The Heavens Declare (Psalm 19)

The Psalms are all so beautiful that it's very hard to for me to pick a favorite one! I do have favorites, though, and among my favorites is Psalms 19, in which the psalmist begins by saying "the heavens declare the glory of God". It's true! When I see a beautiful sunset, I'm reminded of the stunning glory of God- and thankful that He allows us to experience just tiny glimpse of it through natural beauties like breathtaking sunsets. Below is Psalm 19, accompanied by some snapshots of sunsets over the years. (Note: the photos below are mine.)

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 

Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. 

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; 

the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!

Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


Be the Change

most people are waiting
they're waiting for the change
the change that will change the world
reform it
refresh it
renew it
remind it
of what it was, is, and could still be

these people have the right idea
but they're missing the key component
it rests in one simple word swap

when you change it, it goes like this:

some people are being
they're being the change
the change that is changing the world
reforming it
refreshing it
renewing it
reminding it
of what it was, is, and is becoming

and they're people just like you
not all professors
or scientists
or phd's

they're parents
and teenagers
and kids
and older people
just doing what God has put in place for them to do

the world just needs you
being where God has placed you
doing His will in your life

the world just needs you
being the change
right where you are
in every single area of your life

and you know what?
it might be something huge

if it is, that's amazing
and if isn't, that's amazing too
becuase it means
that He has something much better in store for you

and remember
even small things can be can worth more than we think
they usually are

so just be where He has you
don't wait for the change
be the change
in every single thing you do

don't wait for the change
be the change

becuase, remember that
"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.." // Philippians 4:13 

and that's the only way that we can ever be the change- through Him

this picture reminds me of what the world could begin to look like.... if we all began to be the change


Just some random thoughts, mostly to myself. It's not quite a poem, but it's not quite a regular type of post either. It's mainly just some scattered thoughts that I attempted to put together as a post. Anyway, I hope it can somehow inspire  you- along with me- to be the change in the world by simply doing what God has for us to do- no matter what it is. ♥


Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided


Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours


Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and loved like You did


You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet


'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever


lyric excerpts copyright by Casting Crowns

Jesus, help us all to see that we truly are all the least of these.... so undeserving of the love that you have poured out on those of us who you have called your children. May we learn how to stop judging and love more like you did- becuase you came for the sinners just like me. ♥


The Sunshine Blogger Award

Hello, lovely readers!
Savannah  kindly nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger award, and since I haven't done a tag for quite a long time, I decided to give it a try. Thanks again, Savannah!

~ Rules ~
 ~Answer 11 questions from your nominee
~Tag 11 bloggers
~Ask them 11 new questions

Do you own any signed books?
I have a signed copy of The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser, written by the lovely Hosanna Emily.

What are three of the prettiest books you own? Here's two of my favorite book covers that I own:

If you could re-write the ending of one book, which book would it be? I'm going to have to think about this one for a while.......

What is the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it? A recent new movie I watched was Is Genesis History? It's a great documentary, by the way. :)

How did you come up with the title for your blog? The title of my blog reflects what I wanted my readers to realize through what they saw here; their ultimate Purpose and Promise. I did have quite a time coming up with a name that fit, but I'm pretty happy with it. :)

What's one of your favorite memories from 2017 (so far)? 2017 has had some great memories so far, but I would have to say that one of my top favorites would be the amazing trip that I went on with my church's youth group in February. 

How is a raven like a writing desk? They are both related to writing. xD

What are your three favorite fandoms? I'm honestly not into the "fangirl" type of thing that most people are for their favorite music, movies, books, etc. Since I assume that most the things that most people have fandoms about fall into one of those three categories, I'll shift the question around a little bit. My favorite fiction book is definitely The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. One of my favorite musics artists is Casting Crowns, and the Anne of Green Gables movies would be up there with my favorite movies. 

Do you prefer writing by hand or typing?  It depends, really. For short stories and some poems, I like handwriting them, but I always type from second drafts on for longer works. 

What's a story you'd like someone to do a re-telling of? A Little Princess would be an intriguing start for a re-telling....

