Tag Archives: God

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Inspiring People: Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton loved to surf.  She surfed every day, often participating in competitions.  She lived on the islands of Hawaii, and was homeschooled, which gave her a more flexible schedule so that she could focus on surfing.  When Bethany was 13  years old, she was out surfing one day with her friend Alana.  All of a sudden, a shark came out of nowhere and attacked Bethany, severing her arm up to the shoulder.  Alana and her dad rushed Bethany to the hospital, where the doctors determined that she would live, though she had lost almost 60% of her blood.

The shark attack greatly discouraged Bethany, putting a damper on her dreams of becoming a pro surfer.  How could she surf with only one arm?  Although Bethany wasn’t sure how at the time, she knew that God would get her through it all.  Bethany knew that God had gotten her through that shake attack for a reason, and He still had a plan for her life.  She set her eyes on working towards surfing again.  Bethany trained and never gave up, eventually achieving her goal of getting back in the water and surfing, even competing, again.  It was not easy, but Bethany Hamilton trusted in God to get her through a hard time, and He did just that and more, giving her opportunities to share her story with others and be an inspirational speaker.

Why She Inspires Me:

Bethany Hamilton’s story reminds me of the story of Joni Eareckson Tata.  What’s the key element to both of these stories?  Both Bethany and Joni never gave up against all odds.  Both of their barriers were very physical, limiting them from doing something they loved, but they both trusted God and came out doing things they never thought they would be able to do.  Bethany Hamilton’s story shows how faithful God is, and how He uses every circumstance for good.  One of Bethany’s favorite Bible verses is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  We can know that we do not have to fear, because God is in control and He will get us through with power and love.

NOTE: For more on Bethany Hamilton, I recommend this book: Soul Surfer: A True Story Of Faith, Family, And Fighting To Get Back On The Board by Bethany Hamilton.

 

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What Makes a Good Friend?

Hey everyone!  It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day is a great time to talk about love and friendship.  How can you be a good friend?  How do you love others the way God intends?  I found a few Bible verses to share on this topic:

Luke 6:31  “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”                                         We’ve all heard it before- it’s the golden rule!  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  If you want to make some new friends, simple kindness is the first step.  If you want to build better relationships with old friends, the same thing applies.

Proverbs 17:17  “A friend loves at all times.”                                                                                                                  Being a true friend means you stick by them all the time, no matter the circumstances.  People will want to be friends with you if they know you will be looking out for them.  The person you are best friends with is the person you can rely on to be there for you, right?  Make an effort to do the same for them.

Proverbs 27:17  “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”                                             This is metaphorical, of course.  It’s meaning that friends are so insightful and can help shape you into what God wants you to be.  They can encourage you and guide you along the road God has set for you.

God values friendship a lot, and He wants you to be close with more of His children.  He wants you to make other Christian friends so that you can worship Him together, but also reach out to those who don’t yet know Him.  This gives you a chance to show His love to others.  Make this your goal this Valentine’s Day- to be kind to others and love what God loves- which is all His children!

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Are You Extraordinary?

Extraordinary.  What do you think of when you hear that word?  Maybe something out of the ordinary, or something extra special.  Some dictionary definitions include, “beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established,” and “exceptional in character.”  We think of something extraordinary as something unexpected or exciting.  Sometimes we feel like our lives are too normal, boring even, and we wait hopefully for something extraordinary to happen.  But wait.  Let’s go back to that word and pull it apart.  Extra-ordinary.  That’s right.  Synonyms would be extra normal or extra common.  You may be thinking, “My life is definitely not extraordinary.  Extra-ordinary is a much more fitting description for my life.”  Have you ever felt that way?  Maybe you feel like you have a very ordinary life and you envy others around you who seem to be doing all these fun extraordinary things.  You see people on TV and in movies who are basking in fame and happiness, living crazy and adventurous lives and being all around extraordinary.  Well what if I told you that you didn’t need all that to be an extraordinary person?  Let’s look at some people from the Bible that did some pretty extraordinary things, shall we?

David.  The guy who killed a giant.  Did you hear that?  A GIANT.  The Philistines and Israelites are all fighting and everything, right?  So in walks this shepherd boy (the most boring and common job EVER, by the way), who walks up to the giant and kills him with a small pebble.  So he helps win the war for the Israelites and then goes on to be the king.  No big deal or anything.

Sarah.  This is Abraham’s wife.  She was just going about living a normal life when guess what?  God decides she’ll have a son.  Even though she’s super old and it’s technically impossible for her to have children, this is God we’re talking about.  Oh. and one more thing.  This son will happen to be the ancestor of the person who will save the world.

Joseph.  This is a few generations after Sarah.  Joseph is the youngest out of a lot of brothers.  He is his father’s favorite child.  He’s also a shepherd.  So long story short his brothers sell him and he ends up in jail, but God favors him and makes him second in command to the king of Egypt.  Again, no biggie.  He only went from the bottom of his family to the top of the entire country.

Mary.  Ok, this is one of my favorites because it describes extraordinary perfectly.  So, a girl is outside one day, probably washing clothes or something, when who should appear?  An angel.  From heaven.  If that isn’t startling enough, guess what he says?  “Hey Mary.  Guess what?  God has found favor with you!  You’re going to be the mother of the man who saves the entire world!  It doesn’t matter that you’re not married!  This is God we’re talking about!”  Mary’s response is possibly the calmest scenario imaginable.  She praises God instead of freaking out.

Ok. after having read some of these accounts, do you think of the word “Extraordinary” in a different way?  I sure do.  Every one of those people were probably some of the most ordinary people you could find, but God used all of them for extraordinary purposes.  He used them to pave the way for Jesus, who in and of himself was the most extra ordinary and extraordinary case of all time.  A baby born in a barn, the son of a carpenter, who would go on to sacrifice himself so that we can eternally be with God.

