walk through Walmart's mountains of giant teddy bears and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. I think most of you girls are single, and you've probably been single for your whole life. Or maybe you're single, but you have hopes and dreams that you could be with someone. And sometimes, we can get down about our situation. A lot of us don't have a problem with the holiday, but most of us look forward to the day that we can spend Valentine's with a special someone. And some of us get our buttons pushed when we see our friends having a great day with their romantic interests.

We all know about 1 Corinthians 13. But do we really get it? Do we just read all the characteristics of love and then say, "Yeah, that's great. I'll show love to my family and my friends and the people I influence." That's wonderful. But let me tell you something. There's nothing wrong with loving your future husband now, either.

Look at the characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13....

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy...

Let's pause there for a second. You can love your future husband by being patient for him. You can show love to others by being kind to those people that are having a fun time with their significant other. You can love your future husband by not being envious of the couples around you, knowing that God's plan for you and your future husband is beautiful. Let's go on...

Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love is dignified.
Love is not selfish.

We can love our future husbands by not boasting of how we are "following God's plan" by waiting. God's plan for you is probably much, much different than God's plan for the next person. Don't look down on someone, or act pridefully, because you don't think they are following God's will. Their life is completely different than yours, and their walk with God is only between them and God. This shows dignity, in that you are confident in God's leading in your life, but you don't judge others. We have to be very, very careful to avoid selfishness. It will mar our love, because true love is selfless. Let's look at some more.

Love is not easily angry.
Love does not think evil of another.
Love does not rejoice in iniquity.
Love rejoices in the truth.

If you are in love with God and your future husband, you should not be easily angered at your situation. It's important that we realize that God makes all things beautiful in His time. His timing is perfect for your life. Also, you should not be assuming sin of another person. This ties in with what I said earlier. Don't assume that someone else is going the "wrong" way, just because they aren't going your way. Now we see that someone showing love to another (including her future husband) does not rejoice in iniquity. She will not rejoice in rebelling against God's commandments concerning abstinence. She will instead rejoice in the truth that God knows the desires of her heart, and that God's timing is amazing. Let's see some more characteristics of love...

Love bears through all things.
Love believes through all things.
Love hopes through all things.
Love endures through all things.

"All things" is not limited to fun, fluffy things. Actually, it's a lot more likely that the point here is that love bears, believes, hopes, and endures through all hardships- small or big. A jewel of Jesus, showing the love of Jesus, and loving her future husband, will strive to show this love through all things. She will bear through hardships, because she trusts in God. She will believe God's Word and His promises. She will maintain her hope in a heavenly wedding feast with Jesus. She will endure through all things, knowing that as she shows love to others, she will be rewarded in glory.

Obviously, all these characteristics are characteristics of perfect love, and only God has perfect love. We, as human girls, will struggle through some of these things, if not all of them. Life's tough, but love's stronger.*** Ask God to help you show His love to others, including your future husband.

There's this verse that says, "She (a virtuous woman) will do him (her husband) good all the days of her life." (Proverbs 31:12). Jewels, "all days" includes today. You can truly love your future husband now. Be sure you ask for God's help, because any kind of journey of love requires a lot of strength, which only comes from God. Don't be discouraged when you struggle with something; we all do struggle with these things, more than we like to admit.

There's two more characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13 that I want to conclude with:

Love never fails.
Love abides forever.

Love someone today <3

Monday, February 10, 2014

Craft Corner Mondays :: Handmade Cards

Today, I'd like to share with you a craft I enjoy doing, and hopefully, you do too! :)

~*~

Handmade Cards

Cards are fun to make, and everyone loves to receive a handmade card in the mail! You really do not need many things to make them. Some items that would be a good idea to have would be:

-Paper, both plain and colorful- 
I have some white card stock that I like using for the body of the card, and then paper with designs on it for embellishments.
-Embellishments, such as stickers, ribbon, rubber stamps/ink, etc-
-Tape and/or glue-

That is really about all you need! Oh yes, and an imagination. :) Let your creative juices flow...each card can different than the last.

Now for some creations of my own...









I hope you are encouraged to get out your supplies and be "card crafty"! :) If you are in need of some inspiration (which I need at times myself! :), look on Pinterest. There are sooo many great ideas on there. 

Maybe you already enjoy making handmade cards...if you do, let us know in a comment below! We'd love to hear if you have any tips, ideas, etc.

~Rachel~


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wisdom and Treasures

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

I once heard a story about an ant and a grasshopper. One warm summer day, a grasshopper happened to meet an ant who was carrying a heavy load of food back to his home. “Why bother carrying something so heavy?” He asked. “Doesn’t it wear you out?”

