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I’m in love with someone. He’s not like any other. There never could be another like Him.

He loves me more than anyone else. He asked me to love Him and live for Him.

I knew my choice would change my life forever. Once I made the decision, there would be no going back.

He would be my life now. I knew there would be a price to pay for my decision too. It would be paid for with blood… not my blood, but His.

He is my one true Love. Very few will ever understand that. Those that don’t will try to separate us, but they will fail.

Evil surrounds me, trying to crush me and bring me down. But He never lets them get near enough to touch me. He always protects me, as He promised to.

When He speaks, my heart stops. I know His voice, I dream about it day and night. I know His touch, I feel it with me always. I know His heart, He shares it with me always.

His love for me is overpowering. But yet constant. There is nothing that I can do to change that. I know there is nothing that can separate us.

I have made my choice. I am His. Always. I know it will be hard. But it’s such a small price to pay to live in His love, and know Him like I could know no other. And when death comes to take me away, I know it is just the beginning of my life forever with Him. My dearest love.


My dear girls,

You’re probably wonder “Are you writing a romance novel, Danica?”  Well… Not exactly. I’m writing of my love and relationship with Christ.

I’ve just recently seen Twilight, the movie. I read the books a while back (A friend of mine sent the first book to me as a Christmas present 2 years ago), and both liked and disliked them.

One of the things that I strongly disliked is the seed of lust that reading these books quietly plants into the hearts of the young girls who read them. It is a beautiful story in it’s own way, it brings forth a view of how God truly created the roles of men and women to be. (The man being the protector and the provider, and the woman being the supporter and seeing him for who he strives to be.)
Though it’s beautiful, it still is poison in some ways. By putting the good morals of Edward in a romantic story of lust, the author (though unintentionally) feeds you the sweet and decadent taste of chocolate moose and slips cyanide into it. What is sweet and romantic is also deadly.

Today, as I was talking to a fellow Christian young woman about this blog, she encouraged me to make sure that everyone understood my heart on this.
I am different.
I know a lot of people who read romance books cannot help but “Awaken Love Early” (as Song of Solomon 8:4 talks about. “I adjure you, O daughters, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases”), and have it start to claw at their hearts, and they start to desire to have a love of their own.
But for me I don’t have that desire, I read the books and think “Wow, that is beautiful” and see how it connects to my relationship with Christ. -Which I will get to in a moment.

So, something that does not effect me, may offend or hurt someone else.  -Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that makes me better. Not at all. Just that I am different, and that is how Father has created me to be.

Basically what I am trying to say is, PLEASE talk to your parents and maybe even a deep Christian friend who knows you and your heart BEFORE you read these books or watch the movie. Ask them if they think this series will mislead you and injure you, or if they think you are someone who will not be affected by it.

Now, as for how I see the resemblance of my relationship with Christ in Twilight…

Edward has an uncontrollable urge to be overprotective of Bella, he can read people’s thoughts and gets edgy even when someone looks at her in a lustful way.
Christ is the same way with us, dear girls. He is very protective of us, and keeps us safe from things we could not imagine that could happen to us.

Bella loves Edward whole heartedly, and she’s willing to change her ways (in this case, become a Vampire like him) to stay with him for as long as she can, and be able to love him more.
Like Bella, we should be willing to lay down everything, even our very lives, for Christ and our love for Him.

Bella and Edward know that there can be no other person they could ever love as much as they love each other. When they are away from each other, they both burn to be with one another.
The same is with my love for Christ. I know I can NEVER love anyone (or anything) more than I love Christ. When I am in sin, and have stepped away from His love, I ache to be back again. It burns a hole in my chest. (Worse than Bella’s in New Moon. 😉 :P)

Edward treasures Bella, like she was air itself. He goes out of his way to bless her, and let her know that she is his precious one.
We are dearly beloved in Christ’s eyes, and He treasures us like we cannot comprehend! He is constantly showering us in blessings, if we just let Him.

Bella is weak and knows it, she has her faults and is clumsy. She is astounded that someone so amazing and beautiful as Edward can love someone like her so much. She leans on Edward and his strength, and depends upon him to hold her up when she falls.
The same should be how we are with Christ. We are weak, and we are utterly dependent upon Him, and His strength (not our own) to keep us from falling. And should CONSTANTLY be amazed that Jesus can love us so much, when we are such a weak and clumsy being, full of problems.

Edward knows Bella is created for him (in the books he talks about waiting for her for years, and knows that she was created for him, and vice versa), and he is willing to do whatever it takes to make her his bride.
We are made for Christ, and Christ alone. And He has laid down His life to free us from the bonds of Hell, and to allow us the freedom to be His Bride. (The bible constantly refers to Christ as the Bridegroom, and Christians, the body of Christ -that’s us, dear girls- as the Bride.)

Are you seeing the connection? 🙂 I have plenty more if you’d like to hear it!

Now for the review of the movie itself…
(Note: this is almost a seperate blog in itself, if you’re not familiar with Twilight -both book and movie- you probably should not read further. You’ll need a to have a bit of understanding of the Twilight series to read the next part of this blog)

—————-
“You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you, my dear”
“You are my life now”
“I feel very protective of you”
“I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore”

What girl wouldn’t want the man who loves her to say these things to her? (Even if he is a love-sick Vampire that is struggling with not taking a bite out of her neck and sucking the life out of her.)
These are some of the lines from the famous “Edward Cullen” in the movie “Twilight”.
Yes, you guessed right, I caved and went to go see it this weekend.

Now before some of you groan and say “NOT YOU TOO!!!”, I want to explain something first.

The reason that Twilight is so addicting and popular among teenage girls is because of some of the morals in the books/movie. Edward, the strong, handsome Vampire, is utterly in love with Bella and drawn to her uncontrollably,and has a desire to protect and provide for her. That is how God created men.

Bella, loves Edward for the man he strives to be -not how his instincts make him.  She is willing to be the weaker vessel to let him lead and be the man, and follow him wherever he needs to go. That is how God created women.
Our culture tries to shove the whole “Woman of Power” thing down our throat, and we’re constantly pummeled with feminist views of the sexes sharing equal roles.

Our young women (and even men) crave to play the roles of who God has created them to be, but they don’t know how and when they even try to make an effort to be the role of a man or woman, they are beaten down and considered a freak.

No wonder Twilight is so popular. It speaks against our culture and encourages us to be men and women with differences, not androgynous blurs who have the same abilities. It gives us a desire to be what God created us.

(I’m not saying it’s a Christian book or movie, because it’s not. But it does have some good morals in them if you just look.)

Here are some of the points that I DID and DID NOT like about the movie.
(Warning: if you haven’t read the book/s there may be a few spoilers in here. I promise nothing will ruin the story for you, but it still will have some things that you wouldn’t normally see from the trailers.)

I DON’T like how you seem to be assaulted by the intense music throughout the whole movie. It may have just been because we were in the theater and in the front row, but I still felt like they put on an extra layer of heavy music to wrap your emotions into it. It almost pushed me too far and I am an auditory person who LOVES music.

I DO like how Edward makes an effort to be a gentleman. Granted, that is how he is raised. He’s quite a good example of how all boys and young men should respect women, with a few exceptions… which I’ll mention later on.

