Monday, January 18, 2021

El Roi ~ The God Who Sees

"And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered." ~Genesis 16:11-14

This is a familiar portion of Scripture. In chapter 16 of Genesis, Hagar became Abraham's wife. When Sarah cast Hagar out of the house, Hagar fled to the wilderness where she was met by God. He tells her that he will multiply her seed and that she would name her son Ishmael. She named the place El-Roi, which interpreted is "the God who sees." Beer-lahai-roi, then, would mean "the well of him that liveth and seeth me." 
I'm sure Hagar felt very much alone when she was in the wilderness. God met her where she was though, and she obviously noticed his presence because she called him El-Roi. Today, in January 2021, God is still El-Roi. Psalm chapter 139 is full of comforting verses that God sees and knows you. Maybe you are discouraged about the events of the past few months and feel alone, or maybe you are going through a trail and are lonely. Or maybe everything is going alright for you. No matter what season of life you are in, remember that God sees everything. He sees your loneliness.  He sees your trials. He sees the devices of the wicked. He sees the hearts of his people, and he hears their prayers.  Job 34:21 says "For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings."
Whatever happens in our country and in our world this year, be encouraged that our God, who never changes, always sees. He is El-Roi. 
"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." ~Proverbs 15:3
Please keep praying, dear friend, and may God bless you. 

with love, 

1 Peter 3:12 ~ "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."

Monday, January 11, 2021

August 2020-January 2021

Hello and happy new year! 

I had planned to write one more post last year, but it didn't happen. So here we are in a new year, 2021. I hope you had a joyful Christmas season, and a good start to the new year.  Since I didn't post during college, here's a random picture update from August 2020 till January 2021. 

Right before my mom and Deborah left Sarah, Lauren, and I at college, we drove to Alabama to eat at Lambert's- the home of the throwed roll. 

The painting on the side of their building is so patriotic and beautiful. 
The famous throwed roll....
Flags at college to remember 9/11....
Hurricane Sally brought a lot of rain to Pensacola and did quite a bit of damage to the surrounding areas. Students worked a few days in the communities and on campus, cleaning up debris.  

There were many days where the sky looked like a magnificent painting. 
Sarah turned 23 while at college, so we threw her a little surprise party. :) 
"Florida snow" aka frost. ;) 

It's always fun to drive around looking at Christmas lights. Some houses really go all out on their decorations. 

On the drive back to our hometown after finishing college, we stopped at a park in Tallahassee for a brisk walk. 
This Christmas, we girls had fun learning how to make royal icing for cookies with my aunt. 
We were also excited to meet Harry, my aunt's new puppy.
The ice in the latte made a smile! :) 
Our family has had some really awesome fires this winter. 
January 1st-5th, Sarah and I joined Students for Life in Georgia. Almost 200 students from around the country met in Georgia and together we knocked on 70,000 doors, encouraging voters to vote pro-life in the senator election. There were 22 different vans, and every day, each van went to different neighborhoods campaigning. We also held signs outside the voting precinct on election day. 
Saturday, Jan. 2nd, a group of about 80 people stood outside this abortion clinic holding signs. A man who was not part of our group used a megaphone to preach the gospel and talk to the guys who were going in and out of the clinic. 

Our van group had the opportunity to eat at some interesting places. :) This small restaurant called Big Bang Pizza has robots that serve you. 

The spinach mushroom pizza tasted amazing!
This little pig with a sweater on was just the cutest. 

The weather was absolutely beautiful in Georgia.
While taking group pictures in front of this building, the owner came out and shared the history behind this painting. The left side represents old Georgia (1817) and the right side (pictured below) represents the new Georgia. 

The voting precinct we stood at was a library, and across the street there was this tunnel.
Our van group...
Friends, please pray for our country, pray for President Trump, pray for protection for him and his family, pray for God to work a miracle, pray for the impossible. This whole election thing is not over yet, so do not give up praying. Pray harder than ever before. Trust, yes, because God certainly has a plan, but please please pray that God will turn this thing around and ultimately be glorified in all of it, no matter the outcome. 
Here’s a fun song I think you’ll enjoy called Keep America Great, written by two sisters. :) If you’re viewing this post on your email, click here. They also wrote this song called TWALP, aka “That’s why America Loves President Trump.” :) 

Now, let's chat in the comments! I'd love to hear what your favorite memory was in 2020.  

with love, 

Psalm 112:7 ~ He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Psalm 9:9-10 ~ The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Short Picture Update

A happy hello to you!
I hope you have had a great summer, despite the changes that came with the virus.  Here are a few recent snapshots from the past few months. 

God has given us some beautiful, sunny weather, and we have enjoyed many beach days. 

 Gracie has a new look-a-like puppy friend. Meet Watson.

He's not ours, but once in a while his owner brings him over to play with Gracie. When they're tired out, they both lay on the floor with their paws spread out. It's very cute to watch. 😁
We celebrated my papa's 91st birthday yesterday, (Aug. 26th). My aunt made apple pie, and wrote his name "POP" on it. 😊
Zoey and Toby have been doing great. Zoey injured herself a couple months ago when she jumpped on a moving tractor, but she's healed well.

I'm about to start college, so you may not see any posts for a while. I would love to hear about your summer in the comments!  May God bless you, dear friend.  

Until next time, God go with you. 

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
-Psalm 36:7

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thankful for Freedom!

Freedom is only free for you because someone else paid for it. 

This year America celebrated the 244th year of becoming a nation. With the celebrations of Memorial Day, Independence Day, and just recently the elections on August 18th, freedom has been on my mind a lot. 

