How Far is Too Far {Movie Edition}

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It’s not that bad. All my Christian friends have watched it. I don’t think I’m going too far watching this movie.

How far is too far when it comes to movie content?

I’m perhaps notorious for my shunning of certain movies/TV shows. No Beauty and the Beast {2017}, no Moana, no Frozen II, no Harry Potter, no Once Upon a Time, no Merlin, and definitely no Game of Thrones.

Maybe you think I’m silly for bringing up concerns about a movie … especially a kid’s movie. But I believe what we watch (read, listen to, etc.) teaches us and shapes us. Our entertainment is teaching our children something. It’s teaching us something!

It is shaping our doctrine. Our worldview.

So is your entertainment feeding you pagan doctrine, witchcraft, sexual immorality, filthy language, dirty humor, and godless worlds? Worlds where there is no God. But the Ocean is the ancient power. Or the wind and water and fire are spirits who control our fates, and a pretty girl (who our daughters idolize) wields the strongest power of all?

These movies teach our children to find the power within themselves. To find the strength inside. To believe in human or earth or themselves … but certainly not God. It teaches them to follow their heart at any cost, and that surely the most important thing of all is to be true to yourself.

Do you think that maybe this is setting up children for failure? When hard times come, maybe their first instinct won’t be to turn to God, but to seek the answers within, or to look for a impressive-looking human to follow.

Maybe years of watching these movies will affect your daughter and it’ll seem more natural to follow her heart than to follow Jesus. I love my boyfriend so much! How could it be wrong to do this? It makes sense to move in with him. Maybe saving sex for marriage isn’t as important as mom and dad think. I’m not ready for the commitment of marriage yet. Maybe the Bible’s ideas on sexual relationships are outdated…Because this feels so right!

I’m not saying you should be filled with terror and certainty that your child will become a witch if they open up a Harry Potter book or a heathen if they set eyes on Frozen II. That’s a little extreme. But perhaps it’s the subtle messages that affect us much more than black magic blaring across our screens. The messages of “follow your heart”, “you are your own authority”, “you have the power within”.

Many people are trying to mix Christianity with New Age beliefs these days. But the truth is, they don’t mix. There is no room for any other power but that of Jesus Christ.

Because God is I AM. He is the One High Power in the universe. There are no other gods before Him. He made the ocean, the wind, fire, earth, and all the elements. He made human beings and angelic beings … We can boast of no power of our own.

I’m sure people think I’m being paranoid and nit-picky. That I’m odd and overly-sensitive. Or self-righteous. Or ultra religious.

But I feel strongly about this. No, I’m not sitting here condemning you when you tell me you watched Beauty and the Beast {2017} or that you’re bringing your kids to watch Frozen II. I’m not out there telling people these are evil movies, or living in fear that God is going to strike me down if I watch the wrong movie. Or that my little siblings are going to become heathens if they watch Frozen II. (Some of my siblings have watched Frozen II and some of my relatives have watched Beauty and the Beast. …And I’ve simply chosen to watch neither.)

This is me. I felt convicted that I didn’t need to watch these movies. They wouldn’t benefit me any. I felt a hesitation in my spirit when I read about some of the content. This is me striving to walk with the Lord.

I’m not going to shove my convictions down your throat. But I do believe that entertainment/movies are an area that many Christians can be blinded in. Am I condemning you? Being “holier than thou”? I don’t think so. I know I’ve been super blinded about things before. I know I still am in different things – and will be in the future about other things – and I need people to call me out. So help me! And let me try to help you.

I don’t think it’s wrong for Christians (brothers and sisters in the Lord) to warn each other. To call each other out. Even to rebuke each other. In love.

I will say it again: I think Christians have a serious blind-spot when it comes to entertainment.

That’s why we watch evil portrayed as good. Satanic horror movies. Rape scenes. Graphic sex scenes (pornography in movie form). Witchcraft. Dirty humor. Paganism.

We think nothing of it. Because we’re free, right? And it’s just a movie. Not a big deal.

But what if it is a big deal? What if these dark, sex-saturated TV shows, and films centered on sorcery, and pagan-themed kid’s movies are the weight that so easily entangles us? Turns our focus from God? Blinds us to the spiritual world and makes us forget that we are at war?

The Word says to be alert.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

Ephesians 6:10-13

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

But I think movies and other forms of entertainment easily numb us. They’re a distraction. Which is why I believe we, as Christians, should use practical caution and wisdom when deciding what to watch. Is it distracting us from God? Is it making light of the power and authority He wields? Is it mocking that which God labels sacred? Is it directly against the Word of God?