I DON’T like how Bella is so selfish and doesn’t think of others before herself. (More so in the book than in the movie.) Though she thinks she is giving up things for her loved ones, like moving away so that her mom and step-dad can have time together, despite pouting about it all the time. What purpose is giving such a gift of sacrifice if your heart is not in it and you pout about it all the time? (Father looks at the heart and the motivation, and if our hearts are not in it, the sacrifice is not a joy to Him.)

I DO like how the Cullen’s have such a high value of family. Most families these days are broken, or dysfunctional, or just flat out do not know how to act like a family. The Cullens, however, stick together and make choices that are best for everyone in the family, not just themselves.

At one point the family needs to all help get Bella to safety and they all have ‘jobs’ to do. One member of the family states their lack of concern for Bella and says they don’t care what happens to her, they won’t do their job. Doctor Cullen (the fatherly character) quickly reproves them and says “Bella is with Edward now. She’s a part of this family, and we protect our family. You will do it.” This is probably where Edward gets his standards for being a gentleman.

I DON’T like how Edward and Bella jump into a relationship and assume that all privileges and pleasures that go with a married relationship are theirs to experience in their first few weeks of knowing each other. (Minor spoiler alert: But important!) Edward startles Bella, as she’s sitting on her bed, about to go to sleep.
He says “I wanted to try something”, and leans forward to gently kiss her. Because he thirsts for her blood, he is trying to fight the temptation of mauling her to death while smooching her. (He hasn’t ever kissed a girl romantically before. -Will explain about that later) They both are thrown into a passionate frenzy and throw themselves onto her bed, where you see that she isn’t wearing any pants at all, but small undies. (It is rather gross)
They don’t really do anything because Edward stops and says that he “can’t loose control with her”, but you get the feeling that were he not a Vampire, he would have gone the whole 9 yards quite happily. (“Like a lamb to the slaughter”)

I’m sure the script writer and director wanted it to be a cute little moment of pleasure, but it truly disgusted me, and my opinion of both Edward and Bella went down a few notches.  (Not to mention the people who wrote the screenplay)

I DO like how much Charlie makes an effort to be a good father to Bella after nearly 15 years of not having a child around for longer than a week or so. Throughout the whole movie you see plenty of cute little gestures that he has made to protect Bella, and make her comfortable. Enough to make you want to say “Awww, he’s such a sweet dad. He’s making such an effort.”

My friend, who went to see it with me, and I actually did say that. 😛 We both “awwed” at Charlie’s efforts, and thought he was doing a good job at trying to restore his relationship with his daughter.

Sadly though, Bella shrugs off his efforts and doesn’t even try to see how much he is struggling with it, and she repays him with a cold shoulder while she goes off to pout about having to be in a town she doesn’t like. (Even though she made the decision to come)

I DON’T like how Jessica, Bella’s “Friend”, freely talks about showing off some of her body parts. Several outfits she wears make you cringe, and involuntarily “UGH” out loud, especially when she is prom dress hunting with some friends.

I DO like how the movie makes you remember the danger of hanging out with the Vampires. Of course you’d trust them not to eat you, but there is still the danger of their instinct to kill. It’s self control that keeps them from devouring their friends and the people that are around them every day.
That kind of self-control is very commendable. Some of us just wish we could have a portion of that kind of self-control over the Holidays with all the delicious food around. 😉

I DON’T like how the movie skips a lot from the book. There was so much more Christlike love from the Cullens, amusing scenes with various characters, a deeper perspective of Edward’s character, more family time between the Cullens and Bella, and a lot of important details of the Cullen’s story in the book that you entirely miss in the movie.

I DO like how Edward seems to be pure, and has waited patiently for his soulmate for almost 100 years now. His line of “You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you, my dear” makes us believe that he has lead a pure life, even though it was lonely. Obviously it’d be easier to wait for your soulmate if you rarely ever met someone of your own kind, and those who you do meet are meat-lovers while you’re a vegetarian. (Plus the added bonus of having an instinct to eat humans sort of puts a damper on having a relationship with one of them.) But it still is commendable that he has kept himself for one woman only.

I DON’T like the age difference between Bella and Edward. Sorry, but does anyone else find it just a wee bit creepy that an 100 year old Vampire has this huge lust-crush on a 17 year old girl?
(Granted, it’s not as creepy as Doctor Who, with 19 year old Rose snogging the 900 year old Time Lord. *shudders*)

I DO like how Edward is truly scared for Bella’s soul and not just for her life here on earth. It subtly hints that they believe in Heaven and Hell. The Vampires are immortal, and Edward refuses to do that to Bella by turning her into a Vampire (something she begs him to do), for fear of what it may do to her soul. He wants her to live a mortal life, ‘as it should be’ he says, and not be ‘eternally damned’.

I DON’T like how a young Bella, at 17, thinks she can be as deeply in love with Edward as she is supposed to seem, and still be as selfish as she wants to be. There’s no suggestion that a parent should be involved in their relationship, they’re supposed to “rough it” by themselves. I’m sorry, but that’s just not how it’s supposed to be. Parents were created to help and guide, and even protect their children. Especially when they’re ONLY 17! 😦
Neither Bella, nor Edward include their families in their relationship, and they don’t even want accountability or encouragement from friends even. They just want each other, and they think that’s enough.
Bella even makes a huge effort to keep her relationship with Edward under wraps, and doesn’t say anything to her mom or dad. (Several times she starts to say something, then stops.)
Yes, I understand that she’s trying to protect the Cullens by not saying anything about her “Vampire Boyfriend and his family”, but she’s deluded herself into thinking that she can’t tell her mum about her relationship without mentioning that he’s a Vampire. (My 9 year old sister can come up with dozens of ways for Bella to tell her mom about her relationship with Edward and not give away his secret.)

I DO like how the whole Cullen family has decided to strive so hard against their instincts (and desires) and not take human life for the sake of their own needs or pleasure. It’s a long and difficult battle to become, as they call it, “vegetarians”, but the result is life for dozens of human beings. I also appreciate Doctor Cullen’s effort to save lives instead. He studied for years to become a doctor and worked very hard to be immune to the smell and sight of blood. Even when he’s just working at the Hospital you can tell that he has the respect of his fellow co-workers, and he has a deep sense of caring for his patients to the best of his abilities.

Bottom line; I don’t like Bella (not even in the books). I don’t like how they didn’t have more of the whole Cullen family. I don’t like how Robert Pattinson portrayed Edward (he seems too shy. In the books Edward is supposed to be alluring and eloquent. He needs to speak fluently and not trip over himself like Robert does). I don’t like how they don’t talk about Jasper’s abilities (that’s always fun). I miss Alice’s close friendship with Bella -they don’t have that in the movie. I don’t like how quickly Bella and Edward jump into playing kissy-face. And I didn’t like the scene in the woods when Edward decides to reveal himself completely to Bella -it seemed too rushed to me (in the book it’s more gradual, and he eased her into it, thinking that she couldn’t handle some of the facts.).

However I really like Edward’s thoughtfulness and efforts to be gentlemanly. I liked Alice -even though she wasn’t in it much. I loved how they made Doctor Cullen and Esme seem like a close mother and father -I liked their relationship together and you can tell they really love each other. I like Emmett and how he was portrayed -he was always one of my favorite characters, this just made me like him even more.  I loved Charlie and how much he wanted to be a dad -you didn’t get the full extent of this in the books, but the movies play it out nicely. And I just flat out love the morals of the Cullen family.