I love the parallels between the freedom we enjoy as Americans, and freedom we have as children of God.

  • Someone had to die.
As Americans, we honor and remember the fallen soldiers- those who have died fighting for freedoms. As Christians, we will never forget that Jesus Christ gave up His life so we can be free from the law and sin.

"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." ~Romans 6:22

  • Freedom cost a high price.
Hundreds of thousands of men and women have died for this great country, America. They valued and paid for freedom with their own life. Christ paid for salvation with his own life when he willingly died on the cross.
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;" ~Ephesians 1:7

“Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.” ~ John Adams

  • Freedom is free for Americans today. 
Americans can live in freedom today because the price of freedom has already been paid. Salvation is free too. It certainly can not be earned or paid for because the price has already been paid. Salvation is a gift. All one can do is just accept it.  Freedom in America didn't come easily, and neither did salvation. We can not repay those who have died, and neither can we repay Christ for his gift of salvation and eternal life. As the saying goes, freedom ain't free. Nope, it isn't. But I am so thankful someone was willing to pay for it.

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
~Revelation 1:5-6

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Any One But Me ~ Book Review

About the book: 
Fear is the primary reason we fail to share the gospel with our friends, family, and coworkers. We're afraid of looking weird or out of touch. We're afraid we won't have the right answers to their questions. We're afraid that if they reject the gospel, they're really rejecting us. We don't want to make things awkward or strain our relationships. So we say nothing because our discomfort feels bigger than our loved ones' ultimate destination if they remain outside of the body of Christ. We know it's not, but it's just so hard to get over our fear.

Apologist Ray Comfort can help. In Anyone but Me, he shows you how to overcome your fears by developing ten critical, biblical characteristics so that you can confidently share the message of salvation with those you care about most. If you've been longing to see a dear friend, family member, or coworker come to Christ, now is the time to begin becoming the faithful witness they need. We never know how much more time we will have to proclaim God's good news.

My thoughts: 
This book challenges and encourages the reader to share the gospel more, even if that means passing out tracts to those we come in contact with in public. Many people have unsaved family members, and sometimes it can be awkward or hard to bring up the gospel, and we fear their response. Ray Comfort understands this, and he shares numerous, personal stories about his witnessing opportunities as well as helpful tips he's learned that work. I very much enjoyed this book and am inspired to look for opportunities to share the gospel with others. I believe teenagers and adults would benefit the most from reading this book. It can be purchased here.

**I received this book from BakerBooks and happily provided my review.**

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Biblical Minimalism Book Review & Giveaway

About the book:
For years, my family and I struggled with overloaded schedules, overwhelming debt, and being far too enslaved to our 4-bedroom, 3 bath home and excess physical possessions. The things we thought we "owned", really owned us, and living in bondage to them rendered us physically ill, mentally exhausted, and existing from day to day in an underlying state of misery. Through a sobering wake-up call, God made it clear that life-changes must be made, and what followed was a minimizing journey that has led us to sell our home, let go of about 90% of our physical possessions, and eliminate 100% of our debt. This book will appeal to anyone who has a desire to live a more minimal, Biblical-aligned life; anyone who is exhausted from over-indulgence in consumerism; anyone who would like to downsize and reduce the number of their physical possessions; and anyone who needs to read of living proof of a modern-day family who is currently walking this path.Minimalism is becoming increasingly popular as people tire of being bound to their possessions and obligations. Many long for a simpler life, but oftentimes do not know how to find it or even where to begin. As we walked our own minimizing journey, I often longed for a minimalism book that was written from an exclusively Christian viewpoint, and I found that there are few such books available. My family and I wanted to be sure that what we were doing was not merely following after a "movement", but that it fully aligned with God's Word and how Jesus lived His life on earth. As my attempts to find a book continually came up short, I turned directly to God's Word and in-depth personal study. The result of that whole-hearted searching is the book, "Biblical Minimalism." It blazes the trail on the subject of Scripture-based minimalism and meets a growing need.

My thoughts:
Since this is the first book I've read about minimalism, I wasn't sure what to expect, but oh, I am so glad I read it! Cheryl Smith's writing is very down-to-earth and relatable. I appreciated the way in which Mrs. Smith gave suggestions on how to live minimally God’s way, and then gave practical tips on how to do that in everyday life. God doesn't want us tightly holding onto possessions. After all, we can't take anything with us when we die. From her experiences, the reader observes that this is something that can be done. We really don't need as much stuff to live as we think we do. I also liked the way in which she showed that a person can live minimally in more than one area of their life. Biblical minimalism is not just confined to physical things. Houses, phones, cars, and excess items that we keep just because, are a few examples. Minimalism extends into other areas of our life, like friends, obligations, etc. I just also have to mention how happy I was to see that the author used the King James Version almost exclusively. There was only one time I can remember reading a verse from a different version. This excellent book was an encouragement to me, and I think it'll be a help to any Christian who reads it. 

*I received this book from the author, and happily provided my review.*

About the author
Cheryl Smith is the author of the book “Biblical Minimalism,” the story of her family’s journey from a life of abundance to a more abundant life. She is the author of the blogs Biblical Minimalism, where she writes about minimalism from a Biblical perspective, and Homespun Devotions, where she writes devotionals and conducts “Inner Views.” She loves to spend time with her husband and son in the mountains, sing and play Bluegrass music, and write.

To support Mrs. Smith and purchase her book, click here


**Giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.**

Mrs. Smith is kindly giving away one copy of her book, Biblical Minimalism. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment. The giveaway will end on July 9th.

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."    ~ John 10:10