This isn’t about your status as a child of God. We know it’s Christ’s blood alone that saves us and brings us into favor with God.

This is about the closeness of your walk with God. This is about keeping your heart softened to the nudging of the Holy Spirit. This is about the people you’re raising or leading or mentoring. You’re an example to them.

And kids are like sponges. They soak this stuff up. We do, too, whether we realize it or not! Again, whatever we feed ourselves the most is what shapes us.

Perhaps bad movies, like bad company, corrupt good character. Corrupt strong faith. Upright morals. Spiritual maturity. Integrity. Passion for Christ, and His ways, and His kingdom.

1 Corinthians 15:33-34

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of GodI speak this to your shame.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves and expect to be strong, godly, passionate Christ-followers if we’re feeding ourselves worldly, careless, godless, sensual, rebellious, pagan, filthy, unbiblical, confusing content on a daily basis.

The Bible says that what you reap, you will sow. What goes into our hearts will come out in our actions. We don’t magically become spiritually mature by putting our faith in Jesus. Paul says in the Word that we need to exercise our spiritual muscles! Be in the Word; not just reading it, but studying it! Soaking it up. Memorizing it.

Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reapFor he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting lifeAnd let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection,

1 Timothy 4:6-11

If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followedBut reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godlinessFor bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.

We need to be praying. Bringing everything before God. Praying about our future, our needs, our friends, our hopes, our enemies, our ideas, and about the entertainment we consume. And about what needs to change. Search my heart, O God, and see if there is any offensive way in me!

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

We should be looking for godly content. Movies are not necessary for life – but they are fun. So look for movies with a Christian theme! Clean movies that don’t promote things contrary to God.

I know when I was watching movies with filthy language, overmuch sensuality, or paganistic magic themes, I felt a heaviness in my chest. I felt like they were a weight entangling my steps – hindering my walk with God. Why? Because I knew these movies had bits in them that were contrary to the Word of God. They spoke darkness to my mind and heart. Or even mocked my God. My God! Is He not my everything? If Christ is the treasure of my heart, why am I feeding my eyes on things that are not of Him?

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares usand let us run with endurance the race that is set before uslooking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It was my lust to be entertained. To be thrilled. To fill the emptiness or numb the anxiety.

So maybe you think that Beauty and the Beast {2017} or Frozen II are perfectly okay. Alright. You have to make your own choices. You are not answerable to me. Believe me, I am not looking down on you, or condemning you, or thinking I’m better than you, or anything like that. But I am urging you to seek God on this matter of entertainment.

Our God is so holy and mighty and awesome. He alone should be adored. He should only ever be exalted.

I do think there is some fault in exalting a fake character in a movie; giving them unlimited power or god-like qualities. This is why I don’t like Moana (ocean is an ancient power, earth is a goddess, grandma is reincarnated, plus there’s a sickeningly arrogant demi-god character, etc.), Frozen II (spirits, charms, putting faith in characters, such as Elsa, who have god-like powers), Mulan (praying to dead ancestors and other pagan religious stuff), etc.

And then we have Tangled, which, you have to admit, has a strong theme of rebelling against parents. It’s the classic story of naive girl falling for the bad boy. Yet in this story, it all turns out fairy tale perfect. Mother, who warns against the rebellious but charming man turns out to be a wicked witch. And charming man, who has been a self-serving jerk for most of the movie, heroically sacrifices his life for girl in the end. Hmm. It could be that it’s not the best movie to show your little girls.

Of course there’s Beauty and the Beast {2017}, which features a man swooning over and pining after another man. Maybe it’s a small part of the movie, but it frustrates me that this immoral content is being shoved down our throats … saturating almost every TV show out there and now being added to even classic fairy tales and kid’s movies! I feel like we should take a stand against ungodliness, and guard our hearts and minds against getting calloused to sin or making compromises.

It seems like fairy tale movies used to be largely about falling in love, making friends, and triumphing over evil. Now there always appears to be immoral agendas sneaked into seemingly harmless kid’s movies and princess stories.

The fact is, we as Christians need to be extra vigilant these days when choosing a movie to watch. Does it feel hard sometimes? Yes. But really, friends, it shouldn’t be that hard to give up a movie. Just let go. Be free from entertainment obsession. Free.