Even though this sounds like I hated the movie, that’s not true. I really enjoyed it!
All in all, it was a fun movie with some good morals to it.
I will probably go watch it again in theaters if it ever reaches the dollar theater. I might even try to take my mom, my 14 year old sister, and maybe even my 16 year old brother to see it as well. (He’d really like some of the fight scenes)

I think that some boys would like the action, they made sure that the movie had plenty of fun vampire fight scenes that kept you on the edge of your seat. And they had some awesome beefed up Volvo and super Jeep scenes that make you groan in appreciation for the power behind the engine. (My friend and I sat there going “Ohhh, ohhhhhh, ohhhhhhhhhh!!! That’s such a sweet car!”)

I think that Twilight is a fun movie to just sit back and enjoy. It’s even more fun when you can watch it in a theater, and have your senses absorb all the sights and sounds that this movie has to offer.
I’d whole-heartedly suggest that you talk to a parent before going to watch this movie, and to have a deep conversation about it when you’ve seen it. It’s very good for deep discussions, and for thoughts on how your relationship with Christ should look like. (Without the lust and romantic schmoozyness.)

To be honest, I probably would not have gone to see it if I hadn’t read the book first. And I probably would not have read the book if my friend Laura wouldn’t have sent it to me as a Christmas gift a couple years ago. 🙂

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“Beautiful Girlhood” is only a little book; not some 223 pages. But contained in those pages are many treasures. While written mainly for girls entering their teenage years; I believe this book can really be for any girl or woman. Each one will get something out of it. Mabel Hale; the author, talks on many different subjects- books, friends, a pure heart, character building, obedience, modesty, and so much more. Her style of writing is easy to read and understand; and it is easy to find something to identify with. When I first read this book; it was earlier last year, and I had been going through a bit of a rough time in my life. When I read this book; certain parts made me simply want to cry, as it felt like Mrs. Hale was talking to me, personally. The book answered some questions I had about life; and encouraged me about growing into the woman God wants me to be. It helped me understand more about life; and after reading it, it made me feel very much uplifted, and almost…proud that I was a girl. 🙂 Perhaps proud isn’t the right term exactly; all I can say though is that it made me realize how precious girlhood & beyond really is; how it’s something that we should keep safe, keep safe for the Lord. 🙂

(Written by our own “Miss Krys” from Maidens of Modesty forums! :D)

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Most people today, if they thought about modesty, would probably consider it prudish, old-fashioned, or irrelevant. Choosing clothes for moral reasons has long been out of style (no pun intended!). Instead, girls wear what attracts attention or what everyone else is wearing–many of them not because they’re trying to be a stumbling block or because they are somehow worse than “us,” but only because they’ve never been shown any differently. Immodesty surrounds us every day, and to make things worse, many standards are solely cultural–in the nineteenth century, showing one’s ankle was improper, while in other countries today, wearing no head covering is indecent.

Then why do we strive for modesty at all? True modesty begins with attitudes and motives. It isn’t made up of relative standards that change over time. Just as the implication that all women must have a professional career to be valuable is demeaning rather than liberating, immodesty ends up displaying women as objects, rather than human beings whose worth is based on more than physical beauty. A girl who doesn’t flaunt her skin shows not only that she respects those around her, but that she respects herself enough to let others be attracted to her because of her internal traits–personality, intelligence, character, godliness.

At the same time, modesty doesn’t (or shouldn’t) contradict true beauty in any way. God created beauty just as He created truth and goodness, and wearing ugly, ill-fitting clothes in the name of modesty isn’t honoring to Him either. A quick read-through of Song of Solomon is enough to show that beauty is important to God.

Many people seem to think that those who support modesty do so because they are ashamed or afraid of the human body, but the opposite is true. Withholding something from the eyes of general public makes it worth more, not less. We stand for purity not only because God commands it, but because it makes more precious something that the world lost long ago.

(Written by our very own dear Alyosha from Maidens of Modesty!  Thank you SO much Aly! -If you’d like to have your article posted on Maidens of Modesty, please contact me. 🙂 We love articles on God, Modesty, Purity, Family, and other girly things.)

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Hello again all my diligent readers!

I appreciate you coming back for the second part of this blog series, it means a lot to me that you would take the time to read this.
If you haven’t read the first installment, I am asking you to please pop over and take a peek at it.

I first met Paula last January on the Rebelution Forum ( http://www.therebelution.com/ ), I had just joined to find like-minded young adults who were passionate for God. Paula contacted me because she saw I had my own website -Maidens of Modesty ( http://www.maidensofmodesty.com ) and she had some questions of how to start her own website. 🙂
We became fast friends, we started talking about missions, God, our personal lives, our personal beliefs, our personal passions, and our personal convictions. At first it was almost eerie, sometimes she would talk about her passion for something and it would be something I had been passionate about. She’d then explain why, and it was almost word for word how I would explain why I was passionate about the very same thing!
It was such a God gift, because ever since then she has been a CONSTANT encouragement, blessing, and an amazing sister in the Lord and friend. 🙂 (She has stuck with me through thick and thin. *hugs* Love ya, Pau!)

As an American missionary Paula has to come back to the United States for furlough. This October she will be using a ticket that she has had for a long while to fly back to the US!
Some time between the time she arrives and the time she leaves again for the Philippines, she’ll be coming to stay with myself and my family! 😀
So yes, we will FINALLY be able to meet Paula! *laughs* (Don’t worry, we will post pictures of it. If you’re not on Facebook but would like to see the pictures anyway, please let me know and I’ll email them to you guys!)

One of the things that I would like to ask you guys to do is pray for Paula and her ministry. They are constantly coming across huge obstacles that keep them from doing what they need to do to better serve their community. Things like having no money to buy food, pay for gas, keeping the electric and to buy things that the mission desperately needs… etc.
That simply is not something they can tolerate, the enemy is trying too hard to bring them down because this mission has been ministering to and impacting the community so much!

And now, my dear friends, back to the interview with this passionate-for-God missionary girl. 😉

Danica: What is the hardest thing for you, right now, about the mission?

Paula:Wanting to help more people but not having the funds/resources to be able to. There are so many kids living on the streets, so many children who aren’t getting educated, so many hungry mouths. We want to house them, we want to give them a chance for a future. You can walk down the streets or in the wet markets and just see in their eyes their silent cries for help, having to see that every day, but knowing that you can’t help them right now, that is what is hard. To keep walking when you want to go wrap the kids in your arms and take them back to the home to be cared for and given a chance.
These kids have so much potential, there is nothing wrong with them, they just are not given a chance in this society. They have dreams in their little hearts, but for most of them that is all they will ever be…dreams, unless some one intervenes. That is what God has sent us to do, but we can only help so many right now. We want to increase our outreach from mere hundreds a week to thousands, but we need funds to make that happen.

Danica: If there was one thing that you could change in your ministry, what would it be?

Paula: I would and am doing everything I could to make it self sufficient, meaning that I would get businesses going where the profits from the said businesses would provide for the weekly and monthly budget for the ministry. starting new businesses would also provide jobs for people which is something greatly needed in the Philippines.
Good jobs are hard to come by here because a person cannot even work at a McDonald’s unless he/she is working towards or has a college degree! There are many talented people with poor jobs because they didn’t have the money to go to college.

Danica: What does a ‘normal day’ look like for you guys in your ministry?

