Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Called To Be Free


"Called to be Free" is the amazing true story of the cult, Worldwide Church of God (aka Armstrongism), being redeemed. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the cult members rejected the heretical teachings of their founder (and self-proclaimed "prophet") and became born-again believers in Jesus Christ.
It's a little long, but well worth watching!




Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Life is good!

Hey everyone,
I know it seems like forever since my last blog, but life has been busy... but good too.

School update:
I passed Hebrew! Praise the Lord! And I decided to not immediately jump into Greek. So, I'll take it next fall. Hard to believe that I only have 2 years of school left. Where has the time gone?
This semester is a little easier, but challenging as well. Two of my favorite classes this fall are Encountering Cults and Current Issues in Evangelism: The New Age Movement. Very interesting stuff.

The professor of my Cults class, James Walker, is the president of Watchman Fellowship. It's a nondenominational organization that keeps track of practically every cult in existence. They have a lot of articles, videos and resources available if you want to know more about a specific cult or alternative religion. As in most classes, we have to do a major project, and I chose to do a weekly blog on an article or video that I've read/seen on the website, so feel free to check it out, if you'd like: Watchman Review.

Two weeks ago, during my Cults class, Prof. Walker had us watch this video (see below) about Jehovah's Witnesses (JW). Some of you may or may not know that one of the JW's beliefs is that they refuse blood transfusions. Paul Blizard and his wife are good friends of Prof. Walker, and this is a situation that happened when their baby girl got sick and would die without a blood transfusion.



Fortunately, the rest of the story is bittersweet.
Prof. Walker told us that the blood transfusion did save baby Jenny's life. While she was still recovering in the hospital, her parents were disfellowshiped (ie. considered dead) by the JW church, and were abandoned by all of their friends and family, who were also JWs.
While at the hospital with Jenny, some Christians from a local Baptist church had heard about the situation and came to visit the Blizards. They did not proselytize them or anything; they brought them meals and offered their service and friendship. The Blizards were dumbfounded. The JWs believe that any religion other than theirs is of the Devil. So, they were amazed that non-JWs were being so kind and loving while their own people were being so horrible. Through the friendship and love of the people at the church, both Mr. & Mrs. Blizard became born-again followers of Jesus. Ever since Jenny's birth, she had been struggling with a terrible illness, and she only lived to see her 3rd or 4th birthday. To this day, the Blizards are so grateful to God for saving Jenny and for sending the church to minister to them and lead them to the truth.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Trip Interuption

Well, unfortunately, Thomas's and my trip to CA to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins got postponed. Seeing as how Thomas and I are po (we can't even afford the other o & r), a friend of mine heard about our upcoming trip and offered to get us free ticket vouchers. Her brother works for Southwest Airlines. This sounded like a great thing, so we accepted. Hey, it saved us over $300 for airfare. I couldn't pass it up.

So, we get to Dallas Love on Thursday around 9:45 am. We get our luggage checked, and eventually make our way to our gate and get signed up on the top of the non-revenue Standby list. Our flight is suppose to leave at 11:40 am.

Evrerything was going just peachy, until we discovered that when you are on nonrevenue standyby, you are at the very bottom of the standby list. So, low and behold, paid ticket standby people got on the plane... and we didn't.

This unfortunate scenerio ends up happening all day long.

By the time we'd not been able to get on the 6th flight out, we were at our wits end.
A guy at the gate counter gets on his computer and tells us that all the flights for CA are booked solid all weekend. Plus, all flights minus two have two to three layovers, and with standby, you are not guarenteed a seat on each layover. So, even if you made one flight, you could be pulled on the next and get stuck at your layover airport. Not a good thing.

So, by the time 4pm rolled around, we decided to just go home.

Big praise, though, our luggage didn't get lost! It got shipped back to Dallas Love from CA on Friday, and we had to drive back to the airport and get it later that afternoon.

I am bummed that our trip didn't work out, but I know that God is sovereign. He knows what He's doing, and He has a reason that we were not able to go.

I'm sure I will make it out there eventually, it just all depends on when.

