Be Still, My Soul

Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end. 

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last 

-Kathrina von Schlegal 

[first 2 verses]


True Freedom

"Absolute surrender to the perfect will of an omniscient and loving God is not slavery, but freedom."

-Paul Washer


The Wicked Without God | Job 18

I read Job 17-18 this morning for my morning devotions, and came away extremely encouraged. In Job 18, Bildad the Shuhite appears to be rebuking Job for his previous words to him. He goes on in the chapter describing the wicked, most probably, pointed at Job.

I made a list of all the statements that this man said described the wicked, and then I made up a list from other various verses throughout the Bible that describe the blessings given to the man who walks with the Lord, in direct contrast with the curses on the wicked.

The wicked without God: 
1. Lives in darkness (vs. 5)
2. Has no lamp in the world (vs. 5-6)
3. His own ways trap him (vs. vs. 7-10)
4. Is frightened by terrors on every side (vs. 11)
5. Has no strength (vs. 12)
6. Death swallows him up (vs. 13)
7. His "roots and branches" wither (vs. 16)
8. His memory perishes from the earth (vs. 17)
9. Has no future generation (vs. 19)

The following themes are ones that describe the life and blessing given to those who follow after the Lord faithfully.

The righteous with God: 
1. Lives in the light (John 12:36)
2. Has a light in the world (Matthew 5:14 or Psalm 119:105)
3. The Lord leads him in the right way (Psalm 25:9)
4. Is always hoping and looking to the Lord (Psalm 42:11)
5. Is given true strength through the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10)
6. Are conquerors over death (Romans 8:37 + 1 Corinthians 15:57)
7. Is likened to a tree by a river (Psalm 1:3)
8. Name will be confessed by Christ and remembered (Revelation 3:5)
9. Lives with true joy (John 15:11)

What an encouragement to ponder what the Lord has done for His children. We are not left in the darkness that we once walked in but are lead in paths of righteousness! 


10:58 am [Feb. 26, 2015]

Working on drawing an Assyrian soldier from the late 8th c. BC. 

...in between trying to write an Assyrian newspaper and study for a midterm exam, which is what my entire day will hold. =) 

(And yes, those guys did have very weird shields, in my opinion. ;)) 

What have you been up to recently? 


The Dangers of Complacency | Zephaniah 1:12

After my five month study on the books of Jonah and Nahum last summer, I got the idea of studying through the Minor Prophets. Admittedly, I had never really studied those books in-depth prior to the Bible Bee, but after spending months studying, memorizing, meditating and praying over many passages in the minor prophets, I knew that there was so much more in these small books than I had ever realized!

While memorizing Zephaniah 1:7-18 + Zephaniah 3 last fall, I knew that was the book I wanted to study first. I had learned so much from them, especially Zephaniah 3, as it pictured the Gospel so beautifully, the coming Messiah, and freedom from sin. There were many things that the Lord revealed to me, not only of doctrines and theology in the chapter, but also of personal application to my own life.

After starting my in-depth study of the book, there were many lessons that really stood out to me and applied directly to my life, but one of the biggest ones that impacted me was on the topic of  the danger of complacency in the Christian life.

In chapter 1, the Lord pronounces judgment on about 12 different groups of people because of their different sins. There were four main groups that really stuck out to me of how the Lord judged them.

First, He pronounces judgment on those who have completely left the Lord and gone after Baal and other idols -

"and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens..." -Zeph. 1:4-5

Second, He pronounces judgment on those who try to serve God and idols at the same time -

"and I will cut off from this place...  those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom," -Zeph. 1:5b

Third, He pronounces judgment on those who have completely left the Lord altogether and do not seek after Him anymore -

"And I will cut off from this place... those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him." -Zeph. 1:6

Lastly, He pronounces judgment on the men who are complacent in their walks with the Lord -

"At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, 'The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.'" -Zeph. 1:12 

These are the men who have not turned back from the Lord and would say that they still follow after God, and yet they are complacent and lukewarm about their position before Him. They make the statement that the Lord will do neither good or evil towards them. They are not trusting Him to do any great or marvelous things in their lives, almost believing that He might not have the power.

I thought it rather significant that the Lord puts in the same place that He will judge all of these 4 groups - from the one who has totally left God, the one who goes after Baal, the one who tries to serve idols and the One True God, as well as the one who is complacent in their walk with the Lord. 