Paula: The ministry is mainly broken up into 6 parts;
-4 Churches
-MMEC (Miracle Ministries Education Center our school)
-The HFC (Home for the Children)
-COPE (Children Of Poverty Everywhere) feeding program

Each area runs and functions every day in different ways.
The four churches are each in a different area of Pampanga (the region that we live in) and each reaches out to different communities.
The Pastors do home bible studies and outreaches many times during the week.
There are also prayer meetings at least once a week at each church.
Saturday mornings there is ‘kids klub’ at each church. Kids klub is a church service especially for kids, everything from Praise and worship to a Bible story to games! After words the kids get a free meal. COPE feeding program and the church share the expenses to feed these kids. Because of the poverty these kids live in some of them originally come just for the food but after coming to kids klub every week they eventually start coming for
God and they get a true desire to serve Him!

Saturday evenings or Sunday evenings is youth group. The youth group is a place where youth can come and be with other youth and have fellowship in a safe environment no worries about their jobs or their cares at home, but they can all come together to worship God. The Youth group (or DOC – Disciples of Christ) is also a training ground for the youth. They are being trained to lead worship, to preach and do other types of ministry. At least once a month the youth lead the main service on Sunday mornings.
The youth also get fed snacks before going home.

MMEC – MMEC is free education for the children of the communities. The students also
get a free meal at school everyday. It is an ACE school that focuses on students individually instead of expecting them all to be on the same level at the same time, they can move along at their own pace. This is important for our school because we have children that come in all different age levels and different levels of knowledge.

We had a boy come 2 years ago, he was 17 and didn’t know how to read or write, he couldn’t even tell you the alphabet. If he went to ‘traditional school’ he would have to start in preschool with 3 year olds, but instead he was able to come into a classroom with other teenagers but his books were at a lower level than those of his classmates. The students are grouped by age not by level. The students have 7 subjects; Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Word building, Filipino, and Bible. Devotions are held every morning before 1 schoolbook is opened and once a week a church service is held and put on by the students of the school. It is done sort of like a rally with all students and teachers attending to Praise the Lord as one body.

HFC- the Home for Children is a place for children to come and permanently live. These Children come to the Home for all different reasons. Some because they live too far from the school and so they live here so they can get an education. Others have been forsaken by their parents and left to themselves. We had two girls at age 9 and 10 who had been abandoned by their father while their mother was in prison. We took these kids in 2 years ago as small malnourished children with worms in the stomachs and who honestly didn’t know right from wrong. Now, they are 2 well behaved, healthy little girls. The oldest girl is now a member of the youth group and even leads worship on occasion. Both of them have dreams of helping the very family that hurt them so much when they were younger. The youngest girl even wants to be a missionary. We currently have 5 children in the Home for the Children. There are “house parents” that take care of these awesome kids on a daily basis. They all get 3 meals a day and snacks.
They also live on the same compound as the school and church so they are daily immersed in the word of God.
Right now we are in the process of building a Home for them, but construction has been
put on hold because of lack of funds. The Home will give a place to live to 100 children.
Right now we have converted 2 schoolrooms into houses, separate rooms for the boys and
girls. This is where the children and house parents are living until we can finish the Home.

COPE- Goes into action almost everyday feeding the students at school from Monday to
Friday and then on Saturday feeding all the attenders of kids klubs.

Danica: How many children come to your school every day and what sorts of things do they learn?

Paula: 100 children attend our school at this time. they have 7 subjects as listed above. Each book they go through has a memory verse that the student must memorize before he or she can take his or her test. All of the students also memorize a chapter of psalms every month. The first year attending at our school every student goes through LTR or the ‘Learning to read’ class. This class goes through each letter of the alphabet teaching the students the letter sounds and how to blend the letters to make words. Students can graduate highschool in public school in the Philippines and still not know all the sounds that different letters make, so this is an essential class for our school. After this 2 semester class the student then takes a placement test, and then is transferred to a new class according to age or level.
The students also get ‘merit points’ for attending church and kids klub/youth. during Bible class the children learn to exhort the word of God. and once a month each class has a chance to lead the ‘mid week service’ for the rest of the school. At that time the children are even the ones to exhort and lead worship.
Even at the ages of 7 and 9 they are already learning to lead worship and preach!

Danica: How many people live in your community right now and what kind of living conditions do they live under?

Paula: In all we reach out to about 7 or 8 communities. Each at a different level of poverty. Open sewers are a fact of life whether rich or poor. The sewage or open drainage is almost like a ‘threshold’ that you must cross before entering someone’s home. the children play in and around, sometimes toys are dropped in it, or balls thrown in it, the kids will fish out whatever is thrown it, wipe it off and continue playing. The ones considered rich have homes with more than 1 room and have running water. No carpet or air conditioning, no toilets that flush (you dump a bucket of water in the toilet to make it go down), no heated water, their homes have cement flooring, and they still eat rice 2 or 3 times a day, but there is actually a man of the home with a good job providing for his family. Those are the rich. In the poorest communities most every one works. The wife, the husband and the children.
Many don’t have running water or bathrooms in their homes. others live in 3 walled homes with leaky roofs and no floor. Still others have a small home…but not even all of their children can fit inside so some of the older boys have to sleep outside or on a motorcycle with a sidecar that they use for work during the day. The situations above are situations of real people that I personally know. their houses are in such poor condition, and then when rainy season comes, they stay awake at night begging God for mercy that their house will not flood, or worse, be destroyed. Flooding of a few inches is normal a few inches of water would not be a problem if it were water alone, but with open sewers this problem becomes a danger. Dengue and other mosquito carrying diseases are also a threat to society here.
Danica: What does your ministry need most right now?

Paula: We have dedicated workers, anointed staff and children that are learning. What we need physically is funds to improve things about the mission, finish the building projects and to start businesses to make the ministry ‘self-sufficient’. We could start gardens to grow veggies for the kids to eat, raise chickens and eggs, sell rice for a profit to buy the rice that gets consumed everyday.
We have many business prospects but we need funds in order to start them. We also have a home for the children still in its building stage waiting for funds for it to be completed. Until we have the funds the children and parents are living in 2 rooms that will eventually be school rooms.

To be continued…

Next blog on Paula’s ministry:
Big plans for the mission in the future!
Danica’s future trip to the Philippines!
How the mission plans to do more for the community!

For more information about Miracle Ministries in the Philippines, or how to donate, feel free to check out http://www.miracleministriesphilippines.com

All questions for Paula are more than welcome on this blog, or you can ask for her contact information. (She welcome emails, but prefers not to put it on the internet due to spamming reasons.)

(You’re tagged because you either asked to be updated with this, or because I know you’re a Christian and thought you might enjoy reading it. 🙂 If you do not want to be tagged anymore, please let me know!)

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Hello again everyone!

I know this is a different version of blog than I usually write, but I feel like I need to write this!
This is important to me, mostly because this is where a good deal of my passion lies, but also because of the amazing way this idea for the blog came about.
I have been wanting to write something like this for a long time, but I haven’t had the guts and I haven’t figured out how to.
This morning, I found an email in my inbox from Stu McLaren that really encouraged me and made me feel empowered to actually do this!
Here is the blog post from him: http://myideaguy.com/blog/take-a-chance-on-someone/
As I started to read this, I was so inspired! This was the work of God to encourage me to do this, this is no mere coincidence.

Thank you Stu for encouraging me and helping me get the “guts” to write this! And Thank YOU Lord for bringing this forth, and showing me how to write this!