Would you like to the know the moral of this story, kids?
Here it is:
I will never fly standby ever again!
A guarenteed seat is worth every penny you pay for you ticket.

Happy flying!

The Way of The Master

Cool website! It's run by Kirk Cameron from the TV show "Growing Pains."

http://www.thewayofthemaster.com/

The Way of the Master

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Summer Break

Wow... hard to believe that it's June already. We're already half way thru 2007.
I don't know about all of you, but I for one am glad that summer is here. I'm not a big fan of cold weather. So, Yippee!

Well, a lot has happened since last I blogged...

The fam & I went up to Pennsylvania to see Tommy (aka Tom, as he is known/called up there) graduate from Lafayette College. He got his BA in Math with a minor in Spanish. Poor thing was having to deal with sinustitus & brochitus the whole time we were there, but he survived by the grace of God. I had never been to New England before and I now know why they call it New England. It really does remind me of England. Everything is very lush and green, lots of rolling hills and farm land, and (unfortunately) cold and rainy. Fortunately, none of us caught pnemonia while we were being rained on and freezing during the whole graduation ceremony.
Tommy, flew home with us, so now he's hanging out with us and looking for a real job now that he's all gra-gi-ate-ed.

I just got my grades from Criswell, and Praise The Lord! I passed all my classes, especially Hebrew. WooHoo! So, now I'm on summer break, and classes start again Aug. 20.

I'm also excited because in about 2 weeks, Tommy & I are gonna get to go to CA to visit our Uncle Emil, Aunt Elizabeth (my dad's sister), and their family. Emil & Elizabeth came to TX last summer to visit my family, and I really enjoyed getting to know them better and hanging out with them. They are so sweet, and I just know Tommy and I are gaonna have a blast.

My congratulations to Josh and Beth on their beautiful wedding yesterday! It was very sweet and touching, and Beth... great choice of exit music... Firefly/Mal's Theme was awesome!

Also, a few girls from our ABF class are getting together during the week to go thru the book Lady In Waiting. It is an absolutely amazing book! I first read it in 2001, and the Lord really used it to open my eyes to see what a godly woman is suppose to be. The book walks thru ten godly characteristics displayed in the life of Ruth (from the Bible), and most importantly, it helped me to understand and develop a love relationship with Christ. That was a totally foreign concept to me back when I was 21. I highly recommend it for any single, divorced, or widowed ladies of any age. Or for men who want to have a better understanding of women, I would recommend the book to you too.

Hope all is well with you! Till next time. Adios!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Busy Saturday

Hey everyone,

Sorry it's taken me so long to post a new blog. School this semester is quite hectic. I'm taking Hebrew II, History & Theology of Missions, Hermeneutics, & Ancient World. So, needless to say, I've been a bit busy. Lots of reading and studying, but I love it!

I am praising God that this Mon-Fri is Spring Break and Fri-Sun is our YP Spring Retreat. Woohoo! My goal is to get all of my studying, homework, papers done and caught up so next weekend I can just relax, unwind, and goof off. = )

This weekend, however, is not going to be a goof off weekend. I'm the Maid of Honor (MOH) for Miss Apocolypse Queen, so I will definitely have my work cut out for me. Helping to keep her calm and collected, fend off crazy relatives, and the detail-nazi Mother of the Bride (MOB). Not only will I get the priviledge of standing up on stage with my best friend and get to witness her and Mr. Darcy become man and wife, I'll also get to sing "The Prayer" (Italian version) with a good friend of mine, Mark Tye; and (gulp) I have to give a toast at the reception. It's the oddest thing, I always get nervous before I sing, but I am 10 times more nervous if asked to speak in front of a crowd. I don't know why. You'd think they'd be one and the same, but apparently not. So hopefully, everyoen will enjoy my toast and I won't get tongue-tied, lose me index card (the the speak on it), or just look like a babbling fool. God help me!