It reminds me of the dangers of complacency and lukewarmness in the Christian life. How horrible a thing to hear on the judgment day that we were not diligent in our walk with the Lord and really not following after Him as we might have supposed. We cannot sit back in this life and think that we will get to the Kingdom through ease and comfort. We must press forward, always fighting against sin, and looking to Christ for strength to finish the task that He has set before us. 

There are many passages in the Scripture that reminds me to keep pressing on, not submitting to a complacent mindset about life. How dangerous it is to get into the thought-process that "Oh, look at how much I have done for the Lord! Now I can take it easy!" No! We must press on with all diligence! 

Hebrews 12:2 - "let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." 

1 Corinthians 9:24 - "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it."

Matthew 11:12 - "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force."

And may we remember the letter written to Laodiceans in Revelation 3, where God says to them that He will spew them out of His mouth because they were lukewarm instead of being either cold or hot. They thought themselves, that they had made much progress in the world, thinking they were rich, progressed and in need of nothing, when in reality, they were poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17). 

Let us not deceive ourselves in where we are at, thinking that we may stop here. We must press on to the goal, giving all diligence. 

What have you been learning in the Word recently? 


Year in Review {Part 3}

So, August started out fairly uneventful... mainly just trying to catch up in Bible Bee studying and preparing for Locals. Our grandpa came and visited us for the month though, and came to know the Lord in that time! That was definitely a huge highlight of the month and year for our family!

Locals was amazing! Of all the 4 years that I've competed in the Bible Bee, I would definitely have to say this was my favorite in all regards... the books we studied, Locals, nationals, and just all of it! And I was so grateful to the Lord that He allowed me to qualify for the national level! Had an 8 way tie for 112th place, 120th place being the cut-off for nationals!

And then, from September 1st - October 30th, was *major* studying. Studying like never before. All I did all day long was studying. =) Even though I was so worn out by the end, it was totally worth it and I would never change it for anything! The lessons and insights I learned from Nahum are priceless, and I still think back on those studying days as one I so enjoyed!

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a very detailed person. And this was definitely one of my favorite parts of all the studying - taking tons of notes and making lots of graphs to help me understand concepts better in the book! 

But after all the studying, we went to Florida for Nationals! For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to visit Florida, so this was like a dream come true. And yes, this is the best picture I got while in FL because I was too busy doing other things to take pictures... and no, I didn't go swimming, I was too busy to do that, too. ;) 

Competed at nationals for the last time... 

Got to see all my MV friends! xD This was such a great meet-up and so glad we got a picture, since all of us were so busy talking, I think most of us forget till the very end... xP 

Got to meet Shiloh and Bethany after knowing Bethany for almost a year! 

Got to spend more time with these great friends! =]

And I know I already put this in an earlier post, but this year was the first time I went on a roller-coaster and it was so amazing! XD Can't describe the thrilled feeling going on one of those. I still talk with my siblings about the next time we'll be able to. =) 

And, of course, when you're in the van for 45 hours in the span of 7 days, you have to take lots of goofy pictures with your little sis. xP 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with relatives. I think this was the first time in the last 4 years that we decided to actually have turkey... but all the food was amazing and totally enjoyed all of it! Even the turkey. ;) 

And finally! After getting home, and putting away all the Bible Bee notes, charts, schedules, verse cards, lists and whatever else, I finally got my desk cleaned off, for like the first time in 3 months! Such a wonderful feeling, though I'm afraid it's back to looking a little messy... ;) 

So enjoy hanging out with these girls from my Church! 

And I got to see these great friends again in December! And got the picture we forgot to at nationals! Can't wait to see you guys again soon, Lord willing!

On December 9th, myself, and 3 of my siblings attended The Messiah! It was an incredible evening, and absolutely amazing to listen to! So thankful for the opportunity to hear it live!

And that concludes the year in review posts. =) Anything exciting happen for you all during the months of August and December? Looking forward to seeing what the rest of 2015 has in store! 


Year in Review {Part 2}

I think that the rest of the year was a lot more exciting than what I just reviewed because it wasn't all just school and studying. =) So, yeah, this is part two - June and July. =] 

June 1st we opened our Bible Bee box. And no, we did not open it at midnight, like I've heard others did. ;) But this sight is a normal one for me... all spread out on my bedroom floor with all my notes and highlighters to do my studying. 