My siblings and I have enjoyed the How to Train Your Dragon series. Now, I know it’s about Vikings (of sorts) and there are some pagan religion references. But I would say that the story is mainly focused on dragons, friends, and adventures. There’s a brief mention of Thor every once in awhile. But there do not seem to be any underlying pagan themes or secular agendas. So, thus far, I have felt like the movies and shows involved with How to Train Your Dragon are an okay choice for a fun movie night every now and then. Big Hero 6 is another of the few animated movies I really liked.

We watched the live-action Aladdin, which I think was an okay, and super fun, movie. And also, live-action Cinderella (so glamorous!), while we’re talking about Disney.

There are faith-based movies that are so great to watch, such as October Baby, Grace Card, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, Woodlawn, Unplanned, Indivisible, Beyond the Mask, God’s Not Dead, Princess Cut, I Can Only Imagine, Amazing Grace, Mom’s Night Out, Like Arrows, and The Case for Christ. I have really liked most of the Kendrick Brother Films; some of their best being War Room, Courageous, Overcomer, and Fireproof.

There are movies based on Christian allegories, such as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

There are fun, clean, girly movies like Little Women, Love’s Enduring Promise, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, The Magic of Ordinary Days, Sense and Sensibility, Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, The Sound of Music, Belle, Little Women, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and Holiday Inn.

There are movies that simply tell an intriguing story of people, politics, and art, such as Desert Dancer.

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I do enjoy watching movies. I love a good story. Superb acting. Emotional drama. A quality film that is pleasing to the eye. I don’t want to be legalistic. But neither do I want to be enslaved – so desperate to watch a movie that I’m making all sorts of “little” compromises.

Don’t say: How far can I go?

But rather: How can I honor God through my entertainment choices?

As I conclude this post, I wonder what people will think of me when they read it. The truth is, I don’t like to be looked at as odd. I don’t like being different. I really want to fit in, most days. I don’t like confronting or causing awkwardness and discomfort. I’d rather just be liked and belong.

However, Jesus Christ does tell us that the world will hate us. He says to be in the world, but not of it. To not be conformed to this world. I’m not going to fit in with the world. I’m going to disagree with fellow Christians sometimes, too – though we’re called to strive for unity and love!

John 17:14-19

14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Despite my desire to fit in, I need to stick to what I think God is calling me to do as I study His Word, pray, and seek Him! And you need to hold to your convictions. And none of us should ever deem ourselves done growing. Or having reached the desired maturity as a Christian. We all need to be seeking Jesus Christ and striving to follow Him more whole-heartedly until our dying day.

Go forth in grace, dear readers! ❤

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Cover Reveal: Moonscript by H.S.J. Williams

Good afternoon, dear readers! I am so very excited to be part of this cover reveal! Like, it is truly my pleasure to be sharing H.S.J. William‘s debut novel’s cover with you! ❤ I discovered Ms. Williams’s blog and her story idea for Moonscript years ago and was intrigued. And now I can hardly believe that it’s finally time for it to be published! Congratulations, Ms. Williams! I greatly look forward to reading your fantasy novel!

H.S.J. Williams also wrote a novella, Fairest Son, which is available for purchase. Read my review of this book here on Goodreads.

Now, without further ado, the big reveal!

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Moonscript Front Cover

About the Book

“It is said that Darkness is empty and whatever vanishes into its depths is lost forever. I know this better than anyone. For I have suffered here in the shadows, and there are none who might find me.”

Seventy years. Seventy years the elven prince has been lost to the darkness, assumed dead by his people and endlessly broken for a book that connects to the hidden realm of his ancestors, a land untouched by evil.

And now a light in the shadows. A chance for freedom. But those willing to help him come from the unlikeliest of worlds.

The orphan girl, yearning for a loving family, and the boy who won’t leave her side. A healer maiden given an unexpected chance for a life beyond narrowed expectations. A grieving creature flown far from home.

They all search for something and now their fates are tied to his. If their quest for life can pull him from the dark mire in which his soul drowns, then perhaps he can be saved.

Or else he will drag them all down to a fate worse than death.

The beginning of an epic saga, MOONSCRIPT is a journey of innocence, despair, and redemption.

RELEASING MAY 7th, 2020

Pre-order E-Book

Pre-order Paperback

About H.S.J. Williams

Author Website

Author Goodreads Page

Cover Artist: @morgana0anagrom

Moonscript Bookstagram

Book Review: An Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

My Personal Review ~ Five Stars

A delight! An absolute delight! My sister could not have gotten me a better birthday gift than The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork. I should have known I would love this book, being that Entwined by the same author is my favoritest thing ever!