Well, I gotta get some sleep. Got a busy day tomorrow. My nail appointment is at 10 am, gotta grab lunch around noon, and then gotta be at AQ's house by 1 pm to carpool to hair appointment. The MOB is so generous, she is paying for all of the gals in the wedding party to have our hair done at AQ's stylist that she's been going to since birth.

Wish me luck, and say a prayer for AQ and Darcy. I am so unbelievable happy for them! <><

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Mirror & American Culture

Hi everyone,
Last semester, I wrote a paper for my American Culture class where we had to take a piece of American literature (i.e. novel, short story, song, movie, etc.) and then discuss how it describes or discusses American culture. So, I thought I would share it with you.
If for some reason, you would like to cite this (I'm so flattered...), here's what you'll need:
Turabian style (6th ed.)
H., Wendy. "The Mirror and American Culture." My Memoirs. 2006. Available from http://ising4him.blogspot.com/2007/01/mirror-american-culture.html. Accessed [Day] [Month] [Year].

(The spacing in the original document is correct. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to add tabs and extra spacing in html yet.)
Enjoy!



THE CRISWELL COLLEGE


THE MIRROR AND AMERICAN CULTURE


AMERICAN CULTURE: CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT
DR. CREAMER


BY
WENDY H.


RICHARDSON, TX
OCTOBER 2006



Mirror, Mirror on the wall, Have I got it?
'Cause Mirror you've always told me who I am
I'm finding it's not easy to be perfect
So sorry you won't define me.
Sorry you don't own me

Who are you to tell me
That I'm less than what I should be?
Who are you? Who are you?
I don't need to listen
To the list of things I should do
I won't try, I won't try

Mirror I am seeing a new reflection
I'm looking into the eyes of He who made me
And to Him I have beauty beyond compare
I know He defines me

You don't define me, you don't define me.

Barlowgirl, “Mirror”


“Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” (Snow White, 1994) This is one of the most classic movie quotes of all time from the beloved children’s movie, Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The beautiful and vain queen gazes into her magic mirror that can only speak the truth, and she wants to receive validation from it that there is no one fairer than she. When the mirror reveals that she is not the fairest one of all, she flies off on an envious and murderous rampage. Even though this is just a fairy tale, it still holds a universal truth; people, especially women, still seek validation from their mirror and from society and culture to tell them that they are attractive and beautiful; and that they have worth, value, and identity. The song, “Mirror” by Barlowgirl, shows how American culture’s views and God’s views drastically contrast regarding a person’s image and identity.
Beginning in early childhood, American culture (i.e. television, movies, magazines, books, advertisements, family, and friends) bombards us with the message:

… [What] matters most for women… is beauty—physical beauty. Even parents, siblings, teachers, and friends sometimes add unwittingly to the chorus: “darling” children get oohs, aahs, and doting attention, while less attractive, overweight, or gangly children may be the objects of unkind comments, indifference, or even overt rejection. (DeMoss, 77)

Self-image is a struggle for most women, even super models, and Becca, Alyssa, and Lauren Barlow, the three sisters of Barlowgirl, a Christian rock group from Illinois, have also dealt with having a proper perspective of who they see when they look in the mirror. Wrestling with this issue was the reason the song, “Mirror” was written. In the song, they ask the mirror a very important question, “Who are you to tell me / that I'm less than what I should be? / Who are you?” (Barlowgirl, 2004) Everyone has answered that question whether they realize it or not. The answer is that the mirror is either their master or it is not. If they have been deceived into believing that the mirror is their master, then they have bought into a lie and have become a slave to the standards set by their culture and society. The problem with trying to live up to cultural standards is that it is an impossible task. Shannon Ethridge, a well-known Christian author, speaker, and counselor, asks some very important questions on this topic in her book, Every Young Woman’s Battle:

When you look into the mirror, what do you see? A friend or a foe? Are you thankful for God’s creation or critical of His handiwork? How much time and energy do you spend critiquing and criticizing your facial features? your hair? your body? Do you compare yourself to magazine cover models or to your girlfriends, getting discouraged that you don’t seem to measure up to everyone else? (Ethridge, 51)