When I first heard that we were studying Jonah, I thought it was a little different to study a minor prophet vs. an epistle. But a couple weeks in, I knew I enjoyed this so much more than I was expecting! It was wonderful to shift focus and study from a different part of the Bible! So enjoyed the study though, and learned SO much from that book! Definitely my favorite Bible Bee year! 

This picture was taken at my graduation, June 6th, with my amazing parents! Wow. It's still hard to believe that I won't ever have to go back to all the school books... the daily grind of math, science, history, literature, writing, grammar, etc. I had the privilege of quoting the book of Philippians for my graduation, something I immensely enjoyed doing! And many thanks to my family and friends for encouraging me on so much the last year of schooling! 

And then after June 6th...our family did something we'd never done before! We went on a family vacation to Ohio to visit some really good Bible Bee friends! I had been dreaming and praying for the past several months that it would work out, and the Lord was very gracious is working all the details out so well! I still think about our time there and the kindness of our hosts. =] 

When we first arrived, we went to a little Bible Bee meeting, which was so fun! It was great reuniting with different people that I hadn't seen since last nationals! 

And a definite highlight of the day was getting to meet Sarah and Rebekah for the first time! I had known Sarah for about a year from on-line so it was great finally getting to see her for the first time as well as meet one of her brothers and sisters! Sarah! It was so fun getting to meet you! Thank you for your friendship, and hopefully we'll get to see you again this year!! 

All the girls. xD So enjoyed spending time with them that Thursday! 

And then we stayed with the A's for 4 days. XD It was great getting to know their whole family more! Enjoyed spending time with Rosie... cooking, talking, playing piano, and playing games.. with her other siblings of course! 

And I got to meet their little sister. =) Which was so much fun. She's such a sweetie and I loved getting to hold her. ^_^ 

And then they took us to a Creation science center which was really cool. Happened to enjoy the tour and outside activities so much that this was the only good picture we got. This was one of the neat outside activities we got to do... as well as going on a zip line, airplane swings, etc. 

And then on Saturday we had another get together! We got to meet the E's, as well as getting to see the W's again! Yup! This was all us kids from the 4 families. =) 

And then we had to say goodbye, which was so hard. =/ Of course, we had to get lots of pictures, and all left eagerly waiting for the next time we could see them again! 

And just a neat little fact... from both our families, we have 11 kids that have competed in the Bible Bee in the past years. xD 

On the 12 hour ride home, everyone was pretty sad to leave and just thinking about the amazing time we had the past week. Apparently our dad started texting about how the trip ride home was going, and we invited them to come and see us, thinking that it probably wouldn't work out. Lo and behold, they said it would! And so we set up for them to come visit us a month later! 

Though, 4 days before they come and visited us, we went down to Hannibal, MO to attend the Scriptorium! It was a great event of getting to hear different people from other states quoting Scripture! Throughout the past couple months, our family worked on memorizing Matthew 1-9 together, and it was wonderful getting to quote it for others! 

And for those of you who might be interested, we are now hosting a Scriptorium here, local to where we live! You can visit the site here - https://kcscriptorium.wordpress.com/ - for more info. =) 

All the kids from our two families. =] 

And again, I didn't get hardly any pictures. The 9 oldest kids from our families went out and did some flash-mobbing at local stores around us... which was so funny + ridiculous. Almost opted out of doing it, but was finally convinced in by my older brother. xD So glad I did in the end. ;) We got some great reactions, and I'm pretty sure we'll probably do it again sometime in the future... maybe. =p 

Christian, Rosie, myself, Carissa, Amy and Nicolas. 

So enjoyed spending the week with these people! Stayed up wayyyy too late most nights laughing, talking and playing games. =) And again, it was hard having to say good-bye to them. =/ 

Rosie and I! And yes, we are *still* trying to keep up our tradition from last year of getting a picture every time we see each other! So enjoyed getting to see you again, Rosie! 

And during this whole time, everyone is cramming for Bible Bee! Actually, I dunno if I should use the word cram, since we don't have the load we do for nationals. but we did try to study a little with all the traveling and seeing friends! xP

And next part up next will be of August - December! And after that, hopefully, I'll be able to post about life here and now. =]

Did you do anything neat in June and July of last year?