This blog is about my close friend Paula, and the orphanage and ministry she runs in the Philippines. I am writing about this, because I have SUCH a deep passion for her ministry.
They are out there making a difference in this world! Everyone has a dream to leave their mark on this earth, or try to save the world before they die. But how many of us actually get to do that? The cemetery is the richest place in the world. It’s filled with the treasure of unfulfilled dreams. Most of us get stuck behind a desk working 9 to 5 waiting for work to get out so that we can go home to our family, heat up dinner in the microwave and turn on our favorite TV show, instead of pursuing our dreams. Doesn’t sound like saving the world to me.

But my dear friend Paula IS out there saving the world; one Filipino orphan child at a time. She is not doing it alone, she is being strengthened by her Lord God and He has been working through her to reach these communities in an overwhelmingly powerful way.

She left her family, at 15, to go join a stranger in the Philippines because she felt a strong love for this unknown country.
Now at 18 she runs the mission for four churches, one school and one orphanage in this community. The founder of the mission has come back to the US, and has left her over there to run it. (It is still HIS ministry, but she is keeping it going) Every day they makes decisions and choices that change the lives in the local community, the impact they have had on these people is amazing! The local villages have finally begun to thrive financially and Spiritually because of this ministry.

I have interviewed her, and will split up this blog series into 3 parts. The first will be about the “Past”, what got her started on this mission and what the mission looked like when she first came to the Philippines. The second will be about the “Present”, what the mission looks like now and what they need to keep thriving to be able to minister to these people. And the third will be about the “Future”, what their visions for the mission are and in their wildest dreams what it would look like in the next 2, 5 and 10 years.

Here is my interview with this dear girl;

Danica: How did the Miracle Ministries mission in the Philippines begin?

Paula: Miracle Ministries was started in February of 1997 by Bishop Dr. John B. Durrah. He went to Angeles City, Philippines and established Miracle Ministries in a small guard shack. This ministry started with four in attendance in an extremely small area in which to worship, but just look at where God has taken it in 11 years! Glory be to God alone! Brother Durrah is not shy to share the struggles he experienced in the start of this ministry.

Danica: How did you first learn about and join the Miracle Ministries mission in the Philippines?

Paula: I learned about Miracle Ministries when Dr. John Durrah, the ministry founder came and visited our church to share about the ministry and raise support. (That is our main way of support, Bro Durrah travels almost every weekend, sometimes two states in one weekend, raising support to keep the ministry funded. I have traveled with him and it is VERY tiring!) I was 15 years old at the time and knew I was called to be a missionary so we asked him if I could visit sometime. He said yes and I visited here for the first time when I was 15. After that I came home, graduated highschool and within a month was back in the Philippines. At that time bro Durrah approached me (while I was still trying to figure out a way to approach him) about coming to stay in the Philippines full time. I agreed, went back to the states and after 3 months returned to the Philippines to live.

Danica: What made you want to be a part of Miracle Ministries, rather than some other ministry?

Paula: At the time I didn’t have many reasons other than I knew that it was what God wanted. Now, I can see there is good and bad about every ministry, but here I have learned from experience and from the other people in the ministry how to trust God in everything. And how to keep a smile and a joyful attitude no matter what the circumstances are that you are facing. That is essential. Another thing is the focus of this ministry is children. The purpose is to salvage this generation. There is also outreach to adults but the main heart beat of the ministry is the kids. In a society where the children are looked down on and regarded as useless unless they are working….we provide a chance for the kids to be kids, for them to get an education and to learn about God.

When I first came here and started the youth group we began talking to them about the future. at first this was a strange concept to them because the future is not something that is talked about much in the Philippines. they literally live day to day. Usually they get paid daily (in our poor area) you can buy shampoo and toiletries by the sachet…enough for just one day. even oil is often bought in a plastic bag because people can’t afford to buy an entire bottle at once. So the future is just not thought about, especially for these kids because they assume their fate is to grow up being beggars or just working odd jobs like their parents, and producing children. When they come to miracle ministries they have hope for a future…and that hope comes through Jesus Christ. I remember once asking my youth what they wanted to be when they grew up…and I got blank stares in return. When I finally got them to answer one girl (who goes to our school and then collects trash to sell to help her family) raised her hand and said she wanted to be a nurse…then she laughed. You could just see in her eyes that she wanted to be a nurse but didn’t see how it could ever happen. We told all those kids that day that they could be anything and do anything they wanted that God had a future for them… today, you ask those same kids what they want to be they will look you in the face and some say “pastor” some say “teacher” some say “nurse” others “missionary” some just say “I want to preach the word of God”. But no matter what their answer is, the beauty of it is they have an answer, they have a goal for their lives, something they are striving for, and that is important for any one’s life! Some of their goals are impossible if you look at their situation, but with their hard work, and God’s guidance and strength we know this generation will be the ones to get out of the cultural rut of poverty and despair that their family has been in for generations!

Danica: What were some of the things that were hardest to get used to down there?

Paula: Seeing the poverty on a daily basis was very hard at first, especially as a young girl it was hard not to go around crying… but the thing I like about our ministry is that we aren’t just ‘giving them a fish’ but we are ‘teaching them to fish’ they get fed and helped for today but the most important thing we are doing is teaching them and helping them for their futures, on this earth and eternally.

Danica: What was one of the first things you did to help these people?

Paula: We have feeding programs for children every Saturday kids from the local communities can come and get their tummies filled, and attend Kids Klub to hear the word of God. Also at school is a continuation of the feeding program because the 100 kids also get fed everyday at school. The Kids Klubs are done at every church…we have 4 churches and we are reaching out to a total of 7 communities!

Danica: How many people were at the church, and how many children were at the school when you first came?

Paula: The school had 54 students it now has 100. The churches when I first came were only 2. I don’t know how many people just a handful at one and maybe around 60-80 at the other now we have 4 churches. None of them running less than 30 people. One has more than 100 every week, even during typhoons.

Danica: What was your first impression of the community when you arrived?

Paula: When I first arrived here my impressions of the community was shock. The poverty is just amazing…I had seen poverty on TV and such before but it is different when you are living breathing and seeing it every step you take every day. and while I was in shock just watching the kids be totally fine with it… like it doesn’t even effect them, it doesn’t effect the way they play, or enjoy themselves, or the way they worship! But there are lots of sad parts too….the kids love being at church which is wonderful, but also sad that most all of them would rather be at the church with us than at their own homes. There are many kids that when they are at church it is the only time they have to be kids. because when they go home they are expected to work or be parents to their younger siblings. In many of the poor areas the babies are loved and cherished until they reach an age where they are “annoying” then they are left to themselves or expected to work. At 7 years old a child can have the job of taking care of 2 or 3 younger siblings. a 14 or 15 year old boy can be expected to be the bread winner of the family while the father is drunk or lazy. Other times it takes every one in the family working just for them to get by on meager meals that aren’t filling. One of the hardest things to watch is the kids getting on the school bus everyday having had their bellies filled with lunch but knowing that when they get home they will have to work and then maybe not get another meal.

Danica: How would you explain the “state” of the community, that your mission now surrounds, when you first came?

Paula: For one thing there are open sewers in little canals. the canals run to another location, when heavy rains come the canals and streets flood…use your imagination. 🙂 haha! Ive had to clean up after that…its not fun!

