Tag Archive: The Bible


One Day Book Challenge

There I was last night, sitting on my bed and browsing through some interesting blogs, and I happened to stumble across a blog called “b00kends” (http://b00kends.wordpress.com/). The author of b00kends was in the middle of a Thirty Day Book Challenge, and I was inspired! The thing is, I don’t really want to take thirty days to have continuous short posts about a whole lot of books, so I’ve decided to make the Thirty Day Book Challenge a One Day Book Challenge. Woo! So, without further ado, here I go*:
Day 1: Favorite book: The King of Attolia (and the other three books in the series) by Megan Whalen Turner
Day 2: Least favorite book: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (I’ve never understood why it’s a classic.)
Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud: All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
Day 4: Book that makes you cry: The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in: Hm, that’s a hard one. I’m going to have to go with The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
Day 6: Favorite young adult book: Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Day 8: Book that scares you: Adam by Ted Dekker
Day 9: Book that makes you sick: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Day 10: Book that changed your life: Is it cheating to say The Bible?
Day 11: Book from your favorite author: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (can you tell that I love her?)
Day 12: Favorite male character: Eugenides from The Queen’s Thief series by (you guessed it!) Megan Whalen Turner
Day 13: Favorite female character: This is a hard one, but I think I’m going to go with Macey McHenry from the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter simply to give that series a mention on this list
Day 14: A book you used to love, but don’t anymore: the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child: anything from The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
Day 16: Longest book you’ve read: The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read: But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
Day 18: Favorite classic book: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
Day 19: A book you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (the first half killed me, but the second half was really good)
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood: Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
Day 22: Book you plan to read next: The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
Day 23: Book you never finished: The (Unabridged) Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Day 24: Book that contains your favorite scene: The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Day 25: Favorite book you read in school: Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Day 26: Favorite nonfiction book: Stalin: A Biography by Robert Service
Day 27: Favorite fiction book: see day 1, but to mix things up a little bit, I’ll add The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Day 28: Last book you read: So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams
Day 29: Book you’re currently reading: Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
Day 30: Book you’re excited to read in the near future: A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears by Jules Feiffer

*I took the liberty of changing “days” 12-14, 18-19, 23, and 30 because I didn’t have answers to the original questions.

That was much harder to do than I expected it to be. Well, there you have it! My list of many things book related. Take that, One Day Book Challenge, you have been conquered!
End of book quote: “But not the armadillo.” —But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

Faith Without Works

“This faith is not like a deed to a house in which one may live with full rights of possession. It is more like a kit of tools with which a man may build a house. The tools will be worth just what he does with them. When he lays them down, they will have no value until he takes them up again.” –The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Faith in God is not the easy way to get to Heaven. It never has been, and it never will be. In fact, we are promised that we will suffer just as Christ himself did, but it is all worth it. Philippians 3:8 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

That verse is beautiful to me because there is an all-powerful God who loves us enough to give his own son up to die for us. Nothing can ever separate us from that love if we should choose to accept it; not sin, not pain, not hardship, not our faults, or even all the mistakes we have ever made. It’s crazy to think anyone could love so selflessly, yet God proves us wrong time and time again.

There are so many pictures of his endless love painted in the Bible. The entire book of Hosea is a representation of God’s love for us. For any who does not know the story, God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and stay faithful to her even when she did not stay faithful to him. Symbolically, the relationship between Gomer and Hosea represents the relationship between God and his people; with the Lord constantly bringing his children home after they continuously stray back to their sin. The book of Hosea still applies to us today. We will never be perfect, but Christ pursues us anyway.

When we discover our love for God, it is easy to understand why James 2:14-17 is so true. [“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”] Faith prompts us to act in ways we never would otherwise. When a person dedicates their life to Christ, it is no small commitment because following God is not a simple task.

God does not hesitate to call us out of our comfort zones, but it is up to us to decide whether to obey or not. Lloyd C. Douglas put this idea into words excellently in the quote I used above. If we choose not to act upon our belief in God, then how can we claim to be wholly devoted to him? That being said, we will fail to act through faith over and over and over again, but God does not abandon us even though we can never measure up.