~ Questions ~

~ What is your favorite devotional book?
~What are five of your favorite blogs?
~What is your favorite book, music artist/band, and movie?
~ Is there a story behind your blog's name?
~ What question would you ask your favorite author is you had the chance?
~What is the last movie you saw, and how did you like it?
What is one tip you would give bloggers who are trying to reflect Christ in all their posts?
~ What are your three favorite books that you own?
~ What is one of your best memories from 2017 so far?
~ What is your favorite Christian Living post that you've read/posted in the last month?
~ Do you own any signed books? 

~ Nominees ~

Hosanna Emily @ Having a Heart Like His
Anna @ Just Anna
Kara Lynn @ Saved by Grace

....and you! Feel free to use this tag if you'd like. 

Thanks for reading! ♥


but they do

the little girl sits alone and helpless
on the ground of a dirty subway entry
she just sits, holding out her hand
asking for money to buy some food
you know what you've been told
about beggars and thieves
- and orphaned children-
it's the same heartless words
that every visitor hears
but this time you just can't ignore
the feeling that you have
you've seen them before
but somehow, this time it's different
you drop two coins into her hand
as you pass by, she glances up
her dark eyes hold yours
and you can't help but stare into them
they hold such sorrow
such grief and pain
that a child's eyes should never see
but they do

you can't forget that little girl's eyes
as she sits alone
her skinny body shivering with cold
and her dark eyes staring at nothing
waiting for a penny
that might never come
you tell yourself "of course I'd do more
if I really knew how, if I really could
but that's just one- one little girl
and two coins that will be gone tomorrow
what good will they do?
nothing. not much. they don't matter"
but they do

weeks go by, but still
you can't forget that little girl's face
on the last day, you take the same route
hoping that you might see
that little girl a gain somehow
you don't even know what you'd do
if you saw her again, you just know
you have to do something
you approach the place where you last saw her
and eagerly look around
but it;s empty- no signs of life
except for the subway janitor, sweeping nearby
you know it's crazy, but you walk over
and ask about the little girl
the man says that just yesterday
a beggar child was taken away-
because she died
you just know it was her
and with silent tears, you turn and walk away
they don't care
but you do

years pass and you live your life
but somehow, you can never forget that day
then one day comes- it's your day at last
as you enter the golden gates
you're overjoyed and overwhelmed
suddenly, you see those eyes staring back at yours
and that little girl greets you
with all the gratefulness there ever was
you can't believe it
as she leads a group of children to you
five children you've never seen before
yet they're thanking you for setting them free
"from what?' you ask, "who are you?"
and they reply, "we're her siblings
and becuase of you, we are all here
that day, you gave us all something so precious 
you see, our sister ran home with the coins
and used them to buy some food that day
she met a missionary at the market
who came back to our hut and told us about Jesus
and just a few weeks later
our sister suddenly died-
but not without hope"

you're amazed and stunned
that just two little coins
had saved six precious lives
through God's grace
you thought it didn't matter
then you hear a Voice that says
"truly, when you do it for the least of these
you do it for Me
you thought it didn't matter
but they do- 
and I do"

~written 1.29.17

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ // Matthew 25:40


Count the Stars (a short story)

As you might  have guessed from the title of this post, I'm sharing something with all you lovely readers today- a short story! It's one I wrote a few weeks ago, called Count the Stars. 
It really is a short story, only about 1800 words, and it literally came out of nowhere. I was just thinking over some titles/excerpts that I'd written down one night, and one title that I had jotted down somewhere was Count the Stars. I really wanted to use it for something, and somehow, this little story just came to me all at once (which never happens, believe me). Maybe it's not the best idea to start with a title for a story and work your way down, but it seemed to work pretty well this time :)
I wanted to have it in a nice PDF format so you could just click the cover and read the story, but I couldn't get that figured out in time, so you'll just have to read it in this post. You can also check out a little graphics collage I made for the story on my short stories page, along with the updated format and graphics for my other short story, Looking for the Light. Enjoy!