Culture claims that to be accepted, you must be beautiful—more specifically, your physical appearance must match-up with what society considers to be beautiful. Some of these standards include having the perfect hairstyle, clothes, make-up, waist-size, chest-size, and the list never ends. Not only does culture’s beauty list never end, it also never stops changing. “Keeping up with the Jones” is a never-ending rat-race that will only lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, and depression. The song lyrics sum it up by saying, “I'm finding it's not easy to be perfect.” (Barlowgirl, 2004) American culture says that the mirror should be your master, and thus, a woman’s ultimate ambition should be physical beauty, but God says quite the opposite.
God desires to free women from bondage to their mirror by becoming their Master and showing them that inner beauty is much more valuable to Him than physical beauty. Michelle Graham, a speaker for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, says that “the place to begin is to wrestle with some key biblical truths about how God made us and how much He delights in us. I have found very little hope for a truly healthy body image outside of knowing Jesus intimately.” (Graham, 27) Though culture tells women that they are only as beautiful as their society rates them to be, God reveals that to be a lie. He is the creator of all things, and everyone is made in His image (Genesis 1:26a NIV). Not only does God consider all that He has made to be very good (Genesis 1:31a NIV), He also says that He is enthralled by our beauty (Psalm 45:11 NLT). King David proclaimed to God, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well…. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” (Psalm 139:14, 17-18 NIV) What an incredible statement! The Creator of the Universe knows you intimately, and even more amazing is that He promises that as we continue to deepen our love relationship with Jesus Christ, we will be changed from the inside out. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) Though your physical appearance may not change, your perception will as you begin to see things in a whole new light. The turning point in the song says, “Mirror I am seeing a new reflection. / I'm looking into the eyes of He who made me, / And to Him I have beauty beyond compare.” (Barlowgirl, 2004) “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart….” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV) Being set free from the bondage of the mirror and culture is the first step, but the next step is sometimes more difficult. Barlowgirl declares, “I don't need to listen / to the list of things I should do. / I won’t try.” (Barlowgirl, 2004) What this means is that “the quest for a healthy body image requires us to swim against the current of mainstream culture.” (Graham, 27) This doesn’t mean that “women [shouldn’t] seek to look their best… [; it] simply challenges [us] to not devote all [our] energies toward painting the outside, thus neglecting the enduring qualities that need developing on the inside.” (Kendall & Jones, 54)
Another aspect of American culture that the song, “Mirror” reveals is that our culture and society tries to make us believe that they are the ones who define us and give us our identity. “‘Cause Mirror you've always told me who I am.” (Barlowgirl, 2004) Nancy Leigh DeMoss, a well-known Christian host and teacher on the daily radio program, “Revive Our Hearts,” says in her book, Lies That Women Believe:

… [Our] view of ourselves and our sense of worth are often determined by the input and opinions of others. Sometimes the input of others is accurate and helpful. But not always. If, for some reason, the person we are listening to is looking through a defective “lens,” his or her vision will be distorted. Some of us have lived all our lives in an emotional prison because we have accepted what a false, “broken” mirror said to us about ourselves. (DeMoss, 66)