I am dwelling on these things tonight because of my baptism yesterday. It was an incredible time for me. My family and a few friends were able to attend, and their attendance meant the world to me. But more importantly, God proved to me once again that he is working in my life.

A few days ago, I blogged about my concerns for my upcoming baptism. I was stressed about not fully understanding what baptism meant, and went through an anxious period over the last week, but God did not leave me in that state of mind. He answered my prayers two days ago with only a short time left to spare before I was actually baptized.

I spoke with one of my good friends while we were on a run, and realized that God did not require me to fully understand what baptism meant. Instead, I firmly believe that he desired me to act on faith, and obey him no matter what my comfort level was. After I got home from Cross Country practice that morning, I felt at peace with my decision to go through with getting baptized. As I explained to my mom, I don’t think Abraham quite understood what he was doing when God commanded him to be circumcised [Genesis 17], and he didn’t need to. God worked through him even though his comprehension was limited, and I figured that God could easily do the same with me.

While I am still unclear about baptism in its entirety, I am overjoyed that I was baptized last night. It was the absolute perfect time, and God knew that and prepared me for it. I am immensely grateful to God for blessing me with such an incredible night with him and my friends and family, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

End of book quote: “And when the colt, nothing but a bundle of legs and wet fur as black as Enna’s hair, fell into her arms, Ani might hear a name.” —The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Hardcore Inspiration

Hardcore Inspiration

When most people think of running, they think of misery, early death, copious amounts of pain, and other similarly themed events. There are some (like me) who think of beauty, perseverance, learning, fun, etc. rather than all of the negative aspects.
The people in the first group have probably never given running a chance (meaning they don’t try running for more than two weeks when they would then slowly become more in-shape and be able to enjoy it infinitely more). The people in the second group are usually those who adore running even though it has so many hard moments. Therefore, as a highly biased runner, I feel everyone can dismiss the ridiculous opinions of the first group and focus on the opinions of the second group.
However, despite which group a person might belong to, it is inevitable that if they ever end up running (forced or by their own free will), they will want a source of motivation to keep themselves going. People have a lot of different ideas of how to do this. In my running, for example,  I’ve repeated song lyrics to myself over and over and over again, recited memorized Bible verses, tried to ignore my pain (unfortunately, this one has never worked out too well), prayed for strength, counted steps to keep my feet hitting the ground in a consistent rhythm, and many other actions like that. More frequently than not, none of those things really help me perform better.
In fact, some have even caused me to perform worse than I otherwise would have. One day I was preparing to run the 1600m (or mile long race) at a track meet, and my friends started singing “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction and got it firmly stuck in my head. That mile was one of the worst mental races I have ever had. The lyrics kept playing back over and over again in my head, destroying my focus, and ruining that song for me forever (not that I was a big fan of it before).
However, there have been times when my methods of distraction have helped me. For instance, during a cross-country race, I repeated Psalm 130 to myself as I ran and was able to mostly ignore my body’s firm protests of my intense physical activity.
All of this to get around to pointing out that I have found a new running song! The song is “My Body” by Young the Giant (yes, I know it sounds sketchy, but it’s completely appropriate). I first heard the chorus of “My Body” at the REAL kite boarding school in North Carolina. I instantly thought that the words were perfect for running so I memorized the lyrics and determined to look the full lyrics up when I returned home. Well, surprisingly, I actually remembered to do that, and I am very glad I did. The lyrics to the chorus, in case you were wondering, are “my body tells me no, but I won’t quit, because I want more”. It’s truly a great song, and I am excited that I stumbled upon it.
Last line book quote: “Then the king commanded his servants to mind whatever Curdie should say to them, and after shaking hands with him and his father and mother, the king and the princess and all their company rode away down the side of the new stream, which had already devoured half the road, into the starry night.” —The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald