Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lessons From Babysitting

So I'm sitting here, watching Roo and Grant-man jump on the trampoline. For those of you that don't know, Rachie and Grant are the younger siblings of my best friend. I'm babysitting them right now because my best friends went to the Taylor Swift concert, and her parents are on a "hot date" in the South Side finishing up their lesson plans for junior/senior high at youth camp starting tomorrow.
Right now, Rachie and Grant are laying on the trampoline and tickling each other. Or, Rachie is tickling Grant, and he's squealing like a little girl. Before they started that, though, they were playing a girl they called "Magical, Magical." The point of the game is that whatever Grant says Rachel has to turn in to, she has to try and do. Simple, really. Grant just said, "Magical, magical, turn this woman into a rock." Rach just flopped on to the trampoline and Grant looked concerned - thus starting the tickle war that's currently still raging.
Earlier,Grant said, "Magical, magical, turn this bird (what Rachel was then) in to Jesus!" Rachel sat there and said, "I can't be Jesus silly!" They both flopped on the trampoline again, laughing uncontrollably.
I thought about that for a bit after she said that. "I can't be Jesus, silly!"
Is that true?
The definition of the term "Christian" is, essentially, "Christ-like." When we profess ourselves to be Christians, we are essentially saying that we are trying to be Christ-like in our thoughts, actions, words, and mannerisms. When people look at us, they should see Christ shining through us.
Then comes the bad news - we're human. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and so regardless of what we do, we can't be 100% perfect. Nothing can get us there - not good deeds, not going to church, and not acting "more Christian" than any other people. So basically, we can't be like Jesus in this aspect.
So what do we do? We can't be like Jesus, because we're human and sinful, but we're supposed to strive to be like Jesus, and represent him in everything that we say and do. And right there is your answer. We aren't supposed to act all "holier than thou," but we aren't supposed to follow the crowd and do the same things as the secular crew. We're supposed to represent God's light in everything we do and say, but it's difficult sometimes, isn't it? Of course! We can't "earn" our eternal home with good works, or being nice to people, or going to church and pretend that we're living the life of a Christian.
Sorry that this post is so sporadic - I've been writing it off and on all night as I watch the kids, haha! - but hopefully you'll see my point. We can't be Jesus, no matter how hard we try. The term "Christian" means to be Christ-like, not Christ Himself - because that's impossible!
Your NR challenge for this post is to act Christ-like. Be compassionate. Follow what the Bible says. Strive to be as close to Jesus as possible. Discover how awesome it is to be close with God. Who knows? You can have a "magical, magical" moment and have Jesus turn you from a normal person to an extraordinary follower and Child of God.
Are you in?


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Repeat After Me.