There are small, meager “homes” that the people live in. Gambling on the streets is common. Even the kids know how to gamble. Anyone can buy beer and cigarettes, I’ve seen mere little children buying beer and cigarettes for their parents…but the sad part is after a few years they are already used to buying it for their parents and they will probably follow suit unless some one intervenes.

Kids are really left to themselves…I’ve seen kids come to school and for 3 years never get rid of their runny noses because of lack of nutrition. other kids don’t even bathe because no one makes them. These people live in condition with no running water and they use a pump to get water, sometimes their neighbor’s pump because the houses are so close together. I know 4 families who live in one house that they have separated into 4 … they all share 1 bathroom! about 24 people!

Beggars are everywhere and people sleeping on the streets is a normal sight. In a way, if you live here you almost have to become cold-hearted to it to an extent, or you will never get anything done because of your weeping heart. Kids without shoes, kids without parents, kids with drug addict parents, or parents that don’t care a thing about them…these are things I see everyday. Kids in the streets begging for a few coins… and when they get home the few coins they have begged maybe taken from them from their siblings so their older siblings can buy drugs.

Public school here is a joke. 50 kids to one teacher is normal. There is no individual focus on the students. A child can graduate highschool and still not know how to read! We have a 16 year old at our school right now that graduated highschool… she is now in our “learning to read’ program. Her parents enrolled her because her younger sister (who attended 1 year at our school before her older sister) could read better than the highschool graduates. Other students go to school, put their bag inside the classroom, and then walk outside to play all day, and the teacher does nothing about it because at least that is one less student for them to worry about.

The kids here are told and shown by society that they are nothing…that they are worth nothing and they will never be anything! That is what we are trying to reverse. We tell them that no matter what their situation is now… they can change that with God and through hard work! At first they were skeptical but now they believe it… they want to change they want to be something they want to change the tradition of poverty that they have always known! And they will!!!

You can read the ‘story of 2 girls’ on my blog… that is the true story of the 2 girls that I took care of the 3rd time I came here… they are still in our home for children today.

A meal for some people is a small handful of rice, and then soy sauce to help it go down. (I’ve eaten that 😛 Rice and soy sauce baby…nothing like it, but knowing there are people who eat that everyday is really hard to imagine.) If they do have meat, chicken or whatever, none of it is wasted. They eat chicken feet, chicken intestine, all of it!
Fish is a common food too. But always with rice. Rice is the ‘main dish’ and then you have a ‘side dish’ of meat, or veggies, or whatever. But really just a side dish portion, the rest is all rice…MUCH cheaper this way.

Danica: If you had a chance to begin your mission all over again, what would you do differently?

Paula: When they started they originally focused on the adults not the kids, as many ministries do in the Philippines. Even the churches don’t expect anything out of the kids. The vision God has given us is to change the Philippines through this generation. Start while they are young… the old ones are traditional and set in their ways, but the young kids have hearts open and hungry for the truth… and through reaching out to the kids the parents are coming to know Jesus through the witness of their children! Through the change in the lives of their
children, the parents also come to church to see what it is that has changed their kids lives! It’s really exciting to see.

To be continued…

For more information on Miracle Ministries in the Philippines go to http://www.miracleministriesphilippines.com

Next blog on Paula’s ministry:
How I know Paula and her ministry, and why I love her mission.
What the local community looks like now that the mission has been able to touch more lives.
What a normal day looks like on the the mission compound.
And much more!!!!

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Hello again, all my dear Christian friends!

I have come back to write more about what has been laid on my heart, and what God has done in me and is working with me on recently.
If you haven’t read my last note “Hardcore Christianity: Building the Relationship”, you might want to take a peek at the first part at least. 😉 That explains what these blogs are about and why I am writing them.
Here’s a clip from it, hopefully it’ll help you understand this better:
I have really been impacted recently to write blogs on intense ‘Hardcore Christianity’ topics that have been on my heart. (Note: My purpose in writing these is to encourage Christians in their walk with God and to help them build their own knowledge of The Most High. I have no intention to appear “holier than thou”, because I know I am NOT! I just want to encourage people to have a deep, burning passion and love for their Lord and Savior!) I’m not going to be formal, and I’m not going to stand up on a soap box and preach at you. I want to stand among you, as a fellow Christian seeking His face, and share my heart with everyone.
Quick warning: Because I am not blogging in a more “formal way”, my passion sticks out like a sore thumb in this blog. I have been told that sometimes my passion can be overwhelming in a bad way, I pray that that is not the case in this blog, but I feel like I just need to warn you that it could be possible. 😉

The topic for this blog is “Recognizing the Hand of the Master”.
What does that mean?
Good question, I was just about to answer that. 😉 😛
Basically it means seeing God in everything; the mundane, the random, the simple, the chaotic, the exquisite, the abnormal, the trials, the terrors… everything.

This one was very hard for me. I never thought about seeing GOD in everything. I always thought that God was in the beautiful or the awe-inspiring only.
Oh my, was I wrong! 😉

Let me explain a bit here.
I constantly would have something happen, and assume it’s something bad. “Ohhh no. This door closed in our life. That probably means that we did something wrong and God can’t work with it, or He’s punishing us for something we did before.” That’s so easy to assume, but it’s a wrong mindset!
Why?
Well, for starters, it is belittling the Cross. If Christ has already died for us and for our sins then why does God still have to punish us for our sins? That is saying that the Cross was not enough, that it didn’t cover everything.
It’s like going up to Jesus and saying “Oh yeah… um, you know that whole ‘death on the cross’ thing that you did for every one’s sin? Well, it’s not going to be enough, it just won’t cut it. You’ll have to do it again, or they’ll have to make up for what you didn’t cover. Sorry!” *laughs* Imagine the response we’d get from Him! 😉

Not only does it belittle the cross, but it is putting God down assuming that He cannot work through what we perceive as “bad” and create it into something beautiful for His glory!

Have you ever seen someone create pottery out of clay? They throw that big slab of disgusting brown goo up on their table and start molding it.
What if the vase collector came in right when the creator was starting to make their masterpiece? They look at it and think “EW! What’s that brown mess he’s got his fingers stuck in? I don’t want that!” and move on. But if he waits to see the outcome, after the master has molded the pottery, heat it up and painted it, he can see the beauty of the vase as it was meant to be. He can enjoy the full blessing of the masterpiece that the potter created for him.

It’s the same thing with our lives. We see something horrible and think “EW! What’s this mess we have ourselves stuck into! I don’t want this!!!!” and try to get out of it, running away quickly. But if we wait and let God finish creating the situation in our lives, we are able to reap the blessing of the ‘masterpiece’ that our Potter has created for us! 😉

It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? “Just wait and let God handle things and try to be positive while you’re in the hard situations”, right? *laughs* If only that were so.
This is something God has tried to teach me time and time again! Every time I get a little bit closer to understanding the meaning of this lesson. I won’t lie… this is hard!

When you are in a stressful situation, it’s not easy to stop and see God’s hand in your life.
Even people who we see as some of the greatest Spiritual figures in biblical times had a hard time letting God take care of everything.

Think of Joseph, I can imagine he was having trouble trusting God when he was beaten and thrown in a pit by his own brothers. But God brought him through it!
He then was stuck on the slave market. Is that an easy process to go through? Of course it’s not!! But he trusted God, and the Lord was faithful and put him in Potiphar’s house and helped him make his way up to chain of command to head slave.
He then found himself stuck in prison, do you think it was easy to trust God in that? What a depressing and discouraging situation to be in!!!!
Yet…. what did God do? He took the “bad/horrid” mess of a situation that Joseph was in and turned it into a beautiful masterpiece!

