Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Ugly Heart Test: What Facebook Has Taught Me... About Me

One of my favorite children's books is a story by the title 'Teddy's Button' about a little boy who comes to realize that, of all the enemies he will have to face in his life, the biggest opponent he will ever face is himself. I can relate to this story as I, too, have found my biggest enemy to be the enemy within: self. And while I am pretty good at putting on a good face for others and deceiving them into thinking I am kind and good and loving, the person I am best at deceiving, is myself. I am so good at justifying my actions or fooling myself in believing that my motives are pure. Yep, I know just what to say to myself to be convincing. But there is One who is never deceived for He sees my heart.

"People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b

"People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines the motives." Proverbs 16:2

But God is a God of mercy and unconditional love and He desires something so much better for me than this selfish ugliness. He also knows how very helpless I am to change myself and so He gives me His grace to change me from the inside out. He ever so gently reveals my heart to me in those ugly areas of my life that He desires to change. And the funny thing is, sometimes He uses the craziest things to show me.

I would imagine that practically everyone in the world knows what Facebook is by now. I certainly do as anyone of my Facebook friends will tell you! Ha ha - they know of my complete addiction to the site! I really do love it, though it is not always the best thing for me and my family because of the time it consumes. Nevertheless, I love it anyhow, and really, for so many great reasons. I have built some very incredible friendships with some very special people that I really didn't know very well before Facebook. I have also been able to keep in better touch with family and friends that I have not really been around for years. I keep in better touch with dear friends as well. And last, but not least, well...probably not even last as I am sure there are other reasons I am not thinking about right now, I get a chance to share my love of Jesus with others that I would not otherwise have opportunity to do in the midst of housecleaning, laundry, making meals and educating my children. But lately, God has been showing me another valuable use for Facebook that I had not really thought of. You see, one of the ways I have deceived myself about the condition of my heart is that I thought I did not have any unforgiveness or grudges in my heart towards anyone. Well, as I said, God is so very faithful to pull me out of that muck and mire, called sin, in my life. If you are not familiar with Facebook, on the main page there is a continual display along the side bar of people you may know that you can ask to be your Facebook friend. This list is compiled based on people who are friends with other people you are friends with. Confused yet? Yeah, me too! Anyways, one day God brought a certain person to mind that I had seen on my sidebar many, many times. He said to me,

"Mandi, you know this person, why won't you request them as a friend?"

"Um, well Lord, I guess it is because I don't really like this person."

"Why, Mandi, do you not like this person? I like this person, in fact, I love her, she is my beautiful creation."

"Because she did something once that humiliated me, Lord."

God used this to show me that in spite of what I thought, I do, in fact, have unforgiveness in my heart. He reminded me that He sent His beloved son to die for ugly and mean and hateful things I had done, not to mention lies I had told, people I had slandered, and the endless list of others sins I had done that deserved the penalty of death. He asked me how I, having been forgiven of so much, could not forgive such a little thing done once so long ago? I had no good answer and so I asked Him to help me let go of the resentment and bitterness I held towards that person, and He did. Since then God has continued to use Facebok to reveal many, many ugly sins in my heart towards other people, people that I was not loving like He desired. People I would not ask as to be my friend because I think they are weird or somehow beneath me. People's status updates that brought out self-righteousness and/or critical condemnation. People that I begrudgingly accepted friend requests from. Compromises I was willing to make for certain people's good opinion of me. A prideful heart that thought it had lessons to teach others. Oh how the list goes on and on. I can't tell you how thankful I am for the heart conditions that God is revealing in me through Facebook. While they were at first kind of painful and not something I wanted to admit to, I now see the freedom that comes as God removes the weight of those sins from my shoulders. You see, I just didn't realize how heavy these things were to carry until they were lifted off my shoulders. I also didn't realize how awesome it was going to feel to start really loving people and seeing the incredible beauty in each and every person God has made. God is truly opening my eyes to see people through His eyes. And oh how wonderful is the view from His eyes!!

"Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all His benefits,

Who forgives all your iniquity,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit,

Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

Who satifies you with good,

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known His ways to Moses,

His acts to the people of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding is steadfast love.

He will not always chide,

nor will He keep His anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is His steadfast love towards those who fear Him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far does He remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.

For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."

Psalm 103:1-14

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Soul Surfer

Okay so before I recommend this movie, I want to send you all over to a review done by a fellow sister in Christ that I respect very much. I think she has some very valid concerns that you should be aware of before watching this movie with your kids. With that said, I do
recommend this movie as a tremendous testimony of how God uses trials and tragedies for amazing purposes. In Bethany Hamilton's case, God gave her an amazing platform to stand on and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ; a platform that would not have been near as significant had she not lost her arm and had she not perservered despite her obvious limitations after the accident.

We often tend to forget the tremendous work God does through trials and tragedies. We think He has abandonned us or forgotten us, but just the opposite is true. Bethany Hamilton's story does a fantastic job of showing the many ways God uses trials to bless us, grow us, draw us nearer to Him, shape our character and ultimately to use us for His glory.