Hungry Ant” by Rubén Díaz Alonso is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The ant paused slightly and responded, “Yes. But in the winter, I will live on this food.” After saying these few words, the ant picked the food up again and struggled once more toward his home. The grasshopper watched him, wondering. What a waste of time, he thought. I would much rather stay warm in the sun and eat as I need now—there will still be plenty to eat later!

Winter came. By now, the grasshopper realised how wise the ant was to have stored food away. Oh, had I not been so foolish! He thought, and I could still be as full and satisfied as he!

This story draws a striking picture of the Christian’s walk. When winter comes, we don’t want to be left without nourishment, so now—while we have the chance—we need to be storing up food. That ‘food’ is the treasure Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6:19-21. Reading and memorising the Bible and praying are some of the ways we can store up this precious treasure. Ask God to show you how to do this, and He will show you if it is His will—just as He has promised.

Like my dad says, “Keep on keeping on!”.
Esther

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Enjoy the Moment

I wish Mummy would hurry up and have the baby.

I wish it was teatime already... that chicken cooking smells soooo good!

I wish the lawnmower outside would quit making that horrible noise.

I wish it was time for camp again.

I wish I had lots of chocolate.

I wish I was 16. 15 is such a boring age.


I want you to do a little exercise for me. Think back to a time when you wished something would hurry up and happen. Maybe you wished it was time to go away on holiday, for example. Whatever it was, did it happen?

Did wishing it would happen make it happen any faster?

The correct answer is, of course, No.

Now don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to when Mummy has our precious new baby, and I am looking forward to a time when I have lots of chocolate. :) But there is a perceivable difference between looking forward to something and wishing away our days.

Here's an example for you. Right now I wish I was older and married and had children of my own. But guess what - Mum is older and married and has children of her own... and she says it happened really quickly!!

Before you know it, the time you were wishing for will have come... and gone.

So here's my point. Enjoy the moment. 





Don't spend your life wishing you were the next year older,  it was the next month later etc! There will come a time when you will look back and wonder why you wished away the best years of your life.

Not meaning, of course, that the best years of your life are not yet to come. But isn't it nice to be the age you are? Isn't it nice to have some time to stop and smell the roses? Isn't it nice being who you are, where you are?


Ecclesiastes 11:9 says:

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes.



Enjoy every moment!

Blessings
~Bonnie


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Covered Grapes

A note from Esther: Today’s recipe is very simple. But it looks delicious, too! This is something I want to try sometime soon.

Also, this is the last recipe I have to share with all of you. If you have one you think others would enjoy, please do not hesitate to stop by the Submissions Page and then hopefully we’ll have another recipe here in two weeks! Thank you. :)
 

Covered Grapes

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • 4 oz. (½ cup, 125g) cream cheese 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • Approximately 2 quarts grapes 

Directions:
Mix first 4 ingredients. Toss in grapes.

My whole family really likes these!! It’s so good…. :)-Jessica S.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Princess by Choice—Part 5

A guest article by Lydia Vandezande.

Still, not convinced, Sariah did find herself looking at things differently the next time she went to the village with the king. So far, she had been able to find acceptance in both worlds, at the palace and in the village, but that day she realized for the first time that she would have to make a choice.

Until now, she had never been asked to do anything that the king had strictly forbidden. Today she was. It seemed so tempting, so innocent, and for a minute she considered going along with these friends.

Then, she thought of Danielle’s words and at the same time looked down the street and saw the king, holding a tiny baby. “You were like that,” he had said.

She looked back at her friends, who were waiting impatiently to see what she would decide. They, too, knew what her decision was about. It wasn’t about a game—it was a question of where she would place her loyalty.

The king was no longer in sight. If she did what they asked, he wouldn’t find out until later. Still, she hesitated, and her friends started to laugh uneasily, a laugh so hollow that she wondered why she had not noticed the emptiness before.

“I can’t do it,” she said.

Sariah often saw them again when she was in the village with the king. She talked to them, but it was never the same again. The relationship had changed, and Sariah knew that the change was in her. She no longer tried to be accepted by them, but tried instead to gently show them what life could be if they joined the royal family.

One day as they walked home together, the king and Sariah, he put his arm around her. “Want to talk about it?” he asked.

She knew what he meant, but found it a little difficult to put her thoughts into words. “Well,” she said finally, “I think I’ve figured out what’s different now. Before, I was part of the royal family by adoption. Now, I’m a princess by choice.”

“And that, my darling, is a choice that you will never regret,” the king promised, smiling down at her with eyes so full of joy and pride that Sariah knew she could trust him forever.

I hope you enjoyed this story and were encouraged by it. :)
Keep looking up!,
Esther

Also in this series: