Follow Me, a poem

Mountain trail

Follow Me, I’ll be your Guide

Through valley floors and mountainsides.

When life is up, I’m there, you know,

But when things are down, you’re still not alone.

Life will pull you left and right,

Leave you wounded, but deep inside

I’ll heal your wounds and mend your scars

And leave you stronger after all.

And when the path is hard to see,

Just hold my hand and follow Me.

You might stumble and you might fall,

But I’ll lift you up, and you’ll stand tall.

When you’re weary and can’t decide

Which path to take–which one is right?

I’ll light your path, if you take heed.

Just listen well and follow Me.

If you stay close by my side,

I will not promise an easy ride.

Instead, a path to better things,

And to the joy that I will bring.

While on the journey you will not see

What is to come and what will be.

But when you reach the other side,

You’ll see all that I had in mind.

 So if you’re willing to trust my plan,

To finish the story that I began,

Take the plunge, be all you can be,

Take my hand, and follow Me.

-christrocks

Surgery Update

christrocks:

Thank you for your prayers! Willow is doing much better.

Originally posted on The Willow Is Poofy Blog:

Hello, all! I first want to thank everyone for your prayers; they meant so much to me!

Willow is doing very well. He hid under the bed for the first day after coming home, but he’s been out and about quite a bit now.

He has quite a lot of stitches in his nose. They ain’t pretty, but they don’t seem to bother him–and that is what’s important! They’ll take out the stitches in a couple of weeks, and we should find out the results of the biopsy next week. Please be praying that this is a simple infection, and not cancer.

Willow

The only problem at the moment, surprisingly, is Sofie. She’s always been the most amiable of the three. She’ll lick Willow’s head if he gives her the opportunity. She also loves to play with both Willow and Amber. (Willow seems to enjoy it; Amber would make you think…

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Prayer Request: Surgery

christrocks:

Please be praying for Willow tomorrow!!

Originally posted on The Willow Is Poofy Blog:

Hello, everyone. I’m here to ask for prayer for the oldest of my sweet kitties, Willow.

WillowWillow has had problems with his nose for several years. For a while, it just got bigger (which was cute, in a way). He would have seasonal allergies, but nothing serious. These past few months, however, he’s had an increasingly difficult time breathing. We finally brought him to the vet last week, and we’ve decided to bring him in for surgery.

WillowTomorrow morning (that would be Thursday) we’ll bring him in. He’ll have the surgery at some point later in the day. Basically, they’re just going to go in and take out whatever’s been growing in his nose. Pray that the surgery goes well and that he recovers quickly! Also pray that this is nothing serious. It could just be an infection, which we can easily fix with medicine. Or it could be cancer…

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One Person

Many bloggers, I would say, are out to make a difference. For the most part, people don’t start a blog and attempt to hide it from the world. People blog so that their voice can be heard. Blogging is an opportunity to share your ideas, your message, your thoughts with a potentially huge audience.

That being said, we often don’t get that huge audience we’re looking for. With a lot of hard work, our readership grows over time, but not as much as we would like. That’s just how it works.

Before long, we find that our ideas are only being heard by a few. And as much as we appreciate those few, sometimes it’s hard not to wonder if it’s all worth it. Is the effort of putting our thoughts out there for the world to see really worth it if the world isn’t listening?

It’s very easy to get bogged down in this sort of thinking. And as many of you know, my solution to it has always been simple. I tell myself, if the words I say have made a difference to one person, then it’s all worth it. That thinking has helped me to continue blogging, and I have been blessed to ultimately have, I hope, made a difference to many people!

This is something I’ve been saying for a long time, but there was one thing that never occurred to me until today. If I apply this way of thinking to my blog, why don’t I apply it to my everyday life?

If blogging is at times frustrating and depressing, life is even more so! Over the past few years, when I interact with others, I’ve put a lot of effort into making a difference in their day. Sometimes I’m sharing my ideas. Some days I’m trying to be a friend to someone in need. There are times when I just listen. There are times when I try to offer comfort and hope.

And there are times when I wonder if it’s all worth it.

When it feels like no one is listening...

When it feels like no one is listening…

I can put a lot of effort into the lives of those around me, and many times, it feels like I’m not really doing anything. Like no one cares that I care. And if no one cares, what is the point?

And then I’ll have a day like today. When someone cares enough to stop and tell me that I made a difference to them. It’s a beautiful thing. And as I thought it over, I realized something.

We can go through our lives striving to make an impact wherever we go, and get very little response. Most people won’t show appreciation. Very often, it’s hard to tell if they even noticed. But then there will be that one person who takes the time to say thank you.

Thank you for just listening when I needed a friend.

Thank you for reaching out to me when no one else did.

Thank you for encouraging me when life was hard.

And when that one person says “thank you”, that’s all that matters. If, through all my effort, I made a difference in the life of one person, that is a beautiful thing. It makes it all worth it.

Those people will come. It won’t be very often, but the fact that they do come is enough of a reason to keep going.

So today, I would just like to encourage you to keep going. Even when nothing seems to matter, even when you can’t see that you’re making a difference–you are. And even if it’s only one person who is touched by what you do, that one person is enough.

Finally, when people don’t notice, when the gratitude doesn’t come, remember that God sees. And He matters more than anyone.

-christrocks

He Lives!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Book Review: I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

I Kissed Dating Goodbye book cover

 

I almost didn’t write this review. I’ve been contemplating writing it for a month. “I really want to write a review of this book,” I told my mom this morning, “but it’s kind of old. Is that weird?”

“I don’t think so,” she replied. “It’s a classic.”

And (of course) she was absolutely right, so here goes:

Although it was written in 1997, Joshua Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Goodbye is just as relevant and needed today as it was eighteen years ago.

This book has been on my radar for a long time. The author’s younger brothers, Alex and Brett Harris, wrote a book called Do Hard Things, a book that my youth pastor lent to me over four years ago and inspired me to start this blog. As a result, I am proud to say that I have been a rebelutionary for many years. Getting back to the point, though–I soon heard about I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but I didn’t feel that it was relevant to my life at that point in time.

Now that I’ve read it, I can see why people recommend it so often!

It’s easy to make assumptions about this book based on its title. “I kissed dating goodbye?” you might say. “Does this guy expect us to stay single for the rest of our lives?” No, and he explains that within the first few pages. I Kissed Dating Goodbye is not about avoiding relationships with the opposite sex. It’s about changing our attitude towards dating, and possibly, as a result, changing our actions.

I’ve been struggling with how to write this review simply because this is such a deep book. It’s so full of wisdom that I hardly know where to start, and I know that, no matter what I say, I can hardly do it justice. However, I’ll do my best, so here are some of my favorite points in the book:

  • Defective dating. In his section on the “seven habits of highly defective dating”, Harris challenged me to reconsider my acceptance of the dating culture. I’ve always just assumed that I would eventually date, but that I would go about it differently than the world does. That I would date, maintain my purity, and be an example to those around me. And while I know that all of those things are possible and that many Christians do and have done exactly that, the book put a new perspective on things. If I’m determined to be set apart from the world, why do I feel the need to follow the world’s style in relationships? Should I simply do my best in the defective system that the culture offers, or should I look for something better?
  • The gift of singleness. We live in a world where singleness is basically a curse. The goal is to be in a relationship, period. For those of us who are single, whether purposefully or not, it can feel like there’s something wrong with us. Harris challenges this. In fact, he goes beyond the idea that there’s nothing wrong with being single. He states that singleness is a gift, and in reading the book I’ve come to agree with him whole-heartedly. In constantly pursuing relationships, we put ourselves in a position where we are unable to be where God needs us. If we’re constantly wasting our energy on trying to “remedy” our singleness, or if we can’t spend a single moment without our significant other, what energy and time is left for God? Singleness is a gift that allows us to fully devote ourselves to God. For most of us, we won’t be single forever. Rather than rushing the gift to come, let us enjoy and use the gift we have now–singleness.
  • Purity. This is certainly one of the deeper subjects in the book, and Harris made several different points in his discussion of it. What stood out to me was what he said about the “direction of purity”. Purity isn’t about setting a line that you won’t cross, whether physically or spiritually, and then getting as close to that line as possible without going over. It’s about setting a boundary and then resolving not to give yourself opportunities to compromise. Basically, rather than testing how close you can get to the line between “pure” and “not pure” (and I doubt there even is such a thing), run the other way. Run away from temptation, and towards righteousness.

