Love Costs Everything

     With my mother I watched the documentary “Love Costs Everything“.  It was very hard to watch.  I cried at one point.  I’ve read many biographies and autobiographies of persecuted Christians — but seeing real people be beaten, hit, kicked, and killed really brings it home.  These men, women, and children risk everything — their livelihood, their home, their family and their life for Christ.  And I can’t even bring myself to witness to friends — when I risk nothing??  There is something wrong with that, there is something wrong with me.  *Brothers and *sisters are suffering and dying daily to spread the saving knowledge of a relationship with Jesus to the world.  What am I doing??  Wasting my life in front of a computer screen.  Instead of preparing myself for God’s call I’ve spent my time all for “me” and what makes me happy.

     Let me tell you something, it is not fulfilling.  Sure there are fun moments.  But the empty pleasures of this world leave me empty and trick me into thinking that “if only                  ” (you fill in the blank: more games, more money, more friends, etc.) I would be truly happy, content, and fulfilled.  It’s a lie.  I’ve found that living for myself only returns discontentment, anger, selfishness, grumpiness, rudeness — the list goes on and on.  Just ask any of my siblings.  As hard and saddening as this is to say, I have not been the good example that I should be for them.  In fact the only times I’ve been the kind, loving, tender older sister I should have been were the times when I was serving the Lord — and thus serving others rather than myself.

     In Awana this year our theme is: 1 Corinthians 13.  Best known as the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 — besides defining true love — basically states that you can know everything, give all your money to the poor, and even die for a cause.  BUT without love it is worth NOTHING.  If I cannot love those around me (family, etc.) how can I think of loving others?  Love needs to start with my own family.  God has placed each one of them in my life for a reason.  I need to be Christ to those in contact with me.

     I’ve felt and feel a strong call in my life towards missions.  I do not yet know where the Lord will place me, but I know that He has called me to be a light and to share and show His love to others.  Perhaps my calling will be in a country where Christians are persecuted.  Perhaps not.  Only He knows.  Either way, Soli Deo Gloria!  (Glory to God alone!)  If I go into missions for my own name or glory I will fail.  In Christ alone.  “He must become greater, I must become less.” — John 3:30 (NIV)

Forsaking
All
I
Take
Him

Love costs everything.

Love is worth it.

Pray for the persecuted church.

~

Because He Lives 

by Bill and Gloria Gaither

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

~
Doer of Your Word
by Bob Kauflin
I looked in the mirror of Your word knowing I’d see
A clear reflection of what You saw in me
You gently showed me the state my heart was in
And how the world had deceived me again
Went away determined to take the narrow path
But in a moment my foolish ways were back
It’s elementary there must be something wrong
And I’m starting to realize this can’t go on
Doer of Your word
Never ever forget the truth I’ve learned
Doer of Your word
I wanna be a doer of Your word
It’s not the first time its happened won’t be the last
I think I’m finally mature but just a little too fast
I close my Bible convinced I’m really changed
But I’m not any different ’til I obey
I wanna be a doer of Your word
Doer of Your word
Never forget the truth I’ve learned
Doer of Your word
I wanna be a doer of Your word
What does it mean to call You Lord of my life
If I ignore the things You say
Help me remember that my greatest delight
Is following Your commands
And give me strength to stand and be a doer of Your word
Doer of Your word
Never forget the truth I’ve learned
Doer of Your word
I wanna be a doer of Your word
~
*I can’t name their names here because many of them are still in danger,
but here are some of their stories:
~
A teenage girl in Iraq was told that if she did not marry a specific terrorist man, she would be killed.  She left her family and now lives under the care of the church for her families safety.  Pray for boldness, strength and encouragement as she continues to stand for her faith.  Also pray for her oppressors.
~
A young traveling pastor in India and his wife were assaulted by Hindu men while traveling to a church service one morning.  His wife was killed, and he was severely injured (they thought he was dead).  Pray for him as he morns for his wife and as he serves the church.  Also pray for the men involved in the killing.
~
In Iraq a group of Muslims attacked (shot and bombed) a large church, killing over 15 men, women, and children.  Because of this, one man fled to France to seek asylum and also because of his many wounds.  Pray for his wife and sister who are still in the country and are in danger because of their faith.  Also for him to have wisdom as to what his best course of action is during this uncertain time.
~
A woman and her two children lost their husband/father when FARC guerrillas killed him for preaching the gospel of Christ to a small community in Columbia.  They continue to serve the community, and the son plans to become a pastor.  Pray for the salvation of the guerrillas who killed the pastor.  Also that the family would have continued boldness and passion for the gospel.
~
A horrible slaughter of Christians within the village of Orissa, India has left many dead, wounded, and homeless.  Pray for their healing and encouragement after coming out of this nightmare.  Also for new opportunities and protection for these families.
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The Deadly Dramatic Dress Rehearsal