This one is a mesh of at least two fairy tales, one being The Nutcracker. And such a superb retelling! The charming nutcracker. The despicable rats. Sweet Clara. Candy and chocolate. Magic and music. A heartrending tragedy… Can it be undone? And what will it cost Clara Stahlbaum?

I have loved Heather Dixon Wallwork’s characters thus far. Her female protagonists have a decidedly girly air about them. Feminine sensibilities. And her male heroes are heroes, indeed! Chivalrous and self-sacrificing. With an endearing personality. Ah, yes. I like it very much. The Enchanted Sonata was easy to read and the storyline – fun and alarming by turn – kept me turning pages. Humor and dark dilemmas. Love and reality. I teared up. I laughed. I finished this book with a smile on my face. *sighs happily*

It was clean and enjoyable, with a dash of romance, a generous amount of sweets, and some darkness and danger – but nothing too graphic. A thoughtful message. And also, some tiny fairies and fun, fairy tale-type magic.

If you like fairy tales, fantastical adventures, lovable characters, terrible villains, music, and happy endings, you should read this book. As for me, I can hardly wait to pick up another novel by Heather Dixon Wallwork!

“Church Experience”

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Do you go to church? If so, what does it mean to you? What does the “church experience” do for you, as a Christ-follower?

// For more of my thoughts on church, read my previous post on this subject: Church a Light? //

I grew up going to big churches. Sometimes even mega churches. Baptist. Evangelical Free. Pentecostal. Non-denominational. Some were smaller, but not many.

So, today, the type of church experience that feels comfortable and normal to me is a big building hosting a worship team and probably about three services. It’s the type of church where you might get a handshake, but never an invitation to supper. The type of church where you can easily slip in Sunday morning while the music is playing loudly. And then join the crowd surging out after the service concludes. No one really makes eye contact. It’s the type of church where you get a really amazing message from the pastor, but then you go home and most likely forget about it – proceed with normal life because no one is keeping you accountable.

I’m not trying to bash churches. I’m just being honest. This is my “church experience”. Rarely, if ever, have I walked into a church building feeling at home. Seeing my fellow attenders as family. People I do life with.

But isn’t that what church is supposed to be? A time of fellowship with your family in Christ? We – those who are the Lord’s – are the Church. The Bride of Christ. But we have made church buildings a place to slip in and out of – merely warm the pews on a Sunday morning. Never getting to know the Church. The people who fill that building.

Truly, I don’t think church attendance is just some religious practice required of Christians. We actually need it.

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

In order to be flourishing in Christ, we need to be regularly meeting together with our dearly-loved brothers and sisters in Christ.

What did you say? The people who go to your church aren’t your dearly-beloveds? Well, it seems that they should be according to the Scripture.

They need you. You need them.

Remember Elijah? He asked God to let him die. He was discouraged and thought there were no other believers in the Lord left.

Elijah 19:4-10

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

Sometimes I feel perhaps a fraction of that. Oh, so isolated. Floundering. Wanting more of Jesus, but struggling not to drown under the waves of difficult life stuff and alone-ness.

Trying to do life alone is hard. I would be so bold to say that we were absolutely not meant to do life alone.

James 5:14, 16, & 19-20

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

God is three in one. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have each other.

And yes, we have the Holy Spirit living inside. But sometimes this life leaves us feeling disillusioned. And the Enemy’s whispers are so loud; his attacks so vicious. We cry out, I can’t do this, Lord. There is no one who understands. No one who speaks Your truth.

The Church is supposed to be there to help you. Come alongside you. Encourage you. Comfort you. Sustain you. Speak truth over you. Rebuke you. Worship with you. Break bread with you. Rejoice with you. Mourn with you. Help you find and use your God-given talents and gifts. Serve with you. Spread the gospel with you. Learn with you. Teach you. Be taught by you. Laugh with you. Hope with you.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Acts 1:14

14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

We seriously wound ourselves when we are not deeply rooted in a local church body. Sometimes we suffer deeply and alone. Sometimes we become entangled in sin. Sometimes we just become stagnant. Stop growing. And have no one to point out to us what is happening.

Truly, it is God who calls and the Holy Spirit who convicts and comforts. And He can do those things without people. But, He also gave us brothers and sisters, and His Word exhorts us to meet together with them and love them fervently.

Acts 2:46-47

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

1 Peter 5:1-5

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility,

So while God may allow us a time of loneliness and isolation to some extent and purpose, I don’t believe He means for us to stay there.