For as long as I remember, I've wanted to be an elementary teacher. I'm not sure why, but I've just always known that God was calling me to teach the ankle biters in their early years and hopefully leave an impression on them. I especially want to leave a Godly impression and try to help them out a bit, considering religion is banned from schools and whatnot.
Over the years, I've paid attention to my teachers and took some mental notes regarding good ideas and things that they've done. For example, I know that a red pen automatically decreases self esteem, and so when grading things a teacher should use a different color. I know that yellow paper is better to take tests on than plain white paper, because the yellow relaxes the mind more. Chewing sugary gum stimulates brain activity and so you should always pop a piece in before taking a test. Playing classical music stimulates young minds also. Some of it may be silly, but I've tried it, and it works!
The number one thing I've noticed, however, is that when you're trying to get an important idea or concept across, you repeat it a few times. Some people say that 3 times is the best way to get things across, and so repeating a phrase or something 3 times or more is highly effective. Sometimes it can get annoying though, trust me. Senior year, my high school decided that we needed to have "daily learning objectives" in every class, and the teacher had to state them 3 times - once at the beginning of the class, once in the middle, and once at the end. No one really did it, because it was so pointless. My pre-calculus teacher wrote 3 objectives down the first day of school and never changed them, and so whenever an admin came in he would whip that paper out from his pocket and pretend that he was in the middle of teaching that. It was pretty funny. But hey, I remember those objectives because he mentioned them 3 times!
This process applies to so many other things, too. When you're talking to little kids, you repeat yourself. When you're talking to family, or friends - anyone, really. When something is important, you repeat it.
God does that, too.
In the book of Joshua, God talks to the new guy, Josh. Josh has been installed as the new leader of the Israelites, following Moses' death. He is to take the people to the promised land, but first he has to get rid of the people that are already living there. These guys are big, scary, and can easily whip the little guys of Israel. To say that they were pretty scared would be an understatement. So what does God do?
"No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:5-9
God assures Josh that everything will go fine. With God on your side, how can it possibly not? God tells him how no one will be able to stand up against the Israelites for the rest of his life, because they will be feared and powerful. God isn't going to leave them. As long as they follow God, they'll be alright!
While that's all well and good, did you catch the most important part of what God was saying in those verses? No? Let's try this again, then. Look:
 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:5-9
Did you catch the hint there? God told Joshua THREE TIMES just in those 4 verses that he shouldn't be afraid, but rather be strong and courageous. The very first chapter of the book of Joshua, and God is already telling him something important.
Throughout the entire book, though, God repeats this message multiple times. Even verses later, Joshua tells the people exactly what God told him - be strong and courageous! Talk about the ultimate teacher, telling his students one of the most important lessons ever.
In junior church, we used to sing a song about this verse. It went something like, "Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with your, wherever you go." (Put a tune to that, and you get the point.) Even at a young age, we should realize that God won't leave us, no matter what we've done, will do, or are doing currently. There's another, newer, song that says, "If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?" I can't really say it any better than that. If God is with us through everything, then why are we afraid?
What are you afraid of? Witnessing to your friends? Standing up as a Christian in front of your family? Going head-to-head with Satan in the form of drugs, alcohol, porn, lying, or any other thing? Conquering an addiction? Taking the final step and placing your faith in God?
Whatever it is, God is there. In Ephesians 6, it tells of putting on the full armor of God - the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit. With all of that Godly "armor," could you really lose? I think not. Even if you stumble, you'll get back up again.
TobyMac said it best:
 "We lose our way, we get back up again. It's never too late to get back up again. One day, you will shine again. You may be knocked down but not out forever." - TobyMac, "Get Back Up"
This is your NR challenge - what are you afraid of? Conquer the fear. Be a conqueror. God's right there with you every step of the way. He's carrying you through the good times and the bad, it's just up to you to realize you won't get dropped on your head.
Be strong and courageous.
Be strong and courageous.
Be strong and courageous.
Are you in?


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Busy as a...yeah, you get it.
Well hi, guys. 
So, lately I haven't been posting a lot, and there's a reason for that, I promise!  I haven't really done anything, and so there hasn't been much to give me an idea for a post. What ideas I do have, I'm getting writer's block for and so I have like 10 drafts of different posts saved in the NR archives, but I promise you I'm chugging away at them. Also, I'm working on another part of My Story and it's probably the hardest one to write yet, and so that's taking a while. Words are not my friends, lately...but! That is my pathetic and feeble excuse as to why I haven't posted recently, and I hope that you'll accept it.
I'm heading off to Whitehall on Saturday, the 11th, to be a counselor for the 5th and 6th grade youth camp, then coming home the following week, repacking, and heading up again in the 19th to counsel at junior/senior high. I pretty much won't be back home for a decent amount of time until the 27th or so, but in that time I'll definitely think of some new posts and hopefully get past this writer's block for the ideas I already have. Prayers that I can get writing soon, that I won't hurt myself at camp this year (it happened last year! haha), and that I'll be able to make a positive and Godly impact on my campers these next two weeks would be appreciated! 
As always, if anyone has any ideas on what I could post on, or if you have a different angle on something I've said before, feel free to share. It gets lonely just talking to cyberspace; I need feedback from you guys to keep this blog going!
Thanks, and have a great few weeks, everyone!
Are you in?


Like a Lily

Disclaimer: I will get mushy. Just warning you.