The back door closed with a soft thud as Amelia quietly slipped out into the darkness of the spring night. It was one of those nights where you can’t help but feel inspired somehow, out among the quiet stillness broken only by the faint hum of crickets and the soft rushing of the little creek just a few yards away.  However, for Amelia, the loveliness of the night was lost- buried by her own muddled thoughts rushing around in her mind.
She stepped off the back porch into the soft, cool grass. Her toes sank deep into it as she rounded the corner of the house.
She wasn’t even exactly sure where she was headed. She only knew that she could think better outdoors than anywhere else- and thinking was what she needed to do the most right now.
Amelia barely noticed as her feet followed the already-familiar path past the house and small outbuildings, down a gently sloping hill, and into a small, thick grove of pine trees.
She walked past the old tree house built high up among a certain sturdy pine, and over the log that spanned the small rushing creek as a bridge.
She finally stopped where she knew she would end up at. The cluster of huge, rounded pines just beyond the creek hid the entrance to one of her favorite places on earth.
Stooping, Amelia gently pulled back a few select pine boughs close to the ground to reveal a small natural opening in one of the pines close to the bottom, about four feet high. She carefully stepped in and let the branches close back behind her, concealing the opening.  
She was alone in her secret hideout, the one she had discovered nine years ago as an eager, happy seven-year-old playing hide-and-seek in the woods surrounding her new home.
The moment that Amelia had stepped through that opening for the first time, she knew that she had found her secret haven. The group of four large pines were clustered together in such a way that the trunks were quite close together. Due to some cause, the bottom four feet of the tree boughs had been clipped out, forming a nearly perfect round little cave under the cool dark pine boughs. However, that wasn’t even the best part.
Once, while coming to her hideout to think, she had laid back on the soft, cool grass to look up at the dark green limbs above her. To her surprise, pine boughs were not the only thing she could see.
Directly above her, the four trees’ tips came together to form a round hole at the center, about two feet across. Through that little hole, the sky was visible overhead, in all its cloudless blue.
Even as a seven-year-old, Amelia had had enough sense to know that such a place deserved to be kept a secret, and she had faithfully done so all these years.
She had visited her secret hideaway often at first, then, as other things began calling her attention, she had nearly forgotten about her secret hideout under the pines, with its breathtaking view of the sky overhead.
Now, as she once again stepped into her hideaway, it was as if time stood still. The little round room under the pines was unchanged, looking exactly as it had looked nearly two years ago- the last time Amelia could recall visiting it.
Everything was still there- the wooden box containing the treasures most sacred to her girlish heart, the blanket folded on top of the softest patch of grass, and the nail driven into the trunk of one of the pines, which held a small pair of binoculars. She had often used them to gaze up at the birds’ nests which were abundant in the uppermost branches in the springtime and late summer.
Amelia reached down and unfolded the blanket. She sat down, and reach over to pull the wooden box onto her lap.
Opening the lid brought forth a rush of memories.
There was that special necklace her best friend had given her the day that she and her family have moved to Mexico to become missionaries- five years ago. Amelia hadn’t seen Sarah since.
There was that little magnifying glass that she had often used to study ladybugs under, and  a folded handkerchief which contained her stash of sunflower seeds that she had meant to plant every summer for the past four years.
At the bottom of the box was something with a soft cover. Amelia reached in and drew  it out. It was her little pocket Bible- the one she had been given for her ninth birthday. She had been amazed that the whole Bible could be printed in a book so small.  
With her fingers still closed around the little Bible, Amelia let the rest of the contents of the box fall to the ground as she laid back on the blanket, her eyes blurred with tears.
All of these memories were almost too much for her to handle right now. Especially combined with all the thoughts already whirling around in her tired, confused mind.
There were just too many choices and decisions and changes coming at her at one time. It was too much. Why had God allowed all of this? Didn’t He even care about what was going on in her life right now?
God, this is too much! I can’t handle all of this right now, on my own. I’m not even sure if you still care. I don’t have the strength-. it’s just too much!
Amelia lay on her stomach with the soft, cool grass underneath her, sobbing quietly to herself for nearly ten minutes. Finally, she wiped her eyes with her sleeve and rolled over on her back.
At that moment, her gaze was transfixed. That little round opening in the in the trees above her revealed a sight that she had never seen before- a little round patch of pure beauty. It was the dark night sky, studded with the most clear, brilliant stars that you could imagine.
They were so vivid that Amelia had seen photographs of stars that could not be compared to these. They were beyond anything any photo could ever depict. They were real.
Time stood still as Amelia lay on her back and stared up at that little piece of the night sky so vividly portrayed to her at that moment. She knew that God was trying to tell her something.
Dragging her gaze away from the spectacular view above her, she brought her pocket Bible onto her lap and began flipping through it slowly. She suddenly stopped as her eyes fell on a certain page from Isaiah.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:26-31

Amelia sat with her gaze fixed on the words on the page in front of her. She had heard of God speaking straight to people through the Bible, but up until now, she wasn’t sure if she really believed it or not. After all, the world was so big, and God had so much to do. Why would He bother to speak directly to someone like her?
There was no doubt in her mind now.
God- the same God who had spoken the stars into existence, who had named them all, who kept them all in place- cared for her, and what was happening in her life. The same God who had numbered the billions of stars above had numbered the days of her life, and had planned them out for His glory and her good.
Count the stars, Amelia could feel God whispering to her. Count the stars, if you can. As many stars as there are in the universe, My love for you is infinitely bigger. My plan for your life is ultimately better than anything you could imagine. I care for you more than for all the stars in the sky that I breathed into existence and named, one by one. Nothing is too hard for you- you will not be on your own. I will be with you. My love for you outnumbers the stars.
Amelia sat up slowly and wiped the tears from her eyes again. This time, they were tears of joy.
Carefully, she folded the blanket and tucked it into its spot again. Gathering up the little treasures that had spilled from the box, she scooped them back inside and closed the lid.
She set the box back in its little corner and looked around. Everything looked undisturbed and just as it had an hour before. Everything, that is, except for her heart. It had been touched with a tangible reminder of God’s love in a way that she would never forget.
Feeling for the branches that covered the secret opening, Amelia looked up for one more glimpse of the starry sky above through the round opening. Thank you, Lord, she whispered to herself.
With the little Bible clutched in her hand, Amelia gently pushed back through the secret opening. As the branches closed behind her, her heart felt lighter than it had for a long time.
As her feet traced the familiar path back to the house, she kept her gaze fixed on the night sky above her. Those special words were still echoing around in her head.
Count the stars. I will be with you. My love for you outnumbers the stars.


The Vinedresser

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15: 1-8 


John chapter 15 starts off by talking about fruit, vines, and branches. It can get a little confusing unless you understand a little bit behind the analogy that Jesus is using, and why He would choose to use such an analogy to describe Himself. 

Do you know what a vinedresser is? At first, I assumed that it was just a another name for a farmer. When I looked into the meaning of the word, I found out that a vinedresser was much more than just an ordinary farmer. The vinedresser was the one who cared for the fruit-bearing vines specifically. Caring for vines like that- such as grape vines- is no easy task. Even though they only produce fruit during certain seasons, they require much care and upkeep all year round. Pruning, fertilizing, watering, etc. takes a lot of time, and the vinedresser was the one that would take the time to do all that, in order to nurture the vines so they could grow better. Then he had to turn around and do it all over again. Most fruit-bearing vines, like grapes, are not just annual plants. They last years and years if properly cared for- but years and years of hard work are required to make sure that the desired effect of fruit is produced.

This analogy is a wonderful example of how God works in our lives. He is our Vinedresser, constantly taking care of us and guiding us so we can produce the desired effect of belonging to Him- the fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes, that requires things that we might not like so much. One thing that comes to mind is "spiritual pruning"- the things that God uses in our lives to prune us back so that eventually, we become more like Him. Often, God uses difficult times and experiences in our lives to do this. It's easy to become doubtful and wonder why God would allow us to go through tough times, and I have wondered about that myself. However, it becomes easier when we remember that God is working through those times, pruning us so we are transformed more into the likeness of His son, the true Vine.

 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5