We were created for companionship. Community. Love. And we the Believers are meant to live and be so close that we become a Body, working together for the sake of the gospel. For the glory of God. For the good of each other. For the reaching of the lost.

Romans 12:4-13

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one anotherHaving then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

So, the big, fancy buildings. The concert-like “worship” services – smoke and lights and more listening than actually singing. The affirmation from pastors that they will only send you a note, they will not show up at your house

Is this what church is really all about?

Or is it more about filling a place with passionate Christ-followers who meet because they have so much love filling their hearts – for their God! For His people! And then they become friends and teammates with their local, fellow believers! Isn’t it more about getting in each other’s spaces and lives for the sake of God’s kingdom?

We act like church is about listening to a sermon on Sunday morning.

But I think it’s more about listening to a sermon together. Worshiping our King together. Breaking bread together. Exalting Christ together. Pressing on together. Having fellowship with one another. Looking forward unto His return together. Making a difference together. Talking and laughing and sharing and exhorting and rebuking and teaching and comforting and encouraging. It’s about having spiritual leadership and being discipled. And making disciples!

  • I think having a loving, Scripture-grounded shepherd over the local flock of believers is important.
  • I think it’s important that you have a relationship with your pastor so you can go to him when in distress or you have a question.
  • I think godly, close fellowship is important.
  • I think genuinely worshiping with one another is important.
  • I think having your church members over for supper is important.
  • I think it’s important to have a sound-doctrine, Christ-centered place to equip believers to then go out into the community and share the Good News.
  • I think it’s important to be sharing praises, prayer requests, miracles, struggles, and answered prayers with your local, fellow believers.
  • I think being mentored is important.
  • I think feeling like you belong and this is your family and there are safe, godly people you can seek advice from in your church is important.
  • I think looking for people to mentor within your church is important.
  • I think it’s important to be together at least once a week!

But in order for these things to occur, you need to know and be known within your church building. You need to really, truly be part of the Church.

Acts 2:42

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Look at this verse from the book of Acts! Biblical doctrine, fellowship, eating together, and prayer were regular parts of these early believer’s lives!

I strongly encourage you to really read and meditate on the Scriptures I included in this post. And look up more verses from the Word of God on church, community, fellowship, and the Body of Christ!

I think we’ve gotten church somewhat wrong in this civilized, advanced day and age. I think we’ve lost sight of the core purpose of church …

This is what I believe:

Church is about being there for each other and igniting each other’s passion for our Lord Jesus.

Onward to Heaven! ❤

 

Book Review: An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz

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An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz

My Personal Review ~ Five Stars

Laura Frantz is at her finest writing 18th century American frontier novels! An Uncommon Woman is definitely one of her best works, in my opinion. Such a treat to read; I felt like I was transported back to the colonial forests of Kentucky, with hostile Indians lurking just beyond the tree line. Such a tumultuous time, but Laura Frantz beautifully illuminates the simple joys and hardy souls of the frontier folk.

It was a pleasure to follow the journeys of Tessa Swan and Clay Tygart, harsh though these paths could be. Tessa, a toughened frontierswoman, but a woman through and through. And Clay, a redeemed captive who once lived among the Lenape Indians. A long-lost, blonde-haired captive bring these two together. Muster-days, danger, and a matchmaking aunt pull them closer still.

I loved the authentic feel of this book! Truly, Laura Frantz must be in her element penning tales set in the late 1700s. An Uncommon Woman captivated me, swallowing me into a time long past. There were mentions of General George Washington, Daniel Boone, and Regina Leininger. There were hair-raising, heart-stopping attacks; my heart ached for the countless lives lost during that time. There was a sweet, sturdy woman who longed for the feminine pleasure of a new, pure white petticoat. A former Indian captive who felt torn between the two peoples.

It’s intriguing to get glimpses and ideas and pictures of how this era was. Simple but happy weddings. Muster-day festivities. Harsh frontier living. Fleeing to the nearest fort when there were attacks or even just sightings of Indians nearby. Reclaiming captives. This book showcased danger and drama hard to comprehend. But also the heart of woman … falling in love, dreaming of the future, delighting in thoughtful gifts, seeking the Lord.

An Uncommon Woman is a historical delight. Not without it’s sorrows, but also touched with triumph and filled with sweetness. A beautiful novel of faith, family, trials, and romance!

I received a complimentary copy of An Uncommon Woman from Revell. This review is honest and all my own.