I’d like to reiterate that I’ve barely scratched the surface of this book. If you feel this could have application in your life, I encourage you to read it! Personally, I don’t know if I’ve “kissed dating goodbye”. I do know that this book has given me a lot to think about. It has left me with some new attitudes and resolutions, and ultimately I have been blessed by it.

God bless!

christrocks

More Than Feelings

manger scene

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time to gather with family, but more importantly it’s (hopefully) a time when we turn our focus wholly upon the Lord.

As wonderful as Christmas is, sometimes I feel like we’re missing the point. Christmas reminds of the conferences I go to with my church. When I’m at the conference, I feel fully devoted to God, on fire for Him. It’s an amazing experience, and one I look forward to every year. But when I get home, how long does that feeling continue? Do I still feel on fire the next week? What about the next day? Conferences are awesome and inspiring, but how often do we carry that inspiration home with us?

I think that Christmas is very similar. We get pumped up for Christmas day, it gets here, and then it’s gone. Hopefully, on December 25th, we spend some time focused on God. Most of us probably spend more time than usual praying and/or reading or Bibles, which is great! But what about December 26th? Or 27th? To be honest, only two days later, Christmas already feels like it was ages ago.

So, is this the way it works? Do we designate one day out of the year (not counting, perhaps, Easter and conferences) to be “extra Christian”? It’s a sad truth that this is often how it works for many Christians, myself included.

How can we change this? I believe that part of the problem is how much we rely on our feelings. At a conference, we feel good. I’m not saying that conferences are (all) made up of fluffy, feel-good teaching. I’ve been very convicted and moved at conferences. The question is, just how deep does that go? I may feel convicted during the teaching when the lights are dim and tearful people are going to the front. And yet, how convicted am I when I get home?

And on Christmas day, good feelings abound. Our Savior came to us on a silent night to give us life. That’s a wonderful thing, and don’t get me wrong–that should make us feel good. But if we only base our response to how amazing that is on our feelings, then once Christmas is over, we’ll push that wonderful truth to the back of our minds and move on with our lives.

Feelings are not bad–but how do we move beyond that? Next time you experience these feelings, don’t just stop there. If you feel convicted, pray. Talk to God about why you are convicted and ask Him what things you need to change in your life. Read your Bible and see what He has to say. Finally, make an effort to follow through, and God will bless that effort! Turn your feelings into actions, and they will take root in your heart. Also, if you’re just feeling happy and blessed, praise God for it! God wants us to spend time with Him, and talking to Him about our feelings is one way to do that. For the beneficial feelings, spending time with God helps them to take root and become something deeper. For detrimental feelings, God-time keeps us from being controlled by them because we are focused on Someone so much greater.

How did you feel on Christmas? Did you feel connected to God? Talk to Him about it, and ask Him how you can grow closer. Did you feel His love? Give thanks and show Him your love for Him through your actions.

In closing, let us look at the example of the shepherds.

The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:20, NLT)

When we return from our time with Jesus to our everyday lives, let us not forget all God has done for us. Let us glorify and praise Him for the gift of His Son, for His every blessing, and for His incredible love for us. Praise God!

christrocks

Note: Even though Christmas is over, we can still celebrate Jesus’ birth everyday! This is one of my favorite Christmas songs; enjoy!