Our Darwinist and atheistic society teaches us starting in grade school science class that everything is the result of evolution. Science tries to convince us that there is no God, or a Divine Creator; so everything is the way it is by nothing more than random chance. Thus, everyone is nothing more than an accident, which voids out the idea that people have inherent value and worth. With this idea as our society’s presupposition, people have spent and wasted their lives striving to turn themselves into an image and identity that will be accepted by our society, so they can feel valuable and worthy of love. People seek to find their identity through many avenues. Someone may find their worth by being a successful business executive, or by being a high-priced lawyer. Someone may achieve fame by being a well-known actor, singer, or artist. Another may find prestige by being a professor with multiple degrees hanging on their wall, or by being a pastor of a mega-church with pack-out services every Sunday. Having a profession is not the only goal that people pursue to find their identity; many people seek relationships to find their fulfillment. One of the mottos that Barlowgirl is known for is their stance on not dating. Alyssa, the bass guitarist in Barlowgirl, said in an interview, “[Single people are] using relationships as a crutch to cover up our insecurity. The reason why our generation's singles are jumping so often from person to person is because they're searching for self worth.” (Fervent, 2006) The truth is that “… it doesn’t matter how good-looking, rich, athletic, smart, godly, or charming [a person] may be. No [one] can ever make you feel like you are somebody. That comes from knowing how special you are to God and from becoming the person God created you to be.” (Ethridge, 34)
God tells us two important things about our identity. The first is that He is the one who made us, and second, He is the one who defines us. The person in the song is looking in the mirror and sees a reflection that is different from their own—a new one; they reveal to the mirror that they are “…looking into the eyes of He who made me [emphasis mine].” (Barlowgirl, 2004) God says in His Word that no one is an accident. He is our creator and formed and knit us in our mother’s wombs (Psalm 139:13 NIV) and that every moment of our lives was ordained by Him before we were even conceived (Palm 139:16 NIV). No one is an accident, despite what culture says, and God has given everyone who is born-again a purpose and a reason for being. “Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT) If God is our creator, then that also means that He is the one who defines us. Jackie Kendall and Debbie Jones, in their book, Lady In Waiting, give us a great picture of how God defines his people:

By spending time in God’s Word, you will also learn what God thinks of you. In [1] Peter 2:4, God says you are choice and precious to Him. He calls you precious, honored, loved, and His redeemed one in Isaiah 43:1-6. Isaiah 43:7 says you were created for His glory. You are very special to God—so special that He has plans for you: “plans for [your] welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11b) (Kendall & Jones, 102)

Those who are followers of Christ have been set free and are no longer slaves to this world. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, our creator, and it is Him we are called to imitate, and be a reflection of to our society and culture. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV) Once we have established our firm foundation in Christ, we can boldly and confidently tell our society, culture, and the mirror, “So sorry you won't define me. / Sorry you don't own me.” (Barlowgirl, 2004) The song, “Mirror” by Barlowgirl, clearly shows how American culture’s views and God’s views drastically contrast regarding a person’s image and identity.


BIBLIOGRAPHY


Barlowgirl. “Mirror.” Barlowgirl. Fervent Records/Spirit-led Records, Nashville, TN, 2004. CD.

DeMoss, Nancy Leigh. Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. Chicago, IL:
Moody Press, 2001.

Ethridge, Shannon and Stephen Arterburn. Every Young Woman’s Battle. Colorado Springs:
WaterBrook Press, 2004.

Fervent Records. “Barlowgirl Biography.” Yahoo! Music. Avaiable from http://music.yahoo.com/ar-310014-bio--Barlowgirl. Accessed 1 October 2006.

Graham, Michelle. Wanting to Be Her: Body Image Secrets Victoria Won’t Tell You. Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

Kendall, Jackie, and Debby Jones. Lady in Waiting: Becoming God’s Best While Waiting for Mr. Right (Expanded Edition). Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 2005.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Directed by David Hand, Perce Pearce, William Cottrell,
Larry Morey, Wilfred Jackson, and Ben Sharpsteen. 84 min. Walt Disney, 1994. Videocassette.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Surrender

This song by Barlowgirl is so beautiful, powerful, and convicting. I thought I'd share the lyrics with you. Enjoy!

My hands hold safely to my dreams
Clutching tightly not one has fallen
So many years I've shaped each one
Reflecting my heart showing who I am
Now you're asking me to show
What I'm holding oh so tightly
Can't open my hands can't let go
Does it matter?
Should I show you?
Can't You let me go?

Surrender, surrender You whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can't You see?
My dreams are me. My dreams are me.

You say you have a plan for me
And that you want the best for my life
Told me the world had yet to see
What you can do with one
That's committed to Your calling
I know of course what I should do
That I can't hold these dreams forever
If I give them now to You
Will You take them away forever?
Or can I dream again?

Surrender, surrender You whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can't You see?
My dreams are me. My dreams are me.

Surrender, surrender You whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can't You see?
My dreams are me. My dreams are me.