Twenty-Three <3

Well, my friends, today I turn twenty-three! Yes, it’s my birthday. I’m at work as this post goes live … and probably a little stressed out … but that’s okay. 😉 Tonight I’ll have gluten-free cake and hang out with the fam.

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It’s strange to think that I’m twenty-three already. I thought it would feel different … I thought I would be different … I thought my life would look differently. But through it all, I become more convinced that God is good and He holds me securely. As His own special daughter. My faith in God has grown. And deepened. And solidified. Jesus Christ has become, more surely, my treasure. Perhaps each struggle, and trial, and troublesome night, and dark morning has only served to light a passion in my soul for my Creator, His kingdom, and my place & work in that kingdom.

I’m thankful for another birthday; a reminder that God purposefully formed me in my mother’s womb some twenty-three years ago. He has purpose for me. I was made by Him and for Him. How glorious!

 

Colossians 1:16

All things were created through Him and for Him.

Psalm 139:1-3

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.

At the beginning of my 22nd year, I went to the C.R.O.S.S. conference with some friends from another state. That was an extraordinary blessing that I hadn’t seen coming! It warms my heart with hope when I remember that and I dare wonder what God has in store for me this year. On this earth we will always have struggles. But praise God for the sweetness and meaning He weaves in amidst the hardship. Our suffering is not in vain! God has a bigger purpose and plan than we could ever imagine!

I pray that you, my dear reader, come to know more deeply the love of Christ. And your purpose, in Him! I pray that, on your own birthday, you feel celebrated, for you are a miracle! ❤

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Now, the rest of this blog post is just for fun and hopefully I way to connect with you! Comment below and tell me how you’re similar, or different, from me. 🙂

23 Random Things Concerning Me

  1. I haven’t always loved Christmas season, but I do now!
  2. I dream of publishing a novel
  3. I really like Lindsey Stirling’s music
  4. I love dancing, and would like to learn some kind of contemporary ballet/hip-hop
  5. Joanna Davidson Politano is my newest favorite author (who else has read her books??)
  6. I’m really curious about spiritual gifts, and wonder if mine is something like “prophecy”, “discernment”, or “teaching”…?
  7. I’m the eldest daughter in a family of eleven
  8. I really, really want to watch the new Little Women in theaters sometime after Christmas Day!
  9. I work in childcare
  10. I’m tentatively planning to move this spring
  11. I see things in black and white and I can be very passionate and relentless about what I believe. But this doesn’t change my love and compassion for people! If we don’t agree, that doesn’t mean I don’t care – very much – for you!
  12. I’m a conservative, American patriot 😀
  13. I’ve been called an “old soul”
  14. I always thought I’d be married with kids by this age, but God has been showing me some truly spectacular blessings He has worked in my life through my “singleness”
  15. I still would love to be a wife and mommy (and homemaker) someday 😉
  16. Chick-fil-A and Culvers are my favorite restaurants (maybe because they’re two places I feel safe to eat at? But truly, I’m quite pleased with the food & atmosphere)
  17. I’m a deep thinker and deep feeler, and always analyzing people and situations
  18. I’ve thought I might like to be a counselor
  19. Anxious by Sarah Reeves and Change by NF are probably the two songs I’ve connected most deeply with
  20. I’d like to do a photo shoot in a fancy library
  21. Thinking about using the gifts and talents God gave me to do the work He prepared in advance for me to do (to glorify Him and love Him & people) gets me feeling all the passion and excitement! ❤
  22. I love hanging out with people and having deep, authentic, exciting conversations
  23. I love fashions from other eras … (medieval, colonial, Civil War, Victorian, 1920s, 1940s)

23 Things I’m Thankful For

  1. my Lord & Lover of my soul, Jesus Christ
  2. family and friends
  3. stirring music
  4. babies falling asleep in my arms
  5. twenty-three years of  life!
  6. Christmas season
  7. pretty dresses
  8. pizza
  9. the ability to write
  10. meeting so many lovely, new people this year
  11. lights on the Christmas tree
  12. American patriots fighting for righteousness, justice, peace, and people! (example: Brandon Tatum, Candace Owens, Allie Beth Stuckey, Lila Rose, Will Witt, PragerU, etc.)
  13. the ability to vote
  14. books
  15. Josh Turner’s gospel album: I Serve a Savior
  16. Christmas hymns and carols
  17. prayer
  18. brothers and sisters in the faith … encouraging each other in the Lord!
  19. weddings
  20. a sense of belonging
  21. security in Christ
  22. thrift stores
  23. the Word and the Holy Spirit to guide, correct, and comfort me