So the next time you feel like you have an extra ordinary life, know that God is using you for extraordinary purposes.  It might not be as radical as these Bible accounts, but know that He has a plan to make you extraordinary.

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Inspiring People: Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897.  Her father sold ice and coal, and her mother, who loved teaching, could not find a job because the city where they lived did not allow black school teachers.  Marian loved to sing, and when she was just six years old, her uncle encouraged her to join the junior choir at church.  Marian became enraptured by music, and she loved it whenever her aunt would take her to concerts.  She soon began a musical career at a very young age, receiving 25-50 cents for every few songs she would sing.

When Marian was just twelve years old, her father died of heart failure from a work accident.  After that, Marian and her family had to move.  Her family could not afford to send her to high school, much less give her music lessons.  Even in this hard time, Marian did not give up.  She still sang at church, and seeing her need, the church community raised money for Marian to attend high school and get a musical education as well.  After she graduated high school, Marian applied to Philadelphia Music Academy, but was turned away because she was black.  Not to be discouraged, she continued taking private singing lessons.

Because of her color, Marian’s singing career seemed to be going nowhere.  When she was refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall, Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others stepped up to her defense.  They arranged for her to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where everyone could hear.  This is what Marian is now most famous for.

Marian’s career took off, and she sang with the Metropolitan Opera, for Dwight Eisenhower and John. F. Kennedy’s inaugurations, and eventually got to sing at Constitution Hall.

Why She Inspires Me:                                                                                                                                           Marian Anderson never gave up.  She followed what she loved to do, as well as what God was calling her to do even when a lot of people were against her.   She didn’t hesitate to ask for help when she needed it.  Sometimes people tend to try and do everything and fix everything on their own, but it takes someone with a lot of courage to ask for help.  You may feel weak or vulnerable when you ask for a hand, but God knows what he’s doing and will work in your life through others.

Thanks for reading!  Tell someone you know about this post, someone who needs a little encouragement and inspiration.

For more on Marian Anderson, I recommend this book:                                                                                 When Marian Sang by Brian Selznick and Pam Munoz Ryan.

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Inspiring People: Joni Eareckson Tata

Hi everyone!  Today I am back with another Inspiring People post.  This person inspires me so much, and here is her story:

Joni Eareckson was born in 1949.  She loved to be outside and do things like swimming and hiking.  One day when Joni was a teenager, she was swimming in the Chesapeake Bay.  Thinking the water was deep enough, she dove in head first.  She hit her head on a rock on the bottom and broke her neck, becoming paralyzed from the neck down.  Joni had to be in rehab for two years, during which time she had many spiritual struggles.  Before her accident she was a strong Christian, but now after her accident she doubted her faith in God as she lay useless in the hospital.  She had lots of friends who came to visit her, but she needed spiritual as well as physical healing.

One day Joni’s friend Steve came to see her.  She was so fed up and angry with God for letting her accident happen that she burst out with questions for Steve like, “Why did God do this to me?”, “If God is so powerful then why didn’t he stop it?”  Joni felt like she didn’t deserve to be handicapped for the rest of her life, and she was blaming God.  Steve shared a Bible verse with Joni that challenged her thinking.  Acts 4 :28, which reads, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  If you read a little bit above this passage in the Bible you can figure out that this section is talking about Jesus’ death.  Meaning Jesus dying was no mistake on God’s part, or anyone else’s.  God knew what was going to happen to Jesus way before it ever happened, and it was for a reason.

This gave Joni the assurance that God allowed her accident for a reason.  She soon learned to paints pictures with her mouth instead of her hands and was out of the hospital in a short time.  Joni now knows that God’s plan is not always the plan she has in her mind, and she uses her disability to praise God.  She is now married and often speaks publicly about her faith.

I find this story inspiring because Joni went through so much, and God never failed to provide what she needed.  Her injury did not stop her from living for God and glorifying Him.  She went through some very hard emotional and spiritual times as well, but God came out on top.  God will always be with us, no matter what’s going on in our lives.

Did you like this story?  If you would like to find out more about Joni or read a more detailed version of her story, I recommend this book:  Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tata, or this blog post by GirlDefined.

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What Does The Bible Say About Education?

The Bible is a great place to go if you want to learn more about a certain subject and what God says about it.  That is exactly what we are going to be chatting about this week!  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about school and education:

Proverbs 16:16, “How much better to get wisdom than gold!  To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Learning and knowledge are both so much more valuable than material things!  You can have knowledge with you wherever you go and put it to good use in countless situations, whether it be taking a school test or ordering off a menu in a far away country (Glad you took that language class now, huh?).

James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

When God talks about “knowledge”, “education”, or “wisdom”, He  doesn’t mean just academic knowledge, He also means spiritual and Bible knowledge.  In God’s eyes it is so important to read the Bible each day and gain further understanding of Him, as well as what you learn in school.  If you ask Him to deepen your relationship with Him, He will gladly and generously answer that prayer.

2 Peter 1:5, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge.”

Heighten your faith by practicing things like love, peace, and kindness and learn more about these things to live for God.  Knowing more about the world will help you to appreciate God for making it.  The outcome of having a deeper faith in Christ will be wanting to be more like Him, and the outcome of that will be wanting to be know more about Him.

So, to summarize:

-Knowledge is important                                                                                                                                       -If you want to know more about God, He will generously give you knowledge (a.k.a. His Word the Bible).                                                                                                                                                         -When you have a relationship with God, fill it with knowledge and understanding, as well as growth in Godliness.

From the Bible we can know that knowledge is really important to God. So, keep going to school!  Keep learning, reading, and praying.  Comment below on your favorite Bible verse and maybe it will make an appearance in an upcoming post! (You never know).