Think of Job! He was rich in more ways than one. He was a strong Christian!
Do you think it was easy for Job to praise God and think that God has a bigger plan for his life when almost everything that he held dear to him was destroyed or taken away from him?
Out of nowhere God started taking everything away from Him. He did not know why God was doing something that seemed so horrible in his eyes.
But yet he still made an effort to trust God in everything and let Him finish shaping the pottery. When Father was done, the finished masterpiece was breath taking, and it brought inspiration and encouragement to fellow Christians for THOUSANDS of years afterwards.
(Do you think that if Job knew that his story would be told for thousands and thousands of years later, that his sufferings from his trials would have been much easier for him to bear? Personally, I think they would. But we shall never know. ;))

I am constantly struggling with this. As an excessively energetic being I get very excited about something. (It could be just about anything!) And so I get all excited and happy about what God has brought forth, then one thing doesn’t go right and I just feel so bummed. Without thinking I just lose that excitement, sometimes it seems like a catastrophe.
I have to make a huge effort to remember that even when the world looks like it’s going wrong in my human eyes, nothing is out of place in Father’s hands. If I just let Him handle it, it will be taken care of. If I try to handle it myself… it will just fall to pieces.

That is seeing God in the harder situations in life. What about seeing Him in the better times of life?
This was my favorite part of this lesson!
Walking out in the woods and having the stunning silence and serene stillness surround me is truly ministering to my soul, if I allow myself to be soaked up into the moment I can just feel the Lord’s presence in the woods.
Watching the sunset over the lake with my family can be such an exhilarating experience, I can almost see God in that!
When I’m in a room full of children and all I hear is laughing, I can’t help but smile and just “hear” God in their joy!

Does this sense to anyone? (Truly, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. 😉 I’m not sure if I explained this well or not.)

So, before I leave you, dear ones, I would like to encourage you all (as I hope you will also encourage me) to make an effort to see God this week. In good or bad, whatever happens, try to take a moment and see HIM in His glory! 😀
I also would like to ask you guys to encourage me to do the same, if I am ever down or bummed about something. 😉 (I know a lot of you already do, and I cannot TELL you how much that means to me! It blesses me so much, you guys! Thank you! *HUGE hugs*)

With that, my brothers and sisters, I will pop off and leave you to the rest of your day!
Thanks for taking the time to read this!!!
With tons of love, and for HIS glory,
~Danica

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Hello all my fellow Christians!

I have really been impacted recently to write blogs on intense ‘Hardcore Christianity’ topics that have been on my heart. (Note: My purpose in writing these is to encourage Christians in their walk with God and to help them build their own knowledge of The Most High. I have no intention to appear “holier than thou”, because I know I am NOT! I just want to encourage people to have a deep, burning passion and love for their Lord and Savior!) I’m not going to be formal, and I’m not going to stand up on a soap box and preach at you. I want to stand among you, as a fellow Christian seeking His face, and share my heart with everyone.
Quick warning: Because I am not blogging in a more “formal way”, my passion sticks out like a sore thumb in this blog. I have been told that sometimes my passion can be overwhelming in a bad way, I pray that it is not that way in this blog, but I feel like I just need to warn you that it could be possible. 😉

As some of you know God really changed me last January (Jan 2008), He put a burning fire in my heart and He gave me a burning desire and passion to learn more about Him and His amazing ways.
3 of my closest friends (Paula, Chad and Drew) made an effort to be right by my side, helping me learn more about God and encouraging me in my quest to know more about God. Thankfully, God showed me that I was not the only teenager/young adult out there searching to find more of God and to know Him better on a deeper level. (They were the only teenagers/young adults that were close to me that were on the same quest.)

The enemy tries his best to kill any passion in us for God, he smothers it with our ‘worries of life’. Ie: Our jobs, our families, our relationships, our houses, our stuff, our schedules, our education… what we would call “normal every day things”. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not think that this is wrong to be concerned about all of these things! I just believe that we have become TOO concerned with them. They distract us from our true purpose: To love God and Glorify Him!

Before Father changed my heart completely for Him, I knew I was a Christian. I read my bible, I discussed God and my faith with my friends, I witnessed to others who I met, I loved God, I sang worship songs… etc. But I did not even comprehend just how deep my relationship with Christ could go.
I started to feel incomplete! There was this feeling of needing something, something missing in my life. (I thought it was a normal part of growing up, being older and getting ready to be married in several years time. *laughs* I was quite mistaken, thankfully)
The missing hole was God, and my relationship with Him.
After my heart started changing and my passion grew deeper I realized how much JOY and strength I felt through Him. The missing feeling was filled. My life had a deeper and truer purpose!!!! I felt like I could explode with my love and passion I had for the Lord. Even now, 8 months later, every time I think about the things He has done for us I get so excited I sometimes feel like I cannot breathe!

I am not trying to say that everyone should have the same feelings in their relationship with God as I do, or even go about it the same way as I did.
Each person’s relationship with their King is very different. Mine was based on joy, love and passion. Others could be a serious awareness of His suffering, or a deep love of theology, it’s all different and fits your personality perfectly!

For me, it was SO hard to know where to start building my relationship with God. I KNEW it was what I had to do… but HOW?!
What book is there that could be “Building Your Relationship With God for Dummies”? *laughs* There wasn’t even a “how to” in the bible.
…. or was there?
How many times did I hear that bible verse “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?” ~Matthew 7:7-9

Wait… what does that mean?!
It means YOU ask Him to come to help you build a relationship with Him. When YOU ask Him to help you, you WILL be answered!
“What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a load, will give him a stone?” He’s saying here: “If you mortal humans can love your children so much that if one of them asks you for something, your heart melts and you are MOST willing to help them get what they have asked! How much more loving am I, than you? -Infinitely! Then how much more is it likely for Me to answer My children with what they have asked, than you with yours?” Of course He has said it in a much nicer way than I can. 😛 *laughs*

He loves us SOOOO much, beyond all comprehension, that He desires to have a deep relationship with us! We are the ones who will not seek Him.
HEY!!! One second… I have been taught most of my life, by my church, that God comes to me and will bring me closer to Him when He’s ready, I can’t hurry Him or do anything but just wait, blah blah blah.
That is not true!
This bible verse (and many others -just ask for them if you would like, I will include them) tell us the opposite!
Besides, think about it… What kind of a God would He be if He forced Himself on us when He’s ready for us? Hm? Honestly!
If a father only let his kids come into his sight when he felt like seeing them, we would think he was a JERK! Father lets US come to HIM when we are ready, when we want, when we desire to be close to Him. That is more comforting than to think that He would bring us closer to Him whenever He decides, isn’t it?!

So!! That should be the first chapter for Building Your Relationship With God for Dummies. 😀 Ha ha! Ok, so yes, I’m just kidding.
BUT! It is the first step we should make when we are wanting to deepen our relationship with God.
Lets add it to the list.
Step #1: ASK HIM! SEEK HIM! Pound on the doors of heaven! Seek His throne and ask Him to reveal Himself to us and give us a love and passion for Him beyond what we could imagine! That He would show us more of His character.