On a side note, I do find it interesting that the name of Jesus was intentionally left out of the movie. The only mention Jesus gets is during the credits at the end when they show actual footage of Bethany giving Jesus the glory. What other name would be a problem for producers to use in a movie? Sadly the only way the name of Jesus is acceptable is when it is being used as a swear word. BUT I also find this to be a tremendous testimony to the power of the name of JESUS! It only serves to build my faith in HIM. ( :

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our Cross-Country Road Trip 2011: Amish Country Illinois

When we sat down to plan out our cross-country road trip, one of the things we all knew we wanted to do was to visit Amish country. And so our next stop was Arthur, Illinois. We began our morning at an Amish cafe where we had a delicious traditional Amish breakfast at Yoder's Kitchen. Almost everyone had the GIGANTIC cinnamon rolls or the biscuits and gravy, except for mom and I, who had the Haystack. Yum! Everything was homemade (of course!)

and so delicious! The town was quaint and these buggies were found all around town.

They even had a stable near the visitor center for parking the buggies.

We so enjoyed the little town with all of its cute little shops and Amish goods available for purchase, but my favorite part was touring the countryside. All the Amish farms had the same characteristics: beautiful, large white farm houses and outbuildings, extremely well-maintained yards, large gardens, and laundry hung out to dry somewhere around the house, usually on a rope tied across the frontporch (as pictured above).

Here we are following one of the buggies out in the country.

Another typical mode of transportation: the bike. These were lined up in front of one the woodshops.

Another one of the beautiful farmhouses....

.....And their buggy stable.

A close-up view.

Notice the lightpost - powered by either gas or electricity - yep, electricity! Many had electricity and some even had cell phones!!

Here we are heading into the store-front of one of the woodworking shops.
On display were beautiful kitchen cabinets, bedroom sets, mantels and various other peices of furniture.

This was the gas lamp used to light the bathroom at the furniture shop.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

An absolutely fantastic movie! I just can't recommend this one enough!

Jonathan Sperry is an inspiration to get involved in the discipleship of young people and see what the Lord will do!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Lost and Found Family

We happened upon this fantastic movie at our library one day and did not know what a special and moving story we were in for. I just love these kind of finds! What a beautiful story about the power of love in a hurting and neglected heart as well as the satisfying fulfillment involved in the giving of your life to help others in need. Time is a commodity far more precious than money, how will you spend it? Watch this movie and be inspired to spend it on others!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

Happy Independence Day Everyone! In honor of this day, I thought I would share some of my patriotic posts from the past (mostly from my old blog). I hope you all have a beautiful celebration of our awesome nation's birthday!

Our Form of Government

Our Form of Government Part 2: The History of our Form

Communism's 3-Step Plan

How long has the US been funding Communism?

The Bay of Pigs: A Lesson for Every American

A few things you may not know about the Federal Reserve

The Real Solution to our Nation's Problems

Going Green: Environmentally Aware or Economically Lucrative?

Either by the Bible....or the Bayonet

The Role and Duty of a Patriot

Here is a bit of a review I did on Glen Beck's book 'Common Sense':


And here is a series I began and never got past the first post (sigh - maybe I will get to it yet):

I Choose Liberty....Do You? (Part 1)

And last but not least, here are some posts on an issue that every American citizen needs to be aware of and involved in fighting against:

True or False (Part 1)

True or False (Part 2)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Contending for the Faith

Lookie, lookie what my amazing and wonderful parents got me for my birthday! It is an incredible set of apologetics DVDs by Charlie Campbell of I just got it the other day and am already on number 7 titled 'Hell Under Fire'. Every single one I have watched so far has been excellent (my favorite has been 'Amazing Evidence for the Trustworthiness of the Bible')! Each presentation is about an hour in length and covers the basics in a very easy to follow presentation. My kids, ages 7 - 13, have had no problem understanding as they listened alongside me. These will most assuredly be watched again and again with lots of note taking; notes that will be carried in my purse with me everywhere I go so that I will ALWAYS BE READY.

Here is a list of the topics included:

1. The Importance of Defending the Faith

2. Evidence for the Existence of God

3. All Roads Do Not Lead to God

4. Amazing Evidence for the Trustworthiness of the Bible

5. An Examination of Apparent Contradictions in the Bible

6. If God is Loving, Why is there Evil and Suffering?

7. Hell Under Fire

8. My Top Five Questions (renamed “How to Respond to Critics”)

9. The Case for the Resurrection

10. The Lost Tomb of Jesus

11. Six Cures for the Fear of Evangelism

12. Islam

13. Jehovah’s Witnesses

14. Mormonism

15. Roman Catholicism

16. The New Age Movement

17. Judaism

18. Buddhism

19. The Emerging Church and the Battle for Truth

20. The Deity of Christ

21. Answers to Skeptics‘ Top Five Questions

22. The End Times: Ten Upcoming Events in Bible Prophecy

23. The Case for a Pretribulational Rapture

24. The Second Coming, Preterism, and the Book of Revelation