In September I started an online reading plan for the Bible that takes me through the entire book in 1 year. Today I read Song of Solomon chapters 1-3 for the Old Testament, and Galatians 2 for the New Testament. (This is a plan that I picked myself; if you're interested in reading through the Bible in a year by yourself in a different way, here's the link to the website! When I first saw that I had to read Song of Solomon, I thought - great. Of course today I would start with the book of lovie dovie mush.
See, today is an anniversary for Scott and me. Yes, we're one of those goofy couples that highlights every monthly anniversary, but we do it because it shows that even through the tough stuff, we can make it work however long. Today marks 1 year and 11 months for us - next month is two years! (Sidenote - WOOOOOW.) But anyways! 
I wasn't too happy about reading the SoS, because Scott is working up at Whitehall this summer and I haven't heard much from him since he got there Sunday. It's been ohk so far, because of him being busy at school this past year, I've gotten accustomed to not speaking to him as much as we once did. That's all right. But not speaking to him a lot, paired with a bit of jealousy that he's at camp and I'm not, added with today being our anniversary = one crabby Kimber not wanting to deal with Solomon's love poems.
But, I read them. Of course. I'm a sucker for romance, whether I admit to it or not. And let me tell you, a few verses into SoS and I was hooked. Take a look for yourself:
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—    for your love is more delightful than wine.  Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;    your name is like perfume poured out.    No wonder the young women love you!  Take me away with you—let us hurry!    Let the king bring me into his chambers."- Song of Solomon 1:2-4.
I don't know about you, but I find that pretty romantic! In SoS, a man and a woman (exactly how many, the standings of each - royal/commoner - ect., are debated) speak to each other along with their friends, telling the other how great the other one is. The entire book is dedicated to this "storyline," with the friends replying once in a while to tell of their happiness for their friends, the woman saying how dreamy and dedicated the dude is, and the guy saying how gorgeous and pure his bride is. To some, it may seem boring - but to others, ahh, how romantic!
Think of that! Having the one you're marrying tell you things they love about you, how beautiful or handsome you are, how happy they are that you saved yourself for them in marriage, how happy they are that they're marrying you - it goes on and on. That would be pretty nice, right? 
When I was reading through, one verse in particular stuck out to me. In Song of Solomon 2:2, the man says of his bride:
"Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women."
I love, love, love this verse. Why? Think about it - the man is saying that his bride stands out from all of the other women around. It may not specify why this is, but to the man, she's the only one he sees.
What girl hasn't longed to be the one that stands out in the crowd? To be the only one that every guy has eyes for (in the right way, of course!) Face it - at least once, you've wanted to be the girl that the popular guy in the class wanted to take to the dance, or out on a date. Or vice versa; guys, you know that at least once you wanted to show all your friends up and be able to take that cheerleader out. While sometimes these feelings may be for the wrong reasons, I'm pretty sure every one of us has experienced them at one point or another.
Those are just regular people, though. Imagine if you're standing in a crowd of people and the person you're going to marry in the future points to you and says, that's the only person I see. That's the one for me. They're better than the rest in my eyes, and I'm going to marry them. That would be pretty cool, right? Of course it would!
This guy in the verse is saying how his bride is like a lily among thorns - in essence, a rare beauty, inside and out. There is the obvious comparison, which says how the bride was much more beautiful than all of the other young women that the man saw, and that's what made her stand out to him. But there's also something more, something about the beauty on the inside. The girl could possibly be a lily among the thorns because she has a good personality as compared to the others, or a better and gentler temperament. However, it says in the verses several times about how the girl was pure; she was still a virgin when she married the man, which could be different than many of the other girls - truly making her a "lily" among the "thorns."
Whatever the man means, 1 thing is clear: these two were crazy about each other. Another verse that I love from this book is Song of Solomon 8:6, which reads:
"Place me like a seal over your heart,    like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death,    its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire,    like a mighty flame."
To me, that is SUPER romantic. Once, in a county chorus festival, we sang a song that had these words in it. I about died every time we sang it just because it was so sweet! (I'm totally listening to it now, here you go,)

Whether or not you have a bride waiting for you, or a groom, Song of Solomon can be something that makes you think. Are you trying to be a lily among the thorns for your future spouse? It isn't just about looking good - separating yourself from the sex scene and staying pure, keeping your head and having a good attitude, and having a cheerful, Christlike personality make you stand out even more than your looks. 
Your NR challenge for this post is exactly that: separate yourself from the mainstream and try to be the lily in today's world. Not only will your future spouse love you for it, but your friends, family, God, and you will as well.
Are you in?

- Kimber.