Twenty-Three Books I Love

  1. The Holy Bible (The Word of God)
  2. Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano (Victorian Mystery Historical Fiction)
  3. Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano (Victorian Mystery Historical Fiction)
  4. Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change by Matt Chandler (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  5. Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  6. Starflower {Tales of Goldstone Wood #4} by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Fantasy Fiction)
  7. Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  8. A Woman Named Damaris by Janette Oke (Historical Fiction)
  9. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  10. Grown-Up Faith by Kevin Myers (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  11. The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz (Colonial Historical Fiction)
  12. Dare {The Blades of Acktar #1} by Tricia Mingerink (Fantasy Fiction)
  13. The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance―Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters by Sinclair B. Ferguson (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  14. One-Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  15. Mark of the Raven {Ravenwood Chronicles #1} by Morgan L. Busse (Fantasy Fiction)
  16. Yankee in Atlanta {Heroines Behind the Lines #3} by Jocelyn Green (Civil War Historical Fiction)
  17. Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar (Biblical Historical Fiction)
  18. Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors (Christian Living Nonfiction)
  19. A Time to Speak {Out of Time #2} by Nadine Brandes (Dystopian Fiction)
  20. Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork (Fairy Tale Historical/Fantasy Fiction)
  21. Waking Rose {A Fairy Tale Retold #3} by Regina Doman (Contemporary Fairy Tale Fiction)
  22. Samara’s Peril {Ilyon Chronicles #3} by Jaye L. Knight (Fantasy Fiction)
  23. Liar’s Winter by Cindy K. Sproles (Historical Fiction)

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Book Review: Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller

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Misleading Miss Verity: Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley by Carolyn Miller

My Personal Review ~ 3.5 stars

Misleading Miss Verity is the third book in Carolyn Miller’s REGENCY BRIDES: DAUGHTERS OF AYNSLEY series. It was probably my least favorite of the three, but still enjoyable. This author does a fine job of spinning exciting stories set in England, early 1800s (one of my favorite time periods!)

This novel centers on Verity Hatherleigh, youngest of the three sisters. She has always pushed against the rules and regulations of society, and is definitely not about to happily agree to an arranged marriage. An unforseen turn of events lands her in Scotland where there is adventure and deception aplenty.

I appreciated getting Verity’s story. She’s young, rebellious, and headstrong, but has a sweet heart and builds some lovely friendships. Anthony was a nice character as well, though I wish I could have seen more of his work in Australia. Once again, we get a conversion story, which I thought was heartfelt as usual.

As the title implies, there was quite a bit of misleading going on in this novel. I didn’t really appreciate that aspect … for all though the characters weren’t necessarily lying, they were certainly leading people to believe some very untrue things for long periods of time.

Other than that, Misleading Miss Verity was a quick and fun read. The masquerade dance was great! I really like how Carolyn Miller always includes a substantial faith theme. And, as always, I’m loving the Regency setting.

I received a complimentary copy of Misleading Miss Verity from Kregel Publications and/or the author. This review is honest and my own.

Favorite Christmas Music

Good afternoon, friends! I apologize for the silence over here … I’m going to be doing a fiction book review soon, and I have two other posts in the work!

Today I just wanted to quickly hop on here and share some of my favorite Christmas songs/music and artists! I hope that you all are savoring the Christmas season. What a sweet time of family, fellowship, beauty, and cherishing our King. Be blessed! ❤

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Lindsey Stirling

What Child is This

Carol of the Bells

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Scotty McCreery

Mary Did You Know?

First Noel

Lauren Daigle

O Come All Ye Faithful

A Holy Night

Noel

Alan Jackson

Let It Be Christmas

Silver Bells

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

For King and Country

Glorious

Sovereign Grace

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

What Child is This

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

JJ Heller

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Sarah Reeves

Angels We Have Heard on High

Anna Hawkins

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Tenth Avenue North

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Mistletoe

Josh Groban

Little Drummer Boy

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Kelly Clarkson

White Christmas

Aaliyah Rose

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Book Review: Words of Hope for Women by Carolyn Larsen

words of hope for women

Words of Hope for Women by Carolyn Larsen

My Personal Review ~ 4 stars

Words of Hope for Women by Carolyn Larsen is a sweet, little devotional from Revell Publishers. When I first saw the simple loveliness of the book cover, I knew I wanted to read it.