The other day I was thinking about relationships. Not romantic relationships, knowing you love them and they love you. Not family relationships, living with them and knowing them better than anyone else because you’re family! But close friendship relationships.
I thought about a lot of my friends, and my different levels of relationships that I have with them now. I asked myself what made my close relationships thrive, and my acquaintances relationships drag? What could I do to help both of them thrive?
What makes them thrive… hmm, sharing my heart with them and hearing things from their hearts. Listening as much, or more than talking myself. Making an effort to contact them, instead of waiting for them to contact me. Oi! One second… what if I could apply this to my relationship with GOD?! (*insert brilliant idea dramatic music here*)
That’s it! One of the ways to build my relationship with Him, making an effort to talk to Him, sharing my heart, and listening to His (both in prayer, and in reading the bible).
At first, this stumped me. How on earth could I do that? The answer should have been blindingly obvious, but I guess my sin was keeping me from seeing it.
How else do I start conversation with my friends? -I just talk to them! I ask them questions, I talk about my day, I ask them about themselves, I talk about myself, ask them what’s on their heart and share what’s on mine… etc.
Why can’t it be the same with God? I just talk to Him! I share my heart with Him, talk to Him about random things, ask Him questions about Himself, I literally discuss everything with Him now!

When Christ died for us, He became the bridge to close the gap between God’s heart and ours. Now that we have had Christ’s blood pay the price for our sins, we have the privilege (even sometimes the right) to talk to God whenever we want! He has not limited out time with Him. He’s not like the Muslim’s “Allah”… we don’t have a time limit of 5 times a day to pray to God.
He is available 24/7!!!! Thank the Lord for that too!
I cannot tell you how many times I have woken up in the middle in the night and just needed to lay something at the foot of His throne, or lay my burden down at the cross.
I’m sure you all know what I mean when I say that we talk to ourselves all the time? That voice in our heads, not our conscience but our thoughts that just talk to us. What if we take our thoughts and that conversation to ourselves and turn it towards God? What if we add God into our discussions with ourselves? Instead of talking to ourselves, we talk to God.
We can’t kid ourselves, all those thoughts that we say to ourselves He can hear. If He can already hear us then why not just direct them at Him while we’re at it? Wow! Wait a minute… that’s praying!
YES IT IS!!!! All that chatter that we say to ourselves can be turned into prayer! Just direct it to Him who hears us!

OK!!! So add that to the list as well.
Step #2: Talk to Him! Just pour our hearts out at His feet, give our all to Him. He’s the one friend that we’ll have that we will have 100% guarantee for their confidence. He won’t blab our hearts desires to anyone else. 😉

Something I struggled with a lot was wondering WHY He would love me. My constant question of “How can a God like Him love me? I’m nothing… I can’t love Him like He loves me, so why even try to love Him enough?” kept me from drawing closer to Him. I put myself in position of Servant, and left it at that.
My church had always taught that God was so infinitely beyond us that we shouldn’t even try to love Him enough.
Well… it IS true that we will NEVER love Him enough, but that should NEVER be an excuse to stop trying! Yeah so we won’t love Him enough, so what?! We should still try!!!
We won’t live forever, does that give us a right to stop breathing and keep our heart from beating? -NOOO!!!!!
It’s a fact that we can’t love Him to the amount that He deserves, but we should NEVER let us keep from giving Him our all and trying our best.

Back to the cross. Another thing that Christ did when building the bridge between God and us was give us the “right” to have Father’s love for us. Father loves us unconditionally, meaning there is NOTHING that you can do to keep Him from loving you. (Sorry, I know that’s disappointing. 😉 LOL! -Just kidding)
How many times does the bible call us His children? Actually… I don’t know the exact number. 😛 But I know it’s plastered ALL over that Book!!! He constantly says that He is our Father, and we are His children.
Ask anyone who is a parent, their child is the most precious thing to them on earth. If their house burned down, they grab their kids… not their jewels, books, laptops, or favorite coffee mug first. Their kids are their hearts.
Parents cannot stand having their children die before them. How many people do you know who have been destroyed emotionally when their children die? PLENTY!!! Now how many people do you know who have been emotionally broken when their receptionist or Secretary dies? Umm… none?! Or at least very few. I mean, yes, of course it is heart breaking, but NOT to the level that losing a child is.
We, as humans, are attached to our children more than we are to our friends, receptionists, or Secretaries. 😉
God is the same way. He loves us as children, not servants, Secretaries or receptionists. We are special in His sight! We’re not just distant friends of His, we’re HIS children, close to His heart, more precious in His sight than anything else!

I still struggle with seeing myself as precious in His sight. But it’s so important for us to see us as His children! The enemy wants us to stop as “Servant”, and not see ourselves any farther than that. He doesn’t want us to think about us being His children, there’s such a HUGE difference and the mindset behind is truly could change our entire relationship with Him.
How close do you think Kings get to their servants? Not very… How intimate do Kings get with their children? Extremely, they are most precious to Him. YOU… ARE… PRECIOUS… TO… HIM!!!!!!
Stop for a moment and think about that. You, a random human being, are… precious to the Most High God? I don’t know about you, but the idea just thrills me to the core! I cannot help but grinning at the mere thought of it! What a picture!
But it’s TRUTH! The bible screams it!
“Nevertheless, the Lord your God was not willing to listen to (them, your enemies), but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God LOVES you. ” ~Deuteronomy 23:5
“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.” ~Micah 7:18
“”The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” ~Zephaniah 3:17
Everyone knows this one: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” ~John 3:16
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” ~Romans 5:8
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” ~Ephesians 2:4-5

We can see the patterns here, “God LOVES us”! Hands down! That is fact, it’s in the bible and therefore it is beyond contestation.
Hardcore fact for you there.
As the Hebrews say: Selah. (“Stop… and think about that”)

The enemy wants to distract you from that, he will make every effort to keep you from seeing how much your Lord God loves you. He’ll do everything in his power to remove you from Father’s arms and make you think that you are unimportant. How much more important do you need to be than a child of the King of Kings? 🙂 I can think of no position that I would love more than that.

So step #3: Know that you are precious in His sight. YOU are loved by a MOST HIGH GOD! And there is NOTHING that you can do to remove yourself from that position. Even if you do not believe it is true, it still is a hardcore fact. 🙂 You… are… His.

Since Father started working in me, and reclaimed my heart as His own, I had felt so alone among people. Hardly ANYONE shared my newly found passion for God. It was like I was a fish, released from the little pond out into the Ocean.
God placed Drew and Chad in my life to encourage me, I would have been beaten back down into my little pond by the weight of the world’s pressure if it were not for them. He then brought Paula into my life, she was so similar to me it was almost scary! 😉 *laughs* Through His faithfulness, by the friends He had placed in my life, He helped me to grow in Him.
With this blog, I hope to encourage you and help you know that you are NOT alone in this! This is something God is doing, calling Christians who have had places in our hearts for Him that have been dormant for so long and building us up in a way that glorifies His name! Giving us a passion to spread among our home town and the Nations!!! (AMEN!)

I’m not trying to challenge any one’s faith, and I’m not looking to pick a fight. I have NO intention of offending anyone. My purpose is just to encourage! 🙂
I welcome ALL comments or questions, and especially all your thoughts on this blog. I’d really appreciate it.

Blessings to all of you, my dear friends!
Through Christ alone and in HIS love,
~Danica

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