Yes, I realize this is several week late…  I have some explanations for that (mostly including the topic of this post and the topic of the next post (TeenPact).  Also, the fact that I will be taking my driving test this upcoming week!!  This only makes me slightly nervous.

On top of that, I have been preparing for my SAT and ACT tests which I’ll take later in the spring.  I found a great resource for preparing in advance.  It’s called Hack the SAT: a private SAT tutor spills the secret strategies and sneaky shortcuts that can raise your score hundreds of points by Eliot Schrefer.  I can’t say my scores have been raised, since I have yet to take the test.  I’ve found his tips and tricks to be quite useful in my practice tests, however, so I assume that they will also help me on the real test. 😉

Onto drama. 🙂  Yesterday (March 24th), was our first drama dress-rehearsal at the building where we will be performing.  We still do not have our 2 foot tall (.6 meter) stage.  I hope we will have one by the next rehearsal (in 2 weeks).  Instead of a stage, we had blue tape marking the stairs, stage, curtain, and “ocean” (the part of the floor that will be between the two stages–if you fall off you get eaten by the blue paint-tape fish).

We spent the first 30 of our 360 minute rehearsal putting on our costumes and wigs.  Before I go through more of the play-by-play I’m going to explain a bit about the general overview of the play (from my character(s) perspective(s)).  There are 18 scenes in the play.  Most of them are in France.  The rest are in England.  I am in 1/2 of the scenes (yes, I’m making you do the math 😉 ).  For 2/3 of my scenes I am a peasant.  The other 1/3 of the scenes I am a French aristocrat.  In 1/9th of the scenes I am English.

Starting the rehearsal with the first and last scenes, we slowly got into character.  By the 2nd try of the first scene, I became a poor French peasant and was able to (mostly) portray that fact to the world (well… the parents of the students who had nothing better to do with their evening than watch us make silly mistakes).

My hardest scenes were the trial scenes.  In these 2 scenes (one in England and one in France) I am a part of the court crowd, and I have to respond (with shouts and yells) to the attorney, the accused, etc.  The man being accused (Charles Darnay) does such a convincing job portraying his innocence and helplessness that I have trouble yelling the things I’m supposed to yell (for example: “Kill him!  Down with Evremonde!  To the guillotine!” etc.).  In the other trial I get to be part of the jury on stage, which is a lot of fun. 🙂

Another challenging scene for me, is the 3rd from last scene…  In it, I am in prison awaiting my death the next day (in 14 hours).  I’m still working on that scene, because it is hard to look depressed, while still looking in character and not totally bored.

Right before this scene, my friend J. and my friend H. and I were singing songs from Phantom of the Opera to help warm up our voices.

Afterwords I stayed to help clean up.  We pulled up all the tape, though a friend tried to convince me that we couldn’t pull it up until we had painted something (since it was “paint” tape). 🙂  Putting out the 12 tables and the 100 chairs was fun.  I also helped fold up the costumes and pack them away for our next dress-rehearsal.  I can’t wait!!