In typical devotional format, this small tome has a passage of Scripture for each day, as well as a paragraph or two from the author talking about the hope these Bible verses present to us. Some of the headings for each day are: Hope of Heaven // Promised Refuge // Hope in Weakness // Hope for Victory Over Death // Hope When All Seems Hopeless // True Love // Hope in Grace-Filled Speech // & Hope in God’s Power.

Words of Hope for Women has been encouraging and to the point. And I feel like Carolyn Larsen has done a good job of sticking to the truth of the Word, and not just filling the pages with flowery, feel-good quotes. I’m now on Day 25, and look forward to finishing this devotional!

I received a complimentary copy of Words of Hope for Women from Revell Publishers. This review is honest and all my own.

Book Review: Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

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Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

My Personal review ~ 5 stars

Feminine Appeal is a refreshing, little Christian Living book that I feel is overlooked! In a world where true femininity is fading, and being a homemaker, wife, and mother is scoffed at, Carolyn Mahaney encourages us to take another look at our unique design as women. What did God create us specially for, and how can this impact the world? Are we embracing this gift … the gift of feminine appeal?

Consider the loveliness of a woman who passionately adores her husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self-control, and kindness in her character and who gladly submits to her husband’s leadership – for all the days God grants her life. I dare say there are few things that display the gospel jewel with greater elegance. This is true feminine appeal. ~ Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

Truly, reading this book reinforced my passion for Christ-like marriages and godly homes. My heart was swelling with such excitement and joy at the thought of being a homemaker someday and creating a warm home where Christ is exalted. Of being a wife and helpmeet to one of God’s adopted sons – to support him and encourage him in whatever God is calling him … us … to do. Of raising children together to know the love of their Creator and serve Him all their days.

Both husbands and wives will become more Christ-like by having to deal with each other’s sins and deficiencies. We must settle this issue in our hearts. We married a sinner, and so did they. But this is the hope for our marriage: God forgives sinners and helps us grow to be like Him. ~ Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

Remember that we vowed in our wedding ceremony “to love and to cherish till death do us part”? Do we even understand what we promised to do? To cherish means to hold dear, to care for tenderly or to nurture, to cling fondly to, or treat as precious. ~ Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

This world is lacking homes. True, beautiful homes where Jesus Christ is adored and family is cherished and strangers loved on. I honestly believe that the breakdown of the family and godly home is what is leading to so much destruction in America. Think of the impact that we, as women, could have on society – on people’s souls – if we took our femininity and its roles more seriously. We have the unique ability and responsibility to be homemakers and wives and mothers. For the sake of the Gospel. For the glory of God.

Dawson Trotman, founder of the group called the Navigators, once said: “I believe with all my heart that one of the greatest soul saving stations in the world is the home.” And I love what one person observed about Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s wife, Edith: “As many people were brought to the Lord through Mrs. Schaeffer’s cinnamon buns as through Dr. Schaeffer’s sermons!” ~ Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

What an extraordinary thought – that we can create a home where it is “impossible to keep from thinking of God”. ~ Feminine Appeal  by Carolyn Mahaney

Feminine Appeal is based on the teachings in Titus 2, and addresses loving one’s husband and children, self-control, purity, intimacy, homemaking, kindness, submission, and more. This might sound like an old-fashioned, outdated book to you, but I think you’d be surprised. God’s design never goes out of style … In fact, it is forever good and even delightful! What do you have to lose by giving this book a try? We can see that the culture’s way of womanhood doesn’t seem to be garnering that great of results.

Some points of this book might really challenge you … even feel revolting to you. But should women’s ministry be all about feel-good chats, inspirational quotes, and never feeling guilty? Since when have Christian women become the ones who can never be rebuked or corrected? We are in the wrong sometimes – many times(!) – and we need to repent and seek God’s face. Lord, teach me how to be a woman!

The specific instruction in Titus 2 is for wives to be “submissive to their own husbands.” This word submission in the Greek means to “voluntarily place oneself under.” ~ Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

The definition of the Greek word for “respect” means “to be in awe of, to revere, or to treat as someone special.” Is that how we act toward our husbands? Do we respect them with our words, tone of voice, countenance, and body language? ~ Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

This book is easy to follow, and definitely worth the read! As I mentioned above, it ignited my passion and desire anew for homemaking, marriage, and motherhood. After finishing it, I wanted to get a copy for my mom and other dear wives & mothers who I know! It’s also a great resource for unmarried women such as myself. May we cherish our femininity. May we esteem marriage, motherhood, and keeping a home, and pray for God to teach us even now how to do these things well should He call us to them.

Overall, I highly recommend. We don’t have enough books like this!